Satellites

When I was small, I liked to go out into yard and lie in the grass at night, looking into the crisp night sky and watching the stars. There were no cities where I lived – not as much as a street light. I was miles upon miles away from the nearest thing you’d call a city, far away from the noise and the light pollution.

I dreamed of being a city kid, but on nights like this, the wilderness of rural Alabama suited me. The stars seemed endless, as if I were gazing up at a massive beast with a million eyes, all delicately winking at me.

This thought, which first entered my mind while still young did not disturb me as much as the satellites. I call them satellites, because that’s what they first appeared to be. After several minutes of watching, some of the paler, smaller stars would start to move. I’d follow them along as they traveled, moving at an easily visible and easily traceable speed, until they moved from my view. They moved in straight lines. When I asked my stepdad, he said ‘they must be satellites’.

Unless they aren’t.

That part was strange to me, and I kept it in mind. Always I watched for them, and was satisfied with his answer. Until one day, when I saw one’s path begin to curl. It moved in a wayward pattern, wheeling about the sky at a steady pace, performing sharp turns and elegant spirals.

That was certainly no satellite.

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