I was a child when the first star fell.

I don’t remember much from then. I try not to, because it makes everything a little harder. But I remember when it fell. I remember when the night lit up, so bright, brighter than anything I had ever seen, bright enough that even with my eyes closed it burned through, and it hurt. I remember how quiet it was, just the low curses from my father and the whimpers of pain from my brother. And then I remember when the sound came, roaring through the sky. I felt it ripple the air, and I remember screaming but not being able to hear it.

When the tremor came, it came without warning. I was trying to blink the light and the pain out of my eyes when I heard the rumbling. I swear I could see the earth bucking in a wave as it rushed towards us. The windows rattled and the cups and plates on the table did too. My father’s favorite mug, the one I painted for him, fell to the floor and broke. When the tremor finished so did everything else, for a moment. A minute, maybe less, for the world to hold its breath. The sirens followed the silence, their wails rising one by one into the night.

My brother was crying. I didn’t cry. I remember looking over at my mother. She was scared, but she smiled at me, searching for something reassuring to say. She told me it was a star falling to the earth. She told me to make a wish on it. I remember hearing her voice crack as she said so.

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