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Relinquishing Luminosity MAG
Through the neon-colored water, my feet looked magenta. Back home, the water never ran in colors. It just was. I never knew colors could live like this. I felt pale and ugly in comparison, but then again, as alien as I was in this landscape, that was to be expected. However, it didn’t change that I was a speck of discordance in the beauty of the scene.
Drawing my toes out, I looked over my shoulder at Vaelis, my arms around my knees, drawn tightly to me. He was pensive and silent, watching my back. Staring at me. I quickly turned back to the glowing scene around me, a chromatic aurora borealis leaving traces of light and shadow on my watery human skin. The time stretched on, coming like the waves, and with it the quietness. The ocean was as hushed as a desert.
“It’s great, really. The colors are nice,” I said lamely, attempting to break the silence of the moment. Vaelis was jolted out of his reverie, and looked into my eyes with his double set, the seemingly synthetic blue captivating me.
“I hoped you’d like it.” Looking back to the whimsically tinted sky, I dug my fingers into the porous rock, wiggling them deeper, unable to meet his gaze. Anxiety and pent-up energy were somewhat subdued here, but the nervous tics that were my lot expressed themselves anyway.
Anvas was a gorgeous planet. I couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful place in the universe. Pastel greens and turquoise lit the skies, and the many coastlines shifted with lilacs and fuchsias, as alive and vibrant as the animals that lived in them. It was a dream, a painting come to life.
I glanced at my hands and imagined they had the extra digits and joints like Vaelis’s and the other Anvasei. They would still be my hands, clumsy, big, and cluttered. In this light, they almost looked lovely. I smiled and blessed the scene around me.
Vaelis stepped to the overhang and sat next to me, his long legs slipping into the water up to his calves. His shoulder brushed mine; I almost pulled away but thought better of it.
Without thinking, I said, “I have to go home next month.”
Vaelis tensed; his pupils shrank and his tail froze. Perhaps he had sensed what I had wanted to tell him for months now, but was too cowardly to say.
“I know that.” The sun was a glowing disk in the distance, the silvery cerulean light blending into the fevered waters. It really was amazing, more so than I had imagined when Vaelis asked me to come and sightsee here. His hand moved over mine, and this time I did draw back.
To cover my discomfort, I slid into the water, wading up to my waist. With a deep breath, I slipped under the waves, the silky tangerine and coral enveloping me. In the colorless liquid of home, I loved to swim. Here it was like bathing in a kaleidoscope, with the shifting white sand moving into the fertile vista of deep shoals where plant life burst like a child’s coloring book.
Vaelis watched me, his soft, matte flesh casting blue shadows over me. I had been on Anvas for three years, and most of that time we had been together, first as friends, then as more, though what I couldn’t tell.
I kicked up sand. I don’t know why other humans called it the snowy sea; the ocean floor appeared white, but there were so many other colors in the sand, hidden just below the pale exterior, which caught the shades of whatever was around it. Scooping up a handful, I surfaced and held it in my cupped palms.
The sand glowed a warm peach in my hands, and I thought, What a lovely color. The irony struck me a second later, and I grinned as I pulled myself back on the ledge. My clothes shed the water, and soon Vaelis and I were sitting close with the pooling apricot water beneath us. I let the sand fall into the sea, glistening like a rainbow as it cascaded.
“I don’t want to go, Vaelis,” I said, again breaking the silence. He smiled slightly, and I felt that wall I had built between us the last few weeks crumble a bit.
“I know.” I leaned against his side, cool from the water that still ran down my arms in juice-colored streaks. It was hard to be detached when the sun and the sea conspire against you.
“Despite being less than this place deserves, than you deserve, I like it here and I don’t want to leave – Anvas or you.” I sighed, and averted my eyes once again from the shifting cyan of his gaze.
“Liron …” His voice was calm and soft, but the timbre of concern was there. I shut my eyes tight, took a breath. The courage came with the periwinkle sun and the wind that was also somehow so colorful, so beloved.
“I came here today to tell you we should … break things off.” I let the words fall like the sand from my hands. Vaelis was silent, still as the rocks around us. I couldn’t think of what else to say. I had never been dishonest with him before. Now I was back to being my open self, with all the pain that comes with perfect honesty.
“But I don’t want to say that anymore. I want to sit here with you and realize how wrong I was to pretend that if I acted like it didn’t hurt, it wouldn’t.” I hung my head, and opened my eyes to see the water, hued now with scarlet and cinnamon, and our feet, side by side, human and Anvasei.
Timidly, I reached out to Vaelis. If he had been any of the others I had cared about, any of those who had hurt me and I had hurt, he would have pulled away. Yet he didn’t; I slid my hand under his, and he clasped it briefly, azure skin over pale peach, the sky over the ocean.
“Thank you for being truthful, Liron.” He hadn’t said his piece, I could tell, but he didn’t withhold what I craved, needed: the colors of his skin, the hues of affection in his touch.
Turning to me, he smiled, the sapphire clouds casting momentary soft shade on him. The sun had moved over the sea, and evening was brimming at the horizon. With a happy sigh and a shudder, he wrapped an arm around my shoulders, and whispered into my wet, stringy hair, “You are the shading of my world. Without you, there is no depth.”
Looking into the fantasy seascape with eyes that shifted like light on the water, he chuckled and pulled me closer.
“Earth shall be luminous.”