This entry is part 29 of 33 in the series Tales from the top of the hill
Divided Roads

"I never forgot about the stars..."

I guess that living in Hell is not better than living in Paradise, both meaning that you have died, the details aren’t that important. It has been about two weeks since she promptly left and I haven’t been able to sleep since. Of course I have fallen unconscious a few times so my body could somewhat recuperate but the events were too much for me. I think that if there were a limit on information and feelings that could go through my mind at once, my brain would have exploded at least three times already. Fortunately, my co-worker’s wife has visited my house a few times since she learned about what happened. Two weeks ago I ran to the town under the unending rain to get some help, the first person I found was that friend, he immediately saw how destroyed I was and I quickly explained to him what happened. His wife and himself were pretty shocked by it and she even cried a little, but I didn’t really need their compassion, she still proposed to help me out a bit with the child and everything. I refused at first but she came anyways and I let her enter, so I guess I was fine with it. She taught me quite a few things that I didn’t know about feeding and raising a child. This woman already had four children and she proposed to take care of mine if I felt unable to do it, one more wouldn’t really make a difference. I felt a bit offended by this proposal but I realized that she only wanted to do something good, I still refused though, I felt that it was my duty to take care of my daughter and I would do it alone. She seemed pretty receptive about this but she still came over every week, I can’t say I hated it though, it helped me quite a bit.

I still didn’t really move out from my house, I would spend days sitting alone in my bed, remembering the time I spent with her. I somehow felt really guilty about that ‘Red haired case’, it was pretty pointless on every aspect and it burned a lot of my time, time that I could have spent with her during her toughest days. She fell sick and the only thing I could have though of doing was to lead some stupid detective investigation to feed my curiosity, I don’t really want to live in regret but I didn’t even find what I was looking for and then her time was up. I guessed that I could keep on investigating later but I’ll never really have the most accurate answer. Time slowly passed as the winter made everything rougher, I started to wonder if I would have enough supplies to last through the winter. I didn’t really feel like going back to town to work and I don’t know how I would take care of my daughter like this, it was a complicated situation and my head was already full of bad thoughts, I couldn’t even think of a solution.

But then, there was some light after all. I went to the town with the little money I had to get some food. I entered the inn and it was pretty quiet even if it was the afternoon, the owner greeted me but almost fell down on his knees when he saw that I was carrying a baby. He had a ton of questions but as I replied to them in a dark and annoyed voice, he thought that something bad happened. I had no choice but to tell him to, skipping a few parts that I hated to even remember myself, he would get the point anyways. He looked pretty touched by my story and when I told him about my problem he said that he was willing to help me. My gaze went up to this big guy’s trustworthy face when he told me that I should drop her here during the day if I have to work, he would take good care of her and would also feed her so i didn’t have to worry. I must say that I grazed the idea of letting someone take care of her during the day but I did not know who. I couldn’t after my co-worker’s wife since she was also working during the day and I didn’t know many people in this town yet. I didn’t think that this guy had such a great heart, it made me feel warm and I almost wanted to hug him but since I thought that my arms wouldn’t probably reach his back, I abandoned the idea. With a grateful nod, I left the inn heart-warmed, forgetting why I even came here at the first place. Maybe it was my subconscious that made me go there since I knew that he would help me, I might as well have been guided by something else, it was something beyond me right now so I just went to buy some food and ran back to my house before it started raining again.

I think it was the first time since she was born that I actually smiled, she smiled back at me and she had the exact same smile as her mother. This gave me a strong bittersweet feeling but somehow I realized how lucky I was to have her right now. She sure brought a lot of problems with her birth, she was one of the causes of the death of my beloved one but I still felt blessed to be able to hold her in my arms today. No matter how painful it was, this was a little fragment of her and it was already really precious to me. She probably knew that things would happen like this, that’s why she wanted to have a child with me, so I could still have something to protect even after her death. I remembered her again, being all mighty while climbing that mountain, she always wanted to achieve great things for her self-completion but I think they she also wanted me to do the same, it was a sort of preparation to the kinds of challenges I would have to face. She was probably already pretty weak herself when we climbed that mountain, I don’t know how she managed to do it at my pace, it must have been really hard. Many short sequences of moments with her passed before my eyes but one caught my attention, the one when we finally reached the top and then we would sit down, tasting our victory and… her voice, so surreal…

