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“I don’t want to be a star”, I said as I sat by the fireside, listening to the old story teller. His name is not known of my generation, because he is so old we all assume. He was once something great and strong, or so we heard. A name that makes, even the trees, feel fear. But of course, that is not relevant to my story. So everyone just called him story teller, for that is what he was, and did. Every night he would tell stories and all the villagers would come to listen. It was intense; to us it was just as church is to some of you. Like our learning time.
My name is Taymar, and at this time was next in line to be a story teller. In this 1900th century village, this was the equivalent of being next in line for king.
That night the story teller told his story about a boy. An ordinary boy with a net to catch fireflies, a firefly catching net. This boy loved catching fireflies. In this story the boy found the most brilliant looking firefly to behold. This firefly was unlike all the rest, for it did not flee from the boy. It just stayed still starring at him. So very carefully and with a giant smirk, the boy swiped his net. He was proud because he had caught the firefly. Or so he thought. When he reached into his net, he was shocked to find it was empty! He glanced back at the place the firefly had been and to his surprise, it was still there! As if to mock and laugh at him because his eyes were too slow to have seen the firefly move.
So again, very carefully, the boy swiped at the firefly. This time not taking his eyes of it, he could’ve sworn he caught it. As he reached into his net he saw the firefly was still flying in its same spot of the sky, without so much as a hum. No matter how many times the boy swiped his net at the fire fly he was unable to capture it. As he starred at the firefly in all her brilliance, the boy realized how silly he was. He thought in embarrassment to himself, only fireflies can go in nets. This firefly was no fly; this firefly wasn’t even a bug. It was a star.
The boy sat on the hard earth, just starring at the star, wishing he could keep it in his sight forever and thinking he could, but not realizing he could not. The night sky was masked in beautiful lonely stars. The sky started to brighten as day approached. The boy started saying his goodbyes and tried memorizing this sight forever, but not before realizing the star in all its godliness looked sad. She always stayed the same through time- alone. Having to remember the boy and his net forever, even long after the boy was gone.
This was the story, or lesson, that the story teller was telling the villagers that night. Upon ending his story he glanced towards me with a wink. It’s strange how the most common gesture held so much fear. I knew he wanted to tell me something as the other villagers slowly left. I remained sitting in my seat by the fire, poking at the somewhat red coals that remained on the outskirts of the already dying fire.
The story teller did not take a seat beside me, but instead, across from me having to look through the fire to see me. He was about to tell me the symbolisms behind his story. This I felt I already knew.
“You cannot get involved with people, Taymar. A story teller may never have a relationship, for we are stars, and stars do not belong in nets. Always weighed down, and covered up, by means of some other human being”. The story teller stared to chant as I said “I don’t want to be a star”. In my head I knew now was not the time to tell this to him. He just looked at me.
“Do you think stars want the responsibility of having to be alone? Always shinning, not knowing why, just knowing they have to? Lighting the way for others, and never themselves, feeling like they have no real purpose except to be over shadowed by the moon?” He threw this in my face as if I had cursed his grandmothers’ grave or something.
So then I told him. “In your story, the boy with the firefly net did not give up very easy, if even at all? He wanted that star, just as I want to not be a star. Why must I give up without any try at all, how do we tell stories without ever creating any stories of our own that are real and not pulled out of our imagination? Or maybe, I don’t want to tell stories.” I remarked.
The story teller snapped, “Nonsense, you must want to tell stories, and be remembered forever. How else will the trees learn to fear you? Besides young child, this is your destiny; the very stories even say so! Do you not listen?” he asked. It was a powerful moment when I held his gaze, having to stare through the fire, and the heat sending off the sensation that our eyes were locked in a torturing tango. Finally I spoke saying, “Sometimes there are falling stars”. With that, the old story teller nodded and simply said, “I see.” In that moment, you could see the pain sweep across the old man’s face as he remembered the lost loves of his life. I watched him for as long as I could, but finally I could not stand to see so much pain. So I got up and walked away into a new, awaiting destiny.