I noticed it during the first car ride to my fifth new home.
It was a Friday night, and I was still wearing my school uniform.
My dad was behind the steering wheel of our trusted grey van, patchy and rundown from all the times we spent driving our belongings back and forth.
"Dad," I said, head tilted up at the sky. "I keep seeing the same stars."
"Even the stars move, little one," he said.
"But I saw them yesterday, too. And yesterday's yesterday. And yesterday's yesterday's yesterday."
"Sometimes it just so happens that you looked at the right time."
And that was that.
My father, he was a man who always believed in keeping one foot forward at all times.
Dust collects on things when they stay unwanted in a place for too long, he kept saying.
Make sure to wipe them clean.
Don't leave any trace behind.
I learned not to look at the stars anymore after that night.
Because I thought, what if I looked and suddenly Orion wasn't there anymore?
What if, after all that time I spent finding comfort in a particular cluster of stars, it would disappear and I'd be left staring at nothing but an empty night sky?
Void to void, with nothing in between.
I couldn't risk that.
Not if it meant I could lose the one thing that never left all my life.
So I kept that last memory of Orion tucked safely inside my chest, and my sock and bracelet buried deep beneath my bag,
And every night I would lay myself down to sleep and remind myself that it's enough.
You waltzed right in the room with the sun in your smile during the first day we met, and I remember wondering what it's like in your shoes.
You, the person who talks the loudest even in a room full of strangers.
You, who carves a human-shaped hole in every heart you come across.
You, who made me laugh when you showed your mismatched socks under your pants as a way of saying hello.
You, who kept wearing that overpowering cherry perfume that everyone hates just because you knew I like how it smells.
And you, who drove with me in the dead of night when I felt lost and alone, and held me close without saying a single word.
Even after all those years, I still couldn't bear to look at the night sky.
Not even then, when you held me close. Especially not then.
But I looked into your eyes,
All dark and bright, hard and soft, and endlessly, endlessly beautiful,
And all I could see was Orion's constellation staring right back at me.