This is a story about a man who used to carry about with him a peculiar little glow. I say peculiar because not everybody could see his glow. Only those with the right kind of eyes could see it there at all. This was no accident, for the man had seen many unscrupulous people come and go and take some of his glow with them. Often he kept it deliberately from sight to protect the fragile glow from harm, other times it was obscured by the whimsy of life, changing circumstances, or just the normal dust and grit that clogs our perception. Those that could see the glow were drawn into it, orbiting like planets in large, careful ellipses, some close in, some further away. The man liked this analogy more than that of moths around the bathroom light. He had seen too many dead moths in the bottom of glass lamp shades.
Despite the wariness brought about by his experience of life, he loved people. He lived for seeing people come into who they truly were. People trying to find order in chaos, truth in the white noise, acceptance in a world of fickle fashions. Some that came had a glow of their own, mostly tarnished or wayward lights that were trying to find their power to shine again. These were the hardest but as with all things in life, the most challenging are the most rewarding. They would consume vast amounts of energy but by virtue of their own glow, they gave back to replenish some of what was expended in the process. These extraordinary cataclysms were extravagant, poignant, beautiful and surreal. They shone with a brilliance like no other and contained power of unparalleled degree. But in their beauty, and by the nature of their power, they were unstable, volatile, and carried immense potential for pain.
But no man can carry such a mantle forever. As day after day passed, the constant drawing on his glow by the satellites that orbited around him caused the glow to dim. Muted tones started to run across its face. Greys flickered and patches of carbon began to build up here and there. Individually they had no effect but as they colluded, they began to obscure to light and gradually the man began to feel sick. He knew so little about the physiology of his glow to understand what he needed, but whatever that thing was, it was not forthcoming. As the glow dimmed, those that had sought shelter in its warmth began to fall away, orbits realigned to facilitate receiving light from other sources and the man was left alone. Without enough power to even support himself, his own orbit began to change. His long, perfect ellipses became erratic, chaotic. Those that had hoped his light would return became unable to follow him as his path curved and veered and grew faster and faster.
So he flew, ever faster, into ever darker regions of life. His defining purpose of love and hope a shallow memory left sitting somewhere in the vastness of space. But something strange began to happen. An idea began had begun to take shape in the man’s mind. An idea that would change his path and give his former orbits a blast of light so intense they could carry it with them forever. He set his shoulders forward and he poured his energy inward. Faster he pushed himself through the void, faster, faster, and faster still. As his velocity increased, his core temperature started to rise. The glow that had been so dim for so long started to burn brighter and hotter. Cracks started to appear in the surface carbon, the mutes and greys burned up as the mercury soared. Faster he pushed, and hotter he burned. Ripples started to disrupt the space around him, pulsing out in concentric circles, washing over the former satellites and buffeting random bodies that drifted through the space around him. And finally the time arrived. His core reached critical mass, his temperature burned beyond the limits of measurability, and his glow suddenly disappeared altogether. It smouldered out of sight and all was pitch black for an instant.
The detonation sent shockwaves through space. Everything was illuminated for one extraordinary moment. The explosion sent a wave of heat and light through space that washed over everything it touched. Satellites that had drifted away saw once more the glow that they had in the past found shelter in. And then it was gone. The lingering effects of the glow imprinted on the memory, where it would remain forever. A fleeting hint of what it used to be, now just a part of that imprecise tool by which we hold on to the past. The glow would give no further warmth, shed no further light, but it would, with any luck, burn on in those who seek respite in the embrace of days gone by.