Aurelia checks her bag, then the rest of her person, “Keys, wallet, sunnies, shoes… Yes, I think I have everything, beautiful wife.”
I grimaced, “Geez, it was a joke, lay off already.”
Having awoken to music from my alarm clock, I’d gone through the motions of getting ready for work, right up until the news at the top of the hour. Today was the eclipse. Aurelia had been working nearly non-stop for a week, she needed a day off.
I slipped through the curtains into her bedroom and knelt next to the head of her bed. “It’s time to wake up.” That elicited a groan, so, with the straightest face I could muster, I added “Beautiful wife.”
A second passed, I got up to open the curtains, and heard her sit bolt upright at considerable speed. “Wh-what?”
While drawing the curtains and letting in the morning sun from the east, I responded nonchalantly, “we are married, after all.” A marriage of convenience perhaps, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me getting a rise out of her.
“B-but I thought- what?”
“Relax, I’m just fucking with you.”
Blinking deliberately, my housemate responds, “Don’t do that to me before I’m awake.”
“Come on, we’re going out today. I’ll start breakfast.”
The right side of my field of vision is filled with the purple and yellow of Aurelia’s skirt and hairband as I turn the lock in the car door. I look up to see a bobbing star above a mischievous grin, and she links her arm with mine, which forces a sigh from me.
Threading our way through the crowd, we head for the nearest bar, getting odd looks from a few people from work along the way.
“Guess I don’t have to worry about anyone hitting on me now…” I consider the concept as we order drinks to the chorus of Southern Girls - a vodka and lemonade for the lady, and baileys and milk for the lady. As we head outside, Aurelia points out a clock hung from the bamboo trellis of one of the buildings forming the wall of the town square.
True to form, “Only another hour to go!” The festival air is getting to me too. We end up wandering around for quite a while, playing assorted party games, listening to music played by bands on stages arranged around edges of the park. Aurelia wants to see a specific talk that’s scheduled after the eclipse.
More drinks are obtained. A group of guys about our age compliments Aurelia’s outfit, and she reverts to linking arms with me. More drinking ensues. The hour approaches, so we claim a spot in the park and place down our picnic blanket. Several minutes are spent in companionable silence, both of us soaking up the atmosphere without interacting with it at all.
Soon enough, a hush falls over the crowd. The canyon wall to the northwest is enveloped by onrushing darkness, and soon enough the only lights are the windows of the buildings surrounding us. Fireworks go off, and I jump, prompting Aurelia to giggle at me. We look up, and the sun disappears behind the toxic blue-green marble we’re moving around at very high speed, as a dark disc comes from the far side of the sun and slowly merges with the swirly sphere hovering above us.
“Oh wow!” “Look!”
The sources of other voices gesture towards several bright dots swinging around the far side of our parent body, and from beside me, “No way, a meteor shower during an eclipse?! The chances of that are so low…” Aurelia trails off in awe.
The moment passes. Light returns from the west, slowly, then the full burning brightness of the sun, which I enjoy by laying down on the blanket, arms behind my head. My cute companion frowns and prods me in the ribs. “I wanted to see that talk, remember?”
“Yeah, yeah, we’ll get there in a minute.” I flash a smile, as a horizon-wide camera flash slides across the landscape. “Huh?”
I’m not sure what Aurelia was doing at the time, but I was transfixed on the dark ring that had appeared in the sky, blotting out the stars and other moons behind it as it flexed, and slowly, fell. As it moved closer to the horizon, it started to glow, trails of orange licking the edges, until the tendrils made it all the way to the top, and it came apart like wet paper.
“Oh, fuck. That was the twilight mirror.”