Paper cups and the Milky Way.

He stood silently behind me watching as I tried to scoop the entire Milky Way into my frail paper cup.
He cleared his throat quietly as not to startle me, stepping into the wavering moonlight until he stood within my view.

“Forgive me, he spoke, But it seems that your in need of a much bigger cup? May I assist you?”

“My little cup is working just fine, thank you.” I snarled sharply at him not wanting any help.

“Well then since you seem to have it handled, I’m just going to sit back here underneath this tree any enjoy tonight’s beautiful scenery. But if you happen to change your mind, cause you’re a woman and I’ve been told that they tend to do that time to time, I’ll be right here waiting.”

I said nothing to this stranger that came from nights nowhere, and went back to scooping up the entire Milky Way in my frail cup. I stood up on my very tipsy toes trying to reach a bit higher, and that didn’t work so much. So, I kicked off my flip flops and scurried myself up the nearest tree. I climbed up as high as that tree would let me and then realized that I had left my paper cup resting near the trunk. So down I came to retrieve my cup as the branches caught my shirt and I found myself a little hung up.

Now mind you that the stranger from darkness nowhere was still there, somewhere. I was pretty sure that he was watching me from the corner of his eyes. Not that I actually saw him looking at me, but it was just one of those feeling you tend to get time to time.

I tugged and I pulled at my shirt trying to set myself free, but damn if I was not hopelessly caught up in that tree. The only thing left to do was to slip out of my shirt so I could be free. Off went the shirt as I made my way back down to the trunk and retrieved my little cup. A little scraped up but more naked and bare than what I had planned for.

“ Need some help?” I hear strangers voice placidly say to me out from underneath his tree.

“Nope! Doing just fine over here!” I firmly say. I wipe away at the blood dripping from my knee, just a small flesh wound I tell myself not wanting stranger to notice that I was in any sort of pain. I grab my little cup and again pull myself up as high as I can manage into the top of the tree. I wedge my bare feet up against the nearest branches and focus on my center of balance. My initial plan was to just shimmy up this tree as far a s I could go, stick my little frail cup into the clouds and capture the Milky Way in one giant sweep. Well, now that I’m up here in the tree I’m beginning to think that plan just ain’t gonna work out so well for me. Funny how it sounded so much better to me while I had both my feet on the ground.

‘So now what?’ I ask myself, knowing that somewhere out there resting on the ground is stranger from out of darkness’s nowhere watching me, most likely laughing his ass off at me. Now what am I going to do knowing that my plan failed me miserably. First thing first, I tell myself, rubbing at my bleeding bloody knee, I have to get out of this tree. I make it half way down the trunk of the tree while trying to best ignore the tears of frustration that want to fall from me. Well, now my nose is starting to run, because that always seems to happen when tears come. I need to snuffle my nose but silently so stranger below doesn’t hear or catch on to my, “I’m ever so frustrated, and not to mention, embarrassed tears. “

“You doing o.k. up there?” Stranger from darkness’s nowhere calls out to me.

I whimper a light, “No, not really, not so much,” to myself under my hushed and ever sobbing breath. As I manage to muster up a weak, “I’m fine,” to reply back to him.

I finally feel the ground with the tip of my toe from the leg that’s not gushing with blood and sigh a little relief as my other foot hit’s the ground. I’m not even concerned about my lack of shirt as I stand there gathering my whit’s about me. I don’t even notice how bad my bleeding bloody knee hurts me due to my sense of pride now kicking in to overdrive hurting me even deeper from inside. I decide to rest for a minute underneath this tree that caused me to bleed profoundly and devise another plan. I pick up a stick and draw circles into the dirt, wanting stranger from dankness’ nowhere to think that I’m working out an even better plan.

‘Mind if I sit next to you for just a few?” Stranger asks me softly. I say nothing to him, looking away from him like something else had suddenly caught my eyes. We sit there in silence for what seems to be longer than a few seconds. Stranger shifting his weight trying to get comfortable and me covering up the gapping flesh wound on my knee.

“You know, you’re a pretty amazing woman, most likely the most amazing woman I have ever had fortune to run across.”

“How so? “ I ask wiping away at my running nose and watery eyes. “ How so?” I sniffle.

Stranger now turns his body towards mine as I catch the way his lips curl up with a tender warm smile from the corner of my eyes. Not that I was looking or really even wanting to hold a conversation with this stranger right now.

“You came here tonight carrying nothing more than a little paper cup and a dream in your hands. Now most people I know would have done a little math and saw that the probability of scooping up the entire Milky Way in a paper cup was not plausible. Still that didn’t seem to stop you. Your little cup, I’m guessing it was the best that you had, you made do with what you had. I watched you from over there as I sat under the tree, I watched as you shimmied yourself up to the top of this tree, not once but twice.”

