Last Tango in Outer Space

Today would be a day just like any other day.

Today the sun vanished, quietly slipping on a coat and hat and gingerly tip-toeing out the back door while everyone slept.

Today the moon had slapped together a hasty suitcase, and stole out to meet him under cover of a night pregnant with cricket sounds. She hadn’t had time to ask questions, her only concern was to follow him wherever he planned to go.

The sun (through centuries of solar sameness) had grown increasingly restless, weary of inhabiting his fixed position within the universe. Tired of shouldering the weight of the worlds, he held in his mind some long-developed theories he burned to test. The sun, you could say, had himself a little bucket list.

The moon (through centuries of lunar languishing) had put down some roots. She had had her adventures early, and bore the scars to prove it. These days, she was content to simply bask in his glow, sip a Mojito and absentmindedly command the tides. The moon thought making bucket lists was a waste of a good afternoon, but like most women in love she flung herself after him anyways.

The sun and the moon had their challenges as a couple, as his intensity forced them to dance a sort of supernatural tango around the universe. Tripping the light fantastic along the paths of constellations was more than anyone could ever ask for, but she could scarcely touch him before having to recoil from his fiery heat. She resigned herself to this, to be at his side would have to be enough. Like most women have from time to time, she found herself in the predicament of having fallen head over heels with a man she could never truly get close to.

The sun would register complaints that the moon was slowing them down, and couldn’t she drop her baggage? She wouldn’t need any of that junk where they were going. Besides, he said, he found her infinitely more beautiful when unencumbered and unadorned. She had a preternatural glow about her, after all. This always made her blush.

The moon would mutter displeasures that the sun was in too much of a hurry. She clung to the familiarity of her baggage like a life raft, unsure of where he was taking her, unwilling to abandon everything to an unknown. Besides, she said, she enjoyed taking it slow and watching him from behind. He had an ass so hot you could fry an egg on it. This always made him strut.

After a very lengthy journey, the pair made port at their final destination: a supermassive black hole. He had chosen this particular black hole in this particular part of the galaxy based on the whispers of centuries of passing comets. This black hole, he had heard but of course couldn’t substantiate, boasted all the best jazz clubs, dangerously beautiful beaches and the perfect mojito.

He genuinely thought she’d love it. She was genuinely terrified.

They hovered outside the hole and argued. Like most lovers quarrels that have occurred throughout time and space, it lasted for what felt like an eternity.

The sun was certain the black hole held inter-dimensional secrets, and was ready to charge straight in. He had cooked up a theory about the black hole possessing a transformative nature, and was convinced they would emerge whole but wholly different in a new and exciting dimension. What the sun really wanted, in his heart of hearts, was contentment and the ability to rest like the moon. He would rather not burn so bright, rather not have so many systems depending on him. Could this change all that? The whispers of the comets suggested as much.

The moon was certain entry would lead to their assured destruction. Despite this, she had to admit she found the sun’s theory incredibly seductive. What would they become, separately yet together? Could she let her touch linger for longer than a few moments? Would she be renewed on the other side, like a newborn and without scars? She would even ditch her baggage for that. She longed for it to be true, and imagined them living out their early retirement in a state of proximal bliss.

The moon, however, remained unable to be fully convinced, as the prospects of destruction were too great.

The sun did what all warriors have to do, and firmly made up his mind. He had exhausted all arguments, she would either follow him or not. He slowly rose, kissed his fair moon and departed, resolute and unshakable. He turned around and beckoned for her to follow.

The moon hung there like a question mark, frozen in space and indecision. She watched with equal parts fascination and horror as he approached the swirling darkness, watched as his incandescence stretched and warped and magnified to infinite proportions, watched as he was instantly condensed down to nothing more than a tiny point of light and watched as he disappeared into nothingness.

She held her breath and waited. Nothing else happened. After a rather alarming amount of time, she finally exhaled.

The moon proceeded next to do what moons do best, and cried a thousand oceans of salty tears. When the surrounding planets raised their voices and complained about the floods, she turned and ran away towards home in anguish and despair.

In her wake, a distinct rip echoed through space, like the sound of a needle on a record. The black hole pulsated and began to bleed light, and muffled sounds of jazz floated out among the stars. The sun had remained powerful enough to send her this one last glance, but the moon was already too far away to have either heard or seen it.

The sun had made his heroic journey into the unknown.

The moon had fearfully run back home.

Today would be a day just like any other day.

Queen of the North Country

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