Starlight

As young as we were, we thought we were immortal. I remember holding her that night, the air was stifling around us like a raging whirlwind, and, the coming of winter followed behind us in its cold embrace. We were nothing but kids back then, just a couple of idiots who thought they could rule the world with just their energy. We had trekked our way to the highest point in the city, to the tallest building we could find, and snuck our way to the roof. The moment we opened that rusted door,  the high altitude airs rushed us like a lion in march, and, we knew that we were at the right place.

Her dress fluttered in the wind, so much so that I couldn’t help but count all the frills at the hem of her skirt.

“Did you really have to wear something like that, June?” My voice wisped in the air of the roof, seeming to find itself stuck in the air between me and her.

“You’re not complaining now are you, July?” She answered back with a mischievous grin and a playful lull.

“I’m not. You look really pretty. But, it’s cold out here.” She only smiled back, and continued to trill around on the empty roof where we found each other.

“Isn’t this the perfect place?” She asked me. I smiled and walked towards her, then, walked past her, onto the edge of the roof where the city lay in its wake, the stomach of the beast just beginning to wake in the late of the night. I didn’t need to squint my eyes to see that every person who walked on the sidewalk, every car that zoomed on by in the glittering street lights, looked no bigger than the small of my finger. It was incredibly enticing, incredibly haunting, and, if, June was there to bring me back to reality, I would have found myself among them, splattered among them.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” She said, her voice dancing in the air, finding itself in the nice spot above the current, lending its soothing tune to me. When she was this close, I could smell the distinct fragrance that made her June. It was almost intoxicating.

“Up here, everything seems so small in comparison,” her lips were dyed a dying rose.

“It’s almost too perfect a place for us, isn’t it?” She smiled as she said this, her smile cutting the air around us, a beautifully daunting smile.

“Do you think they can see us?” June asked. She let her legs hang on the edge of the building as she sat back, her face staring into the stars.

“And if they could?” I replied.

“If they could? I’d want them all to see us, above them, at the top.” Her voice lingered in the air around us.  She seemed more tired than usual, her breath forming and disappearing in sync with every word she spoke.

“You won’t be embarrassed?” I asked. She smiled, her smile piercing the stars above, trying to find its way in the endless space that hung in the darkness.

“Do you really think I’m the type to get embarrassed?” I shrugged.

“Do you see that?” She suddenly started, her eyes focused on the starry night sky. I hung my legs over the building as she did, and then leaned back. With every draft, my legs twitched. They weren’t used to hanging over ledges, and, I felt, that at any moment, I could be dragged into the stomach of the beast. If I didn’t focus long enough, I was sure to find myself slipping away in my sleep.

“The stars?”

“Not just that. Look closer.” I chuckled in her curiosity and focused my eyes onto the sky. Seemingly endless amounts of tiny twinkles paraded the night. No matter where I looked, I could see those tiny lights flickering and reaching my tiny eyes. It was as if the endless sea of space above was trying to beckon me towards wherever it was. And, somewhere in that sea, was the moon, glinting in its entirety, brighter than all of the other distant stars.  After all, it’s light, the moonlight, was much, much closer than any starlight would ever be to us.

“The moon?” I answered. She laughed.

“Not just that. Look again. You’ll see it, July. You’ll see it.” Then, when I looked and focused back into the sky, I saw a streak of light cross my eyes. A shooting star. The tail of a comet.

“A shooting star?” I finally answered. She then bounced up, all the way to the edge of the building, and with a gleaming smile and a playful tune answered, “There you go!”

“So, what about it?” She pouted.

“Don’t you know about shooting stars, July?” Before I answered, I tried to consider what she could have meant, and, I realized it then just how childish we really were.

“A wish?”

“Exactly!” Her smile was beaming, with enough energy to fill the quiet of the roof of the building we sat upon.

“What do you think we should wish for?”

“Is that really how that works?” She pouted.

“If it’s not the both of us then what’s the point?” I sighed, “I really don’t think that’s how these things work.” She pouted even more, and then, laughed. I thought her laugh would send her over, but, she remained on the roof beside me. Then, without warning, as if her body had suddenly gotten limp, she rested her head on my shoulder. Her warmth exuded my body. Her voice was now a gentle tune on the wind, and it seemed to struggle to reach me, “Are we the rulers of the world yet?”

“Not yet,” I answered with a chuckle, “not even close.”

“Even though we’re so high up?” She sounded desperate, her voice, trailing behind her, wanting to reach my ears, and barely hanging.

“It’ll take a little more than just that,” I said.

“We have to reach the stars?” She held her hands up, weakly, limply, as she placed the remainder of her strength onto me.

“That’s right,” I answered, “we have to reach the stars. And then, once we land, we’ll be the rulers of the world.”

“How long would that take?” I was about to answer, but, I smiled instead, and then, thought about it, earnestly.

“With just the two of us? It’ll take us a million years.”

“Then, I’ll wait a million years for us to touch the stars.”

“You won’t get bored?” She looked up at me with an annoyed expression.

“Who do you think I am, July?” I chuckled.

“Do you think we’ll always be together like this?” She then said. Her eyes were shut, and her body didn’t move, she was completely still, all of the energy left in her now dissipated throughout the roof of the building.

“I said it before didn’t I?” I pulled her up and into my arms, so that she was leaning towards my chest, her legs dangling off the roof in an awkward position.

“We’re immortal,” I began, ” for as long as we’re like this, we’re immortal.”

“You’re right. We’re immortal.” We remained like that for quite some time. And then, before I realized it, she had gotten up, she was standing on the ledge of the building, and, she held me up. We stood together, on the edge of the building, looking down into the belly of the beast. No matter how late it was, the city never slept. Her grip tightened, to the point where it began to hurt.

“They all seem so small, so insignificant,” she began, “everything about the city doesn’t seem so scary anymore. We’re like the stars.”

“But, we don’t exactly emit any light. We’re lightless stars.”

“Fair enough. But, with so many stars in the galaxy, so many lights veering their way onto Earth, we’re bound to lose a few on the way.”

“You’re right. No matter how full that sky is, we won’t be able to see all the starlight.”

“What do you think about us?”

“Lightless stars? Well, it’s quite sad, isn’t it? You’ll never know those stars exist for another hundred years until their light finally reaches us. But for us–”

“No one knows that we exist, not even if we wait a hundred years.” Her hair fluttered on the drafts of the roof. If we stayed like that for any longer, losing ourselves in our mindless chatter, I was certain that we were going to fall into that pit. But even yet, we were sure that we would not die, for we were immortal. That’s exactly why we came up there, to the highest point in the city, to claim our places in the world, to be on the top, for just a few moments.

“That’s why,” she began, “we have to be with each other. Two immortals, two rulers of the world, standing atop everything else, watching as it all burns. Right, July?” Her grip tightened even more. She was truly afraid, this was the first time I’d ever seen her afraid of anything. Her dress was left to flutter in the winds as I let go of her hands. I closed my eyes and let the air of the roof consume me. We were immortals, in the thick of the stomach of the beast

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