A Game of Lives
~Wonderful moments~Truth~"I cannot become what I already am"~Declarations and events~Moments of crystal clarity~Alone~Storybook memories~
What after that, you ask? Well, it was days and days of wonderful things. He hesitantly asked me to go with him the first couple of times; he was nervous I gathered. I thought it sweet and endearing, and agreed. Truth be told, I had misgivings of my own that I shoved away in some part of myself where I couldn't hear it.
In any matter, I suppose what passed might have accounted for happiness. With him, the possibilities seemed, well, endless, to pun an overused phrase. A nasty pun indeed.
You'll want an account of what we did, I suppose, the adventures we had riding horses upon sunlit beaches, or the romantic dinners. And romantic they were. We were in love. I longed to spend every waking moment with him, and I imagine he felt the same. We reluctantly parted every day, me to rest, he to his duties, and then met again for another talk, or romantic excursion. They have all blurred together now, except for one.
"Let's tell the truth." I said, over a glass of white wine.
"I always tell the truth. I trust you do the same."
"I do. But that wasn't what I meant." He nodded.
"I meant, let's tell each other the things we keep secret. The things we don't tell each other."
He eyed me, suspiciously for the first time in a long while, but he relented, and I started.
"Where were you seventy years ago?"
"How do you know about that?"
"My priestess didn't forget the art of auguring when she taught me magic."
"I was imprisoned in a glass jar." Hmm...I didn't know that. I think of the witches and warlocks from seventy years past. I can't remember many, but there was very few, maybe only three who could do that trick.
"It wasn't me they were after. They wanted my sister."
"Yes." he twirled his own crystal flute glass thoughtfully.
I snorted then, and maybe giggled. "They were foolish then. You can't trap Death, she either shows up or she doesn't. You can only request her presence."
"I know." he said, and looked off. I frowned. It occurred to me that he was probably embarrassed about the whole ordeal.
"Ok, then, your turn."
He thought for a moment or two, doubtlessly thinking up a tactful way to put this. "Why aren't you dead?"
I cocked an eyebrow. "Well, as you well know, no one can make deals with Death. Not even I."
"That's not an answer."
"I traded my services to a very powerful goddess in exchange for a little bit more." I felt a tiny pang as I realized how short my remaining 'extra' years actually were.
I needed another question. "Do you ever sleep?"
"I cannot become what I already am. None of my family can."
"So, therefore, Destiny cannot have a destiny."
"No. He may not walk the paths in his garden."
"And Death cannot die."
I figure this out in my mind. It's really quite fascinating, if what he says is true, than Despair cannot despair, and Desire doesn't...
At the moment, however, I was more concerned about him. If he doesn't dream, what does he want for the future. I didn't get it then, and the details are still fuzzy to me now.
"That doesn't make sense."
"You are not the first to think so." he commented.
"If that is so, how do you..."
"Do what? Understand those who visit my realm?"
"Yes." It wasn't the exact question I had intended, but it would do.
"I cannot dream, but I do understand hope, and fear and imagination, and the other things that my realm is responsible for."
"I suppose. How do you sleep then?"
"I usually don't. I think, and stay still for a time until I feel I am ready to work again."
"Fun." I commented wryly.
"Is that supposed to be a joke?"
"I cannot tell jokes, I'm very bad at it. It was sarcasm." I chuckled and took another sip of the wine.
"Are you ever lonely?"
"What?" he ruffled his hair, trying to look nonchalant. It was one of the things I had picked up on.
"You heard me the first time."
He frowned. "I...used to be. I'm not lonely anymore." The words echoed softly in my mind, making me feel tingly. I had started to feel tense sometime before, like a coiled spring, and it seemed like it was coming loose right then. I recognized the feeling well enough, it had been so long since I had felt that way before.
It was a premonition.
"You love me, don't you?" I murmured. I put the wine glass down, fearing my trembling hands would give away something.
"I am afraid that I do."
"Oh." I needed no clarification for that. Looking back on it now, I think my actions read like a tawdry novel you pick up at a supermarket checkstand. But I did them anyhow, and this should be a complete record, I feel, even if I doubt I will ever forget that moment. I kissed him.
There. I said it. I kissed him.
And god, what a kiss. It felt like a moment from Shakespeare, where one of the hero or heroines wax poetically about their true loves. I have to admit, I'm blushing thinking about it. And the rest of it.
And I'm not going to tell you about that part. Fill it in yourselves. That's my memory alone. I replay it everyday, when I see two lovers on the street, or watch a romantic film. To commit it to paper would be a sin, since that was shared between us, and I cannot ask his permission to write it. Because, even if I do burn these pages, I know this story will live on in the Library of Dreams.
I can, however, tell you about what happened after.
I had just fluttered my eyes open, and realized where I was. Next to him, and I smiled. He was still asleep, or whatever accounts for his sleep. And I felt drained, and empty. I think, that already at that point I had begun to wake up from my bliss.
More than anything, that moment is the moment that aches. That burns, even now. I wake up at nights and cry unexpectedly, from longing for his lanky body. Rather than being awkward, it seemed to compliment my shorter shape perfectly. Feeling the cool of his skin next to mine, and marveling at it.
It was a perfect moment. A moment so complete that the details may become hazy, but the memory of the feeling has etched itself into your soul.
I recognized it for what it was, and savored every single second as well as I could, until he work up.
I spent the next afternoon looking out the window of my room and occasionally smiling, much to Nuala's bother. It was so easy to get myself lost in the patterns the clouds made on the meadows below, or the glisten of a dew drop on a flower petal.
The next day was wondering where he was.
And so was the next.
I was all alone, except for the fairy. She was nice enough, but her cheer at that moment bothered me. She would talk to me about things and keep me busy, with trips to the library and the fashion thing, but she couldn't hide the ugly reality. Morpheus had forgotten all about me.
Lucien himself had to stop reading now. It was like reliving a moment you missed very dearly and knowing that no matter what, it wasn't coming back. For one brief moment there, the Dreaming had seemed at peace. It was like one of those long hazy wonderful periods of time written about only in storybooks and dreams.
But, he wasn't one to stop reading something because it bothered him.
Onwards to Chapter Five