The Star in the Dark
“The Star in the Dark” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Saykal Cemre Aslan, MEV College Private Ankara Secondary School, Turkey.
The Star in the Dark
When I was born I only cried. Maybe I was just sad to be a part of this evil world. Or maybe it was too dark for a new-born baby. My dad was not here like my whole life. He just left us. Then my mom held me for the first time. Like all the mothers around the world, she was so happy. But then… they learned that I had a problem. I was blind. This was the reason why I could hear better than others. My dad abandoned me and my mother, so my mom raised me by herself. Then they gave me the name Hope.
When I started to talk, it was so hard for me. I learned that only I was like that. There were people like me too also. But in my family I was the only blind person. I was so curious about everything. Like how everything seemed,like how everyone saw the world…how the flowers looked like…and most importantly how my mother looked like. I’m sure she was so pretty. Because I had felt her face with my hands before. She had a little nose, big eyes and long eyelashes. As I heard from everyone, that was the perfect look. I couldn’t see how they saw everything. But I could feel and hear them.
When I was 9, my mother realised that I could sing so beautifully. I took piano classes because my mother wanted me to do it, so that I wouldn’t feel different from the others. I took those classes for so long, thus piano became a part of my life. When something made me feel different from others, I just played piano and sang. It was the way of relaxing for me. But that made me want to see more. Because most of the songs were about the beauties of the world or love. And it made me feel that nobody would love me like that. Because I was different and nobody would love someone different. I actually wanted to know how I looked like. I wanted to know how my clothes looked like. Because it was my mom who chose my clothes and I was curious if other people liked them or found them weird. I always asked my mother which colour my clothes were even though I had never seen any colour before. I knew the colour “green” but I didn’t know how it seemed like. The colour “purple” sounded cute. I wanted to know how it seemed like too. I always asked my mother to describe me how they looked like. She always tried to describe it. But I knew that it would never be the same as seeing them. Most of the times I felt sad about not being able to see anything so I just sang…
One day, when I was 12, my piano teacher wanted to test my music ability and she did a piano test to me to check whether I have a fine ear for music. She pressed the notes and wanted me to sing the same notes. She even did it with 4 notes and wanted me to sing them seperately. When the test was finally over, she told me that my musical ear was perfect. She said that my blindness affected my ability of hearing in a good way. God took my sight but gave me a better hearing ability. As everyone said God was always fair about everything. But I never thought that saying was true. If God was fair he wouldn’t create me like that. But I realised that I was better at hearing compared to the others. And that was the only thing I liked about myself. After I had finished the conversation with my own self, I realised that I had forgotten that my teacher had been talking with me.” Hey! Do you hear me?”. I came to my senses and replied: “Yes madam! Sorry I was thinking about something.” I heard the sound of her chuckle. Then I replied with a smile. After that she told me that my voice was perfect for singing and wanted me to sing a song for her. I was shy and I didn’t want to sing in front of her. She was so good at singing. I knew that she always sang the songs if we were playing a piece with lyrics. She laughed agin. “Your cheeks are so red right now. Don’t you want to sing? You don’t need to be shy. It’s just me here.” I was more embarrassed now. I forgot that people’s faces will change as per their emotions. I replied: “No! I’m okay… but I’m not sure if my voice is good. I mean…” She interrupted me, and said. “It’s okay honey… there is no need to be unsure about anything. Just sing like you are in your room.” I felt that she was smiling. I smiled back and started to sing my favourite song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”.
“Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly…
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Really do come true…”
When I finished singing she clapped happily. She sounded so happy. It made me very happy and I smiled so big that it turned into a laughter. That day was one of the best ever and made me love my teacher even more. We were connected some way…
I was being home-schooled and my mom and I knew that it was hard for my mom because the subjects started getting harder and my mom was having a hard time understanding them. She was good at Maths but History and Science was hard for her. So she couldn’t help me with learning anymore. Both of us realised that and we talked about this many times. My mom was looking for schools but I was already so nervous about going to a school because my mom was my guardian. She was my angel and it was hard to even eat without her. But I didn’t want her to feel that I was nervous. I actually wanted to learn singing but I was not sure telling her about that. I was dreaming about the school named “Guildhall School of Music and Drama”. I heard about that school from TV. Mom was watching TV and I was listening to it. Then I heard about that school and how they raised the best singers. When I was fighting with my own thoughts again, mom came in and asked me if I wanted to talk. I nodded and heard the sound of the door closing. She came and sat down. She held my hand and I held her hand back. She started talking: “Baby, I’ve found a school for you!” Her voice was so excited but I wasn’t sure if the school she chose was right for me. But she always knew what was right for me so I didn’t want to feel nervous. She talked again saying: “The name of that school is…” I was feeling my heart beating and wanted them to slow down because I didn’t want my mom to feel that I was nervous. “Guildhall School of Music and Drama”. I was shocked. “What? Mom, are you kidding me? I have always wanted to go there. I love you so much mommy!!” I hugged her and she hugged me back. I was so happy that I was so close to cry. I asked her when I could start there and she told me that I should take an exam. I was ready to everything because I really wanted to go there. I didn’t care about mom not being around me. I just imagined the piano voices filling the room and unique voices singing in harmony. I was excited to go there and it was the first time in my life that I felt so confident about myself.
