The Truth About The Stars

Stars“Grandpa, what are stars?” the little girl with the midnight hair asked as she gazed up at the diamond-flecked sky.

“Well now, that’s a big question,” the Grandpa answered slowly. “One of those questions that have more than one answer.”

The little girl’s brown knit into weaves and folds. She considered this as she studied her Grandfather’s serene profile.

“How could there be more than one answer? Isn’t there only one right answer?”

“There’s hardly ever just one right answer to any question in the world.”

“Then how can you know anything for sure, Grandpa?”

“Well, mi tesoro, you listen to all the answers and you either accept them, or you don’t. You have to decide what the right answer is for you.”

The little girl sighed and turned her eyes back to the sky.

“Okay, Grandpa, so what are stars?”

Grandpa thought for a moment.

“Some people say they’re other suns, from different solar systems, suns of galaxies so far away that we could never travel there.”

“If they’re so far away, how do we see them?”

“Some people say that the light takes thousands, maybe millions of years to get here. That means some of the suns that we’re looking at right now don’t even exist anymore. They’re gone, but their light won’t disappear for a thousand or even a million years.”

“That seems impossible.”

Grandpa nodded slowly, “It does, doesn’t it.”

“So, what do other people say?”

One corner of Grandpa’s mouth twitched.

“Well now, the Romans believed those lights in the sky were holes, holes in the very fabric of the universe. The light that we see, they believed it to be the fire of creation burning all around us, forever.”

“Like Heaven?”

“Maybe so.”

“I like that,” the little girl breathed the words, then gasped. “Grandpa, what if it is Heaven and all the people who’ve left Earth are there and they can see through those holes. They can watch us.”

“Maybe if you look close enough, you can see them, too.”

The little girl squinted, concentrating.

“That one’s where my mom watches from,” she stated with confidence, pointing to a particularly bright star directly over her head. “And that one’s where my dad is.”

Grandpa nodded and lifted a finger to point to a star slightly to the left of the two his granddaughter had chosen.

“I’ve always thought that’s where your Grandma would be.”

They lay quietly for a while, listening to the crickets, staring at the night sky.

“I like that answer the best, Grandpa.”

“So do I, mi tesoro, so do I.”

 

For Simone and Gioia

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14 Responses to The Truth About The Stars

  1. Sarah L Fox says:

    Really sweet and beautiful, Nicole! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jude says:

    Love it Nicole!

    Beautifully paced.

    Perfect length.

    Such a complete, gorgeous little story (we don’t even need to know what happened to her parents).

    :)

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Jude. I appreciate your kind words. This story really felt right, just the way it was and I’m so glad you agreed. I hope you are doing well!

  3. So poignant. You are such a dialog master. The entire story is loaded on their dialog’s back, and is perfectly and naturally delivered. So many writers would’ve been tempted to load that baby up with description and action (raises hand), and it only would’ve taken away from what you delivered.

    Bitter cold today downstate. Hope the conditions aren’t too tough up there. Have a great weekend, Nicole!

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks so much for that feedback, Vaughn. I’ve always thought that dialogue was a weakness for me so I have worked hard to improve when and how I use it, as well as not to fear it. I’m glad it worked in this story! We had a lovely sunny day today, and a belated birthday party, so it’s been so much fun. I hope you are doing well!

  4. ddfalvo says:

    Awwwww, I love your answer for what stars are–it makes me feel all warm and gooshy inside. <3 This is my new favorite.

  5. I can’t remember which mythology – maybe Norse – that says the stars are the souls of the departed. Your story is a lovely way we can keep our loved ones with us. :)

    • Nicole says:

      I love the myths and legends from cultures that did not have our technology and knowledge of the world. They created such beautiful stories to explain the things that now, to us, seem like common sense, even trivial details. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story! I hope you have a great week.

  6. shadedfaces says:

    There’s nothing better than a bit of magic in our sterile and clinical world to lift the mood! I like this answer best, too xx

    • Nicole says:

      I agree! Knowing the facts and never imagining the possibilities would never work for me. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story! I hope this year is going well for you.

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