Last night, Spousal Unit and I made a couple of stops after work. We meandered home later than usual, full of lively conversation, as we often are after work. After nearly four months of car pooling, we still have things to talk about on the drive. After eight years together, we still have stories to regale one another.
I drove into the parking lot and pulled into a spot, frigid with ice and twilight. I swirled away my skirt and long coat as I rose, slipping keys into purse and chill breath into lungs. But the sound of the car door closing? I don't remember that.
I don't remember it because as the door closed, I looked up, toward the south. The light extended this evening, the first clear promise of eventual spring, and a sliver of moon shone in the sky during our drive. I could forever say this was the reason I looked up, but the truth is, looking up is what I've always done. My dreaming mind is in the stars, and in seeing them, I see all I am and all I want to be, reflected.
Last night, I looked up, as I often do, and in the darkened sky there appeared a flash of white. At first, it was a brief pinstripe, but it expanded into a wide burst of orange, an ignited flame stretching across miles of sky. It was eternal, it was breathtaking, it was the most gorgeous meteor I've ever seen. And it didn't even last a full second.
The memory, even now, takes my breath away. How could I chance upon such brilliance? Imagine the timing in place so I could see that streak burn into the black. Imagine the exact turn of my head, to see such a shooting star from beginning to end.
Imagine that object's size, to have been so bright and lasted so comparatively long. It was like nothing I've ever seen; it may have been like nothing I'll see again.
Sometimes, it's the seemingly smallest things - burning out their brilliant existence in milliseconds - that make me feel luckiest of all.