I was 14 when I took the test of that school. They wanted me to play an instrument and sing and they tested me like how my teacher did. Actually it was so hard to remember how my interview was like. I was so excited and when I got out of the interview I just remembered them commenting about me. They were saying “not bad” or “good” but nobody was saying that I was perfect like my teacher. But it was so incredible to hear that I was “good” from a professional. 3 days later we received a letter and my mom called my name from the kitchen. I went downstairs and she hugged me so tight that I couldn’t understand what was happening. When she cut the hug she said “Baby, the school wants you this Monday!!”
We both shouted happily and jumped around. We were so happy but still a bit nervous. But it didn’t matter because my happiness was beating my other emotions. My heart was beating so fast and I felt my mom crying and I wiped her tears down. It was the first time that I felt that my mom was having multiple emotions like me. And I was thankful to her for everything she did for me.
That Monday, I went to school for the first time. I took my stick with me because it was hard for me to walk without mom and that stick helped me to walk. I had a guide but I was not sure if he was experienced like my mom and because my guide was a boy he wasn’t allowed to come to the toilet or the dressing room so I had to use my stick when he couldn’t help me. I was happy that someone wanted to be my guide. First day my mom came to school with me to meet the teachers but she left after that. And she wanted to meet my guide and she thanked him for being a volunteer to guiding me. After my mom had left me he introduced himself. “Hi! My name is Jake. And I heard that your name is Hope. Your name is so beautiful actually.” It wasn’t the first time someone told me that my name was beautiful but it felt different because he was my peer. Normally only my mom’s friends complimented me. And yet his voice was so sweet. I was sure that he was singing. And he leaded me to our clasroom and told me to sit down to the chair next to him. He was so friendly and I was sure that he was a good person. When the lesson started the teacher wanted me to introduce myself and I was so excited to have friends so I stood up and introduced myself saying “Hi everyone! My name is Hope and I love singing and playing piano. I hope we can get well.” I heard some of them talking about my eyes but it didn’t made me feel down because I had to get used to these kind of comments. I didn’t sit down and said “Umm… and I have a problem with my eyes. I can’t see. But I hope that’s not a problem for you.” I sat down and the teacher replied “No Hope. I don’t think that this would be a problem. This class is so kind and I’m sure that they will help you with everything if you need.” I smiled and we started the lesson. The lesson was about music history and it was so hard for me. There were a lot of musicians that I had to learn but I was ready for that too. I promised myself that nothing would make me upset.
After one year I was at my music history class again and I was so happy like I promised myself. I never felt different here because we all had a lot in common. We all liked music. My school was the only place I never felt different. I had many friends there. Jake was my bestfriend and he was my first bestfriend. Like I guessed last year he was singing so well. We even sang a duet song for school contest and we won. I had enemies like every highschool girl had but it made me feel normal too. Nobody told me that I was bad at something because I couldn’t see. I loved my teachers and my friends. I was always so thankful to my mom because she always helped me whenever I needed. Sometimes I practised singing until 2 a.m. but she never complained. She was my number one supporter. Those days I was practising for a national contest and the winner of that contest would compete with singers around the world. Nobody believed how much I had achieved in a year. I was one of the best in my school and now I was practising for a national contest.I was practising all day and night for this. Jake was helping me with everything I needed and my mom was supporting me mentally. Everyone was happy for me and I was the happiest. This year was the best of my life. I finally found what I wanted : the thing that made me feel normal… Not different…. I was just like everyone when I sang. The words I sang were my sight. I didn’t have to see while I was doing that..
And today I’m standing on the stage for singing. Nothing is wrong with me. Everything is so perfect and everyone is listening to me without even breathing. And I’m thinking about my mom, teacher, Jack, everyone who have helped me to be here… Everyone who have believed in me…. Everyone who have always loved me the way I am. And today I want to make them happy because they have made me happy for my entire life. I don’t know if I will win that contest. Maybe I won’t but today I will sing like there is no tomorrow so I won’t regret anything in the future. All I want to say is you need to believe. Believe yourself, you are not different. You are just unique and this world needs unique people.