Judy can taste the salt on her tongue. She leans back on her arms and tilts her head up. She takes in another deep breath of salt and smiles. She tightens her fists, digging her fingers into the damp sand beneath her. She can feel sand getting underneath her fingernails.
“There’re shooting stars!” Tiffany says.
Judy turns her head to the sound of Tiffany’s voice.
“Oh? I bet they look nice.”
“Oh,” Tiffany stutters. “I didn’t mean—”
“It’s okay. You can describe them to me.”
Tiffany huffs out a laugh. She moves and the sand beneath her moves, too. For a moment, all Judy can hear is Tiffany’s breathing and the waves lapping at the shore.
“I…” Tiffany’s voice cracks and wavers. Judy lowers her head.
“I can’t describe them.”
Judy turns toward the sound of the waves. “That’s okay,” she says, “I enjoy your enjoyment. I’m sure they’re beautiful.”
She bites her bottom lip and digs her fingers deeper into the sand, feeling the coolness seep into her skin.
“They are,” Tiffany says and now she sounds breathless. “Wait, give me your hand.”
“Just give me your hand.”
Judy reaches out and feels Tiffany’s fingers wrap around hers. Judy takes in a deep breath.
Then, she feels a sting.
“Shooting stars are just like that,” Tiffany cuts Judy off.
She is pinched again.
“Shooting stars are only there for an instant, like a pinch. And… and it flies across the sky, it’s like when the pain travels up your arm. Then, in just a moment, it’s gone. But it’s not really gone, you still remember it.”
Judy thinks for a moment, then she nods.
“Yeah,” she murmurs. “I think I get it. It’s… Yeah. It’s nice.”
Judy can still feel Tiffany’s hand on hers. Slowly, she turns her hand around and Tiffany does the same. Judy presses her palm against Tiffany’s, and she can feel the way each of her fingers press up against Tiffany’s.
Categories: fiction, short stories
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