Hello, another little story for reading enjoyment. 🙂
The flames lick the night sky, trying to swallow the few stars that have dared to shine tonight. A part of me wishes I had stayed away, too.
I have her voice in my head, the last vitriolic words that she spoke. The curse that she dared to invoke.
Her eyes had been full of hate, full of rage against a world that had denied her. The sad thing was, that in the end she had denied herself, by letting hate take over her heart.
Slowly, the small crowd to disperses. She had no family left beside me, and no real friends. The people of the tribe were polite to her in death, as they had in life.
I wonder, if they hadn’t borne her vitriol, would she have changed, in order to preserve her place here? I suppose I will never know.
I stay until the last of the flames have turned to ashes. Until there is nothing left but dust.
It is only then, when he lays his steady hand on my shoulder, that a single tear falls from my eyes. I do not grieve for my mother, instead I grieve for the woman she could have been, the woman she never was.
“Come, drink by the fire with me,” he says, “we will burn our regrets away.”
There is grief in his brown eyes, pain covering them with tears unshed. “All right.” He takes me by the arm, leading me to a smaller fire.
Three others sit cross-legged on the ground by the flames. They are talking and laughing, they have moved on from what has just passed, to them it was just a moment and now their lives will move on.
As mine must, but in a different manner to this morning when her words had been spat at me from her deathbed.
I sit down by him, my best friend, the one who has always understood. He hands me a cup, the varnished wood smooth and warm in my hand. Liquid of fire burns my throat, courses into my belly. I wish it could burn the pain, burn the memories.
“What will you do?” he asks me.
I am not sure which fire I see before me. “ I suppose I am free,” I answer. It stretches before me, this unknown thing, this strange land which I know nothing of.
“Will you earn your place in the same manner?” He does not look at me, and so I cannot tell reliably what his feelings are.
“I don’t know.” I had barely dared think of it, for fear of tempting the fates into keeping my mother alive.
“What else would you do?”
It is the question that I have contemplated the most. My skills are little, having learned at her feet. “I wish to be useful.”
But that is not an easy thing. I have freedom and choices I have never had. The future, frightening and full of possibilities stretches out before me, and I am lost.