"So I looked up, and we were in this giant dome like a glass snowball, and Mark said that the amazing white stars were really only holes in the black glass of the dome, and when you went to heaven, the glass broke away, and there was nothing but a whole sheet of star white, which is brighter than anything else but doesn't hurt your eyes. It was vast and open and thinly quiet, and I felt so small." (from Perks.)
I haven't been out on my roof since the night in early summer where he and I stayed up until the sunrise and I almost fell asleep out there, blinking my heavy eyes quickly just to stay awake. Since it's one of my last nights here until I leave forever, I grabbed a blanket and a flashlight and Perks. Crawled out onto the roof. And read until I couldn't feel my fingers.
It's hard to see the stars tonight. The moon is too bright and washes them out. It's better than it has been though, where the fog and clouds smudge up the sky until there aren't any visible stars at all. It's a trade-off, I guess, because I love the rain and I love the stars and it's hard to choose which I love more.
I moved into this house five and a half years ago, and countless times, I've stood outside in the middle of the road with a cat, just staring at the sky. Once in the middle of winter I went to the middle of the field across the street, camera in tow, and took a few hundred pictures. I think the book that night was L'Engle, A Ring of Endless Light, maybe. It was cold then too and I didn't come back inside until I couldn't feel my fingers.
One of the hardest part about living in the city is the absence of visible stars. I know that soon I'll move up to the mountains and if I want I can drive up and down the Greenhorn Park in the middle of the night until I get tired of the stars. For now though, I feel cheated out of another fall spent staring at the sky.
...It's weird to read Perks again. I was 15-almost-16 the first time I opened it, on an airplane seated next to a woman who smiled at me without saying anything. Now I'm 6-months-past-17 and it's dizzying to think about how much has changed since the first time I met Charlie. And it's dizzying to think about what hasn't changed and should have. Like on page 93 I underlined these words, "maybe I'm being sentimental, but I like to think that when I'm old, I will be able to look at all these tapes and remember those drives." In the margins of the page I wrote in my handwriting that loops in the same direction even after thousands of words written on journal pages, "music gets tangled up in memories." I don't remember writing those words. I do remember opening up a document on my computer later that night after my plane landed in Indianapolis and writing this, "sometimes I wake up and my iPod is tangled in my hair. I like to think that the music tangles through my hair and into my mind while I sleep, dictating my dreams."
And it's funny to think of how the person who wrote both those words inside the book and those words on a computer screen isn't the same person who's writing these words now. That other girl is still there, and she's still a part of me, but I've had a year and a half of tears&laughter&loss that 15-almost-16 me didn't have and that's changed me in good and bad ways.
I can laugh now at what I said about the music dictating my dreams because, while it's a nice thought, frankly it's ridiculous and not to mention badly written. The other one though- what was I thinking when I wrote that? And what pencil did I use? And was it one I pulled from the jar on my desk? And I can't remember, did I even have that jar then? And if it was from the jar, did it have chew marks on the eraser or was it one of the really tiny ones I have a bad habit of stealing from libraries? Or was it the purple pencil Dylan-nicknamed-Katie's-Dylan-because-we-were-best-friends gave to me for Christmas in 8th grade? And after I wrote it, did I stop and sigh because of the heavy truthfulness of it all? Or did I cry because there wasn't any music to mark that moment?
And I wonder what Charlie would think of all this.