by Tari Gwaemir
"Air and stars."
When you jump, said Sano, it all tends to pass by in a blur--one moment you're pushing up into the air and the next you've landed on the mats, looking up at the bar that you've cleared. But there is a pause between those two moments, when everything comes to a focus, and you look up at the sky, you look, you really look, and well--
You realize you're flying, he muttered, ducking his head and scuffling his feet. He looked at her, from the corner of his eye, and flushed a little at the expression on her face: her eyes impossibly wide, her lips parted in a soft sigh. He reached out and ruffled her hair, its thin strands tangling in his fingers. She ducked and grinned nervously at him. He dropped his hand, exhaled into the cold night air and watched his breath fog.
What's it like to fly?
He hesitated and glanced at her again. The tip of her nose was red from the cold. He stood there for a long second, aware of the distance between them, of the air that stayed chill against her skin and his own. He remembered this feeling of stillness, of suspension, of clarity, but when he opened his mouth to speak, all he could say was, It's like...it's like falling in love.
They both blushed and did not meet each other's eyes. Instead they walked on, and he matched his long stride to hers, so that they could step in unison.