He lay back in the long dark grass and closed his eyes. It was getting colder. Winter is coming, the breeze around him seemed to whisper.

He was still and silent, thinking about things, mostly worrying. Footfalls on the soft green carpet. He sensed someone near. His eyes remained closed. He didn't need to look. He knew who it was. The presence spoke.

Darling...the voice trembled. From the cold, or distress? Probably both. What are you doing?

Breathing deeply, in and out. Counting the stars he still saw with closed eyes.

Darling? Inquisitive. Perhaps pleading? Yes, he recognized the tone. The presence crouched nearer. Are you ok? These things that I am fighting, that I am worrying over...in the grand scheme...they are nothing. Don't fret about it. Okay? Please.

Soft sigh. He willed his patience to stick around a little longer. Eyes opened and stared into the night sky. Stars were falling. He was falling. Into what? He didn't know. Change of focus. There she was, to the right of him. He stared back up into the sky. The occasional star was still falling.

She looked up as well, and spoke again. You see the stars? The universe out there is so very vast. Our troubles are minute. We are but specks of sand.

He paused. Not so. Not so at all. They are just...different. To something yet bigger, the stars themselves are specks.

Her turn to sigh. She lay down too, not touching him, just near. The two stared up into the dark blue forever, stars punching holes into the sky, letting in light. Sparkling. Some still falling, going out. Winking at them. A few minutes of silence, and then...

You see them falling? From his peripheral vision he noted her nodding, yes. If I am right, if those stars are specks to something greater...if even those amazing stars can burn out...

She held her breath and waited. He slowly sat up, still looking at the sky. He cleared his throat. We are all shining and important to someone. We are not so insignificant as you say. We matter. We all shine in different ways. And some of us...tire of that shining. We burn out. We fall.

She too sat up now, concerned. Darling, I --

He held up his hand, motioning for her to be silent. We count. Even if only to the specks of dust that see us as the vast universe. We are significant. He stood up. He paused, ran a hand through his hair. He looked up again, gesturing at the sky. These stars...they have a universe of darkness to fight against. Yet they still shine on. Even as they fall, they burn bright to the very last. We should do well to take our lesson from the stars.

He turned to her. She was staring at nothing, listening intently. His voice softened a little. These worries of yours, these trials you must overcome - they are significant. They matter. They are like the darkness we each fight against, every day. We shine on, regardless. It is just a matter of choosing how long we wish to give out light. He focused on her. She was looking up at him, overwhelmed. His voice lowered to almost a whisper.

If even things as amazing as stars burn out sometimes, is it any surprise that we can, too? And you wonder why I worry about you. You are no less important than the stars. You dazzle so many people, and yet you shine on, oblivious. Just like a star. So if you were to burn out...it would matter. You are important. You are so much more important than you realize. We all are.

She stared at him in quiet awe. He was right. And then, she smiled, and bravely chose to shine on.


------------
This story is fiction. This story is also true. No matter how insignificant we may feel, we affect a multitude of things and people in so many ways. Nothing is trivial. We are important. We are loved.

We matter.

"Here is all I have for you.
It isn't much.
There used to be a whole lot more.
Yet I can't remember what I lost.
Or where it might have gone."

She told me she wasn't fond of artificial light. I told her it was all artificial in the end. Except for those few bright flashes and seemingly random strands. We both knew what we meant. Neither could remember where it was going or where it had been. The images were stronger when we didn't focus them. Time affected the perception of color. The experience was tainted then more than it is now. There was no way we could truly recall exactly the way everything had been or could be.

Maybe we shouldn't have tried.

Once we painted brilliant dreams across the sky because we could. We swore the canvas moved and stole those dreams, but we just never completed the painting. We had ambition and thought we could do it all. We reached too high and stretched ourselves too far. We tried to give more than we were capable of giving and dried ourselves out on the wheel. The world was our oyster. We filled our shiny metal pails with the bounty of the ocean in preparation for a feast to change all things. There was no bridge too far.

Sometimes it is more comfortable not to have options.

I need a bass line here.
Right to the mainline.
I need to feel the blood pumping at full speed like it used to.

Mostly I am this twisted pile of wreckage that still flies for reasons science cannot explain. Science cannot explain anything. It is a crutch for the weak. Those that cannot walk on water or fly with invisible wings like to know the chemical properties of asphalt. The only thing I know is that it hurts more to crash on asphalt than it does in the soft grass of home field advantage.

You know you are on my mind.

This is a love song. To all the girls I've loved before and will love onwards and forever. The true nature of love is that it never dies. When it does you know the veil of illusion has been pulled aside. Love proves itself over eternity. I could hold you in my arms forever, but it wouldn't stop me from being what I truly am. There is no way I can stop moving along the road. If I stop too long I will wither and die. I can't stand still. Neither could you.

Do we know who we are?
Do you know who we used to be?

I trace over every line of your body in my mind. In a way it all becomes the same body, the changing image of the physical side of the love that runs deeper than we are capable of acknowledging. The body is a collection of pieces as much as our soul is a collection of what was what is and what can always be yet to be. They paint the side of the barn. They used to use whitewash but the game plan changed. Now they hide it somewhere amongst the something else. The horses run wild. Even you can't catch them any longer. I've started wiggling my ass when I walk. At this rate I'll be a sixteen year old girl in time for the 2052 World Series.

Not that this really matters.
The nature of things is that we can only randomly predict how they will be.

Our love was once innocent. We could hold it up the the flame of the candle and it would illuminate itself with funny colors. It was innocent because we didn't understand it. It was unfolding itself before our eyes. As each petal opened and fell to the floor we moved a little further apart. That was how we knew it was real. It was too scary to be anything else. I miss you now in ways I never could have missed you then. Our love was once innocent. It has grown into something else.

There are things called stars in the sky...

You were amazing at times I still remember. There were other times in between. You were always amazing, but those eyes that once were bright began to flicker with time. I spend a lot of time flickering myself. I know how it can be to lose the inability to sustain the glow. There are times of darkness and moments of absolute cold terror that strike in that darkness. It is why we keep finding the light again. People like us choose the right moments to close our eyes and leap into the unknown. We know how to pick our battles. We know when our flicker will glow and when it will likely die out. We'll still burn out because we were never meant to fade away. We are legends of a different kind. We stalk every corner of fragmented imagination. And we are failing.

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