“I would cut out the stars and lay them upon your skin, if that’s what you want,” you said, pleading.
I wondered briefly how sincere you were, and imagined you climbing to the peaks of the mountaintops wielding a knife, reaching up to the Heavens and praying for some taller shoulders to stand upon. I was ready to believe that you would try.
The winds were strong and swept an autumnal coolness in with them. I turned up the collar of my jacket, while you stood mile-like inches away from me, ignoring the weather, even in all of its magnitude.
You took a careful step forward and I stepped back.
“What happened to you?” You asked, distraught.
There was a time when I loved the stars so much that I would ache to be a part of them. There were moments when you were the only light I could see, and I would have held onto you with broken wrists if it meant you would stay.
But those moments, those once-upon-a-times, passed away rapidly and left me with a fragility that even the stars could not heal. I loved you with a beautiful intensity that even my own heart couldn’t hold. And so I let go.
You stood silently, your hands shoved into your pockets. I stepped toward you and sat down on the grass.
“I’ll miss the summer,” I said, motioning for you to sit with me.
You said nothing in response, but obliged my request.
“Hold your hands out,” I said, “like a cup.” I reached my hands into my own pockets and pulled out their contents. There was a photograph of you, three nickels and a quarter, a barrette, and a heart-shaped pin. I ran my finger over the smooth, shining surface of the heart, and smiled. I remembered the change in your voice the first time you said “I love you” as you pinned it to my sweater.
“What is this?” You asked. It must have felt as though I were mocking you.
I put the contents of my pockets in your open hands, and kissed them one last time.
“Now you give me the things in your pockets. It will be like a time capsule. A pocket autopsy of our love. One day you will look back and remember me for the things you found in my pockets, and I will do the same. We will relive the fights and the months and the longing, and everything will be okay. Because this is who we are. It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t have to be sad. We loved each other once.”
You stared at our overlapping hands and let out a sigh so powerful that I felt a tug upon my chest.
In your pockets was a half-empty package of gum, three remaining cigarettes, a picture of me, and a bracelet I made you.
“I love you more than I can bear,” was your goodbye.
I put the things from your pockets into my pockets and began a life under new stars, upon new Earth.