By Clancy Wall “Look at the sky, isn’t it beautiful?” She stops mid-dance to say, directed at you, but only as part of the general vicinity.
You’re walking between the college flats at
midnight, her arms outstretched, revelling in the razor cold breeze as if she had just es- caped hellfire. Each movement lithe and po- tent, dancing to some inaudible tune, made especially for her.
Then again you can’t help but think maybe it’s the other way around—her perfect movements are the source of all music.
“What are you dancing to?” You ask quietly, not really expecting her to hear.
She turns—a twirl of simple grace, on the balls of her feet—and tilts her head, considering in that way she does, jaw pushed to the side, eyes narrowed and brow wrinkled. Clear emeralds analysing your every atom.
“The sky is beautiful, isn’t it?”
And you know you won’t get a straight answer as she spins away again, a face full of wonder and delight. The slight curl of her lips marking her carelessness.
So you look at the sky, but it is black, with no moon and the surrounding lights from the flats hiding any stars that may have appeared. The odd cloud glowing slightly gold in the otherwise empty expanse. You shiver, finding the noth- ingness to be far more formidable than you would have expected, quickly returning your eyes to the solid ground and the gorgeously mysterious dancer before you.
You think back to the sunset you watched hours earlier, and the brilliant blue, clear day. Weren’t they far more beautiful than this mor- bid vacancy? You noticed her staring at both, full of awe, sitting on the roof until the sun no longer cast its gold on the furthermost clouds.
Why didn’t she ask you then? It would have been an easy answer: Yes. Yes it was one of the most beautifully spectacular scenes you’d ever had the privilege to witness. Her silhouetted figure against the reds, pinks, and golds of refracted light on the majestic spires and pil- lows of colossal cloud formations. A ring of fan- tastic flames with her in the very centre, hair flowing freely in the breeze, in a rare moment of near perfect stillness.
“Which is your favourite sky?”
You hope to avoid her question—to avoid telling her how terrified this black makes you feel—to turn it back towards her. As surely she’d pick the sunset and you could agree.
She silently flows around to behind you, rest- ing her chin on your shoulder—ear pressed to neck—and you can feel your heartbeat rever- berate into her body, your breathing shallow as you freeze. But all she does is lift your face to stare at the blackness, holding it there while she sways in time to the unknown tune.
And you find yourself swaying too, relaxing with her body pressed to yours—one hand under your chin, the other around your waist— both staring into the nothingness that is the sky. You don’t want to move, to break this most intimate contact you have ever felt, knowing that she is giving you an answer. But you don’t understand, or even know the question, so you stay there, silently together, for what seems like both a moment and eternity.
“The sky is beautiful tonight, isn’t it?”
She whispers in your ear, and at last you agree. The longer you stare the more the stars seem to appear before your eyes, the expanse not so empty, completely bearable with her warmth relaxing your terrified muscles. So you nod, ever so slightly, in time with the sway— agreeing that it is wondrous, but still unsure of its appeal.
“What are we dancing to?”
Murmuring the question as if you were hiding from someone with impeccable hearing, al- though the spaces between the flats are com- pletely deserted.
She laughs quietly into your ear and spins away, but this time you spin away as well, dancing into the night, following her lead—ex- periencing, just for the moment, the true mean- ing of elated contentment.
Eventually you reconnect and slow waltz through the lightless time and freezing breeze without noticing either. She whispers before spinning away again, and you understand.
“You’re dancing to me.”
But you’re not content, you want to know. So when she comes back and is slowly swaying against your chest you ask her, wondering in anticipation if she’ll even answer.
“Are you dancing to me?”
But, of course, she just smiles up at you, knowingly keeping her secrets, and you hope that she’s hoping you’ll find them. Though at the same time you wonder what would happen if you did. If she’d still be the same without the mystery, or if her appeal would disappear, be- coming just another soul in a world full of souls. Maybe that’s what she’s scared of. But you can’t help yourself, you need to ask the questions, and she needs to lead you towards the answers. After all what else can you do? “Come.” She says, pulling you along. “Go go go go.”
And just like that you run with her, and she stretches out her arms into the wind—head back, hair streaming out behind her like a cape. You do the same, running into the dark, away from the lights of civilisation, having no idea where you are going. Trusting with no other reason than that you know nothing about her.
Then she just stops, and you do to, almost tripping over at the suddenness. She falls back, as if trying to make snow-angels on the grass, pulling you with her. And you stare up at the sky again, in silence, and watch as count- less stars twinkle into being, far away from the bright lights of humanity.
She whispers to herself, in her own way pro- viding the answers, and you lie there, until sunrise, with this perfect mystery, comforted in her silent warmth.
“It’s the same sky. The brighter the light, the less you see.”
Clancy is currently studying psychology, and enjoys indulging his imagination far more than is probably advisable. Then again, he argues,wandering through the woods doesn’t break any promises, nor does it make the miles any longer.