He’s quiet, and the silence makes me uncomfortable. I’m eyeing him, but he’s gazing straight ahead. Finally, he leans back, takes in the sky, and sighs with what sounds like contentment.
“Look up.” He says, without looking at me. I don’t. After a moment, he glances over. “Look up,” he says again. I oblige and try not to be awed by what’s before me. As my eyes adjust, I realize I’ve probably never seen so many stars in my life. Incredible barely describes it. “What do you think, when you look up at that?”
“Huh?” I whisper.
“What do you think?” I can feel Rajeev’s eyes on me as he asks the question, and then sense when he turns back to the sky.
“I don’t know,” I say, “that it’s really beautiful?”
“Anything else?” he asks, a smile in his voice.
“I don’t know.” I continue to look up. Amazed. “I don’t know.”
“Do you know much about the stars?”
“It takes years for the light from even the closest star to reach us—with the exception of the sun, of course. For some of the stars we’re seeing, the light could have been travelling to us for millions of years.”
“Well,” he laughs, “yeah, if you believe the world is that old. So the thing is, we’re not really seeing the stars as they are at all. Some of them may not even exist anymore. They may have burned up long before we were born. So, when we see them, it’s like we’re looking into the past.”
“Sometimes it’s like that in life too, we look into a past that no longer exists, looking as if it’s real. We hold onto things in our life that there’s no reason to hold onto anymore, because unlike the stars, they don’t bring us beauty, they bring us pain.”
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