“Star-Shaped” by Jendayi Brooks-Flemister

Issue 24 / Winter 2021 / Special Issue: Pleasure

I pull my fingers out of you slowly. Our heavy breathing is somehow synchronized, low and animalistic. While you gather yourself, I stand, unhook the strap on, and go to the sink to rinse my hands of the beautiful mess that is your orgasm. You let out the lightest puffs of exhaustion–I might’ve gone a little too hard, but it was beyond worth it. And there was no way I was letting you go home alone last night, not after the fifth night this month of going to clubs and seeing you swinging your hips to Bad Bunny. My eyes drift from your wonderfully naked body to the window, where I see the stars or planets or satellites or aliens dancing in the deep violet blackness above. I’m mesmerized, feeling my eyes take the tiniest darts between each glowing speck, and I speak before I realize I’ve spoken:

“The ones over there look like your clitoris.”

I’m not sure why I say it. I’ve studied constellations before, so I promise I’m not an idiot. I know what the dippers are, all of that shit. And for some reason, looking at them from this angle makes me think of you. Reminds me of just minutes ago when I was sucking between your legs and making you scream loud enough for my neighbors to hear through the reformed factory brick walls of my downtown apartment. Maybe it’s the stupid tipsy brain of mine that makes me say it. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t give a fuck anymore. I got you in my bed, and maybe just maybe, I want to keep you here.

You throw your hands over your face as the panting rises into a low laugh. It evolves into a snort, and you curl your body up, unable to catch your breath. I can’t help but smile as I watch you roll around my black sheets in pure unabashed joy. The rolls of your belly turn into little hills, then big waves, that ripple with each contraction of another laugh. Your toes, tiny and dainty, squeeze so tight they turn a bloodless cream. Your body is both smooth and rocky and vulnerable in the best ways to me now. I can see the rows across your right thigh from high school sadness. The impulsive black arrow tatted on your inner left ankle. The moles and scars that developed in your childhood and have since wrapped around every corner of your vanilla bean skin. You’re beautiful, and you’re laughing at me because I don’t know how to say it better.

“The fuck?” you manage between gasps for breath.

I could apologize. I could be stupid. I could be honest.

“Sorry, but it’s true. Look at how those stars are aligned. They look like your clit.”

I guess I decide to be all three.

You stare at me, realizing how strangely serious I am about this. I’m not laughing–in fact, my whole body is burning with embarrassment and wondering if I might’ve insulted you. Wouldn’t that be an awkward end to an otherwise wonderful night? Your eyes, in the warm light from my bedside lamp, are both cast in shadow and yet perfectly visible. It’s like you’re searching for something in me, trying to pull something out that maybe, just maybe, isn’t there. Or is it? Maybe you’ll be the one to find out.

You pat the spot next to you on the bed, and I approach cautiously. I can feel my legs wobbling under me shifting my weight after such rigorous exercise, which just reminds me that I should probably get to the gym more often than just after a heavy night of drinking. When I sit next to you, I’m met with a radiation of heat and warmth from our skin being atoms away from touching. You put your head on my lap, which sucks. Your thick black dreads are itchy and firm against my thighs. I don’t want to ruin the moment, so I force myself to sit in the discomfort as you settle in.

“Which ones, you goof?” you ask, and I instantly feel my heart rise in my chest with relief.

“Those, there. Above the highest part of the city line,” I say, pointing in a general direction outside. From this angle, it isn’t as obvious. I want to tell you to stand up and look from where I was outside of the bathroom. But that’s inconvenient, and I really don’t want you to think I’m some weirdo trying to lure you into my bathtub for a late-night murder.

You gaze out the window lazily, then focus on trying to see what I see. “Mm, yeah, can’t tell. Maybe I haven’t looked at my clit enough to know which stars you’re talking about.”

Now I wonder just how often you’ve taken a mirror to yourself. How often anyone takes a mirror to themselves, and tries desperately to distinguish the labia minora from the labia majora. I can’t say I have, but maybe I should’ve. But I’m also not a doctor.

