03 February 2010


We danced together, my love and I, under the feeble waning light of our dying yellow sun. We waltzed across the broken Earthscape, hands pressed to hands and fingers tangled, lips pressed to lips and belly to belly, we swayed slowly humming the mournful tune of “The Exodus Hymn”, the eulogy sung by the weeping chaotic masses as they boarded colony ships and fled our ancestral home for the far unknown worlds among the stars. They departed in mobs and multitudes, in families and tribes; they departed on the colony ships, on converted cargo freighters and privateers and star-hoppers. They departed and we watched them go, waved farewell to loved ones and friends, and then strangers, and then merely stopped to watch launch-plumes trail across the horizon thick and stark and dissipating into memory. We found homes wherever we went, empty and echoing, cities dust-blown and scattered across the country like a skein of smashed pearls. Hours, then days, then months separated launches and we were increasingly alone.

“Go,” she said, “Go without me, my love. I’ve not long left, we both know.” She kissed me and shoved me away, weakly, with all her strength. I wept, captured her thin wrists in my hand and pulled her to me, told her in a small whisper that she was such a silly thing.

When Earth’s doom was sealed and the Exodus announced we knew, then, that her wracked and terminal body would never endure the punishing ascent to the star-dusted refuge of space.

“I’m with you,” I promised her in fervent tones. “To the very end, and beyond.”
Mankind fled their dying home and we two danced together one last time, alone on a silent planet, her slowing breath the rhythm of our steps. I held her close, took her in my arms and whispered in her ear words of love, pressed her face to my chest and felt her hands grow slowly limp on the nape of my neck. Her deep serene blue eyes stared up into mine, blue the color of lost oceans and sullied skies. Her lids grew heavy and slid closed. She drew a deep trembling breath, clutched me closer and mumbled in a muzzy voice,

“I love you,” her breath faint against my skin. Her hands fell free and I felt her spirit depart, not for the stars but for the heavens.

For Heaven.

My tears dotted the mound of thin brown fallow soil where I buried her. I sang a keening song of sorrow to an audience of ghosts and memories. The sun set, a sickly dull orange now, but bright, brighter than it had ever been, the color of sun-death, of supernova. I sent my own launch-plume arcing across the sky, the last ship space-bound. Alone now, I fled to the stars, not looking back at the low mound as it receded from porthole view. I too fled, and I too sang “The Exodus Hymn”.

No comments:

Post a Comment