July 05, 2012
"Let's go see the end of the world." You said with a smirk. I took your hand, laughing and followed happily, eager to watch the sky fall.
The park was full, but you found a spot on the hill where we could see everything. The green grounds had become a riot of brightly colored people and dark lenses. Children and adults alike were whispering and laughing excitedly. And you sat quietly, barely speaking, but I could feel the quivering excitement that you were trying to hide.
Then it began. Only a few noticed at first but gradually the sea of color shifted into a mimicry of a solar panel and hundreds of black lenses were lifted skyward. You gripped my hand and pointed, as giddy as any child in the crowd. I smiled, but watched silently as the small dark disc crept across the face of the other.
"It looks like pac-man." I whisper, and you chuckle and nudge me with your shoulder. It is darker now, and a cool breeze is brushing against our faces. I am reminded of all the many times in the past when people feared that the eclipse meant the end of the world. The moment arrives when the sky goes dark and we can feel the crowd holding its breath around us. Your hand tightens almost imperceptibly on mine.
Then a bright ray breaks through and dances on the edge of the moon. A low whoosh ripples through the air as the unspoken fear releases the people from its grip. Soon they begin to scatter, wandering off in small groups. Somehow no one seems to be alone today. The thought makes me smile.
We stay in our spot on the hill for a long time, until the sun has sunk in the west and the bright moon hangs over us to light our way. We leave as we came, hand in hand. But this time you stand a little closer, grip slightly tighter, and glance at me oftener. I don't say anything. I just smile, and enjoy the night.
Written for a friend who couldn't go to see the eclipse, and asked me for a story in its place.