A Review: A Sky of Wishes (#StrangeLit Incredible Truths)
Beware the tale that distracts you with the telling — it’s planting a truth in your mind, and you may find yourself believing in the incredible too. Sit back and let it happen, while reading.
A SKY OF WISHES by KRISTEL ANN CRUZ
A world governed by logic and rules does not have time for childhood fantasies like wishing stars, or so we thought. After Stella gets diagnosed with a terminal illness, Aries turned to the sky and pleaded for his mother to be healed. Imagine his surprise when a Star manifests itself to him, willing to give him anything he wishes for. There is only one rule: Everything comes with a price. With his mother’s life on the line, how far could he go? In a battle between fates and wishes, what would Aries be willing to give up?
“She has six months to live,” the doctor declared with a tone of finality that could not be revoked.
“I’m sorry,” he added, as if as an afterthought. Was there even a hint of empathy in there? Aries could not tell, because everything the doctor said after only rang empty and hollow to him.
But she doesn’t even smoke! It took all of him not to stand up and shake Dr. Vega while screaming these things, while at the same time feeling like his knees and legs have forgotten their purpose and he can never rise again.
How can you give up just like that? You are supposed to not give up! How can you call yourself a doctor? You are supposed to save her life! He wanted to punch something. Anything! He wanted to destroy every furniture in the room, but it felt like the floor gave way under him and he could not find his feet.
“She has six months to live,” as if it was him who decided and chose the doomed date himself. “She has six months to live,” with such resolution that Aries could not find the heart to contest.
Not even ten seconds after closing the door of Dr. Vega’s clinic, Aries felt his breakfast coming back up the way it went in. He rushed to the restroom and had not even had the chance to lock the cubicle before he threw up the contents of his stomach. His throat burned but he did not mind; he surely preferred this kind of pain instead of what was waiting for him, filling his whole being with dread and defeat.
Nanay Stella has had a cough for as long as he could remember. He would always tell her to have it checked, even offering to go to the health center with her, but she would just laugh it off and say he was being worked up over nothing.
“Ma, are you okay?” Aries asked after another round of violent coughs from his mom, a look of concern etched on his face. “You really should go to the doctor.”
“Don’t mind me, I’m okay. I’ve never felt better,” Nanay Stella claimed with what she hoped was a reassuring smile that came out as a grimace instead.
“Are you sure, Ma? I can skip work today so I can come with you to the doctor.”
“No, no, don’t worry about me. There’s nothing that a few leaves of oregano can fix.”
But Nanay Stella must have boiled and reluctantly swallowed the juice of an entire garden plot’s worth of oregano leaves already, to no avail. Her voice that used to tell him bedtime stories, comfort him from the monsters in his head (and, as per his rather active imagination, under his bed), and sing him to sleep now seemed to be perpetually hoarse. It is unnerving how quickly she seemed to have lost weight and still have that pesky cough. Aries worried a lot but felt powerless to do anything about it because, as Nanay Stella insisted, she was fine.
She finally agreed to go to the doctor after finding a lot of blood with the phlegm she coughed out one day. A series of tests ensued and the results came back conclusive: lung cancer.
Aries did not have a chance to digest any of it. It was either a strange glitch came to the space-time continuum or maybe he was just in a state of shock, but Nanay Stella’s condition worsened much faster after they found out the results. He could barely even keep up.
They have the option to just go home and wait for the dreaded day to come to pass, but Aries did not want to do that. He still wanted for him and his mother to fight, so he opted for Nanay Stella to stay in the hospital so the doctors and nurses can still look over her and check on her progress.
If he was being completely honest, he would admit that there were times when he felt they were just wasting energy and money, and that Nanay Stella was better off staying at home. But every time this happened he berated himself that when it came to his Mom, there were no such thing as effort and money wasted.
His work as a Team Lead in one of the top BPOs in the country keeps him preoccupied during work hours. He has thought of quitting so he can take care of Nanay Stella round the clock but he knows he could not because they need the money. When he comes home to an empty house, that is when his brave front collapses and he scoffs at the unfairness of it all.
“It’s funny how we make ourselves busy learning about proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals from green leafy vegetables and fruits, when in the end sustenance can only come out of colorless liquids and plastic tubes,” thought Aries, spitting bitterly.
The story is very short and bittersweet. It doesn’t go around in circles. It hits the point head-on. The first part already hooked me, with Aries hearing about his mother’s cancer diagnosis from the doctor. It resonated with me because I also had to go through something similar with both my parents, so I knew how Aries felt—the anger, the helplessness, the hollow pain—and I knew how desperate he must have been to even try wishing on a star to heal his mother. I know I did similar things.
When the star responds and gives him a choice, it made me really think. If I were Aries, would I have sacrificed someone else’s heart or capacity to love and be loved in return for the life of my mother? That’s a tough one. On the one hand, I would have my mother back for more years, but on the other hand, I would KNOW that I was responsible for someone’s inability to feel love. So what would I have done?
I will not divulge the ending of course (and my own choice), but suffice it to say that this story made me feel a LOT, and it made me think DEEPLY. And for me, that is the hallmark of a good story.
A Sky of Wishes is a simple story about a son’s love for his mother, about a man’s belief in stars, and about the choice he has to make and living with the consequences of that decision. It is written with heart, and I appreciate that a lot. And for that I give the story four stars.
About the Author
It boggles the mind how someone so shy and awkward found herself in Public Relations, but somehow Krissy makes it work. If she were a fictional character, she’d be a female Ted Mosby. Whether it be prose, poetry, a watercolor painting, or a craft project, she is happiest when she makes. Talk about books, movies, and lipsticks with her on www.krissyfied.com.