Romance

The Big Dippers

Backpacking couple on starry night (ai)

EPISODE 1 – COMPATIBILITIES

A romantic couple with a common interest in big dippers meets through an online dating site. However, their definitions of what that means do not align.

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Tale of Two Dippers

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As an avid astronomer, Meecham travels beyond borders for the perfect glimpse of the constellations and then photographs them. Some of his breathtaking images have been published in books and online.

Meecham is on an astronomy trip with his local club. They set up their telescopes at the top of a hill, far away from the city’s light pollution. Meecham has always been fascinated with the Big Dipper asterism, and tonight he is determined to observe it. He spends the first hour adjusting his telescope, aligning it with the North Star, and fine-tuning the focus.

Once his telescope is ready, Meecham starts to scan the night sky. While stargazing, tiny lights twinkle like glistening diamonds on a black velvet cloth. The Milky Way stretches above him like a river of light. He locates the Big Dipper and focuses on it, awestruck by the beauty of the seven bright stars that form the Dipper’s shape.

The women he has met do not share his passion for something light years away. They want Meecham to focus on the captivating heavenly body sitting across the table from him.

Julie is fond of nature, with the vast number of stars and the exhilaration of cool water against her skin. She has mapped out secluded ponds within the forest, hidden from prying eyes. There, she can become one with nature without any judgment.

The trees are tall and majestic, and the air is filled with the sweet scent of pine. While swimming, she looks up at the twinkling stars, like tiny enchanting fairy lights. The moon is almost full, casting a silvery glow on the water. It is a dreamy backdrop with whom she has no one to share.

Something in Common

After years of failed attempts, Meecham types up a charming online dating profile, wherein he extols his affinity for the Big Dipper. Before long, Julie Childs, who is not a fan of cooking, replies with similar interest. The two skip online chatting and arrange a blind date at a local coffee shop. Both are so excited that they only hear what they want.

On a cold patio, Meecham dunks churros in a hot beverage, and asks, “Can we schedule a date to see the Big Dipper?”

Assuming it’s a euphemism, Julie reacts, “Well, I guess so, if you’re ready so soon.”

He asserts, “Of course, I’m ready. It’s what we have in common. Do you have a favorite campground, or should I suggest one?”

She offers, “Let me choose an area. I love remote bodies of water.”

Impressed by her offer, Meecham inquires, “Tonight there will be a great meteor shower with the Big Dipper. Should we plan on camping overnight or just just view and leave?”

With a furrowed brow, she objects, “You make it sound a bit crude. We should linger while bathing in the afterglow.”

He concurs, “I agree. I have camping gear and a camera.”

Shocked by his comment, she asks, “Oh, you’re going to take pictures?”

“Of course. It’s the only way to document the adventure.”

While relaxing her defenses, she responds, “Perhaps I’ve been a bit prudish. Everything only stays up for so long during our lifetime. We might as well enjoy it in its prime, as long as nothing salacious ends up on social media.”

He agrees, “Exactly.”

Adventure to Remember

With confirmation of coordinates, they load up a jeep and head to the scenic remote area of Julie’s choosing as the sun sets. It casts a romantic amber glow over the treetops.

While setting up their tents, she asks, “Would you prefer to begin before, or after dark?”

Meecham insists, “The darker the better, in my opinion.”

Julie disagrees, “It’s going to get colder and you wanted to snap some photos of us, right?”

Meecham slaps his head with the reply, “Of course. Let me get my camera gear.”

“We can both get prepared in our tents,” she suggests. “Then I’ll meet you in the pond.”

He acknowledges. “That sounds like a good plan.”

The camera equipment with a tripod, telescoping lens attachments, and light meter takes a while to gather. So when Meecham exits his tent, Julie is already gone. He hurries to the pond. That’s when he catches sight of the surprise.

Julie is descending into the water to skinny dip. “Come on in. It’s brisk but refreshing.”

Meecham nearly dropping his equipment, stutters. “You’re nah-naked?”

Continue

Return twice weekly for miniseries. Any relation to actual persons or events is coincidental. Login provides the most immersive experience. About 1700 total words. Audio may include sound effects that alter reading time. Story includes one or more generative AI images to help readers visualize scenes.

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