I have this friend back home. He’s one of my best friends. I met him when I was ten, over a discussion on how myself, another friend, and he would take over the world using, and I quote:
“A box of puppies, C4, and duct tape.”
A wonderful way to start a friendship in my opinion. However, as the years have passed us by, this friend and I have grown closer and closer, spending nights talking about life, calling each other at 3AM to discuss which superpower would be the best, playing video games, surviving trampoline woundings, intense battles with play swords, and various accidents which could only befall two pre-teen and teenage boys. And through all of this he became engrained in my being like a nail placed in a wooden plank. But what I never realized is that, when I left, how often I would be reminded of him. In random acts of kindness, in laughing with my little brother over television shows… In everyday actions, routines, and habits that brought back memories.
But the thing that reminds me of him most surprised me. It’s in the sky, every night after 9PM. It’s a series of stars, centered around three in a perfectly diagonal line, also known as Orion and Orion’s Belt. You see, this friend shares a name with that constellation, and every time I look up at the night sky I see his face staring back at me.
I love stars and constellations. I love learning the myths and legends behind each and every single one of them. I love to sit out at night and watch for comets and satellites. So I never thought the stars, these small bits of silver billions of miles away and millions of years older than me would catch me off guard. I never thought that I would become so attached to a pinpoint of light.
I remember at PDT we talked about how when we feel lonely in our country, all we have to do is look up at night and remember every fellow is looking up at those same stars. I never understood how that could possibly be important until I realized how attached I had become. Until I understood that, for me, the stars are memories engraved into the very essence of my being. Tiny little pinpoints that draw a map of my life, which is made up of memories. And that every night when I look up at the stars, I feel connected to people who are thousands of miles away.
And I never realized how lonely I would feel on a cloudy night when I can’t see those little dots that pin down my personality in stories.
I never thought I would miss the stars.
I never thought that looking at them would remind me of who I am and why I’m here. But the stars hold our stories. They’re eternal in our lives. When I look up at night, I can see the stories that have transcended eras. The Greeks used the stars as an explanation of the supernatural. They said that the stars were reincarnations of those dear to the god. But for me, the stars are memories that will be stored forever.
And when I go home, the stars will hold new stories. Stories of nights on the beach with my friends, of songs sung with new people around a campfire. They will hold memories of the good times but also of the sleepless nights. Times when I would wander around my town wondering why I’m doing this, moments of weakness when I would look to the stars as a way to find my home, find my way back to who I was and who I wanted to be.
These eternal pinpoints are my journal, my way of remembering so that no matter where I am, I will never forget the people, places, and experiences stored in the pinpointed map etched into my being. And they will always be there to hold the old, welcome the new, and pass down the experiences of our lives.