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Her Eyes, Dusky As Stars
By Jason A. Wise
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
This is a dream I had, and am continuing to have. This is it's story.
Iím there again; Cherrystone. I feel at home. This is one of those few, rare places. My conception of exact time is vague, yet the feeling is unshakeable. It is mid-July; the air screams it with every long winded breath. Summer sighs through the trees, one giant exhalation of the day.
The sun hangs low in the sky, marking twilight. The dusk will last forever. At least, it seems that way. Something inside of me is missing, and I know I must search for that which completes me. I canít bear the idle feeling. I head westward, into the setting sun, cutting a path into the horizon.
I walk in a series of shaky, disjointed movements, unsure, hesitating so that I may glance at least once to every side. I donít know what Iím looking for, but I know that I must find it, that I will find it, somehow. I will know it if I see it, of this I am sure. I feel it pull me ever on, half haltingly. The connection itself urges me into a waking sleep, coaxing my heart to slow and my vision to fight against losing focus. I can feel it become me.
It hurts to look directly ahead. Gazing slightly off to the right or to the left is the only way I can manage to press forward. I can barely keep my eyes open, I can barely shield them from the press of day. Brilliant sunlight scatters through the trees. I can hardly perceive any of it, barely grasp a part of it, yet this unseen hand guides me to embrace all of it. I feel as a child. A blinding flash of light hits the right side of my face, the awesome flash of some divine lens. I turn all too slowly, not managing to catch sight of its glorious source.
I head toward it now, follow it now, answer to its call now. The sun rests behind me, drawing sweat from my shoulders and back, from the underside of my forearms. It slight is strong against my neck and a bare portion of my face. A grove of tall trees, ancient Loblolly pines, stand as mute witnesses ahead of me. I run through them, unable to slow or contain myself. The world blurs around me in my frantic rush, churning into a haze of dizzying expectation. I tear through the line of trees, running past them. I am stopped dead. The world again affixes itself in solid reality around me.
A field rests between us. Itís covered in grass, knee high or better, that waves lazily in the soft breeze. It is the deepest green I have ever seen. Shapes zig zag across its roiling surface, wide circles and quickly cut arcs, twists, and turns. And it sits there, just a little further off. A hundred steps, a hundred yards, a hundred miles...years...ahead. Interminable. Indescribable.
Without any outward motion I am suddenly standing there, next to the object of my attentions. I realize, with a start, that it is a she. A female, something. I stand over her as she looks up at me, eyes close, face smooth. She is near five foot four with skin the color of mellow fire. We are suddenly closer, then closer again. We are less than inches apart. Her head rests on my shoulder. Her slender arms encircle me as best she can. My own encircle her.
I look down into her radiant face, seeking. She is ageless, timeless. She is a mask of beauty. Her eyes have remained shut. She tilts her head back, slightly away from me. Her breathe is sweet, and moist like dew. Her skin is mildly fragrant, like wild honey and damp earth. She remains, immalleable and perfect.
Then, like a whisper, she opens her eyes. Her eyes, dusky as stars. They stare up into the pale imitation of my own. Hers are amber, and mine are winter skies. My knees weaken. I would fall, but she catches me, holds me when I cannot hold myself. Her eyes are each a constellation, sitting on the outer reaches of some almost lost galaxy. They are something breathtakingly close to how I have always pictured heaven. Maybe they are the heavens. Maybe Iíve died and sheís a black hole that my soul has fallen into, a place where all matter and space are one. A place where we burn, together. A place where we are one.
But I am alive, I think. I almost speak it. I am alive. More alive then I have ever been, and I canít even summon the strength to stand. She wraps her arms more tightly around me now, pulling me closer. I can barely hold on as she draws me near. As she, like a god, draws me out. I slowly exhale, trying to worship her, hoping she sees my intent. Wings unfurl behind her, her wings. Two living bodies of skin, divine and golden, made from fire. Delicate as paper. My skin burns against her, though no blisters rise, and I do not even redden. I glow with her. Her light pierces me, engulfing me. I am just a window that it shines through.
Her wings raise high, pointing into the vastness of that which is above. I try again to worship her, then I try to simply breathe. Only a wisp of smoke escapes me. Curling outward like a kiss from my mouth. Then we lift, ever upward. The weight of the world falls away from me like ash. My heels are the first to some undone as they pull from the earthís surface, followed slowly by my bare toes. As the ground dissolves beneath me the Sun explodes, a concussion without sound or reason. I think to myself that the whole world must be feeling it right now, trembling so violently from the death of that distant beacon. But it is only a passing though, and I do not care, because I am not of the earth anymore. I am no longer a part of any world.
Reflected in the radiance of her eyes, I see the Sun begin its terrible reckoning. It breaks away from itself, come apart in pieces, each unfathomably large. One of them spins toward us, hurtling down like rain to strike the earth. Itís so bright. Itís almost beautiful. It leaves a fiery tail behind it as it burns through the atmosphere, shaped like some tear falling across the face of the universe. She pulls me deeper her eyes as I see all this. I can almost hear what sheís thinking. He wants to protect me from it, to keep me safe and oblivious. She says that she will kill all of my pain. She says that I can be innocent again. I think that Iím crying, but all the moisture my eyes expend evaporates in small trails of steam before it can reach my cheek. I fall further into her enchanting embrace. My heart beats in rhythm with her wings, the pulse of life itself. Slow, but urgent, and so gentle that I almost miss feeling it. I almost mistake it.
My shirt curls away, turning to ash as it falls from my body. My skin burns fiercely where ever I touch her. Iím burning now too. And just like she promised, there is no pain. I offer a smile, all I can give, as her thanks. Her voice in my head says that she understands. She has always understood. She always will.
The molten piece of star races towards us, faster now. Ever faster. It too is sentient, and it senses the end approaching. It speeds faster in anticipation of finally achieving completion. I feel much the same. And do not blame it for its wants or for its needs. We are all kindred. No malice reaches me from its ponderous heart. It only seeks wholeness.
I can feel the heat intensify behind us, hotter than hell, and still just a candle standing against the magnificence of her blaze. The world narrows down again, fixing upon her, deeper and deeper into the nexus of her gaze as she sees me.
And just then, at that exact moment, a brilliant flash erupts. Light engulfs not only me now, but all things. It shines through all of creation as if it were glass. There will never be anymore pain. I float, in her...another flash...then I wake, shaken, immediately seeking her.
The sudden heaviness and certainty of gravity shocks me. It feels alien all along my skin. The loss is too much for me to comprehend. I know that I canít stand, so I only lay there, staring at the cruel reminder brought about by the plastic stars glittering along my ceiling. I gasp for breath. Iíve lost something precious. I never want to feel the terror of being ripped from my dreaming again. Not ever. But after a few moments, the ability to move returns to my once frozen extremities. All my useless appendages. They tie me here, eternally. This body only serves to contain me, keeping me forever from being divine as I once was. I have realized this every morning for the past week, as I wake each new day from the same dream. A recurring nightmare, you could call it really. But I donít dwell on the past, or on what will certainly come once the present moment is spent. I know what my future holds. I have seen it. But for now, I climb into the shower and let its heat dissolve all those hurting parts of me and carry them down the drain. I press my hands into my eyes, drowning out sleep, smudging out the world.
Only twelve more hours till we meet again, and this time...this time I will be ready.
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|Reviewed by Andi Chrisman
|I felt that one down to my very core. Perfectly happy and undyingly sad in one story. Beautiful.|