All rights reserved.
Copyright: Eleanor Lloyd-Jones and Katie Fox 2016
Unedited and subject to change
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I lean back on my elbows and stare up at the sky. “You’re welcome.”
It’s clear tonight, not a single cloud obstructing the beautiful canvas of brightly lit stars, and I realize I’m not done sharing my pointless knowledge with her just yet. “Did you know that stars don’t actually twinkle?”
She sits cross-legged, her head hanging down and her finger drawing patterns in the patch of soil in front of her. Turning to look at me again, she eyes me suspiciously. “Are you just making this shit up for something to say?”
I am gifted a lopsided smile before she lifts her head so that she is looking at the sky too. “Go on then. Enlighten me.”
I drop back completely, lying on the ground and stretching my legs out in front of me, linking my fingers behind my head. “Yeah, so stars just appear to twinkle. The twinkle that we see isn’t a property of the star whatsoever, it’s actually caused by the earth’s turbulent atmosphere.”
Charlie stares at me, looking genuinely interested in the words spewing from my lips.
“As light from a star passes through the atmosphere, especially when the star appears near the horizon, it must pass through several layers of rapidly differing density, which in turn deflects the light.”
I look over at her again, but this time, her brows narrow, confusion painting itself across her pretty face. I attempt to explain it differently, not wanting to lose her in scientific jargon.
“Think of it as a ball in a pinball machine. The light eventually gets to your eyes, but every deflection causes it to change in color and intensity. The result is what we commonly refer to as ‘twinkling’.”
Charlie mimics my position, lying back on the blanket beside me, her hands folding loosely over her stomach, and she turns her head in my direction. Her eyes dance across my face, and her voice drops, curiosity seeping into her tone. “So what happens above the earth’s atmosphere?”
“Nothing.” I give a gentle shake of my head, pretending not to notice the way her eyes have stopped moving, her gaze now lingering on my mouth. “Stars don’t twinkle. Not from up there anyway.”
She looks back up at the inky blackness. “Then I think I’d prefer to stay down here where at least there is an illusion of twinkling.” She lifts her arms up and reaches toward the sky, stretching them. “You really are full of random crap, aren’t you?”
“Yeah.” My lips pull tight, and even though I have no desire to think of Bethany, especially with Charlie lying beside me, my thoughts lead right to her.