“We are all forms of energy in the cosmos existing in space and time. You, my child are a star and someday, you will light up the world”. A woman who wasn't exactly my mother in my dreams would say to me. She would gently stroke my hair with so much affection. There was a certain radiance about her I couldn't fathom.
I sat by my window watching the bright sky. Girls of my age always gathered in groups around the neighborhood by this time to chit-chat. I had grown tired of asking my mother why she never let me join them. It was like she was afraid of something in the dark.
Our community was a small one where everyone knew each other. It was easy to spot visitors around. Everyone was very civil and law-abiding. Apart from the holidays, nothing spectacular happened. I had a pretty much normal life with very loving and concerned parents. I just failed to understand what worried them so much. There wasn't any imminent danger even a decade away.
My parents gave me more than I ever needed. I was their only child and I never failed to make them proud of me. However, I could always sense fear and strong concern lingering no matter how much they tried to hide it. I knew they were hiding something from me.
“You know, you are my greatest gift in life. When I prayed to the lord for a child, he gave you to me. Nothing could have been more perfect. You are my world and nothing will take you away from me. Nothing! But whatever happens, know that your father and I will always love you.”
My mother’s voice startled me a little as I shifted my gaze from the sky to her. I didn't hear her come in. She walked up to me and cupped my face in her soft palms. I could see beyond her almond eyes. There was also something beyond pain down there.
“Why do you always speak like that? I'm here with you and I'm not going anywhere”. I held her hands and kissed them.
“Listen honey, take this. If you ever find yourself in danger, use it. It is for your protection”. She handed me a star-shaped silver crystal as tears formed in her eyes. “Shh...just take it. Think of it as an early birthday gift. I can't believe you are turning sixteen already”.
I took the crystal from her obediently. Two days later, I was aroused by the usual dream I had almost every night. The dream had become even more frequent.
I looked through my window. The stars were shining brightly tonight especially. Instantly, I felt a very strong desire to be out there, to feel the gleam on my skin and just be at peace in the dead of night. It was something I always longed for. But tonight, the feeling was even stronger and more compelling.
Without any hesitation, I took the crystal my mother gave me and sneaked out through the window. Outside was chill and a little eerie. I felt like I needed the experience. I had never been out at night let alone 2 am.
I noticed the crystal my mother gave was glittering so bright. The sky also shone so brightly, it was like the stars were dancing. I felt a tingling sensation. I was amazed at first but soon my amusement turned into fright as the stars seemed to be colliding towards me. Hundreds of them and I couldn't believe my eyes.
Everything happened so quickly and within only seconds, the constellation had materialized into several dust particles and again reshaped into human form.
Right before me was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. He was dressed in an attire I couldn't recognize. Everything about him glimmered and exuded so much confidence. He had skin like silk. His eyes were so white as snow. He stood tall and firm with such physique, out of this world. His full lips curved into the most beautiful smile.
“It is time Zoya! Time to take your place in the cosmos, my child. Your mother, brothers and sisters await you”. He extended his hands towards me.
“Don’t come any closer” I said pointing my crystal towards him in a bid to protect myself.
“Stop this madness immediately! Mortals do not cease to amaze me. Hera, your earthly mother gave you that? To protect you from me?” He laughed hysterically.
“You think that would stop me? I am Light and everything bright. I am Lahl, the god of light and you are just like them, my child”. He gestured towards the stars in the sky.“You are because I am”.
“When Hera came to me desperate for a child, the pact was to let you go before your sixteenth. She knew it would be short-lived and this day will come. Still, she agreed because mortals will always be mortals. Selfish and foolish!” He announced. “I am here to take you home.”
With the speed of light, he wrapped his hands around me and together we started to ascend. I thought of the woman in my dreams and what she always said to me. “ We are all forms of energy in the cosmos exciting in space and time. You my child are a star and someday, you will light up the world”.
“That is leyah, your mother,” he whispered to me as if reading my thoughts. As we ascended, I looked down at our house. I felt a mixture of emotions thinking about my poor parents. “I wished they had told me”.
The stars seemed to be dancing again. “Your brothers and sisters welcome you”. He whispered once more.
Slowly I felt my body spiral into a million stars and back to one bright twinkling star. Like that, I took my place amongst the stars in the sky. I can only hope now that my mortal parents will look up to the sky and recognize my shine as I watch over them.