Breathing On The Glass
It was nearing winter when Jessie made the discovery.
She'd been downstairs in the lounge with Bonnie while the little girl had been watching television that morning. Mrs Anderson had called from the kitchen at one point, and Bonnie left the cowgirl doll on the sofa while she went to find her mother. When Jessie was quite sure Bonnie was gone, she glanced around the room, her eyes falling on the headline inside the open newspaper lying on the sofa next to her.
"The Cosmic Ballet," it pronounced in large lettering, and Jessie was intrigued by the pictures of the dark circle with the light emitting from behind it. Scooting over a little, she pulled the section of the paper towards her and scanned the article. It was talking about something called a lunar eclipse, where the Moon moved between the Sun and the Earth.
As she read down the page, her interest grew. Apparently there was one happening tonight at 10.35pm, for the first time in four years! Her eyes grew wide in glee. She had to see this!
On hearing a movement in the hallway, Jessie pushed the newspaper back into place and flopped on the sofa. She was just in time, for Bonnie appeared through the door a moment later to go on watching the television, cuddling Jessie into her arms and straightening her hat.
Back in the playroom that night, when Bonnie was in bed and she judged the whole room to be silent and still, Jessie moved from her place on the shelf. She hopped up onto the windowsill, checking over her shoulder again to make sure that Bonnie was fast asleep.
The window was shut against the cold night air, and she leaned up against the glass, staring at the sky. To her disappointment, the only things in the sky were thick fluffy clouds, swirling across the dark blanket of night above her. She sighed, pressing her face closer to the glass, squinting in annoyance.
How on earth would she see the eclipse with all those stupid clouds?
She pulled back from the glass, and as her eyes focused through the window, she noticed that the glass had a faint transparent stain on it where she'd just been leaning. She put out a finger to the stain. The glass was cold to the touch, and the stain appeared to have a dot in the middle of it when she pulled her finger back. She looked down; expecting to see the stain on her finger, but it was clean.
She raised a brow, wiping her finger over the glass and through the stain. She glanced at her finger again. Still nothing was visible on her hand. She blinked. Was this a trick?
She was still trying to figure it out when she heard a movement and jumped, ready to run for cover or drop on the spot should Bonnie be stirring in her sleep. Instead she saw a faint green glow moving across the room from the direction of the chest at the end of Bonnie's bed. Jessie relaxed as Buzz hopped up on the desk behind her, holding something small and white in his hand.
He noticed her immediately and was obviously startled to see her by the window. "Hey Jess," he whispered, walking over closer. "What are you doing up?"
"I was going to look at the eclipse," she murmured bashfully as he dropped a welcoming kiss onto her cheek.
He grinned. "No way! I was up here for that too."
She smiled. "Of course you were." He was a space ranger after all, she should have guessed really.
"How come you didn't tell me you wanted to see the eclipse?" Buzz asked.
"I didn't know about it until I saw the article in the newspaper when I was downstairs. You didn't mention it either, so I just assumed..." Jessie trailed off, realising how lame she was sounding.
Buzz shook his head and started to climb up onto the windowsill beside her. "You could have said something. I would have been more than happy to share the experience with you."
"Well, you're here now, but we won't be able to see anything anyway," she pointed out. "There's so many clouds I don't see how we can view it."
Buzz glanced at her and then peered out of the window at the sky. "Rats," he muttered, realising she was right. "Guess this was a waste of time." He dropped the little white thing he'd been carrying with him onto the sill and knelt down. Jessie stepped over and picked up the white object. It moved in her hands, and appeared to be nothing more than 2 pieces of thin card, one with a small hole in it.
"Buzz?" She asked, as he turned his head to regard her. "What's this?"
"Oh. That. It's a device for projecting the sun and in some ways, viewing the eclipse." Buzz took the cards from her and placed the card without the pinhole on the floor, holding the card with the hole in front of it. "See, the light goes through the hole, and you get an inverted image on the piece of card below it."
"I see." She didn't really understand without seeing it work, but chose to believe whatever he said.
"It's so you don't hurt your eyes." Buzz went on. "You know you shouldn't look at the eclipse directly, right?"
She hadn't known it, but she wasn't about to let on. She changed the subject, wondering if he could help solve her confusion, being all knowledgeable about sciency stuff.
"How come the stain on the window comes off, but doesn't end up on my hand?" She said the sentence in one long breath.
He blinked at her. "Excuse me?"
"Well, I'm doing this." She knelt down next to him and leaned against the windowpane for a moment, then pulled back. The stain on the glass appeared again, and she wiped her finger through it, showing Buzz her hand. "Look, no stain. Is it some kind of illusion?"
"It's not a trick, Jess," Buzz explained patiently with a smile. He leaned forward and breathed sharply onto the window, creating the stain she'd seen before.
"Oh!" Jessie suddenly understood. It had been her breath making the smudge. She dabbed her finger into the area where Buzz had blown.
"Yeah." Buzz nodded, breathing on another patch of window hard. In the stain that appeared, he reached out and drew the letter 'B'.
Jessie watched, entranced by his action, and then dared to write a 'J' in hers. She smiled proudly, as Buzz blew on the window a third time and drew a heart between the letters.
Jessie glanced across at her boyfriend with a giggle. "Buzz, you're such a cornball," she spluttered. She was about to lean across and give him a kiss, but changed her mind midway.
Instead she reached out and pressed the purple button that worked his helmet. As the helmet flew closed, he reacted with a little jump, reaching for the button to open it again. Jessie put her hand up to stop him, before leaning over and breathing onto his helmet. When she pulled away, she was satisfied to see a similar stain appear to that on the window.
With a giggle, Jessie put out her finger and marked the stain with a large 'X' as Buzz blushed.
This was so much more fun than an eclipse.