“Do you ever wonder what happens to them?” Mia asked.
It was 10:17 PM , and the both of you were sat outside the oversized Victorian porch of the townhouse. The rustic columns characteristic of the Muthaiga suburbia. Everyone else in the garden below is having a good time. The lush, shadowy expanse lit by red, oriental lanterns, setting the atmosphere for the after-party to her gallery exhibition. Bottomless Mimosas on rotation, dainty bartenders darting around making sure no glass was empty, Dom Perignon flowing like the Zambezi. Everything about this whole get-together was posh and overly grandiose; leaving a sickly-sweet taste on your tongue. Even the beer in your half-empty bottle had a foreign character to it. German, you figured. It was easier for you to nurse your chilled Budweiser, listening to the DJ spin some jams from Late Orchestration; your favourite Kanye West project recorded live at Abbey Road.
You had escaped to the recluse of your solitude, until the moment she found you after you wandered off. Her friends had caught up with her at the party and this was the unmistakable cue for you to beat it, your social anxiety at its peak; getting acquainted with her friends wasn’t the priority, she was.
“What happens to who?” you replied, an inquisitive look on your face.
The breeze was slight, wafting her subtle but delicious La Vie est Belle perfume your way. The soft but heady undertones of sandalwood and spicy citrus tingling your senses. The warm evening typical of a January late night rendezvous.
“They’re really beautiful aren’t they?”
For a moment, you thought you were caught lacking; until you saw her index finger pointing to the Eastern skyline.
“Stars. Incandescent, gaseous blobs that dot our midnight skies. Light years away in distant galaxies, unblinking for centuries,” she intoned, totally oblivious of your presence.
She had thrown you into the woods; you hadn’t a single idea of what she was talking about or trying to get at for that matter. The conversation slowly slipping out of your hands, you mesmerized by her hypnotizing monologue. The overheard lamps highlighting the soft curls under her twin tight, double-pleated braids. Her halter-strap top the color of paprika, gracefully playing up her seductive neckline. A neckline that was tastefully adorned by a single jade-and-coral piece, sitting right smack in the middle of her bosom.
A delicate balance of mystery and revelation.
“I like your voice,” you say- quite sure you have set yourself on a path from which there is no return.
She looks at you, a flattering color rising up her cheeks.
“My voice?” she asks, a strange fire playing about her eyes.
In this tiny moment frozen in space and time, did the small truth in those hopeless romances in Mills and Boon novels jerk you. That because of a girl, your stomach would knot itself, your joints refusing to unhinge,your limbs turning to lead, your mouth drying up faster than the Sahara after a rainstorm.
“Why don’t we get Remy for two, over a delightful discussion of Astrophysics?” you suggest, already up, offering her a hand.
In one swift, smooth movement, she takes your hand, you leading her to a table at the furthest end of the ballroom, a comfortable distance from the main floor. The dim lighting accentuating her flattering curves and edges. The glint in her eyes sending your imagination through the roof.
“Did you know that a star is brightest just before its death?” you say.
“Well, well, an Astrophysicist and an Astromortician walk into a bar,” she says, her eyes turning a shade darker than your cognac.
You take a nervous gulp at your drink, your head is swirling, and so are her words. You don’t know whether it’s the alcohol or her that’s fucking up with your hormones.
“Ever since we met at the studio, at the coffee shop that chilly Sunday morning, you’ve been looking like there’s a lot going on in your mind, you look like there’s an itch you’ve been dying to scratch, a feeling gnawing deep into your insides,” she says- the conversation taking a complete U-turn.
“You want to know a secret?” you ask, closing the distance between the two of you.
“Tell me, or forever hold your peace,” she croons, leaning forward, turning her ear to you.
“I’ve always wondered whether the feeling is mutual,” you confess.
Everything just became tense, and unlike all your other experiences,it weren’t as if you were watching it from afar, you were fully present, your senses amplified ten-fold.
Her face was dangerously close to yours. Her lips. Her spicy fragrance.
“Am I allowed to kiss you?” her voice faintly below a whisper.
“You never have to ask, ” you answer.
As you cupped her face in your hands and leaned in, her eyes closed with the sweet pain of yearning, a yearning that made her body tremble against yours, a long aching desire that made you breathe slightly laboriously.
You had to confess, that a part of you died, and a new one birthed in that singular moment.
Stellar Death begets Stellar Birth.
You had confessions to make, and this was the sixth one.