The chemical city winter nights in Texas never got very dark. The plants provided a buzzing halo around the entire town, requiring at least a two hour drive to get even close to pitch black horizons. I lay on my back on a trampoline with two older boys, stoned out of my mind. This was a tame night for me back then, due to there typically being a party at said trampoline owner’s house and to me usually drinking an entire bottle of whiskey in two hours and then staging my own hostage situation with the sole bathroom’s toilet for the rest of the evening. One night, a girl threatened to piss on my face if I didn’t at least move my dry heaving self into the bathtub. I didn’t need to be told twice.
So, stoned was tame. Fresh from a suicide attempt that year, I took to showing up uninvited to parties and drinking as much of everyone else’s alcohol my underage hands could get on. This behavior led to me being an easy laugh, disdained by the girls who I desperately wanted to be friends with (or kiss) because who was this little 19 year old shit who kept showing up and taking our beer and why the fuck don’t our guy friends tell her to stop?
I know why now. I’m sure you can guess why.
This was supposed to be one of those parties, but instead, it ended up being just myself and the two boys who regularly hosted my weekly mental spirals. After burning through a few joints, we climbed onto the trampoline in the backyard, and they started debating the usual things that young men in college love to debate that even younger women who dropped out of college feel inferior for not understanding. Spitting out complicated theory by ancient men with even more complicated names, it was all I could do to keep up. I had to tune it out at some point.
And that’s when I saw it.
A star, or maybe a meteor, careening across the light polluted sky. I couldn’t help but gasp, something deep in my body lighting up at the sight of its trail through the heavens. The boys stopped talking and asked me what I’d seen, and I meekly tried to explain. A shooting star. Or something like that. It was bright and fast. They laughed like I was a sweet little moron, writing me off in favor of their riveting conversation, but – I saw it. The impossible blaze. What I wasn’t supposed to be able to see from my poisoned sky. My chest burned with joy so luminous I couldn’t speak. It roared through me, and something that I had been wishing for so long became true. I wanted to live.
Kimberly Wolf is a bipolar mom living in Texas. She is frequently driving fifteen hours to see a mountain. You can find her poems in Nymphs, trampset, and Anti-Heroin Chic.