After Mikey overhears his buddy, Brett, reciting nursery rhymes he antagonizes him for being the softest All Star Quarterback ever. Little did he know, Brett had a secret, and was simply trying to keep a promise which lead to questions only the universe knew the answer to.
“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight”
Was that Brett that I heard reciting nursery rhymes? It couldn’t be. I must be hearing things. I finished my trek down to the basement with my six pack in hand. Maybe I already had a few too many because now, at the bottom of the stairs, I swear I could still hear Brett.I
“I wish I may, I wish I might…”
Oh, it definitely was, and I just couldn’t help myself. “Get some ass, by the end of the night” I shouted in the midst of my laughter as I made my way to Brett who was staring out of the sliding glass door.
Brett turned and glared at me. Apparently that was not how the rhyme went.
“Way to be mature, asshole.”
“Really Brett? You’re the one singing to stars. Where is the maturity there?” I pulled out a beer and handed it off before I plopped myself on the couch in front of the TV.
“You’re always so quick to judge Mikey. Its your ultimate flaw man.”
“Aww, did I hurt your feelings? Now you have to start talking about my flaws to make yourself feel better? Dude, you’re a 22 year old, all star quarterback, who is currently being looked at for the upcoming draft.”
“So? Was there a point in that last statement?”
“The point is, you shouldn’t be singing to the fucking stars at night man.”
“Mikey, I swear, you are so damn single minded. Do you even care as to maybe WHY I was doing that.” Brett huffed and slumped onto the couch at the opposite end.
I shrugged “Because deep down your rapport for childish things turns you on? Or maybe you’re just secretly gay?”
“Because even if I were gay, that would provoke me to sing to stars? You’re full of shit Mike. How about my rapport towards my little sister?”
Brett raised an eyebrow in my direction and then turned to focus on the game. I really felt like I screwed the pooch on this one. I screw up often but it just felt different this time. I felt an ache in my chest and a severe case of guilt began to settle on my conscience. “I didn’t know you had a sister.”
He glanced back at me swiftly but I could still tell I had upset him. His eyes were bloodshot and glassy with droplets forming in the corners. “I don’t… Not anymore.”
Now I really felt like a piece of shit. I shook my head and almost teared up myself. “I’m really sorry… I…”
Brett reached out and gave me a playful punch in the arm. “Its alright. You didn’t know. I shouldn’t have been so defensive.”
We both turned our attention to the game and it became eerily quiet for the next 10 minutes until i heard Brett release a saddened sigh. “It was during the summer before I left for college when it happened.”
I could tell this was going to be the story of his sister. He didn’t have to tell me, especially after how I had acted, but I appreciated the sentiment. I could also tell this was going to need another beer. I pulled two out, handed one to Brett, and encouraged him to continue.
He nodded his head solemnly and started once again. “My sister, Tracey, had just turned 6 a month prior to finding out she had leukemia. It was extremely hard for the family to handle. The only one to stay strong was Tracey herself. It was amazing on how much life was still generating throughout her body. Nothing could ever break her spirit. Some days we even forgot she was sick. What I loved most about her though was the extreme amount of thoughtfulness that she continuously displayed for the world.”
Brett stopped for a moment, wiped his stray tears away and then took a swig of beer before finding his footing in his story.
“For a 6 year old, I always thought that was something special. My sister loved wishing on the stars but Instead of wishing for toys for herself, she always wished for others. Most times, instead of toys, she would wish for others to just be warm and happy.”
“That is something pretty special, man. ” I tried to hide my own tears that began to form but at this point it probably didn’t matter. My heart was already being lifted higher than it had ever been.
“What’s even more special is that when she became sick, that never changed.”
Brett took another drink and tried to force a smile through his saddened composure. This story was taking a toll on us both.
“When she was finally made to stay in the hospital for her last days, she still insisted on taking time for the stars. Even when she became too weak to go to them herself, She insisted I carry her and lay her upon the window. Every night I did, and every night, she never spoke once of herself. Never once did she wish she was better or that she could live longer. She wished for the world’s happiness, her family’s happiness, all before she ever uttered words about herself.”
How a little kid could possess such a strong aversion to self preservation is beyond my understanding. How any person could never stop, just once, to think of themselves is unbelievable.
“We knew when her last night had come. We could all tell how quickly she had deteriorated and there was nothing left to be done. Barely breathing and barely holding her eyes open, she asked me once again to take her to the window.”
Brett’s words were becoming shaky and hard to understand through the tears but I just leaned forward and listened harder.
“After she made her wishes for the night, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said ‘Who will wish for them when I’m gone Brett? Who will make sure everyone is okay?’. I couldn’t hide the shock that sprung across my face after she spoke those words. Her last moments and that’s what she chooses to say? I never loved that girl as much as I did in that moment. I would never want to let that little girl down, so I told her I would. I promised her I would continue to make her wishes whenever I saw the stars. The same exact way she did.”
With that, my asshole status just went through the roof. I was such a prick before, I couldn’t even stand it. I stared at Brett and then just watched him crumble. I couldn’t help but scoot closer and offer any support that I could. The second I was closer he latched on to my arm and cried on my shoulder.
“I’ll never understand why Mikey. Why that little girl, so young, was taken from this world. This world is slowly dying without people that hold the kind of compassion that she did and yet… she’s gone. The world decided to expel one of the rarest and truest souls that ever existed. No matter how much time passes, I will never get over it.”
I continued to offer my support and allowed Brett to cry as much as he needed. I patted his back and tried to keep my own tears at bay.
“I don’t understand either. It’s not fair at all. Even more so that it was your sister. I’m so sorry man.”
We both sat there and pondered life’s shitty decisions until we kind of went back into the rhythm of the game on TV.
It was best that way. Fading out a conversation that intense and full of emotion was not an easy feat. I’m not even sure that conversation will ever fade out inside of my head though.
When it came down to it, I really couldn’t understand it. It was an enigma that apparently only the universe was meant to know. It better had a damn good reason too. No one, especially someone that precious, deserves to be snuffed out before their lives had even began. She could have changed the world.
I know she changed mine