Starlight, Part 2 — New Short Story

girlwithstars

Here is part two of Starlight. If you haven’t read part one, you can find it here.

Starlight, Part 2

“Find the letter ‘J’?” Angie said.

“Yes,” Maia replied. “Now let’s go.”

She held out her hand, and Angie took it.

In the next moment, Angie found herself floating in the air. She and Maia floated right through the wall and out into the night air.

Suddenly, they flew off into the night.

Angie could see the ground streaking by below her and the stars streaking by above her. She should have been terrified by the height and the speed, but somehow, all she felt was a great calm.

Maia and Angie flew on, and before long, they were flying up to a house and then through another wall.

They floated gently to the ground in a dark room. Even in the dim light, Angie could tell the room looked familiar.

“This is my old room in my parents’ house,” she said.

“Yes,” Maia replied. “What you need is in here.”

“The letter ‘J’?” Angie said.

“Yes.”

“But I don’t have any idea—” Angie turned to see Maia walking casually through a wall.

Angie went to follow her. Instead, she bumped face-first into the wall. She went to the door and found that it was locked.

Angie pounded on the door. “Maia! Let me out. This door must be stuck or something.”

“The door will open when you have found what are looking for,” Maia said from the other side of the door. “And not a moment before.”

Angie pounded on the door again. “Maia?”

There was no reply.

Angie turned to her old room and switched on the light.

Her bed and desk and trophies were still there, so the room still looked familiar, but now a lot of the floor space was taken up with boxes—her parents were using the room for storage.

Angie tried the door one last time but found that it still wouldn’t open.

She turned back to the boxes—she supposed she’d better start looking.

She began opening the boxes. Many of them belonged to her parents. But some of them were hers.

Angie decided to focus on those. They seemed the likeliest place where she would find the letter “J.”

She opened up more boxes.

Some of them held childhood items—toys and books and clothes. And some of them were from later years—college and her first job.

Angie began to sift through all her old things.

She found things that made her smile, a few things that made her cry, and even a thing or two that made her laugh out loud.

And then she found a box with her old camera and several long envelopes full of photographs.

She had not forgotten that she used to take photographs, but somehow she had pushed that fact to the back of her mind.

The first envelope contained Angie’s earliest photographs—the very first she ever developed herself. There were photos of her parents, her house, her friends, and one beautiful photo of jasmine.

Angie paused as she took that one out—it had always been one of her favorites. The photo was of the jasmine bush that grew at the back of the house. The white flowers and their dark leaves looked lovely in the black-and-white photo. Even though it was one of the earliest photos she had ever taken, Angie had always felt there was something special about this one. There was power and mystery in it.

She paused. Could this be the “J” she was looking for?

She wasn’t sure.

Angie continued to look through the other photographs. She found many more pictures of friends and family, trips and vacations, and quite a few more studies of flowers. But nothing really stood out to her.

And then she found the picture of Jason.

It felt like ages since she had seen him—had it really been that long? In reality it had only been two years. But a lot had happened in that time.

She set everything else aside and took a long look at the photograph.

Jason was smiling, looking away from the camera, and even though the photo was black and white, Angie could see with her mind’s eye just how blue his eyes were.

She’d loved his sense of humor. She’d loved his ready wit. She’d loved him.

Could he be the “J” she was looking for?

Angie continued to look at the photo of Jason. She really had loved everything about him—but he certainly couldn’t have said the same about her.

Jason had always said that he loved her, but he hadn’t liked her friends—they had been the first to go. Then he didn’t like her hair or her perfume—he had gotten her to change those too. And even though he’d consented to the photo Angie held in her hand, he hadn’t liked her interest in photography either. He’d told her that she was no good—she had no eye for a picture—and that photography was frivolous anyway. He’d told her she should be focusing on a serious career instead.

So Angie had given up on photography—let it disappear from her life. And eventually Jason had disappeared too.

As she looked down at his smile, Angie realized there was no way he could be the letter “J.” She didn’t know what the letter “J” was or what it was supposed to represent in her life, but she knew it wasn’t him.

Angie sifted through her photographs until she found the picture of the jasmine again. She held it up, and she was amazed once again by the power in this simple photograph—somehow she had captured something special in this moment.

Angie felt something stirring in her that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

If anything was the letter “J,” it was this jasmine photo. It was the best work she had ever done.

At that moment, the door opened, and her mother entered the room. The hall behind her was dark, and she blinked blearily in the light of the bedroom.

“Angie?” her mother said. “Honey, what are you doing here?”

“I—was just looking through some old things,” Angie said.

Her mother frowned. “How did you get in the house?”

“I—uh—” Angie thought back to Maia—she could hardly tell her mother that a starlit woman had flown her through the sky.

“You must still have that old key,” her mother said. “It’s good to see you even if this is a little unusual. Sun’s coming up. Come with me, and I’ll get you some breakfast.”

(Part 3 is in the next blog post. Click here to read it.)

******************

Thanks very much for reading!

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