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Impermanent Stardust: The Story of a Tattoo

In the space between my collarbone and sternum, I have a tattoo: two black stars connected by one solid line. Music inspired this bit of ink, but the story around it means so much more.

Do you remember the first kiss? Stars shooting across the sky…

When I love, I love hard. It is a massive and consuming sort of love, and it is an evolving, complex space in which to exist. There is romantic love, yes, and the full-on marrying kind of love, but what of the other deep connections we form with one another? I asked myself, how can I honor every important person who I still carry in my heart?

All through the circling years
You were the only one who could have brought me here…

There are a handful of people, upon meeting them, that I knew – I just knew – were now fixtures in my life. Be it through a song, a conversation, or an overwhelming sense of peace while with them, I wanted to revel in that beautiful elation. I want to gobble up the high of love so that it may make the lonely spaces in my chest less distinct.

And yet, we cannot tether others to our whims. We are all individuals, and we should be treated as such. Friendships, romances – they all change. All this space around us, this ever-expanding stardust stays as it is for only a fraction of a second. We can continue to love, but we must bend. We must adapt.

And I draw a line to your heart today
to your heart from mine
One line to keep us safe

Love makes me greedy. Sometimes, I become proprietary and stubborn out of fear that I might lose that high, instead of remembering to enjoy the good feelings as they happen. I am learning to let go of that fear, but it is a difficult practice. In order to preserve love, I must nurture it, not smother.

Watch the stars now moving across the sky
Keep this feeling safe tonight

My stars, wherever you may be, may you be happy.
May you be kind.
May you believe in your trying.
Your might.

And know that I hold you right here, in this space so close to my heart, from now until my ashes join the earth.

Know that you are loved.

A tattoo of two stars connected by a line.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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