I look over my shoulder and see him there. I smile. “Hey baby.”
He smiles too. “Come on baby.”
My fingers grip the handlebars. I step onto the front tire. I push my body up and lean back against Brandon’s chest. Brandon has been doubling me on his bike for three days. My ass is sore from the bumps we’ve gone over. I have scrapes and bruises from falling off. My throat is raw from screaming with excitement as we dodge other travelers. But I don’t want to stop riding on these handlebars. I don’t want to surrender this feeling to the earth below.
“Let’s go baby.”
He starts to pedal. We head towards the playa. We have seen night fall over the Black Rock Desert for the last time this year. We have to leave this place tomorrow. We came to Burning Man separately. We didn’t know what we would find. He offered me a drink on Thursday night. We held each other in the temple. We burned the man together. I want to burn the paths that lead us to one another. I want to explore with Brandon forever.
We speed past the huge triangle of lights that mark Comfort camp. Comfort camp is the tallest structure in Black Rock City. It is how we find the way to our tent when it is dark and we are drunk. The air is cold tonight. I feel Brandon’s breath on my neck. I feel warm beside him. I see Kaleidosphere on our left. Last night we danced there to the beat of Robert’s music. On the other side of center camp I recognize the bright archway belonging to the Space Cowboys. I think about being alone together under that archway. We were lying on our backs on the trampoline there. He saw all the shooting stars that night.
In the distance a blaze of fire divides the sky. Brandon steers the bike towards the flame. The wind stretches across my face as we move into the open playa. We cut through the dark night. I close my eyes. I smile. We start to slow down. We come to a community burn platform. I jump off and he drops the bike at his feet. We join the circle around the fire. Brandon sits on the ground. He reaches for my hand. I sit down between his knees. I lean into him. I put my head on his shoulder. He closes his arms around me. He kisses my cheek. We watch the fire. It is the playa art that is burning. I know that there are words and shapes and colours being eaten alive by these flames. They are beautiful orange killing flames.
“Hey, do you see that?”
I look in the direction that Brandon is pointing. In the bottom corner of the burn platform there is a small white glow of fire. He stands up. He walks closer to it. I follow him.
“What is it?” I ask.
He stares at it for a moment.
“I think it’s magnesium,” he says.
We stand beside the unexpected white flame. We hold hands. We watch it burn.
by Corrie Harding