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Zoe Estrin-Grele


The moon rides pink over the water of the ocean, bigger than it's ever been before anywhere in the world, the color of bubble gum and cotton candy and little girls on Sunday afternoons and I can't stop looking at it even though the waves are beginning to wash up onto my toes and try to eat them away like it eats away the sand beneath them and rolls shells back in their place and finally starts lapping up onto the rolled up legs of my pants and still I stare at the moon, hovering just there, just out of reach, just beyond my fingertips, laughing at me, telling me to grab it, telling me to take it and I'm never going to be able to because I can't quite get my fingers to close around it.

It's supposed to be a serious conversation but I'm too distracted by the rain rolling off of my hood down over my eyes, and the way the droplets catch in the warm yellow of the lamp that pours down above our heads though I've never really realized that there's a light there before and the night is warmer than I thought it was going to be, unseasonably warm, un-November-ly warm, and there's no water in my boots yet but I'm expecting there to be any minute and I can't even care because the rain is beautiful and the warmth of the night is beautiful and the yellow leaves spread on the lawn are beautiful and he's beautiful but I can't tell him that because I'm not supposed to be thinking it in the first place so I push that away and wall it off and watch the raindrops rolling off the wool of my hood again and try to think about something else.

I watch the garden like there's something to see in the warmth of the new darkness of summer, so late that I worry that we've reached the point of too late and I should get off the phone, but I should get off the phone anyway because I shouldn't be on it anyway, not now, not this late, but I've got my feet up on the table on the newly mown lawn where it's warm and comfortable and the bugs are still coming at me at my eyes and my ears and my nose, but I just wave them away and go on watching the garden, the peas climbing the wall and the tomatoes spreading wide leaves with tiny globes beneath them and the onions with their crisp leaves collecting dew in the night and I just listen, listen to the voices on the other end of the line, listen to the crickets in the grasses, listen to the Peepers down by the pond as they squeal for mates, and listen to the warmth all around me, as though I could truly hear it.

The sky is clear tonight, clear enough to search for what I'm looking for, the stars wavering and forming themselves as my eyes adjust to the darkness and suddenly thousands of the silver lights reveal themselves, gradually enough for me not to notice that I can see them, but quickly enough that I am too awed to speak, but it's not the silent, unmoving spheres that interest me because I want to see the travelers, even though everyone around me has stopped looking because there haven't been enough of the flying sparks to keep their attentions, but I don't care because it's my birthday and on my birthday, as every year since the first time I heard of them, I want to see shooting stars.

Zoe Estrin-Grele is a student at the University of Maine at Farmington in the creative writing program.