Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Astronomy, part 1

“Don’t you have a table to set?” Jack asked.
“It is. Dinner is in about five minutes, so Mom says wash up. Both of you.” Charlotte turned and went down the stairs, still smirking.

“You can let go now,” Beth said.
Jack just about leapt off his bed. Beth knelt and re-fastened the tacks at the lower corners of the poster. Then she leaned back, craning her neck to stare at the oval diagram of stars and constellations.
“So… what is it that I’m looking for?” Jack asked. It was more or less the same as last spring’s star map.
“There,” Beth said, pointing to one of the charts in the corner. Moonrise and moonset timetables.
“Tonight isn’t listed on there,” Jack said.
“Not tonight. There!” She pointed again, sitting up and tapping a line further from the top of the chart.
“April 4th. A full moon. The next one. I don’t—”
“Oh, Jack,” Beth sighed, like she did when he made glaring errors on his math homework.
“I told you I haven’t read this issue yet. That includes looking at the map. And now the page of photos from those Incan ruins is all wrinkled.”
Beth flipped the magazine closed. Jack glared at her, and she glared right back, tapping the poster again.
Jack sighed. Moonrise at 6:45 Eastern, which meant about an hour later where they lived.
“A full moon the night of the dance. That’s… a good thing, isn’t it? Do you suppose they planned it that way?”
Beth opened her mouth to say something, the stairway suddenly brightened with a wash of pale white light.
“Jack! Beth, it’s time for dinner!”
Beth scooted off Jack’s bed, taking his hand. She gave it a squeeze as she tugged him towards the door.  “Come on. It doesn’t do any good worrying about it anyway.”
“Worry about what?” Jack asked. Was he supposed to be? He shook his head. And decided that he’d give up thinking he knew the first thing about girls in general, and Beth in particular.

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