The story is never the same.
Sometimes, it’s a romance so full of affection and adoration, she can barely believe it’s real. Sometimes, it’s an adventure; she feels the pull to run, to explore, to get lost. Sometimes, it’s a mystery; she digs, and hopes, and finds. Sometimes, it’s a tragedy, and her heart breaks before it ever feels. Sometimes, she enters the story halfway through. Then, she really has to fight to find the right place to appear.
Sometimes, the story is still being written. Then, she prays. She breathes and waits.
Today, she feels twenty pages late. The narrative is already in progress, and she has yet to make an appearance. She struggles to catch up, to find her mark and prepare for her moment. The world lightens, cues her to her place. The world is built around her and the moments to come. She hears the hum, and feels the air move. She knows her place, and she takes it.
She breathes, and waits for the moment.
Start the scene- The woman is beautiful. She always is.
Hazel eyes that seem to have made a home behind Nicole’s eyelids meet her brown ones for the first time. Their eyes lock, and the woman smiles. She smiles in a way that burns Nicole, that devastates the world around her, until there’s nothing left.
She lets the world burn. Maybe the sky deserves it.
She’s heard the name a hundred times, a thousand. She breathes the name in her sleep, chants it like a mantra she needs to live on to the next day. She breathes it rhythmically, on a schedule. She knows every syllable, like she knows world she inhabits is only temporary.
Today, Waverly is smiling. She says Nicole pulled her out of the darkness, and pressed the shadows back without blinking. She says Nicole sees her, knows her. She says Nicole is a universe Waverly wants to live in, forever. She wants Nicole close, hand outstretched and warm as it reaches. She intertwines their fingers, still smiling, still there. Nicole lives in the space between Waverly’s fingers. She never controls the narrative, she never leads her partner through all of the steps. Waverly smiles, and whispers. She twirls, and giggles.
Waverly kisses her, and the world burns again. Waverly kisses her, and everything burns.
Everything repeats in this story. Every line is said the same way, each touch feels familiar. She’s been here before, but she can’t remember when. Have they already lived a lifetime in this room, this world, this sky?
Everything repeats, except for the ending.
Yesterday, they were breaking.
Faces hard, mouths loud, eyes wet. Waverly is heartbreaking in her torn dress, hands up and begging. Then, Waverly is heartbreaking, slamming her again and again in the chest as she cries and screams. Then, Waverly is heartbreaking, walking away, head never turning to look back. They were supposed to be each other’s home. Now, they’re only a part of each other’s wreckage.
Today, they are happy.
Waverly is beautiful in a white dress Nicole has seen three times before. Then, Waverly is beautiful sitting in the sand on a shoreline near a home Nicole built with her calloused and dirt-marred hands. Then, Waverly is beautiful with tears in her eyes, and a baby in her arms. The baby smells like home, and so does Waverly.
Yesterday, she heard every scream and cry, every hum. She was haunted by the sounds and the emptiness. Today, the sounds are muted, and irrelevant. The baby never makes a sound, or speaks a word. She never sees the baby reach, or crawl, or walk. She only sees Waverly, and she’s always beautiful.
Today, they’re happy.
Waverly is with her, even in her dreams; especially then. She floats along in the clouds of her mind with the rhythmic beeps, and breaths, and hums.
Waverly forces the air from her lungs, and floods it back in. Waverly tightens and loosens, tests and observes. Waverly monitors and waits, sometimes she cries. Waverly always carries Nicole’s heart like a drum. The drum beats, dropped down the stairs. It’s jumping, slowing, frantic and falling.
The whole world is Waverly, when it should be Nicole.
The story is never quite the same when Nicole is dying. It repeats, except for the ending.
Some days, it’s heartbreaking. Nicole starts to slip away, and Waverly feels herself fade, too. Some days, they’re happy. Nicole improves and Waverly feels the hope grow within. The beeps, the pulses, the breathing, the mechanical hums. They surround Nicole, but she doesn’t know them.
She only knows Waverly.
When her heart rates slows, Waverly pulls her back. When her breathing shallows, Waverly fills her again. When everything stops, Waverly screams, and the world burns.
Even in sleep, in her comatose mind palace, she only knows the world with Waverly in it. Her body is so broken, but her mind knows only Waverly. She lives a lifetime of chance meetings and missed connections. She lives a lifetime of happy endings and tragic heartbreak. Even in sleep, she fights to reach her soulmate, and live the life set aside for them. She knows she is nothing without Waverly, a person unrecognizable.
Even in sleep, Nicole is sick of losing her soulmate. She refuses to let Waverly slip away again. She wants her ending, their ending. She wants a world of sunlit happiness, of white dresses, of beachside sunsets. She wants a world with new babies that smell like her wife, that feel like home.
So, she breathes.
Nicole breathes deep, and feels Waverly’s hand in hers. She wakes, and feels Waverly’s tears on her face. She tries, and feels Waverly place something cool against her lips. When she finally speaks, Waverly feels like she’s home again. They whisper hellos, and cry without fear. They talk as much as Nicole can stand. They huddle close and breathe together.
“The story was never the same, Waves. It was never the same, and I… I don’t want the sad ending. I just want you.”
“Nic, I don’t-”
“Marry me. Marry me, and we can build it all, together this time. We can win. We’ll have our world, just ours.”
Waverly is crying, but it’s not because of heartbreak. It's not sad this time.
It’s… everything. Waverly is the sky, the world. Waverly is home.
“I won’t take no for an answer, love. Marry me.”
The story is never the same. It repeats, except for the ending.
(Soulmates always win)