the price of love pt v

to read the price of love from pt i, click here

"sullen and stubborn melancholy hath never become of any human," my friend said.

i looked up at him, hot words burning the tip of my tongue, but one look into his golden eye --the slit of his pupil narrowing to a line thinner than my smallest finger-- and my heated words cooled. so i did as he bade me and stopped pouting.

"do as you will, my friend," i told him, frowning. "i need to think."

i made my way across the plains, down where the land sloped a bit, and found a gently flowing river that sparkled in the sunlight like a dragon's hoard tumbling with gemstones and pearls and glittering, glittering gold. the blue of the water was sapphire blue, darkening like the night sky the deeper the water ran toward the middle. fish leapt like dancers, catching mosquitoes and water skates for their meals. reed birds rustled in the tall grasses, scolding and calling one another with their "chirrr, chikirk! chirrr, chikirk!"

i stripped out of my armor, the delicious breeze a cool caress on skin hot and dampened with sweat from wearing such heavy armor through an eternity of battles, of blood on the boil from such a close hunt of such a hated enemy. and with each item i loosened and let drop to the ground, the lighter i felt. the breeze cooled the back of my sweaty neck, dried my tunic, ruffled my hair which i had unwound from its battle braid. it truly felt as if i were letting go of more and more of my worries and setting them down along with my armor.

at last i was able to close my eyes and truly listen to the wind and hear what it was telling me. in one swift motion, my tunic and leggings came off and i was letting the current take me downstream. how long i was out there bathing, swimming, basking in the sunlight before i swam back to shore, i do not know. i should have come out miles from where i'd lain my armor, but there it was...waiting for me.

i sighed. i might be able to lay it down for a time, but it would still be waiting for me to take it up again.

instead, however, i sat by the reeds in the shallows listening to the wind sough through them, hearing their wisdom whispered to me. as the golden glitter on the river turned to orange and salmon and lavender, it finally made sense to me.

insanity is what it was, what the reeds whispered to me by the water, but as i had tried all else without a mote of success, perhaps insanity inspired by the wind and the water was what was called for. perhaps the essence of what they proposed was insanity itself. no one ever said This Thing i was attempting ever made sense...

i stood up and brushed my hair with the curled witches' fingers that grew among the reeds, but kept it loose. i put on my tunic and leggings, now dried and stiff from the sun.

my armor i left by the river and returned to the cave. my old friend and companion, the fire dragon, was gone.

the entrance to the cave both threatened and mocked me with its deep, enveloping darkness. she was in there, i knew. my Inner Flaming Narcissist lay in the deepest hollows, biding her time, raising my worst selves from the dead. but it didn't matter.

i took a deep breath and closed my eyes. the wind took my hair in its hands and stroked my face encouragingly. the earth pulsed beneath my bare feet. somewhere beneath them, i knew, She walked.

...and so i sang.

i'm sorry but i'm just thinking of the right words to say...
i know they don't sound the way i planned them to be...
but if you wait around a while i'll make you fall for me
i promise you, i promise you i will...

i sang every fitting song i could remember.

something in the way she knows
and all i have to do is think of her...
something in the things she shows me.
i don't wanna leave her now.
you know i believe and how...

and when you speak...angels sing from above--
everyday words seem...to turn into love songs...

bronze and salmon and lavender hues on the horizon gave way to the deeper blue-black shadows of night. stars came awake across the sky, and the milky silver ribbon of moon tears stretched from one end of the horizon and disappeared into eternity. the grass took upon itself the silver sheen as the moon rose three-quarters full. sweat beaded across my brow and tickled down the side of my face. i felt it streak down the middle of my back and between my breasts, and still i sang.

i saw a world enchanted
spirits and charms in the air,
i always took for granted
i was the only one there.
but your power shone...
brighter than any i've known!
i'm under your spell
nothing i can do...
you just took my soul with you.
you worked your charm so well
finally, i knew
everything i dreamed was true
you made me believe!

through the night i serenaded her, though my voice grew hoarse and i had to wrack my brain to find new things to sing. but still, however silly it seemed--

it's not unusual to be loved by anyone
it's not unusual to have fun with anyone...

--i sang it. at some point before the darkness gave way to the first hint of dawn, i had fallen to my knees in exhaustion. now i pleaded with her, romancing my Inner Flaming Narcissist with every love song i had ever heard, and as the first touch of gold crept over the horizon, i saw movement by the mouth of the cave. i gasped!

...and it disappeared.

i merely closed my eyes and began again.

hello, hello!
i'm at a place called 'vertigo'
lights go down and all i know
is that you give me something i can feel...
you're teaching me...
your love is teaching me
how to kneel.

and there she was. with outstretched arms she came to me and embraced me.

and as the sun burst over the horizon to bathe the sprawling hills in dazzling light, as the birds and insects began their morning songs, one more song arose within me, and she joined in. by the time we finished, there was...

give me strength to find the road that's lost in me.
give me time to heal and build myself a dream.
give me eyes to see the world surrounding me.
give me strength...to be...

...only me.

songs in order of appearance:
when in rome, "the promise"
the beatles, "something"
louie armstrong, "la vie en rose"
buffy the vampire slayer: once more with feeling, "under your spell"
tom jones, "it's not unusual"
U2, "vertigo"
over the rhine, "give me strength"

continued from pt iv

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