She arose from the glassy, clear, lake –
A black apparition turned, then, to flesh,
A flame of fire encapsulated within her breast
He could see her
But he knew she wasn’t real,
No matter how much he would’ve loved to believe she was.
“I AM real” she would exclaim
In response to his silent thoughts
In puzzlement he longed for simpler days –
Before her –
He wanted her so…
He didn’t want her at all.
She wrote him a quote
From ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’:
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
He understood –
Of course he did,
And he cared, too.
Still, he couldn’t be sure.
“Just give me some time”, he would say.
So, she waited.
“But, I really want you right now”, he would say in another moment.
So, she would come to him.
All the while the fire in her breast
Would leap and twist and flicker
With each new invitation, song,
And possibility of Love being made Real.
…though she was indeed real already.
The fire within her would grow dim
Each time she would dream he believed,
Because he told her so,
And, in the next moment voice his doubt.
The tears inside damped the flame.
She didn’t need him,
And he made it clear he didn’t need her
…even doubted that he may want her.
She knew he was afraid,
And only trying to find his feet
And sharpen his eyes.
She was afraid, too, of her feeling of need for him –
Her need of his Love…
“The only way is to love, no matter what”, she reminded herself,
“not to fear.”
So, she would be brave,
And honest as she knew how.
He was brave, and kind, and honest as he knew how.
The sun shone at her back
As she stood at the water’s edge.
He saw her reflection perfectly in the still water.
He saw the fire glowing steadily within her breast.
He picked up a stone
And felt its cold, hard, smoothness in his strong hand.
“THIS is Real!” he exclaimed silently to himself.
She looked at him,
pain written in the expression of her face.
This time she remained silent.
“WHAT are you, anyway?” he questioned her out loud,
Trying carefully to mask his frustration –
Frustration born of his own confusion.
“I am a Star” she answered,
“I am a Butterfly… Sometimes I am a Waterfall,
And sometimes I am a Flower.”
“But, I am always me,
and I am always Real.”
“This is Bullshit!” he finally said.
“I really don’t need this,
And I sure need you about as much as I need a hole in the ground.”
“I don’t know WHAT or who you are.
For all I know you’re a figment of my imagination.”
He threw the stone in his hand at her reflection in the water.
“I think I just need you to go away…”
But, the words needed not to be spoken.
As he began to stop believing,
And to feign indifference to her existence,
She felt herself begin to fade into the ether once again…
As the stone hit the water
The integrity of her reflection was lost in the Ripples.
Mud came up from the bottom and darkened
the place where the vision of her had just been.
He would never see her tears…
all the better.
But, he would miss her –
For, in truth, he did need her…
Her fire, her belief in him, her dream,
to enrich and soften his own.
He was no more Real without her, here,
believing in him,
than he had ever been before.
The water of the lake again became smooth as glass
The mud settled,
But he still did not see any more clearly -
or maybe he did.
It was silent and calm once again.