He looked confident, but the way he clung to her hand told her otherwise. Their entwined fingers, green and pink, made a strange contrast.
They stood before a tree that was also a person and also a cradle for the galaxy. Ten thousand years hung heavily from its branches, curving the shoulders into painful scoliosis and bringing the swirling crown of stars slowly down toward their heads.
Under the canopy of branches, she turned to him. Green eyes looked back at her; his mouth stuttered between a smile and a frown. A single gleaming white flower hung in his leafy hair. “You can do this,” she said shakily.
His face cracked with a smile, bright and happy. “Yes,” he said, “because I love you. Don’t ever forget that,” and reached up and up for the stars.
Gone was the stooped tree trembling under its burden. Her hand now rested against warm bark, green and healthy; white flowers nodded happily from every branch. The arms that held the stars were strong and new and his.
And they would never hold her again.