Milky Way Promises

One night, under the dazzling beauty of the Milky Way and its innumerable, twinkling stars, I made a promise to a child. Do you remember? It was behind that barn your father built, with his bare hands. There was a brisk chill in the air that night. It wasn’t so much a promise made in words, though, as it was in spirit. I am not sure either of us could describe it, really, because…well, we still can’t, not entirely, anyway.

There are, after all, no words to describe such sensory experiences, as it is something that could only be felt, like a presence, one that seemed to traverse and transcend time and space: two consciousnesses—two egos—merging together, as one. You were scared, I was scared—we were both scared, for we were children, struggling to understand this universe, as well as each other. One might attempt to describe that promise as a pact of sorts, subconscious whispers engrained into the stars, themselves. “Don’t ever leave me, okay?” I am not sure which one of us spoke to the other first, but, well, here we are, still. You kept your promise, or, perhaps I kept mine. We have always been there for one another.

Do you understand, reader? I was that child, and I have been that child ever since—this being a memory of particular significance, keeping me anchored to that child I was so long ago—14, if I correctly recall. Back then, I was so hurt, and so scared. Truthfully, I have always been scared. After having had witnessed so much fighting between my parents then, within a household wherein I seemed to be scolded and spanked for each and every little thing, held to impossible expectations—as well, the racism in school that I had begun to experience and comprehend—all I ever wanted to do, back then, was escape and be me. I did not know at the time what it meant to truly be me. Perhaps that is why I reached out to the stars that night. Nowhere, to this day, have I ever laid eyes upon a more beautiful midnight sky.

What is this world, and why are people so awful? Why will no one listen? Why does no one have the time? No one talks about the awfulness, everyone just ignores it, but I don’t understand it. It’s always felt to me to be such a tangible thing, as surely as the sky is blue, or, as it was that night, pitch-black, and full of cosmic bedazzlement. “Never lose yourself, okay? We’ll survive this together. We will survive the entire world and do great things together, you and I”, I told myself. You, or rather, I, wiped a tear from my cheek, before standing to brush the dirt off a pair of old Wrangler jeans I had been wearing. I had been sitting for hours, just gazing into the void, but I remember it began to grow cold, and I knew that I would need to go back inside before much longer.

Scarcely have I ever understood that moment, what it was, if it was, indeed, anything at all. What it is, essentially, is me having made a promise to myself, no neurological nor mystical fuckery whatsoever insinuated, here, but it was definitely something more than just significant to me. I am not exactly sure what I believed at the time, nor that whereof I have since convinced myself I felt that night, but I still claim to have felt something akin to a presence, albeit if only something constructed within my subconsciousness.

Trust me when I say that to write this sounds as ludicrous as it is likely to sound, but it is important to me, if only but a strongly made promise to myself on that starlit eve. I have never spoken of this to anyone, save for two other people, both of whom seem to have had similar experiences. Personally, I tend to think of it as just me having made a promise to my “inner-child”, one whereby I would never lose myself in my attempts to overcome the challenges of this world, as everyone else seems to do. And, with hyperthymesia (something concluded rather recently, after years of putting together pieces and patterns) being what it is and all, I most certainly have not forgotten that promise. It would have been 20 years ago, now, essentially making this a story about perseverance.

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