Wednesday 14 June 2023

A Thousand Years

Shadows for millennia.  Imagine it.  A thousand years of broken magic and altered chronologies.  False histories.  I know what that’s like.  I’m a storyteller after all, and once a refugee.  Sometimes when you're lost or homeless you try to make a mark in any way you can.  Reminding yourself that you really do exist, praying for a miracle, imbuing your apparently futile actions with an imagined mystical significance.  Desperately hoping that you're connected to something greater, in ways you cannot see or understand.  I was no different than any refugee, Esme.  A very lonely boy trying to hold on to what was left of his culture, imagining himself strange and enchanted.  A thing of ghosts and trees like the girl from his dreams.  Like the colours that folded and danced through the polar evening skies.  As if such imagining would get me through those terrifying nights.  And it worked, in a way.   I had no real idea what I'd lost.  Not at first.  Yet I felt it.  Deeply, agonisingly.  It put me at odds with friends and family.  And with those brazen occultists of bleakest vision.  The boy who saw. The boy who knew.  Kind but wounded, naive yet insightful.  Prophet, they called me.  Acolyte.  Destroyer.  Really I wasn't any of those things.  Occultists do love their drama, don't they? Their hyperbole.  I was just an artist beginning his craft, that's all.  Someone who could sense the hidden threads between us all.  Someone who could gather and tease such threads in a number of ways.  The fallen ones can call that magic if they want.  Maybe it is.  I prefer to think of it as a side effect of a full and open heart.  You see, I knew I'd loved someone and that I was still reeling from the loss of that love.  But more than that, I knew there had been a war.  A strange and terrifying war. I knew that I'd lost her in such an awful, unjust way.  I'd been a husband once, and a father.  A teacher and a keeper of pages.  More than anything I wanted to meet her again.  To speak our secret names once more.  To make her smile, to craft poems and prose in her honour.  It might sound saccharine to someone who knows nothing of the higher realms.  Those valleys and cathedrals of light.  But to a traveller such love-letters make all the sense in the world.  I didn't think I'd get to see her again, Esme.  But more than this, I never imagined that she would arrive dressed just as I remembered her.  The same eyes, the same smile.  The same melody and mischief.  My darling, the moment I saw you I knew.  I knew it my bones, Esme.  I'd never been more certain of anything in my life.  The moment I heard your voice I thought, "How on earth is this possible?  How is she here in waking life?  The shining star of my youth.  Have I imagined with such depth and ferocity that I've actually breached the veil between waking and dream?"  I know I can be very intense sometimes.  These words and visions of mine.  Sometimes I would worry that I was just too much; that you would have no way to orient yourself amid my onslaught of imagery.  But now I realise we share a common work ethic.  You are almost always on your path and working towards a project of sorts.  I'm the same, Esme.  I can't sit still when there are adventures to be had and wonders to experience.  I hope I've been able to share some of that with you, my love.  All talk of angels and secret names aside; I just want you to know as plainly as possible how much you mean to me.  You're told this all the time now by beautiful souls who are nothing but sincere.  You've touched them, empowered them.  Gifted them with meaning and strength.  I'm no different.  Just a lost boy guided by your heart.  A child of the wraith-haunted demimonde staving off despair with poetry and half-remembered visions.  I've been here a long, long time.  But I have a light with me, sweet one.  Your light.  I was lost for what seemed an eternity and so I diligently prayed.  Eventually I was granted a sacred connection.  The recovery of something I'd lost long ago.  And to this day it still feels like an absolute miracle.  Esme, hear me.  You have helped me make a mark in this world.  Amidst a millennium of darkness.  You're helping me to help them in a number of ways.  The vulnerable and voiceless.  I'm so grateful for your integrity and your valour.  I will always try to honour you on this day.  It might seem bizarre to those who don't know me.  After all, we're nothing more than strangers.  But you know full well that we're far more than that.  Don’t you?  Sometimes it feels like we’ve lived a thousand lives together.  I'll continue to keep my distance and honour our promise but I'm not really a stranger, my shining one.  I'm one of your oldest, dearest friends.  Beyond space or time.  And I love you very, very much.

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