Stargazing in Jersey on a Friday Evening


Genevieve: I’m coming too!

Charlie: Stargazing is really something that Mom and I do… alone.

Genevieve: That’s not okay. You can’t leave me here in the house by myself.

Charlie: We’re just across the street at the school field.

Cassie: He’s right, Gigi. Just open the front door and holler if you need us.

Genevieve: Nope. I’m coming.

Charlie: (sarcastically) Great.

(We set up Charlie’s telescope. He finds a star. Delicately, without bumping into the eye piece of the telescope, I take a look. Charlie then begins his search for another star to examine.)

Genevieve: (closing in on Charlie’s right shoulder as he kneels before the telescope, searching) Let me see.

Charlie: Oh my God, are you serious? Back up, back up. I need room. It takes a while to find one….Mom, she’s not going to be able to look through the view without knocking the telescope out of place. It’s too delicate, Gigi. You can’t do it.

Genevieve: I CAN do it. Now find a star for me right now!

Charlie: Mom!

Cassie: Just try it, Charlie. Just let her have a look at something and we’ll be done with it.

Genevieve: Not something. A star! I want to see a star.

Charlie: (hissing) It’s not that easy. (Pause) Okay, here’s one. Now, Gigi, close one eye and gently look through the view…don’t bump—-

(Genevieve moves too abruptly, and the scope is knocked out of place.)

Charlie: Told ya. Not going to work. She can’t even focus with one eye. (Muttering) Infant.

Genevieve (wailing) I am NOT an infant. I am NOT an infant.

Charlie: You ARE NOT ready for telescope work. Mom, she IS NOT ready.

(Charlie gets a star in view twice more for Gigi to view. Both times, she is unable to catch a glimpse before knocking the scope out of place. Charlie’s livid now and breathing hard.)

Cassie: Alright, alright. Everyone settle down.

Genevieve: (still wailing) You made me cry so hard, now I have to pee.

Charlie: What a shame. Go back to the house and go to the bathroom. Mom and I will stay here and look at the stars.

Genevieve: (hiccuping now) I really have to go. I can’t hold it.

Cassie: Okay, okay. Charlie, stay here, keep looking for some good stuff. I’ll bring her back. Maybe Daddy’s home by now. I’ll just drop her off.

(I turn to Gigi and find her naked, except for her shirt, squatting and peeing on the grass.)

Cassie: Genevieve! What are you doing? Get your shorts on this instant.

Genevieve: (wiping her tears as she stands up) All done. I really had to go.

Charlie: Unbelievable. (under his breath) Total baby. Pees outside.

(I assist Gigi in getting her shorts back on and march her across the street to our front door. She begins to wail again when she realizes that stargazing is not going to happen for her this evening.)

Genevieve: (with a dramatic,screechy and loud voice that I’m sure all the neighbors can hear) I hate stargazing with this MEAN family.

Cassie: (opening the door) Hmmm. Look, Daddy’s home. Thank God.

(I shove Genevieve inside and return to the school yard, where Charlie is still working his telescope.)

Charlie: You missed it.

Cassie: What? A shooting star?

Charlie: No. A whole meteor shower.

Cassie: There wasn’t a meteor shower.

Charlie There was!

Cassie: Wasn’t.

Charlie: Was.

Cassie: Find me something to look at.

Charlie: Okay. One thing I really miss about California is the stargazing. They were brighter, easier to see.

Cassie: Yea. Remember stargazing from the roof outside Max’s room?

Charlie: Yep. Those were the days.

Cassie: Do you miss California?

Charlie: A little. My friends. The weather. The stars.

Cassie: Those were all good things.

Charlie: But I have more freedom here in New Jersey. I like this neighborhood better. I know all the people. I can go to the playground when I want. There’s more stuff to do. I’m just not really a Cali kid. Deep down, I’m a Jersey kid.

Cassie: I agree.

(We look at stars for another ten minutes and then pack it in for the night.)


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