Lunar sneaked into the aquamarine chambers of his darling Solar. His steps, dainty and silent among the marble pillars, raised the ocean waves below his feet.
Solar sat on a throne of cotton clouds, her legs of a shimmering copper stretched out upon a green hill footstool. Her hair was a halo around her round face, which wore a bored expression with her full lips pulled in a pout.
She did not perceive him at first, for his face was but a faint outline in the blue sky. When he called out to her, her heart flowed with joy, casting rays so bright they tore through storm clouds in the frozen south of earth.
“It is I, my darling.”
He smiled, squinting slightly for his darling was becoming brighter by the second. “Time cannot hold me; they cannot hold love.”
Her nose wrinkled and her brows lowered. She was older, far wiser to Time’s omniscience. A chill ran through her chamber and her radiance cooled. “You must go. Return at once.”
“Because it is better to have a living lover than a deceased one.”
“You cannot be serious. Not when there is all of space for us to run to.”
“Run, for how long?”
“Forever if need be. Or do you wish to stay in this chamber Time crafted, a gilded prison, till your clock ceases and you burst into specks?”
“Yes, yes, we all die in the end. Time will let us think we live forever, that we may look upon earth and her inhabitants and think ourselves eternal. But we are not. And I do not want to die without at least having a thread of time be ours, for ourselves only.”
“There is no escape.” Solar descended from the clouds. Where her feet touched the ground, the horizon grew crimson. “They hold our fate in their hands.”
Lunar, born of collisions and the fragmented pieces of his seniors, did not understand. His youth propelled him to where Solar feared to tread. His small form might yet escape Time’s detection, but not Solar’s. She was simply too big to be missing, or hidden.
Yet from her place in the heavens, she had seen suns bigger than her, more powerful, die. Their legacies a faint, dull pulse in the distance. “Would she die without ever having a fate of her own?” she wondered.
Lunar saw the turn of shades on his beloved’s face. A tint of yellow. A glimmer of orange. “Now will you come with me?”
“Give me a moment.” She grabbed a dull black sac Matter had given her on her first birthday and began to compress her corona into it.
“Need any help, my love.”
“Not unless you desire to be full for an entire cycle.”
“For you I would not mind.”
She looked over her shoulder, a brow raised. Lunar returned a wink.
As they left, Solar’s shadow cast gold on the face of earth. The day creatures scurried into burrows and caves, while the night creatures crawled out of their dens for their day had just begun. Little did they know the sun intended never to come back.
Together, the two lovers dashed head first into the blackness of space, where those like them floated as countless stars.
Time felt an itch. A crick in their neck. They rose from their throne of stone, fashioned by the winds and rages of Nature. They stuck their face out of a crevice in the mountain wall and found earth covered in darkness. The silence did not bother them. Neither did the lack of light. The moon’s period had passed already. Yet they did not feel all was well.
Time looked up at the gray face of Mercury, at the yellow of Venus, and as far back as the dull brown of Pluto. Their white brows fell and wrinkled hands formed into shaking first. Out of their narrow windpipe came a growl so loud it echoed into every home, be it castle or hut, and into every nest and burrow and froze the foundation of earth along with her inhabitants.
A rose petal halted mid air. A waft of steam from supper on the kitchen stove stood in a singular, unmoving column. A child’s face still smiled, failing to register the slice of cake strawberries and cream first on the floor.
Not an atom moved when Father Time raged.
“This will not do.”
They took their cane, their cap, and their coat, which was long enough to hide half of the earth’s hemisphere. Father Time swore to scour, scour, and scour till all was as it should be. They closed their eyes to open them again with nothing in their sockets save for fog that fell like tears upon the face of earth.
In the void of space, the air whooshed and the ground they tread cackled with laughter. They traveled on her Solar wind, their progress hampered by the total lack of sign points. Every star, be it a dot of blue or orange in the horizon, looked the same, and the concept of distance had long since fled from their minds.
“We are almost there, my love.”
“Not really, my dear.” Solar peered over her shoulder, her core increasing in pressure as her heart palpitated. A sense of foreboding more than anything, like the claws of Time were coming fast round her neck. She could not actually see Time. No one could. But she could feel Them, their singular plurality in the very fabric of everything.
She looked forward at Lunar who bundled ahead. His face bright and cheerful, reflecting her light. Her heart eased, and her wild tendrils of flaring feelings dissipated. The tumult inside stirred her memory. “How fitting that their romance began in Time’s realm,” she thought.
Time, Father Time, was not their father. What they were no one knew. If Time existed before Mother Universe started, then Time would be there when Mother Universe ended. Did they then stand a chance against one who lived at Alpha and will still live at Omega?
A line of scattered stardust lighted their trail. A faint kiss of purple on the obsidian. A gnarled tree with branches stretching across systems and reaching for the next galaxy greeted them at a crossroad.
“Let us rest a while, my darling.” Lunar scrambled to clear a spot for Solar, shoving dead leaves aside and placing his mantle on the nebulous ground.
As Solar came to sit, Lunar could not suppress his awe. Her countenance yet elicited the feeling of their first encounter in Time’s banquet hall.
“You are too good for me,” he murmured.
“And you too pure for me.” She beckoned him with open arms, and he lay and rested his head on her lap.
As the lovers’ lips moved, whispering endearments to each other, so Father Time’s eyes scanned the face of the Universe.
“How long it feels since I first laid eyes on you.” Solar’s fingers played in Lunar’s midnight curls.
A shudder ran down his back, and a smile came to his lips. “An eon, perhaps more an era, and longer our love will live.”
Her brightness fell on his facade, and he collected them as best he could. But he was a pale beauty and could not help but reflect some of her light. Bands of gold scattered in every direction.
One in particular flew into an eye of Time. They smiled.
Solar traced a line from the curve of his ear to the chiseled edge of his jaw. The warm tips of her fingers sparked his senses. His surface tingled, his eyes grew misty. As her fingers neared his mouth, his lips parted.
She smiled down on her young lover’s face.
Lunar raised a hand and his palm met the side of her face, cradling her cheek. His coolness on her blazing skin made her gasp and her eyes widen.
“That we may stay this way forever,” Lunar murmured.
A blue melancholy touched Solar’s smile. She bent to kiss her lover’s forehead. As her lips touched his surface, he let out a groan and trembled. Lunar grabbed her arms, his fingers digging into her, and she jerked back in surprise. Before her, Lunar’s form was dissipating; his legs already turned to dust. As the erosion climbed his form, he took Solar’s hands.
“No, I.” Her face contorted, and where tears would have fallen from earth, molten fire fell from her copper face.
“Never be. You are the best thing to happen to my life.”
“And you mine.”
He smiled. “Kiss me before I breathe my last.”
She bent and kissed him, this time on his lips. A soft touch, a farewell too brief. She kept her eyes closed until his coolness had disappeared under her.
“Ready to go back, my dear?” Time mocked.
The tree Solar rested on turned to cinders. She sat exposed, naked, and alone.
“I warned you.”
Space morphed around her, contracting and expanding, till she was back in her system. She was back in time for a new day. But there would be no moon tonight, no Lunar forever, and she wept and wept, lashing out flares on Mercury and Venus.
When Time felt the sun had learned her lesson, they created a new moon. This time a soulless one.