Eleven-thirty, says my watch. I slide out of bed and begin to get dressed. Pajamas off, bathing suit on. I creep out of my room and peek into my parents’, my sister’s, and my brother’s rooms. They are all fast asleep. Putting on a thin sweater, I slip out the door. Eleven-thirty-five, says the clock on the stove.
After walking for a short time, I come to my destination. Shedding my sweater, I slip into the silky water, the underwater pool light making the water look like it is glowing.
I dunk my head under the water, feeling the initial shock as the cool water surrounds my entire body. Opening my eyes, I see the light that is casting the eerie glow. I see where the floor of the pool begins to slope downward toward the deep end. I see my own feet and hands illuminated by the strange light. I float back to the surface and take a deep breath of fresh air. Then I plunge back down into the water.
As I land on the bottom of the pool, I slither down the inclined plane. Soon I am more than ten feet underwater. I sit on the floor, staring up at the surface, which is blurring everything above me. I clear my mind.
Then, crouched on the bottom, I straighten my legs and propel myself upward. As my head breaks the surface, I see the stars.
Oh, the stars…
Floating on my back, I stare at the magnificence. It is almost too much to wrap my head around, that all this really does exist. It’s magical. I name all the constellations that I know: Orion the Hunter, Perseus, Leo the Lion, Canis Major and Canis Minor, the Big Dog and the Little Dog.
I gaze at the stars and try to forget. Forget that I’m moving tomorrow, from the only place I’ve ever called home. Forget that it’s not likely we’ll ever come back. Forget all the please-Rose-try-to-understands and the it-will-be-better-for-us-theres and the please-act-like-the-young-adult-you-ares. Just forget.
Staring at the stars, I feel reassured. I am not worried anymore. Everything will be all right. I know it will.
Midnight, says Horologium,* the great clock in the sky.
* Horologium: Small constellation whose Latin name means “clock.”