I knew what I had intended when I'd stolen away into the night towards the train station. The velvet of the night had hidden the stars from my sight and the dusty smell of cigarettes and strangers had passed me by as I'd ran to catch the final train to this unknown place.

The caretaker that I left had given me an allowance that I learned, when I was fourteen, was only a quarter of what was truly mine. Averting my eyes and keeping my thoughts in strict order had been important then. I'd kept every penny, never being frivolous, and had awaited a day that would allow me to use this in the most selfish of ways. 

The call had come the summer before this one, when I was fifteen, from the man that I knew wore the black robes. He spoke quietly to me, blind to my knowledge of his elicit past, blessing me with his lord's words. He told me that I had a father, that my birth documents stated so, and that his name was Burt Healter. I held the large, white phone receiver as he relayed the information to me, nearly bringing tears to my eyes. I knew then that someone had truly aided my mother into creating me and that I was not in fact something that had come out of nothing. 

I had passed through that year of school silently; staying to the side of the classroom while imagining what Burt looked like. Was his hair nearly as pale blond as mine? Would his nose be cunning and sharp like mine? But my favorite fantasy was created by my most daring question of all: Did he truly love my mother? Of course, none of these questions could be truly answered then, but I had taken a precious precaution in protecting these wild desires of mine. 

Now I know that Burt's hair is a blond darker than the golden daffodils that grew on the fields behind my old home and that his nose is indeed as daring as my own. His frame is large in comparison to mine, but it holds no hostility as he curiously stares down at me. Behind him, a television blares a man's voice discussing the local news and a set of voices, a boy and girl, are arguing over something that is out of my ear shot. A woman's voice is singing a melody that reminds me of the cold winters at my third home when I was twelve, so thrilling and alive like the falling speckles of the snow on the night sky, from somewhere far into the house.

"Can I help you?" His voice is rough from years of smoking. 

I look on, trying hungrily to take in more details of this stranger who should have never become a stranger to me in the first place. I say nothing as I take in the way that he clutches tightly onto the doorknob of the plain white front door.

"Who are you?" He tries once more and I see in his mist grey eyes that if I don't respond he will close the door on us forever.

"I'm Asteri." I respond, trusting him with my most cherished words.

"Are you trying to sell me something?" he asks, now resting his thick shoulder against the wooden frame of his home--protecting everything inside from me, the stranger.

"No," I say. My bag is weighing me down, reminding me that this is no dream and no illusion. 

"I'm sorry, I'm in the middle of something with my family and I better get back to--"

"I'm your daughter!" I yelp before stopping myself.

Silence burns between us as I let out my secret in a rush. I look up at him expectantly; letting myself for once put faith in something that is beyond me.

"I'm sorry," he repeats, surpassing the silence that sears me to the now heavily thudding heart in my chest. "You have the wrong man."

He glances at me once more, a sort of disappointment flashing through his eyes, before closing the door behind him. 

I learned a long time ago that if you stand still long enough, crickets and life around you starts buzzing as if you had never existed in the first place. I confided my inner thoughts to my mother, who I imagined sat upon my star listening to my every thought, while letting life take its course around me. Now, this life that I let ignore me before, begins to rise around me. I look up and see nothing but a vast endless, empty sky. This place is so different that not even the stars come out to aid me.

The End

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