“Hey, you see those two? That’s Saturn and Jupiter,” she said, pointing at the two dots in the sky.
“Oh yeah?” he replied, “Those are planets?”
The air was still and hot. The city hummed in the distance. It was quiet here in the valley. She felt a slight chill, but that was probably excitement. He smelt of French fries and sweat, but not in an unpleasant way.
“Yes. They are close enough so we can see them move. That’s why they’re called planets. That’s Greek for ‘wanderers.'”
“I thought they would be a different color.”
“Uhm… In space everything is shades of grey.”
“How come they show different colors on TV?”
“It’s just for show,” she felt she was blushing. She weighed the pros and cons of continuing about the light spectrum in vacuum and such. Luckily, he broke the silence.
“You don’t normally see stars in the city, do you?”
“You don’t,” she nodded. “But those are planets. They are close enough…”
She felt embarassed again.
Then the bus appeared from around the corner.
“Thanks for waiting with me,” he said. “Buses in LA, huh?”
“Yeah,” she nodded. She started digging in the dirt with the tip of her shoe. The bus came over. He looked at her just as he was getting on.
“I’ll see you at work.”
She waved him goodbye and then walked down a dark alley between the cheap white houses.
What was that? she asked herself. Going on and on about stars. Good thinking! Now he’ll think you’re a nerd. Well, at least he’ll have something witty to say to a girl he likes. Saturn and Jupiter. Everything’s grey in space. He’ll make it sound cute, too.
When she got to the porch, you could no longer see her from space.