You meet impermanent people in impermanent places, fading, fading into the mist.
You meet dying people, waning humans — people who die as children, as teenagers and who are never reborn. You meet them in the last light of their days before they fall, before they fade. And for one moment, you glimpse eternity in them, in their soft lostness, their innocent erring into the world. You see the fates of millions before them and millions after them mirrored in their existence. In their frail bodies, you glance at a flicker of permanence in a world of ephemeralities.
At the crack of dawn, at no hour, you chase that bit of rawness in them, warmth against warmth, feverish for that last light in them because you know it will die — and you don’t want it to be alone as it does.
Note: “White dwarf” actually refers to the remnants of a star that has died. The “white dwarf” that remains is actually what used to be the star’s core.
Did you know that during winter, you can still see stars at 05:30 a.m?
When I woke up to them, still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I thought I might still be dreaming or that I was seeing these strange light visions you get when you rub your eyes. I thought I might have woken up on one of Saturn’s 9 unnamed moons (out of a total of 62 moons with enthralling names: Thrymyr, Ijiraq, Telesto, Lapetus, Titan…) and was seeing the universe laid out before me, all engulfing darkness and lights that shine all the brighter for it.
It felt decidedly surreal, to be visiting the universe one dawn in my pyjamas, hair ruffled and warm from sleep, my fluffy eye mask snagged in one direction around my neck.
It was an honest mistake, and a beautiful one to boot. But the world was silent, the city young and asleep. Not even the sound of an altered motorcycle exhaust. Not even the barking of a dog. Nothing. It was quiet, like how I know the universe must be. In the hour before dawn, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, stars have this ethereal pinkish glow, something a little peachy and warm. I woke up to the universe outside my bedroom window, to moons hanging low in my backyard, grazing the balcony overlooking the city.
Or so it seemed.
Of course, I would realise they were stars as time went by.
And yet somehow, instead of disappointment, I felt all the more thankful for them. For how they accompany us even in the last hours of the night, fearing we might lose our way.
Finally, finally, after a lifetime of contemplation, under the protective glow of pinkish stars, I realised that stars are for me companions, friends, who see me through the darkness of night, holding my hand until the small hours and beyond.
I am never alone when the stars are with me, when the Universe sends them my way to guide me through the dark.
Slowly, reverently, I trace my fingertips over the patterns of stars in the lightening sky. One, two, three, four and a few hundred more. Though side by side, sharing the same skies, they never meet.
Perhaps it is true.
I trace over the patterns of lights on the apartment complex a few blocks away. Every window that is lit up is at least one person.
It really is true : that each star represents a connection I will never make, a friend I will never meet. We are all strangers under one big sky, learning our own orbits, navigating our loneliness.
That morning, there must have been someone else like me. Another one or more, staring at the pinkish lights, keeling under the revelation of 5 a.m. stars, their questions floating in the sky, not unheard but still unanswered.
Is there someone out there like me?
Quote of the day :
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
— Frida Kahlo
Note : I have to admit though, Lonely Stars and Unnamed Moons is a pretty amazing band name. 10/10 would listen to their music if they existed 😂
I let my hair down at night so the stars will mistake it for the midnight sky and settle there. I think it works, because often I awake to stardust woven in my hair and galactic visions streaked in my mind’s eye.
My hair, I have noted, has grown out, giving an air of incredible softness to my face. A sort of gentle femininity I am unused to. For about a year now, I’ve been sporting what I call an office-girl hairstyle : shoulder length with long layers. But now I feel as though it’s all worn in, if a hairstyle can be that. The straight, sharp edges have mellowed out, the humidity is creating waves out of my hair, making it undulate with every nascent thought, every momentary, imagined world. My hair has seen one too many case of bedhead, has been too warm —spread out about my pillow during long, contemplative mornings— for it to be office-like.
An overlong fringe now brushes my cheekbones, long layers tickle the underside of my jaw all day long. My hair has ventured well past my clavicle. Can a hairstyle feel homey? Because this one does.
I have never known myself to be this soft-looking, even when I had hair tumbling all the way down my back. I’ve never woken up to so many stars caught in my hair. I want to think it’s this inner gentleness I have been working on, drawing it out gently from a well inside of me, wisp by wisp.
