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It was rather distracting. With a mind full of nothing but thoughts, the rain was the best thing I could have hoped for. It was pouring down hard; the small beads of water bounced off my hair and my back. The wind whipped, driving a chill up my bones.
And all I could think of was of how much trouble I was going to be in when I got home. I could hear my mom’s voice, screeching at me over the downfall: Get inside! You’re going to catch pneumonia! For Heaven’s sake, we don’t need anything else to worry over!
I really couldn’t blame her, because all I had seen, heard and breathed for the last couple of days was worry. But that didn’t make me move. I was frozen to the spot; partly because I was really, really, really freezing cold and partly because I was immobilized by fear of my own thoughts.
I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t want to think. I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to remember. I just wanted to live through the last breaths of life without ever having another worry again. I didn’t want stress, or pity, or regret, or sorrow, or agony, or...
The words were scraping their way up my throat. Back into my mind. The rain was failing. Its purpose was receding. I sighed heavily and buried my face in my knees. My back ached from sitting on the curb for this long, but I was rooted to the spot. I would be stubborn. I would be strong and I would not let this defeat me.
I closed my eyes and let out another long breath. Instead of trying to clear my head, I let my thoughts wander aimlessly for a second and listened to the sounds of the street.
Far away, I heard cars. Skidding over the wet roads. Honking. I could hear the sound of their engines. I imagined, just those few blocks down, the cars that could be driving over the road. I imagined the drivers; I imagined their faces. Their hands. I imagined their lives—where they lived, who they lived with, how they lived.
And I would skip from person to person on that road, in my mind, and imagine all the different lives. It was like a blind person looking through a telescope. Maybe, perhaps, the person would remember the stars—and in that sense he could still imagine the lights of the night sky.
But, all the different lives...
They were frustrating. It was like comparing a square and a pyramid. Two complete opposites, with completely different structures. No wonder everyone always wondered what the point of life was. Everyone wondered, instead of knew, because there was no exact answer. There was no similarity. All there was... was difference.
I lifted my head up from my knees, pulling at the ends of my wet hair. I wondered idly what time it was, but thought better of checking my phone.
After all this time... we had lost the sense of life.
We, as a complete human population, had little sense of life. There was air, and so there was breath. It was the basic concept that lay like a burden on our souls; there was life, and then there was no life. And life was the most important thing—without it, we were selfishly lost. Selfishly, blindly.
We were blind astronomers looking through telescopes, remembering what had once been so beautiful through the black curtains.
I looked up at the dark clouds above me with searching eyes, and the rain fell over my face like a veil.
Life, I had once thought, was like a big, bright, burning fire—
Beautiful, warm, dangerous.
Step too close and you could be burned. Make the wrong move and you could kick the bucket, and extinguish the fire.
Stars are big, great orbs of burning gas. They’re like fire. They’re like life. And we’re all standing in outer space, all of us humans, on our own separate stars. From where we’re standing we can see certain lights brighter and others not as greatly.
I imagined sitting on my own star, feeling the heat but oblivious to the heat. I imagined stretching my legs out and looking around me, out into the vast universe. And from this, I would find the brightest star of them all—my best friend’s. I could see her star dimming, then, fading, moving slowly away. Leaving.
It was time for that light to go out.
Some stars die earlier than they’re supposed to, according to natural science.
People are the same way.
I watched Chelsea’s star dim into the blackness, and I sighed. There was so much pain and guilt and regret built up in my chest. I closed my eyes, and I was back on the rainy curbside, clutching my knees.
Even in outer space, the stars die and fade back into the dark background. But at the same time, we’re blessed with beautiful things—like supernovas, shooting stars, and the birth of new stars.
I trace my fingertips on the cement, opening my eyes gently, and think of all the little blessings...
I feel tears burning their way up to my eyes and I squeeze them shut again, holding my breath.
I run, I hide, I cry; I run, I hide, I cry.
A never-ending pattern. I bury my face in my hands and let the tears fall into my palms. There’s no use in trying to stop them.
Even the most beautiful stars go out.
I catch another breath in my throat and then exhale. Beautiful, bright, joyful, amazing, kind, outgoing. My best friend. Chelsea had been the most beautiful star.
And we would all miss her. So much.
Through everything I was feeling, I would miss her most of all. Her smile, her words, her laugh. I clenched my hand in a fist, and then unclenched it, spreading it out over the cement.
And then comes the time... where we all learn to let go. Let go. Never forget, but let go.