Swinging on a star

There once was a girl who dreamed of touching the stars.  She was enchanted by their mystery and surrounded herself with them.  When she was 8 she asked her parents to hang stars from her ceiling, one for every year of her age.  Each birthday her parents bought her a new star and hung it from her ceiling before bed.  Each star was unique.  They were found in stores, yard sales and vacations.  Everywhere they went the first thing that was done was to see if there was some kind of star they could get.

One star was made of three pieces of wood from the yard that she had nailed together on her twelfth birthday about an hour before the sunset.  Her parents had to tend to an emergency with her younger brother and the girl’s birthday party was postponed until the following day.  In their frazzled haste her parents neglected to tell her that they had a star wrapped in their closet for her yearly tradition.  The girl did not want to disappoint the other stars.  They were expecting a new friend and she wanted to see them twinkle and wave in the shadowy darkness as they all greeted the new addition.

She sat all evening as the hours wore on.  Her aunt was there to sit with her and make sure her birthday day wasn’t completely ruined.  The girl put on a brave face but her mind was worried as she didn’t know how long her parents would be.

“Auntie?”  The girl asked.
“Yes, sweetie?”
“May I play outside near the woods?”
“Oh well, it’s getting late. I don’t know,” her aunt was worried about her being alone outside.
“For a few minutes?  I want to say goodnight to the trees,” she was always a sweet girl with a kind heart.
“Okay.  For a few minutes then.”

The girl bolted out of the room, slipped her feet into her shoes and seemed to move through the door without even opening it.  She quickly went to the woods, which weren’t really woods but a patch of trees taller than her house that qualified as woods in a child’s mind.  There were scattered rocks and debris along the ground but nothing that resembled a star.  She was looking for something, anything that would be able to have a string slipped through it and stuck to the ceiling in her room.

To ease her worry as the sun tiptoed along the horizon she thought of how this would make a great story someday.  This star will be special because it was the star that almost wasn’t.  How she’ll laugh retelling it and her aunt will chime in with her side of the story.

“I didn’t know why this odd child wanted to go outside so close to dusk.  Her parents were in the emergency room and all day she didn’t want to do anything.  I thought I better let her have one thing she could do today that wasn’t upended by misfortune.  You should have seen her streak through the house when I told her she could go out.”

They would all laugh and smile.  Her brother, much older at this point,  would throw in his part of the story where he was in the hospital having his appendix removed on his sister’s twelfth birthday. How the stitching pattern resembled tiny stars and it always made him think of her.

This eased her mind enough for her to have an idea.  She grabbed three sticks in a hurry and ran towards the back of the house.  Her father’s shed was in the backyard and she needed some of his tools.

The door was locked but she wasn’t going to be done in by something so mundane as that.  There was a tree stump along the side of the shed and a window below it.  The window was open and the girl lifted herself through it, after kicking in the screen which she will apologize for later.  Do first, ask forgiveness after.  She tossed the sticks onto his work bench and grabbed a nail and a hammer.

Each stick was bent a little in a certain way.  They were all odd shapes but when she lined them up on top of each other they made what looked like a snowflake or asterisk.

“Close enough to a star for me,” she muttered to herself before lining the nail up in the middle of three sticks.

She tapped the head of the nail at first, gently as her dad always did.  Each tap increased its force until the nail was cracking through the layers and finally connecting all three.  She held it up and smiled at its perfection.

Carefully she climbed back out of the window and carried her star into her room.  She attached the string in a whirling, winding way and asked her aunt to help hang it.

“Right in the middle.  It’s the biggest star and needs to be in the middle,” she nearly demanded.

That night she laid in bed and smiled up at her stars.  She left her window open and the breeze swung them back and forth as she drifted off to sleep.  Stars were in her dreams that night, only tonight she was in the sky helping make each one.  Giving each one a kiss before she blew them off into the sky to take their own place among it.  She touched them all and swung them from her fingertips.  She made the stars with her smile.  She kissed them into existence.  She lived among them and shined twice as bright.

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