All The Stars Above
The cold underneath my back and only the unwavering black canvas inked with a multitude of stars above me made me for the first time in my entire life begin to fathom the insignificance of my own existence. The snow on which I lay melted slowly under my weight and warmth, soddening the back of my head, making me wonder how much longer I could last in the burgeoning chill. Yet, the only thing that tethered me, albeit quite precariously, to this plane was the girl on the other end of the phone. Her lilting voice, her kind, sincere laughter the only thing burrowing into the hardened surface of my tired soul. She is sweet, but under it all there is the stabbing wound of melancholy, and my only wish as I lay there on the snow under the stars is for the ability to assuage the bleeding within her. And I fathom the insignificance of my own existence.
I breathe a plume of smoke towards the night sky, my ears burning with the cold, and I laugh a bitter, all-knowing laugh. She asks why I laugh even though she knows that laughter is my response to all things. How I wish to hold her, her small body encircled in my defending, selfish grasp. I tell her I was laughing at the stars, they are legion and yet they are still as individually beautiful as a masterpiece painting, I tell her I laughed at the irony. She giggles at me and calls me silly. The cigarette makes me feel sick as well as good, the whispering hand of nicotine flowing through my brain, agitating my thoughts and causing others, ones I thought long forgotten, to surge forth from the mire of mind. It is a troubling conundrum when a thing can make you feel pleasure as well as pain. And I fathom the insignificance of my own existence.
I flick the cigarette away and put handful of snow into my mouth. The soft chill reminds me of her lips on mine, memories travel across my mind like cold rivers going on to some unknown ocean, an ocean where things submerge and hide, awaiting to exact reprisal when the moment presents itself. I look up at the stars and see one falling, I think how appropriate it is to behold God’s austerity when one is feeling the ultimate form of vulnerability. I am alone but for the girl on the other end of the phone, and yet she is too far away to console me, and her angelic voice only seems to sadden me more. I tell her that I miss her, knowing that it would only make her miss me as well, furthering her own sadness. I berate myself for my blunder, for aren’t I supposed to be curing her of her melancholy? And I fathom the insignificance of my own existence.
Instead of saying “I miss you, too,” she says something that at first I cannot understand. It hit me like a blow to the chest, knocking the flow of memories from my skull as an executioner knocks the head off someone’s neck. The cold of the snow is forgotten, the frigidity creeping through my jacket gone like the smoke I blew into the wind, the stars above lose all their allure, even God’s austerity seems insignificant now. For a moment, I just lay there, like a dead relic, hollow and stolid, like I had frozen to the snow, like I had merged with the ebon sketchbook in the heavens. “I love you, too,” I whisper back. And I fathom the significance she has on my existence.