The Milky Way

I went down to the dock at Copeyon Park last night, before I went home. A few minutes after four in the morning has to be the quietest time of day in this confusing, uptight town. It’s refreshing — walking down the dock — after having been in the heat of the shop for the last five hours. The gentle breeze is cool on my sweaty skin. The dock is shaped like a “T” with benches and platforms on the railing for fishing. Nearing the end I watch faint ripples glimmering in the reflection of street lights. It is quiet. Occasionally I can here the bubbles and burps of water as life around me goes about its business. The ducks that swam slowly away from the dock as I walked down are now coming back in — a little closer at a time. They are whispering to each other, perhaps wondering among themselves if I am something to be feared. Slight, barely audible quacks are the only sound interrupting the silence of this night.

Out on the lake the lights of the other shore reflect in the perfect, still waters. The mirrored image disrupted — however slightly — by insects taking to flight, or a meandering fish breaking the surface in its search for food in the night. Blinking red and green lights catch my attention skyward. I sat on one of the benches and watched it. I wondered, as many people do, where are all those people going? I realize the time and wonder if they might be alone, as this time of day is normally spent sleeping at home with loved ones. I think for a second about why I wonder where people on a plane are going, when I don’t think the same thing about people on a bus. Why is it different? Perhaps it is more exotic to think of places one might go on a plane vs. where one might be able to go on a bus. After all, you can fly a plane anywhere — but while traveling by bus — sooner or later you will have to be on a boat. Life is spent more on the journey than at the destination. It’s nice to know where you want to go — but it’s the journey that makes it worth getting there. I’ll take the bus.

The lights of the plane fade off in the distance and I become aware of how bright the millions of stars are tonight. I scooch my butt to the edge of the bench, lean back and watch the night sky. The moon isn’t around to cloud any stars and looking closely I can see the bands of our galaxy. I sense the reason for the name in the bands that streak across the sky. They are white, not because of the color, but because the bands look like they contain billions of tiny stars — smaller than the ones normally seen — giving the bands a milky, white color with the consistency of light, gray smoke. I watch and wonder about you. I thought about you sleeping without your snuggle bunny tonight. I was sad. I wondered what you look like when you sleep. I thought about you laying there dreaming. I even concentrated a little on putting myself into your dream — just for a bit — holding you in my arms. I wondered what you felt inside. I tried looking across the lake and into the sky through your eyes — to see if I could see what you might see.

I often think of you sitting next to me on this dock. I go here every night during my lunch at work. I feel you next to me, holding my hand watching the stars. Last night I sat there in the stillness and thought about you. I thought about us. At times I was overwhelmed with fear — and at the same time — a complete happiness. It is strange how I feel inside now. I miss you more now than ever before, perhaps because you opened up a little more. To think of you — thinking of me — is breathtaking. I can’t begin to describe the things that run through my mind. Much of what I think about is hard to say because I don’t want you to know what I think about us right now — in the ways that I have. Maybe I’m allowed to dream — but some dreams I am scared or nervous that I am supposed to keep them to myself. I don’t know how it all works. I just know I am crazy about you.

The ducks move away from the dock nervously as I walk back up to the truck. At the top of the ramp I turned around and looked over the lake and into the sky. I am at peace with thoughts of you. I think of seeing you again and my heart begins to thump really hard. My breathing becomes shallow and labored and this feeling of anxiety rushes through my body. I have never felt this way before.

I am thinking of you smiling right now —- yet sad as you realize this letter is almost done. E-mails, letters, phone calls, and visits with you will always end at one time or another — but the thoughts of you I carry in my heart never will.

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