“I’m restless.” I stood up so that Kaelyn could see me over our computer monitors. Our desks say back to back so that when we went head to head in Age of Empires or Civ tournaments, we couldn’t cheat by looking over each other’s shoulders.
Kaelyn blinked up at me, and pulled one side of her headphones off of her ear. I had pulled her out of a movie she had been watching on the computer. I knew that look well. “What?” she asked.
“I’m restless,” I repeated, bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet for emphasis. “Let’s do something.”
Kaelyn took her headphones all the way off, and considered me for a second.
“Want to go walk the loop?” She asked, referring to the road that circled the campus and was a common walking path.
“Bigger.” I said, shaking my head.
“Go see what movies are playing and then hang out at IHOP until the cops show up?”
Kaelyn considered me with narrowed eyes for a moment, thinking hard. Then she pulled out the ace in the hole. “Late night trip to the star?”
“Yes!” I declared, already moving towards changing back into real pants from my pajama pants. “Grab Konnie and let’s get on this.”
The star was officially known as The Roanoke Star on Mill Mountain. It is the world’s largest freestanding illuminated man-made star, constructed in 1949. It’s visible for 60 miles from the air and it sits 1,045 feet above the city of Roanoke. The City of Roanoke was very proud of it. But what it meant to me and to most of my friends was that it had a beautiful unobstructed view of a lot of the valley. It was a beautiful sight. But I had never been up there at night. So fifteen minutes later, with real pants, shoes, and minor explanations to Konnie, we were off. Konnie was driving, and Kaelyn and I were trying to explain why we had decided to do this. That was the way it worked. Konnie most of the time didn’t know or understand why we were doing what we were doing, but she rolled with it anyway. Besides sometimes just “We’re restless” is a good enough excuse.
Our plans were going swimmingly until half way up Mill Mountain, when we came to a half right outside a gate that was locked across the road. A sign hung off it that said “Park Closed from sunset to sunrise.” Konnie put the car into park in front of the gate, and turned to look at Kaelyn and me. “Well, what now?” she asked, frowning slightly.
After a moment, Kaelyn smiled. “There is a pull off about a quarter mile back for the hikers. Let’s park there and walk back up.” She suggested.
“Isn’t that illegal?” I asked.
“Well, you were restless.” Kaelyn pointed out.
After considering for a second, I agreed. “Let’s walk.”
Konnie smiled the widest of the three of us, and pulled the car into a sharp u-turn.