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It was eternally dark in the suburbs. No matter how fast they went or where they ended up, the sky remained the thickest kind of black. They kept looking for a glistening diamond, for a short sight of a star, but they circled right back to the middle. As beautiful as the darkness was, not many relished in its infinite black, except for the two.
She had always hated the sun and he had always hated the daytime. They were perfect for each other. On nights when the sky was especially sinister, they’d escape to an empty field. He’d light a cigarette and she would watch the smoke billow out of his mouth, crawl around his face, encircle his fingers, and disappear into the air like a soft curse.
“A cigarette burns at 400 degrees,” he muttered ominously. “If I stuck it on my skin right now, I’d instantly get third-degree burns. Does that make you nervous?” His emerald eyes shimmered with mystery and his lips slowly curled into a smile. The smoke that burned in his chest was his greatest pleasure.
“Not at all,” she answered. She loved him then, and she never took anything he said seriously. He was cocky and immature and tried too hard to impress her. “You’d never do it. You could never face the fire and I would find too much enjoyment in watching you burn.”
He laughed, agreed, and continued to smoke. They already passed so many nights in the same manner, always engaging in conversation. Sometimes, they wouldn’t even speak; they would only communicate through the underground wires and deeper love that connected their minds. Under those tenebrous nights, they’d become one.
She knew he used to be a man of mirth, a young and naïve fellow who, despite hating the daytime, would dance amongst the sun. It wasn’t until the suburbs turned black that he stopped dancing. She would wonder if their friendship changed him, if their meeting inspired his death. He never seemed to show remorse for his old self; he found comfort in her friendship and in the night.
He knew she was an enigma, a rumored Ice Queen, who despite the infinite darkness still hated the sun. He would wonder if their friendship brought her deeper into the dark, if their meeting inspired her decline. She never seemed to show woe for her state of mind; she found comfort in his friendship and in the night.
“What would you do if you ever saw a star?” she inquired.
“I would never see one,” he answered quickly. “There hasn’t been a star in this black sky for two years.” As soon as he said this he saw the correlation. The night wrapped itself tight around his throat.
She laughed, thinking her question was silly. “You’re right. I suppose the only star we’d ever see is the sun, if the sky ever turns blue again.”
As time passed she felt him grow distant. She didn’t take this too seriously, for she never took him seriously. They continued on staring at the night, swimming amongst the dark waves that grew in their pupils. He didn’t smoke or do much of anything anymore. He looked almost desperate, hoping for the night to birth a star, a light, a something; he wanted to see the day. It was in that moment that out of their periphery a dazzling shooting star emerged. It travelled along the sea of black burning a bright royal purple. They stood and stared and watched the heavenly body take to space like a boundless bird. She immediately wept, but she didn’t know why. Through her tears, the shooting star had blurred into one giant mirage of light making the sky appear apocalyptically bright. When the star disappeared, the pair had left. She was still crying and he knew exactly why. Of course he knew, he knew her better than she knew herself, yet he didn’t say a word.
He never took to the field again. From the window of his home he could see a million stars shining brilliantly against the night and the sun glisten blindingly in the day. At nightfall, he’d try to count each star, but gave up as soon as he realized he couldn’t face them. As intoxicated as he was with their luster, he knew he could never look at them again.
She would return to the field every night. She would cradle herself in sorrow, unsure of the kind of cosmic shift that gave way to the blanket of stars and the emptiness in her heart. She’d stay for hours, lingering along until the edges of the sunrise shone, hoping he’d appear. At nightfall, she’d try to count each single star, but gave up as soon as she realized that she couldn’t face them. As perplexed as she was with their being, she knew she would never get an answer.
With each new night and each new day, he tried to forget. He would never look up, only down at the reflections the stars casted on the pavement and the light the sun projected onto his skin. He realized that all those nights he had secretly been waiting for something he didn’t even know he was waiting for. His heart grew colder despite the blistering heat and moonshine, but he knew that as long as there was shine, he would never have to tell. He kept his secret in the lights and his regret in the burn.
With each new night and each new day, she tried to remember. She would look up, always, shocked by the sun’s prominent shine and the galaxy of stars that rested in the dark. She realized that she had secretly depended on the perpetual dark to find joy. Her heart grew fiery, heightened by the sunny and starry glares, but she knew she would never know why her Earth had shifted and who had made it turn. She grew her anger in the lights and a fire in her heart.
A day came and it went. A night came and it went. The sun still rose and the stars still shined. The suburbs were never dark again.