Every night, I drift off to sleep, a gulf between myself and you. A chasm.
It’s not your fault.
I remember the day I looked into your eyes and realized you loved me – saw your heart and soul held out to me.
I remember choosing to take it. I remember Choosing to love you.
My father says we’re soul mates. He’s a romantic fool. I never knew that about him, but he really does believe in things like that.
I have a soul mate.
I even have a twin flame.
I destroyed my twin… and my soul mate destroyed me.
I chose to love you because I saw your heart, and knew in that moment that if I chose to love you back, you would never hurt me.
I didn’t consider that it would hurt you. I only wanted not to be alone. I only wanted to be safe.
I am, with you. Safer than ever. Safer even from my heart.
But not safe from the pain. The grief. The Keening. That never stops. Even your arms can’t hold that part of me together.
So you have your side of the bed, and I have mine, and we have a truce.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a cat. She was a shifting cat. She had many forms. She was a warrior, and she was magic. She was the pride of her people. She had cubs. She had family. She had a home and a life, and she knew love, and joy.
And then one day, she came home to her village, and there was nothing left to her. Her cubs were dead in her sister’s arms, their blood tacky, the echo of screams haunting the air in their place. The rest of her sister was on the other side of the den. Her mate was split in pieces at the edge of the village, organs scattered like mushrooms in a field. She saw her tribe, fallen, and she Keened her grief… and then she put away her grief, and lay down her honor, and she hunted the mad beast who had done it… and when she found him, she took her honor back.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a cat. She was a shifting cat. She had many forms. She was a warrior and she was magic. She was not the pride of her people. She had no people. She had no cubs, she had no family. She had no home and no life, and she knew no love and no joy.
And then one day, in her travels, she met a magic man. Drawn together like magnets… like mercury, two pools became one, two minds, two powers, became one. The magic man was proud. He had the power to change the very orbits of planets, and so he did, to show her how terrible he was.
She saw a planet laid to waste that day – lush forests burned to ash, rich soil turned to stone, seas torn from their beds and stolen by the sun.
She saw this horror, and in such agony, she turned from his pride and arrogance, from his uncaring heart, and she ran.
When she ran, though, because one half of a body cannot run from the other without there being consequences, what conscience and what mind he had, went with her. In his madness, he swore to lay waste to all things until he found her – and so great was his desire to possess her, he reached into their power, and he drew forth the most dangerous gift. He drew on the gift of Unmaking, and he began the chase.
From world to world across a galaxy he chased her. From galaxy to galaxy across a universe he chased her. From universe to universe across the multiverse he chased her… and everywhere he trod and did not find her, he destroyed. The more that he unwove, the deeper her pain and horror, until she broke, and knew nothing else.
Then, the Library came to her, and explained that to contain this, only she would do. The Librarians brought her to a room of books. The room held every book on magick that had ever been written, in their perfect form. It contained all the books of magick that ever will be written, in all the multiverse. All the knowledge of power of the multiverse, contained in that timeless space. They took her to the room of Books, and they gave her books to drink, and drink she did.
She drank them all dry. When not a drop of ink was left upon the pages, she drank the paper and the covers, the cloth and the gold. She drank the walls and the shelves. She drank the very room, and in that moment, she Became.
When she awoke, the Room of Books was no more. She drew up her sword, and once more, she put away her grief, laid down her honor, and she hunted the mad beast her twin had become… and when she found him… she took her honor back. She unmade her other half, and in unmaking him, she unmade herself, and called it good.
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a faerie. A pixy, really, and a curious sort. She knew no pain, no time. She had only one form, but it was all she needed. She was not a warrior, she was knowledge, though she was not particularly wise, for what of the demifae are? She knew of no people, only of her trees and her forest.
And then one day, she met a woman. The woman was a flame brought to life, and the woman knew nothing. However, unlike the pixy, the flame was determined to learn everything. She was curiously bright, and surprisingly passionate, and she was sure to have many adventures, and the pixy was bored. A pact was born, and the two began to travel.
So it has been for many, many lifetimes, and as time has marched on, and Faerie has retreated, the Sidhe have begun to pass. The pixy was offered a quest, and became one of the Sidhe herself when she succeeded. The fire was offered other things, and time continues to march.
Once upon a time, a short time ago, a human was born. She was born Awake. She was born with a Memory. She was born with Empathy and Power… and no idea that other humans were different. Children were afraid of her, and so her life was bitter. Her family misunderstood her, and so her life was cruel. She lived in stories, and in the woods with many fae. She conjured and she cast, and her life was magick. When she grew up, she wanted to be a witch – and when she grew up, she was one.
And then one day, she had a child – a child that she did not want, and could not escape. The man who had forced the child on her took away every option, until the only one left to her was to raise the child. She gave birth in the usual way, and it was a healthy, beautiful boy. She did not see the beauty. She saw the dependence. She saw the end of her freedom – the cage bars clanging shut.
His sound beat her ears. His needs beat at her heart. She did not love him, but she did her duty the best that she could. She tried – after all, what had happened was not his fault. She hid her pain the best she could, and tried.
Once upon a time, there was a boy. He saw the world through amazingly wise eyes. Nothing could be hidden from him, and he loved his mother. And one day, when she was doing what she could for his needs, he looked at her, and showed her herself. He showed her all her flaws, and how much he loved them. He showed her all her pain, and how much he loved it. He showed her all her beauty and her tragedy, and how much he loved it all. He showed her herself, and he loved her unconditionally… and she woke up.
Not all soul mates are romantic. Some are just that much a part of you.
Once upon a time there was a woman who remembered everything she was, because of the blue, blue eyes of an infant human male, and found her soul mate in his heart, and lost her own. Every wall that she had erected throughout all her lives came down. Every stone in her heart vanished. Her soul was laid bare, and her sword was cast away, and she was reforged to be one thing, and only one thing… and that was MOTHER.
Once upon a time, there was a Mother…
And then there was not.
There was a voice on the phone saying that the courts had judged her unfit because she could not sleep without aid, because of a doctor who hated her OWN mother, while the younger mother was still in the womb. There was a voice on the phone saying that her family was taking her heart to another place, far away. There was a voice on the phone telling her that her meaning and her soul and her honor and her life were nothing more than empty promises made by seeds in spring, sown on the desert winds.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a woman who knew how to love.
I see my son three times a year. I see my family all the time. I tell them all I love them, and when I say it, I almost mean it. I look everyone in the eye, and I lie.
I lie next to you every night, and I care. I count your breaths, and when you have a bad dream, I soothe you back to sleep. I care.
But I do not love you the way that you love me, and never have. I no longer know how.
I grieve that you have accepted me, knowing that I do not love you the way that you love me, and never will – I cannot understand how much you hate yourself that you would tie yourself to someone who cares for you, but cannot love.
I grieve that I have lost my heart and cannot ever give you what you deserve for all that you are to me – and I grieve that were I less broken and could, you would not take it.
I am safe in your arms, as I hemorrhage my heart forever – all my love is sand in the wind, and all that is left to me is grief.
I am a truly lucky woman… and I know it. But I cannot ever prove it to you.
My grief and I stay silent, on the surface – but in the Abyss of me, there is a well that never runs dry… and in the Deeps, the Keening never stops.
And we are a tragedy.