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They asked me where was home and I told them it was the space between your arms and the longitude of your spine, every vertebra mapped and memorized, more familiar even that the star maps that they'd engraved into the whorls of my brain and the whirl of my pulse. Home, I tell them, is the way you cup my neck and the way you kiss my cheek, the fit of your hips and my name on your lips. Home is you and only you, can only be you, although galaxies might line themselves like arguments between us.
The officials--effulgent colors, scarcely corporeal--confer in flashes of iridescence. Was it red for amenability, and turquoise for indecision? Or pustulant green for comprehension? They stutter between pigments and I pin my breath to the firmament of my ribs. Melody sluices from their translation boxes. I catch words out of order: dissent, despair, distrust.
Please, I think. Please.
"You don't have a visa appropriate to the planet."
"I know."
They cycle between hues: steel to starlight to shades of amber, pale as your hair, as the first tankard of beer you brewed in our basement on Mars. "You are a risk."
"I know." I catch the urge to beg and hold it between my teeth, cringing at the thought of being turned away. All I can think is: please, please, please. "But I need to go home."
Their incandescence ebbs, fades to gray. And I think they're tasting you on the curve of an electron, the way your name means home, means safe, means everything I hold true.
Silence follows. Into that gap, I place a billion promises, each and every one jeweled with desperation, constellations of need. Anything, I tell the universe. Anything to be with you again. I'll put on shoes that don't fit. I'll fly to Neptune and circle Venus, I'll drift to the sun and back again, herding ghosts across the cosmos. I'll wear linen. I'll cut my hair. I'll burn galaxies down to the marrow. Anything. Anything to be home.
I am so busy authoring bargains with a god of improbable results, of love that lasts light years, that I almost miss them saying:
"How was your trip?"
Your hand is in my hair, your breath against my forehead. I say nothing as you kiss me, once, twice, and again. Home is the span of your embrace, the tip of your head, the knowledge that you're here again, here again.
"Better," I whisper, as my world fits itself, heartbeat by heartbeat by heartbeat, together. "Now that you're here."
The End
This story was first published on Monday, May 8th, 2017
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