At this point a deep exhausted sigh escaped from me as I flick around the tip of my stick into the ground, not even trying to draw lopsided circles any more.

“I saw that you only wanted to reach higher and nothing was going to hinder your dream. Even though you found yourself in a small predicament while being trapped by the branches, you found another resolution to your problem. You didn’t even bat an eye as I watched you slip out of your shirt, freeing yourself. You were smart in your decision of letting go things that could you back or down, depending on your point of view. “

Ok, he made me giggle a little bit after saying this, my most favorite one liner, “Depending on your point of view.” Or maybe he was just beginning to warm me with his words and lightened my mood. But again it was depending on the point of view. Still my pride was throbbing bringing me back down. I kept thinking that I failed. That I failed to achieve the capturing of a dream that seemed to big for me.

Stranger from darkness’s nowhere again spoke, breaking my train of thought that I was holding. “ So I’m wondering when you are going to get up the nerve to ask me what I’m doing out here tonight myself. “

I had found myself wondering a bit as to why he was out here tonight under this wavering moon light. I cleared my throat, just a bit and turned my eyes towards him as I proceeded to ask him in a sheepish voice, “Why are you out here tonight?” Feeling now much like a giant ass for ignoring him all this time only to find out that maybe he was an alright type of guy, and not some freakish creep watching girls with paper cups climb up tree trunks in the middle of night.

I watch as he looks down for the first time at my lopsided circles that I had drawn into the dirt. He takes my stick from my hands and begins to create his own lopsided circles in the dirt next to mine. ‘You really want to know?’ he says lifting his eyes back up to mine. “Yes.” I say with much more curiosity in the tenor of my voice.

He smiles warmly at me, flicking at the dirt no different than I had. “ You and I seem to carry the same dream. I’ve been trying to attain this same beautiful dream now for many years, much like you tonight. My problem was that I could never find anyone that shared in such a big dream. I could never find anyone willing enough to share in the work or who held enough passion in capturing the Milky way with me. Some said that they would, but once I brought them out here with me and they saw the size of that tree , they either sat in the truck just watching me or they simply could never fully invest in capturing such a wonderful dream with me.”

I listened to his words, feeling all this disappointments that they came with. My heart broke right there along side of him. This wasn’t my first time out here under the cover of darkness trying to reach out for the bigger dream, I had been here countless times myself. I wasn’t going to share these details with him, I was going to keep them to myself. Still I thought, this stranger is opening up himself to you, he is being most sincere in his words. So I let the words flow from my own heart that had been just as many times broke as his.

We talked, we learned about each other until I no longer considered him a stranger and he no longer saw me as a girl with a now crusted over once bleeding bloody knee. We talked the rest of the night away sometimes crying while laughing more in between . Some how on this night of chasing down dreams we came to be.

Just before the morning sun broke away the darkness of the night that we both tried to conceal our hearts by, we shared a not only our hearts with each other tonight, but also an unspoken kiss. A kiss that began a new day. “ I tell you what, I think I have a rib beginning to poke through and show. How do you feel about pancakes and a cup of trucker coffee? My treat!” He smiled at me. I smiled back at him just the same, I have always appreciated a strong cup of trucker coffee.”

“Just one more thing, he said, that I need to know? You don’t have to answer right now, if you don’t want to. But I hope you will consider and answer over coffee and pancakes.” At this point the looked at his shoes and kicked a small stone that was laying on the ground . A brief moment of silence fell before he cleared his own throat and looked back at me. At which point I myself stood looking at my own shoes. “How would you feel about coming back out here with me tonight and trying to capture the Milky Way together?”

I know that I blushed because I could feel the warmth coming from my cheeks. “ I thought you would never ask.” “ Just one thing,’ I say to him watching his face light up. “Ok, maybe more than just one thing, , You need to know I’m not one for sitting in trucks first of all. Second of all we’re gonna need a big ladder and a box of band aids just incase.”

Again he looks to me and brims with a huge smile resting on his face, “I can’t tell you how long I have waited to hear those words spoken to me.” I grin at him and reply. “ I can’t tell you how long I have been waiting to hear much the same, been a long time since I’ve had pancakes and trucker coffee.”
He laughs at me shaking his head, “Your adorable you know? “ Again I blush a little bit more, just how this entire knowing your gonna wake in the morning falling in madly in love with someone as you devise another plan of capturing the entire Milky Way up inside your hands.

Paper cups and the Milky Way.


Jefferson County, United States

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  • Rene Fuller
  • Rene Fuller
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