Lea’s little sister had spent nine tenths of her life with her head tilted back, sedately keeping a watch on the stars.
When Lea was small, and Vecca was very small, Lea had thought her head was just too heavy to hold up. Vecca would push herself up, sit up straight, try to look ahead, and her too-round, too-big head would roll too-far. She looked at blank ceilings. She looked at the skittering leaves in the trees and empty blue skies. She looked at the star-spattered black. Her eyes were always wide as they would go. She was lost and thunderstruck about it, as only babies could be.
Vecca learned to crawl, learned to stand, learned to totter around and her head stopped being the heaviest bit of her. She lost her wide-eyed look. Oddly earnest, oddly serious, she still looked up at the stars, and from time to time, scrunched her eyebrows together suspiciously. Lea laughed about it.
Both of them grew taller, winter fading in and out with brief, hot summers in between. Vecca was still the first to notice something on the roofline, first to see the birds freewheeling, last inside on cloudless nights. She sat with her elbows propped behind her on the porch and her feet kicked out in front of her. In near silence, she took in the wash of starlight on warm nights, and the frost sparkle spread across the sky in the cold.
Lea would have understood if she had only grinned up at them, admiring the glitter, catching wishes off falling stars, winking back at them. Vecca’s smile was always low, though, just touching her lips, just lighting her eyes. Lea dragged her inside more often than not, rather than leave her lost outside.
It was only a thousand more nights before Lea learned the patience to sit outside as well. Vecca leaned her elbows against the porch step, and Lea sat on the step leaning on her own knees. Vecca got lost, and Lea looked up with her.
“Do you know what’s up there?” Lea asked.
Vecca blinked, surprised, and looked blankly at Lea.
“The constellations?” Lea clarified.
Vecca waited a moment, then she nodded. She pointed upward. “There’s the five brothers. Those five bright ones, with the highest one in the middle and… well, they say that Tiernan is lying down or something. I don’t quite understand where his feet are.”
Lea bit her lip against a laugh.
“And there’s the Fox,” Vecca said, pointing to the right. “And the Water Barrel, and the Huntress. The goat that pulls Adrava’s chariot is… well, you can just see its head over Kellen’s house.” She pulled her eyebrows together, titled her head, and looked suspicious for half a moment.
She was lost again and Lea shook her head at her.
But she was beautifully lost, tracing one familiar constellation and then another, squaring herself against the edges of the world, slowly pointing out to herself exactly where she was.
I’m not a thief! But all my friends are. They stole the first line of this piece for bits of fiction of their own. Be sure to stop by and check out all of their stargazers.