alena-tran-sept

 

I am not guaranteed a lifetime, only time. I move through the world and space unwillingly. If you wish to see the planet as I have, or as I do, you are foolish.

I must admit that there is beauty in seeing what is beautiful, but there is also the horror of seeing everything else.
I hold the planet Earth close to my heart. Humans are a young, unwieldy species, but watching them learn and evolve never fails to intrigue me. They make many mistakes, they repeat a lot of said mistakes, and, oftentimes, I can’t help but meddle.

But no one expects anything less from me. After all, the gods never learned to keep to themselves.

I appear before a woman. My presence is eerie to her and I do not explain myself. I hold her heart, kiss her hair, and take her back to her youth:

The first memory is always a sweet one. I show her schoolyards and swings and bright red monkey bars. I give her the laughter of children and the taste of sour candy. I show her innocence, something stripped away from young girls all too soon.

The girl’s past self swings alone. She steers with her legs as the wind tugs and pulls. It dances through her hair, beckons her away, higher and higher, up into space.  

Her head is in the clouds and she faces the sun, eyes closed, feeling like she could float away.

But then she feels a small hand on hers, shocking to her skin and warm to the touch—an anchor in the form of another girl, with a smile like sunlight, bright and bold, pulling her back down to Earth.

“Want to see who can swing higher?” her new friend asks.

She nods, giving up her solitude, a storm raging in her stomach.

I look curiously at the woman’s present self, now older and more refined and beautiful, although her eyes still reflect a prevalent uneasiness.

“I wonder, before this, why were you playing alone?” My voice frightens her when I make it known for the first time.

She edges further away from me, confused. “Who are you?”

I smile and do not push my question any further, I do not want her to resent me. So I answer her instead, “I am the daughter of your god, Time.”

“I bow to no god.”

“That is the problem with your species,” I say in a voice too smooth and sweet for such condescending words, a talent only properly executed by the divine. “My father gave you yourself. After you were born, you were not created instantaneously.”

The woman frowns. “I don’t understand.”

“Do not fret. Let me show you.” I hold my hand out again. The woman entangles her fingers in mine and I take her somewhere else entirely.

This time, I show her a memory which transpired only moments before I came into her life. Every feeling she felt in that moment, I make her feel again.

In this scene, night has fallen, and she has trouble sleeping. The floor is uncomfortable and the room suffocates her with darkness. Usually, sleep comes easy to her. Tonight, she is kept awake by a feeling in her chest. It fills her up until she drowns in it, a longing for things she can only find in her past. The innocence, the unwavering solitude that became loneliness instead.

“Are you asleep?” a voice from across the room asks. Her anchor, reeling her back in. The girl who could swing higher, who smiled like sunshine.

“No. I’m awake.” she whispers back.

A shift, then some rustling. Suddenly the two girls lie together, face to face. She studies the shadows of the other girl, the curve of her cheek and the wisps of her hair. The silence shared between them cuts through her, obliterating any words. There is something electric in the air.

Her heart leaps and her throat is dry. The other girl leans in, warm breath fanning her face.

She turns her head away. Guilt wraps its hands around her throat. She thinks of swings and flying up and away. She thinks of warmth and innocence.

So much has changed since then.

I ask her, “If you could relive this moment, what would you have done?”

“I don’t know.”

“The Past lives only in memory, but it has power. Contemplate it all, your regrets and your non-regrets. Learn from it all.”

“I should have kissed her.” She whispers the words. “I was afraid it would be wrong.”

I shake my head at her, “Two young women, unrelenting and unafraid. What would be wrong about that?”

She says nothing and I console her. “You will reach a time of other opportunities.”

“When?”

“The future. Tomorrow is yours.”

I show her one last image. I present her gifts of Time: growth and change. I show her everything she could have in this future: self embracement and beautiful angels and sweetness. It is there, in that moment of time and space, that she appears like a reflection of the sky, burning crimson red. Her hair, her cheeks, her lips–she is the sun positioned before a horizon, a sky that she alone has set aflame.

Beside her walks another woman, her anchor.

They walk together through the fire. Lovers, hand in hand. A light radiates from inside them both, too bright to be contained.

A revolution in each woman.