Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Wishing On A Star

I moved into the spare room at Flatmate's house on Saturday afternoon. I leave for France on Friday morning.

Sunday evening, as night fell, we went for a walk in the park. On the way we found three small glittery stars on the pavement. Back in the day, they would have found their way onto my door. As it is, Flatmate suggested we throw them into the lake and make a wish.

Huddled under an umbrella, we meandered down to the water's edge next to the boatsheds. A fearsome array of swans and geese came to meet us. They looked hungry.

"Um..." Flatmate said.

"Shall we go up to the bridge and throw the stars in there?" I said.

"Grand idea," Flatmate agreed.

On the bridge, I dug into my pocket and handed Flatmate a star. We looked down into the water. A flotilla of interested ducks gazed back at us.

"Let's do it from the other side," I suggested, "There are less ducks there. I would hate for a duck to eat my wish."

We stepped over to the other railing. Flatmate looked at me hard, gave me a kiss, then turned and let the star float down into the water. I tried to release mine but it was stuck to my finger.

"Shit!" I said, quite possibly spoiling the moment.

"Mine's sunk!" said Flatmate.

We watched his star disappear into the murky depths.

"Oh," he said.

"Here goes mine," I said, and made my wish (no I'm not saying what it was, cos then it won't come true will it??)

We watched it flutter down, land gracefully on the water, and be gently ushered downstream by the current.

"Pooh-stars! Come on!" said Flatmate, rushing over to the other side of the bridge. "There it is!"

"That's a leaf you mong."

"Oh yeah." We waited. "There it is! There it is!"

We held hands and watched with stupid grins as the star floated below our feet. I felt like I could stand here in the rain with Flatmate forever and never get tired of it. He put his arm around me and I nestled into his shoulder.

His grip tightened. A duck was approaching my star.

I gasped. "No no you idiot!" I cried, "That's a small piece of glittery plastic, not bread! Don't eat it! You might die! It's my wish! Leave my wish alone!"

It circled, eyeing its prize.

"Noooooooooo! Don't eat my wish!"

And gulp, it was gone.

There was a stunned silence as we contemplated this.

"Your wish can fly now! You're not shackled to the earth any more! It's in the air and on the water and under the water and everywhere! It is IN the duck. It has wings." said Flatmate after a pause. It is his unbridled optimism that I love most. I laughed.

"Very appropriate," I said, "If it doesn't kill it. And yours, yours is grounded, you have a safe, firm base. In the mud."

"That's appropriate too." We smiled at each other.

"You will have to come down here next week and examine all the duck shit to see if you can find it," I said. "Then duck shit will always remind you of me."

"It already does," he grinned.

I wish I could stay.