“Thirty Seconds of Stars” by Brionna Tapia

Posted: January 2, 2013 in Vol. 2: Fall Essays 2012

starsThe midday sun licks my neck leaving a trail of sweat in its absence. Savoring my last few moments of rest, I take a swig of water into my dry mouth which I enjoy in utter bliss. Teddy gestures to move on with the hike and I reluctantly follow, still wanting to hold on to a few more seconds of rest. Persistently hopping up the stair-like trail, I take one last glance at the first rest stop of the hike, Bad Luck Rock. My peep at the rock has caused me to lose sight of my boyfriend and I lunge forward up the natural root steps.

“Bunbun, you’re so slow!” Teddy hollered from a distance.

My pet-name wasn’t going to grant me any speed sadly, but I was beginning to catch up. Progressing through the trail, the brush began to get thicker and spots of sunlight danced across the floor with each passing waft of breeze. The contrast of sunlight and dark soil make it seem like I am walking on stars. On gaining a visual of the next rest stop, I am able to spot Teddy lounging on a large boulder.

“How about we stay up here and view the stars tonight?” My words kick Teddy off the rock and a disgruntled face replies to my question. “It will be so romantic.” I say, attempting to make the thought more enticing.

“No, we didn’t come prepared,” he replies. “I know this is an easy hike but coming down a mountain at night is still dangerous. Besides look at those clouds on the mountain, it might rain” I sensed a slight weakness in his voice and had already decided that I wasn’t coming down this mountain if the sun was still in the sky.

“Don’t be such a worry wart! The newscaster said that it would be dry and that tonight was a full moon so we will be able to see just fine at night.” Knowing how stubborn I can be, Teddy reluctantly approved and we continued our hike. The day progressed and just as the sun was swallowed by the ocean, a tear from the moon landed on my hand. The rain had come. Teddy and I exchanged flustered looks and without words we quickly rounded up our stuff. Like a falling boulder we sporadically bounced back and forth off ledges and rocks down the mountain. Soon the ground was saturated with water and the stiff dirt was now a soupy mud. We continued to slip, our clothes ruined, but neither of us cared, we knew getting off this mountain was more important.

After practically floating down a third of the hike, our feet barely ever touching the ground, exhaustion set in. I noticed a clearing where the trail plateaued and if I didn’t rest I knew I would breakdown.

“Teddy, we have to take a break or you are gonna have a fun time carrying me down this mountain.” The words irregularly fell out of my mouth between gasps. I collapsed into a mud bath, the wet soil alleviating the heat from my body. Off the edge of the plateau I gazed at the yellow dots which littered the valley floor. The street lights were turned on and night had become a veil draped over the land. Between wheezing and praying for the rain to stop, a clearing in the sky was made and above me I saw the faint glimmer of 6 stars. Teddy and I gawked at the stars for a blissful 30 seconds when they were again shrouded by clouds. Teddy sighed heavily and I could tell that it was filled with mixed emotions; happy but also laced with a sense of melancholy. I sighed too.

In the midst of my mud spa treatment I was sprung to life by the sound of hunting dogs. Eyes wide with fear I gaped at Teddy trying to find some sort of direction as to what to do. All his eyes could do was reply “Run!” Without words we bounced into action, allowing adrenaline to consume our bodies like a virus. The deafening howls of the pack of dogs fueled our escape down the mountain. Everything became a blur of black and grey, my poor eye sight couldn’t aid any detail.

The droplets of rain had begun to change from bullets smacking against my face to a delicate mist when we had finally reached the car. The two of us were uncomfortably sodden and embraced the shelter we found in the car swiftly. Amongst the frantic hike down, it didn’t occur to me to smell the air which was now disturbingly apparent. Due to the recent fire which had swept over majority of Wai’anae Valley, the earth had become barren and black. The rain mixed with the burnt wood left and the air with an acute musty smell that harassed our noses.

The engine now providing us with warm air and the wheels beginning to creep down the mountain, I turned to take a good look at Teddy. The horrible smell that filled the air wasn’t as bad as the displeasure that I now had come to see. In an attempt to lighten the mood I flicked on the car light and took a snap shot of Teddy. I quickly flipped the camera around to show him the photo. The background was elusive, we were unable see to the coal outline of trees or the twinkle of the now present stars. The photo showed how Teddy had turned to angrily glance at what I was doing. Although he was mad at me for taking the photo, all I could do was say, “It was worth 30 seconds of stars.”

Written for Cara Chang’s ENG 100: Composition I


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