The girl-child smiled down at the boy; a sparkle of merriment danced in her eyes. The wind blew silken, feather-light tendrils of softness across her rosy cheeks. She held out her hand, beseeching the young boy, “Come with me. Come and play and learn with me the ways of earth and sky and all around us.”
The boy took her hand and together, they ran barefoot across the lands, learning to the respect the earth; learning the mysteries of the oceans and the stars, and how to whisper the wind’s name.
Time’s passage followed the children as they flourished in their knowledge of things all around them. Soon they found they were satiated with the wisdom of the innocents.
The young woman offered her hand to the young man. “Come with me, my love. Come and learn with me, of the blaze that burns inside us. Let me learn your scent and experience your taste. Let us know each other and worship our essence combined.”
The young man took her hand and together they learned of tempo and movement, step and poise. As one, they reveled in their dance and bathed in flames born of moonlight.
Time silently slipped by in its formless passage, and circumstances parted them. They moved in and out of each other’s existence, but at times, found moments to share.
The years took them farther and farther from each other, until each meant naught to the other and were nothing more than a faint, pleasant memory of what once was.
As sometimes happens, the fates smiled upon them, giving them a chance to take notice of each other once again.
The old crone offered her hand to the timeworn man. It trembled and shook from the wisdom of the years it had endured. Her face was cracked and haggard, her shoulders and back hunched from the weight of time, but time had not enfeebled her temperament. “Come with me, my Love. Come spread your wings and ascend with me to find the rest of what is unknown to us.”
The old man quavered and stepped back from the old woman. “I can’t,” he said. I’m too frail and too old. I’ve been too long stuck in my old ways and don’t know how to free myself of them.”
The old woman reached for him, her great luminous wings unfolding in one breathtaking heartbeat. “Then let me teach you the ways of the sky and the earth once again. Let me remind you of the freedom you once enjoyed as a child and the fullness of spending an untroubled day.”
The old man’s eyes grew wide and he fell to his knees trembling, “I can’t. I’m too afraid.”
“Why do you fear so?” the crone queried.
Bowing his head to the earth he whispered, “I haven’t the wings you do. Mine are bent and broken from too many years of sorrow and regret.”
The old crone laughed. “Then take my strength and use it as your own. My wings are enough for the both of us.”
The old man lowered his eyes. “I can’t,” he groaned. “By all that is good on earth, I swear I have loved you since the day you first came to me, but I can’t.” He faltered. “I–I never learned to fly.”
With tender longing in her eyes, the crone slowly stepped back from the old man, all the while holding out her hands and beseeching him. “Come with me.” At last she reached the ends of the earth where none had ever passed and returned the same.
She implored once again, and once again he denied her. With a sadness that shook the days and nights and caught the winds’ breath, she cried out, “Then we are nothing to each other. There is nothing binding me to this place longer.” And she stretched to embrace the stars. As she took that one last step, her wings caught the breeze and she soared to the great heights and beyond.
Brilliant light broke through the fissures of her countenance and the remnants of what she once was, fell to rejoin with the earth. A goddess hovered in her stead, just inside the place between light and darkness.
The old man scrambled to his feet, running towards the goddess he thought he had surely lost. “Please don’t leave me here alone,” he implored. Tears fell from his face and swiftly the ground drank them in, feeding on his grief as each landed on the cold, parched soil.
The goddess turned to glance back only once. Then in a melodious joining with the all, she passed from light to beyond the shadows.
The old man stood alone, sobbing in his grief, his voice croaked out over and over, “I want to learn the ways of the earth and sky again. I want to learn to fly. Please . . .” He fell to the ground and let the earth drink deep his sorrow.
The overwhelming anguish of the man slipped through eternity, seeking out the goddess across ageless spaces.
Her heart took pity on him and she came to where he still sat, alone, a crumpled form in dim light. Her hands sought the veil that separated them and carefully she parted a small fold, reaching for him as she did so. She tried to wipe the tears from his face and take the sadness from his heart, but discovered she could do neither.
The goddess lifted her voice, begging the fates to let him know her just once more. “Please, let him know that I am here; let him understand my words so they may diminish his sorrow.” She bent down and touched his heart, whispering words of promise; hoping that she would be allowed to touch him and that he would know her.
“My love, we have waited immeasurable ages for each other, but once again, have been thwarted by the very existence we chose. But know this, I am always with you and have always been with you. Time has no hold over earth and sky where I am. I will wait for you countless ages if that is what you need. Someday I will find you again. Someday I will touch upon your scent and know it is you. Once again, we will fill our voices with song and seek to know that which we have not learned. Once again, we will bathe in the fires born of the moon and know each other well. We will learn together the mysteries of earth and sky, sea and stars and we will learn to whisper the name of the wind. Cry no more, love, for I am here. I will always be with you. I will wait for you, just as time waits for eternity.”
The old man lifted his head; the tears on his face now faint memories of his grief. He gazed out upon the horizon, watching the shifting colors of the day, gentle into the cloudless dark of the night.
Placing his fist over his heart the old man stood, screaming with contemptuous rage; imploring the universe, “I can change! I will not be afraid! I will learn to fly! To this I vow! Just, please . . . please . . . give me this one last chance.” The man bent his head in shame.
The universe silently considered the old man’s plea.
At long last the wizened old man gave one longing glance towards the vestiges of the day, then turned and stumbled off into eventide.
The universe, feeling the man’s remorse took pity and sent the four winds to accompany him. Pebbles and dust whirled about his body, embracing him in their gritty sting. Terra met with him and took his hand, leading him back from whence he came.
The old man felt the caress of the goddess in the winds. Smiling in accession he accepted the gift bestowed upon him.
And as the new day rose beyond the hills, the dust of the earth bore witness to a new birth.
[Tia Tormen is a co-author of Naked in the Light, a photo-art coffee table book and several convoluted photo comic books. Her current work includes the story series, The Write Lovers, written with co-author CK. Stone. She has also written a sexy, urban fantasy novel with authors CK. Stone and Dae Russ, which is currently with an agent.
She was raised in Lodi, CA but currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA in an insanity of her own design with her best friend and lover. Her loves include writing, poetry, photography, videography, video editing, graphic design and double chocolate chunk ice cream. She firmly believes that life is what you make it.]
Barbara Carlson said:
Slight typo: “…learning to the respect the earth; …” First “the” shouldn’t be there.
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