21 March 2017

Why X Travels Around the Axis – Part VI

Our hands locked once again, gleaming droplets gathering on the windshield.
Moon-soaked rain curtailed the dark.
We leaned into our shared sigh.
The road dived into the horizon, hazy-white beams crossing and curving in pursuit.  
Minute, fragmented conversations with a wagging torso in front – it safeguarded our destiny, in the darkness, partly, for the time being.
Strings came to mind; suggestive movements steered by an altogether earthly fatalism.
Sounds of a captive orchestra hovered in the air like so many grieving flies, on the margins of my senses, the fading bodies littering a faraway stage.
Quiet, for a minute or two, maybe longer, since we were in the business of folding time upon itself, picking all the leaves from a book, leaving only the first and last.
Outside displaced, a warming foreign being pressed against my side, out-there dislocating in relative flight, wreathed head ever-so-gently tilted on my shoulder, the beyond foreshortened, tauntingly wetting my neck, into ostensible space crossing two alien trails of sight, now at rest, still, only inclining orbiting innards beating in synchrony, our hands touching the closest celestial body – anonymous stellar matter dithering between us and Ursa Minor, against the fractured retreating background.
She had fallen asleep.
I sought her scent, soon I would too.
The moments preceding the fall, I gleaned a host of scattered lonely lights in the distance, turned to a low glisten, like lanterns carried and dispersed by the wind, the diffused glow flickering on the brink of obsolescence, the trailing asterisms finally caught on the shadowed mountainside. For a brief moment, they seemed to abandon their isolated posts and allied to beacon a message that I intuitively grasped was solely directed to me, and I am certain that, despite the complete disappearance of its content from my memory the following day, it impressed upon me a consolation so vast it wholly blanketed my mind, and as such, there was no longer cause to linger aware.  
The pale sky flattened over the ubiquitous whiteness of the desert, meeting at the horizon in an exchange of colours that sent an effervescent haze of dust and cloud spinning into a disc of the faintest blue-yellow, which tranquilly hovered and wheeled beneath the sun like a sister-star.
On the far curve of the dividing circle the monoliths began to rise, scarlet cut with dust-red and skeletal streaks jaggedly overlapping at various angles: our boundary, our landmark, presently only minutiae blood-red bubbles, frothing over the curtain walls of hinterland.
We walked in silence.
Birds spun around leaning red pillars.
We climbed, clambered and sweated in silence.
Ponderous lizards observed us coolly from sheltering cervices.
We quenched our thirst with tepid water, in silence, shaded by two gargantuan torsos facing one another, equally muted, the topmost of each beseechingly bending forward, separated only by a fathom or so; one day, in an altogether alternate geological timeline, in which our silences have long become permanent, the giants will clumsily fall into that long-desired embrace, deafening, shattering and final.
We exchanged glances, however, and the hip-flask travelled between us.
My feet rhythmically traversed the dust. The descending blue above. Always two steps ahead, her white shirt drenched from the heat, baring the blades’ ridges. The folded map, red lines cutting sharp ravines. The unyielding dark braids. The slow exchange of animal voices, from echoing screeches to radial cricketing. Her neck.
My arms glass from sheets of sweat.
Our feet moved slowly, perhaps carried solely by our fortitude.
Night fell as we finally came upon the roots of the towering pile of boulders, their fated blush now purple in the rising dark.
We mounted the rock, confidently, our backs weighed by provisions.
Our steps at first measured, poising our bodies for balance with winged elegance, though windless, we soon found ourselves spread like tortured spiders on the sinking surface.
Slanting at the steepest angle, with a view of cave’s opening half-haloed in the distance by a thin ring of mist, my nails desperately scraping at the stone, she offered her hand. Here, take my hand, we’re almost there. I assented, and summoned the remaining reserves of strength.    
Together we clambered onto a flattened edge, a single step notched into the side of the cliff, leading directly to the opening.
Inside we lit a fire, and sat, cooked, ate, talked, in low voices, and we waited, and we extinguished the fire.
Looking for each other, in turn, looking outside, the mouth rotated a canvas of unpolluted darkness, lit only, as I had hoped, by stars.
Just a few more minutes, it’s almost here, I said, eventually.
It arrived, the brilliant band of the Milky Way.
We spun with it, with the dust, the light, the clouds, around the curtained axis, until we could bear no more.
We bickered, after a while, arguing over scraps, perhaps the size of an asteroid.
Trivial matters in face of an island universe.
She packed a fair portion of our supplies.
I paced around and made an ellipse, sighing unabashedly.
She moved toward me and placed her hand on my forearm.
I stopped. Both our heads bowed.
I thought nothing, I simply studied her hand, ruminations would arrive soon enough.
My eyes travelled her fingers, leaving the nails to last.
The thumb in particular, its singular design, dipped and cast in a mirror – which on occasion she surrendered to another thumb and index finger.
I committed it all to memory.
Her hand went into my hand
I closed my eyes and waited for the exact momet in which we could no longer discern the distance between our limbs.
As I reopened them and watched her exit the cave as a grand dawn apparition, I could have sworn that her hand was still locked in mine.
A sharp cold draft sang her voice so I raced to shut the window.
I crouched and relit the fire, and together we made breakfast.