new orleans (one)

Friday, November 30, 2001

One night last weekend in New Orleans, Stephanie and I stood on the landing (which is elevated above the ground about ten feet almost making it a balcony) before Teri’s front steps and looked up at the stars. They seemed much more brilliant than usual. A much clearer sky, brighter stars, more stars

I pointed out to her my stars. This time of year at this time of night (11:30 PM CST) they are directly below the moon (though, I guess, it could be said that every star is directly below the moon in some way). They’re three stars in a nearly straight vertical line with two more in a horizontal line off to the right of the last star (the one closest to the horizon). I first saw them while sitting in the backseat of my mom’s Astro van more than five years ago on, I believe, Christmas night of my first year in Alabama. Ever since they have always caught my eye.

Turning us around, she pointed out three or four stars in a small cluster that seemed to resemble the small dipper, though I don’t think that’s what they were.

Standing outside tonight smoking a cigarette, I looked up at the sky and saw my stars. I walked into my driveway and turned around to look over my house for the stars Stephanie showed me. I couldn’t make them out. I thought I saw them, but a star or two was missing.

I wondered when we were standing on Teri’s balcony if Stephanie would ever look into the night sky, see my stars and remember me, as I did tonight when I looked over my house. I wondered if her sentimentality extends as far as mine. If she’s as controlled by memory as I am.

There are thousands of stars swirling around us and a thousand things to do down here on the ground. I’ll most likely be lost in the shuffle. In the move. In the run to catch that hidden dream. It bothers me that this is the case, but then I think it shouldn’t.

It’s an odd feeling; wanting to make an impact on a person’s life but at the same time wanting to be forgotten by the majority of humanity. Walking around Metairie Cemetery the same weekend with Stephanie, I realized how little I wanted to be remembered this way: with large stone mausoleums and Perpetual Care and carvings of angels. I’d much rather my physical body be burned and sent to the heavens and the earth to start the cycle again while the difference I’ve made in others lives (if any) be what lives on. I want to live inside people, not be a tourist attraction.

I want to live on in their memory of me.

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