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The Earth and the Moon

Bonnibel Hemings, 2017

Before the moon and the earth were separated by the sky, they were in love. The earth was not round, but tall and slender, and the forests weaved around her head like a crown and her bare skin formed tundras that were icy cold to the touch. The moon was not distant, but close enough to kiss, with dusty, crumbling skin, and iridescent hair that glowed brighter than the stars. And every day, the sun bathed them in warm light as they held each other close, and whispered between them the stories of the galaxy.

“Will we always be together?” asked the earth. “Of course,” replied the moon. “I love you more than the universe can hold.”

But the universe was growing, slowly, slowly, and stars were falling and dying and twirling themselves around and around in a great spiral, and ever so often, the moon would peek up towards the heavens instead of gazing into the earth’s eyes. Her smiles grew few and far between, and as she lay her head on the earth’s chest, she found herself feeling hollow inside, as if she too had been snuffed out like those millions of stars.

“Will we always be together?” asked the earth. “Of course,” replied the moon. “After all, where else could I possibly go?”

But the halo of trees that the moon had once found so lovely were losing their flowers and leaves, and the cold hands that held the moon tight were now only making her shiver. The moon held the earth’s waist and looked deep into her eyes, but she knew that the love within them was no longer reflected in her own.

“Will we always be together?” asked the earth. “Of course,” replied the moon. “We must always stay the same, or else we will fall as fast as the stars.”

But the stars that fell so fast were glimmering so bright, and even as they flickered out, there was something so magnificent about them, so free. The moon dreamed of grabbing one by the tail and letting it whisk her away to faraway lands that she could only dream of, places that the earth would never be able to take her. And one day, when the earth leaned in to kiss her, the moon reached up, up, up, and felt her fingers brush against a brilliant comet, glowing in purple and green and blue. It felt warm in her hand and filled her soul with light.

“Bonnie, this story is so silly.”

“Will we always be together?” The earth shouted into the abyss of space, to no avail. She could feel her crown beginning to rot and splinter, her flesh becoming lukewarm in the glare of the sun, her heart wilting and falling to pieces like an orchid.

“The earth and the moon couldn’t be girls, they’re made of sediment and rock, just like any other solid mass in space.”

Salty tears poured from the earth’s eyes, catching in the crevices of her skin and the folds of her skirts and bathing her in rolling blue seas. The earth curled up and cried until no more tears would come, and found she was covered in pale, murky oceans.

“I guess it’s a cute idea, though.”

The earth’s dying heart turned molten, melting her chest from inside out, and leaving her too vacant to feel the cold embrace of the waters or the steaming rays of the sun. Her hair stood on end and crackled like lightning, her lungs swelled with pressurized steam, and she stormed and stormed and stormed until she could no longer feel anything at all.

“Goodnight, Bonnie. I love you.”

But sometimes when the earth looked up, she could see her dearest moon in the distance. Spinning and spinning and reaching her arms up, up, up, letting every star slip through her fingers. Still beautiful, but still so sad, and still just out of reach.

Goodnight, I whispered, gazing at her silhouette. The city lights shining through our window fell across her head, and for just a moment, her hair glowed brighter than the stars. I love you too, my moon, more than the universe can hold.