Evening Star

He didn't notice when he first began to look for it.  Maybe his father or his mother had pointed it out to him, or maybe it was the babysitter.  Maybe he'd read about it in a book sometime.  Maybe he'd read about it many times before but hadn't noticed that either.  Maybe he'd just forgot, and had to keep remembering so that he wouldn't forget anymore.  He still forgot occasionally.  Days, weeks even, might go by, then one clear night just about dusk he'd suddenly remember, and run outside or at least to the nearest window and search the fading sky until he found it:  the evening star, the first evening star.

He'd heard it said or maybe read that you were supposed to make a wish when you saw that star, and he always did.  He did not wish for anything in particular; he just wished.  I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish . . .  He said it until he felt satisfied, until his head had been soothed and his body felt at ease.

Then he started seeing the star at night, the evening star – the first evening star.  It would happen when he was lying in bed, eyes closed, letting sleep enter in.  A tiny pinprick of light in the swirling darkness behind his lids, in that place beyond physical sight; that slowly grew, at first being fixed but then, as it grew, shimmering, pulsating fuzzily at the edges; then breaking loose, floating free.  It changed shape; it changed color; it looked now like an egg; now it was blossoming like a flower, fading like a firework.  That first light was followed by another, then another, growing, spreading, splashing on some invisible inner shore, then slipping away; and each light seemed somehow as if it were the first, each being like no other.  Light Beings, he came to call them, though he didn't know why; they weren't like people.  Not like people at all, and yet they felt somehow alive.  They moved around him in the darkness, and he moved along with them; it was like swimming, only lighter.  It seemed to him (as he fell backwards, swooning into sleep) that they might be speaking to him, or trying to.  He was sure that if he heard them he would understand them:  they would speak his own tongue.  Only he couldn't quite hear what they were saying.  Sometimes whisperings, whisperings . . .

He wondered about these Light Beings quite a lot for a time.  He wondered what they were saying.  He could imagine their whisperings when he closed his eyes anytime, but that wasn't the same as when he really heard them.  Talking sometimes to each other, but sometimes, he thought, trying to say something to him.

It was the evening star.  He stood at the window; he ran out into the yard.  He had remembered to look and it had appeared.  And every night he listened.

~ END ~