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In her childhood, Peri had discovered the stars in the night sky and been a stargazer ever since. There was something mysterious and fascinating about those twinkling beams. She could not describe her feelings about the far away lights, but she knew she liked them. And there was the moon, and the different shapes it took throughout each lunar phase. She loved it when it became a luminous white ball, with a face. It moved between the buildings, as she spied it in the car, on the way home. The moon moves.

“Peri,” her mother said, “means fairy. A good soul, a magical being who is kind to everyone.”

When she began school and learned to read and write, some arithmetic to add and subtract, multiply and divide, she also learned about the stars and the planets. Stars were like the Sun, the planets, like Earth. She was told her horoscope was Libra, a constellation that resembled the shape of scales. This was a little confusing. She tried to make out the figure, but had difficulties. Scales, balance. Did that mean she was a balanced person? That would be perfect, wouldn’t it? What if the scales tipped? There was no balance? Would that be a disaster? All too overwhelming. Never mind.

If there were planets like Earth, were there people living there? Humans- or? Goose bumps. When she thought too much about these subjects while she grew up, she became terrified. Strange places with strange beings.

In composition class, she learned about something called a point of view. View. What you see from where you are. If there is life up there, in all those planets with many suns, those beings must feel the same way as I do. Frightened and curious, from their perspective. Maybe it’s not so scary, after all. Just the fear of the unknown. She still felt uneasy. Maybe it’s best not to think about these things. But they beckoned. Discreetly.

Peri wanted to go to the university and become a professional. Her mother didn’t have the chance. She had married at a young age. Peri never knew her father. Only his smiling face in the photos. He had died when she was still in her mother’s belly. She wished he were here to guide her, through her studies and dreams.

After Peri and her mother moved to Ankara to set up home, she was accepted at the high-school she wanted to attend. Big city, the capital, twinkling stars. She would make it, become a star herself. She was good at maths and physics. She had a friendly nature and was kind. Maybe she could enter the Medical School or become a teacher to help people.

That Sunday, Peri met with friends to see a movie, an Oscar winner. It was a story she didn’t know about, a fascinating doorway into the unknown and undiscovered territories. I must read about this, I must look it up. Over a cup of tea at the café, she discussed the film with her friends. Never mind what’s beyond Earth, in the universe, we know so little about things in our own world. There’s no end to learning.

She parted with her friends and decided to go home early, to contemplate on the film and her impressions, in the privacy of her own room. Maybe some stargazing, too. Her window into new worlds and stories.

Peri waited at the bus stop, dreamy eyed, thinking of her future. There was so much she wanted to do. She couldn’t wait to explore these untraveled destinations and make them her own.

The bus approached. – And there was a blast that shook the entire area like an earthquake. The noise reverberated through the buildings. A great ball of fire lit up the evening sky and she was gone. Together with thirty-five others, waiting beside her, and the passengers on the bus. Promising young people like her, middle-aged citizens, and those from all walks of life.

Though they had never exchanged a word between them, on their Earthly journey,  in that moment of time, the souls of the departed shared the same fate.

Sixteen-year-old Peri became a star, or perhaps a fairy, as in the meaning of her name, from her own stardust.