Since astronomers first looked up at the stars they’ve wondered about the expanse of the universe. The shape. How many galaxies are there? How far does it stretch beyond the observable? Does it have edges?
But she does have elbows. And knees. And all of the happiness in existence is held in her smile. When she laughs it spreads through all of the galaxies within her. It hits everyone at different times, traveling faster than sound but not as fast as light. When she cries, cosmic storms run down her skin and whole stars are wiped out. When she laughs, they are reborn.
There were no tears or laughter today, however. She was too tired. She had grown as much as she could and everything inside her was slowing down, getting colder. She found a birdcage hanging from a branch of the Tree of Life. She opened the doors and let the Doves of Peace fly free. “Bring her to me,” she said as they took flight. “It’s Time.”
The Doves began their long migration, taking her message on their wings. The Universe sat down. She felt the coldest parts of herself break off and float away on the Winds of Change, blowing stronger now than they had in a while.
She wasn’t waiting long.
“Hello, my love,” Time stood before her, never late.
“It’s Time,” the Universe said again.
“I know,” the clockwork Queen smiled. “It’s kind of my thing.”
“I’m tired,” the Universe admitted. “Forgive me.”
“Are you ready?” Time held out her hand. “To begin again?”
The Universe nodded. And with a kiss, she was gone.
For a second, there was Nothing. No sound. No smell. No colour. But in that second, there was Time. And you can hold a lot in a kiss. She felt the Universe spread through her, from her lips to her heart. Her clockwork gears moved and ticked. Until they were both right back there, warm and new, at the beginning of the Universe.