My science textbook tells me that stars are flaming balls of gas, all but the sun light years away from us, probably dead by the time their light reaches us on Earth. I disagree. They’re not dead. They come alive every night, as I stare out my window and watch them twinkle in the ink-smeared sky, different every time. I also disagree; they’re not flaming balls of gas. They can be whatever I want them to be.
Some nights they’re mysteries, unknown worlds, always just beyond the grasp of my fingers as I reach out to grab them. Millions of mysteries, all around me, reminding me of everything I don’t know about yet, everything I haven’t experienced; unsolved mysteries waiting for me to wear my cape and my reindeer cap and go exploring.
Some nights they’re a place, far away — away from this horrible, nasty world. I slowly peek out of my tear-stained blanket, wiping my eyes as I turn towards the window. Fairy lights in the sky beckon me to join them and leave behind the black holes which engulf me and leave me nothing but a white dwarf, leaving behind black holes everywhere I go.
Some nights they’re fantasies. As I lay in my bed with my head on my pillow, propped up against the bedstead so it’s no longer a pillow, but your chest I rest on, I close my eyes and imagine us in a garden, lying on the grass by a river bank, all alone. Our arms around each other, we stare into the stars, pointing out constellations and staring intently into the sky, trying to catch an arbitrary meteor shower. Perhaps the stars saw us lying on the grass together and decided to shower down for us, grant us some wishes. We lie there, wishing for those wishes when we realize that we already have everything that we wish for in each other’s arms.
Some nights they’re my meditation. In this world of love, lust, troubles, heartbreak, and betrayal, they’re perhaps the only constant I see. I climb into bed with a million thoughts crashing against each other in my head, exhausting my mind. Everything moves so fast. Except them. The gentle blinking calms me, and I focus on each one, one at a time, until my eyes close, green and blue blotches in front of the black of my eyelids. Sometimes I wish people were how stars appear to be. Bright, calm, and present. Perhaps we should stop trying to shoot for the stars and try becoming them.
So, dear science textbook, forgive me if I don’t agree with you on this. I listened to you when you told me that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, I didn’t argue when you told me that mitochondria was the powerhouse of the cell, and I believed you when you told me that copper can’t react with zinc naturally. Sometimes, though, you’re wrong. Stars aren’t big balls of flaming gas that might be dead. They’re not just fire and gas. They’re anything they want to be. They also can’t be dead; they give me life.
Ridhima Singh is an amateur writer based in New Delhi, India, and currently seeking to spread her wings and soar into the exciting world of colleges. A blue-collar nerd, she loves reading, writing, poetry, playing the guitar, and her grandfather’s old vinyl records. She will also be friends with anybody who loves Sherlock.