As we stood there, the world around us began to disintegrate. Windows shattered, glass dancing through the air as my eyes met yours, as our hands touched and our fingers tangled. The pavement broke apart and spiraled upwards, mixing with the debris as buildings started to shed their granite shells. Water droplets rose from the ground and mixed in to the tumult, hanging like jewels in the half light, shreds of paint peeling from the walls to encase them in a delicate embrace. We kissed and the air around us darkened, slowed, fragments pausing to frame our glowing forms. As we parted, the fire under our skin broke free and burned beautiful patterns of our time together in to our minds, consuming us in the slow moments afterwards when we were alone. And I never wanted it to end. I wanted to be stood there with you, embracing you, encapsulated in time forever.

You wanted freedom. You wanted to cut all ties and run as far away from this place as you could. You wanted to stop hearing the rhythm of his heartbeat in your head, wanted to stop feeling the lyrics of his words in your heart. You wanted all you had with him, wanted all you lost before it slipped through your fingers like the shreds of a dream upon waking.

You knew the delicate touch of his fingers, felt the brush of them over your skin as you sat in silence. You knew the steady sound of his breathing late at night, heard them in the moments just before you fell asleep. You knew the safety you felt in the comfort he gave you, yearned for that stillness in the chaos he left behind.

You remembered smoke filled rooms, crowds seething under low ceilings. You remembered quiet nights, forgotten films, fumbling hands. You remembered kissing, desperate, soft, heartfelt, empty, every single one different, every single one coveted. You remembered the good but never the bad, not even for a moment, no harm done. You remembered his eyes opening to gaze at your face in the morning, sheets crumpled around you to hug you close in his warmth.

Over time you wiped the slate clean, white washed the walls. Over time you sucked out the poison, stitched the wounds closed. Over time you forgot his face, once so deeply etched in to the carefully placed frame of your memories. Over time you forgot the sound of his voice, once so recognizable to your ears. Over time you cleared space to welcome another face, to want another voice, to know another love.

He pointed up at the night sky, pinpricks of light breaking through the clouds as the stars fought to be seen through the lights of the city.

“Do you ever wish on them? The stars, I mean. I used to wish for love every time the first one appeared in the evening. It’s meant to be lucky, you know? And I wonder if there was always another one I’d missed which broke that luck, hiding behind a building or something. I think of love all the time, write about it, feel it, but any love I think I’ve found starts to break over time. And it hurts, but I still wish for it. It’s like a habit now. It’s become second nature, something I think of without even pausing. There’s magic in the stars, magic in wishing. Maybe I want it too much and it becomes suffocating, and I shouldn’t wish so hard. But I can’t stop”.

The tears started to track their way reluctantly down the curvature of your face, hanging for a moment in trepidation before giving in to that final, irresistible pull towards the floor. As they hit the marble glowing flowers began to bloom, gaining momentum as they reached up toward the ceiling with an almost tentative curiousity. The stone beneath them cracked, pulled apart, and began to float lazily in to the air as if drawn to the brightening canopy forming above. The deep sigh that left your lungs after such a tragically short breath turned to feathers, stark white in the half light.

You made a beautiful thing from your sadness, you see. Something which was astonishingly heartbreaking and breathtaking in equal measure. That was a rare thing to do in itself, really. Sadness took many forms, but in your experience beauty was not often one of them.

And over time you become familiar with the complexities in people, the way that their individual minds work. You catch glimpses of the galaxies they hold within themselves. Pain is easy to read if you learn where to look for it, draped like flawed gems over collarbones and nestling in the crooks of necks. Happiness, lust, love… It shines through in the pitch black of pupils, makes itself known in the turn of a head or the placement of a hand. Don’t you see the beauty in that?

We were sat on the edge of a fountain, surrounded by the noise of the city, people talking, laughing, encompassing us in to those brief little moments of their lives. He hadn’t stopped looking at his hands, lacing his fingers around one another continuously. He paused, delved his hands in to each pocket of his coat in turn, picking out tobacco, then rolling papers, filters one after another, never once stilling his hands. I realised why when he started to roll his cigarette, and the concentration slowed his hands until they started to shake. It wasn’t enough to hinder his actions, was barely even noticeable had I not been looking straight at them, and when he put the cigarette in his mouth and lit it his hands started to quicken their movements, cupping his mouth for only an instant over the click of the lighter and the first trace of smoke. One hand gestured with the cigarette as he started to talk again, his words faltering as he mechanically withdrew his hand from another pocket and started to scroll through the menu of his phone, eyes following his thumb as he flicked open one icon after another.