1. The stars are the greatest liars to ever exist.
2. They will always remind you of him.
3. Your obsession starts when your cousin gets a telescope. He wants to be an astronaut. He shows you Orion. The two of you sit in the long summer grass with your necks tilted back and he tells you about flight and velocity, but all you know is gravity. The way it drags your limbs low. You listen and stare over the treeline and wonder why people are always trying to explain things instead of just letting them exist.
4. You buy a box of glow-in-the-dark star stickers. There are sheets, and there are thousands. You use an encyclopedia to look up star maps and painstakingly recreate the winter night sky in the northern hemisphere. Your fingers bleed from the pointy corners sticking under your nails but on stormy nights at least you still have the stars.
5. You learn about horoscopes, try to find your zodiac so you can know your future. But you are born on a cusp. Sagittarius and Capricorn. So now you have to read both, look at both, pick and choose what it is that you want to be. Maybe that is better. It is probably best that you don’t know what will happen to you.
6. You check your maps and find them in the sky—the centaur-archer, the fish-goat. You prefer Orion, straddling a galaxy, constant and unwavering.
7. Then you meet him. You start pushing out the screen of your second floor bedroom window at night, balancing on the sill and bracing yourself against the steep angle of the roof. You think: they can see him. If you whisper your love to the stars, he will feel it. Once you try to crawl out, to get closer, and you slip down the hot roof tiles and crash onto the flagstones below. That should be your sign, not the fact that one of your zodiacs is compatible with his.
8. You fly two thousand miles to meet him, for the first and thousandth time. You walk the streets and end up near the water, look across the black towards the Statue of Liberty and realize: there are no stars.
9. At 3AM you empty the minibar while sitting on top of the air-conditioner of your eighteenth floor hotel room and make constellations from the lights in the windows. Look, there’s Orion.
10. You stumble back to the bayous and slumber in the bottom of a whiskey bottle. You wake up and tattoo veritas on your wrist. You considered vici, but you’ve conquered nothing. You simply stood at the top of the hill and watched the boulder as it rolled down, knowing that you have to begin pushing it again and that, at least, is something you can rely on.
11. You realize that you always carefully avoided the fact that the light from stars takes billions of years to reach you. They are probably already gone.
12. The hardest truth you learn is that his love was like the stars: you could believe that it was alive, but it probably never existed at all.