We Are ☆ Star Club!
Even with the sky shining bright blue above me, I couldn’t quite say if it was excitement or nervousness I was feeling. I’m now part of the weirdest, most disorganized astronomy club ever! But at the same time, what better club is there to observe the meteor? It’s a bit weird that the meeting isn’t tomorrow, when the meteor is supposed to be entering Earth’s atmosphere, but maybe we needed to plan the stargazing session first. At least, that was what I hoped for. I wasn’t sure if the others even knew what "planning" meant.
I was also wondering who else would be there. They said that they were still recruiting members, so there should be someone apart from Erica and Pudding, right?
"Ah, where is that classroom again...?," I wondered quietly.
I still had problems finding my way around the school. I confused the different levels, and sometimes even right and left if I was lost too deeply in my thoughts. So it wasn’t that surprising to me that I arrived a bit late. Slowly, I opened the door and slipped into the small classroom. The air was warm and stuffy, as if the window, where the last true sunlight of the day came in, hadn’t been opened in ages. Dust danced around and glittered in the golden rays, making me sneeze. That was enough for the people in the room to notice me.
"You’re here. Finally."
Erica looked at me with a serious expression, and I wasn’t sure if I was being welcomed or scolded. At the table, two other girls sat: our club leader Pudding, who had dozed off again, as well as Maria, who I didn’t expect, but was glad to see there.
"Ah, Sara! You’re here, too."
"Maria? You also joined the astronomy club?"
While we were stating the obvious, I started to relax a bit. There was a familiar face, and I sat down next to her. She sighed.
"I just wish there were some cute boys to look at the stars with. I got a bit ahead of myself and didn’t ask about the other members."
Maria pouted for a short moment, before her eyes regained her sparkle.
"But isn’t it so romantic? Looking at the stars, the beauty of the night, under warm, cozy blankets?"
"Blankets? Don’t you have a coat?"
"Well, but that’s not really romantic, is it?"
I giggled. Maria had probably never gone stargazing, and while her vision was very cute, it was also quite removed from reality. Especially now, still in spring, with the weather being very unpredictable. In the past during this season, there were enough times when I had to run from the rain at night, even though the forecast had predicted a cloudless sky. Still, I didn’t have the heart to tell her about the harsh reality.
"You really are a romantic soul, huh, Maria?" I couldn’t stop myself. "So, don’t you have a boyfriend?"
"A-ah", she blushed bright red, "I don’t, not at the moment, well..."
"Oh. I just thought..."
We were talking over each other.
"No, no, no, it’s alright. I had a boyfriend, until recently, but since we went to different schools..."
I didn’t understand, but it was clear that this subject was very embarrassing for Maria.
"Anyways, I’ll try my luck here! There are a few cute boys in our class, right?"
To be honest, I really hadn’t noticed. Before Maria could talk more, Erica slammed down her hands on the table, looking at all of us.
"Girls, we are not here to gossip about boys."
This elicited a sad noise from Maria, but she kept silent otherwise.
"We are the astronomy club. Or, well, we would be the astronomy club, if we weren’t one member short."
This isn’t enough? We actually aren’t a fully formed club?
"Yes. Since there are precious few days left in the application phase, nobody has noticed yet, but once they do, our club will most likely be disbanded. I’m sorry to say that."
"Uwaaaaah... it’s a shame...", yawned our club leader.
"Well, if you maybe had tried a bit harder..."
Erica tried not to sound accusatory, but I was happy I wasn’t in Pudding’s shoes.
"Uwawa... I don’t wanna..."
"You’re our club leader! Try a bit harder, won’t you?"
I wasn’t sure if berating our club leader was better than gossiping about boys. I leaned towards Maria, whispering quietly.
"Don’t you have any friends that would join us?"
She slowly shook her head.
"They all have their clubs already," she whispered back, "and I like finding new people to make friends, you know?"
I nodded, but my thoughts raced. This was bad. What will we do without another member? The club will be disbanded. I’ll have no club affiliation, and so I’ll either stay clubless, or have to join something I don’t want to, or am bad at, or… Then, I had an idea.
"And how about a boy? Is there someone you could ask?"
For a second, Maria’s face lit up. Apparently, when it came to boys, she got fully energized.
"That’s such a good idea! But... uh..." She blushed again, avoiding my gaze. "I’m not sure how to ask, haha..."
I blinked. That really wasn’t the reaction I expected from her. It seemed like Maria, full of energy and optimism, could sometimes be shy, too.
"Just... ask one of them?"
She turned bright red, her voice rising an octave.
"Ah, you’re so smart, Sara! Maybe I could ask Dan? He’s handsome, but I’m sure he’s already part of the soccer club... Or maybe Niko? He’s so smart, I’m sure he’d love to look at the stars... wait, will his glasses be in the way? Oh, I’d love to see his eyes behind the glasses. I’m sure he would be even more handsome without them... but they are part of him! Maybe something would be missing, then... "
She had probably forgotten what we were talking about to begin with. I, at least, had problems following her train of thought. Okay, so there are some boys she could ask, but it sounds like most of them have already applied for other clubs. And whatever that was about the glasses. That doesn’t seem relevant in any way.
"So, we don’t have any idea who could join", Erica summarized Maria’s stream of consciousness.
The others nodded, defeated.
"So, what do we do?", I asked.
Suddenly, all eyes were on me, even though I had only thought out loud.
Nobody said a word, but they all looked at me expectantly.
Finally, Erica said something.
"We don’t know", she admitted.
My heart raced. This is bad. In fact, this is horrible. Of course, with my terrible luck, I found the one club I was interested in, only for it to be disbanded before we even got to go see the stars once. Or maybe...?
"Maybe, we could..."
I took a deep breath. Maybe it was wrong to ask. I didn’t really know them, after all. But still, I had to give it a try.
"Regardless of what happens, do you all want to watch the meteor tomorrow?"
Erica blinked, surprised. But only a moment after she nodded, and I thought I could see a small smile on her face.
"That sounds wonderful. Since we have a few days left, we can leave the equipment here." Her expression softened for a moment, before worry took over her face again. "But when we have to leave this room, could you girls help us with carrying all of this stuff to our home?"
I looked around the room. It was quite well-equipped for a club with such a laid-back, carefree leader. Aside from the huge telescope, stored away in a protective case, and some camping equipment there were binoculars, folding chairs, flashlights and even star maps lying around. It would be a pain having to relocate all of it, especially for two people.
"Of course," I answered, and Maria nodded.
"Thank you. That means a lot. I’m glad to have you all here. Even if we might not have a long time together, let’s make it memorable."
Erica tried hard to sound optimistic, but there was a slight melancholy to her words. Still, the air of hopelessness and misdirected frustration had vanished, and it seemed like we all looked forward to our first – even though it would also probably be our last – stargazing session.