A Thousand Stars

Another exercise from university. The subject matter was “cause and effect”. 


 

Flash.

Bright lights reflected all around, sparking off the wet concrete. Flashes refracted through heavy droplets, illuminating them till they looked like a thousand falling stars, waiting for wishes to be made. The sky was cracked in a million places where the sun peeked through the angry black clouds, letting through ribbons of light which dissipated before they could reach the expansive green planes around the road.

My breath hitched as I inhaled the cold air, raindrops finding their way into my lungs. The view was beautiful. I felt the world breathe around me, breathe with me, as I knelt in its powerful presence. Hair stuck to my face and water soaked through my eyelashes. I blinked. This was refreshing. Sins were being washed away with this water, washed away with my tears, all merging into one pure mass.

Flash.

Again, I saw the stars and this time I wished upon them. I wished harder than I ever did when I was a child, because this was a wish that really mattered. This wasn’t a wish for the fairy tale princes or magical castles I loved so much as a child, or for the dreamy boys with black sweeping fringes from my teenage years. As I held her hand and kissed her cold lips, I wished that the redness which stained her pale green tank top would disappear like the tears that ran from my eyes, like my heaving sobs drowned in the thunder.

Flash.

In the light of the stars I lay down next to her, the pink of my hair dye mixing with the scarlet rivers draining into the soil on the edge of the road. Her eyes stared into mine, glinting in the strange light. Beautiful. Warm brown. Amber. Compared to the cold black of her hair they were glowing, like little embers in a bed of wet coals. Fingers twitching, I peeled the sodden hair off her face. The rain had done a good job of cleaning the dirt off.

Strangely, I didn’t feel anything. Funny how in the movies the weather always fits with the things going on in the story. If that happened in real life, the sky would be clouded and dull. Sunless and boring. I wasn’t even sure if my tears were even there anymore. At that point, I just existed.

When the crunching of stones under heavy wheels approached us and stopped, bright yellow light illuminating her pale face and bitten blue lips, I barely noticed. I just wanted to be with her, go with her. I barely heard the concerned shouting, the calling of the ambulance. The shadows on her face almost made her look like she was smiling. I smiled back to her, imagining the times when we did this in her bed. Just lying down, looking into each other’s eyes with stupid grins on our faces. We were that sickly couple people either loved or hated for their affection for each other. Our time together was the most amazing time of my life.

“I love you.”

Flash.

I closed my eyes and wished one more time, this time for oblivion.

 

 

Bibibibip. Bibibibip.

Punching my alarm clock off, I groaned loudly into my pillow before turning my head to look out of the window. The sun illuminated autumn leaves, turning them from red, orange and brown to ruby, amber, bronze. Fascinating how a little gold light can turn this miserable season into one of the most beautiful wonders of nature. I lay in bed for a while, contemplating whether it was worth getting out of bed. It was comfortable, warm, safe, had a pretty view… What more could a person ask for? The sickening stickiness of dehydration in my mouth was what dragged me out of my bed in the end. Smacking my tongue against the roof of my mouth, I rolled out of bed onto the floor with a loud thud.

“Urgh,” I sat up, running my hands though my hair. “I hate Sundays.”

I stumbled out of my room and stamped downstairs loudly, making sure to let the other house-dwellers know I was there. There was obviously someone in the kitchen, since I could smell something pretty delicious.

“G’morning, grumpy guts,” laughed my mom as I walked in, her bouncy mass of brown curls swallowing her face. Good at being happy, mom is. Even when she’s sad, she’s good at being ‘happy’, a skill she obviously hadn’t passed onto her awkward and moody daughter, yours truly. “I made bacon, want some?” Bacon sarnies, that’s what I could smell. Gotta love a bacon sarnie in the morning.

“Sure.” Flopping myself down into a chair I looked out the window, at the world outside. Pretty today. Almost couldn’t see the tarmac outside because of the leaves on the ground. Maybe Bernie would go out sweeping them into piles soon, leaving a brand new playground for the neighbourhood kids to destroy.

Placing my food in front of me with the clink of porcelain on glass table, mom sat in front of me with a worried smile.

“We’re going today, aren’t we Mari?” There was a hopeful glimmer in her eyes that drew bile up from my stomach. Crinkling my nose in displeasure, I opted to stuff my mouth with a generous portion of bread, bacon and ketchup instead of answering her question. Can’t answer her with a full mouth—that disgusted her.

Obviously figuring out what I was up to, mom sighed and leant back in her chair, tugging gently at one of her hairs like she always did when frustrated.

“You always do this. Mari, you can’t hide from the world for your whole life. You will have to leave the house eventually, rotting away inside is going to do you more harm than good!” I looked away from her, chewing slowly so as to take as long as possible eating. “It’s been over a year now. Don’t you think Midori would have wanted you to get on with life?”

“No!” I stood up, smashing my hands against the table.  “Screw you, mom. Have you ever seen someone bleed till they were fucking blue? I doubt that.” Pulling at my hair I turned away from her. “Why the hell do you always try to pull the ‘wouldn’t Dori be sad’ thing? I’m fed up of it.”

“I’m just trying to help. Since the accident—”

“You mean murder.”

“Accident.” She shot me a look. “Since then you haven’t left the house for more than five minutes. I don’t understand why, and you won’t let me or anyone else know. Hasn’t Dr.Kelsey helped at all? You’ve been talking to him since a few months ago. I thought you were making progress and—”

I withered her with a look.

“You just don’t understand.”

“Mari, I—“

Done with all conversation for today, I left. Upstairs I ran again, leaving my barely touched sandwich on the table while escaping to my room, the only place I was free to be as miserable as I wanted to be. Who cared if it had been a year and three months since Dori… left me? Going outside still caused my legs to fold into a mess beneath me and my heart to attack my lungs and throat. No matter what anyone said or did didn’t change that. They all expected me to just go back to normal. Just like that.

Tears streaming down my face, I sank to the floor with my back against my door. I sat there, sobbing, till I started drifting off. And I swear, in the last moment before falling into blackness, I could smell her and felt her lips on my cheek.

Dori…” I smiled. “I love you…”

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