I had always liked going to Greg’s house. Not so much because I liked Greg, but I liked his house. It was situated in the small, country town of Biggs, Calif. With a population of less than 2,000 people and about twenty-five miles outside the nearest large city, I doubt even most Northern Californians know about Biggs. And Greg’s house was as secluded as the town itself, surrounded by rice farmland and irrigation ditches. It sat more than a block and a half away from either neighbor and was about a three-minute drive from the main road. It was quiet, and no one was around at night.
I was there a lot. My boyfriend lived with Greg for a period of time, and I enjoyed leaving my college city to hang out with the Butte County locals. I was the only girl in a pack of about eight guys that frequented this place and loved the relaxed atmosphere. We would listen to music, play video games, drink cheap beer and laugh at crude jokes. I stayed the night often because Biggs could be pretty interesting at night given the right people and ingredients.
This was one of those interesting nights.
After a night of heavy drinking, I woke up the next morning to find pizza boxes, beer cans and napkin wads all over the kitchen and living room. Greg was already playing Madden.
“Good morning. Where is everyone?”
“Casa Lupe burritos. They’ll be back soon though.”
“Cool,” I said while looking around at the mess and loathing the sunlight coming in from the kitchen.
I knew what an afternoon after a night of drinking entailed: a day full of one video game followed by a night of another. I was too exhausted to be one of the guys that day, and I really wasn’t up to hearing the stories about what they did at Simone’s house after my boyfriend and I had went to bed. I decided to spend the day in my boyfriend’s bedroom watching videos on You Tube while he was gone helping his Dad.
When night finally arrived, I felt the need to leave the bedroom and go outside for some fresh air. Walking out of the room, I was not surprised to find eight boys, all over the age of twenty-one, most in the same clothes as the night before, in front of the TV. Two were playing Halo and six were watching.
“Look who finally came outside to play,” my boyfriend said as he smiled at me.
I smiled back thanking him for his acknowledgement.
My boyfriend was one of the six. He had the ability to stay entertained while watching a video game. I did not. I decided not to bother him with coming outside with me. He was entertained. I looked at the other boys. All eyes were focused on the TV.
“Jake, want to smoke one?” I asked my boyfriend’s friend. His expression said he was bored with watching the video game.
He got up and followed me outside to the porch.
“Let’s go up to the roof,” I said.
I loved going up to the roof, and so did Jake.
We climbed the ladder on the porch that led to the roof with cigarettes and lighters in hand. It was 11:30 and completely dark outside with the only light coming from the moon and a lone lantern that sat on porch. And despite the moon’s orb like appearance and illuminating white glow, we could still see every star that dotted the sky. I inhaled the crisp air the wind had brought in as I sat down.
That night, we passed the time smoking cigarettes and looking up at the stars. We talked about the Mayans and Egyptians and their pyramids, sailors and aliens and their travels, life and death, and who or what was God.
“Imagine when this was all you could do at night,” he said as he looked up at the sky.
“I know. It makes me feel so small and not in that 5’2 sense.”
“I mean, we are sitting here looking up at the same stars that people have looked at for centuries. It’s crazy to think that we are only two of the billions of people over the years that have used the stars as entertainment. And we’re asking the same questions about life, love and the universe that they probably did.”
He nodded in agreement.
“I don’t feel special,” I continued. “The world has been around for so long. We are just here in our moment of time and space, surveying the landscape and living our lives. The world is always changing, but the sky stays exactly the same. It makes me feel small, unimportant in the whole scheme of things.”
“I know what you mean,” Jake said. “It’s crazy. I love thinking about things like that. It makes problems in our lives that may seem big now, seem a lot smaller. You know?”
“It definitely puts things into perspective.”
He passed me another cigarette. I took deep breath and looked up at the moon. We continued to sit there counting how many shooting stars passed over us. Time wasn’t relevant anymore.
That night on Greg’s roof, I didn’t feel like the girl hanging out with one of the boys. We were two people having a genuine conversation. I couldn’t see Jake as my boyfriend’s friend anymore. He was my friend now, too. And I still felt small, but I did feel a little more important in the world, at least to one person.
“So more You Tube videos? Battle at Kruger is epic,” Jake said.
We grabbed our boxes of cigarettes and the lighters and headed to the ladder.
“So same thing next week? New topic?” he asked.
“Sure. Smokes and stars is something I could do every night, especially if I had Greg’s roof to sit on. It may be as epic as Battle at Kruger.”
Originally written December 31, 2008 for a creative writing portfolio.