Stern

By Ashlie Chaston

Photo from Pexels

Orion Constellation.jpg

Stern

 

It’s a cold night. The whisperings of autumn are on their way by the sound of the breeze

 

snaking itself through the trees. All the animals are asleep in their burrows and hidey-holes,

 

keeping out of the chill. All things are in hibernation--everyone, that is, except Stella.

 

 

Stella is an odd child. She is the one always in the corner of the classroom, getting her

 

assignments finished but never being the top dog. The one everyone is nice to, but, when you

 

think about it, she doesn’t have any real friends. The one who is socially accepted, but when

 

someone cares to glance at her, they see her doing odd things like staring at the sun, then writing

 

in her notebook, mouth chewing the eraser of her pencil while deep in thought, glasses sliding

 

down her nose. 

 

 

Stella is the one no one checks on. The one no one notices. The one that flies under the

 

radar.

 

 

The one that never shines.

 

 

But, when all is asleep, that is when Stella shimmers.

 

 

She looks up at the sky, her eyes reflecting the map of stars above her, the city of angels

 

living in the heavens above. The stars wink at her, knowing she is watching them. Orion holds

 

still as a statue, willing to defend Stella with his bow if any danger arises.

 

 

The stars are especially vibrant tonight. A shooting star flashes across the sky, putting on

 

a show made only for Stella. Soon, a flight of stars shower across the heavens, giving Stella a

 

giddy boost as she looks on in wonderment. 

 

 

She knew this celestial event would be happening, and had been looking forward to it for

 

months. It was the only thing that kept her going sometimes.

 

 

Like when her mother hits her. When that happens, she only thinks of the stars.

 

 

Or when she found out her father wasn’t willing to take her in his own home away from

 

her ugly mother, she only thinks of the stars.

 

 

Or that one human trapped on her phone, telling her how worthless she is; she only thinks

 

of the stars.

 

 

She only thinks of the stars.

 

 

Only thinks of the stars.

 

 

Think of the stars.

 

 

Think only of the stars.

 

 

The stars.

 

 

Stars.

 

 

The roof of her house is the only place Stella feels at home. Gazing at the stars is the only


time Stella feels wanted, feels like she belongs. The only things that love her are them.

 

 

The beautiful stellas.

 

 

 

Stella closes her eyes, breathing in the rain from an hour before. The trees still whistle

 

with wind, and the stars still blink. Everything is still, just like Stella’s mind.

 

 

Light.

 

 

A light on in the house.

 

 

In her room.

 

 

“Stella?”

 

 

Mother. 

 

 

“Stella, where in the blazes are you? I hope you’re not on that roof again…”

 

 

Stella scrambles up, heart pounding. Mother can’t find her here--it will only end in

 

trouble. But where to go?

 

 

The stars.

 

 

Stella can go to the stars.

 

 

Opening her arms wide, Stella looks up at her friends, basking in the glow of the night

 

sky. 

 

 

And she begins to walk, bare feet sure on the slate shingles.

 

 

Her foot finds the edge of the roof, but she keeps walking onto frigid air.

 

 

Does she fall?

 

 

No. 

 

 

She soars.