Home > The Sun Is Also a Star(13)

The Sun Is Also a Star(13)
Author: Nicola Yoon

It’s been two years, but the grieving has not left him, shows no signs of leaving until it’s taken everything from him. It has cost him his marriage, his smile, his ability to eat enough, sleep enough, and feel enough.

It has cost him his ability to be sober.

Which is why he almost ran over Natasha just now.

Donald is not sure what the universe was trying to tell him by taking away his only daughter, but here is what he learned: no one can put a price on losing everything. And another thing: all your future histories can be destroyed in a single moment.

RED TIE LOOKS AWAY FROM ME. I think he’s about to cry, which makes no sense at all. He offers to buy me new headphones. Even if I let him, new ones couldn’t replace these.

I’ve had them since right after we moved to America. When my father bought them for me, he was still hopeful for all he would accomplish here. He was still trying to convince my mom that the move away from the country of our birth, away from all our friends and family, would be worth it in the end. He was going to hit it big. He was going to get the American Dream that even Americans dream about.

He used me and my brother to help convince my mom. He bought us gifts on layaway, things we could barely afford even on layaway. If we were happy here, then maybe the move was right after all.

I didn’t care what the reason for the gifts was. These way-too-expensive headphones were my favorite of them all. I only cared that they were my favorite color and promised audiophile-quality sound. They were my first love. They know all my secrets. They know how much I used to worship my dad. They know that I kind of hate myself for not worshiping him at all now.

It seems like such a long time ago when I thought the world of him. He was some exotic planet and I was his favorite satellite. But he’s no planet, just the final fading light of an already dead star.

And I’m not a satellite. I’m space junk, hurtling as far as I can away from him.

I DON’T THINK I’VE EVER noticed anyone the way I’m noticing her. Sunlight filters through her hair, making it look like a kind of halo around her head. A thousand emotions pass over her face. Her eyes are black and wide, with long lashes. I can imagine staring into them for a long time. Right now they’re dull, but I know exactly what they would look like bright and laughing. I wonder if I can make her laugh. Her skin is a warm and glowing brown. Her lips are pink and full, and I’m probably staring at them for far too long. Fortunately, she’s too sad to notice what a shallow (and horny) jerk I am.

She looks up from her broken headphones. As our eyes meet, I get a kind of déjà vu, but instead of feeling like I’m repeating something in the past, it feels like I’m experiencing something that will happen in my future. I see us in old age. I can’t see our faces; I don’t know where or even when we are. But I have a strange and happy feeling that I can’t quite describe. It’s like knowing all the words to a song but still finding them beautiful and surprising.

I STAND UP AND DUST myself off. This day can’t get any worse. It must eventually end. “Were you following me?” I ask him. I’m crankier and testier than I should be with someone who just saved my life.

“Man, I knew you would think that.”

“You just happened to be right behind me?” I fiddle with my headphones, trying to reattach the ear pad, but it’s hopeless.

“Maybe I was meant to save your life today,” he says.

I ignore that. “Okay, thanks for your help,” I say, preparing to leave.

“At least tell me your name,” he blurts out.

“Red Tie—”


“Okay, Daniel. Thank you for saving me.”

“That’s a long name.” His eyes don’t leave mine. He’s not going to give up until I tell him.


I think he’s going to shake my hand again, but instead he shoves his hands into his pockets. “Nice name.”

“So glad you approve,” I say, giving him my most sarcastic tone.

He doesn’t say anything else, just looks at me with a slight frown, as if he’s trying to figure something out.

Finally I can’t take it anymore. “Why are you staring at me?”

He blushes again, and now I’m staring. I can see how it might be fun to tease him just to get him to blush. I let my eyes wander the sharp planes of his face. He is classically handsome; debonair, even. Watching him stand there in his suit, I can picture him in a black-and-white Hollywood romantic comedy trading witty banter with his heroine. His eyes are clear brown and deep-set. Somehow I can tell he smiles a lot. His thick black hair is pulled back into a ponytail.

Observable Fact: The ponytail pushes him from handsome to kind of sexy.

“Now you’re staring,” he says to me. It’s my turn to blush.

I clear my throat. “Why are you wearing a suit?”

“I have an interview later. Wanna go get something to eat?”

“What for?” I ask.

“Yale. Alumni admission interview. I applied early decision.”

I shake my head. “No, I meant why do you want to get something to eat?”

“I’m hungry?” he says, as if he’s not sure exactly.

“Hmmm,” I say. “I’m not.”

“Coffee, then? Or tea or soda or filtered water?”

“Why?” I ask, realizing that he’s not going to give up.

His shoulders shrug, but his eyes don’t. “Why not? Besides, I’m pretty sure you owe me your life since I just saved it.”

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