The Conversion Rate of Shooting Stars

Thirty-one years old and I fell asleep clutching the bear that you gave me for my 18th birthday.  I needed something to hold on to; something to remind me that it wasn’t always like this. He was the “bear who survived”.  His fur was a little burnt and he was missing an eye, but he survived.  He was a reminder that when I felt like I had nothing left in the world, I still had you… I still had us. 

I held your hand and watched as you slept, praying that I could be the sentinel to protect you from yourself.  You would wake up, squeeze my hand, then open your eyes and smile when you realized that I was still there.  Each time I let myself believe that that could be enough.  At one point you woke up and you squeezed my hand then held it up to your face with a look of total confusion.  It was like you couldn’t figure out if it was your hand or not.  It took you a few seconds to realize that the hand was attached to an arm and the arm was attached to me.  I knew how that felt because I have felt that way so many times before.  I have known you for longer than I have known myself, and there are times when I can’t tell where you begin and I end.   You were my first real friend; I can’t look at myself or my life and not see some aspect of you in it. So much of who I am is because of you.  

For twenty years you have loved me unconditionally.  You have been the voice inside my head telling me that I can have any dream I want.  When my world was ugly you painted me a new one.  When I wanted to give up, you told me that I was worth going on.  When I was afraid to leave, you said that you would always be there when I came home, and you were, every single time.  When I would come home we would go for walks, float with the lily pads out on the row boat, feed birds from our hands and carve our initials into trees, “EE + SP”.  I fear now though that we may have made a mistake; we never wrote “EE + SP Forever”.  What if that is the magic that holds us together?  What if that is the driving force in the universe that proves that we are better together than we are apart?  What if that one tiny oversight means that I am destined to lose you?

I went out back to talk with the stars, to see if they had any advice to offer.  I watched as they sat there, seemingly unmoving, while all the while they were burning, living, dying, as I did the same.  I whispered your name and hoped that they could hear me.  Just then, I saw a brilliant light blaze across the sky and I yelled your name and wished for you to stay.  I strained my eyes in the hopes that I would see another.  I shifted my position to get a clearer view of the sky.  I begged and pleaded for another star, another wish, another chance to reach you and make you understand that this is where I want you to be!  I started to calculate the possible conversion rate of shooting stars.  How many would it take for you to understand that you are the most dazzling person that I have ever met? How many wishes would I need to yell into the night sky to make you believe that every minute of your life is a blessing in mine?  I read somewhere about a “candlestick” converting to a “shooting star” but it involved markets and bulls and the harsh realities of a world that doesn’t understand an artist like you; so I knew that I would have to do my own math.  I can’t give you the answers like I did in our sophomore science class, but I will always be here to help you through the questions.  I can’t fill the hole that has grown in your heart, but I can paint with you while you learn to redecorate so that the hole becomes less garish and ugly and becomes a dimple on the landscape of your life.  I can’t take your pain away, but I can hand you the tools as you file down the edges of your sadness so you’re no longer marred by them, but so you can become sculpted by the lessons your sadness can teach you.  If you promise that you will stay, I will promise to love you forever.  I will find the trees and I will carve “forever” into each of them so that the whole world knows:  I am your forever friend and I will love you for always.  Just promise me that you will stay!

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