Stars bloom from the rich, blue velvet that blankets our night sky. Like seedlings, they grow and bloom into flowers. So beautiful, so bright, so full of life… Stars are the diamonds of the sky.
The trek to the grave under the tree on top of Taylor Hill is a long one, many loose pebbles and small tufts of grass dotted with the dew of the cold night try to trip me, but I persist forwards, until I’m standing under the tree, leaning against its sturdy trunk, gazing at my mother’s grave.
My eyes travel up to the midnight sky once more and the stars continue to bloom. I remember watching them bloom when I was younger. Watching them grow into beautiful, blooming flowers. Diamonds in their petals, light in their stalks. I remember watching them bloom on that night so many years ago, on that night when I sat with my mother and asked her the story of the moon.
“Mama, tell me the story of the moon.” I’d whispered, my voice was tired from the day, my body weighted down under layers of blankets. I smiled impishly and my mother’s kind eyes searched my small face.
“The story of the moon,” she sighed, curling up next to me on my bed and running her fingers through my hair. I nuzzled into the crook of her elbow and she ran the back of her hand softly up and down my back. Her blonde hair shone like a halo. Angeline Thomas. ‘Angel’ was literally in her name. She was an angel. Her pale skin always slightly flushed, with pinkness blooming like roses in her cheeks. Her forest green eyes warm and kind. Everything about her was angelic, from her thin, flawless frame to her sweet, good-as-gold personality.
“La lune.” She said softly. I followed her gaze to my window, the curtains were parted and the window was wide open. A cool breeze blew throughout the room, making the curtains dance in the moonlight. The midnight blue sky was sprinkled with thousands of stars, like a bag of glitter spilt on a dark blue blanket. The full moon stood proudly in the centre of the deep blue sky, shining brighter than all the stars combined.
“The moon.” I whispered, translating the french phrase my mother had said. She smiled at this.
“The moon.” She repeated, staring gently into my eyes, the corners of her pink lips curved in a small smile. “La lune. You were named after her, Luna. La lune, Luna.”
A small burst of laughter escaped from my mouth. “Luna lune!” I said, cuddling into my mother’s frame.
She smiled. “Yes, indeed.”
We gazed out at the moon for a while before she continued. Her voice, soft and melodic, like honey. She even sounded like an angel.
“La lune's birth was an accident, yet it was extraordinary all the same.” My mother said as she rested her hand on the top of my head. “All stars are birthed from a seed, a seed that the fairy’s plant in the sky. The seed is tiny, no bigger than the size of a grain of sand. But when it blooms,” she let out a small gasp at this, her eyes fluttered closed as she thought of the seed in the sky. I closed my eyes too and imagined the seed blooming into a star. “When the seed blooms… the sight is truly magnifique! The seed unravels and expands, like a flower when it is opening its petals to greet the sun for the very first time. It is as though the petals of the seed fold out and a new light, a beautiful, young light shines from its centre, and this light is projected all the way down to Earth.”
I imagined the light of the newly bloomed star, shining down on me all the way from space. I smiled and kept listening to my mother tell the story.
“Now, la lune’s birth was a bit different.” My mother began again, her eyes opened and she looked at me smiling. “Legend says that one seed the fairies planted in the sky was brighter, far brighter than all the rest. They say it was a fair bit bigger too. And heavier! They say that it took four fairies to plant this seed. And then…” she held her hand over her mouth as she let out a soft gasp and then sighed; she seemed to be lost in a memory, as though she too was there watching as la lune was born. “As soon as the seed touched the sky, the very second it left the fairies' hands, they say a beacon of light erupted in the sky. A beacon so bright and full that it could be seen from all of the other planets in space. They say that its light was the most beautiful light they’d ever seen. It was so beautiful, too beautiful. They simply could not look away.”
I closed my eyes tightly again and saw the beacon of light shining out in space. My mother removed her hand from the top of my head and placed it around my waist, scooping me up until I was curled in a ball, leaning against her chest, listening to the steady rhythm of her heart.
“What next, mama?” I asked, my voice barely audible. I was starting to feel the pulls of sleep, but I opened my eyes and focused them on the moon outside my window.
“Once the light of the beacon had faded, the fairies saw that right in the centre of the beacon was an énorme star, a star so big and round and… and glorious that they thought it a shame to only call it a star.” My mother sighed, placing me back under the covers of my bed and slowly standing up. She leant down and swept stray strands of my hair behind my ears with a single, swift movement. I tried in vain to stifle a yawn building inside of me, but it was useless and it came out anyway. My eyes felt heavier than all of the mass on Earth and I slowly felt them closing. Gravity and sleep winning.
“La lune,” she said. “That is what they called the beautiful star birthed from the sky. La lune.”
“La lune.” I yawned, brushing my hand over my mouth to try and hide my third yawn.
My mother bent down and kissed the centre of my forehead, so softly and lightly that her lips barely brushed my skin. Like a flutter of fairy wings against my forehead.
“Goodnight Luna,” My mother said. “De beaux rêves, mon amour.”
Just before I let sleep pull me under, I looked out the window one more time to see la lune and all her stars in the night sky.
Daisies were my mother’s favourite; and it is on the night of what would be her forty-fourth birthday that I plant them on her grave with a silent kiss.
My mother used to say that daisies were the fairies favourite too; and that whenever they came to Earth, they would dance in fields and fields of daisies. She said it was because they were the flowers that the fairies thought stars looked the most like. Not a rose or a tulip, nor a daffodil or dandelion. But a daisy.
So, at midnight on the 31st of July, as dawn slowly turns to dusk, I return my gaze to the stars and say a quiet prayer for my mother who I’m certain will be sitting amongst the fairies. Watching over me every step of the way.
And then maybe… Maybe, for it could have just as easily been my imagination, as I look up into the star spotted sky and I could have sworn that I saw her wave.