Alex gazed upwards at the sky silently, his jacket tucked under his neck and head as a sort of pillow. His hands rested lightly on his stomach, and he fidgeted with a crackling brown leaf that he had discovered next to him. Next to him on the roof, he felt his younger brother Conner jerk in place in excitement.
“Alex, Alex oh man!” Connor asked excitedly. He pointed frantically at the sky, where the star had fizzled out with a grin Alex couldn’t see, but knew instinctively was there. “There was a shooting star just now, just like you said there would be! This is the best birthday present ever! You should make a wish!”
“No, not yet,” he answered with a smile. “It’s your birthday, so you can wish first. Tell me when you see another one though?”
Connor hummed as he thought, his arm absentmindedly falling back down to his side. “Okay then! Hmmm, I wish that if I work hard, someday I’ll get a job at NASA and see a star or two up close!”
“Only if you work hard?” Alex asked with a laugh.
“Well, yeah, of course! Can’t let the shooting star get all the credit for my successes, duh.” He scanned the sky for another shooting star, and nudged his brother in the arm as another arc of light crossed the sky. “Oh, there’s another one! Your turn to wish for something.”
With a quiet sigh, Alex screwed his eyes shut. The cool night air blew refreshingly across his bare arms, and the leaf crinkled into dust and fell from his hands. “I dunno. I wish that…. you had a good birthday?”
“Dude are you kidding? That’s the most boring wish in the universe! You didn’t even have to wish for that — this was already the best birthday I’ve ever had, I promise.” Connor scanned the sky for another shooting star, but couldn’t find any more.
“Here, there’s another shooting star, and this time I’ll wish for you, okay?” He lied instead. “Right, well, I wish that next time there’s a meteor shower, we’ll be able to actually watch it together!”
Alex blinked open unseeing eyes, staring blankly upwards at the sky as a smile curled the corners of his mouth. “Yeah,” he agreed. “I wish that too.”