“Sand’s a time of its own. Take your seaside arms and write the next line. Oh, I want the truth to be known.”
There was nothing better than welcoming the new year with one’s beloved, with the waves of aurora in red and green rolling above them like ripples of avian sea. They had brought out blankets and pillows to keep them warm on the winter night, and bottles of the finest wine their money could bring, but the most important of all, was their mutual company.
Down below in the shed an occasional bleat from one of their sheep could be heard as one dreamt or woken up momentarily. But otherwise, all else was silent and calm. Over the distance the sea sparkled with the reflected aurora like captured gems woven into midnight fabrics.
The grass was frosted with mild snow, though they had been in luck this year, as most of the snow earlier this month had melted by the day after July, though a bitter chill still lingered about all month. It was not enough to deter the young lovers from wishing to spend the night outside atop the roof, two young souls of a land all theirs as far as their eyes could see. If they were lucky, they may glimpse fireworks from the nearest town many miles away, but the show provided by nature was more than aplenty.
The two of them, together like this, tonight, was ideal. Without the commotion of a crowded town to drive his senses on overdrive, Rey could enjoy the details of the night better: the way Leila’s breathing was a little heavy from the cold and the drinking, the tiny puffs of air, how her cheeks were reddening, the soft wool of her sweater, his head resting on Leila’s chest.
“Over ninety years ago my great grandfather sat out on the roof and watched the stars,” Rey began, breaking the silence. Not a terrible breaking of silence, as he had a way of making himself part of everything in just the right way.
His voice rang out like a tiny bell, a bird chirping softly in the night. “I wonder if they ever saw the Northern Lights.”
“If they made enough time for more stargazing in between all the housebuilding, cleaning, and…the war,” Leila said. “Shame if they never got a chance to enjoy this.” She snuggled against her lover as a sudden chill shook her bones.
The drink shared between them helped keep them warm.
Time ticked away in tranquil hues of teal above, slow, lazy, pleasant, hazing with their fogging minds teetering on the edge of dreams, fuelled by by the wine.
“I remember a night like this when we danced,” Rey said, again breaking the silence with his gentle demeanour. But this time Leila’s face stretched into a small smile. Her mind calculated, to the best of her ability, how much time had passed since they had come up here.
Not much of the ending year must be left. The first part of the night was over. Now began the next part.
Their lips found each other, warmth blocking the cold as their world collapsed into just the two of them. In the distance came the gentle splashing of the seaside shore. Rey’s hold on Leila tightened as the sounds of her sighs passed like the soft gusts of night wind.
“What do we dance to, stupid?” Leila asked softly, each word dripping with utmost affection.
They shared a smile before listening to the sea not far off. The song came to them as if they shared one mind; their bodies moved to the silent tune in their heads.
“Please do not sing it,” Leila teasingly warned Rey, sticking out her tongue.
“Why not?” Rey asked as a whisper, right against Leila’s ear, in a way that just made Leila shiver in her arms. Bastard. She dug her fingers in Rey’s shoulders.
“Come on. I know you like this song yourself. We begged Eva to take us through her archives for a copy—remember when we did that?”
“It’s among my plans tonight.”
But they sang together, keeping their voices soft. She wished they could play the song itself, but this wasn’t half-bad. Although she was the better singer than Rey. But the point wasn’t to get it right; it was to sing themselves into reverie.
And when Leila met Rey’s eyes, she felt the time was finally approaching. Her eyes looked up, focusing on the waves above and sighed, feeling her body drifting. When Rey’s lips woke her back, they were amongst the stars, with the aurora right above their heads. In some dimension intersected between the waking world, dreams and imagination, they danced.
How can you do this? Leila wondered with awe, but she shut off her mind. Just this night. She lets herself get whisked off by Rey’s imagination, penning the details of the dream world. They danced in circular formations, gently chasing the reflected swirls of the aurora above. As Leila leaned into Rey, he picked her up, his lips trailing kisses down Leila’s front, staying at her middle.
With arms outstretched, Leila’s fingers brushed the passing waves, and in that instance a burst of profound poignance and passion filled her. Engulfed in the rays of the gods and Rey’s love, her eyes teemed with the reality of this moment, too vivid beyond any dream.
“I want you to feel this truth,” Rey said, kissing Lalli’s neck. “Do you feel the love around you?”
“Yes,” Leila sighed, almost moaning from the intensity.
“I think…we can find a staircase somewhere.”
“What?” Before Leila could comprehend what Rey was saying, Rey carried her over, and she felt herself rising higher. A scream bubbled to the surface in her throat.
With a delighted laugh, Rey set Leila down and embraced her tightly. “Let’s not break the dance!” he said and a second later they were back at it. Leila glanced down and her jaws dropped.
They were dancing right atop the Northern Lights.
With his lips against Rey’s as light shone under their feet in wondrous hues, illuminating their shared moment. They drew closer together in their slow, intimate dance. The feeling of profound bliss grew inside Leila as she could feel Rey’s heartbeat along with her own, their souls converging as one. She squeezed Rey’s hand.
“Are you enjoying this dance?” Rey asked, smiling. His eyes shone. Leila smiled back.
As she cried out, she opened her eyes back to the waking world.
Lying on her back with Rey atop her, both of them wrapped in layers of blankets. Rey’s face was very red now, that silly thing, and panting. The Northern Lights swirled by in luminous waves high above him, and the stars shone beautifully like diamonds.
And Leila, though bare of any clothing, did not shiver. She rubbed her cheek against Rey, smiling faintly in pure satisfaction.
“Did you hear that?” Rey asked, his voice husky.
“The sound of our soul?” Leila said and nodded. “Yeah. I did.”