It was hard to see them from here. The tiny glimmers of light were hidden by the fog of the city.
Still, he did his best to look up and check that they still flickered far above his head. It gave him hope.
The others ridiculed him for it, said it was foolish for someone like him to spend so much of his time looking up. Focusing on someone or something other than himself.
But he didn’t mind the wasted time.
To him, looking up at the distant lights was as natural as leaning into a gentle wind or gladly sopping up great drops of water as they fell from the sky.
It came as second-nature. To find comfort in something so far, yet so constant.
He knew, despite the clouds, they were there.
Standing high above the city, confined to the rooftop as he was, he was grateful for that certainty. It provided a root onto which he could cling. Even as his neighbors were plucked from the safety of their burrows, the fear that he, too, would be taken—he knew, regardless, the lights would always shine.
He shivered under the weight of the morning dew, petals dipping and swaying.
The soil beneath him often got too damp for his liking, unsheltered as it was from the elements. Sometimes, the great, two-legged beast would approach with the spout in hand, dumping more water onto his stem. He longed to tell them ‘enough, enough, you’re drowning me!,’ but could never find the words.
Instead, he stood and swayed and let the water trickle down.
Eventually, he knew, the dew would clear. The great Sun would rise, drying his petals, his leaves. Warm him, fight off the water’s chill.
The sky would lighten, and he would lose the distant sparkling lights. He mourned them.
One day, he feared, the great fiery Sun would remain. He feared the spout’s visits would cease, that the great, bulbous drops of water would never again fall.
He worried his roots would dry, his soil would come to be nothing but a great, dusty expanse.
Most of all, he dreaded the day the distant lights vanished for good. He watched them as the light filled the sky, and the distant points slowly twinkled out. They became as a single drop of water in a stream, surrounded by so many duplicates that they became indistinguishable from all the other points of light as they inched their way across the sky, as the great Sun rose over the edge of the rooftop.
So he watched the points of light, watched them diligently.
Hoping the very fact he looked, he saw them, would make them remain. Perhaps they knew he watched, because they always returned.
Through the clouds, they were there. Through the great showers, they remained. And every time the great Sun sank, to his immense relief, they returned.
He turned his petals to the sky and watched them, as the others in his bed shrank away.
To the stars.