Every Universe?

(Samaira Hoskie Mendoza, Untitled. Digital media, 2024)


By Aaralynn Graham


        “Do you think we’re friends in every universe?” Archer’s voice broke through Meda’s thoughts of far away worlds and anchored them back to the situation at hand.

        Completely black eyes shifted from their gaze amongst the other celestial beings to the one sitting right next to her. His fingers were creeping inch by inch towards her own. Meda pretended not to notice, a small smile threatening to tug up at the corners of her lips. Forcing them down, she cleared her throat.

        “The word ‘friend’ is a strong word,” Meda mused, her voice coming out a bit more sharp than she had intended. Oh well. Meda had more important concerns than Archer and his feelings of their ‘relationship,’ or whatever the two of them were.

        In Meda’s opinion, there was no such thing as ‘friends’ among the celestial bodies. Friendship was a concept made up by humans to help them pass the time during their little blip in the universe that they called a lifetime.

        Humans’ lives were too short. They did everything in their power to form imaginary bonds, trying to distract themselves from the inevitable ending that was death.

        Meda found it somewhat pathetic in a way.

        “Ah,” Archer’s fingers curled up against the obsidian marble bench, halting their slow intentions for moving for hers, “Come on, Meds. Don’t be like that.”

        Meda’s eyebrow quirked up, shooting a pointed glance over to him.

        “Don’t call me ‘Meds,’” she told him, taking a moment to adjust the bits of stars and dust that made up her hair. Archer let out an exasperated sigh, leaning back on his elbows.

        “Everyone calls you ‘Meda,’ and ‘Andromeda’ is way too long of a name.” He waved his other hand in the air, dismissing her little command to not call her that, “I need a name that’s only used by me for you. I’m special.”

        “You’re definitely some kind of special.” Meda said, a little scoff escaping her. Despite her willingness not to, her eyes glanced over to Archer.

        She was met with a shocked smile and the deep sound of his laugh.

        “Was that a diss?” Archer asked, laughing as his fingers uncurled and continued their snail-paced journey towards her own. Meda once again had to force back a smile, her eyebrows knitting into a furrow as she concentrated on her lips. She hadn’t smiled in over one hundred years, and she sure wasn’t going to give Archer the satisfaction of being the one who made her face (or whatever you would call that part of her starry body) light up again.

        “I don’t even know what a diss is,” she replied. For half a second, her black eyes darted to meet his solid white ones.

        “Yes, you do.” Archer rolled his eyes. 

        Somewhere on Earth, some lucky little child would see their first shooting star.

        “No,” Meda protested, “I don’t.”

        “It’s human language,” He explained, “slang. It means that you’re criticizing me.”

        Andromeda shrugged, her hair falling loosely around the slump of her shoulders. The black marble felt cool against her back, bringing a chilly air to the deepest parts of her astral body.

        “I criticize you often,” Meda said, “This is nothing new.”

        It was Archer’s turn to give her a look.

        “Excuse you,” he muttered, the hand that was now only centimeters away from hers stopping for a moment.

        “I didn’t ask to be excused.” Meda’s voice was smooth, as were her eye movements to look over at him. He had a pouty face, and her own face wrinkled up in an expression somewhat similar to disgust.

        “You’re incredibly mean.” 

        “I’m just honest, Orion.”

        At this, Archer let out a low whistle. He chuckled a bit, his fingertips brushing against hers in a light graze of affection. Meda didn’t know what to do with that kind of contact.

        “Real name.” A grin of sorts adorned his lips, and Andromeda felt her lips twitch up once more in return, “Am I in trouble?”

        “Aren’t you always?” She replied, running her fingers through the cosmic dust that was her hair.

        “Me? In trouble? Never.” Archer pushed further, letting his pinky brush against her ring finger’s knuckle. An embrace.

        “There’s a reason Mars doesn’t have water on its surface anymore.” A dry laugh accompanied her words, a smile finally showing up onto her face.

        Archer scoffed, but the scoff dissolved into giggles, and he took his other hand to cover his eyes, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

        “Of course you would bring that up.” He responded, laughing.

        Andromeda laughed, too, her head tilting downwards in a feeble attempt to hide her giggles from Archer.

        “And now the humans are desperate to go there. Little do they know their most beloved constellation ruined that planet; it won’t be habitable ever again.” Meda said, looking over at him. 

        Archer gave a careless shrug.

        “What can I say? I get a little…”

        “Careless? Destructive? Idiotic?”

        “Experimental.” Archer finished with a laugh.

        He wove their fingers together, and for once in her whole existence, Andromeda didn’t care. A comfortable silence hung between them for a good few minutes, their knuckles touching and finger pads rubbing on the backs of each other’s hands.

        Finally, one of them spoke up.


        “Yes, Meds?”

        “I do think we’re friends in every universe.”