The Stars

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                                                The Stars
I lay there in the grass in our back garden.
It was the only place that I felt truly peaceful, isolated and content.
I had decided that the world was a cruel, cruel place, but that the Earth was as much
my parent as my biological ones – If not more.
I focused on the stars above me. It was a beautifully warm summer’s night. I had been
out here since the sun had set in our vast green garden. The sunset had made me feel
funny, like my chest was going to explode with joy. The colours were what made me
love the Earth so much. They faded and flowed and criss-crossed into one another so
gently, so elegantly that it wasn’t hard to imagine that they were trying to send us
ignorant humans some complex message about how the Earth keeps its natural
balance no matter what we do to un-balance it...
And yet…
It was so unfair how we all had to die, be taken from our loved ones and have them
taken from us.
Just as all the colours of the night eventually fade to midnight blue we will all fade to
mere memories and rotting flesh…
It was just a question of when and how.
But cancer is such and undignified way to die. At least, that’s what I think.
My Papa had just been diagnosed with it, and from what I’d heard my parents and
aunts and uncles whispering it looked like it was going to be terminal.
Some day… Some day some clever person is going to find the cure for it – All types!
But not me.
No. I’ll leave that to the clever people who know what they’re doing.
As I gazed at the stars I thought about how unfair it is that they, giant balls of fire, can
live forever and yet we, people, who think and feel and talk and love and learn, only
live for a fraction of their lifetime.
“Stars are timeless” That’s what my dad had told me about stars when I was little.
Before he and mum had begun to get drunk every night that is.
Of course now I know better. Stars live for billions of years, but eventually they die.
Eventually every light in our sky will go out, to be replaced by three newer, younger
ones.
Just like us really.
There was a gust of wind, cold and sharp against my bare arms.
It was time to go inside now.
Looking at my watch I found that it was 12:30. Then a glimmer caught my eye –
reflected in my watch.
I looked up just in time to catch the shooting star. Quickly I closed my eyes and made
a wish – Please don’t let my Papa die like this! Please, please, please!
Then the star was gone. I returned inside to the drunken laughter of my parents and
decided to just go to bed. Days were so long now – waiting to hear anything about my
Papa, and the emotional stress tired me out.

                                                               ***
The next morning I awoke. I went through to the living room. My parents were there,
draped over the couch like blankets.
Mum even had some of her own hair in her mouth.
I took out the hair trying to avoid her stinking breath.
“Mum” I said gently into her ear. She jolted into half-wakefulness, her eyes red.
“Oh, darling has something happened?” she slurred.
“Nothing that isn’t usual for a Saturday night” I said under my breath, wearily pulling
one of her arms round my shoulder. I stood up and dragged her with me. I put her and
dad to bed, then I had breakfast.
I showered.
I got dressed.
And it all seemed normal.

I swept into my parents bedroom with two steaming mugs of coffee and put one down
beside each of them, then left the room.
Beep, Beep. Beep, beep. That ringing tone was horrible, who had invented it? I
remember being ready to declare war on them when the dialling tone re-placed the
beeping.
I replaced the phone to its cradle. It wasn’t like Grandma not to answer the phone.
Normally she would have sleepwalked down to the phone if it was ringing. Maybe
she was out.
Around noon mum entered the living room, which I had expertly re-stored to its
normal state after years of practice.
“Hello darling, did you sleep well?” mum cooed, she flumped into the seat beside me.
Then the phone rang.
“Ohhh…. Darling, remember to turn the volume down on that thing!” mum said,
rubbing her temples.
I pickled up the phone beside me and pressed the Accept Call button, noticing that the
caller ID said Grandma.
“Hello?” I said tentatively, expecting an “I saw that you phoned me earlier” routine.
The noise I got back made me think that she was talking to me whilst going through a
tunnel because her voice was so unclear.
But it was not the connection, no. My Grandma was trying to talk through sobs and
gasps and coughs.
“Hello” she just managed to wail before there was another torrent of tears.
“What…What’s wrong?”
“Your…Your Papa” she broke into a fit of tears again “He had a – a heart attack this
morning. The…the doctors did everything they could…but…it wasn’t enough” she
broke into a wail so powerful that I’m sure some sort of sonic vibration must have
shattered any glass near her.
I dropped the phone and fast as it fell, it could not even reach one millionth of how
fast my heart did.
And although it smashed it would be repaired or replaced, but the part of me that
smashed could never be fixed.
For you see to this day, I blame myself for my Papa’s death: I had wished he wouldn’t
die “Like this” so he simply died another way. My wish had come true – just not as I
had envisioned it.
And, just like the previous night’s sky, another star had gone out, and it had taken a
piece of me with it.

				
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posted:11/30/2011
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