“Look up over there, what do you see?”
Our eyes were just starting to adjust to seeing things in total darkness. The sluggish waves were in conflict with the pile of rocks we climbed on top of, and all the other beings around us were in deep slumber.
“Udn’know… stars? And other lights, but I don’t know where they’re coming from”
“All the better. Knowing how things work sucks the wonder out of them. I can sit here and tell you all about the birthing of stars, the galactic gasses, how astronomical lights are formed, but where’s the fun in that? When you ponder on such beauty… really get lost in its charm, only then you know what it’s all about. Only then you’ll comprehend the wordless language it’s trying to commune. And if you try to explain how it works and you give it a name, that’s the only thing you’ll know then… just the name”
“Alright, and what do you see?”
“I see nothing and everything at once. Scientists say this part of the galaxy is the only visible one from earth, and since we’re in the middle of it we can’t see it whole, just this part, ‘Orion Arm’ they call it. But I choose to believe something else; I believe this is all there is to see. The galaxy’s a brow and we’re a tiny mole right at the edge of it”
Slicing the black in a silent yet steady swoop, a star scarred the horizon and it bled milk-white, only briefly before healing back to full onyx. It drew the awe forcibly from our lips.
“Orion Arm it’s called you say?”
“Aha… only a name tho, nothing more”
Penetrating the air with my index finger I pointed to something, “You see that speck there?” He turned to the general direction of my finger and nodded. We both knew he didn’t quite locate the specific dot in question
“-there inside that little speck are two creatures, the planet is solely theirs and nobody else’s, they’re now looking back at us and wondering what’s it like living on the edge of the galaxy; The first alien looks at his friend and asks if he believes we exist. The friend is a skeptic, he doesn’t. The alien, somewhat surprised for he thought they shared the same belief in our existence. He thinks before speaking, then mouth-bubbles the words. No. They don’t have mouths. The alien touches his friend’s arm and sparkles, yes, that’s how they communicate: ‘how self-centered of you to believe that we’re the only creatures out there! How can you say for sure that that green and blue ball over yonder is uninhabited? Look at all this space around us… I refuse to believe no one’s out there but us’
His friend sparkles brighter, then the alien retaliates with even brighter sparkles, and his friend brighter, and him brighter. And that’s what that light is; Just two friends, arguing whether you and I exist”
Tom laughed uncontrollably and flailed his arms about. He put one hand on his abdomen, and the other clutching my arm, and for a second there we were those aliens.
“Gotta say, Scott, this isn’t half bad. Quite the romantic setting we got going here. If you were a gal and not a guy I’d be all over you right now” He resumed laughing. My head said ‘If only’. My tongue:
“There you go again giving things names and clinging to them”
He scanned my face inquisitively trying to make meaning of what I said, failed, then continued
“Where’s Lana? You ever bring her here?” Her mention muddied the purity of my air
“No. She likes loud things, loud music, loud parties, loud conversations. She doesn’t understand this, won’t if she tried”
I reflected the question back at him to keep the dialogue alive, yet wishing to drop the subject as soon as possible “-what about your girlfriend? Is she into this sorta thing?”
“Sophie? Hell no! If it’s not a movie or a TV show then bet your ass she’s not interested”
Our necks were starting to stiffen from all the head tilting we’d done. I leaned back on my hands. The coarse edges of the rocks pushing against my late-adolescent soft palms were painful, and as I worked to lift them up, Tom laid his head on my thigh unexpectedly and I left them there as to keep myself motionless so he would lay undisturbed.
Another star, much bigger,hacked the sky and left the night bleeding its milk once again. The exact image mirrored on the now waveless sea. Two simultaneous cuts; one hurting the universe above and another hurting the marine life below.
“I heard on TV once that there’s a hole in the center of our galaxy, causing us and everything else to pirouette around it. What do you say to that?”
“Like bathwater flushing inside a tub when unplugged?”
“Rather funny, really”
“I know! We live in a toilet, Scott, we’re nothing but pieces of shit!”
His head vibrated in my lap and we laughed like loonies, a strand of hair swept over his face and it took every ounce of self-control in me to not brush it back. The rocks were harsh against my palms, and I could feel the skin swelling even further into their sharpness.
I remembered a Muslim sheikh whose leg was being amputated while he prayed “I will engage in my worship. When you see me fully engaged, you proceed with your work” he told the amputator, no anesthesia. Then I thought of a Buddhist monk, burning alive while meditating “Nam-mo A-di-da Phat” he said before dropping the match unto his petrol drenched body ‘I seek refuge in the infinite life and wisdom of Buddha’, no anesthesia either.
I tried channeling that same state of mind to cut the circulation from my hands and not feel the rocks rupturing holes in my palms. I got no Allah or Buddha to seek refuge in, to whom can I meditate to? I felt my palms getting wet with blood.
“I surrender my all to the very fabric of the universe of which I was molded from, and into which my soul will finally ascend through” If I had a mantra that’d be it… No anesthesia.
I grabbed Tom’s hand and levitated toward the brow in the sky, swam to the lonely sparkling friends’ planet to tell em we exist. Their planet’s light has dimmed now, they’d ceased sparklearguing and challenged one another whose to throw a further shootingstar at us, they’d thrown two so far. None had quite reached.
Tom trembled as we were flying, ablaze, through the earth’s final atmosphere.
“You’ll suffocate us! There’s no air out there!” He clenched my bloodied hand tighter
No spacesuits, no helmets, no waves or seas, no rocks or neck stiffness. No Lanas or Sophies or guys or gals. No names… No names.
Just us and everything else out there. Or him and I and nothing else.