His classmates and friends had a lot of speculations on why he suddenly quit college. Some of them said it was because he got his girlfriend pregnant or that he couldn’t handle the pressure anymore, while others spread rumors about him getting addicted to smoking pot, playing video games or something else entirely. No one was sure. What they just remembered that day was how he threw his things from his desk and walked out the room during astrophysics, leaving their professor wide in shock. He never came back to school since that day. No one guessed that it was just because of something he had read in a science textbook.
During his interview, he talked without any pause, about how he loves stars. And when the announcement had been made, after passing the exam and seeing his name on the list, he couldn’t quite explain how blessed he felt. He was one of those poor boys chosen by the congregation of religious brothers to enter college. He was even granted to study abroad because no university in the country offered full courses in astronomy. That night before his flight, he just stared at the stars like it was the place he’ll set foot on.
He ran swiftly up the steep stairs like it was the easiest thing to do. As the clock struck at 4 AM, he started ringing the church bells—signaling the first mass of the day. He then leaned on the window and watched till the last seconds of dawn, when all the stars were slowly dominated by the sunlight.
It was his first time in the tower of church bells. A kind seminarian took him to see the sun rise. While waiting, he took pleasure watching the stars just being casually beautiful. Does the sun have to rise? He almost asked, if only he wasn’t too young to mouth the words.
And he kept on watching as if he was stuck in this moment—when the sun won’t have to rise, when he won’t have to leave that tower of church bells, and when he won’t have to know actual facts about those glimmering stars at night—about how some of them were just corpses of light that traveled long ago; of memories beautifully sorted into constellations.
Art by Sheka Ignaco