From the second we first look up in the night sky, we are fascinated with the stars, with the moon, with every visible celestial body. It has always been this way, and will likely be this way until humanity is wiped out by an apocalyptic catastrophe. The night sky will remain, neutral, unwavering, and beautiful long after we are no more.
The youngest stars visible to us are millions of years older than we and will live for billions once we're gone.
Stars may be born, they may change in appearance, they may waver as they age, they may die before I do, but there will always be so many more to observe, and such a distance between us, that I may never be lucky enough to perceive these phenomena firsthand.
As a result, I must assume that stars are flawlessly ageless, that they have always and will always be all around us, watching us. I must assume that each one will forever have an impact and a place in our lives.
That my love for the stars will always remain and that it will go untested because of their perceived immortality.
Yet, there are nights, when the clouds overtake the sky, or when the light pollution builds too great, or when the weather combats our ability to be outside, that the stars feel as if they've abandoned us.
Sometimes these nights feel like a disaster as if our childhood security blanket has just been ripped away from us by a middle school bully who knows exactly how to tear us apart.
There are times when this lasts for a week or more at a time.
Times when we feel absolutely lost because we haven't seen the stars, because maybe we've forgotten what they look like. It feels like we've been ghosted by the only consistent lover we've ever known. It feels like desolation in its most intense form.
We run through the stages of grief. We always get caught up on denial, because there's so much evidence to suggest that the stars will never be gone, will never abandon us, will never disappear, will not be around.
And we are right, of course, but our minds disagree, our instincts could never be as powerful as the anxieties of being deserted are. So despite our animal brains telling our emotional human ones that they're wrong, we stop denying.
We again get caught up, this time on anger. Anger is the easiest stage of the grieving process, anyway, so much can keep us enraged if we choose to let it that we never have to process the underlying root of our anger: loss.
So instead we get angry at the weather, at those around us, at anything we can latch onto and be angry about until it consumes us.
We are right to be angry at the weather, though. The weather is usually the cause of the obstructions, of the clouds and fog and storms keeping us away from our heavenly lovers.
But our anger is misplaced because the weather is not a thing that can be controlled. We must keep the faith that all will return to still, calm, and clear.
Whether that clarity comes in bone-chilling temperatures, or in brain-melting ones, whether it's possible to comfortably enjoy the revelation of our lovers' bodies again, we must remember that true love always finds a way and that this is only a temporary obstacle between us.
So we finally extinguish our raging flame, and we take another step towards processing our loss.
We bargain, we beg any deity, any social construct, anything we can place faith in, that we are reunited. We promise to change so much about our individual selves, we claim we will make a change to humanity as a whole, if only we can rid the night sky of this shroud that coats it, of the shadows that obstruct our view.
We don't mean these things, we don't have the power to, but in these desperate moments, we really are willing to try everything we can to make them come true if it allows us reunion even for just one night.
But no matter how we beg, no matter how desperate we get or how much we offer up, the atmosphere of our planet continues to betray us. Bargaining is a leap of faith, and it has never been one that got positive results. Why should we have expected differently this time?
We float aimlessly along, buried deep into the fourth step of the grieving process: Depression. Not clinical depression, but situational. Depression caused by a deep longing, a deep hurt, an overwhelming of our emotional processes, until all that remains within our lives is pointlessness and numbness.
Sometimes, we get lucky, and we feel again, as we jump back into the anger that filled our days before, though never as intense, with much less passion behind it. We manage to survive, only by doing the bare minimum to keep ourselves alive.
We lose hope, we stop going outside at night, we stop searching for a glimpse, we rely solely on forecasts to tell us if it's worth it if there's an ounce of hope in the world that we'll be able to see what we need again.
We remain this way for what feels like an eternity, until one day, we've processed it all. We've confronted ourselves. We've realized we'll never see the night sky again, and we accept that.
It still hurts, daily, but we start to finally work through it.
But then they return, and we fall back in love. We're reminded why we need the stars. Why being without them made us go through so much pain. Every breath under them fills us with butterflies, every new star that pops out as the night carries on makes our bodies electric.
We remember our passions. We remember our feelings. We can navigate once more, we can feel a sense of purpose in our lives.
We play this game, dancing in and out of a deep infatuation with these glorious, inanimate beings, over and over again. And it hurts just as fresh every time. It hurts worse, even.
But the payoff, when we are finally reunited, is more than any person could ever dream. We suffer for our love, but it's a marvelous ache.
Love, without the ache of desolation and the fears of being lost, unappreciated, and abandoned to contrast it, loses so much of its power.
But love, in all of its forms, is worth feeling, no matter the cost.