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Different Planets

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Alison Knight

Under the dome of navy sky, away from city lights, you could see for ever. Bridie squinted through the lens, adjusted a knob or two, clicked her tongue.

‘What’s the matter?’ I wanted to ask.

But by now I knew not to interrupt.

‘There!’ Bridie straightened up. She didn’t turn around. I knew she wouldn’t.

‘What are you looking at?’

‘The Jewel Box. Come!’

My cue to approach. I took care not to knock the telescope. I peered through the lens.

And gasped. Hundreds of dazzling blue stars dancing around a brilliant red centrepiece.

‘It’s lovely!’ I breathed.

Her arm snaked around my shoulders. She kissed the top of my head. ‘Like you, Jasmin.’ My heart thumped. ‘I’ve got something for you.’ Her voice grew husky. She pulled something out of her pocket, thrust it towards me. I stared at the small box.

‘Open it!’

A gold band, inset on the diagonal with tiny diamonds and rubies.

‘Well put it on! Oh come here!’ She rammed it onto my left ring finger.

What did it mean? Were we engaged? What would my parents say?

‘Well, do you like it?’

Tears pricked my eyes. She loved me. I hugged her.

‘Something to remember me by,’ she said.

But by then I wasn’t really listening. I was gazing at the jewels that twinkled on my finger like tiny stars.

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