The other night, when the heavens were dark and the world was asleep, Sophie and Oliver set out to the floating dock, lounged in Adirondack chairs overlooking the soundless water, and tilted their heads back to the radiant white loop in the sky. Sophie felt everything around her; she was cold, but she didn’t care. Her legs felt sore, but they were mostly numb. Oliver mused about stellar evolution. He turned to his side and looked at Sophie. The glow of the moon half illuminated her face.
“You know how stars die?” he said, pensive.
Sophie hadn’t realized he was looking at her until he spoke. “What?” His question came in the middle of a haze she was in.
“Supernova,” he replied.
Lately, Sophie had been atypically at ease, which meant to Oliver that she was using up all her willpower to not tumble to the ground or show any indication of weakness. She was stubborn like that—gloriously, delightfully stubborn—and could keep up the act until the end of things if she wanted to. Even though Sophie was determined to make the best of it, Oliver was certain she would explode like a radiator cap under pressure at some point, feared for the day he would hear of it.
“Massive stars die when they have exhausted their burning fuel,” Oliver pointed out, “and the result is a stellar blast that briefly outshines an entire galaxy.”
She laughed. “You’ve been watching way too much Discovery Channel,” Sophie joked, returning her gaze to the sky.
“Actually, it was Nova on PBS. But just think, stars give out large amounts of energy and burn and gleam with their diamond brilliance and then… then nothing.”
Sophie had no idea what hocus-pocus this man said most of the time or how his mind operated. But it was magical; the way it got her thinking about the universe, she supposed she could call it charming. “Okay,” she smiled, “what doomsday point are you trying to prove, Oliver?”
“When a star dies, it shoots out cosmic dust across the universe, and its remains are scattered all over, creating new stars, new solar systems. We are all formed from this rich elemental material. This is our life. This chair. This dock. This lake. You. Me.”
“Stardust,” she says, voice low.
“So, a star died and gave me life, is that what you’re saying?” She glances at him, her eyebrows raised in disbelief. “How tragic.”
“Well, yes. You live because stars died; it’s that simple. It’s not tragic, it’s science. And I wouldn’t just look at it that way. There’s always a different way to see the world.”
“How would you look at it, then?”
“The stars of long ago are physically a part of us. So perhaps, a millennia ago someone may have wished upon a star that you are made of.”
This is an excerpt taken from the novel Black Diamond, written by yours truly. Hopefully, it will be coming out soon.
Copyright © 2014 Elisa Marie Hopkins. All rights reserved.