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It is just as it is with the flower. If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night. All the stars are abloom with flowers.
But if you want more than the sight of one star above your head, you must learn to take the bloom of another one.
You’ve seen the night before. The sun has been up long enough for the sky to change colors. Now all that remains is for the light of the moon and stars to show up over the horizon.
It is quiet around you; there aren’t many people out this late, so you don’t have to strain your ears to hear the sound of your own footsteps hitting the concrete ground. Your feet sink into the wet pavement with every step you take, but you walk anyway. It feels good, like you’re moving even when no one can see you.
The street lamps cast an amber hue over everything in the surrounding darkness. You move in front of them, turning in circles slowly to get used to walking under them. They cast their orange light across the sidewalk where you are taking your next step. This time you don’t stop until you’ve taken another three or four steps forward.
This street doesn’t belong to you, not really, so you keep looking left and right. There are some people passing by on bikes. A few people milling about, talking or smoking cigarettes on the other side of the road.
There isn’t much to look at, except for the cars speeding past the curb, headlights shining bright through the dark streets, the city skyline in front of you. The streetlights glow softly behind you. You don’t know why they do, though it makes it easier to see how the shadows play along your legs and arms.
A cat runs across the road and jumps onto the hood of a car, meowing loudly. In seconds, two more cats follow suit.
One of them starts batting at the cat still sitting on top of the car.
“Go back inside,” they snap, and then they turn away from each other, glaring down at the feline.
That’s probably why they’re always fighting like cats, you think. They seem to enjoy it. The second cat, however, looks like it’s trying to decide whether or not they want to fight with the first cat. Finally, after several moments of staring at each other, they both start meowing loudly. That seems to be what decides which one to go against first.
The last thing I need tonight is a fight, you think to yourself. I’ll let you two have fun on your own, but that means if I catch either of you outside at night, I’m calling the cops on you.
“I said no fighting!” You shout, startling the cats. They jump down off the car. The cat on top of it hisses at you. “Yeah, yeah, go back inside, you two.” They both leave.
After they disappear from sight, you turn around again and walk home. As you walk, the buildings around you come into focus. There are trees lining the street on either side of you. You walk past the park, following a tree covered path.
As soon as the path ends, the buildings start to close in on you, forcing you to walk between their walls. It’s cold. A breeze rustles through the trees.
Your hands clench together, and you rub them to warm up. You look up at the sky, seeing little pinpricks of light through the branches overhead.
“What do you say? How about a game of hide and seek?”
You jump, startled, and spin around to face whoever had spoken to you. Your eyes widen slightly as you see who it was.
He grins at you. His brown hair and green eyes make him easy to identify even from a distance. He’s shorter than you are, so he only comes up to your shoulder, but there’s something about him that you can’t quite place. Even though your heart’s pounding in your chest, you feel oddly calm.
“Hey. What’re you doing here?”
“Just passing by.” He shrugs. “I thought maybe we could play tag, but…” He looks at you sheepishly. “Sorry if it’s rude.”
“No, it’s not,” you assure him quickly. “I mean, if you wanted to, sure, that would be cool.” A pause. You blink rapidly, looking up at the stars again. You can hear the sounds of people walking around the park. Cars driving by. Somewhere, far away, a train rattles its wheels.
He nods. “Alright. Let’s meet in the middle. Where did you usually find people playing?”
“Anywhere, really.” You point toward the center of town. “My house is pretty much a dead end. So you can go wherever you want, and no one will notice. Just be careful and stay quiet.”
He nods again and holds out his hand. You give him yours, wondering why you suddenly feel nervous.
When you shake hands, your palm meets his. You try not to wince. Your fingers are rough and calloused from working at a bike repair shop, and he has smooth skin and soft hands. They fit well with your own. When you release his grip, your fingertips linger against his. For a moment, neither of you say anything. Then, you turn back and start making your way toward the park.
The two of you walk silently side by side. Your bare toes drag against the cement ground. You listen to the sound of your shoes squeaking.
After what seems like a million years, but was actually less than ten minutes, you finally reach the park. The trees are taller here, blocking out the sun’s rays. The leaves flutter against your cheeks. The wind blows gently from behind you, rustling your clothes lightly.
The grass is damp underfoot. It sinks in deep when you walk over it. Water puddles underneath your feet.
“Are we going to stand here forever?” asks someone. They’re standing on the other side of the field. Their voice echoes through the empty space.
You start to walk towards them. The moonlight casts a pale silver shadow on the ground, stretching out in front of you as far as you can see.
They’re tall, wearing a black tank top.
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