I knew everyone there except for her. She was in a white sundress and drank red wine like someone who's never had to do laundry. The dress stood out against her dark brown skin. Everything about her was in contrast. Her irises blended with her black pupils against her white sclera, and her ivory teeth smiled between lips painted jet black. Far from ruined, her bitonal aesthetic was vivified by the living colors of her hair: blues, purples, crimsons; a nebula in her curls.
Her dress was moonlight over a sea of night and she wore a galaxy like a crown. To say I fell in love with her on the spot doesn't feel like an exaggeration, even though it might be. I'm not the type to believe in literal love at first sight. But once I had a little liquid courage in me I made a comment about her attire-and-drink choice, and her laughter seeded in me something tremendous. She looked at me like no one ever had, listened like no one ever will. Everything fascinated her, not because it confused her or was beyond her ken; she just found eternal novelty in everything.
She found novelty in me.
We talked under the night sky on the balcony of my best friend's apartment. It was hot and sticky. For the first time since I had moved to New York from Alaska, I did not mind. I told her I loved the stars, that light pollution made it so difficult to see them in their splendor here in the city.
Her hand was so light when she draped it over the back of mine as she leaned in and whispered into my ear.
I still don't remember what she said; it was a word, so quiet and gentle that it stroked my mind. But I couldn't tell you what it means, how to say it…
She whispered and the entire city went black.
Music inside the apartment stopped; horns blasted from the street several stories below us; and the stars shone so bright against the night sky that I turned my palm up and clasped her hand, squeezing it at the sight. At first, I thought the stars simply shone brighter than anything else in my vision. But she squeezed my hand back and I caught things blotting, darkening in the periphery. I turned to her first, but she still illuminated everything around her with lunar phosphorescence.
Sounds faded reluctantly. First they got softer, then they were muted. The voices inside the apartment became a low bassy thrum and the honking horns and sirens of the street were washed out into a single, pleasant chord.
But silence — true silence, the kind where you risk going a little mad listening to your joints grinding and your own heart beating — never came, because she was still there. Her hands wrapped around mine as she looked into my eyes and the world quieted, the only sound left her breath, billowing like a solar flare.
She smiled and pulled back. With one of her hands in mine, she stretched her other arm out. We twirled slowly in the ether, together in empty space.
Except it wasn't empty. There were stars everywhere: above us and below us, in all directions, I couldn't look anywhere without catching a nebula or galaxy in the distance. She moved without effort. She took me with her. Her fingers slipped from mine but I still followed, caught in her gravitational lens. I spoke, but I couldn't make a sound. I had no voice here.
It didn't occur to me to wonder how I was breathing, or even if I was breathing at all. I just know she wrapped her fingers around the back of my neck and pulled me close. I had never kissed an alien before.
Or a goddess.
I felt enormous; I felt vast. Every inch of me was in contact with a celestial object; even my lips pressed against hers, and my hands clutching at her hips, and my knee hugged by her thighs, and my hair threading around her fingers.
I was cosmic.
I was weightless, yet massive. I couldn't be pulled to a surface because I was the surface. We shifted positions and solar systems turned to drag towards us, pulled by the inevitable size of our presence. I felt suns illuminating our bodies, moons reflecting the light.
When I finally had weight again it was negligible. My feet touched a surface and it felt like I could push, softly, and send myself into the void again.
I gripped her tighter.
Her fingers smoothed through my hair and as I relaxed to her touch, she pulled herself back with eyes darker than ever, beautiful black depths that held infinities. She pulled further away.
Twin suns were born in my cheeks as I noticed she was naked now, my flaring blush eliciting from her a sidereal smile.
She still had her dress on, it just wasn't a dress anymore. It was moonlight, and as such, it illuminated her form, calling attention to every perfect detail. She was naked because her dress revealed more than it could ever have obscured.
Her hair had grown long throughout our embrace and it stretched into the weightless ocean beyond, becoming the nebulae I once compared it to. She was both a person before me and the ineffable swathe of space, and every atom that encompassed it. Her edges blurred into the void as her presence was embossed across the cosmos.
She became the universe and I realized too late that she was going home.
Not too late to say goodbye.
Not too late to tell her I loved her.
Not too late to ask her to stay.
Too late to remind her to fucking take me home. So here I am, sitting on one of a billion rocks that form a ring orbiting a planet. It's about the size of a minivan. Don't get me wrong, the view is spectacular. There's a blue sun in the distance, and the gaseous surface of the planet below is full of vibrant hues that swirl and detonate in immense explosions, like celestial fireworks set off just for me.
I can still breathe somehow, haven't frozen to death, and even more impossibly, still have a cell signal. No sound to speak with, though, so… To anyone who gets this text message: I fell in love with a space goddess and she got distracted. Can I get a lift home?
Manu Zolezzi is a writer from (and currently living in) Argentina. Lately, he's been writing more speculative and horror fiction, as well as working on a script for an up and coming video game. He has a very moody cat and a hyperactive dog.