Evening Star

He didn't know when he first began to look for it.  Maybe his father or his mother had pointed it out to him once, or maybe it was one of his babysitters.  Maybe he'd read about it in a book sometime.  Maybe he'd read about it many times before but just hadn't noticed it.  Or maybe he'd just forgot, and he had to keep remembering and keep remembering until he didn'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 he'd run outside, or at least run to the nearest window, searching the fading sky until he had found it.  The evening star – the first evening star.

He'd heard it said or maybe he'd read somewhere 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 relaxed; then he could let the wish go, like a balloon into the sky . . .

He didn't know when he started seeing the star even when he hadn't meant to look for it.  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, shimmering in that place beyond physical sight, that slowly grew, at first being fixed but then, as it grew, glowing, pulsating fuzzily at the edges; then breaking loose, floating free.  It filled his field of vision; it changed shape; it changed colors; it looked now like an egg; now it was blossoming like a flower, now fading like a firework.  That first light was followed by another, then another, each growing, spreading, splashing brilliantly on some invisible inner shore, then slipping away again as the next one emerged; and each light seemed somehow as if it were the first, each one 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 as time slowed internally he began to move with them.  It was a sensation like swimming, only lighter; like floating, but in motion; and the lights swam and floated with him.  It seemed to him (but he was falling backwards now, he was swooning into sleep) that they might be speaking to him, or trying to.  He was sure that if he only once heard them he would understand them:  They would speak his own tongue.  Only he couldn't quite hear what they were saying.  He heard just whisperings – whisperings . . .

He wondered about these Light Beings quite alot for a time.  He wondered alot about what they were trying to tell him.  He could imagine their whisperings when he closed his eyes anytime, even during the day, 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 . . .

The sky was clear.  Don't forget the evening star!  He ran to the window; he ran out into the yard.  He had remembered to look.  He had remembered – and there, it had appeared.

I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish . . . he whispered.

And every night, he listened.

~ END ~