Part Two

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Their first date was in a graveyard.

He hoped they would be far enough away from the intrusion of the light-posts. Those manufactured suns, numerous and sallow, that buzzed like perturbed hornets. Their dim glow deprived God's rapturous domain of its precious emptiness. He did not want the meteor shower robbed of its due glory.

He sat by her side, a tombstone against their backs, its name written in a language foreign to them both.

"That's Cepheus," she said.


She moved his hand through the sky.

"And that one?" he asked.

"They call it-- Cygnus."

"Cygnus," he repeated.

Their hands settled in the dew between their thighs.

Together, they waited.

To some, meteor showers were simple ice-dust, small rock shorn from bigger rock-- fragments sent hurtling, not by quarreling angels, but indifferent gravity wells.

He knew better. They were particles from paradise. They didn't risk the fringe of the forbidden prairie to witness a clumsy dance of physics. They were here for the splintering of Heaven.

She hummed a song he did not know. He liked it.

Their hands trembled in the dew.

His pinky edged toward her thumb.

Three weeks later he hung like a reluctant scarecrow with only a few minutes left in his brief, flittering life. He still wasn't ready to remember that first goodbye, the one in the graveyard, so sweet and so--

"No, no, don't think about it," he whispered.

Instead, he recalled her second goodbye, one less astringent.

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