She breaks up with you on Saturday. On Tuesday, you begin threading the origami stars you folded while thinking of her, piercing
your own jinxed wishes. It’s the subtle violence that satisfies you. The way the needle wounds the star without a sound, the way your fingertips sting after you finish threading a strand. She told you once she only associates stars with you,
& to associate you with something so universally beautiful must mean she loves you in a way that not even she is able to comprehend. You learned the origami star when you were separated
from her. She told you she had never really seen stars. Just one here & there that had dripped into suburbia. I will hand deliver you the stars, you promised her. But then you couldn’t, so you learned to hand make
star. You mailed them in a mason jar, in lieu of hand-delivered stars inscribed on the lid. You wonder where the jar is now. The stars, you think, are probably dust now. Burned
& washed down the sink, like the paper cranes she folded for you. In your apartment, you run out of stars to string & begin folding new ones. Origami is about muscle memory. You haven’t folded a star in ten months. You think you don’t remember how, but your fingers still know
where to bend & pinch the paper to transform it into wish. There’s comfort in knowing you’ll never forget. You thread the stars cross-legged on your white shag rug. She was your wish. It’s okay to confess
a fallen wish. You wonder if wishing on artificial stars results in an artificial wish. You wonder if an artificial wish brings artificial love. Maybe this is how curses are made. You want to ask her, but you don’t think she holds answers for you. It’s no longer her responsibility
to hold things for you. You hang the stars in your window. You think that maybe suspension will add real to the artificial, restore some sort of substance to what you’ve lost. You want to assign them a symbolic meaning, but you’re still learning what they represent. On the first day, the stars were a hope
she’d return to you. The next, they were a new start. A blank vessel waiting on a new wish. Today, you think they are a warning. A souvenir of cautionary tale. Or maybe, they are simply folded strips of paper
and you need to stop searching for meaning in things that can so easily turn to ash.
Sophie Ezzell is an Urban Appalachian writer. Her work has been published in Pidgeonholes, Aquifer, Under the Sun, and is forthcoming in River Teeth. Her flash essay “Plastic Flowers” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Sophie graduated from Marshall University with a BA in Creative Writing and is now pursuing an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Oklahoma State University. She lives in Stillwater, OK where she drinks tea and talks to the stray black cat that sits by her porch.