When the Stars Align

It was early—very early—but the air was warm and still. And Benoît, for his part, hadn’t complained in the least. He’d even offered to carry the backpack she’d filled with breakfast pastries, a thermos of dark coffee, and an outdoor blanket. Kirsty thought she might love him, which was what made him worthy of what she’d dragged him up here to see.

The tall grasses on the plateau’s slope bowed low, their bulbous heads weighed down by crowns of morning dew. Tiny creatures scattered as Kirsty reached the summit, leading Benoît by the hand. The aqua-greens of the nightly auroras shared the cloudless sky with the pink hues of the coming sunrise, and the flat discs of the three large moons were all tucked away on the other side of the planet. Conditions were perfect; the stars only aligned like this a couple times a year.

“Wow,” said Benoît in his quiet, breathy voice. “You can see everything from up here.”

He was looking the wrong way, down at the city lights in the valley below where they’d started their day an hour and a half earlier. Kirsty giggled. “No, you can see everything from here. Let me show you.” In the low light of predawn she couldn’t see his face, but she pictured the quizzical expression that she knew had taken hold there and she giggled again. Benoît returned to her side, skirting the edge of the little lake that reflected the sky above. Kirsty stretched out her arm and pointed at a dim white dot. She felt she could almost caress it with her finger. “Do you see it? That one there?”

“Yes.” He spoke into her ear, just above a whisper.

“That’s Earth,” she said. “Well, Sol, but Earth too. That’s where we all come from.”

It was very quiet for a moment, like the world was holding its breath, and then Benoît said, “It’s very beautiful. But I’m glad I’m here.” He kissed her on the cheek, and she felt that she glowed bright enough for Earth to see her, too.

“Me too,” she said. “I’m glad too.”

Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page, Instagram, or Patreon. Image by Alena Aenami, used with permission.

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