1000 STARS

Here's how my story started. One night when I was 5 years old, my parents took me to an adult party. While I was wandering around and weaving in and out of legs, a man made of nothing but pure light appeared in front of me. No one else seemed to be able to see the man. He sat down on the floor and told me to do the same. Then he showed me how to make a paper star.

"Once you make 1000 paper stars, a wish will be granted." He pulled a jar out of his pocket and gave it to me. Then he pressed the paper star he had made as an example into my hand. I placed it in the jar. "Have fun!" he said, and with a tip of his hat, he vanished into thin air. Over the next 2 years, I made 900 paper stars and put them all in the jar. It wasn't because I cared about the wish; I didn't really believe in that kind of stuff. I just enjoyed making the stars. After I turned 7, I really just forgot about the stars and the jar altogether. But it remained in my room, on my desk. Shortly after my 14th birthday, my parents started fighting. I remember I felt so sad. Then I remembered the jar of paper stars. I decided that each time I felt sad or alone, I would make a star and put it in the jar. I made somewhere around 20 stars before my parents got divorced. That day was the 21st star. Somewhere around Christmas, I was getting harshly bullied at school. Each day they made me feel bad, another star went into the jar. Making the stars really seemed to help me. After I made the star and put it in the jar, whatever had made me feel sad didn't hurt so much. 20 more stars were added to the jar before I left that school and went to a new one where I made a great friend. We did everything together. We saw movies, went to fancy restaurants for dates, and we were in love. But on my 15th birthday, on his way to my party, he was hit by a drunk driver. We rushed to the hospital and he gave me his gift before he died that night. It was a little locket with our picture in it. I cried for nights and nights. I couldn't even go to school the next day. This lasted for a little longer than a month, so 40 more stars went into the jar. I was at a total of 981 stars. One night, my dad ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up being shot. I cried for 18 days, equaling 18 more stars. 999 stars. On my 16th birthday, my mom was working, so she left me a note with a cupcake on the table downstairs. I walked to school alone, like normal, went through my classes with no one to talk to, like normal, and went home, like normal. I was depressed. Eventually I broke into tears, because I hadn't had a birthday that was fun or good in years. So while I was sobbing into my coat, I grabbed a piece of paper from the printer and began the 1000th paper star. It took me a half hour to complete and was soaked in tears. I dropped it into the jar anyway. I put the lid back on the jar. A soft white light glowed inside. Then a much brighter light appeared behind me and completely illuminated my dark room. I turned around to see the man made of pure light on my balcony outside. It was dark outside, so I turned on the light, opened the door, and walked outside.

"I see you've made the 1000 stars," he said, smiling.

"Yeah, I guess I did," I said, managing to grin.

"Come with me," the man said, "And you can leave this life behind. You can have a life with many friends and you can have your boyfriend and father back. You will never have felt all this sadness."

"No thanks," I said, "I know it's not my ideal situation, but my dad and boyfriend are gone, and there's nothing that can fix that. The past stays where it is. All I really need-" I motioned for him to come inside and sit on the couch with me "-is a friend."

"You know what?" the man said, "Me too. My name's Chance, what's yours?"

"My name is Hope."

"It fits you," said Chance.

"How so?" I asked, curious.

"Because I've watched you all these years, and even through your darkest times, you've been one of the most hopeful people I've ever met."

"I kinda guess Chance fits you too," I said. "Because even though I've never really believed in wishes coming true, I gave you a chance. And you came through for me. So will you be my friend?"

"Yes. You deserve one." The whiteness faded from around Chance's body, and revealed a handsome teenage boy in a suit and top hat. "Why didn't you accept my first offer of a different life?" He asked.

I replied, "Because I don't want to run away from my problems, and I didn't need a knight in shining armor to rescue me. All I ever wished for was a friend."

Over the next few years we grew closer and closer and eventually we got married. We now live in a nice house with two wonderful children.