We’re holding hands.
We’re holding hands, and my chest is filled with the entire sun. Her hand is warm in mine. We’re best friends, we’re the Homecoming queens, and our parents’ and grandparents’ cameras flashing almost makes us feel like we’re stars in Hollywood.
Later at night we’re quiet, lying in the same bed we’ve always slept together in, during our weekly sleepovers. The walls in my room are full of posters, of singers and actresses and girl bands, colourful and bright, and her face is illuminated by the twinkle lights above us. Her hand is in mine, her eyes on me, like always.
I listen to the sound of us breathing, and when the sun in my chest threatens to explode I lean in and kiss her.
She kisses me back.
Goosebumps shiver up and down my bare arms. My legs and my cheek sting from tiny cuts, and it’s all my fault for running away into the forest behind the school. At the next tree stump I slump down, who cares if my dress gets muddy?
It was such a beautiful cream white just hours ago, but now my make-up is tear stained and my heart is tearing itself apart.
I feel my lungs expand too fast, feel my fingers shaking, can’t see. This is it.
The whole school knows, the whole town will by morning, and we’ll be called Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Princess, because I'm the lead cheerleader who became Prom Queen and she's the girl who broke my heart.
And I can not face my parents, not tonight.
Obama is carrying a rainbow flag.
In my whole life, I’ve never felt so loved, I’ve never felt - like this. My dad smiles at me, apologies in his eyes, and my mom briefly touches my shoulder when she leaves for work, and it’s not what I want and it’s not what I need, but if it’s all I get then I’ll take it and bite back the sob stuck in the back of my throat.
The next time I see her, it’s school, and her hair is cut short, a piercing on her lip is the same shade of silver as her earrings, and I wish I could kiss her collarbone like I used to.
It’s she who walks up to me, she who asks to hold my hand, she who apologizes.
It’s I who smiles, it’s I who says I love you, it’s I who kisses her in front of everyone.
It’s she and I, and it always has been.
We’re wearing black, and spray paint bottles softly clink in our backpacks. It’s cold, and dark, we’re prepared.
We’re not prepared.
I paint the wall blue, draw a blue sun on the wall, sketch a field of blue flowers. Not even the rainbow she creates on top of it can hold back the melancholy in the words I scribble along the edges of the colour, words in black permanent marker, poetry and quotes and love declarations.
As we wait for the paint to dry, the sun in my heart goes liquid and takes shape on the wall, goes liquid and reaches out for her.
“We’ll be okay,” she whispers as the earth turns and turns in circles around itself and the sun, circles and circles through everything we believe and dream of. And when the sun is rising, we pack up and leave, get in our old car, drive away.
We sing along with the radio, we see the street art in the abandoned parts of the city, we work in a shitty diner for a month, we share our clothes, we kiss and make love, we try not to think.
Sometimes one of us cries.
The world keeps turning and I have a sun living in my chest.
The world keeps on going like nobody ever learned how to face themselves. People keep dying and people keep lamenting their deaths like this could not have been a preventable fight. The world keeps going and people keep fighting but nobody can win if not everybody is winning.
We’re walking along with the crowd, we’ve got rainbows on our faces, we’ve a sign with a meme drawn on it, in blue spray paint.
Somewhere in the crowd they’re playing music, and somewhere in the crowd two people meet for the first time, and somewhere in the crowd people are dancing.
Maybe alone we can’t save the world, maybe this is all for nothing when the sun inevitable swallows the earth, maybe my heart will be broken and I’ll wake up alone.