“Mum, why do stars exist?”


“Well, they help you find your path and your dreams in life. If you follow the stars, you can achieve anything.”



Why didn’t the stars help me then?


The guilt rises like bile in my throat, as I find myself deeper and deeper in the depths of despair. 


What is the meaning of this? The unbearable weight of my past mistakes crush my back, unfulfilled dreams settle at the nape of my neck like a nagging migraine.


I find myself at the side of a bridge, and I look down into the dark abyss below me. What am I doing here? I have always been afraid of heights, right now is no different. My head begins to spin and my hands start to sweat- I shouldn’t be doing this. There’s that constant headache haunting me again, I have dreams to fulfil, mistakes to correct. I still have things to do.


I take a few steps forward, shaking my head. I still hold on to false hope; one of my greatest weaknesses. This is where it should end. Raising my head, I am met with a dark night sky and the stars blinking at me in derision. 


Anger bubbles within me, like a fire raging on a dry summer’s day. Who am I to blame? The stars? My mother for lying to me all those years ago? Or myself, for foolishly believing it all? 


Where on earth did it go wrong?


For all these years, I had tried so hard to achieve, had always stayed on the right path, had always looked to the stars when I needed help. 


I grip the cool, lifeless metal of the bridge’s cable wire, instantly transporting me back to the final memory I have of my mother.


“I’m back!” I yell as I run into the hospital room, a bright smile plastered on my face. 

“Welcome back, dear” her voice faint, life slowly dimming away.

I place the plastic bag on her bedside table, making her smile sadly with the last of her strength. 


She knows.

“Your exams didn’t go well, did they?”

“No. I won’t be able to graduate.” I sit down beside her, my smile gone and replaced with a face of shame. She takes one of my hands in hers. 

“It’s okay, sweetie. As long as you keep trying, you can make it. Do you remember what I used to say?”

I smile. Mum had always loved the stars; she always has. “I do.”

She gently nods, a soft smile gracing her face .“I’m dying sweetheart, and I won’t always be here to help you. But for now while I can share these wise words with you, you must listen. Always put them to use during the moments where life seems impossible. Promise me. You’re my strong beautiful girl and nothing will ever change that. Now, what have you brought for me today?”



“Mum, I’m here! I brought your favourite cheesecake!” I walk into the room with a skip in my step and whistling a tune in between my lips- I’m cut short by a series of white coats rushing around the room. My legs fall limp; I crumble to the floor. This is when I see her.


My mother lies on the floor. I crawl toward her, tears rolling down my cheeks, leaving a trail of tears smeared across the tiles. Her skin is cold to the touch, the last of the rosy hue drained from her lips and cheeks. 


I read on the paper before me: Time of death, 3:41 pm.

“Since you are over the age of eighteen you are free to choose whether you’d like to be in foster care or otherwise. Love, I advise you to stay with some relatives to help you along this hard time. We also offer counselling and other services right here on site at the hospital, they will help you through seeing your mother in, well, the state you last saw her in. Golly, aren’t I rambling sweetheart? Here is the pamphlet with all the details darli-,” I stand up and leave.


I look at the stars once more. Their mockery is now mixed with a tinge of sympathy. Tears stream down my face as I glare at once used to be the glow that guided me and gave me the will to live. 

A single star glows brighter than the rest.

“It’s been nice knowing you.” My voice drips with venom and sarcasm. Hatred fills my body. I guess I blame the stars.


I move closer to the edge of the bridge.


Darkness encloses around me, as if I’m in the night sky.


Written by Samadhi Samarathunga and edited by Nethra Tenakoon. Published on 23/7/23. Header image by Jessie Zhang.

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1 Comment

  1. I love the artwork on this piece!

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