Lois Kay

Excerpt from the diary of Sam Stevens, written under the heading: ‘My second summer with Jody.”

The night sky is a deep, endless canvas of black velvet sprinkled with the dazzling light of countless stars and galaxies. Their light, millions, sometimes billions of years underway is captured by my eyes and creates a stunning vision. It is the only light that is visible. Surrounded by tall trees that form a dense canopy in the rainforest, the clearing is an enormous window with a perfect view of the Milky Way stretching across the southern hemisphere. In addition to the gentle rustling of the leaves and surrounding knee-high grass, the occasional night bird makes its presence known; their call cloaked in darkness, muted by the cover of the night.

My legs are bare, and the breeze feels good against my skin. I am stretched out in the grass, on my back. The surface underneath me is uneven, and I had to wiggle around a few moments until I found a comfortable position. My head is supported by my right arm that is folded underneath my head; a pillow of skin, muscle, and bone. My left hand is resting on my stomach. My legs are crossed at the ankles, and my right foot is tirelessly moving from side to side; a habit I have never been able to break.

I breathe in deeply and appreciate the smell of grass that surrounds me, the faint scent of moist, dark soil; a mixture of earth and vegetation in various state of decomposition. The breeze, in the absence of the sun, is cooling my left arm and leg. It contrasts nicely with the warmth on my right side. She is so close I can feel the warmth of her skin bouncing off mine. I don’t need to glance aside to know she is mirroring my position. Her big green eyes, colorless under the celestial lights are staring up into the sky. Without having to look, I know the awe and wonder in their depths and can picture the reflection of the universe on their shiny surface. I have seen it before. It’s an image that will forever be part of the memories I hold onto; the ones that provide me with peace and pour liquid warmth around my heart. Her thick, dark-red hair is pushed away from her forehead, tangling with the grass her head is resting on because earlier she had set it free from its confining tie. To me, no matter what she wears or how she wrangles her hair, she is always cute. But with her hair free to move in the breeze, just long enough to graze her shoulders, she is breathtakingly beautiful.

With my gaze fixed on the expanse of stars above me, the breeze that whispers against my skin and the earthy scent around me mixed with a trace of her skin and shampoo, I realize this moment is perfect. I let out a sigh. The recognition of perfection fills me completely, and I have to let out air to make room for my heart to expand. It is a sound that needs no explanation. Not with her.

Her left hand finds its way to the top of my right thigh where the warmth of her skin seeps through the thin cotton of my shorts. I stand corrected. This is a perfect moment. The presence of her hand applying the lightest of pressure keeps me grounded. She does that so effortlessly, without even trying. It is something that just is.

As my eyes take in one of the most beautiful visions above me, I bring my left arm underneath my head and let my right arm move down until my fingers touch her hand. Words are not necessary. Our fingers entwine and rest on my thigh. Her hand is warm and soft. Her thumb draws lazy circles against my skin, and I smile. Even perfection can get better.

If happiness has the power to create stars I just built a whole new galaxy. I am at peace. I finally feel like I belong. I feel loved. Completely. She loves me for who I am, and I don’t believe there exists greater happiness than that.

“I can hear you thinking.” Her voice is soft, laced with warmth, affection and a hint of amusement.

“Probably because the gears are rusty,” I joke. I don’t have to look to know she is rolling her eyes at my comment. Her fingers briefly squeeze mine. It’s her way of letting me know she disagrees with my statement.

“Have you seen a shooting star yet?” Changing the subject is her way of letting me know she doesn’t like my self-deprecation.

I can take a hint when I hear one. “Not yet.” I finally let my gaze drift from the expanse above me to my right side. I can see a small smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. She looks so peaceful and content. Happy. Knowing that my presence helps to put that expression on her face makes my chest expand.

“The stars are above you,” she says, but her smile deepens.

“That’s just a matter of perspective.”

She chuckles. “You’re such a smart-ass.”

“It’s what you love about me,” I say.

Her hand squeezes mine a little tighter, but this time she keeps the pressure up. Now it’s my turn to smile. She does love me. All of me. And she does it so effortlessly.

Reluctantly, I tear away my gaze and direct it to the stars above. I deliberately don’t focus and the longer I look, the more stars I see.

“Such a pity we’ll never be able to reach those,” I say quietly, thinking aloud.

“What would you do it you were able to?” Her voice is low, almost lazy.

“Leave a note that says: ‘Sam was here’”, I answer.

This time she laughs out loud. “You can be such a dork.”

I’m not insulted. I hear the warmth in her voice and knows she loves that dorky side of me.

“Isn’t it August?” I ask after a long, comfortable silence.

I can feel her eyes on me. “Yes, why?”

“It’s not Halloween yet, but I see a witch on a broomstick.” I point to a certain area in the sky and wait patiently until I hear her chuckle. I smile. She’s spotted what I saw.

She moves a little closer to me and I can feel her skin against mine. The sensation makes my stomach flutter and more warmth settles in my chest. I know what I want. I untangle our fingers and lift my arm. It’s the only invitation she needs. Her head settles on my shoulder as I wrap my arm around her. It’s barely audible, but I hear her sigh. I can’t help but grin. She’s making room for her heart to expand.

End of excerpt.