Trigger warning: mentions of suicide (but it isn't anything inappropriate)
Dearest Aurora, Sometimes, I wonder if your name was a coincidence, that the gods came down from their perch in the skies and whispered in our parents’ ears. “Choose Aurora.” They would say that the lights would shape and dazzle the sky in the north as they do here, in a sort of chaotic way, like you. Chaos doesn’t always have to be bad, you know. I thought it would be best if you heard it from me, now that you’re here, watching. In a little pocket of my heart, I always knew you’d find a way to drag me up this glacier. You were right, about taking a swan dive forward. That’s how life is.
The sky is purplish pink tonight, with drafts of blue in between the hazy movement of lights. It was hard to find the perfect place to watch the lights, with all the people crowding around the ice, but after driving to the glacier I found a secluded place. Too bad it doesn’t really matter, not anymore.
Some say that the Aurora Borealis is a part of life’s circle, that they are the spirits of the dead trying to communicate with their loved ones. I’ve always wondered what would become of us later on, but I bet not either of us will see the other in the dancing sky tonight.
You would never hear it from me, and perhaps that was because you never listened; about how the world was magnificent, and it was like taking a swan dive forward into new territory, exciting territory. From my perch atop the glacier, I could almost see where you had landed, into the icy cold depths of the sloshing water. What would you have said, about me coming here, testing the tips of my boots against the slight ripples. I always knew you could spin rain into rainbows. That’s just what you do.
My time is coming. I can feel it in the way my hands shake against the nylon covering steering wheel as I drive, drive away to the inn. It has curved my spine and brittled my bones and buried my hair in the gravestone where I may wake up one day. And then the question comes...would that be so bad? Burying yourself in a watery grave was bad, but rotting away, lingering on for tastes of life again and again…
“Your sister is up there watching, you know that right?”
I shrugged off my coat, trying to conceal the pain shooting through my veins. My sister wouldn’t be watching anyone tonight. She was here, in pieces and shards. A piece was detailed in the man’s sturdy frame, his steady composure, his agitating sad smile. And even if the pieces were crunched to a dull paste, she wouldn’t be watching me. She’d be waiting.
“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?”
A damp mist feeling filled the air, and somehow, it brought tears to my eyes. Anger coursed through my veins, even though I knew he was only trying to help. Maybe that was the problem.
“I guess so. Like spinning rain into rainbows.”
He didn’t respond, only handed me my keys, and repeated the verses over and over, like they were some sort of Holy Grail. You used to throw pennies into fountains and pray. Pray for fortune, wealth, a good future. You didn’t like fortune cookies though, or any other future-telling objects, but you sat by the fireplace every night and prayed. I was the rainbow spinner hand clasper dark eyeliner rebel puzzle breaker. You were the anti-fortune cookie praying penny-throwing goody-two-shoes girl. And that was always how it was.
Inside my somewhat cozy room, the window is open, letting some comforting cold air in. On the night you went, you told me you were leaving for good, and I knew it was partly because of me. There was chaos and there was bubbly slime and any four-year-old with their hands on the slime would be covered in it by the hour. When chaos spread, it left a handprint on everything, including itself.
“Can I get you anything Aurora?”
I basically knew everyone from around here. Every kitchen cook, innkeeper, manager, and maid. I always came here, every year. The other trips around the world could never satisfy my thirst for beauty, my thirst for purpose and belonging. I guessed it only made sense to be by my namesake for a little while before I left. I only wished I remembered their names.
“Yeah, um, no thanks.” I angled myself towards the window, watching the skies, letting the man sit beside me. We didn’t want to talk about miracles and migrations or empty rooms. We didn’t care for shared smiles or the taunting skies, only scooted closer together, parts of his scratchy beard brushing my hair. He knew it was coming, and we embraced it within this sweet silence.
“I only wish I could tell her I was sorry.”
“She knows. She knows.”
Our tears mix as one, making different patterns across our cheeks, telling our stories. Our youths, our futures, our entwined fate.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The first cough came at midnight. I leaned over to one side to make out the blurry numbers on the clock, then collapsed. More coughs echoed across the room, this small room that has started to suffocate me. I hated it, listening to the raspiness of my guttural cries. But secretly, I am glad. Perhaps my suffering shall cease and I’ll move on...but the man is beside me, holding me, dialing a number.
But secretly, I am glad. You’re right sister. It’s all about taking a swan dive off the glacier into the frothy, open arms of the skies. I am crying now, even though on the inside, I’m crying for joy. Pain rocketed up my spine and down my throat where all the sickness tried to hide. The man told me to stay with him, to be with him, but I am slipping.
These ink-stained tears are flowing, but they’re not my own. They are purple and pink and blue hazes of twinkling lights. They are the northern lights. Aurora’s Borealis. And for a second, I don’t think I’m dead. Spirals are tightening beneath me, above me, around me, and for a second, I believe the man who had been holding my puzzle together. The lights are a Holy Grail, a treasure she wanted to chase.
The glacier. I’m standing on the glacier, looking down at the waves, at my sister. Jump. Jump. She jumped, and I used to think that was bravery, sacrificing what you know to chase after something you weren’t sure of. But maybe, that was some sort of fear. The fear of living.
I tested my fingertips against the ice, my sneakers dipping into the cool water, and I’m spinning. Leaping off the pavement like a graceful dancer. I leaped and tried to curve my arms forward like a swan. And then, I jumped.
“Aurora? Is that really you?”
“I’m sorry. I'm really sorry that I let you go, sorry that I drove you away.”
“In truth, I’ve never felt freer.”
She was there, in my grasp once again, in this place above the stars, above the lights. We were there, were together. I wrapped my arms around hers and she rubbed my back again and again.
“I’m here. I’m here.” She was here. You were there. I guessed the lights did communicate with loved ones, even though I had to leave others to get here. And oddly enough, I didn’t feel remorse at all. Everything was at bay, everything and nothing mattered.
“I put you through so much…”
“I’m kind of glad you did, though. I haven’t had this kind of peace in a long time.”
You will never forgive me. I saw it in your eyes the way they flickered and blinked, the way you somewhat floated away and apart every moment we spent together. For some reason, I was surprised it took me until death to reunite with her, with you. Maybe just being with you is enough for you, because it’s enough for me.
“The one thing I’ve missed though is chaos, you know?”
“Chaos? Didn’t you always say the lights were chaos?”
“Yeah. I’ve missed you Aurora.”
“I’ve loved you.”
Me, too. Somewhere down there, there was a glacier, and beneath the glacier soft and frothy foam, the arms of my sister, holding me, wrapping me, not letting go of me; and I never want this to end. Fire and ice rained down from where we float, where we watch the skies above and away from the crowds. Just like I had wanted.
“One question, before we watch the meteor shower.”
“What is it?”
“How did you find me? In death? Was it...painful.”
“It was like you said. I took a leap.”
I always knew you would find me Aurora. After all, you were the rainbow maker sunshine weaver dancing in the rain girl. And nothing could change that.