Angel of Air

She stood at the precipice, virgin light masking her like a sheath, yet still basking the very milk that emanated through her skin, throbbing past her bare shoulders, colouring those lucid cheeks, and draping that surprisingly succulent mouth in shades of red and acid burgundy. The audience, anticipating. Her dress was white, washing down her porcelain legs like petals of moon-drenched lily.

Silence opened the sky.

If only she was a gothic spire, airy and luminous. If only she was fragile walls melting and dipping in the mid of May. This he thought, as his eyes blazed on the lithe creature, sliding them past her sinewy limbs and doll-like waist.

She turned. Just a swish of raven-black hair and violet eyes.

Eyes at him; through him.

Sharp, she took a breath and began, tumbling into his world.

--

The white and diaphanous silk eased into her hands like a creamy ribbon, mingling with milk of her dress. She swung, closing it around her body in elaborate knots and folds,

One,

Twisting,

Two,

Turning,

Three,

And she tossed herself back, a snapshot of elegance, silk holding arms folding legs stretching limbs, framing her: a jeweled snowflake caught in frozen solitude, laced between gossamer glass on a winter morn. She craned towards the audience again; another tilt of raven head, a smile to catch light, lilting. Yet beneath that quivering fragility a strength vibrated: the tension of knowing, the force between happenings. A spangling of liquid light as though filtered through diamond tears.

He longed to catch that light and trace its marble veins.

As though a reply, she smiled and moved again: up. She swayed serpentine, turning slowly and evocatively to her own muted procession. The knots to hold well. The silk between fingers. A pose here, a pose there, to shoot arrows of awe through the enraptured audience.

He counted again:

One.

Here.

Two.

Quietly.

Three.

-And she lances through the black!

Diving, hurling, spinning through the screaming silence, an iridescent shard slicing through the saturnine dark!

She slid through his fingers, ribbons snaking around his hands, sails unfurling, tumbling, a delicate ship, he would stir her courses on from here. Ocean waves gulping the open blue, stars scattering, drops beading the air in rainbow shine – tentatively, he touched that slender neck, tantalizing, her hair bit over his crooked, serrated heart…

Here she could stop. Just a tiny probe of feet to stop herself from plunging through gravity, to climax the breathless spectators, to shine like a crazy diamond once again suspended in space. He lifted his hands off that hair.

And stop she did, tears crowning her ivory cheeks.

Will you? He whispered.

She closed her eyes.

And plunged.

The curtain fell from her shoulders, her wrists, her feet. He reached for them but they too slid past his curved hands. They fell in different colours. White for innocence. Yellow for joy. Green for summer dance. So close yet so far his angel of air, sliding off this merry-go-round world-

He bit his tongue, tense too.

Frantically: Why? How? Who?? Violet, fuchsia, turquoise… the last curtain fell from his hands as she spilled; in the semi-darkness, splitting on the cold floor, so delicate she could be naked, so broken she could bleed, bleed, bleed.

Frozen he was, even as the audience raced over, fawning over the fallen aerial artist.

It was too unreal.

But he did stand up. He stood in that quiet purgatory between two opposing storms. Between a heart torn and ravaged by love.

"Angel of Air you rise..."

He bent down to kiss her. He kissed her mangled and broken angel lips, savouring their liquidness, the tangy copper smell of blood, he could weep just a little…

"Angel of Air you fall."

The words lingered with their own dark resonance. But a tearless mask, he stepped away from the arena.