By Kate Chandler
The girl walks, her soul weary. The Village was the only place that she had ever wanted to call home, its people the only ones she had ever wanted to call family, but through several long years she had failed to become accepted there. She had given them everything that she thought that they might want, and they had taken it all from her with a polite smile, never showing the slightest concern as to who she was or what she might be doing there.
Their continued indifference has made it clear to her that she was neither wanted nor needed there, so she has given up. She has shut her heart to the ones who spurned her, and abandoned the village.
There is no going back.
She tells herself that there was nothing more that she could have done, and yet she cannot make herself believe it. If she had just held on, had spent a little more time there trying to find the secret ingredient that was needed to make them accept her enough to invite her to become one of them, to become a part of The Village, perhaps she could have had everything that she had dreamed of, instead of...
Trying to let go of her failed vision hurts her more than the rejection that has led to it. She knows that she must keep moving — to shake off the feeling of failure, to find a new home, a new purpose — but she can see no inviting path in any direction away from that which her heart had most longed for, away from that which she has been denied. She plods along wherever her feet will take her, not seeing a thing around her; the darkness that has settled in her heart blinding her to all.
But one day she sees The Tree. The more she looks, the more it glows through the gloom. Its trunk seeming to pulse with light to the rhythm of her own heart. Its branches wave in the breeze as if beckoning her, and although she is far away from it she can hear its leaves whispering to her.
Come to me, girl, I offer you peace.
Come to me, girl, and find your release.
Come to me, girl, just follow my song,
Come closer, I’ll show you just where you belong.
She moves towards it.
The Magician looks on and shakes his head. He cannot just stand by and let this happen. He must arrange an intervention. He can see how difficult it is going to be to get through to her, but he must try. It is the least that he can do. He ponders his first move.
The girl feels as if she doesn’t belong, but only because she was looking for a sense of belonging in the wrong place, striving to fit in with the wrong people. She only needs to find the right tribe and she will fit in effortlessly, her role in the community obvious, their loyalty and affection towards her assured with a shared vision and purpose...
The Magician summons up a team of geese, and sends them flying over the girl’s head in a V-formation, honking to each other all the way.
The girl doesn’t see them.
The Magician thinks again. The girl has suffered from trying to be something other than what she is in order to fit in with others. The more she hides her real self, the more frustrated and bitter she becomes when her sacrifice does not result in acceptance from others. She has shrunk and grown hard as a way of protecting what is left of her. If she could just realise the beauty that that will follow if she has the courage to open herself up and express all that she is…
The Magician decides to grow an array of beautifully coloured flowers at her feet. Some tall and striking, others tiny and delicate, they bloom with each footfall, unfurling their subtle intricacy and delicate scent to her.
The girl remains oblivious.
The Magician strokes his chin. Perhaps, he thinks, he needs to remind her that everything in life is transitory, that this period of struggle that she is currently suffering through will be over soon enough. If she can just ride out the chaos and disappointment for a little while, it will eventually ease, ushering in a new phase of tranquility and contentment...
The Magician springs up a river beside the path that she walks. It morphs on occasion from its gently flowing state: as it meets and negotiates obstacles in its path, eddies, rapids, and small waterfalls appear then disappear.
The girl proceeds alongside it, unawares, her eyes set only on The Tree.
The girl’s weary gait and forlorn expression makes the Magician sad. He has made the world to be a playground, and life is for the playing. There is nothing that should be taken so seriously as to make a heart so dark and heavy as hers...
He sends out small forest animals to her, and they play and dance at her feet. Butterflies and dragonflies chase each other around her head. Birds whistle and warble in the trees while squirrels chirrup away in conversation with each other.
The girl does not notice them.
The Magician starts to worry. Nothing he has conjured so far seems able to avert her attention from the lure of that tree. Maybe it is its glow that captivates her so. Perhaps if he can help her to see that maintaining a lightness in her own heart will enable any source of light to be reflected from it back out into the world, illuminating the darkness around her wherever she goes...
The Magician makes the moon grow bigger and brighter than it has ever been.
The girl is blind to it, and all the light that reaches her continues to be swallowed up in the black hole that her heart has become. She continues onward, her hunger unsatiated.
The Magician becomes desperate. It seems that the girl is not open to receiving any kind of coded message. Deciding that a more direct approach is needed, he creates an angel and instructs it to hold the girl’s hand and gently counsel her.
The angel swoops down to the girl, falls in step alongside her, takes her hand and starts murmuring to her in a reassuring manner. It suggests to her that if she would only stop walking for a while, if she could just rest and be still enough to allow the pain and anger and helplessness to fill her up it would in time spill out, unburdening her, and giving her the space needed to let the magic of the world back into her heart again.
The girl does not see, hear, nor feel the angel’s presence.
The Magician is out of tricks. In one last act of love, he stands before the girl and spreads out his arms to enfold her in his embrace, intending to directly transplant some of his magic to her via the power of his touch.
The girl walks right through The Magician, her darkness so profound that it transforms him into cold, dead stone in its wake.
The angel vanishes from her side.
The moon shrinks and dims, before being blocked out entirely by an immense funnel of black clouds collecting overhead.
The animals retreat and take shelter in their burrows and nests.
The flowers turn inwards and wilt.
The sky lets loose a torrent of rain, filling the river so that it becomes swollen and raging.
A strong wind whips up and blows at the girl’s back, hastening her journey to her destination.
Moles dig frantically, turning the earth around The Tree into a giant mound that her feet climb unawares. As she reaches its trunk, vines stretch down to greet her, form into a noose and tighten around her neck.
The river bursts its banks. It floods the land, collapsing the molehill from under her feet.
The girl hangs, and the world falls dark and silent.
Copyright © Kate Chandler 2015