I was hypnotized by the motion of the water and the musical sound of the water drops falling from my finger tip into the dark reflective fountain. I was just daydreaming again. With my knees pulled up under my chin, I dipped my finger into the dark water and watched the rings ripple away from me making the reflection of the red moon dance and shimmer.
I imagined his face in the water staring back at me. I wondered where he was and what he was feeling. I hoped his spirit wasn't miserable like I had been lately. He always had a knack for remaining cheerful even when things looked grim. Could I love him as much as I thought I did or was it just the misery of having him ripped away from me that made me feel this way? It had been one year, four months and six days. Would I ever be able to let him go?
I was fine while I was desperately struggling to protect my daughter Hope from the politicians who feared her birth, but once things settled down and she seemed safe my emotions caught up with me and flooded my mind. The pressure was crushing me. The more my life stood still, the more my own thoughts and feelings seemed to cripple me. I knew I needed to do something but I just couldn't yet. I felt like I could sympathize with this frustrated fountain shut off for the night. What's the point without flowing and motion?
Leaning my forehead on my arm, I watched the tears roll off my nose and puddle on the stones. Then my hat flew off my head and an unseen attacker started beating me with it.
“Don’t be such a weak Elvaan fool! Pull it together. You’re embarrassing me just to see you embarrass yourself.”
I turned to see Foxx glaring at me with my hat in his hands. Throwing it at me in fury he asked, “What’s the matter with you? Have you no pride? Get up, form an experience party, and stop wallowing in self-pity when there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Your legs aren't broken. Work them.”
I wasn’t sure what to say. He definitely caught me off guard, something I would have been humiliated about if he wasn’t him. He could sneak around anything undetected.
“I’m a woman. It’s my prerogative to be emotional if I please.” I said with a glare.
“Well it’s my prerogative to want to kill you for it.” He retorted with a bit of a snort.
“Look at you. You have good friends who love you, you’re a reasonably respectable thief when you’re not so distracted by your emotions and you have a long life ahead of you to try to make this perfect life you think you're entitled to. Be bold and stop being such a ninny.”
“What kind of man uses the word ninny?” I said with a grin.
With that he clutched his dagger and stabbed me in the leg. “Get up, get up, get up! It’s time for you to do something productive. This overindulgent self-pity is disgusting me.”
I yelped in pain and held my hand over the gushing wound. Pouring a potion over it healed the injury, with the temporary side effect of feeling like a hot iron poker was knitting the edges of my tissues back together. I suffered this kind of blow many times but the treatment still made me whimper a little. “Did you have to stab me?”
“Do you have to ask? Look at yourself. Stop asking stupid questions and go buy some arrows. Your marksmanship is shameful.” With that he bounded off in half-airborne taru strides without even looking back. There was a time I would have gotten up and followed my old trainer to battle to study his every technique, but not tonight.
I swirled my hand in the the pool and splashed away the glassy stillness. I would find my way in life. I just wouldn't be pushed into doing it any way but my way. Grinning, I played with the gold coin I had just lifted off Foxx. I was not as crippled and useless as he thought. I was still a master of distraction enough to steal from a infamous thief. There was hope for me yet and I could feel the gentle swish in me of the only constant in life, change. This time I welcomed it.
(Thank you Stephen for being my editor and teacher on this one through two versions. Check out his blog at http://fourthdayuniverse.blogspot.com )