He had always loved the stars, ever since he was a little boy. When he was four years old, his father had bought him a telescope kit and brought him out to a field.
They were miles away from home, far from any road, only he and his father. And the stars.
There were hundreds of them. Thousands. More than the eye could see or the mind imagine. But his father knew all their names, those that had names at least. Cassiopeia, Scorpius, Andromeda, Taurus. Each with a myth and story to call their own.
But his favorites were the ones without names. The ones whose stories had never been told. So he would name them. Silly names at first, names to make his father laugh. But over time they turned more serious. He named one after his first crush and made a story for her star. He thought about telling her once, but was too afraid. She would have laughed anyway.
His first wife didn’t laugh, when he pointed to her star. It had take forty minutes to drive from the city, and she had to use the restroom badly, but she hadn’t laughed. Later when she left him screaming and heartbroken, he had considered renaming her star, but that would have been a lie. Not all stories had happy endings and not all stars were kind.
He didn’t give his second wife a name until they had been married almost ten years, although he gave their son one on his first birthday. He felt guilty about that, but he had learned his lesson. Names were as precious as stars.
So when his son was four years old and his wife was thirty-eight, he took his old telescope set down from the attic where it had been collecting dust, drove them to a distant, secluded spot, and showed them their stars.
They were beautiful.