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  • Haylee Caserta

Light Pollution

There was this movie she liked. It had a long title. Never got around to watching it myself, but she’d reference it sometimes. I’d laugh like I understood what she was talking about. I have to stop doing that.

But she called me late one night, begging me to take her out to the lake. “It’ll be just like the movie, Alex, come on, have some fun.”

I didn’t want to disappoint, so I loaded up my car in the frigid February air and made sure to bring as many blankets that I could fit in the trunk, and went to pick her up.

The lake was frozen solid, and as soon as I parked the car she jumped out of the passenger’s side and started running across the ice, skidding around in her big black military boots. Once she reached the middle, she sat down, and gestured for me to come on as she sprawled out on her back and looked towards the sky.

Inside, I sighed. I didn’t want to catch a cold, but I couldn’t just leave her out there. So I slowly trudged my way over to her and she told me to lie down next to her. I did.

“Look at the stars. Aren’t they poetic?” she whispered brightly.

I squinted up into the darkness. There weren’t many stars out at all. To be honest, it was sort of a cloudy night. I suppose I could make out a few, though.

“I guess. Yeah. I wonder what they’re saying.” I offered.

She liked to give personalities to things that didn’t have any. Things like stars, I assumed. It was like when we’d go to the movie theater, and she’d pretend the gummy bears were some hardened criminals on death row. You know, childish stuff. I guess it was kind of cute on her, though. So I tried my hand at it.

She took a bit to respond.

“You wanna know what I think they’re saying?-” she asked, “-They’re saying ‘that’s the corniest thing you’ve ever said to me’.”

My face got all hot when she said that. I tried to get a witty response out. I stammered. She chuckled.

“You don’t have to say anything, you know. Especially if it’s gonna be stupid,” she teased, sitting up and adjusting her scarf.

I could see her breath in the moonlight. Her shadow was tinged with the glassy blue of the ice. She was so beautiful.

I wondered how she’d respond if I told her. So beneath blushing cheeks I told her.

“You’re beautiful.”

Her eyes glinted for a moment. She had this sort of look about her when our eyes met. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. But I had a feeling she knew what I was thinking. Almost like she could read my thoughts with just her eyes.

“I told you not to say anything stupid.” she muttered, lifting herself off the ice and walking away from me, back to the car.

I remained, propped up on my elbows, laughing to myself. I didn’t know why. I should’ve been embarrassed. But I just laughed. Because I knew I’d never be able to predict her.


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