Glow-in-the-Dark Stars


“And everyone is smiling for me. No one’s crying. Everything is black but not in a scary way.” Photo used with permission from Leilani Gibbons.

Ashton Bruce, Staff Writer

My room is covered in glow-in-the-dark stars, and when I get scared of dying, I imagine myself being absorbed into a black hole and refuting existence. I imagine my body combusting into stardust so that I can disperse into space. I imagine myself compressing the folds of my body into an orb of gaseous heat and twinkling millions of miles away from the life I am living now.

No matter what, I would ascend into outer space, and people would not mind because they would know I was where I always wanted to be: amongst the stars, beside Pluto, in a pit of something we know a very small percentage about.

And sometimes the plaguing thought strikes me when I am most off-guard. Sometimes, when I am at my happiest, the reminder that this is all temporary hits me. And when I’m at my saddest, I remember again that this is all temporary.

And I like the feeling of grass.

And when I look up at the sky and remember that, maybe, when I die, I will go to outer space, I wonder if I would rather be out there than in here. I wonder if I would rather be consumed by the earth, sinking into the soft soil like thick winter blankets, with a tree growing from my heart and tinier daisies in between my toes, the roots tangling through my ribs. I would be so many lives at once, and I would provide so much.

Would I rather be cherished for my beauty and worth on earth or explore the unknown in death?

I don’t know.

Sometimes, I get anxious about whether or not I turned off the faucet for my bathtub.

And I think about what would happen if I slept right through the water flooding through my house and drowned. And I wonder about, what if, maybe, I woke up. My eyes wouldn’t burn from the water, my hair flowing in a way that was mystical and unreal, and I would walk as though there wasn’t any water at all. I would watch fish swim by me, and I would breathe perfectly fine.

And I have never been to the beach, so I think about dying on the shoreline. And I think about my skin disintegrating into sand, the waves nipping at my hair and salting the tender threads, and I sink into the damp soil and the ocean consumes me until I am a part of it.

But I have spent my entire life around the forest, and I wonder if my bones would turn into leaves as I sink into the soft earth. Moss would grow over me. I would be there for years, and I would become the forest. My voice would tinge the wind, and my blood would be the soil.

I, truthfully, cannot imagine myself lying dead in a coffin with people crying over me.

When I imagine myself dead, I imagine myself standing at the end of time, a part of the world, smiling. I’ve made it.

And everyone is smiling for me. No one’s crying.

Everything is black but not in a scary way.

I am eternal, in the earth.