Monday, November 22, 2004

 

the child, eighteen


Alone in the dark of her bedroom that night, she lay awake thinking, thinking. All the extraordinary things that had happened that day, one on top of another, coming far too quickly for her mind to make sense of it all. Now, in the solitary quiet, she had all night to mull it over.

Just what had happened?

The incredible, astounding sight of the Master her Beloved expanding as he had - becoming so great, so vast... Even now in memory, her mind reeled back from the vision of such a thing.

Who was he? She knew now, but was too awed to speak it.

'You see why you cannot understand.' His voice broke upon her memory. Cannot understand...

No, of course not. How could she understand? How could her little brain, housed within this small box of her skull, possibly grasp even the beginning part of understanding her Master? He who commanded the winds and they obeyed him. He who commanded angels. He whose mere presence had caused the Mountain of Spices to spring to such rich verdant life...

Hmmm. Verdant? Where had that word come from? Somehow, within herself, she knew the word meant living green - but how did she know that? Once again, the anomaly of her uncertain memory frustrated her.

Anomaly - and how did she know that word either? How did she know anything? Why couldn't she remember? Ohhhhh...!

Frustrated anew, she struggled vainly with her memory for some wearying minutes before she gave it up again. Oh, but there was just nothing there! Her life might as well have sprung into being the moment the Master had brought her into this room and broken the chains from off her arms.

The chains. Somewhere in the dark corner of the room they still lay, those chains. Mute evidence of the Master's love for her.

His love.

His bride.

And again her mind reeled.

How? How could she be his bride? Now that she saw more clearly who and what he was - how could he desire to wed insignificant her? And what had he meant, that all those of his house would one day be wed to him - all? Would they be joined into one, into a single vast she - the men as well as the women - to be wed to he who was greater than all things?

It confused her, and she didn't like to be confused. And yet somehow, deep within herself...

Somehow she knew that it did all make sense, even if she could not grasp it. She trusted - that was the word for it - that it all made sense. Because she trusted him.

Trusted. The way a child would trust. Was that why he called her Child? And also he had called her his little girl - which made her smile with joy. His bride he named her many a time. And then that day on the mountain when Jessie had fled before his face, then he had said daughter - sweet daughter.

If marriage was a symbol of her relationship to him, so being his daughter must be a symbol as well. And being his little girl. And his Child.

His. His bride, his daughter, his little girl, his Child - always his. His! How that word made her heart flutter within her!

And now another image from the hugely strange day that was just now ending swam into her head. The man Stone. Strange how both her pulse and her breathing quickened at the thought of him!

She pictured him again. Tall, ruddy, fair, with a touch of a beard round his mouth. Handsome? She blushed in the dark aloneness of her room. Oh yes. He was handsome.

And he had held her in his arms. Again she knew that she was blushing.

Why was she blushing? she wondered, annoyed with herself. Was she not promised to wed the Master? So why was this man she had just met affecting her so?

And yet... She now understood - though still only dimly - that to be wed to the Master was not the same thing as to be wed to a man.

To a man - such as Stone.

Ohhhhhh...! Why? Why was she thinking like this!

'What do you think?'

She sat bolt upright in the bed. That question! She remembered now. The Master had asked her that question. Yes, as Stone had been walking away, waving, the Master had asked her what she thought. And she had not answered him that question.

What did she think - about what? About Stone?

What did she think about Stone?

Or even - should she be thinking about Stone?

Ohhh...! She flopped back down on the bed, threw the covers over her head, and tried to stop thinking entirely and get some sleep.

She didn't succeed very well.

Morning light at last touched her window. She arose from her sleepless bed and dressed. Belted on her sword. Ate the breakfast that Mathilda brought her. Hurried out into the early dewy dawn to look for the Master, to ask him what this was going on inside of her. To ask him why she blushed so to think of Stone.

Ah, there was the Master. Her steps quickened at the sight of him. And then slowed to a stop instead. For there, standing near the Master...

There was Stone.

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