For our lovely “Once Upon a Time” femslash fandom, after watching the most recent episode, I wanted to offer up a prompt with the hope that somebody might take on the challenge.
Before the curse broke, Emma found comfort, companionship, and maybe even a little bit of romance with Ruby while skirting around her chemistry with Regina. Now, with everybody’s memories returned, Emma, Red, and Snow find themselves trapped in Granny’s diner [or elsewhere] and humor and awkwardness ensues as Red recalls her romantic feelings for Snow and her dalliance with Emma. With RedSnow [could be in the past or unrequited or just plain complicated] and SwanQueen.
You wonder, sometimes, if destiny has slated you to live your life in solitude. Some days, you think it might not be the most terrible fate of the world; other days, the gaping hole in your chest feels like an unworldly agony threatening to swallow you whole, imploding into an oblivion of heartache and loneliness. These are the moments when you withdraw into yourself and try to placate your soul with alcohol and nicotine and Neruda.
You believe this to be true for most of your life (all 21 years and four months and five days) until that one Tuesday that you see her for the first time.
You don’t particularly believe in fairytales or love at first sight, but in this moment, your skepticism and cynicism are challenged. You see her for but three seconds and it is, perhaps, the most defining moment of your existence. It feels a lot like imploding, too, but of a different sort – the kind where hearts fill and what was once void of all is suddenly and infinitely full of something you cannot quite explain. It is heavy, like molasses, syrupy and sweet and lingering and maybe far too sweet for any person to enjoy for any length of time. But you find yourself stuck, caught – enraptured – by its pull.
It is in this moment that the expanse of your heart, your soul, expands and contracts like the birth of a new universe – violent and beautiful and slightly frightening. Your lungs fill truly for the first time and you breathe; you exhale. This is love, you learn.
You are unsure if this knowledge is worse than your ignorance.
I smile at her—muscles coaxed with mirth until lips twitch and laughter bubbles forth unwittingly. She smiles back at me and we become a tangle of limbs upon the already dangerously creaking porch swing. Inside me, I can feel love churn like butter, something perhaps once a little sour and too fluid becoming heavy and rich and sweet.
I press my mouth to hers, softly, before righting myself with her in my arms front to back and back to front. We are one.
My fingers find a cigarette and with the scratch of match against box, our sliver of night is set aglow with the light of tiny orange embers. I pull at the slightly sweet taste, sucking gently with a deep breath before exhaling slowly. The smoke mingles with the steam of the mug of coffee that has found its way into her hands. We look outward—forward—across the darkened sky and to the faintly twinkling stars.
‘We are all made of star stuff,’ Carl Sagan once said, more or less. Beings of infinity, of rebirths and explosive demises. We grow from verdant meadows, tiptoe across regal valleys, swim across stretching oceans—and rush forward to the place where heaven and earth meet because we are all connected. We cannot help but crash into one another.
We light up the sky at night, with stars sparkling overhead and brilliance gleaming from our eyes, our mouths, in and out of ears. We are infinite, we say, with daring laughs and smiles and heartfelt joy. To become one with the universe, of shining ambiance and lilt of madness.
We share grins and look northward, across the open sky of haze and dim twinkling of farther skylines. Twilight tries to mask our glow, our optimism and opportunism. But we will not regress; perseverance is our friend.
‘I like to dream,’ I say.
‘Dreaming is healthy,’ he says.
I see the smog and creeping grey and then look upward again to shining starlight.
How did humans deal with their imperfections? How could they stand to look into a mirror and see flawed skin? How could they bear to know they were not whole? Their souls were shards of what they could be and they did not know it, did not feel it.
But she knew. She felt it.
Her small form teetered at the edge of the ledge, while her mind walked the fine line of ‘Jump. Don’t jump.’
She had been something glorious, magnificent, strong, powerful, beautiful—perfect. Had been.
What was she now? Fallen. A broken, weak, ugly creature. The word brought bile to her throat and with it a vile taste to her mouth. Human.
She had been cast from grace.
What purpose had she now? How could humans live like this? They floundered through life and never knew to what or for what they struggled. They did nothing with their lives. They had no purpose. She had a purpose. But now?
She had nothing.
So she leaned forward over the ledge and allowed herself to fall, and, for a brief moment, she felt as if she could fly again. Until reality met her with a sickening crunch.
She was no angel.
Prepare yourself, kid.
This world is a living hell.
Find strength in your soul.
Tragedy of birth.
Floundering, attempting life.
Comedy of death.
Freedom, free will, thought.
But freedom is restriction,
a prison of mind.
People see good, evil.
But I will always see grey.
No such black and white.
Look at antonyms;
I see just blurred lines.
Warm, Construction, Love
Relentless, Passion, Power
Cold, Destruction, Hate
Is this world just that?
I suppose it’s not.
Take a moment, Sir,
to look within all mankind;
there is strength inside.
Endless thoughts, ideas,
a world of our dreams.
Look through the camera.
Take a photo of the world;
I see no limits.
Find strength in your soul.
It is a world of choices.
Succumb to it, man.
The day is young. The horizon is a mixture of butter yellows and tangerine oranges and peach-flesh pinks—if peach flesh actually was pink, you think. It’s a new day to breathe in and to taste; to swirl and mix with the flavors of tobacco and coffee that already linger on the back of your tongue. You like to start the morning with languid contemplation, so you stretch long limbs toward heaven and earth with a groan and a grunt before reaching for another cigarette and your now lukewarm mug of coffee.
It’s quiet here, on the porch swing of a home that isn’t yours but might as well be. Your heart is here, no longer yours even if you refuse to acknowledge it and and the other party is oblivious to it. You draw your lips around the cigarette and breathe deep, nourishing your penchant for self-destruction with a glance toward the unopened front door. It’s early, still, and even though you know wakefulness has already crept through the house, you have yet to knock.
You sip again at your coffee—grimace at its cooled and no longer welcome bitter aftertaste. You suck at the cigarette again, fill your lungs with smoke and exhale a cloud that stays, tauntingly, for a moment. A reminder of your judgment or lack thereof in coming here.
You grind the end of the cigarette into the bottom of your Converse, stubbing out the embers of your bad habit and stand to leave. The door opens, then, unapologetic and daunting and welcoming and everything you want and don’t want that makes you draw your bottom lip between your teeth and worry it raw and painful.
"Aren’t you going to come in?" you are asked, and you think for a moment that maybe this really is all you need. Your heart thumps louder and your breath catches and you want so terribly to believe that you really could come across a pearl after all these years of stinging saltwater in old wounds. Because you can feel it in the morning air, taste its sweetness wrapped around cigarette smoke and bad coffee; maybe nothing has to be acknowledged for it to exist because it just does.
You look at the open doorway for a second longer before you nod once—twice for good measure or your own reassurance—and one foot moves in front of the other. Forward.