Thursday, November 1, 2007


Starr Ann is so susceptible to fascination. Right now, she's all caught up in reading about the comet that suddenly got a million times brighter on October 24. Recall that Jodie gave Starr Ann a telescope for her birthday just four days earlier? Well, that had Starr Ann all hyped up on astronomy anyway, and when Comet Holmes pulled its dazzling outburst trick, she really threw herself into studying it. Ironic that a telescope isn't much use when it comes to looking at a comet, unless you're doing spectroscopy. But Starr Ann has some pretty fancy binoculars, so she's set.

There she is over there on the couch reading an article from the Net I printed for her. As she reads, Starr Ann's eyes are about as round as that picture of Holmes up there. She has her headphones on, listening to the new Melissa Etheridge CD, The Awakening, and she pauses once in a while to pay extra attention to the music.

Jodie and I are puttering around, trying not to be too obvious about watching Starr Ann's facial expressions. Goddess love her, she's in her own little world. They seem to know her there.

I start blending up a batch of strawberry smoothies as Jodie makes a reconnaissance pass by the CD player to check what Starr Ann is hearing at the moment.

Jodie picks up the jacket notes and brings them to me, saying, "Right now she's on 'Message To Myself.'" Jodie gets real serious. "Margo, do you think she knows how much she's loved. I mean, how completely, by both of us?"

I snicker. "She's not one to doubt that, Jodie."

Jodie says, "I just..."

I look back at Starr Ann. She has lifted her eyes from the comet article and is grinning at our cat, Posse, who is on the other end of the couch doing what cats can do that we can't, but wish we could, and I'm not talking about purring.

I touch Jodie's arm.

Starr Ann redirects her attention to the comet and I add the frozen strawberries to the smoothies.

A few minutes later, Jodie says, "Whatever song she's on now has really transported our Starr Ann."

I glance toward the couch. Starr Ann's face is full of so much tenderness, I can barely stand it. Jodie squints to make out which song is doing that. It's 'I've Loved You Before.' Jodie reads the words and whispers, "Did I hold you in my arms as you were taking your last breath?/Did I shout to all the gods that I would love you beyond death?" All of a sudden, Jodie has to leave the room.

She comes back in just as I'm taking the smoothies from the freezer. Obviously, there have been some tears, because Jodie's eyes are a little pink.

I say, "Been keeping track of the songs. She's listening to 'The Kingdom of Heaven' right now."

Jodie is alarmed, "That's the one that rips her apart." Jodie glances around the room, like she wants to find something, anything, to distract Starr Ann with.

Real quick, I poke a straw down in one of the smoothies and carry it into the living room, come up behind Starr Ann, and set it down next to her. Half-consciously, still enthralled with the song, she reaches out and picks up the smoothie, taking a big pull on the straw.

From the doorway, standing beside Jodie again, I watch as the ice pain hits Starr Ann and spikes up through her head. She rips her headphones off, jumps up off the couch, and about knocks us down getting to the breadbox. For some reason, Starr Ann thinks the best cure for ice pain is filling her mouth up with bread.

Anyway, I lean over and whisper to Jodie, "Got all kinds of techniques for breaking the mood when loving Starr Ann gets too intense."

Jodie says, "I'm going to need you to teach them all to me."

With her mouth crammed full of bread, Starr Ann says, "Anybody heard the weather forecast? I sure hope it's clear enough to see the comet again tonight."