Starlight filters through the leaves of the massive old oak tree. A refreshing breeze cuts through the heavy summer air. Here I lie on the moist grass, midnight dew soaks into my clothes, but I don’t notice. I gaze at the stars, millions of them; scattered throughout the heavens. I know they are always there, but tonight is different.
The night sky, black as a raven’s wing, makes each tiny star shine like a jewel. I remember a song my mother used to sing to me when I was a kid—Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are? Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky... In an instant, I appreciate all the insignificant things in my life.
I make poor choices in my life; it’s my thing. I’m impulsive, irrational, and reckless. I never think about the consequence of my actions or who might get hurt. This time I took a risk that changed my life forever. I can’t blame anyone but myself for the outcome.
Luke, my fiance, broke up with me today. It was my fault; I started the argument. I accused him of spending too much time with his friends. I told him he was self-centered and not worth marrying. I cussed him, threw my engagement ring at him, and stormed out. Honestly, I wanted all of his attention. I was jealous and selfish.
After the fight with Luke, I wanted to go out. I wanted to have fun. My best friend, Cass, agreed to go with me for a girls’ night out. I wanted to drink away the pain. I didn’t care where. We ended up at a sleazy bar outside of town.
So tonight I drank away a lot of pain—pain I didn’t even remember. I wanted to forget Luke and forget that I screwed up the best thing that I had in my life. Cass begged me not to leave the bar with the guy in the beat-up blue truck, but I didn’t listen. I never listened to anyone.
I want to call Cass and tell her how sorry I was for taking off without her. I yearn to hear Luke’s voice, to work things out with him. I need to call my mother and let her know I’ll be okay. I think of a thousand words I want to say to the people I love.
The old oak is ablaze with crimson and gold. There’s a crispness to autumn that ushers in thoughts of bonfires, toasted marshmallows, and hayrides. With each gust of wind, the tree reveals more of its branches. I lie on the damp, frosty ground surrounded by a blanket of fallen leaves. The sweet, musty smell of wet earth and decay drifts through the air. The clear blue-black sky holds a brilliant orange moon. I see the moon, And the moon sees me; God bless the moon, and God bless me. I gaze at the flickering stars.
Thanksgiving will be in a few weeks. My mother invariably makes too much food; we eat leftovers for a week. I want to smell the aroma of her fresh-baked rolls, homemade pumpkin pie, and sweet potato casserole. I want to play football in the yard with Luke and our friends. I want to sit in front of the fireplace with Cass and string popcorn garland for the Christmas tree.
Here I lie on the frozen ground, gazing through the naked branches of the old oak, gnarled and weathered by time. Its limbs creak under the weight of ice. The birds left weeks ago, flying away to a warmer, more welcoming place. The sky is blank and silent; gray clouds hide the stars tonight. A hazy moon tries to peak through the thick veil. I sympathize with the heavens as I lie here abandoned and empty. The biting wind drifts snow over me like a winter quilt.
I want to go Christmas shopping for the perfect gift. I want to ice skate in the park with Cass. I want to share a cup of hot cocoa with my mother and watch old movies. I want to celebrate New Year’s Eve, watching fireworks over the lake, and sharing a long, tender kiss with Luke.
With renewed vitality, the old oak awakes. Tender leaves cover its once bare limbs. A gentle shower washes away the remnants of winter. The world around me springs to life. The birds are back, making their nests in the shelter of the old tree. Here I lie on the rain-soaked ground and gaze at the blue-black sky. The moon is full and bright, alone amongst all the stars.
I want to have an afternoon picnic with Luke and stroll in the park. I want to go bike riding with Cass and have lunch at our favorite bistro. I want to spend the weekend at the lake, lounging on the dock reading a book. I want to plant spring flowers with my mother and hear her sing to me.
Moonlight streams through the thick leaves of the old oak tree. Here we are again, old friend. Ironic, you were stark and barren a few months ago now you are full and green, and I lie here nothing more than a pile of bleached bones. The old oak sways in the summer breeze. I have solace in knowing the magnificent oak will not abandon me.
I want to tell Cass what a best friend she was to me. I want to tell Luke how much I loved him and take back all the hurtful things I said to him. I want to hear my mother sing to me one last time. I want to go back to the night I left in that beat-up blue truck.
Here I lie, under the darkness of the old oak, gazing into the star-filled sky. Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight. But not all the wishes in the world could undo my fatal mistake.