Without my eyewear, the sky above belongs in a museum of modern art right alongside Van Gogh's starry night. The light radiates from every star and my distorted lenses twist it into gleeful patterns. Returning the starry night to constellations of pin-pricks is simple, but my glasses stay right in my pocket while I take in the sky above. The grass on my soles is soft on soft, warm on warm, a gentle tickle as each giving strand forms a cushion of green. Each strand moves in the summer breeze as easily as my hair, the waves and rustling as alive as my steady breaths. Mom? Dad? Why did you have to leave me like that? I say to the stars pretending they are my parents. Tears well up in my eyes as I cry. My chin trembles and my lips quiver.
I hear heavy footsteps approaching me, crunching the leaves beneath. I sit up straight and try to force a smile. "You have been crying again. Haven't you?" I hear a smooth voice. It's none other than Tayler, of course. He lost his parents the same night I did. Since then, he has been my guardian angel. I smile and look into his eerily serene gray eyes that look deep blue in the dark. And, he smiles back.
It had been a chilly December morning when the news arrived. My parents had been killed and nobody seemed interested in telling me that. My relatives had been pretending to be all sweet and condescending up until...until Tayler arrived. "Tess, they...they got killed ." Brutally murdered, he had said. I was five and I didn't know what murdered meant. Not until my parents' corpses were brought in front of me. Not until I was told to bid them farewell. Not until I was told that my parents had gone. Forever!
Tayler and I used to live in the same house. Despite having good family terms, we never interacted much. I minded my own business and he minded his own. I didn't know that he had gray eyes that looked hues of hazel in the afternoon and aquamarine at night. I didn't know that his front tooth was chipped. I didn't know he had a small scar right under his left earlobe, which was both tiny and innocuous. Not until I turned eighteen.
"What are you thinking? Reminiscing about the old times. Eh?" Tayler takes my hand in his and suddenly the air around us grows chill. I shiver and thus, he pulls me closer towards him. What would I have done without him? He looks at me with soft eyes as if sifting through the grains of my thoughts, separating the wheat from the chaff. "I wouldn't live without you. Never," he answers.
Eighteen. I got to know everything about him when I turned eighteen. I got to know that his fringe kept on falling back into his eyes even after tremendous tries. I got to know that he was ambidextrous: was able to write equally well with both of his hands. I got to know that his favorite color was viridescent because it meant life, nature, energy, harmony, growth. Because it meant the color of my eyes. It was on that day he showed me his tattoo. He had a small tattoo that said ‘T' on his right ankle. “For you, " he had said.
I feel a raindrop fall against my skin, followed by several others, but I don't have the heart to go back inside. I move slightly, crossing one leg over the other, leaning back on my palms to observe the remaining constellations uncovered from the clouds. The moon hangs full and hazy beneath an eclipse of blazing stars, allowing me to see Tayler's face, brightly illuminated. Our bodies are a fountain for the incoming rain, the water making my eyelids heavy. I close my eyes, a rattled sigh passing through my parted lips as I do so, causing my breath to fog up in front of me, obscuring my vision, as I take in the feeling of wet, bruised skin.
I feel an insect crawling on my skin. Panicking, I open my droopy eyelids to see Tayler, grinning. He is holding Jasmines in both of his hands. Jasmine, my favorite flower. "C'mon, you loser. You aren't allowed to sleep over here." And, before I can argue he stands up and gets going. Being the lazy brat that I am, I lay still trying very hard to go to sleep.
Tayler and I became best friends in a very short span of time. Wherever we went, we went together. I had no one except for him. He had no one except for me. It had been my twenty-second birthday party when he proposed to me. I hadn't known how to react and so I had burst into tears. Everyone except Tayler had soothed me. Stupid him. Stupid him. Stupid him. Back at our home, he had rolled his eyes at me as if I had spoiled his 'perfect proposal.' I didn't have the courage to face him and so that night I had cried myself to sleep. He still makes fun of me for doing that. Stupid him. Stupid him.
I'm lost in my past when Tayler snaps me back into reality. "Hello, hello! What is happening, Tess?" Sweet, our friends call us. He never calls me Tessa. Never. He wants to pretend that we are the best couple to ever exist. "Can we please go inside now?" He asks and gives a pleading look. I smile and motion for him to sit down. He folds his arms and remains standing firmly at his position, his brows creased with annoyance. He looks cute as a button just like a five-year-old. "Sit down," I say realizing that is the first time I've spoken throughout the night. He turns around and stomps his feet which automatically makes me laugh. I feel relaxed and that makes me realize just another thing: my face is damp. I have (probably) been crying. "Tayler. Come on. Sit down." I pat the grass and move to make some room for him. When he still doesn't listen to me, I grab his arm and pull him down. "Oww…" he mutters.
I lay my head in Tayler's lap while he tells me just how many things he loves about me. I am trying to close my eyes, slowly and slowly, drinking in the night full of stars and the moon which is covered by murky clouds that blend in with the rest of the sky.