This story is one of the August Writing Challenge entries chosen to be a featured story.
My eyes have gone blank, and my vision clouds over. His lips touching hers. Supposed to be mine. The monsters in my head get loud, crawling throughout my veins. I can no longer shut them out. I choke on my words which fall out in whispers. My body cries for me to leave, but my eyes are snagged on the sight.
These eyes are swollen with awaiting tears. My feet carry me backwards until I am engulfed by the crowd and can no longer see Them.
And I run.
It’s dark under the thin moonlight. I find my way to the street. By now, my cheeks are drowning in tears. My body shakes abruptly as more roll down. A void is left where my heart used to lie. The dark creatures fog my vision. I can’t escape them now. The weeping demons devour everything in sight.
I reach my car. Against my palm, the fiberglass is refreshing. Take me home.
But a reflection in the window changes everything. I turn around, facing the figure I saw in the glass. He sits in the field across from me. The moonlight rolls along his cheeks, revealing the damp patches. Tear stains.
“Hey,” I say, sitting down.
“Hey,” he says, returning to the moon.
He closes his eyes. I do the same and force myself to clear my mind. The demons morph into neon ghosts dancing across the sky. They twist between the stars and disappear beneath the purple clouds. It’s an infinite galaxy up there, where nothing in this world matters. Where the worries of yesterday dissolve into space. I try to place my thoughts there, detaching my ties to earth. But inevitably, it is impossible. There will always be a part of me here.
I check my watch. 12:00. In the moment, time is useless. I throw it away.
“Look, it’s Sagittarius,” he says and traces his finger along a myriad of stars. Constellations are the greatest puzzle. I can never identify them correctly. But to be honest, I’ve never tried.
He turns to face me. I touch his damp cheek, and an understanding smile peeks from my lips. “Me too,” I say.
“She left me.” His words are nearly whispers. “She was kissing some other guy.”
It’s Matteo. The artist, the Brave. With a face scarred by tears, it can’t be him.
But it is. And we’re here, together, drinking in the moonlight.