The Stars Above Us

By Gwyneth Jewel S. Pilon

Illustration by Christine Eunnice Tayde

“What do they look like?” I remained mum—maybe because it was the first time you asked me how the stars look like… but, you know how they look like anyway… or maybe you just forgot the last time we went outside.

            It was yesterday. The night sky was clear… we were tracing the Orion’s Belt or locating Cassiopeia… When you held my hand asking me to marry the first guy that I’d meet on the day of my examinations for NMAT—which had me laughing for an hour or two—because who does that? I was 21. I just got my license. I knew you were telling jokes, but somehow… it pierced through me. And then I stopped… when you suddenly asked.

            “Who are you?”

            Three words.

            But… my heart… sunk. It felt like I was ripped into parts—I became pieces of a whole. I didn’t know if you ever noticed how my eyes glistened, tears cascading down my face—slowly turning into a river of tears… but a genuine smile was still there, hoping you’d recognize the smiles that you’ve honed for years.

            The smile that you’d ask me to show whenever I’m all down and broken, telling me that everything’s going to be alright—but, it was all lies.

            You lied to me.

            Because when I learned how to surf the waves washing over me, it felt like… a burden. It felt like a burden that I wouldn’t even want to carry. I was pacifying myself with endless words that I can do it, but the more I do, the more the waves crush me.

            I was drifting apart from my own reality.

            “What do they look like?”

            I looked at you and held your hand.

            “They look like you… mom,” I said… it’s been three years since the day you remembered me, nor my name. And it hurts… every single time. Because, how am I suppose to live with the thought of you… not knowing who I was? Or why am I always there…“ They dazzle. Every time. Every night. They shine the brightest next to the moon, so they give light,” I murmured, caressing your hair, squeezing your hand—telling myself that it’s going to be okay.

            You don’t remember me.

            You don’t… remember your Star.

            But you smiled and pulled me closer, “No…” you said. “They look like you.” My lips parted as I stare unto your eyes—the same intensity as yours. Tears started to cascade my cheeks, but you were there to kiss them all away.

            “You’re my Star… I—I know I’ve been hurting you for years, dear. But always know, that I’ll love you more than everything.” you whispered.

            I smiled.

            “So, what do they look like?”

            I laughed, “Beautiful.”

            You smiled, “Dazzling,” you uttered.

            Maybe I just have to conquer these waves. I realized, you never lied to me. You made me stronger. You made me conquer it all…

            It’s never gonna end. I know.

            But you’re there… And the stars above us are the witnesses of my undying love for you.

            “Who are you?”

            You never really lied.

            I smiled.

            “Star,” I said.

            You just made me strong.