The Lonely Kiss
Dave Novak | Lakshmy Mathur
“This will kill us one day,” Anna says. “You’d realize that, too. If only you’d let yourself.”
“Stop that,” Tomas says. “You say that every time.”
He squeezes her hand.
Today is special.
Today is Sola Est Osculum.
The most romantic of days.
The day when the sky of one world is filled with another. When the heavens reflect the earth, and the two become momentarily inseparable. Entwined. A day when the celestial sphere is filled with cascading mountains. Twisting rivers. Brightly lit cities. When the entirety of life flows along both sides of the horizon.
A day when you can look up and see proof that you are not alone. A day when if you gaze long enough into the sky, you can finally find somebody else looking back down at you.
“It will kill us.” Anna says. “It’s not supposed to last like this.”
Tomas squeezes her hand.
The center of their solar system is a yellow dwarf star named Cras Tenebris. Seventy-three planets revolve around it. Nearly all of them are lifeless, dark masses traveling without purpose in an even darker universe. With no understanding of where they are. Where they are heading. With no care that they are trapped in an endless cycle, doomed to arrive at where they began. To be repeated over and over again. Until, one day, Cras Tenebris dies.
“I don’t know why you get like this,” Tomas says. “We’re supposed to be happy today.”
“What about all the other days?” Anna asks.
“Today is special,” Tomas says. “We can be happy today. Everybody else is.” He looks up and he sees a city aflame with celebration.
Anna stares at the ground.
Not all of the planets are like this.
Two planets are different. Two planets support life.
They are called Mors and Unodie.
They travel alone, usually. Separated. Hurling through space at different speeds. In opposite directions.
Only once in their orbits do they pass by one another. Separated only by the thinnest brush of ozone. To be so close, they can nearly embrace. Kiss.
That day is today.
Sola Est Osculum.
The most romantic of days.
“I wish you were happy,” Tomas says.
Before they learned to take flight and launch themselves away from home, before the advent of instant communication, before distance became irrelevant, before they were never alone — there was only Sola Est Osculum.
The only time that Mors and Unodie would be so close, the two could kiss.
And humanity could be reunited. Could be together.
If only for a single day.
They still celebrate today. As a reminder.
As an excuse, some say. To sell roses. And candy.
“I wish you’d communicate with me. Tell me what you’re feeling.”
“What’s the point?” Anna asks.
Sola Est Osculum won’t be celebrated forever.
Because with every year, with every revolution around Cras Tenebris, Unodie travels a little slower. And one day, thousands of years from now, its revolution will contract just enough so as to set it on a collision course with Mors.
And the two planets will crash.
Anna is right. Sola Est Osculum will kill them one day.
Though nobody seems to care today.
“It won’t happen for a long time,” Tomas says.
“We’re already dead,” Anna says.
Tomas squeezes her hand. He looks up.
Anna looks away. She wonders about those other dead planets, journeying through existence without awareness. Without care.