Chapter 10 – A Hundred Thousand Million Stars
Since Starlight’s passing, I had pulled back from my lizards. I still loved them all, and paid much attention to their advancement, but my heart was closed off. I hadn’t given names to any lizards since. Perhaps I was mourning without being aware of it. Was I afraid of becoming too attached to individual lizards again? I had been attached to the Little Leader and Strong Light, but their passing was natural, and although saddened, I wasn’t overly affected by it like with Starlight. I now knew I had a rift somewhere in my essence. I had closed it off, rejected its existence, and thus not even realized it was there, and erected a wall to keep myself from seeing it.
The rift had eyes, and it stared at me, unblinking. I was afraid of that rift. I had been through so much emotion in Starlight’s lifetime, so many lizard lifetimes ago, and I was afraid to be overwhelmed with their return. I’m sure that’s what laid in that rift. Should I let it sit there, unattended? Would the rift inside me grow worse if I ignored it, or just go away?
It was a bitter internal struggle. I didn’t know how to feel, and had no one to confide in. Now that I saw it, or it saw me, I could feel myself being drawn into that rift, a feeling of loneliness consumed me. Ah…I was lonely. With no one else talking to the stars at night, I was alone again. There was no one to acknowledge my existence. It was scary, mind-numbing.
I desired communication so desperately, to give some validity to my own shapeless existence. I hadn’t realized how alone I was until I found Starlight, and had never quite gotten over her loss. How I wished I could be the stars to speak with her; how I had deluded myself thinking she spoke to me, when all she actually saw were the twinkling stars in the sky. I descended in a perilous spiral in an unending loop of negativity and fright and helplessness.
Grief. Loneliness. Doubt. I had fallen into the dark rift, a hole inside my own existence. Here existed all my unanswered questions, all my failings, all my unfulfilled desires, all the things I could not have and could not be. It was dark and unending. It ate away at myself, I ate away at myself.
I wanted to save them when they were hurt. You cannot save them.
I wanted to embrace them when they were sad. You cannot touch them.
I wanted to talk and communicate with them. You cannot speak to them.
I wanted someone to know I was here. No one knows you’re here.
You are alone.
You are hollow.
You do not exist.
I was dead inside. Dead outside. Death was everywhere. No, it was nowhere. I was nowhere. It ate at everything I was, leaving nothing left.
It was darker than the abyss I had been lost in. I hadn’t wanted to fade, but would have been content with the decision I made back then. But here…I wanted it to stop. I wanted it to end. I wanted it to be over. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I don’t want to think anymore. I don’t want to be here!
………A light. A pale, small light. It floated down to me, ever so gently, in my dark rift. It had a voice in this voiceless place. I held onto it. And it spoke to me.
‘You are not alone.’
…The words I had entrusted to Starlight. It was Starlight I held in my hands. Her memory that lived on in me. She heard me, and she had come to me.
Another pale light appeared in the distance. It called out to me. Another light, it spoke to me. Another light, it sang to me. Another light, it shimmered to me.
All around me, lights came to life, all the small lights I had cherished, all the lights I had remembered. And there were new lights, lights of the living that called out to me. They came to me one by one, filling up my dark rift with a hundred thousand million stars. It was a great web that connected every single star to each other, and at their center…was me.
They knew me. I was their family heart. I was the existence that tied them all together. Their pain was my pain. My pain was their pain. Their happiness was my happiness. My happiness was their happiness. We were all connected, we were all one. I was one of them, and they knew me.
The lights of the stars shattered the rift I had made around myself, shattered the wall I had put up to separate myself from them, shattered the emptiness that had threatened to consume me, and shattered any doubt that I was alone. I wasn’t alone. I was never alone; they were always here with me. As long as they lived, I would never be alone. And when they finally left this world, I would go with them, together.