An excerpt from chapter 21 of Waiting For Spring. (Also, you can check out an interview Todd Keisling did with me over at Self-Publishing Review.)
When we got home it was already dark. There was no moon; only a skyful of stars. Brian met me on the lawn. I didn’t bother to go inside for a blanket, even though it really was chilly. We unpacked our little picnic right on the grass, which made both of us laugh, even before we’d begun. And he had a warning for me.
“This shit makes me…well, I’m gonna talk your frigging ear off.”
“And that’s different…how?”
It didn’t take me long to find out. He became the Philosopher of Everything. Great and small. It seemed unreal to him that love, a thing that was so chaotic and irrational, could even exist in a universe that was, at its very core, so orderly and precise, let alone keep that universe in motion. He heard music in the gently swishing pines and it was the same music he remembered hearing once in the ocean’s white, frothy waves as they crashed on glittery, stony shores during a childhood trip to the coast. I could actually hear the musical waves as he spoke, just as if I’d been there with him, and it washed away the lonely, empty ache inside me, better than the trippy haze alone ever could have done. Because his voice was deep and sweet and rich and slow and the words that poured out of him sounded just like poetry and honey.
I begged him to keep talking, to just talk and talk and never, never stop, so he told me all about the stars. He loved them, had always loved them. They were winking at us, he said, because they knew something that we didn’t. It was a secret they were forced to hide, a secret so great and wondrous that they wanted to shout it out so the whole world would know, but they had to keep it buried deep inside. Even so he knew what it was, because someone had told him a long time ago. The stars, he said, were actually souls; all the souls that were too restless to be locked up in heaven. They were so restless that God let them stay outside at night to play.
It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard him say, that I’d ever heard anyone say, and I forgot for a moment that he didn’t even believe in God. And when I did remember I still believed his words and I was thankful that He had chosen tonight to let so many restless souls out to play. I smiled up at them and they smiled right back. Giant prism smiles that shattered the white light into a thousand colors I’d never even seen before. They dripped everywhere, spilled all over the sky, slowly, just like hot candle wax; and then they froze. Stood still for a beautiful brief eternity and I tried to whisper to them. Wanted to tell them that I knew their secret, but no words would form. I could tell that they heard me though, or that they’d at least heard my thoughts, because they came in a little closer. They were so close that I knew I could touch them. I reached up, way up, stretched as far as I could stretch while still lying on my back…and I swept my fingers across the cold, wet, colorful sky.
Brian reached up, too, but not for the stars. He grabbed my hand, brought it back down to Earth and I think he knew, even though I didn’t tell him. I think he felt it, felt it all, in my fingertips. Because he kissed them, each one, so gently, with precious, tender lips. And when he kissed my mouth I could taste the night on his lips and his tongue. Sweet honey words and neon stardust, and we made love, in slow motion, naked underneath the mischievous stars.
The night was chilly and the ground was cold, like I was lying on January’s carpet. But it soon melted away; the cold, the grass, the ground itself. It all evaporated and we were enveloped in its steam. Because Brian was burning with a heat more intense and pure than the sun. He was heat, the source of everything warm and in that night of mist and haze and waxy skies his body was the only thing that was real. Our love the only thing that was solid, the only solid thing in the world, in vast expanse of the universe. For a brief moment lucidity flickered, and I begged the starry, restless souls that it was true. That it would still be true even after the mists were gone and the haze wore off and the ground returned.
That it would always be true.