It took countless generations for the two to recognize one another. In the different forms in which they came together, trapped in existence unending. One life they spent as mollusks jetting around the lightless ocean bottom, hooking their prey and feeding together, long sinewy bodies always touching. Another they spent as silent lichens, stretching the width of a redwood, slowly growing until the tree’s whole length was covered in their luminescent blue green. For the span of a decade they ran with a pack of wolves, the breeder alphas to whom the others ceded dominance. And then again as men, truckers always on the road together, hand on hand, sharing brief moments of passion in secret and then in the open as the world embraced their truth.
They always wondered, as they stole secret smiles, as they grew old together and died in each other’s arms, why it was they felt like they had been, and would be forever, one flesh.
In the passage of centuries, their souls grew together. The sum became truth, the total replacing what were once separate parts.
Not until they became light, born apart but each drawn towards the other over a gulf of two hundred Earths, through howling gaseous storms, did they realize and remember what they had been and for how long. How often and how wholly they consumed each other’s lives. They communicated, beyond language, above words…
I know you.
And I you.
For how long?
And for how long still?
Forever, if you wish it.
I do too.
And there, at the heart of a storm were they joined. Part of a gale that would never end. There they finally understood what they were, and where. Hell is others forced upon you. Heaven, the perfected and idealized realization of self. But Purgatory? Purgatory is life. And life, they pledged in the red, howling gusts, was all they ever needed. And thus, it was all they ever had.