“Just trust me, I know the stars. I know what I see,” I reassure you, which garners another close-mouthed snort. I wish I knew how to compliment you better, what kinds of compliments you prefer. Do you like being compared to the stars? Or would you rather I say that there’s nothing like you in this universe? At least not that I’ve encountered.

“If you know the stars so well, then which ones are those?” you say, pointing somewhere obscurely off to the left.

I could be honest. I could lie. I could guess.

“I’m not sure, but they remind me of home.”

Once again, I decide to be all three.

“How so?” you say after a bit of silence.

I’m not sure why you’re still talking to me at this point. With how strange I’m being, I would’ve walked away and mentally marked me off as an amazing, yet potentially stupid, one night stand. But I also really appreciate you asking, because it instantly makes me think of home, light years from here, in a place so unknown and fascinating and other that you’ll never truly understand the ache in my heart as these memories flood my mind. Somewhere far past the clitoris-shaped constellations, undiscovered by weak human technology, is my home. And I left it, with others, because I wanted to experience the planet we’d been studying for generations. And I, like others, didn’t want to go back once we’d met the beings on this planet. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it. It doesn’t mean I didn’t have a family, or someone to fuck back home, or any of that. I made my choice.

“Are you okay?” you ask, interrupting the string of thoughts that have engulfed my mind. I realize my breathing has faltered, and there’s a sole tear that’s dropped from my chin and onto your cheek. You’re looking at me now with concern, which I promise I didn’t want. I’m instantly so guilty, so sorry I ruined our night together by crying on your face after you came on mine.

“Please forgive me. I didn’t mean to get emotional.”

You raise off of me and hold yourself up on your hands to face me. Your tits, small and perfectly round, squish together between your arms that I now recognize as much more muscular than I’d thought. It’s intimidating, but not in a dangerous way. I should really get to the gym more often.

“There’s nothing wrong with being emotional,” you say. “In fact, I’d rather you be yourself with me, okay?”

I wasn’t expecting this response, mostly because I didn’t realize you would ever want to engage in emotions with me. We met at the club. There’s no reason for you to care even a little bit about me or why the constellations remind me of both your clitoris and my home. But you do, and even though I didn’t anticipate the night going this way, I catch myself smiling at you as another tear falls onto my itchy lap.

“Thank you. You really mean it?”

You nod with the cutest smile I’ve seen on this planet yet. “Absolutely.”

Might as well take a chance, then. “I’m an alien. I’m from so far away that you humans haven’t discovered it yet.” Your gaze feels like I’m under a microscope with every particle of my being on display. “I didn’t mean to trick you. I haven’t ever told anyone, but for some reason I found myself entranced by you at the club and–”

You place a finger on my lips. There’s a tear at the edge of your right eye, which has softened and become strangely warm, welcoming.

“It all makes sense now,” you say, and I know in this moment that you’ve figured out why I’m so weird. Why I said you have a star-shaped vagina. Why I waited until we’d locked eyes five times before approaching you even though there was clearly some kind of chemistry. It’s because I’m weird, I’m not human, I’m not of this planet or this system or this galaxy.

You lean forward and kiss me, shutting down all thoughts I had left.

You say, “So am I.”



Jendayi Brooks-Flemister (she/they) is a born-and-raised Southern Black writer. She currently lives in Durham, North Carolina where she is getting her MFA in Fiction at North Carolina State University. Jendayi has been an avid fantasy and science fiction writer since she was 8 years old, and even wrote her first novel at 12. Her writing focuses on the bonds between people within Afro-centric climate and speculative fiction. Her work was recently published in Anathema Magazine. In her downtime, Jendayi loves playing video games, cooking, drawing, and thinking up brand-new weird narratives.

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1 Comment

  1. Quaniesha Swinton

    This was such a good read, Jendayi!


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