It’s 2:00 AM. You wake me and Anna up in the middle of the night. There’s no explanation offered, just a rushed demand. We don’t think anything of it. You’re our dad. You wake us up to watch Disney movies all night in the summer or in the middle of the night when Santa is on the roof. Maybe we’ll see the Great Pumpkin, just like Charlie Brown?

Me, you, Anna, and Mommy all pile into the Tahoe with the fluffy cloud blanket we always take to the beach. Me and Anna have no idea what’s going on. But that’s okay. We trust you, Daddy. You would never steer us wrong.

You’re driving and looking frantically up at the sky. Mommy’s yelling at you to pay attention to the road. Me and Anna are nodding off in the back seat, struggling to stay awake. We pass the bovine pastures that we normally would pass on the way to the doctor’s office that plays the Land Before Time movies. You pull over in a really dark area. “Where are we Daddy?” We’re a little scared, but you’re not. You’re so excited.

You and Mommy both get out of the Tahoe. Anna is sleeping so Mommy takes her out and carries her to the front of the Tahoe and sets her on it. Mommy gently wakes her up and you tell me to climb up on the car too. We’re never allowed to do that! We can only do that when it snows! I hurriedly climb up to the best of my ability, my stubby little legs can only reach so high. You help me up the rest of the way and the four of us are sitting on the hood. The moon is just a sliver tonight.

The hood is cold underneath our legs, but you wrap the blanket around us and point up to the Great Hunter, Orion, and tell us to watch there. The palatinate and Catalina-blue sky freckled like our summer faces with distant whites, blues, oranges, and reds. A star twinkles by the Great Hunter’s sword, drops from its spot in the sky, and streaks across.

Fear bubbles up from my belly. “I swear, I saw it before. Daddy, I’ve seen this before. It was in Dinosaurs. These falling stars killed the dinosaurs. They were mesmerized just like we were and they were killed. We have to go, Daddy, we have to go. We’re not going to make it all the way out here.” You chuckle and explain, settling my childish fear, “These are just meteors, they will burn

You chuckle and explain, settling my childish fear, “These are just meteors, they will burn up before they get to us and they can’t hurt us.”

You point back up to the Great Hunter and show me another. “Nothing happened. We’re safe.” I relax and smile and look back up to the sky. “There are so many trails in the sky. Are there going to be any stars left?” You chuckle again, and say “Yes.” The stars are so beautiful normally, Daddy, but they are so much more awesome tonight.

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Samantha Henry

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