Star Girl

Star Girl

They call her star girl. I call her Emmeryn. She’s my little sister, and a connector between this world and another. A magic world. 

“Have you ever met Titania, Edward?” 

“Have I ever… who?” 

Emmeryn giggled.  

“She wants me to come live with her,” she whispered. 

“Titania? As in Shakespeare’s Titania?” 

“Shakespeare was like me. They told me so.” 

Before I could ask her who, she ran away. Skipping. Tiny sparkles of light falling out of her dark hair. It reminded me of constellations. 

I took Emmeryn to the park. It’s usually very quiet despite only being a few miles outside of London. That’s good, because my sister is odd.  

I used to try and stop her from gazing at nothing with round eyes and hands carefully folding to capture the empty air in a gentle cage. But it was no use. Then she would whisper something, and her hair would start to leak stars. 

The old lady and I watched. 

“How can you be so ordinary when your sister is such a little star girl?” 

She meant no harm. I smiled as she laughed. The old lady then told me about her deceased husband, about him being buried at the church three miles down the road, about her children who are always busy.  

And I would listen, keeping one eye on the dancing Emmeryn. 

“Aren’t they pretty?” She would ask on the way home. 


“The ariels.” 


Then she would laugh and twirl. 

I would have figured that a child with such a spirit, with enough passion that light escapes her eyes and her hair, would be very strong, but Emmeryn has always been weak. Her body always feels feverish like the fire inside was burning everything else up. When she turned seven, she began sleeping two days at a time. 

“Like your mother,” the doctor said, touching the forehead of the child. Then he looked at his hand, twinkling with stardust. “And I thought she was young when they took her.” 

“But Emmeryn is only seven.” 

“I know… Ah, so strange. It won’t be long before she sheds this mortal shell.” 

“You mean she dies.” 

He took my shoulder and looked back and forth between my eyes, like he was searching for the reason why I was normal, why was human. 

“Do things really die? Or do they become something different?” he asked. 

“They die.”  

I sat down and watched my sister. I could feel the doctor watching the back of my head for a little while, then the air changed. It blew in and around the little room, stirring up the stars in Emmeryn’s hair. I resisted the urge to turn around until the wind stopped. When I did, the doctor was gone. 

A star creature, a human with a touch of fae. Not a sorcerer who could mix science and magic, or a mage who could harness the magic of other creatures. But a star person, someone who created magic inside of them, a fairy kind of magic, beloved by all the fae, hunted by magic-seekers, short-lived because their human body could not hold up to the strain of their magic spirit. 

When Emmeryn died, she would turn to star dust. Her spirit would be carried to another world, and I would never see her again. Because I did not even possess the Sight. 

But, it would almost come as a relief. I’ve looked after Emmeryn since she was born. I never knew my father, and I never knew hers. And our mother – or the woman who claimed to be my mother as well – disappeared when Emmeryn was born. Turned to dust. And I, a ten-year-old kid, spent my life from that time forward looking after Emmeryn. When Emmeryn was gone, I would have my own life. 

Did that make me a bad person? 

I ran my fingers through Emmeryn’s hair then stared at the tiny stars. They faded into my skin. 

I whispered her name several times, then brushed her hair. Then watched these stars disappear. It was no use. She was somewhere else. I laid my head down and closed my eyes. 

When I woke up, she was gone. 

Photo by Annie Spratt


Magic Silence

Magic Silence

I think silence is such a pretty sound. Not the sound of nothing, like when you are absolutely alone and nothing is around. I mean the sound of your mind when you are sitting quietly. Content. Maybe people in the background are talking. Perhaps a TV is on. Maybe birds are chirping or rain is falling. But there is a peacefulness in your soul.  

I have not felt that in a long time. 

I work with kids. Sad kids, needy kids, rude kids, kids who will smile and joke and make the entire class laugh all while avoiding direct eye contact with anyone. Kids who wear a mask over their numbed pain. Kids who use memes and other stupid things to hide the shining desperation in their eyes. They smile so wide that it hurts, it screams. “See me! See me! Please just see me!” all without saying a word. Their insides are charred and broken from unseen wars. 

These kids are too young for this.  

I want to carry them with me to a forest or a field and have us all close our eyes and breathe fresh air and appreciate our beautiful existence.  

I want them to feel that silence. It can cure, almost like magic. 

My kids would laugh. A bitter and sad sound to mock my foolish ideas because magic doesn’t exist. Fairytales and happy endings don’t exist. But they don’t know that fairytales helped me reach adulthood. 

So instead, I play violin music, and touch their shoulder, and tell them they are special. It’s like giving a lollipop to a kid in a war-ravaged country, but have you ever seen their eyes? The way they light up like I could somehow guarantee them lifelong happiness? It would curl the corners of your soul. 

That silence holds so many things with it. Like love. 

I used to never think about love. Never thought it applied to me.  

I’ll never forget when a guy mentioned that he would like to marry me, though he would never be able to sleep with me or even kiss me because we weren’t that type of love. I couldn’t even feel love. The way he’d said it too. So casual. Not a trace of anger or mocking in his words. He had meant them, and he believed them.  

You’re not capable of feeling love, he said. 

I think about that often.  

Am I a psychopath? What am I? I love my family. I love my kids. Never a boyfriend. Never a first kiss.  

I had a crush on a boy once with gorgeous dark hair and pale eyes. Why? There wasn’t a reason, but I was convinced that he was good. Even when he wasn’t. He never spoke to me, but was just another self-obsessed individual trying to survive, searching for someone to help frame his picture of himself. He is normal. 

But in my silence, when I am content and happy, I think myself in love. With what? Not myself and certainly not another person. 

Would I be okay without the people I love?  

Yes, I think so.  

There is a man I think I love. I know he loves me because of his eyes. The way he smiles. It makes me uncomfortable to think of someone being in love with me, opening doors for me, buying me cans of chicken soup when I’m sick, and reading my stories and telling me they’re good even when they’re not.  

Why does it make me uncomfortable? Because I can’t feel love? Because if something were to happen to him I think I would be okay?  

So many people want this. I guess I can understand that. It’s nice.  

Is it because I am able to hypnotize myself into this silent, content state? Where nothing outside the walls of my mind can affect me? And I am alone, but not empty. I am the opposite of empty. Is this what Buddha felt?  

I don’t know what Buddha’s silence was like, but with mine, my mind is not empty. I think about the universe. So many things are wrong. So many people are angry and depressed about the wrong, but is it not beautiful? I think it’s beautiful.  

The stars, the seas, and all the tiny people who are so insignificant yet so unique. Some are evil, and some are good, and some just want to live. I want to help them all, but maybe I will just help a few. And that’s good enough to make me satisfied.  

I appreciate the existence and stop thinking about everything that’s wrong and everything that could make me angry because what does that anger ever accomplish? It only leads to depression. So I thank God for a chance to do some good. To help my kids and the man who loves me with what love I can feel. And I trust God will look after them too.  

If they knew, they might laugh and mock because fairytales don’t exist, but fairytales are what helped me get to adulthood. 

Photo by Meritt Thomas