A million miles from where they wished they could be, the tiny beings of a small blue and green rock spent their evenings looking up at the stars. They loved drawing the stars onto charts, shaping the giant orbs into flat five-pronged figures that mirrored their own tiny forms. Even more, these beings loved naming the stars, not realizing that the stars name themselves.
One evening, two of these tiny two-legged creatures came out of their towering gray box to gaze at the littler creature’s favorite star, a brilliant, yellow-plumed sphere in the eastern corner of the sky. The larger one toted out a long tube, propping it up and pointing it toward the star.
“Can we give her a name?” the littler one asked, bobbing up and down on the spot.
Without glancing away from the sky, the larger one answered with a chuckle, “She probably already has one.”
She called herself Samantha, and she and her friends came out one by one every night to twinkle and blink and play just as the stars do. For eons they danced at the break of twilight, popping out on the violet backdrop of the sky which extended all the way into forever, they thought, just like their loves for one another.
But on this evening, Samantha started coughing and sputtering dust. The glitter of her breath was beautiful, and all her friends ogled it in awe until they realized something was deeply, deeply wrong. The fringes of her once rose-tinted cheeks fizzled to a fearsome orange until finally her usual singing was enveloped by a booming noise.
Right where Samantha danced each night was a massive marsh of stardust. Pale particles bumbled around that spot of the sky like lecherous little sparks, but at the center of it all was a tiny white star. All the other stars buzzed up to the spot.
“S-Samantha?” stammered one of her old best friends, the red wick who fancied the name Lydon. “Is that you?”
“My name is Sami,” she growled back. “I hate when you call me ‘Samantha.’” All the other stars eased backward to the edges of the sky, away from this angry, new Sami. They struggled to keep shining. “I’m cold. Why is it so cold?” she complained, her surface buzzing with agitation.
Confused, all her old friends replied, “Cold? We’ve never felt cold before.”
“It’s terrible. I hate it. I hate this!” Sami mourned the loss of her stardust. The beautiful coat that had kept her so warm for so long was gone, apparently along with so many more parts of the once-sunny Samantha. The edges of the sky were pushed farther back as her old companions continued to float backward in fear of the dim glow of their new, old friend.
Until Lydon stopped his backpedaling. He watched Sami flicker in her anger and her discomfort. He could see her confusion, but he could feel the pain radiating off of her paling plumage. Mile by mile, Lydon began to hover over toward the lonely little shaken Sami, and before he could even readjust the sheen of his surface, he found himself right before her. She looked up at him, and he looked right back.
But he did not see the Sami he had expected. The furrow of her crown was not the rumbling electric fuzz he expected to see. Instead, the edges of her shine simmered in strangely beautiful waves. She was alone and afraid, but he had caught a glimmer of hope. The longer Lydon looked, the more Samantha he saw. He could see the filter of yellow she once wore at a time that, until now, had felt like such a long time ago. He noticed the way she, too, bobbed in a tiny figure-eight motion in the sky, just like Samantha had. She was Sami, but she was Samantha too. At long last he realized this, and he began to shine in the happiest shades of orange and pink and purple.
When she noticed his excitement and joy, she too perked up. The golden radiance of Samantha ignited, back-lighting the brightening white of Sami’s beauty. And one by one the once-fearful stars noticed. They followed Lydon up to Sami’s orbital, and her shine became more and more blazing. And soon, in the blinding light of the ancient night sky, Sami forgot about her cold. She forgot about the dust she had lost and the confusion she had felt and the anger she had kindled. Had they gone away? She couldn’t tell, but in the breathtaking light of the stars Sami found herself feeling all right.
The smaller of the two looked up at the bigger two-legger, puzzled. Where his favorite star used to be there was nothing but a tiny blanched orb. “But it was so big and pretty last night! Did something happen to it? Is it sick?” The little creature’s impatience and compassion curved the features of the bigger’s face upward.
“It’s still beautiful,” the larger replied, stepping up to the tube one more time. “It’s just a little different now.”
The small one stepped back in naïve reproach and doubt. “So it’s all right? You promise?”
The corners of the curves on the larger one’s face rose even higher. “Let’s get you ready for bed.” He carried the tube into the grey box and called after the smaller to follow him in. Mere moments later, when the brightest star in the sky emerged, no one had stopped thinking about Sami.
I kept this story buzzing around in my head for a few years before finally actually writing it out in its current form. It’s a simple allegory about growing up and surviving the changes that adolescence poses- about how, in the end, despite our inevitably ample explosions and dispersions, we’re all destined to be beautiful stars.