Two Muses

The first muse lay on the endless bed, a sprawling array of pillows and blankets and mattresses. She looked up at the other muse who stood on a few blue pillows. The other muse’s heavy brow was taut, he gave himself headaches. He pondered her strange skin and then the sky, which appeared like God’s dream—the world around them. The clouds were perfect, as always, breathlessly reeling with sweeping watercolors.

“What is it about you that attracts me?” she said. Her fluttering eyelashes made a zephyr that glided down toward the earth.

“I don’t know. Think about it,” he replied, and they dipped their toes into the never-ending conversation. “Am I attractive?” A shooting star fell below the horizon.

“There’s something that attracts, yes,” she said. “I’ll give you that much.”

“Physical?” He stepped lightly over a couple pink pillows and began to walk a circle around her. The endless bed was soft as water, light as air.

She shifted her body and twisted her thighs. A few distant clouds parted. “In a way, but there is more, something inside you I cannot place. But what is physicality anyway, but an extension of one’s mind?

And the sky whispered of darkness.

“So we have the world’s character,” he said, sitting down to the scent of pineapple and tulips. The endless bed opened to reveal a hole beneath them, and a couple pillows fell into the hole, through the sky as raindrops toward the city below. “See,” he pointed at the tiny figures, people who hurried from hiding place to hiding place. They wore hats on their heads out of respect for the muses. “See the people, we give them character, the static pool of warm existence. We also give them place and one another and to each person and place there is a situation.”

“That’s what I love about you, my One,” she said with a smile. Her purple eyes reflected the setting sky scape. Some people, near the shoreline, stopped to admire the colorful horizon.

He did not smile, but looked back at the city. “And for those who do not appreciate character, for them we give personality and desire. ‘Me,’ they say. For each, they plot their lives and weigh their woes and joys accordingly. A morsel is a feast or a curse. They love their bodies and their situations, but they do not seek our character or the warm pool of the air, or the bed…

She smiled coyly. The scarce trees of the city rustled. “That is but a part of you in their situation,” she said, scooting closer to him on the pastel pillows. She pointed, “See the stern, proud gesture when Robert there refrains from speaking his judgment to his acquaintance. That is a gleam of your character in his eyes.”

“That may be so,” he said as he stood. In the mountains snow began to fall. He pointed, “But where Angela puts down her fork to donate her leftovers on the street—that is your humble gleam.” He began to smile. His eyes reflected the yellow rising moon in the east.

She checked his smile with a serious gaze. “Perhaps we only see each other. Still, why do they place their lives on cards and then tack them to their walls, to frame existence, as if there were an end and a beginning?”

“For their breed of character they must believe that their walls are theirs, that the world changes with them, and that their skin is the limit of their lives. Or else conflict is lost.” He subdued his smile, relaxed his brow, and looked into her soft glossy eyes.

Her eyelashes intermingled. She shook her leg, as if to shed something light off it. “This is conflict.” From the edge of the pillows poured silos of water upon the city. The dark clouds above coalesced in anxiety. “Do I not have conflict, being in the place where I am? Does this not manifest?” she said. “Isn’t the conflict of space but energy in occupancy?”

He watched the rain fall upon the grimy concrete of the city and saw rubber shoes splash in a hustle toward shelter. “And what of time?” he asked.

“Must we go round and round forever in this way? Doesn’t memory cling to anything? Is it but sand thrown against a ceiling to never stick and show proof?” She sat more upright and pillows whisked in to fill the space at her back.

“Bravo, my One,” he said. “Belief keeps this ball aloft in volley between us.”

“A ball, you call it?” She stretched her leg and slid her toe along his ankle. The streetlights turned on in the city.

He sat back down on their pillowed floor. The starry space above them wound in elliptical fashion like the most intricate and ancient clock. “An oblong globe, then. That which bends on itself, an endless figure, an egg of perpetual motion.”

“There are two, remember?” She smiled more and moved closer to him. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders and her face leaned against his. A blanket of clouds nestled against the mountains.

“Two forcesbeing the same.” Something in him quieted. He looked at the people who began to unwind for the night. Each of them did what they needed, wasting time, rearranging and stacking blocks of reality. “See how the lack of character causes them to categorize?” he said. See how they separate and create tension, building more and more fractions between them, using more and more of their life to make a more exhaustive end?”

“It’s only natural,” she kissed him on the cheek. “From one there are two and from two there is one more. The egg of motion, remember? The cold air began to sink.

The egg is all character,they said in unison. He yawned and held her and they held each other. With a kiss his eyes caught the yellow reflection of the sun in the east and hers caught the moon, which was now purple.