Drabble 89 – La Douleur Exquise

La Douleur Exquise
IC1396 by Pat Gaines

There are many kinds of wanting, and I’m familiar with most of them.

There’s wanting something superficial, a craving for ice cream or a trendy hat. There’s deeper want, for fulfillment or acceptance or companionship. There’s terrible want, jealousy and envy and desire turned sour. None of them are pleasant.

But want, in my experience, is also a drive. I’m ambitious and driven and a workaholic because I want something, sometimes recognition, sometimes validation, sometimes just enough money to make me feel secure. I work because I want. I push myself further because there’s something just out of reach, and if I stretch a bit more I might be able to grab it.

I say might because I think I’m beginning to realize that there is nothing tangible to grab, there. It keeps darting just out of my reach but I keep chasing it like a cat with a laser pointer. Is that a bad thing? Hmm. I don’t think I’m the right person to ask.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.


(n.) French for “exquisite pain”

The heart-wrenching pain of wanting the affection of someone unattainable.

Jasmine is twelve when she first learns the name of the star. Mu Cephei, or the garnet star, thanks to its brilliant red color. She imagines holding it in her hands, bright as a jewel, burning like fire.

Later, she learns two important things about Mu Cephei—it’s a runaway star, meaning it hurtles through the universe at incredible speed, and it’s dying.

That means that Jasmine only has a limited amount of time. Even now, fifteen years later, she slips on her helmet and buckles herself into place, eyes skyward. Perhaps she can catch it, this beautiful, burning thing.

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