My feet hang between the bars of my brother’s balcony railing. Two kids ride by on their bicycles, laughing about something. I watch them for a minute and then go back to smoking my cigarette. Sweet nicotine. Sweet sweet nicotine. The stars are out. It’s Los Angeles, and the stars are out. Seems funny that the stars are out with how much smog there is in Los Angeles. But I can see them. All of them. The Big Dipper and the Little Dipper and every single constellation in between. I would name them for you if I could, but I can’t. I never studied astrology. But they’re all out. Every single one of them. And here I am, on the second floor balcony of my brother’s apartment building. Just a single person on a single balcony in a single apartment building in a city full of apartment buildings in a country full of cities and a planet full of countries. I might have skipped a few steps in that progression but I’m not that worried about it. I’m nothing in the larger picture, that’s the point. And to a star I am really nothing. I am no star. I am no source of heat or energy or life. I’m hardly a decent, contributing member of society, let alone a star. I drag my cigarette and think about that. Perspective is everything. And from my perspective, on the second floor balcony of my brother’s apartment building, with my feet between the bars of the railing, I see that I’m not really anything. A writer, I call myself sometimes, but that doesn’t make me significant, in the same way that being a plumber or a teacher or a politician isn’t significant either. But we are not dust in the wind. Fuck that phrase. We are not dust in the wind. That’s bullshit. Because dust in the wind makes no impact. And just because we are not stars, just because we do not fuel a planet or a system of planets, or contribute to society, that does not mean that we don’t make an impact. Because even a negative impact is an impact nonetheless. Like a meteor. Like a meteor shattering the skin of the earth. Powerful and destructive and magnificent all at once. So maybe we’re more like meteors. We, each of us, are meteors making craters in the shell of the world. Each of us leaves an impact, but no one impact is significant enough to turn the planet on its axis.
My brother comes out onto the balcony and asks me what I’m doing.
I say that I’m not doing anything.
He says that it looks like I’m deep in thought.
I say that I’m not.
And so he just shrugs and sits down next to me with a cigarette for himself and another one for me and then the two of us just sit there and smoke cigarettes and we don’t really talk about much at all. We just sit there under the Big Dipper and Little Dipper and every other constellation and just play our insignificant roles in life. We play our roles. We play the role of a human. We destroy and we sit dumb under the stars. And that’s fine with me.
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