I grasp some strands of hair together sticking them into my mouth, moistening the tips into a fine tapered end. I dip this into a warm, sweet dark mixture, wiping the excess along the rim.

I study my intended canvas for a moment, looking for the right spot. There - winking up at me, a freckle. I lean down sweeping my brush with light deliberate strokes, point A to point B. A fine line is drawn along a changing background of creamy white to tawny to tan.

I submerge the locks again, paint some more, connecting the dots. The Big Dipper appears followed by Orion. The Scorpion reveals itself to me. The Water Bearer, Cassiopeia, Pegasus and more constellations on skin. Whole galaxies materialize before my eyes as I draw a stellar map.

You turn your head. There are stars in your eyes, a question on your lips. I gingerly trace the outline of your mouth. Then-

I reach out to taste the universe.

When everything was crashing around her, she chose the safety of the sand, and the waves.

The sun was shining strong and bright. The wind whipped off the ocean, whitecaps spread to the horizon. Maybe the music was carried on the air...maybe the music drew the air to itself. Spreading its seeds into the distance, raining where clouds are not allowed to exist.

She sits, notepad and pencil idle. Grasping for images, reaching towards reflected light that won't stay still - always moving, moving, moving. Always disappearing from the corner of her sight. Forever changing, morphing into something new.

please stay still...

In time, the sun completed its arc across the sky. Falling behind mountains in the distance, hazy and indistinct. The last rays of afternoon sun illuminate a strip of white sand, far in the distance. Shining through the rain falling on a bright horizon, and it's hard to tell if the water's raining down, or gently floating upwards, caressing the sky. Beneath her feet, the sand shifts. Subtlety shifting its silicon reflection, the light dancing on her face moves. Almost insignificant, but the entire scene changes colour. Shifts, just a hue to the right.

The texture of the music changes as darkness falls, and the stars slowly wink into life. The slow strobe of a lighthouse on the cape provides punctuation marks through the cool night air. The noise of the drinkers across the street surround the scene with a low bass hum, the energy of hundreds of hearts, beating quickly. The air is vibrating tonight.

She stands to leave, and I'm sure the footprints she leaves behind glow. She breathes, and I'd swear the air she exhales introduces a new element to the earth. Her eyes drop to the ground at her feet, and I'm convinced she sees something impossible for me to discern. She speaks, and I'm lost for words in reply.

I feel the sand under my feet, as I walk towards the space that used to be occupied by her body. In the midst of miles of deserted beach, I find the place where starlight seems to converge, where music blends into such perfect harmony. I fall to the ground, and marvel at the fact that after hours of darkness, her warmth remains.

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