The young woman approached the old man,
and a thousand stories were written:
old friends, forbidden lovers, caring family.
The universe swirled around them,
and in a thousand other worlds
they fought, they forgave, they forgot.
Yet each story ended with a familiar exchange,
an unavoidable realization that stretched the cosmos:
It begins with her asking why she feels broken.
The old man knows- he shares the feeling.
He tells her, and she cries:
“There are no stars inside of you,” he tells her.
“There is nothing left.
You give and give and there is nothing left.”
A tear slips down her face
before she feels the sadness tug inside of her-
the familiar pain of pulling hair or pinching skin.
The dull sensation that spreads throughout her bones.
He wipes the stream away.
“Maybe being empty is not such a bad thing.
It shows you have love where it matters-
The young woman leaves the old man,
and their stories have ended.
In a thousand other worlds
they bled, they broke, they made better.
The universe moves on
and two other familiar strangers meet
and two other and two other and two other
and each story ends with a familiar exchange.