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andrea ([personal profile] banquo) wrote2008-05-30 03:55 am

Stardust in a Jar (2/?)

Title: Stardust in a Jar
Category: Stargirl
Rated: [ PG ] general.
Characters: Varies per chapter.
Disclaimer: I do not own Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.
Summary: [ story collection ] “Star people are rare. You’ll be lucky to meet another.”
Versions: here @ fanfiction.NET
Index: 1 | 2 | 3

stardust in a jar


"No," I said. "I don't think so. And anyway, don't you think his parents are doing that? Family albums and all?"

One of the little girls managed to wrest the banana roadster away from Peter Sinkowitz. Peter started howling.

"I'm sure they are," she said, snapping another picture. "But those pictures and those moments are posed and smiling. They're not as real as this. Someday he's going to love this picture of himself bawling while a little girl rides off in his toy. I don't follow him around like Clarissa. I just keep an eye out for him, and a couple of times a week I jot down what I saw him doing that day. I'll do it for a few more years and then I'll give it to his parents to give to him when he's older and ready to appreciate it."

You hear a mutter of voices from the other side of the door. You recognize them to be that of your parents and the other one... the other one...

Who was the other one?

For the summer you had flown back to Arizona and, after making a call on the pay phone to your girlfriend over in New York, you drove in the car you rented all the way back down to the town of Mica. You had bought yourself a slice of pizza before making your way over back to the old neighborhood where you used to live as a kid. Your parents greeted you as always and you silently think to yourself - hoping that the vacation will pass quickly because you needed to get back to the city soon to do more work at the office.

Today was the third night since you came back.

The door shifts and you quickly hop back on the small bed you owned when you were a kid, hastily picking up your copy of The Odyssey from the floor in a graceful motion. The door opens and your parents find you sitting on your bed, your head snuggled into the pillows with the book propped open in front of you. They look at each other hesitatingly before looking back at you and handing you a thick album.

"Who was that?" you ask them, ignoring the object that they're handing you. "A new neighbor or something?"

"You remember Archie, don't you sweetheart?" your mother says, sitting down at the foot of your bed. "You used to go over to his house on Saturdays, remember?"

"He was here?" you ask, surprised. You sit up quickly. "Why didn't you tell me? I could've said hi or something."

"He was busy today, son," your father says. "You'll have time to visit him tomorrow. Meanwhile he... uh..." He looks over at your mother before continuing. "He... gave us this to give to you."

You take it without even thinking about it. "Oh yeah?" you say. "What is it?"

"Careful, Peter," your mother chides you. "Whoever did that -"

"- Had a lot of time on their hands," your father finishes.

"Harry!" Your mother stands up and punches him lightly on the shoulder before turning to you. "That's not what he meant, Peter... It's just..." She pauses, choosing her words carefully. "It's just that... it was unexpected... You'll see soon enough. Let's go, Harry." The two of them leave and you're left with the album in your hands.

It's past midnight when you finally open the album.

It started with a bad dream. It wasn't the first dream you had. It was the common at-your-office-and-working type of dream where the boss ends up firing you no matter what you do and your girlfriend ditches you because, "You're not good enough for me anymore." Stress had built up in you after leaving Mica as you were swarmed with exams, and then job interviews, and then doing your job quickly and accurately.

You look at the clock beside you and rub your eyes. You turn on the lamp which turns out to be a very bad idea as your eyes are blinded as they're engulfed in the bright light in the room. It takes you awhile to adjust to the bright atmosphere and when you finally do, you turn the knob down slowly to dim it.

The best cure for this nightmare of yours was to always go down and get a glass of water and get something to eat... or whatever. You don't really know what you did, but it never really worked. Either way, no matter what you did, it always seemed to rush back to you - almost like the dream. You'll get fired anyway no matter what you do. No matter what.

You're rubbing your eyes again, trying to get rid of the migraine that seemed to shoot into your brain. That's when you look at the night stand beside you and spot the album.

Oh, you think, what the heck. Don't have anything else better to do.

You reach to the album and open it to a random page.

You see yourself.

And then you're gaping. You're gaping at a picture of you bawling your head off... You couldn't be more than eight - no. No, you were five. Memories rush back to you as you look down at the caption, the letters written precisely in a straight line.

Peter Sinkowitz, age 5, bawling as the banana roadster is taken hostage from him from two girls.

You run the sentence over with your finger and even read it out loud to yourself. "Peter Sinkowitz, age five, bawling as the banana roadster is taken hostage from him from two girls..." You feel as if you were teleported back in time after whispering those words and your fingers move to the picture and you slowly trace the edge with your finger. You can hear the laughter and the scream and then, finally, your cry. You can taste the tears as they slowly drift down to your lips and then... then...

You laugh.

You laugh for all it's worth and you can't even remember how long it has been since you laughed this hard - your head thrown back in delight. And your smile. You can't even begin to recall how long it has been since you could feel the edges of your smile go to the edge of your face and beyond.

And then you immerse yourself in the album, starting from the first page and reaching the middle. The night is filled with your laughter as you remember the names that were lost of your childhood. Amanda... Suzie... The Rodriguez twins. They come all at once and fill your mind with bad times, sad times but, most of all, good times.

After your laughing has died you flip to the end of the book, looking for a name - anything to tell you who made this album for you. Who took a picture of you when you were five.

But you find no name. You find no address, no means of credit.

All you see are two symbols. A stick-figure drawing of a girl with a star hastily drawn at its side. The first word that comes to you is -


You say the name out loud and you wonder if that was the person that did this for you. And then, reaching back into your mind you remember a sandy-haired girl watching from the distance once with a camera and snapping a picture. When you first saw her you thought it was Suzie's cousin.

But now you realize. Now you remember and realize.

"Stargirl," you say. "Right. So that's your name."

And then you stop looking at the photos in the middle of the album and close it. It's already three o'clock in the morning, but you go under the covers and go to sleep once more.

The next morning you go to your parents.

"Is it alright if I stay here for another week?"

They're surprised and gaping, but then they're smiling. They say of course and then you say back to them, "I'm glad she had a lot of time on her hands, y'know?"

Your parents are confused. "What?" they say. "What are you talking about?"

"You know," you say to them, drinking your glass of milk. "The one who made the album. Stargirl."

"Ah," they say. At first they exchange disapproving glances from one another, but then they turn back and smile at you as if agreeing with what you're saying. "Yes, you may be right."

And after summer ends and you return to New York you quit your job and you're finally free. Your girlfriend does end up ditching you after all, but you feel so much more alive and so much more full of life than you had been one summer ago. You keep the album with you by your night stand in your apartment and you smile every time you see it.

When you go to sleep, the dreams that you dream of are only the dreams and memories from a younger you and - even when you're asleep - you can feel the smile that stretches across your face as morning comes and you wake up to start a new day.

Index: 1 | 2 - The Later Life of Peter Sinkowitz | 3

A/N. Peter Sinkowitz... I always wondered what happened to him afterwards. This is kind of a pre-moment with the More Than Stars chapter at the end of the book when Leo sees someone (who he believes to be Peter) with his yellow Beetle... or something. This was a minor practice with the you-persepective again.

Also, Peter is twenty-five years old in this piece. It should be approximate as I gathered it from the information given in the book.

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