It’s after midnight and I can see the shooting stars from my bedroom window. Flashes of dramatic sheet lightning are lighting up the clouds over the sea at approximately regular intervals, and when they come, I can see the big sailboat that got its timing wrong and has been stuck for hours a little way down the beach, waiting for the tide to change.
The first time I experienced the Perseid meteor showers was more than 35 years ago. I was about 17, and it was a warm clear night. We had the beach entirely to ourselves, had been swimming, and lay huddled together on the sand under a blanket watching the sky, probably kissing (though I don’t remember, I only remember the sky) — when suddenly the stars began to fall – hundreds of them.
I can’t remember when I discovered that it was an annual occurrence, that it even had a name. It might have been the wonderful Italian film from 1982. It was quite exciting to learn that people all over the world could look up in the middle of an August night and see shooting stars. It was deeply disappointing, as well.
I doubt we would have much to talk about if we met again now, but I do sometimes wonder if he ever looks up at the shooting stars and remembers that night.