Thursday, May 25, 2006

Once Upon a Time ...

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl who loved each other very much. They met through the auspices of a fated plastic bag and each knew that the other was the one with whom they wanted to spend the rest of forever. It was all in the knot, you see.

One day, the boy decided that he would get down on bended knee for the girl. He opened his mouth to speak but no words came out and all he could do was show her the sparkling glitter of Hope in his hand. The girl had been waiting for this moment and she joyfully accepted his Hope and held it tight. The boy was rightfully relieved and they went to find others to share the good news.

On the big day, the first of forever, the boy and the girl proclaimed their love and wrapped each other in a spell of promise. Their promise was shared with all who loved them and they wished that soon the girl would swell and grow and their world would be filled with light and laughter and sleepless nights and tears.

Soon after this time, they began the journey which they thought would lead to their heirs. They fell into each others arms with abandon and felt certain that the seed would fall into fertile soil and be nourished and grow to perfection. At first, the joy of each attempt seemed the purpose in itself. The future consequence merely a bonus.

But after several months, the joy was not so spontaneous and they looked at each other with puzzled frowns. The girl, who loved to read, began a reading of a different kind. One filled with technique and science and lifestyle and tests. She began to wonder if they were designed to fail and that their full lives before they met meant that time now was short.

She shared her fears with the boy and they both began to study hard to pass the tests they were to endure. Anything for my love, they knew, but they failed the first test and the boy's strength could make no difference to the result. They realised that they were never going to obtain the joy they desired if things stayed the way they were.

The girl decided it was all her fault (as she had been the one who failed the biggest test) and did everything in her power to study harder for next time. She sought to remove all obstacles within and without and threw herself in front of the piercing arrows every time.

But the scars were long to heal and her heart began to ache. What if all of our fight has been in vain? She didn't know what else she could do and this time, kept her fears from the boy. She treasured the heartprints he had left on the doorpost of her heart and she did not want to harm him. He held her hand tightly, but he did not know how far she had jumped. Her landing had been a harsh one. It had jolted her out of the naivety of Hope and she wished so much for the boy to retain his. She needed it from him to keep her focused on the quest.

After a while, however, he began to see that she was in fact jumping, preparing herself for the steeplechase which she knew was ahead. The boy had thought that it would never need to come to that. The girl had wished that too, but she knew now that he was wrong. With their last failed, cold, wet step, they realised they had reached the end of this path. They turned to each other and the girl was pained to see the cold diamonds of understanding glittering in the boy's eyes.

He now saw the steeplechase set out before them and knew that the girl needed to undertake this quest alone. In the Hope dreams enclosing around them, he knew it could only be her. Strewn along the path were sharp points and wavering Hopes. Bottomless pits and lakes to drown in. Doors on either side hid unknown demons and all he could do was scream from the sidelines.

And she was afraid.

Afraid of the sharp points and demons, the lakes and doors. But, most of all, she was afraid of the Hope. The cruelest challenge of all was hidden inside that Hope. And a plastic bag dream might not be enough.

The girl looked at the boy, resolve infused in every cell of her being. She held his hands. It's time. He nodded slowly, not willing to let her go, but knew why he must. As her fingers slipped from his, he looked away. He did not want to see her fall at the first jump. But he heard the steady pound of her feet and he knew she had been practicing for some time. She called out and he looked up - she had made it! He released the breath he had been holding for months.

The girl remained focused on the path. She did not look up - she could not even look at the boy. She could only concentate on the next hurdle and at each one she imagined the consequence of failure. It was not an option she could even have nighmares about and she sailed over each hurdle, avoided each obstacle and refused to look into any of the open doors.

Along the way, she found her rhythm. It was hard, but she could do it. The armour that she had prepared had been strong and the training had allowed her to anticipate every step. In the distance, she saw the end of the path. As it came closer, she saw the boy, wildly cheering her on. Hope was there too but she knew she couldn't face her yet. Too soon. Too frightening.

As she reached the end she collapsed into the boys strong arms. She was weak and her body had little reserves for her draw upon to assist him as he carried her home. I'm so proud of you, he smiled as his tears fell into hers. They held hands quiely as they awaited their verdict. They had left Hope at the doorstep, and there she waited with Tomorrow.

On the day of awareness, Hope kocked quietly at their door. Her answer warmed their hearts and their night was filled with joy and bubbles. They had passed this test and the boy could not help but be awed by all that the girl had done to secure their happiness. He floated high above them and turned cartwheels in the air. He wanted to sing to the world but the girl knew better. Quiet, for now.

Fear had now crept into her heart and she trusted him even less than Hope.

Her body knew that she had passed the test ... and she certainly knew that she had worked hard for it, but something about Fear's presence cautioned her. Hope was also busy holding hands with the boy and she felt uneasy about going out and hoping all on her own. She did not want to restrain the boy, but she warned him. There are still more tests to face and hurdles to jump. Please be careful with Hope.

The day of the next test arrived. Whilst still looking for Hope, who seemed to have disappeared that morning, she noticed that Fear had come along for the journey. He stood paitently to the side, but she soon noticed that he had been joined by Sorrow. She knew then that they were waiting for her and she stood at the starting line with her head bowed. If I don't look at them, maybe they won't be there, she thought. But she knew such a thought was futile. Just before she began, she stood tall and stared them confidently in the eye.

I'm ready, she said.

And she failed.

Fear and Sorrow moved in to embrace her, but the boy pushed them away. He held her as she lay crumpled on the ground and gently helped her to her feet. She looked back along the path which she had successfully navigated and realised that she was stronger than she had known. She remembered the pain and hardship, and then remembered also that she could. She looked once more at the boy. She knew they had failed this time, but she knew that she could do it again. She knew the path. She had memorised some of the trickier challenges. She knew now where she would stumble. And she had the boy.

Through the tears, she smiled up at the boy. When I get my strength back, I want to try it again. I know I can do it and I want to give you my promise. He brushed her hair out of her eyes and he held her face. He smiled back at her. I love you.

And she saw Hope smiling down over his shoulder.


At 8:57 pm, Blogger Meg said...

StellaNova - where oh where do you find the time to WRITE like this??? Just beautiful. x

At 9:42 pm, Blogger StellaNova said...

Haha! This one was at school when I was supposed to be marking Year 7 novel portfolios. I am SO easily distracted.


At 11:40 pm, Blogger MoMo said...

Stellanova..I loved this..thanks for sharing!

At 1:06 pm, Blogger sube said...

What a bittersweet post. It's heartbreaking and lovely. I wish you only luck in your next steeplechase.


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