“I think I could die here…”

Some warm tears rolled down my cheeks. I heard her voice saying things again ‘If the big things are the most important, why are we ignoring the stars?’. I didn’t forget about the stars, I just ignored the big things and lived like tomorrow would come no matter what. Look at me now, I holding in my arms all what’s left of her, I lost so much and yet became something else, I was a father now and that somehow didn’t feel that right to my ears. It was a bit ironic, yes I think the good word was irony. I never forgot about the stars…

“Did you know that every time a star dies, another one is born from its death?”

Once again I felt a strange chill going all the way down my spine. I’m not certain why memories of her were flashing in my mind but I somehow started to wonder if everything she told me that I thought as casual chatter was actually meaning something far beyond my comprehension. Did she mean that she was that star? Does that mean that she already knew how she would die, that sounds terrible to me. The more I thought about it and lesser the doubts were, she obviously said that referring to the fact that she would die when giving birth to our daughter, but that probably also meant that I would have to love our daughter as much as I loved her. I know that I haven’t told her many times how much I did, but was that really necessary? I think we both knew at what extent our feelings were for each other, this was a comprehension beyond words. I started to believe more and more about her ability to see into the future and by the same occasion thought that it probably brought her more grief and pain that actual advantages but she probably couldn’t help it. Somehow some of my own words also came to my mind.

“I promise to take over anything that you would start, anything.”

When I made that promise, I thought that I could probably be able to overcome every challenge the life had to offer but I never thought it would come down to something like this, still I wanted to keep that promise until the end, I had to. I looked at our daughter and wondered what was she thinking right now. Do babies even think about things, I’m aware that if they do it’s probably something pretty basic but personally when I’m thinking, it’s like I’m talking in my head but she can’t even talk yet, does that mean she cannot think? What would happen if she never learned to speak, I didn’t even want to think about it so I started talking to her about my thoughts. I didn’t care that she couldn’t understand what I said, I didn’t really understand it either anyways, she looked amused though and that made me feel happy.

We talked quite a bit about reincarnation together while we still were on that hill but I somehow unwillingly started to believe that it might be true. I knew that this felt crazy but I would be quite pleased if her soul could make it through the ‘afterlife’ and come back in the living realm. It didn’t really matter if she came back in a thousand years, she could have at least experienced it so she would be able to write the last chapter of her own story, the one she could never finish on her own. I know that she isn’t going to literally write it since she’s dead… but I can still see that she succeeded in her self-completion, achieving something that actually felt impossible, well it really was impossible. A thought crossed my mind, I wondered what would happen if her soul would reincarnate soon and that I met ‘her’. Would I recognize her, even if it’s a fish or a flower? Probably not, what are the chances of…

I looked down at my daughter, still wiggling in my arms.

I immediately crossed this theory off my mind. This wasn’t even remotely close of something like an unreal fantasy. Yeah it was this far from reality and I don’t even know I dared to use the word ‘reality’ in this case. I hit my head with my fist like it was broken or something and I hoped it fixed it, I was thinking a bit too far right now and that was being a bit unhealthy. I then finally remembered her last words again, echoing in my head since quite a bit now.

“Now it’s your turn to tell me a story”

What did that exactly mean, did she lose her mind at the last moments of her life? I don’t think so, she probably have seen this scene happening many times before she actually lived it, she probably picked her words with precaution. But that was maybe a bit too cautious since I didn’t really understand what she meant by that. In theory, I can’t really tell her a story now since she died, she might want me to go tell her the story of our daughter once she’ll be older. I’ll make sure to visit her grave every year to tell her how our daughter has been doing, if she can hear me from her grave. That could be a possibility, her soul could still be wandering around and hearing me talk, but that could possibly mean that I didn’t have to go to her grave to talk to her. Why the grave exactly? Did her body still have a link with her soul? Was she wandering only around the cemetery? I’m not sure how we can converse with the dead but I will find a way so it can finally be my turn to tell her a story.

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