I don’t think cute kittens should be shaved and shot into space, by the way, just in case this no-one’s-looking thing ends up backfiring. I think that’s what we should do with the CEOs of companies that use those full-screen pop-up ads that completely obscure whatever page you’re trying to see and have no apparent way to close them out. I’d shave those bastards myself. It’s Friday, so I can say things like that. Ironic side note: while I was checking online to make sure I was using the right term for that ad, one of those ads popped up. The real irony is that it popped up while I was viewing a site describing how to block pop-up ads. Though you never know; maybe pop-ups have become sentient and that ad was just acting in self-defense. The internet is a postmodern Neverland.
Meanwhile, back at my original point: since it’s Friday and no one is paying attention, I’m going to tell you something about myself that I wish weren’t true. Here’s where I usually chicken out and write something like “When I’m on a plane, I look at the other passengers and decide who I’d save in the event of a crash based on what book they’re reading and how annoying their kids are.” This is true, but I wouldn’t waste a wish on changing it. If I had a wish to spend, one I could only use for something selfish and fun (like with birthday money when you’re a kid), I would wish I could remember what the stars look like.
Let me explain that a little: I’m surrounded by things I can’t see, but I know sort of generally what most things look like because I make sure to take a good squint at them when I get the chance. In the event I don’t get the chance, there’s always Google Images. It’s kind of nice, actually, because while it’s true that I can’t see any of the flowers in my neighbor’s garden, the garden I picture in my head has all of my favorite flowers in perfect bloom year round. In the garden I see, there are no weeds, no bare patches where you can’t get anything to grow, no creepy garden gnomes, and (this is key) no chrysanthemums. That’s the flower for the month of my birth, and I’ve always felt gypped in that regard because I think they look frumpy. So when I walk by a garden, no, I can’t see it, but in my head it’s full of daffodils and roses and orchids and violets and tiger lilies and more daffodils, and no one gets pricked by thorns and all the bees are too happy to sting anyone and there are no chrysanthemums, ever. It’s hard to call that a disability.
I’ve forgotten what the stars look like, though, and I can’t find a picture or video that does them justice–I may have forgotten what they look like, but I still remember how looking at them made me feel, and no image I’ve seen even comes close. Sometimes I almost remember them, or I remember being cold while I watched them, or I remember where I was one time when I saw them. But the times when I saw the stars were too long ago and too many things have happened since then, and although I clutched those memories and hoarded them for years, one day they were just gone. Dissolved or fell apart, or crowded out, I don’t know, but conspicuous to the point of indecency by their absence, and gone forever.
This is by way of an explanation to my friends (who will read this post despite its being published on a Friday), who have never understood how I can be afraid of heights but always want to live on the top floor. It’s an explanation of why I kept climbing all those trees and convincing my aforementioned friends to help me sneak onto the roof of every building on my college campus, and by the way, I’m sorry about all the roof violations. I just wanted to see if getting closer maybe jogged my memory or even helped me see, but I could never get close enough for more than a few faint gleams that in retrospect were probably airplanes and satellites. What’s gone is gone.
Eventually I stopped climbing trees and sneaking onto roofs, and you can make whatever metaphor or broader theme you want to out of all this, but for me it’s simply the literal truth. I wish I could remember what a starry sky looks like. I’ve made my peace with my fuzzy worldview, and I made Gatorade out of all the gators I could get to sit still long enough, and I’m not asking for a miracle cure that lets me see again. I just want to remember. Sometimes I’ll wish so hard that I’ll dream about them, and I’ll think ‘It’s only a dream, you’ve had them before, this isn’t real.’ And then I’ll think, ‘No, this time it’s real, I can tell, I’m awake and I can see the stars.’ And then I wake up and I can’t even remember how they looked in my dream. It’s cruel and it hurts, and I wouldn’t stop having the dreams if I could.
So if I had a wish that I couldn’t use for world peace or perfect vision or an honest politician or any other fairy tale, that’s how I’d use it. Who knows? The future is nothing but possibility, and I’ve learned to be careful about words like “never” and “always.” I embrace the maybe and I keep hope alive. I also still want to live on the top floor and I will always, yes always, keep looking into the sky at night, and I’ll never, yes never, stop trying. For all I know, there will be a way in my lifetime for me to go and see the stars up close, and then I won’t have to remember. And if that happens, let me just tell you how I’m filming the entire freaking thing in whatever they’re calling high-definition at that point, and I’m storing copies of the video in at least ten different locations, real and virtual, just in case I develop amnesia right at the same time that there’s a fire, a flood, and a tornado and also the entire internet gets erased. I’m not taking any more chances.Happy Friday. I hope you enjoyed my confession. Now, if it’s Friday night and you’re actually reading this blog post, do me a favor: go outside, look at the stars, and leave me a comment telling me what they’re like. Do it again tomorrow night, and the night after that, and just every single night for the rest of your life because watching a starry night sky is one thing you should never, never, never take for granted. And after you’re done, put on something fabulous and go have some fun! That’s what I’m doing. It’s Friday night, after all.
And if you’re asking yourself how I’m going to make this wish when I can’t see a star to wish on: that’s what faith is for. I can’t see the stars, but I know they’re there. How’s that for a broader theme?
4 thoughts on “All The Stars In The Sky”
I really enjoyed your writing in this one
Thank you so much! Now, what do the stars look like tonight??
I meant to tell you! I actually had a beautiful view, and oddly enough my friend commented on the stars just before I read your post! One side of the sky was cloudy, the stars completely covered, and that was the side I was looking at, so I thought ugh, another cloudy night. Just then my friend said oh my gosh look at the stars! I was confused but I turned around and her side of the sky was glowing with uncountable numbers of stars, some brighter than others, some barely visible. For some reason the way it works best for me is to look in one spot and let the stars appear in my peripherals, there always seem to be more that way.
Anyway, I think this is kind of perfect for right before I read your post. One side clouded, but all I had to do was turn around to be able to see the stars for you 🙂
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I know this post is months old, but I’m behind with my email subscriptions and am using my insomnia to catch up (it’s currently 5am), so here I am. I live in a city, which means I very rarely get a chance to see the stars. In September I was in a pretty uninhabited part of Yorkshire and we had a starry sky so immediately all of us who don’t usually get a chance to see them ran out into the nearby field to lie down and look up at the constellations. Well, after putting several layers of clothing on, because Yorkshire, at night, in September. But I digress. It was a LOT of stars. And we did our best to pick out constellations. But I was finding it increasingly hard, and realising I couldn’t easily distinguish between the bright ones and the less bright ones. Where the stars were close together, to me they appeared as a blob, while my friends saw them as distinct.
And that’s when I realised that in the few years since I last lay in a field in the countryside (or, you know, looked up), my deteriorating eyesight has crept up on me and made sure that’ll only be a memory. I can still see the stars, but not the way I used to be able to. Which makes me fear that with every year that passes and every new glasses prescription I get, I’ll see them less and less. Reading your post made me think I should go and lie in a few more fields before that happens, spend some more time in the countryside — and maybe invest in a good telescope.
Not sure what the point of this comment was. Especially as it’s more than six months after the post was written. (Honestly, there are blog subs in my inbox that have been there since 2014, so I’m going to count this as a win that it was from this year. It was from this year, right?)
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