A crippled young girl found her inspiration to keep living from some forces of nature.
| Tonight, the sky is lit with the brilliancy of thousands of stars. In my younger years, people would often say that if you’d wish upon a shooting star, that wish would come true. But tonight, there will be not only one shooting star, but hundreds of them, as the Leonid meteor shower will make its spectacular show. Can I make hundreds of wishes tonight?
I could be a lawyer, a doctor, an astronaut, a travel photographer, an engineer, an industrialist, a scientist, or anything that anyone wants to become. But I can never be one of them. Not anymore. Wishes made on the stars are mere fantasy. Childhood fantasy. All those things that I would like to become will remain dreams now, their fulfillment forever denied to me. If only a person could make one wish for a lifetime, I’d wish I wouldn’t be sitting on this wheelchair and be stuck on it for the rest of my life.
Five months ago, all I wanted was for death to take me to its realm, so that I would no longer go through all the bitterness so prevalent in this world. I couldn’t accept the fact that I’ve been crippled for life, especially for one so young, like me. I haven’t lived my life yet but I felt that there was nothing to life then, with practically nothing to do but sit, eat, sleep and brood over my misfortune. Sometimes the agony became almost unbearable, and I prayed for endless sleep, which never came.
It was really hard for me to accept my plight, considering what I used to be. I had been a highly-spirited person, with wonderful dreams to reach. I could be any or a few of those mentioned at the onset of my story, maybe a lawyer-astronaut. I’ve loved the excitement of the courtroom and the adventure of an investigation, and I’d be happy to set an innocent client off the hook. Or I could be in my spaceship, slicing my way across the vast space toward the moon, or even to Mars. Or maybe if technology would make it, I could cross the Milky Way, and glide along as far as Andromeda Galaxy. Like in Cosmos, a movie where Jodie Foster went to the center of the galaxy and saw Vega up close. Of course that’s fiction, but it’s smart to have such high imagination since it will propel my determination to reach a goal. And while I’d be doing my professions, I’d travel a lot. I’d love to see the ruins of the ancient world, the dazzle of the big cities in the world, and most of all, the wonder of the natural world. I’d climb the Himalayas and the Rockies. I’d go skiing in Switzerland, sailing and scuba-diving in the Cayman Islands, surfing in Hawaii or Malibu.... Oh the many things I’d love to do! How exciting my life would be!
A life that has gone awry; a life that has gone dry. Ever since the car crash that sent me to this stygian life. There was nothing more to live for. All great goals gone. No more dreams to dream. All was plain darkness, and I was a miserable creature, heaped among the useless flotsams of this world.
For over a month since I got out of the hospital, everyone tried to comfort me and cheer me up but I was inconsolable. I couldn’t accept my lot, couldn’t let go of my goals, which were too wonderful to just let them vanish into thin air. I couldn’t even stroll now or run along a tract of grassland dotted with wildflowers, or walk along the beach, let alone swim, which I loved to do. My optimism deserted me. Even death refused me. The only thing left for me to do was confine myself alone within the four walls of my bedroom, staring at nothing, thinking of nothing, at times, pitying and hating myself alternately. My own life became oblivion. My mother would bring me foods that were barely touched. Greeting cards and bouquets were left lying on my study table. Nothing could take me out of my cocoon of darkness.
One day, as I was dozing off in my chair, I was startled by the sudden peals of thunder. I turned my head toward the window, and for a while, I just stared at the rain. And then I wheeled my chair so as to look outside. The rain was pounding hard, and I opened the window to feel it just as I used to do. A chilly wind rushed toward me, and it cut though me. It seemed like an electric shock, which activated my nerves that had become dormant since my infirmity. It also brought back memories of past inspirations - those colorful flowers, the verdant trees and grasses, the lofty mountains which I used to paint in my memory and some on papers and canvasses. That day set me alive. I began to rove my eyes all over the room and saw things in color. The bouquet of flowers was neatly arranged in the vase, thanks to my mother who never gave up on me. I read the cards all over again, and they cheered me up. I ran my fingers through a pile of my magazine collections and I slipped out an issue of Astronomy, a magazine I had been subscribing. That was the time when I read of the oncoming celestial panorama, which I’ve eagerly waited throughout those cold rainy months.
Now, as I’m waiting for the meteor shower, my eyes are caught by the scene before me, and I can make out the hazy blue-violet outline of the trees nearby and the mountains beyond. Running my eyes a little higher, I can see those stars set on the velvety darkness of space, twinkling for me. In a few moments now and the shower will come. I can already feel the stardust dancing around me and whispering, “Cheer up! All is not lost. You can still do a lot of things.”
Why, sure, I can do a lot of things. I can still be a painter, or a writer. I may not become an astronaut but I can be a backyard astronomer. And I can travel. Vicariously. Through books, magazines and online travelogues. I can still see the world and satisfy my fascination on a lot of things. I’m not useless after all. In fact, I may be able to contribute for the advancement of humanity.
While I’m thus reflecting, flashes of light begin to appear above. Lifting my eyes, I can see several stars shooting out into the space in every direction. The Leonid meteor shower! At long last! In an hour or two, I may be able to see hundreds of shooting stars. What an opportunity to make wishes. But again, that’s fairy tale. Besides, I don’t have to make wishes anymore because I know that Someone up there looks after me and is giving me the strength I need to go on living and enjoying my life. Right now, I can see his loving care as I watch that one celestial masterpiece which I believe to be the work of his own hand and giving inspiration to a lost soul. And I know that long after that, the whispers of the stardust will keep on echoing in my ears for as long as I live.