This is not a love story.

Nobody kisses and nobody dies. There's nothing profound or imaginative or even kind of pretty. But it is a story.

I don't know what time it is. There's a clock on my nightstand with bright red numbers, but they are blinking, so I know they are wrong. I don't really care, though. I think I like it better that way.

But the time feels right, so I start to get up. The wooden floor feels cold and grainy on the bottom of my feet, kind of like stone, but friendlier somehow. It doesn't last long, though, because the floor of my bedroom changes to carpet for the living room, tile for the kitchen, and dark, almost-dewey grass for the just-off-the-porch yard.

As soon as the blades tickle the tiny spaces between my toes, my eyes are closed and I am running. The ground isn't at all smooth (twigs and molehills turn into fallen leaves and branches as yard turns to forest), but I manage. I open my mouth and swallow some air. It tastes of night, but not exactly darkness. Darkness has that thick, crisp taste, like someone laughing as loud as they can, just to make sure everyone can hear them. Night tastes more like a smile.

The woods feel like they are thinning (I can feel every tree as I run by, brushing against me with its leaves and branches or just its closeness), so I slow to a walk and open my eyes.

I'm in a clearing now, and he's here, too. He is smiling, and we both walk forward until we meet in the center. We look up, and I know we're both looking at the stars.

"Which one?" he whispers, leaning in so close that his breath mingles with the night in my ear.

I raise my arm and point to one of the stars: a smallish one, not particularly bright, but new and sparkling and pure. He knows which one I'm pointing at, and, with a smile, he reaches out and makes a fist around it. The star is gone--the night even seems a little darker--and, for a second, I can't help but feel worried. But then he lowers his arm and his clenched fist down to his chest. He looks down and I look down and his breath is in the night again, and then he opens his fingers.

The star is still small, even if it is billions of miles closer. The light wiggles and leaks through his careful fingers, shooting out in erratic rays that fade and diffuse into the darkness as quickly as they appear. The center of the light seems to dance, and maybe sing a little.

It is restless, though, and oddly excited, like a kid waiting in line for some frontwards-backwards-upside-down carnival ride. I touch his hand, and the star seems to giggle (not out loud, but with its light) and bounce. I look into his eyes, and he lets it go.

With an explosion of light and an explosion of darkness, the star is everywhere. It seems to fly, not quite fast enough to be invisible, up and around and in between and through us, singing a wild song not quite loud enough to hear as it chases the heavy dark away.

Then it stops, midway between me and him, and drifts downward. It rests on a blade of grass, closes its eyes (if it has eyes), and vanishes. Well, not really. In its place is a flower, small and new and sparkling, with short little leaves and petals like kaleidoscopes.

We gaze at it for a few seconds, but then raise our heads to let our eyes meet.

One hand raises and touches my face, with long gentle fingers that are cool and wet with starshine.

The flower sparkles, just a little.

Okay. Maybe it is a love story.

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