So there’s this girl. A girl who sails through bloated pink clouds, swooping and skipping, wispy laughter sprinkled across the trail blazed behind her. They say there are rivers weaved into the air around her movement, soft and iridescent, and when she turns her head her shimmering hair spills and pools around her shoulders like vast wings opening up and opening out. You close your eyes as they caress the curve of your collarbone, but it may just be her fingernails brushing against the back of your hands.

Silver light clings to the velvet surface of her skin, shrouds her as though for burial, but she makes it hard to think about the ground when she is walking along the edge of yellow sky. She is calling, cascading, casting you sidelong lingering glances that you can’t be certain were aimed at you in the first place. You feel her cool breath trace the dip of your upper lip but you open your eyes and she is tumbling through the clouds miles away, riding a spiraling white road of floating melodies and remembered daydreams.

She twinkles and twirls, smile drifting off her lips, edges of her form flickering, fuzzy. She is vapour, melting into the silk path she dances along, staring into the searing light that’s always blinded you. Fantasy, nonsense words, gather in the cup of her palms, and she pulls their light close around her shoulders like a cloak, a hero’s cape. She soars, anchored to a ground that doesn’t exist in her world or in the worlds of those she smiles at.

When she smiles at you, they say, you are opened up and opened out. You are left riddled with holes that ache for the quiet burn of her touch. She is your saviour, your knight, your kidnapper ransoming you your own heartbeat. She visits from her world of lofty clouds to sleep in the dying embers of your hearth, to hang suspended in shafts of morning sunlight, to rest nestled against your breastbone. She has never spoken, they say, but you imagine the lilt of her voice washing over you and carrying you away to the shining whirling shapes of other galaxies. She cradles your fingers and passes through you like a gentle, lazy wind.

So there’s this girl. You wait for her when she bursts into a shower of ash and dust.