EIGHTH STAR | Ginette Pywell It was written in the stars and I should have known. The Plough. Seven stars for seven years. Dubhe - the brightest of the seven stars - for the year we met. I had given up on love and resigned myself to singledom. And then you arrived. The years hadn’t been kind to your waistline you told me. I thought you were beautiful. That first holiday on the Isle of Wight. One night I fell in love with you and that love was as clean and pure as the night-sky. Do you remember? Lying side-by-side while I held up your hand and pointed you to each of the seven stars. I’ll love you to the Plough and back a thousand times. I’ll love you to the Plough and back a million times. Mizar and Alcor – this pair are only 90 light years distant which, in astrological terms, is very close. Inseparable. We were so lucky to have found each other after all those in-between years, weren’t we? You were my Mizar and I tried my best to keep you close. Merak - a bluish-white star in the loin of the Great Bear - were we guided by hearts or by our loins? Both, perhaps. Snatched weekends in my attic flat above the roofs. Tea, toast and making love amongst the crumbs and the sun lighting up the dusty particles like millions of tiny, celestial bodies. The sweet ache of parting and the late night, long distance whispered I love you’s. I’ll love you to the Plough and back a billion times. Megrez. Poor star – its only claim to any sort of distinction is that it has been accused of having faded over the centuries. The dog and I moved up to yours. You bought me a ‘Welcome Home’ helium balloon. But I missed the forest and the sea and the unpolluted skies and I tried to make it work but I couldn’t quite reach you. Our love-making soon replaced with quick, embarrassed kisses and our conversation dry and heavy as a stone. Phecda and Alioth - a possible cause of a great blood bath. And so began the end. The spare room became my cocoon where I shielded myself from the heavy silences and the spitting bitter words that burned into our hearts. And the inevitable bombshell. The ‘I love you but…’ I tried to deflect the words. I wanted to cover up your mouth so that you wouldn’t say those things. But the words kept coming and the pain they caused was like a crushing, suffocating weight. But in the end I knew you were right. Did you know that The Plough actually includes an eighth star? Alkaid moves in its own direction. The dog and I moved back to the forest.