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alone at the edge of the universe

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Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.

These, our bodies, possessed by light.

Tell me we’ll never get used to it.


- Richard Siken, Scheherazade





The road was quiet.

You were driving our rental pickup truck through the empty roads outside the city. It rumbled through the road, the only man-made noise for miles. Sand and rock structures surrounded us, the terrain dotted with cacti and shrubs. The landscape was dark, draped in moonlight. I felt swallowed by it. 

It was past midnight, probably. But we weren’t tired. The sky was clear; the stars were bright. I think you could see the Milky Way if you drove far enough past the city, past all the light pollution.

I stared out the passenger side window at the dark navy sky and the whispers of clouds. I felt trapped in the open air. 

I pulled my eyes away from the window.

There was a warm box of leftover food in my lap.

Some fries and a single egg. Over-easy.

The portion sizes at that tiny diner we stopped at were ridiculous. How did it even stay open, serving us all that food? Even I, proclaimed by Kirari as Japan's biggest western junk food lover, had trouble finishing a plate. 

The leftovers were yours. I held it close, made sure it wouldn’t fall from my lap.

I looked at you, your hair illuminated by the moonlight, shining pale gold. The way your hands gripped the steering wheel, your elegant fingers and short-cut nails, the curve of your profile.

You took your eyes off the road. There was no one there anyway, no chance of an accident.

You looked at me.

I looked back. 

“Pull over when you can.” I said.

“Okay.” You replied.

I leaned back in the seat, fingers still curled around the bag of leftovers. I appreciate the way we can talk without talking, a skill we honed through endless gambling matches and endless time together. The outside world passed us by, the pickup truck rumbling across the empty road in the dead of night.

We drove in quiet until we reached somewhere. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere. There was a rock arch in front of us and cacti around us. There was no real reason to stop there specifically, but it didn’t matter. You pulled the truck onto gritty earth, shut off the engine, opened the driver side door and popped out. 

I watched you rummage through the bed of the truck for something - a blanket? You held it up to show me, a little smile on your face. It was almost too perfect. I gave you a little grin through the rear window.

I unbuckled the seatbelt and placed the leftover food on the seat. It could wait. 

As I got out of the car I was hit with the freezing midnight air. I was wearing your sweatshirt, but I still hugged my arms and shivered. Thank God you’re here to keep me warm, I thought. 

Your hand reached out to me as I climbed onto the truck bed, and our fingers brush as you wrap the thick, scratchy blanket around us. 

It's a contrast to your soft skin, your warm touch. I want to melt into you. 

We sit with knees knocking, fingers reaching for the edges of fabric and for each other. 

The night hangs quietly above us, watching the scene unfold. Bright white moon, dots of stars, wisps of lighter clouds are painted against a dark indigo sky. There’s no noise except for the hum of the world and the jumble of our movements. 

We’re leaning against the back of the truck, limbs messily intertwined. 

I take your hand and brush my thumb over your knuckles, graze flesh against flesh. Tracing the patterns of your palm, I think I can find the entire universe in them. It’s you.

There’s galaxies above us but I can only look at you.

And you light up a little at that; I see it in the way your lips tug the slightest bit upward and your eyebrows crinkle with them. I’ve spent so long knowing only one face that I couldn’t help but memorize every line and contour of yours. 

Sometimes, I feel selfish. Sometimes I wish I was all you could see as well. 

It’s so laughably intimate. Two girls away from the world, two girls who just want to look at the stars and at each other. 

The world is after us but I want to drown in you instead.

And the touches come easier. Much easier than they did before. At first, I wanted to draw away. I wasn’t used to the intimacy, the caring. But I’ve realized that our hands fit in each other too perfectly, like they were made for each other. It’s cheesy, it’s ridiculous, it’s the opposite of what I should be appreciating. 

But I don’t care.

I’d ruin myself for you. I think I already have.

You lean into me then, tucking your head under my chin. Blonde strands of hair tickle my nose, and I want to let out a little giggle. Who knew Mary Saotome could be so cute?

I nestle further into you. The night sky swallows us. My heart has never been this full. 

I hold you in my hands. For now, we are enough.