In May 2012 I, as I have done every month for the last two and a bit years, wrote a story. It was called Starwatcher. It was an attempt at pulpy sci-fi with a slightly alien feel to it. Though I do quite like it, in of itself, it is nothing special. The piece originally had a brief epilogue to it that was perhaps no more than twenty or thirty words. In the end I got rid of it. It felt tacked on, superfluous, unnecessary. Over the intervening year and a half, that expunged epilogue sat in the back of my mind dormant and unmoving. Then one day it sprouted and grew and then flowered into something beyond my wildest expectations. This now completed epilogue is longer than the original and has been a labour of love. Writing it and the subsequent re-readings caused me to be almost overwhelmed by “Feels.”
During its composition I reflected quite a lot on love, friendship, relationships and what exactly they meant. How they define people, how it changes who the are. This quickly became an act of self-reflection as I thought about the most important relationships in my life. My life has been remarkably free from romantic entanglements, the relationships which have dominated my life are those between myself and my friends. By the metrics of television and film my life should be lonely, empty and unfulfilled. But it’s not. My life is rich, richer than I often realise. So I dedicate “The Watcher of Stars” not to any individual or great romantic love past or lost, but to the relationships which have really mattered to me. The ones without which I would be less than I am. I dedicate it to my friends.
This story is for Sam and Tonks, for being there despite not being able to be there; for Sarah and Pinaz, for sharing a house with me and living to tell the tale; for Gareth and Chelle, for visiting and being so insufferably sweet together; for the two Davids, for their internet shenanigans and good natured treachery; for Andy and JP, for knowing me as long as they have and still not hating me for it; for James and Neil, for scaring my mind in ways which will never truly heal; For Amy and Vicki, for risking social suicide by agreeing to be seen in public with me; for Mick and Steve, for proving to me that I am not the worst human being in existence; and for Marc and for Jess, for always teaching me something new, and for being so singularly interesting that I could just listen to them talk for hours. And a final thanks to the ensemble cast of my life, you are legion, beyond counting and beyond importance.
Even if I have never said it before or never say it again: You people matter to me in ways I cannot quite put into words. Without you I would just be a husk of gradually expiring meat. With you, I still am a husk of gradually expiring meat, but you make me feel not so bad about the fact.
Wherever you may find yourself, in love, in life and in space; I wish you all a Happy New Year. May this coming year be filled with not that which you want, but that which you need.