By Naina Tomar
“Where’s our little field trip headed to next?” William looked over behind his shoulder from the second backseat to face me.
I looked for the dark yellow paper in my bag and landed my eyes to the second place that was checked with a black ink, Griffith Observatory.
Griffith Observatory is one of the most popular attractions in Los Angeles and there was no doubt it is. Because from there you can see the beautiful skyline of Los Angeles.
Through the roof of the building, there are three dome structures above it and my dad, being an architect, he told me that’s what makes Griffith Observatory one of his favorite places to go to.
I told William where we were heading next, “You all don’t mind if we make a side trip?” William asked.
“I don’t mind.” I shrugged.
“Where is that side trip exactly?” Kayden asked who is now the designated driver.
Turned out William bought us some tickets through his credit card to a show at The Roxy Theater on a laptop he found in the beach house we stayed at in Malibu.
Just as the sun was slowly setting down, the sky gives out its purple with an orange and yellow color that was very pleasing to the eyes as we find the car running at Sunset Boulevard, towered and surrounded by tall trees swaying with the wind.
“Woah! This is like a painting on a canvas.” I heard Nico whispered, looking up at a building in front of us when we hopped outside the car, already reached our destination.
Nico was right. As I looked up the building in front of us, it was a structure that is very much alike from the houses you will see around California. But they blasted it with different colors, like an abstract painting. It has a mark of a big letter R in the middle of it that looked like a trademark of the painter who did such a beautiful masterpiece, making the building stand out despite its common structure.
“Nightly and THE WLDLFE,” Luna read the words lighted up in front of the building.
I heard about The Roxy Theater before; they host shows for new artists, mostly indie bands. Nightly and THE WLDLFE are indie band. I tumbled down in some of their music before and indeed it was really delightful music to hear.
“You know them, William?” Luna asked her cousin.
“No,” Williams replied, as Luna gave him a confused look.
“What? You don’t know them and you booked us a ticket here?” she complained to William as we walked our way to the entrance.
“It’s music and everything with music is worth a try.” William defended himself.
“I know them!” Erin squeals, raising her hand.
The place was not that big and there was no surprise to that because of the way it looked on the outside. Nevertheless, it looks cozy and a place to have fun.
There were lights with distinct colors by the ceiling and TV screen by the stage that has a curtain behind it.
We got early to the venue before the show started, hence we had time to stand exactly in front of the stage.
Minutes later, a voice on a speaker reminded the people that the show is about to start and suddenly the venue became dark and silent. All I could hear was the breathing of Erin and Luna beside me and Nico behind me.
“The sound of your voice..” sung a voice from the stage as the people scream and a bass beat follows. The lights lit up with the beat of the song.
My ears lit up with the familiar sound I am hearing as the band sang the chorus of the song.
“Phantom. You hunt me like a phantom…” The lead vocalist sang as the audience joined him in singing too.
This was one of Nightly’s songs I tumbled down to and got so drawn into its lyrics for at the time I discovered that song, it was just a month after my dad died and everything that has happened haunted me and basically that is what the song was about for me.
My past haunted me like a phantom.
After the band finished the first performance, though none of us were very familiar with the songs we were hearing, we danced and let the unfamiliar lyrics run through our veins as its beat sent excitement to our entire system.
When the show finally reached its end, we stepped out of the theater, and the neon lights from the venues along Sunset Boulevard together with the passing cars’ lights greeted our eyes, to inform us that the sun was down and stars were up in the sky twinkling above.
“That was some wonderful music!” William said, ecstatic.
“You barely even know any lyrics coming from them, Will,” Kayden said to him.
William looked at him and smiled. “You know, sometimes, it’s not just about the lyrics. It is just the beat because the beat alone can make you feel alive.”
Not wasting any more time, we hopped inside the car and drove away from The Roxy Theater to Griffith Observatory.
After driving for several minutes, we are now walking to the entrance of the venue as we pass by the Solar System Lawn Model.
The first thing that welcomed us as soon as we stepped inside was the Foucault Pendulum. An instrument invented by a French scientist that shows the rotation of the earth. It is like a deep golden circle, wherein from the ceiling there is a rope down to the circle that swings back and forth and beneath it was the earth spinning.
I wondered if the earlier scientists somehow also got curious about how life works. Because I think it is like the earth.
It spins, and it makes you feel dizzy and crazy until you’ll get to a point where you will just snap and the next thing you knew not everything is the way they used to be.
I guess if they have thought of such a thing, they could have created an instrument too that can help people understand life in a way where it’s not like it is something we owe to the world. And the payment is in a way of suffering, like how I lost and still grieves for my dad up to this day.
“Holy Hugo Ballin. That is beyond amazing.” Nico said, and we all looked at him and looked up to where his eyes were.
There is a painting above the ceiling with a light blue color and images illustrating something mythological related and truly it was beyond amazing.
“Who’s Hugo Ballin?” Damien asked Nico, still looking above.
“An artist. He made that.” Nico said.
