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The sky is never empty, especially not when it's being watched. There's always a message playing in front of backdrops of baby blue, midnight or pale purples that blend to firey reds and golds in the distance.

At first we looked to the clouds for meaning.

That's a rabbit.
I think I see Mary Worth on an elephant!
That one looks like cotton candy, doesn't it?

We'd roll in the grass and admire the giants, wispy maybe or today fluffy, as they spelled imagination in the sky.

As we grew older, it was the evening light that called to us. Wishing on first starlight for the boys of our dreams, for freedom from curfew or something equally important. It seemed we spoke to the stoic, for the stars never answered.

We learned that the light that appeared as a distant twinkle came from more energy than we could ever hope to possess; from hydrogen and helium and magnificence. Still, we searched their patterns for answers. We spoke of Cassiopeia and Orion, we dreamed of astrological truths to our terrestrial inquiry. The reality was that their answers were too big for such tiny questions.

It seems to me now that it is the stars who go unanswered. Burning brightly from the past, their light pings humanity like a submarine under water. We don't seem strong enough to call back on our own. And so they stay, circling overhead to search while we illuminate our landmasses with bright shining buildings and cities you can see from space. A desperate acknowledgement of a truth too far away to receive it.

Light a candle, make a wish. Hope the stars are listening.

Her car was wheezing like an asthmatic. Parking in a grassy clearing, her windshield fogged and useless in the diminishing darkness, she turned off the radio and waited for her radiator to stop cursing at her in what sounded like Portuguese.

Cranking down the window a bit she lit a cigarette, kicked back, wound the seat to horizontal and looked up through the moon-roof, taking in the great expanse of stars that were previously obliterated from sight by the headlights on the highway.

She thought about what it was like growing up in the city, about how she had viewed the stars, at least the ones she could see, as a backdrop to the real lights - the windows of Wall Street and Midtown, shining out over a sleepy city. From her books, she saw the patterns the ancients thought the stars made and the meanings behind their arrangements in the night sky, men and gods and everything in between. To help visualize what the long dead had seen when they craned their necks towards the heavens, the books had connected the dots for her, giving Taurus shoulders where before there were only pinpricks of light. Because she had never seen the constellations herself, she believed then that these lines would be visible from the country, real as life. Orion's bow would rival the Milky Way in brightness, buzzing like a neon sign and reflecting off of anything not too scared to look.

As her engine cooled and her arms grew sleepy behind her head she could see herself standing on the roof of some anonymous apartment building in Park Slope, watching the lights wink on and off atop the bridges that connected her with the island of Manhattan. Not even then had she thought she was capable of flight.

She opened the moon-roof wide and cranked her seat to upright, head still tilted back like the nose of a rocket as she calmly pushed the button for the ejection seat.

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