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There is the ever predictable, impenetrable darkness as I shut my eyes. I've already begun to slip away. I never know when I lose my grip on reality and enter here, for it remains dark all around. If there are any indications as to the course of my flight, I do not see them. Yet I know it is the same, it's always the same, always her voice.
She speaks softly, urging me, guiding me forward. I hesitate for just a moment; undecided, weary and then I step forward. I already know the things I will see, but the joy that blooms to life in my chest is unexpected. I can't explain it.
We walk on in silence for a moment; her voice is gentle as she begins to sing. It's always the same song, the same melody; a language without words. Her voice rises and begins to weave subtly through the lilting chords. I find that strange as there is only her voice and nothing else, there is no music. But I am distracted as I detect the change, the first change in all my life. There is melancholy, a sadness barely contained as her voice grows, almost shimmering with her power and before I can so much as react, the skies sweep over me in an explosion that sends the black waves writhing away.
I lose my breath.
Somehow I already know that when I wake my pillow will be damp with the tears I haven't shed in an eternity.
Her voice begins to dim, the melody stretching around me and then abruptly taking to the cosmos. I manage a soft smile. I will not ask her yet, I will not mention the change; I fear the answer would destroy me. Instead I let my eyes roam, letting the wonders caress my senses. Is it possible, I wonder, for a human woman to stand on the very threshold of the gods and still live? I've had this thought before. It no longer bothers me as it once did.
I understand then. The things I was seeing, I could never convey in the same wayâ€¦ever; even if I tried for the rest of my miserable existence. All around me was nothing but vast blue, endless skies. Clouds rose like pillars, proud and gleaming in the brilliance of the sun, and soft as cotton I imagined, but I wouldn't know. I couldn't touch them. My fingers simply passed through. They towered and arched, creating domes and corridors for the immortals; though I never saw them. If the Gods truly existed, they kept themselves hiddenâ€¦
My eyes sweep across the infinite expanse. I never knew the heavens could look so glorious, so over-poweringâ€¦so permanentâ€¦and when I finally believe that I have exhausted my eyes, that I have memorized every wonder the world could show meâ€¦the sun begins to set.
This time round I feel no fear, no resentment. I seem to have left those emotions behind. Instead what I experience is a sharp ache, deep inside me. I feel the need to cry. The world around me is changing even as I step from cloud to cloud, making my way through the now glowing corridors of the Creators. To me the sun looks like it's bleeding, its colors seeming to shift and merge as it spreads its dying fire over the heavens. There are colors I never imagined, colors I couldn't name. They seemed to flow like an endless river into the darkening sky, combining the bleeding light of the sun with the triumph of the emerging moon. Night and day, locked in an embrace of power and passion, of love and desire; I look away. Somehow, I now feel like an intruder.
Her voice surrounds me again, laughing gently. Again she urges me forward, the force of her will alone pushing me along and even as I take those damning steps, the last shreds of doubt fall away. I gasp, my eyes widening. Before me now is a sea of stars, their soft lights seem like spirit guides. And I wonder if a legend I heard once long ago, a legend about the dead watching over us from the stars could really be true? How had I ever thought their light cold? Up close they looked like a million tear drops, one for every horror and stab of agony our hearts had ever suffered, ever would suffer. They seemed almostâ€¦compassionateâ€¦
I spun around slowly and then froze at once. How had I missed it before? Behind me, as silent as the stars around us, the moon seemed to encompass the entire night. I suddenly understood why they always referred to the moon as a maiden. She was beautifulâ€¦
She seemed to glow, her light somehow softer than the rest, yet so much more powerful. I felt the tears fill my eyes, but I blinked them away impatiently. I wasn't going to lose a second. Not one god damn second! I took a step forward, towards her welcoming light. Why did I feel so close to her? Why did I feel like she was smiling? I took another step, my heart swelling to fill my throat. Strangely I felt giddy, like a child on a sugar high. I wanted to laugh, and sing, and dance, and, and love!
In a way that would kill me; to give all of myself, to feel safe againâ€¦to want to live againâ€¦
And then suddenly, the world tilted and I screamed. A startled high pitch sound that seemed to have barely left my lips before it was swallowed up by the boundless beauty around me. The terror swept mindlessly through me, freezing my heart in my chest, squeezing my eyes shut. I seemed to have forgotten that in a dream you never fell, never hurtâ€¦barely had I even processed such a thought than I simplyâ€¦stopped. When I finally managed to crack my eyes open, dimly registering that this was new tooâ€¦different in a way it had never been before, I though my heart would leave me in that endless second.
Above and beyond me, the moon and stars seemed to be watching as the lights shifted and spun in dizzying arrays of splendor. The skies were dark and deep, powerful and secretive; almost addictive. But beneath me, was the sunâ€¦in all its glory, burning in a way that seemed to shame the misery around it. The heavens beneath my feet were a crystalline blue, the color of laughter I remember thinking. Clouds seemed to carpet its base, diffusing its rays and sending them dancing along the border of separationâ€¦
I didn't dare stop the tears nowâ€¦I felt I owed them. Night and day locked in an embrace of power and passion, of love and desireâ€¦
I couldn't look awayâ€¦
Hesitating for one agonizing minute I lean forward, brushing my fingers lightly through the intermixed colors. I wasn't prepared for the bolt of energy that sizzled through me in that instant. It cleansed me, all of me; and the tears came harder. I wanted to scream, but it felt like my voice had lost its ability. With a soft sigh I drag my fingers across the border again, this time the energy is muted, almost understanding.
Understanding what? I wondered. The tears no longer mattered. I didn't posses the strength to wipe them away.
"Ivaâ€¦" she whispers, I looked around blindly. I'd already forgotten I couldn't see her.
I never had.
I probably never would.
"It's time to leave now isn't it?" My words felt hollow, cold.
I could feel her sorrow, but I couldn't understand it.
"It's really over this time?" It was beginning. The part that would destroy meâ€¦
"Ivaâ€¦" So much pain, so much mind numbing agony; I wouldn't survive!
"Answer me. Please." So close to panickingâ€¦
"You have to leave now." She manages finally.
"Show me." I beg, "I want to see you."
Somehow I already sense that this is goodbye.
I would never dream again.
Not like this.
Never like this.
I can feel her smile. I can almost see her shake her head.
"Even if you see me, you'll never remember."
I didn't care.
"Show me," I repeated.
A soft sigh slips from her unseen lips. It caresses me.
It said everything she never could.
And there in a moment that I will perhaps never truly erase, I saw her.
All I remember is her light, her infinite, boundless stretch of light.
She was the purest being in the universe.
I can never put down in words her grace, or her strength, or even her utterly beautiful smile.
I would cheapen the image if I tried.
I didn't dare.
But the world around me that night was a dream, just as it always will remain.
I have reconciled myself to that fact.
I never saw her again.
I never will see her again.
Just as I would never be again.
Not like this.
I had been destroyed.