Now it’s time to cut this wispy warmth, but I feel in me that this won’t change a thing, that it won’t stop the stars from coming.
Across oceans, following the course of the Adriatic sea from above the clouds, watching Italy branch out into veins of light pulsating underneath my naked eyes.
I am changed forever, as though I’ve earned a scar. There’s a certain history to me now, carved into my veins, stored carefully into the drawers of my mind. Tattooed into my irises, the memory of not looking up at stars, instead gazing at them as equals, eye-to-eye.
“I’ve reached.” My mind whispers.
I could reach out and pick stars by millions, as though flowers in an interplanetary garden.
But I’ve learned better over the years. What would there be left for others to dream about if I picked all the flowers and reaped all the stars? Who would want to wake up to a decimated garden, a starless sky?
Instead, I will nurture what is left of the star in me. Kindling its fires with experiences like these, if I can.
Listening to :
Because I’m a huge nerd, this is the song I was listening to when we were flying over the Adriatic sea 😂
Any time now…any moment now, I will wake up to a whole new world, glittering beneath me like stars, constellations.
There is something about this term I adore : voyaging under the cover of night, wearing midnight on your back like a hooded cape encrusted with stars (stars, stars, stars everywhere in my vision, these days). Something about it is simply so delightfully secretive, an endless source of wonder. What could happen in the night, I ask myself, that the morning would know nothing of?
2 a.m. escapades to the city come to mind. When you and I burst out of a stuffy apartment filled with the moisture of summer and emerged into the fresh breath of night running down the streets. Hushed laughter, messy hair and pyjama bottoms made their way to one of those shops that are always open, no matter the time of night or day. The sound of fritters sizzling quietly in oil filled the night as we whispered for fear of breaking some sacred silence.
Night flight is…
Stumbling out of a club flashing all shades of colours, the walls outside booming, shaking with music. And us, drunk on nothing but adrenaline and freedom, waving our arms out of the car window, swinging and swerving around the scenery. Do you remember how we tried to grab fistfuls of the night to not let it turn into day? We wished ardently for the night not to slip from our fingers like sands of Time. So we grabbed onto night’s sleeve so that it would not turn into the day, but it did.
And now, I am simply counting the days. 8 to go until my night flight, my covert adventures. 8 days to go until I have the night for a companion. 8 days left until I somehow go right through the glass of the plane window reflecting my awed expression from the other side. And I will find myself floating next to the stars that have guided me all through my childhood, to my darkest days, to now.
“How lovely it is to finally meet you.” I will say to the stars.
To be able to graze them, even when separated by thick metal layers and engines, what an absolute privilege will that be.
I understand now why people call celebrities “stars” — they shine brightly and are so unattainable, yet so beautiful from afar, from where we gaze up at them from the gutter. I’m afraid that perhaps I am a little more old-fashioned and prefer the original kind of “star” — a fireball burning beautifully into the night, kindling the dreams of every dreamer of a child.
In the middle of a headache, as stress intertwined with the muscles on my back, a memory came unbidden to me, carried by the scent of flowering trees in the night. And suddenly— you probably know the feeling— I wasn’t old anymore. I wasn’t stretched or the mere byproduct of a lifetime of paying bills and ignoring dreams, pushing them for later, always later…
I was young again, and a little new.
Then some unknown feeling washed over me. An urge I had not felt in a long time suddenly gripped me by the heartstrings and pulled me outside, seemingly back in time.
I hadn’t seen stars in a long time.
It had slipped my mind that such things existed. And just like that, I had forgotten all about the world. In the face of this, of an ink-black sky staring back at you and millions of stars burning through the darkness like it’s nobody’s business, how can anything else feel important?
My big dreams, the ones that had accumulated after being swept under the rug over my years, they were are nothing next to those.
Stars, they are just dots in the sky, fireballs that have been dead for eons. But look at how they can make the world stop.
And maybe, maybe I want to be just a little like that. Maybe I want my light to burn long after it has gone out. Maybe I want to take all those dreams from under the rug ,blow on them like a dandelion and watch them spread out into the night and grow in between cracks in the cement, in places where dandelions shouldn’t be, in places where dreams don’t grow.