Word Count 500
Perfect Harmony: A Sky Full of Stars
By Josh McMullen
Leo and Elodie clambered over the last rock, then stood in front of a lush meadow. A few feet past that, almost as if God had slammed a cosmic cookie cutter there, was a crystal-clear lake. It had been absolutely unspoiled by the horrors of the world, so it seemed like the ninth grade had found the perfect place to camp.
Elodie hadn’t even planned on going; she wasn’t exactly the outdoorsy type. Even so, being trapped in a tent, listening to a bunch of catty girls gossiping about everything and everyone was not her idea of a good time. That all changed when Leo signed up, then she signed up happily. Maybe she could finally tell him what was on her mind; certainly, it would be easier in front of animals than ninth-graders.
They set up their tents (girls in one, boys in the other – there wasn’t a teacher alive that would take any chances when it came to hormonal teenagers) and spent the rest of the day exploring and swimming in the lake. At night, the teachers built a large bonfire and they all spent several hours boisterously singing.
Elodie was just about to go to bed when she heard a faint sound coming from the direction of the lake. She followed it and found Leo playing a harmonica next to the lake. The sky was full of stars making a luminous pointillist painting on the lake, and the fireflies made it look like the stars were settling down all around him. She slowly walked up to him and sat down.
“I didn’t know you played the harmonica,” she said when he finished. “That was really nice.”
“I just started. My dad gave it to me just before I left. Said that’s what people do when they’re out in the woods.”
“Not bad for a beginner,” Elodie said with a smirk and a wink.
“Hey, watch it,” Leo said, trying and failing to sound hurt and giving Elodie a playful shove. “It’s only my first day.” He started playing again, while Elodie looked up at the stars, then back down at him. He played beautifully, and that just drew her to him even more. How many high school freshmen could say they could pick up an instrument and play it like they had been born with it attached to their hands? She listened to him play, silently working up the courage.
Leo must have picked up on it, because the next words out of his mouth were: “Something on your mind?”
Elodie quickly racked her brain. “Leo…” she started, but whatever words she had carefully formed in her brain dissipated on the way to her vocal chords and caught in her throat. Her self-consciousness had gotten the better of her once again. Why couldn’t she just tell him?
She sighed and shook her head. She would tell him eventually, but for now, she was content to just sit with him and look the sky full of stars.