He sat across from her, and simply stared.
He thought back to when they had held hands on their front porch in the summer of 2020. She had her nails painted a lovely peach tone, matching that of her lipstick. If anyone asked him, she was the one who started that pastel trend they were all so fond of, back in their time; lovely peaches, and turquoises, and soft yellow shades she favored.
He, on the other hand was the complete opposite. He wore a godforsaken suit. A suit, in the sweltering summer! He almost chuckled out loud at the memory. What kind of an idiot wore a suit like his, not one wrinkle in sight, blue, pinstriped, and sat holding the hands of a young girl? An idiot who wanted a father’s permission to marry his daughter, his only daughter born after five sons; and her brothers teased her for marrying a metrosexual man, because his wardrobe competed heavily with hers.
He looked like the epitome of professionalism, a man who all business, no pleasure. Sweating underneath the layers, he put on a confident façade. If anyone asked him how he really felt, he would have bawled like a baby had her father said no and married her off to someone else. They were made for each other, puzzle pieces come together, perfectly fitting, and one not making sense without the other. In the puzzle of the universe, they were pieces who coexisted best next to each other.
Her eyes were just as green as they were all those years ago, perhaps a little glassier with age? She aged with grace.
She thought back to when they were holding hands on the same porch after her fifth, and last child was born. Her other children were mostly grown up, the eldest born fifteen years before the last, so she’d come as a surprise. Much like her own family, she had four sons and one daughter, only one son short. The eldest had put the baby girl to sleep, being used to younger children, so they quietly sat holding hands, glancing at each other, breaking into smiles, looking away, and repeating the pattern many times, before finally going back inside. At that moment in time, she had been thinking of the day he asked her father for permission, and he thought of the first time they kissed.
It was 2060 now, and they were what they called, “old.” The earth was more beautiful than ever, contrary to the disastrous predictions made by scientists back in their day. Water hadn’t run out, the sun still burned brightly, pollution was a thin of the past. All because of the efforts of their generation who had strived to save their home, their only home. Space travel had advanced too, and whilst many had moved onto different systems, they still stayed on theirs. But another generation had taken over, with new laws meant to keep the earth healthy, and…young. A home, billions and billions of years old, and they wanted to keep its youth. They couldn’t blame them, until…until the bill passed for the preservation of the youth. It wasn’t like that everywhere, but there was nothing like Earth elsewhere, either.
His eyes were as grey as they were on the first storm they had spent together, hiding underneath the garage they’d built for old man Albert on Mercury Avenue, perhaps the blue in them more pronounced with age? He had aged like fine wine.
They sat across from each other, simply staring, as they had done so many times over the years. A lifetime spent, children raised, the world saved, and the two of the most famous sculptors from the twenty first century sat on their porch next to each other, on a summer day. They smiled softly at each other, neither ready to look away before the other. Their hands had aged with them, after years of producing sculptures the world had worshipped.
“Oh, Matilda,” he whispered.
“Oh, Ace,” she whispered back.
Those words said everything, summed up everything in between the sixty years, of which they’d only spent 10 apart. Fifty years spent together, and now…
The government had a plan, for the population: nobody over sixty was allowed to live. Not a lot made it over sixty, some chose to leave the planet entirely to escape the harsh law. Before the laws had been put into place, Matilda had sent her entire brood packing to Avira, the latest planet inhabited by humans, and…others. Regardless of the other species, it was the planet with life closest to earth, and she’d chosen it for them, as a memoir of their time on earth, as a reminder to never take their home for granted.
They both leaned in at the same time, lips brushing lightly together. They remained like that, eyes wide open, staring. There was no resentment, only melancholy. All that love, that art, and here they were. Her eyes reminded him of the lush forest a kilometer from the outskirts of their city. His eyes reminded her of the sky reflected in the pond they splashed in when they were children.
The darts pierced their necks at the same time, releasing the substance into their veins in sync. They were still looking at each other; hands fastened together, not separated but joined together even in death.
They were buried in the first art gallery they had ever purchased.
As their bodies went up in flames, their souls released into the universe, they became who they were millions of years ago, stars that watched over human from a safe distance.
Peculiarly, a rather strange constellation appeared in view of the northern hemisphere of Avira.
It looked like two people holding hands.