I don’t sleep. Never properly at any rate. Spread as I am in an infinite number of bits scattered throughout the lands of this entire world, the sun never sets on me. I rest, and I wait, and I am patient, but I do not sleep. For several million years, I am like this. She, too, must be like this, but somehow, despite the ubiquity of both of us, we do not have contact. I worry not, for in this form, it is very difficult to retain the fear and insecurities that are the seeds of worry.
I suppose I am aware of every part of me, but even like this, my mind does not have the power to keep track of every part of me at every moment. I am not omniscient, not even over my own constituent bits. But over the millennia, slowly, I become aware that the pieces of me are converging on a single point. Some are blown on the wind to this place; some are brought by animals; some are taken up by trees and plants and then set free in their seeds or pollen or fruits. And slowly, geologically slowly, I am returned to being whole.
And thus it was, on a certain day, in this cave, I stood up. It wasn’t until I’d been walking about the cave for a few moments that I realized that I was whole again, it was that subtle and glacial of a transition. I hooted with glee and jumped about when it dawned on me. Surely, I frightened away some of the local animals who I owe a debt of gratitude to for bringing this to me.
I stopped. Something wasn’t right. Something was missing.
I was mostly whole, but not completely. Something inside me was gone. A part of my soul. And now that I noticed it was gone, it ached. It hurt so badly. I looked around the cave, I rummaged in the leaves and dirt on the floor, but to no avail. It’s not a large piece. It is no bigger than a grain of sand, but it is mine, it is Me, and I need it. Would I sense it if it were here?
With that thought, I did sense something. But it wasn’t me. Leaving the cave, I found myself in a temperate forest. Tall trees. It is summer. It is early morning. It is cloudy though, and the wind is very strong. I walk into the wind, following what I sense as a voice leading me on. Ever on.
Turning a corner around a boulder, there in the middle of the path was a single white ibis. I stopped, for I did not want to disturb the large bird, but rather admire it while it allowed me to watch. The ibis, however, approached me, nudged my hand with its head. I opened my hand, palm upwards, and thereupon the ibis dropped from its beak a small red grain. Like a fleck of ruby or garnet. A brief break in the clouds allowed a shaft of light into the forest, and it sparkled. I looked at the ibis, and he looked at me, and then he turned and took to the air. I studied the red grain.
There was a throbbing in my mind. My pulse quickened and my muscles tensed.
The fleck is a part of She, a part missing, like I am incomplete so is She.
I continue walking through the forest, content in the knowledge that I’d find her soon, and that I’d find the missing part of myself when I did. The weather continued to be poor, with heavy winds, occasional rain, but never very heavy. Though it was summer, it was cool in the forest, and the wind was starting to chill me.
And then I saw a small house.
I approached it, and knocked on the door, but it cracked open under my knuckles. I entered.
Inside, all the rooms were warmly lit. Not bright, but warm. It was a comfortable house that was completely unfurnished. I wandered from room to room, and as I did, the weather outside took a turn for the worse. Though only mid-afternoon it was soon dark as night, and the wind was howling and the rain was bucketing down. I was glad to be here, warm and safe inside.
I sat in the middle of the largest room. I relaxed. I cleared my mind. I waited.
Presently, I heard softly padding feet coming up the corridor, and I opened my eyes and it was as I expected.
She is here.
I stand, and she approaches me. I notice that her eyes are noticeably larger than they used to be. I’ve not looked in a mirror for the entire age of this universe, so I’m sure I look different than I used to, too. She smiles, and reaches into a pocket of her black pants. When She opens her palm in front of me, therein lies a tiny fleck of something blue. It sparkles in the warm light like sapphire. It is the part of me that is missing. I show her the ruby the ibis gave to me, and we both smile.
The flecks raise from our palms and, hovering just a moment in front of us, plunge into our respective chests and We are whole again. Whole and together. We hug, and we stand there, embracing, for a long time.
The storm has not yet abated. It seems to be getting stronger. A huge gust of wind blows open a door at the end of the corridor, and soon wind and leaves are blowing in through the house. I try to close the door, but She shakes her head and walks out into the storm. As I watch her from the doorway, she stands on the deck, twirling in the wind and the rain and getting utterly soaked. She beckons me out, and I obediently follow.
In the corner of the deck is a hot tub. It’s on, it’s warm, and the jets are running. She steps in and stands there, up past the knees in hot bubbly water. And there, as the tempest rages around us, She begins.
Can anyone stop us from shining like the stars? She sings. Do those fluttering fools have the right?
We often say it, we often dream it, we often speak it to each other, She sings, that we want to be happy. We’ve seen each other countless times. But what on earth do we want? What on earth are we dissatisfied with? Where on earth should we be headed?
These questions, these answers, She sings, I don’t have anything to say to them. Do you?
Don’t forget, She sings, the way I touched your back when we hugged. Don’t forget the promise we make this summer afternoon.
We are the sparkling ones, She sings, but I wonder when we’ll be able to seize tomorrow and move on?
Will those fluttering fools ever be able to?
I really expect, She sings, that we’ll be able to but you, She sings, really doubt that we will. What, are you just anyone, now?
No, what? Stop it.
I’ve said you were a good person, She sings, but I see you’re just an inconsequential speck.
By now there are tears in my eyes. I’ve waited to see you for billions of years, I’ve perceived the light cone and jumped into a new one for you; I believed in our photon and followed it here; I sensed the resonance and completed you as you have completed me. What is going on? Why are you doing this?
… is what I think as loud as I can in my head, but I say nothing, as tears stream down my face. Not that she would notice — the rain disguises my tears admirably.
The dawn, She sings, is frightfully bright and it pierces my eyes. She collapses to her knees in the hot tub.
My chest hurts, She whispers. What’s happening? I’m bewildered by all that I have seen.
The rain stops.
The clouds part.
The sky is so bright, it dazzles me. I shield my eyes and look back to the hot tub.
She is gone.
A bittersweet smile plays on my lips. I lay down on the deck, and stare into the bright sky, unblinking. I wait.
I am patient.
All is become gold.