A Faith in the Stars

I still remember the pieces of salt and pepper hair falling out of Granny’s loose bun as she reminded me that we’re all part of God’s plan. Her hands were extra shaky that day and her teeth seemed to show even more coffee stains than usual. I sat there pretending to listen, and she knew I didn’t buy any of it. She knew I grew up believing the words of Carl Sagan and Neil deDgrasse Tyson. The phrase “We are stardust” has decorated the inner side of my left arm in calligraphy since I was 16. So in the contest of faith versus science, she and I were often on opposite sides.

I glance at the ink on my arm just as an ember from the campfire zaps the part of my ankle that peeks out below my jeans and jars me back to reality. Sophie’s still going on about her feelings for Zach. Maria’s listening intently and it looks like Paulina is too. To my left, Katya toys with the rim of her orange sock. She’s gotten a lot of compliments on them but they look like the color of carrot purée to me. To my right, Kim’s slyly snacking on a pack of almonds hidden under her baggy sweatshirt sleeve, but from my angle I can see a corner of the packaging sticking out.

“I just don’t understand what he thinks Amber has that I don’t.” Sophie grovels and crosses her arms, “She’s like 12 anyway.”

I’m not trying to be cold; I just don’t see what her complaining is going to do. It’s not like Zach is going to hear her talking, waltz out of the trees, and plant one on her right now just because she’s made it evident that she’s desperately in love with him at least three times. Besides, she’s not the only one who’s been desperate for a love she couldn’t have.


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