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All the Lights, All the Stars

December 22, 2015

The first Christmas Ibrahim and I lived together in America, I told him about the lights. There had to be lights, I said. And a tree you cut down from the woods and put up inside the house as if it were still in the ground — only with lights, and ornaments. Trust me, I said.

So we went to the hardware store to buy the lights, and there were all kinds of colors. What’s this? I said. Blue lights? Why not? We strung them all over the bushes in front of the windows, outside, and we switched them on. That was when I realized they were flickering lights.   They were not the kind of lights that just glowed: they were on some sort of rhythm where they flashed on and off, and the effect, well, the effect when you were inside the house was as if a police car were parked behind you on the shoulder of the highway, and the policeman was writing you a ticket. We tried to reset the lights so they would just stay lit, or be off, but they kept flashing, and scaring me. I think it was mainly me they were scaring.

So now it is Christmas twenty-four years later and I remember this. And I feel like a police car is parked outside our houses and the lights are flashing, but there are no lights. They are invisible. They are in our hearts. And when I look up at the night sky I remember Ibrahim telling me that every person has their own star in the sky, and I look up and see there they are all together, all the stars enjoying the sky.


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