On one particularly lonely night, a young girl who often pictured herself as a stick-figure drawing in the world, quietly realized that her one true love in this life would always be her bed. The bed’s love was never tested by every sleepy girl who came along. The bed was loyal and warm and lovely. Each night its blanket-arms opened wide and cuddled her to sleep. Its pillows were the soft shoulders upon which she rested her head. Its scent was fresh and familiar – like the smell of your favourite flower, a fresh inhale and a familiar exhale. She could read with her bed. Or eat ice cream with her bed. Or watch television with her bed. Her bed was a wonderful listener; it kept all her secrets, dried all her tears, and lulled her to sleep just when her thoughts became too painful to bear. But on this particularly lonely night, sleep was just out of her reach. Close enough to touch, but not quite close enough to hold.

She sat up, wrapped her arms around her skinny legs and leaned her head against a nearby window. She looked up at the stars and was so taken by their playful beauty that she felt a curious desire to count them. She somehow believed that by counting them, she could claim a small kind of ownership over them. She knew that this made very little sense. Even the night sky doesn’t own the stars. When one star ricochets away with a twinkle in its eye, the sky may be lucky enough to quickly gather its stardust to remember it by. But she began counting anyway, hoping that maybe she could have just one tiny star for each night she had shared with the bed, each night that it had cradled her like the sweetest lover a tired girl could ever know.

She counted one star for the night her heart was broken by a boy who replaced her as swiftly as she would have replaced a jar of peanut butter. A second star for the night she reflected on her poor grades and felt unworthy of her parents’ love and money. A fifth star for the night her heart ached for the backyard swing set of her childhood. A twelfth star for the night she closed her eyes, clasped her hands and prayed for the first time. A thirty-fourth star for the night that she fell asleep reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and woke with her cheek pressed against the page where Arthur finds out that the Earth is a supercomputer that discovers that the Answer to Life is 42. She remembers that she took this as some kind of sign, a friendly wave and knowing smile from the universe.

With that, the young girl suddenly realized that she had lost count of her beloved stars and had to start over.

By: Bahar Orang

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