At the first hint of his arrival she would start withdrawing – quietly, unobtrusively. Gathering up her diaphanous gown she would go around swiftly, pulling down the thick green curtains of her tiny room. And she would sit, waiting for him to leave.
He would arrive with a flourish – happy, cheerful, too cheerful, she thought – sure of everyone’s adoration. He was a star, the darling of the people. ‘We love you’ they chanted, ‘You are our very life’. He soaked it all in – all that adulation, the applause – like it was his due.
She felt his compelling presence, right there, outside, coaxing her to come out. As if he couldn’t fathom why someone wouldn’t be delighted by his presence. But she refused, pulling her curtains tighter together.
What is with this mass hysteria? she seethed. She hated the loud colours he sported, hated his haughtiness, his smug smile that seemed to charm everyone.
And then in her mind’s eye rose up the other one, unsolicited unbidden – her one true love. All the bitterness drained from her and her lips curved up in a tender smile. It was his gentleness that had first struck her. Or was it simply the contrast that had intrigued her? Drawn her to him? His simplicity over the other one’s ostentation, humility over arrogance.. perhaps. ‘He is but a pale shadow’, said the others. But not to her. To her he was the world.
The excited buzz of her friends outside broke into her reverie. She was tempted, for one tiny instant, to lift that curtain, to step out. And just as suddenly the thought left her. Her friends would have to choose – him or her. She stayed stubbornly in.
The hours passed slowly until finally she heard him begin to say his farewells. He was leaving. ‘Come back soon. We’ll be waiting for you’, said his adoring fans. ‘I’ll be back’, said he with a wave of his hand, smiling still, ‘But I have other places to go to’. And then in a blaze of colour, he was gone.
Inside her room, she heaved a happy sigh. She reached out for the curtains, pulling them aside with a flamboyant flourish, revelling in the caress of the cool breeze, lifting up her face to soak it all in. Her gossamer dress fluttered gently, teasing her, tickling her, drawing out a spontaneous delighted laugh. Soon, very soon he’d arrive… up there, lighting up the night sky – her one true lover.
This one is inspired by the Moonflower that is said to bloom at dusk and fold up by the morning.
Written for the prompt ‘Suns and Lovers’ for Day 6 of the second edition of the fortnight-long #Bar-a-thon.