I remember driving to Oklahoma with the Oosterwijks to camp for a long weekend. It was October, not really the time anymore. The mornings in Dallas were hard-edged with frost. Layered in my standard grunge flannels, for once the uniform would be functional. Dad got a dusty sleeping bag from the garage. I took my Walkman with my stash of favorite cassettes: Cure, Pearl Jam, and U2. The Oosterwijks were Dutch and considered quite scandalous, disseminating Harlequin books to the neighborhood girls. However, they were Catholic, and this was a Catholic-Jewish neighborhood, united against the Baptists.

We drove out to Indian country and pitched our tent in the woods. We roasted apples and bananas in the fire. I hear a lot of waxing poetic about skies choked with stars–but I tell you, when you are a child of light-polluted megacities, the first time you behold that explosion of diamond lights against the velvet coal, you will freeze in place. It was the most frightening thing, all those stars. They vibrated, they were hot and cold, they were hurtling at me from the past, their light would suck out my eyes. And it was quiet, so damn quiet. The horrible stars, like beautiful demons. I’m thirteen, I don’t get scared. But I want to cry, all this darkness, this eerie quiet, the stars blazing in expectation. What the hell do they want from me?!

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