The shooting star crossed the sky fast, almost not giving anyone time to properly think about their wishes. It was a silly tradition but people had been doing that for so much time that, it made no sense not to do it. Monica watched it from her bench, comfortably seated there with her son Matt. He was complaining about not having been able to take a picture of the shooting star but Monica didn’t hear him. She was still thinking about her wish; about the only think she really really wanted. But it was one of those impossible dreams, one that had to defy science if it were to become a reality. So she knew there was no way.
When they got home, Matt was still talking about the shooting star, how he had read about it in a book in school and how his teacher had told the class that shooting stars were just space junk, little and medium rocks that get trapped in the atmosphere and burn. Monica was now listening but she didn’t have anything to add. She felt tired and wanted to rest. Her weak had been very difficult and Matt could talk for hours if she didn’t said anything back. So she asked if he wanted some macaroni and cheese and, of course, he said yes. She gave him a big bowl and sat down with him in front of the TV, watching some animated movie. She didn’t eat. He fell asleep after he was done.
Carrying Matt had been easier before, when Luke was alive. But things change and now she had to do all that by herself. Her friends told her to start dating, to look for someone to spend the rest of her life with. The truth was she was still young but the memory of Luke was still so fresh that she would feel as if she was cheating on him or something. That was silly but it’s always a difficult thing to go through. Matt, luckily, had been far stronger. He did cry at first and sometimes he asked things about Luke and heaven and things about his days as a baby. But that was it. Monica was his world now.
Tired, she went to bed right after leaving Matt on his bed. She washed her face, brushed her teeth and put on some old pajamas. She looked at the bed and sighed. It was a king size bed in which she navigated every night, not capable of being still, not capable of keeping her body on her spot. Her body knew Luke wasn’t there anymore but her brain apparently had other ideas as she often saw him besides her before closing her eyes, his kind smile and big nose. She loved that big nose.
The next day was a Saturday. She realized it was late because the sunlight was hitting her right in the face through the window’s blinds. Monica normally woke up early because of Matt but apparently her state from the day before had caused her to oversleep. She was about to convince herself to stay even for more time but then she heard a loud sound, something crashing against the floor, shattering. Matt had probably attempted to get his breakfast by himself and now there was glass or bits of plates all over the kitchen. That’s the just of a mother for you. She begrudgingly got out of bed, put on her slippers and went down to the kitchen.
Not having arrived yet, she started telling Matt to get out of the kitchen so she could clean first and then make him pancakes. But it wasn’t Matt who came out of the kitchen.
For a moment, she felt she couldn’t properly breathe. She had to grab the sofa and try not to fall down. Her heart ached and her eyes were trying to focus on something else and not on the person that was coming closer, grabbing her, helping her not to faint. She was very scared but her body was not responding properly, so she could fight her helper. She was powerless and she was crying too. She couldn’t stop the tears or her heavy breathing. The man laid her down in the sofa and looked at her with his kind smile and his big nose.
Matt finally came out of the kitchen holding a broom. Before he had seen his mother, he told Luke he had cleaned all the man and that now they could keep cooking for mama. Then he looked at her and his voice was lost. Luke told him to come closer and tell Monica to breath slowly. He would start with breakfast so they could properly begin their day. As he disappeared into the kitchen, Monica was able to breath slowly. She grabbed his son’s hands and tried to talk but nothing would come out. He told her that she should breath slowly and that Dad would take care of anything. She then heard him singing, and that confused her even more.
Luke had always sung. He loved to do it and had always had the dream to become a professional artist. But then they had Matt and money was needed so he entered the retail business. He managed a big department store and that was a good job that gave them many possibilities, even money for a guitar and lessons for Luke. As a matter of fact, he was coming back from his first audition when the car he was in with a friend was hit by truck and killed them. She went to the morgue and saw his body and cried and yelled. And now that same man was in her kitchen, apparently cooking her favorite type of eggs.
She pinched herself once and again to check if she was dreaming, Matt looking at her a little scared. She indicated she wanted a hug and Matt complied. As she did so, Monica could still hear the song they had danced to on their day being sung by Luke. Her wish had come true and he was somehow there. She inhaled deeply, caressed her son and stood up, then slowly walked to the kitchen.
He was chopping onions and bell peppers. He had already done that with some tomatoes and had a big bowl of eggs he had already whisked. She saw him from the doorway but Matt entered and opened the refrigerator. He pulled out a carton of milk and the big bottle of juice. It was a bit heavy for him so Luke helped him and he then saw his wife standing there. He asked her if she was okay. She just nodded, controlling her body in order not to faint. She was amazed at how good she was at trying to keep everything in check.
Luke approached her and told her she had to add all the spices to the eggs. He stood up behind her and passed Monica some pepper, salt, paprika and some hot sauce. She poured the sauce slowly and he grabbed her hand and her body shook uncontrollably. She excused herself and his response was to hug her from behind and just say: “I’ve missed you so much”.
Monica turned around right then, her eyes very open. She was touching his face, which felt real, and kissed him. He felt real then too. She then remembered the first time they had kiss, one day after class in college. He had bought her some pizza and she had bought the drinks. They had been talking about some new movie and how amazing it all was, the visual effects and the story and so on. And then, a shooting star crossed the sky. They smiled and then they just looked at each other and kissed. Simple as that.
Matt made her comeback to the present, or whatever that was. She was holding Luke very tight and realized it was an opportunity and that she would have to be very stupid not to take it. She went along with it, cooking breakfast and laughing at the table, helping Matt do the dishes afterwards and planning a great day for the three of them. They went to a park to which they hadn’t gone for a while and gave Matt a kite to run around with and took pictures of Luke teaching him how to do it. Monica also tried it but she wasn’t very good.
After that, they decided to have a small picnic and Matt fell asleep for a few minutes, full and tired. During that time, the couple just held hands in silence and looked up at the sky, very blue and without any clouds. She felt she had so many questions and so many things to say. But she didn’t want to break the spell of the moment. So she didn’t say a word and just held him hard. He gently squeezed her hand and they played that game until Matt woke up and they decided to play a short game of football. They were both good kicking it and blocking the goal post. They played for hours, the here of them, until the stars began to appear in the sky and the cold settled around them.
Again, they saw a shooting star. And then Monica turned to Luke and saw he wasn’t there. She smiled and sat on the grass. And Matt, he had vanished too.