I needed to write this to write something else, which I haven’t written yet.
This is a roleplay fiction, written about a character I played back in the early 2000s. The short version: Jhonny is an Eshu (Changling: The Dreaming) who has very strong connection to her past lives, which also happen to be her ancestors, in her case. She has a very very long history of being connected with another, we’ll call him Xavier because I can’t remember how to spell his name, a connection which has often led to both of them dying young.
In the life I was roleplaying, it was an amazingly bad relationship, which is, all things considered, not surprising.
Anyway, in order to write the story I wanted to write, I needed to end her story differently. So here we go with a How it Should have Ended.
It wasn’t the first time Jhonny had cried over Xavier and, the way things were going, it certainly wouldn’t be the last, in this lifetime, in any lifetime, in all lifetimes. She curled up in a swing chair in her back yard and talked to her memories, hoping something in there could help her find a way to make things better, to make things work.
“You know,” said a face she thought belonged in Medieval Spain, “you wouldn’t put up with this from anyone else. There’s no reason to put up with it from him.”
“You know,” said the woman who was both her and her grandmother, “you’re an eshu and what you do is travel. Maybe it’s time to put some metaphorical distance between you and this one.”
“I swore to love him forever,” she whispered to the air. She remembered that. She had a feeling that she could lose everything else, everything that made her fae, everything that made her her, and she’d still remember she’d sworn to love him. Forever.
The worst thing was, he’d been a prickly asshole back then, too, and she knew it.
She knew he wasn’t always painful, but she knew he was always, always hard to get into, and she wondered if the failure was her or him or both.
“You swore to love him forever.” That was one she hadn’t heard before, a woman who stood up straight and had grey hair and grey eyes and wrinkled skin.
Malla Malahe does not die of old age, some part of her, of the middle of her soul, whispered.
The old woman smiled, but it wasn’t a nice expression. It wasn’t a kind expression. “Malla Malahe does not die of old age with him. It may come some time, but he has a lot of growing up to do. But, child, listen.”
This woman could call her child. Jhonny lifted her chin and listened.
“You swore to love him forever. You did not swear to impale yourself on his sharp bits. You did not swear to bleed out with him – yes, in some lifes you did, but I tell you, those promises, at least, ended with those deaths. You did not swear to forgo all pleasures, the sunlight and the warmth and your friends, the music and the dance and your life for him. You swore to love him, child, not to be with him, not to be only with him.”
Jhonny blinked at the woman, this woman who had died old. This woman who had been her.
“It’s time for some distance,” her grandmother toild her. “You know what you need to do.”
“You can love him,” said the old woman, “withough letting him hurt you. you can love him and be yourself. You must be yourself,” she added sharply. “Everything that is us depends on it.”
And a woman who had blown up a world fighting lifted a fist in the air. “Be yourself. And be yourself away from him for a bit.”
By the time she could catch her breath, by the time she could really think about that that meant, there was only one left looking at her – the one who was her origin.
“I guess, I guess what they say, if your fire has gone out, you can warm yourself at other hearths-”
Malla Malahe slapped her across the face. “You are a daughter of summer and you need no hearth. Go. Warm the world. Forget about the young idiot for a while, and perhaps, in time, he will be worth remembering. Go,” she added again.
Jhonny dug out her phone. She dialed with uncertain hands. “Miri? Miri, it’s Jhonny. What do you say to painting the town red tonight?”