“… it is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves” William Shakespeare
As children we are always told stories about stars, how they are born, what do they represent…tales of forbidden love and untouchable dreams; we bring to life this magical world, where stars become enchanted creatures that can make our deepest wishes come true.
Henry remembered staying up late nights as a young boy, researching the constellations, counting stars, even if his grandmother used to tell him that counting will bring him bad luck, “We never should count the stars, they are so far away for a reason, nothing good can come of it” – she was a women of old traditions, who believed in superstitions and lived her life following ancient rules that protected her from any sudden happenings.
She never used to go out of the house on the 13th, she was afraid when she saw birds because she believed a bird in the house means death, if she ever found a coin, she would turn it heads up as it ‘will bring good luck to the next person’ and so on. She had endless stories about her belief in supernatural causality and sometimes she shared them with Henry.
He was her favourite nephew and the only one who came every summer and spent a whole month with her…taking care of Fluffy, the laziest cat you will ever see, watching the sunset from the porch and listening to the legends of the Silver Woods of Bridgehollow.
Bridgehollow was a small english town near the sea, counting just over 1500 inhabitants; as every community, people here were welcoming, simple in their ways and no matter what happened, someone always knew it would.
Days were not exactly predictable but somehow there was always a clear view of the upcoming events and the certainty that they will become reality.
As the story of the girl who lived at the end of Rustic Hickory Street and went to school each day with the same blue bus, where she met that boy who was secretly in love with her since they were 10…and one day you’ve seen them holding hands and laughing uncontrollably and everyone knew…yes they knew their destiny, they’ve celebrated every small event that eventually brought them to their wedding day…and then you could hear whispers of the clairvoyants “I always knew there’re meant to be”, “it was written in the stars”, “they were made for one another”.
Life seemed to be a beautiful selection of moments that did not take by surprise anyone, as they would be expecting them either way.
It might be surprising but as a small town it never suffered from, “there’s nothing to do” syndrome; with an amazing ability in adapting to change, people here made the best out every opportunity, no matter how difficult or silly it looked.
Like that time when, George, the best fisherman ever known found himself lost at sea in a dark and dangerous storm, drifted for three days to the unknown until another boat found him…and when everyone wanted to know what happened to him in that three long days, he answered smiling “ I finally had time to write my memoirs as I always wanted…like anyone who would think, this is the way they will perish and thought what are they leaving behind, I hoped my manuscript will survive and you will all keep me in your hearts and bookshelves”. His wish came true and he lived a long life enjoying his hidden desire to write.
With beautiful landscapes surrounding from every corner, the sea which seemed more like a guardian then a possibility of escape and silent long green fields made Bridgehollow to every new visitor a Paradise descending to Earth.
Joanne lived all her life in Bridgehollow and never thought to leave, she and George built a life together and since the days when they both used to take the blue bus to school, they always agreed on one thing…there was some kind of magic embracing this place.
Their ancestors passed on the legends of Silver Woods, stories with magical creatures that with years became more like protectors of this long forgotten town.
Henry was mesmerised by this place, the amazing stories that he grew up with helped to develop a great imagination which sometimes didn’t work in his favour. It was difficult to wake up to reality every time he had to go back to the big city after weeks of living in wonderland, but as any child he continued making up his own stories which sometimes attracted the wrong kind of attention, ending with the same scenario, ‘in the school’s Principal office with disappointed parents’.
This year Henry turned 18 and even if no one expected him to still spend the summer with his grandparents, there was no doubt in his mind that he was pulled by an invisible string towards Bridgehollow and somewhere deep he hoped that one day he will witness something magical.
It was his first week being here, he spent most of the day painting in the back garden.
He loved capturing unique moments of magic in the nature and he had a real talent, after all he was an art student now at one of the best schools in the country and he was pursuing his calling as his grandmother always pointed out.
The beauty of the sunset intensified Henry’s love for Bridgehollow, everything here was different than anywhere else, the sunrise seemed brighter and warmer, the grass was greener and softer, people smiled because they were happy and the stars shined above like they were waiting for something to happen.
The sky was painted with brilliant reds and oranges, one would just stare in complete silence to be able to take in this scenery or one would capture it splashing colours on a canvas like he was hypnotised. Henry couldn’t stop his hand from painting…he didn’t want to miss one small detail, his soul had already been imprinted with this twilight but a visual reminder would be able to take him back to unknown territory with a free imagination of the mystical, that is this town.
When he finished, he took another look at the landscape…it was a magical sunset with an unusual falling star; he seemed to be surprised by his own work as thinking back he didn’t remember seeing a star falling…
While being drawn into the lively colours of the illustration, suddenly he raised his eyes looking to the sky again and at the same moment he saw the falling star that he’d already painted…he was confused, then thought it might be a meteor shower tonight, but no other followed.
The falling star was chased by a bright light in the horizon, which exploded merging the sky and the ground into one big blaze.
It was something unseen but for some reason Henry was more focused on his painting than anything else, how could he known what will happen, how could he paint something he does not remember seeing?
All reasonable questions…but no answers.
The next morning he woke up still not understanding what actually happened last night but decided he will let it go as it might have been the effect of that wine he shared on the porch, with Joanne and George.
Henry promised Joanne that he will do the grocery shopping today, early in the morning…he took the car and drove into town.
On his way, he noticed a girl on the side of the road…she looked lost but at the same time very familiar, without thinking he stopped the car.
“ Hello, I don’t want to trouble you but you seem lost. Can I offer you a ride into town?”, asked Henry with a worried tone.
“ Ohhh, thank you; I don’t really know where I am heading to but I appreciate your help”, answered the stranger, looking at Henry like she knew him.
“ I am Henry, what’s your name?”
“ I am… Sophie”, it was the first name that popped into her mind, the truth was she didn’t have a name, at least not one that will make sense here, in Bridgehollow.
Sophie got into the car with Henry not knowing if this is the reason she was sent or claimed…things were a little bit like a mixed puzzle with a lot of pieces missing.
Henry was a little bit nervous and as always began to talk about everything and nothing…he was amazed with Sophie’s beauty, he didn’t want to seem to be staring at her so he placed his attention somewhere else…talking about Bridgehollow, his grandparents, art, weather.
“ Something really strange happened to me yesterday…I was painting the sunset and when I finished, I realised I’ve painted a falling star that didn’t fell yet…strange, right?!
I’ve looked up and seen the star falling after…doesn’t make sense” , said Henry trying to look interesting.
The girl next to him turned and looked at him astonished.
“ It was you…you claimed me”, she turned towards the window like she knew more but couldn’t tell anyone.
“ What do you mean…claimed you?”, Henry didn’t understand what was happening.
‘Did we meet before’…he was thinking but couldn’t remember if he met Sophie before.
They might have not met but they were destined, as so many other things in Bridgehollow…