The cold air swam through the crack between the window and the wall. That piece of glass refused to stay upright, instead the windowpane hung crookedly and left a wide gap through which a new gust of wind entered. A young girl sat near the window, staring out at the sky beyond. Although, with all the lights from the city, only a black blanket showed where the starry sky should have been.
"What's it meanif there isn't even a star to wish upon?" The girl murmured, and she bit her lip in frustration. It seemed like she'd been waiting her entire life. Waiting for her parents to notice, waiting for her teachers to congradulate, waiting for her friends to care, waiting for a star to appear in the colorless ocean of heaven. Behind the girl, a cocker spaniel spun in circles attempting to make a bed out of the girl's wadded up sweater. After a moment he seemed to give up and collapsed into the cloth with his paws crossed over each other. "You don't care, do you Desey?" The girl asked the animal at her back. The dog whined curiously by way of answering.
A footstep outside drew the girl's attention back to the window. An old man moved through the streets with his eyes glued to the lines of the pavement at his feet. After a moment he stopped, and his heavy breathing mingled with the silence of the city. In the distance cars raced forward like mindless ants, and deep within the city buildings still scurried with activity, but in the girl's street nothing moved. The only sign of life was the man.
The man coughed suddenly, and his action drew his eyes to the light above. He turned his neck ever so slightly, just enough to catch sight of the girl. "How long have you been watching me?" He asked. His voice rose like the growing of a tree, branching up and out and around until the noises enveloped the girl's ears.
The girl hesitated. "How long have you been down there?" Her own quiet voice fell down to the man like raindrops, and he lowered his eyes as they fell. "You walked onto my street," she continued, "what was I supposed to do besides watch you?"
"Your street?" Now the man had shoved his hands into his back pockets and was waiting expectantly for an answer. The girl remained stubbornly silent for a long time.
"What are you doing?" she called at last.
"Standing," the man shrugged, "you've been watching me, you should know."
Now it was the man's turn to hand silence up to the girl. He drew his hand out of his pocket, brushed his hair back, straightened his shirt, and returned his hand to his pocket. "I'm waiting," he said at last.
"Me too," said the girl, "I'm waiting for a star."
"A shooting star?" And the man pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. He stood for several minutes with his crooked back bent over and his fingers moving back and forth, back and forth. Once his fingers finished, he straightened up and tossed the paper as high as he could. The girl caught the object through the crack in the window, and held it up to the light. A star. "Throw it back down to me, and as it falls, make a wish. Don't tell me what your wish it, I can't know, but make a wish. Maybe it will come true."
"I wish someone would notice me," the girl said, ignoring the previous warning. The paper star danced down the current of the wind into the man's open hand.
"I wish there was someone for me to notice." The man tossed the paper back up, and the girl caught it as he walked on. In a moment shefound herself alone again, holding the paper between hersmall hands as the wind pushedagainthrough the crooked glass.