Halcyon Days

by Philip Elliott

For H.

Do you remember those days when the air had a pulse and the sun was something we bathed in? Please say you remember. I do. I remember the yearning that dripped out of you, teeth on your lip, eyes like magic flames. I remember shuddering in the bed beside you the night it all began, my terror so great the sheets were vibrating and the thrill of it all, and when the movie ended and silence gripped my shoulders and my body stilled and the atoms in the air stopped dancing and the shadows turned their heads and the outline of you glowed at the edges—I didn’t say it then but I swear it, you were lit up as if your skin was composed of a million fireflies like sparks from our hearts—and the spirit of something dived into my open mouth and commanded my head forward and my lips claimed yours and I didn’t know what I was doing but it didn’t matter anymore and fireworks of colours we could never again imagine exploded around our faces and we felt the Earth’s spin and instantly it was as if we’d been asleep forever and were now finally awake— you remember it, don’t you?

The stars were so bright that night we couldn’t sleep and we made love ’till the morning, plunging into one another like liquid; the moon that night, do you remember her? Huge and forever, a divine being right there before our eyes, watching, listening, orchestrating our every writhe, and we her freshly-fawned children, hearts aching, fingertips crackling, the glory of life screaming out of us, and I thought, God, I’ll believe in you if you let this last, please let this last.

Do you remember how our bodies burned in those halcyon days when we ran around the city, hearts singing a tune only our hearts knew and our souls entangled, from gig to gig and bar to bar like restless, forgotten angels? Please say you remember. I remember the scent of you, framed by the Ghost perfume you deemed worthy of your aura, defined even then by phantoms and apparitions, things eternally out of reach, assigned to the past even as we skipped and stumbled toward a future of chaos and dysfunction, gradually losing our place in the wide-eyed chorus of youth.

And I think now, Did I not see the signs? But I did see them; I saw them all the moment I first laid eyes on you, knew the folly of chasing the ethereal, accepted my role as Orpheus in our silly tragedy, doomed to lose you and forever look back, but it didn’t stop me then and it wouldn’t now—I’d trade the blood in my veins for one more night twirling under the blinking lights, floating like a feather on the breeze, dizzy with feeling, alive with ache: with you. We tore open our chests and exposed our throbbing hearts—nobodies full of nothing until we met and became stars, but we forgot that the stars we used to stare up at together had burned out long ago.

Do you remember those days, old friend? When love was an ocean and we were blue whales singing in the depths of it? If nothing else, I hope you never forget how it felt to be so lost in another, and found.

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Philip Elliott is Irish, 23 years old and Editor-in-Chief of Dublin-based international literary magazine, Into the Void. His fiction and poetry can be found in various magazines scattered across the globe, most recently Yellow Chair Review. He believes there are no such thing as characters, only people. If you ask him what day it is, he almost definitely won't know. Stalk him at philipelliottfiction.com.