"Where are we going, Peach?"
"Shh..." He was confused but he knew enough to trust me. Fingers slid together as our feet slip-slid down the hill.
The sun was big and low to the ground. The air smelled like rain. It had been a particularly cool & rainy summer.
"Peach--" I shushed him again. His brow furrowed in that way that indicated he was a little peeved at my secrecy. I slipped and fell ass-over-teakettle onto the ground. The furrow immediately disappeared as he barked out laughter.
"It isn't funny," I pouted, and then began to laugh as well. The mirth startled a few birds -- off they flew into the big blue. In the process of trying to help me up, he slid back as well. Tumble bumble we went down the hill. Laughter and arms and legs tangled up at the bottom. I had forgotten that laughter could feel so freeing.
I took a deep breath and untangled a hand to wipe away the laughter-tears. He smiled down at me and kissed my forehead. "Silly peach." We helped each other up and brushed each other off. "Ok, captain, where do we go from here?"
I led him down the field to a spot of rushes. I disappeared behind them and pulled him in with me. On the other side was a path that went for what seemed like miles in both directions. He gave me a questioning look, and I nodded my head to the right.
The sun hung lower still and was blinding us as we walked towards it. Every once in a while, I glanced over at him to see if he was still there, still curious.
"Peach, where are we going? Why is this so important?" he had stopped walking to ask me this. I stopped and tracked back to him.
It was important because there were so few things in life that could be shared with only a few people, like a secret jewel cached in velvet, hidden below the floorboards. Because it was summer and it was gorgeous outside; because the city couldn't intrude on us here. Because it was dusk. Because it was him.
"Trust me, you will be glad you came. It's only a little bit further..." I started walking but he just stood there watching me. I glanced over my shoulder and watched him watch me. He wouldn't come. I walked back to him and took him by both hands, guiding him further. Just a few feet further, there was a patch of daisies in front of tall grass. I pushed them aside and pulled him through.
Just beyond the daisies was a clearing. There was a willow that had fallen over a long while ago. In the middle of the clearing was some debris from a fire lit long before I'd discovered this place. The ground was soft with sweet grass, and dry in some places. I pulled the backpack off my back and opened it. I pulled out the blanket I brought for us and snapped it in the air. He grabbed the other end and helped me lay it down by the fire pit.
He gave me a curious smirk as I gestured for him to lay down alongside me. "No, love, that is not why we are here." I pushed him down on his back and asked him to close his eyes. He raised an eyebrow at me, but did as he was told.
"Peach, what--" I put a finger to his lips and shushed him. I lay down beside him and put my hand in his. I looked up at the sky and watched it as it slowly changed its hue, from bright blue to pink to mauve. My heart skipped a pace as he used his thumb to trace circular patterns into my palm. Dusk came. I closed my eyes and waited.
Flutter of gossamer wings. Slight humming noises. Birds calling out to each other. I leaned over, eyes still closed, lips close to his ear. "If you must speak, please whisper."
"Can I open my eyes yet?" I squeezed his hand to let him know to be patient. I waited for the first feeling of a fluttering past my face.
Lips to ears. "Now." He and I opened our eyes together.
Looking up into the sky was much like looking at the stars closer than thought possible. Hundreds of tiny fireflies lit up the sky above us. I heard his quick intake of breath and felt his hand squeeze mine.
"Oh, my." I put a finger to his mouth again. Pulled him up softly, slowly so we wouldn't scare them away. His lips to my ears. "Would you like to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar, and be better off than you are...or would you rather-"
I cut him off with a kiss. Lips to lips among stars on earth. The sky, purple and soft, slowly closing its drapes and getting darker, our bodies falling into stars.