After getting amazed at everything around us, we bought tickets for a show to watch at The Samuel Oschin Planetarium.
I remembered being here with my dad. The planetarium show is one of the best things here. Not just because it gives knowledge, but also because it takes you to the entire galaxy and universe, telling you that there is much bigger beyond the world we live in and that’s one thing to consider that people were never truly alone for we have a vast universe out there.
The title of the show we watched was, “Centered in the Universe,” the show talked about the theories that tell us that the things we knew about the universe were not even closer to the half of what was beyond that sky we are looking up from afar.
After the show, we went to the lower level of the venue and into the Gunther Depths of Space Exhibit. As soon as we got there, we scattered directions in awe of the galactic view at the exhibit.
I stood below the aligned planets on the ceiling. Nearby I saw an enormous glass globe, the earth, our world.
A while ago at the show, the narrator said that the earth is one of the best discoveries in the universe. But I think it is the heaviest thing ever discovered because it always feels like I carry the whole thing at my back and all it makes me feel is burden and drowning.
I looked across the room and saw an image of the Milky Way, a galaxy where somewhere in its depths is where I am and these planets are above me. Looking at it, I find everything around me beautiful. And for the first time in my life, I find myself thankful that I carry a part of this galaxy on my back.
We made our way to the roof and terraces of the place. When my dad and I went here, there was still sunlight, and the hills were very visible in the eye and almost you can see every ray of the sun. It was beautiful.
But today it was night, and everything below me was splashing colors in my eyes. It was much beautiful and more peaceful.
I looked around me and saw Luna and Kayden taking their time observing and relaxing with the view; Nico sitting, scribbling something in a notebook and William, together with Damien and Erin, looking through a binocular they were passing with each other.
I walked to them, as it was already Damien’s turn to look through the binoculars.
“Where’d you get that?” I asked William.
“We borrowed it from someone. Hey, can you keep an eye on them for me? I need to pee,” William said in an urgent voice. I nodded, and he walked his way to the restroom.
I turned to look again at the view below as Erin and Damien were beside me, busy looking through at the night sky through the binoculars.
I felt Erin walk in my direction and stood beside me.
“Hey Ellie, thank you, by the way. If it wasn’t for you, this little escape plan wouldn’t be so interesting as it is now. Thank you. I mean it.” Erin said to me, her voice full of sincerity.
I just smiled at her and she walked out to take a seat beside Nico, who was still busy with his little notebook.
Moments later, a man walked towards Damien, who took the binoculars from him, probably the owner of the binoculars. Damien handed back the binoculars and stood beside me.
“Hey, do you have one person who is very important to you?” Damien asked out of nowhere.
The first thing that came into my mind was my dad, and I smiled. “Yes, how about you?”
“My sister. The only person keeping me sane for as long as I can remember,” he said in a sad tone.
“You must really love her. Where is she?”
“Far away as far as I know.”
With his vague reply, I wondered and got curious if he has any reasons he was at that camp and came along escaping from there.
“Where is she? How about your parents?” I asked him carefully, trying not to trigger anything bad.
“Long story,” he said.
Still, he ended up telling me. He said his father lost his job, so he robbed a store for money to feed his family and now in jail serving whilst her mom lost custody and was nowhere.
After that, they were sent into different foster homes. But with his great love for her sister, he escaped at his foster home to find her but got no luck. Frustrated, he went back to his foster home, but immediately sent to a rehab center as his depression got worse and out of control.
That’s how he met Erin; they are the people who came from the rehabilitation center. He suffered depression, that he had almost successfully attempted taking his life for how many times, but still able to survive it.
Recently, he found out his sister got adopted and hoped that along the way of this trip we could pass by where her sister was.
“Don’t worry, we will pass by her place even if it is out of our route,” I assured him.
“How about you? I’ve heard you lost your dad.”
“Guess we all have dark pasts.” I shrugged.
“You know, they say that when we look at the stars, we are looking at the past because what we are seeing is already dead.” I nodded at what he said.
I remembered Mr. Rahim, my physics teacher, mentioned that when we were talking about time.
“Think of those stars as your pasts, whether it was a good or bad past. And think of the night sky as the road of your life and from there you will see what lights your way, it’s the stars.,” Damien said. I smiled at what he said.
Most of the people’s pasts were dark and hurtful, the reason many want to leave it behind. But Damien looked at those as stars. A star that was already dead, yet still twinkling and giving light.
Maybe that was what our past is really about. When we go on with our journey to life, we will have those happy, bright moments like the first ray of the sunlight that hits the surface of the earth and we will have those dark endless pits of blackness moments in our life just like the night sky when the sun already died.
And being in the dark is a mandatory thing that you can’t do anything about it but to survive it and wait for the sunlight to light your way again.
But, within those dark roads, you have to walk, there is something you can always look back to that will give you light, and that was your past, the stars that light up the dark sky that serves as the gloomy roads you have to get through as you find the meaning and purpose of your life.
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