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Celestial Dance

The planet is powder grey. The spherical rock is vast. The engulfing infinite blackness of the universe is immediately urgent. Stars, in uneven glitterings, cast across the canvas like they’ve been hurled from interstellar juggernaut buckets.

This is her playground.

Her foot steps with poise into the powder. A slow plume kicks up around her ankle. She leaps forward with her cosmic gymnastics, eyes closed, gliding slow in low gravity. Bounding in long arcs across the cratered landscape. Each leap bringing a mesmeric sequence of tumbles, twirls, twists. She is grace personified. Naked skin silk.

He stands on the lip of a crater observing her beauty and celestial acrobatics. Always thought he was alone on this planet. He bounds, hops, around the crater edge, then vaults off towards space. A high, parabolic flight. He lands two footed and launches himself powerfully again.

She sees him approaching as she somersaults backward, tumbling backwards, backwards. Each revolution she sees planet, sky, him, planet, sky, him. Land, leap. She does not alter her path, or interrupt her routine.

Finally, they synchronise.

From high above we can see the criss-cross patterns of motion as they tumble, glide, float, spin, betwixt and between, overlapping, underlapping. Like two magnetic missiles dancing around each other as they propel forward relentlessly.        

She has a wry smile, watching him out the corner of her eye imitating her manoeuvres.

They continue to spring and flip, getting higher, the pace intensifying.

The clouds of dust now turning into mushroom cloud eruptions from the powdery ground.

When it was time he reaches out offering his hand. Both falling in unison. They land and leap once more.

On their upward trajectory she opens her palm but waves it past his, she lands in a cartwheel. An explosion of planetary dust swamps her. Then she shoots through the cloud’s canopy and sails off into the stars. Like a balloon that climbs ceaselessly into a dot, before it vanishes.

The smoke settles around his feet. He stretches it out into a static wave, as though reaching for her.

As we glide away, our perception shrinks, distance shrinks him. He eventually turns into a stick figure.

He is better and worse for having the experience. He turns, runs, leaps, tumbles, retracing their steps, that’s all he has left.

And now, he is alone.