Old Jake wrapped himself in the comfort of his sleeping bag while enjoying a tranquil weekend sleeping beneath the stars. He yawned and scratched the gray stubble that had taken occupancy on his face in the last day and a half. Gazing into the dark sky, he began counting the glowing stars and remembering how his wife Dorothy enjoyed pointing out constellations.
He could almost hear her soft, sultry voice. As if she was right there beside him. “You can make a wish, but only on a shooting star. They’re magical because they don’t happen often.”
Jake felt his lips stretch back into a smile as he pictured his love with her long black hair, petite frame, and infectious smile. When she passed away, so did his liveliness. His life was lackluster with the absence of her love and laughter.
Jake fixed his eyes on the stars, waiting for his shooting star. He had a wish to make. He would ask to be reunited with is love. His eyelids were getting heavier with each blink, but he couldn’t doze off. He had to keep watch for his magical star.
Suddenly, he saw a bright light streaking across the sky. He closed his eyes so tightly they hid within the deep wrinkles that encircled them. “I wish to be with Dorothy,” he mumbled softly.
Jake opened his eyes and felt a warm, small body beside his. He sprang up and gazed upon the lovely woman he longed to see once again. He bent to smell the sweet fragrance of her hair. “Is this a dream?”
She turned to him, smiled, and reached out to hold him. “I knew you’d be joining me under the stars someday.” Dorothy embraced him firmly. He could barely draw a breath.
“Are you really here?” Tears streamed down his face and dripped from his nose.
Dorothy nodded her head. She was so filled with emotion, she couldn’t speak.
“Can we stay here together forever and sleep under the stars every night?” Jake stroked her hair and rubbed his thumb across her lips.
“Yes,” she replied.
They spent every night lying together on their backs, watching the stars, and laughing just like old times. But this time, it was for eternity.
* * * *
“I found Old Jake.” The park ranger reported over his radio. “It appears he went in his sleep. Better get the coroner up here.” As he leaned over Jake to cover his face with a bandana, he wondered if it was his imagination, or did Old Jake go out smiling?