I've seen many many things in my time. Too many to list, too many for me to remember. Some very beautiful, some very horrible... some a little bit of both. And although each touches me to silent tears in its time, most I forget. But once in a while, a story comes along that I love so much that I will remember it always. This story is one such. It's about a little boy who used to be in love...with me.
I still remember the first night he came padding out across the lawn, his blanket wrapped around his shoulders in just the style of many and many a king I've seen before. But this little lad was no king. I later learned he came outside that summer night because the stars on his ceiling had died. So he came looking for some new ones. Silly child. As if the ones up here are new. Even the babies to me are ancient to a little one like him. But he forgot about his search for new stars the moment he looked up.
I watched his eyes widen, drinking in every pinpoint of light he could see. Then his eyes rested on me. His mouth formed an 'O' as his head tilted back until he nearly tipped over. He remained that way for some time, his eyes roving back and forth like a ship on the sea. The glory of the heavens sank into the pool of his eyes... and although many people come to look at our beauty, not many have the dazzle remain. He did. The stars became his mind that night, and the new galaxy created has, true to form, remained expanding ever since.
That was only the beginning of this little love affair. From that night, he came often to gaze into the sky. I watched him grow, far to fast for my liking, after the manner of you earthlings. I was disappointed on cloudy nights when I couldn't see him. On some nights, when my light was dim, I could still-though barely- see him, hands in his pockets, always looking up. It wasn't long before a shiny pair of glasses perched on his nose, and soon I couldn't remember him without them.
Eventually, he began bringing books and notebooks and charts, and I knew he was learning the ways of the stars and planets and I. He would sit, far into the night, reading and writing things down. But almost always before he went indoors, he would stretch full length on his back and just stare. In some it would have seemed over bold(I do have feelings, you know) but not with him. Oh, no, not with him. His look was like that of a child in it's innocence and a sage in it's depth. He was a rare one, that boy. I've not seen many like him, even in all my thousands of years and millions of nights. He grew tall before I knew it, and handsome too, I thought. His face had traces left on it from stardust.
One night, when I reached his yard, I missed him. I couldn't fathom why. It was a beautiful night, clear and warm, and I had counted on seeing him. I even had saved a few shooting stars for him. I worried along my track, looking for him. I hardly saw anyone else. I almost went past him, but just as I was gliding over a college campus, I spotted him. He was walking along, carrying luggage and looking very lost. Just then, he looked up at me. I saw his face relax, forgetting his worries as he looked up at his love. A star blew him a kiss, shameless little thing. After a moment, he sighed and went into the dorm building. But he stood a little straighter than he had before.
After this, I saw him much less than I wished. Sometimes, I'd see him sitting outside and studying. At these times I felt bad distracting him, but it did make me sad watching him force himself to focus on his more mundane tasks. Finally one evening he came out, excitement in every inch of his frame. In his hands he carried a dream he'd long had- a shining telescope. Some classmates were with him. I felt jealous, I was used to having him all to myself. They all stared up, but the stars didn't land in their souls the way they had in his. My beautiful little starstruck darling.
I often wished I could see him in the day. The sun hogs most people, he does. Great burning glutton. He gets to see everyone living and living, and I only see bits of their love, their loss and their rest. Excepting, of course, the rare ones. Like Him. With them, I get to see their souls, and I don't think the sun has ever been discerning enough for that. Souls can be much like stars. You only really see their true light when the darkness falls around them.
I suppose, after all, it was only fitting that it was under a blanket of stars that this story ends. Or perhaps, begins. I lost his heart. Here is how it happened.
I was moving along, reveling anew in the lovely way my diamond studded train spread around me. I was feeling luxurious that evening. The air was warm and balmy, and smelled like a love song. I also felt fluttery, for I knew I was almost there. His look had gotten much more knowing lately. I no longer felt I was hidden in my gown of secrets. He was starting to know my workings as well as I knew his. It's the downfall of being so much closer to the earth than the stars are. People know more about you. They think they know everything about you, but they don't really. They don't really at all.
Finally I reached it- the sprawling campus of yellow brick. There may be larger colleges on the earth(there are, I've seen them all) but something about this one has always pleased me. So pretty and with a decided smile, even at night. Even when everyone is sleeping, it is at peace and yet alive. That night, everyone was outside, it seemed. Music mixed with the twilight as I rose over them. It took me a long moment to find him. Only a few stars were out yet, and I beckoned them to move faster. I felt like being dazzling tonight. The air was just such that all I needed to complete my evening was a dazzled pair of eyes admiring me. I'm vain, I know. Wouldn't you be, if you were me? I'm beautiful, for one, and I've grown far too fond of all the lovers I've had. In the end, though they always leave me. What bothers me most is when they blame me. As if I made them fall for someone else- I don't. I'm too jealous for that. I do give them my blessing though, when they are true.
I watched him, eagerly waiting for him to look up. His nose was buried in a book, and he appeared to be oblivious to the crowd around him. Look up, look up-
And he did. But his eyes never made it up to me. And yet he looked just as dazzled as any night I ever had met his eyes. And I knew that I'd lost another. Even a man who had loved the night sky more than anything else had not a chance against the one thing more magical than us-
The star-shine we'd given him was alight, a cosmos brought alive, not by itself(for what can give itself life?) but by a force stronger than the power of a galaxy. Stronger- no. Maybe not. The same strength, in fact. But in a human heart it fits a little better. We, too are part of that same, conquering depth- but sadly outside, at the same time. We're a sentence in a love letter... but a love letter can never suffice in the place of Love itself. But our revelation is no less evident, and certainly not in vain for all that. I think my little stargazer would be able to explain it even better than I, for he is a human, and you alone out of all creation have been chosen to be allowed to really know Love.
perhaps the closest I can say it is this- we are here to show you a Love bigger than even our vastness. But all your looking, and all our shining, cannot give you this Love. It is a Love you must choose, a love you must be given. We almost touched it on the one night more glorious than any other, but still we were only the heralds. The message I'm trying to speak of is one that cannot be uttered in my language. So you will have to find it for yourself.
I watched. Watched as a new stars were born in his galactic mind. Remarkably bright stars. He stood up, and greeted this girl. A lovely thing, it's true. And I thought when I saw her, that perhaps I remembered her too. She certainly had traces of night woven in her hair, and when I caught sight of her eyes I knew it for sure. Two little stargazers, finally brought together. She sat down next to him, and he brought out one of his books. And as they sat there, together, the book open across their laps, he began to tell her our ways, just as he had learned them. And as the last of the stars came out, they looked up.
Just a little short story I wrote this afternoon... it's for a collection my sister and I have begun, titled 'Duets'. We hope to include poems and artwork, as well as short stories. We may even enlarge it to a collective endeavor, we'll see. You'll certainly hear more about it in the future.
I was inspired (in part) for this story by a couple of Erin Hanson's poems(she is a wonderful writer, Ryn and I both thoroughly enjoy her work.)
|all rights- Erin Hanson @ http://thepoeticunderground.com/|