Dead stars | Inquirer Opinion

Dead stars

/ 05:02 AM January 13, 2022

When is one ready to get married?

For a lot of people, it’s when you have a home to your name, financial security, and when you’ve already been through ups and downs for a period of time.


For me, I realized I was ready when, while we were taking a walk together in a plaza in Barcelona, a bird pooped on his favorite green jacket while he was eating pistachio ice cream. My stomach hurt from laughing, and then I thought that I would be lucky if I’m the one who gets to laugh at him when he gets pooped on by birds in his 80s.

We’ve been together for nearly seven years. It hasn’t been the smoothest ride. In fact, it’s been so bumpy that I’m always surprised to find myself still holding onto the rails even after all these arduous years. He is not the dream man I had in mind when I would daydream about my future family at 13. I had always thought I’d end up with a Mr. Darcy, mysterious, aloof, but is secretly hoarding butterflies in his stomach. Aside from our similar tastes in music, we had nothing else in common. In any relationship, it’s important to be understood. But I realized that love is not about having the same sense of humor, having the same opinions on the nature of reality, or even liking the same chocolate brands (he likes Mars, I like Reese’s). No one can fully comprehend who we are and what we need—which is completely normal. It’s not really anyone else’s responsibility to comprehend who we are as individuals; understanding comes from experiencing life directly through our own experiences and feelings, and there will always be large parts of my psyche that he cannot access, and maybe that’s okay. I’m a mystery even to myself.


We are getting married in less than two months. But I have a confession to make. I’m as terrified of getting married as a cat is when she’s forced into close physical contact with cucumbers! Perhaps when I thought I was ready to get married, I was just tired of being lonely because I’ve spent my whole life escaping this feeling of emptiness. And quite frankly, I’m not so sure if the love that has kept me in my place for seven years is still there.

He’s fun and we get along, but he can be so frustrating to deal with sometimes. He has a tendency to be irrational and insensitive, which makes our interactions quite difficult at times.

When I was a kid, I loved stars for what they appeared to be. Just millions of bright objects shining above us like little diamonds waiting to be plucked down. I wish I could say that I still look at stars with the same childlike fascination. But when I look at them now, all I can think of is that some of them, if not all, are already long gone or dying right before our eyes. Like watching a silent movie and knowing that everyone in it is already dead. Deceased. Extinct. Gone.

When I look at him, am I just seeing the light of a dead star?

Dead stars.

The light from stars that have died yet still shining brightly enough through their appointed places onto our world below them is a daily reminder that everything is not what it seems.

We may think we still love someone, but what we actually feel is just a remnant of something that used to be bright and exciting and real and beautiful. What remains is just the illusion that the love is still there when in fact, it is just the remaining light of a once-bright star that has gone kaput. Deceased. Extinct. Gone.


Have I been seeing the light of dead stars? I like to believe that my love for him is not just the remaining glow of a star that has already died, that I’m not just clinging to an illusion, a dream. But what if it is? How long will it take for that remaining spark to vanish?

I sit with these thoughts while I look out of the windows of our new apartment. Love, marriage, it’s all so complicated. And while we’re preparing to spend the rest of our lives together, there’s nothing I can do but hope that the light of our love shines forever, even if it’s just an illusion.

* * *

Julia Palomo, 28, is an entrepreneur who lives in Makati with her four dogs.

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TAGS: Julia Palomo, Marriage, Young Blood
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