mountains: part IX

We had been walking for a while already. I did not know for how long: it felt like hours. My heart couldn’t be quiet and I could constantly feel it pounding through my clothes: I hoped no one else would notice it. No one else had to know just how anxious and panicked I was.

‘Are we far?’ I finally asked.

‘Far… from what, exactly?’ said the girl, whose name was, as I had found out minutes earlier, Sygfrieda.

‘From… from… you know… from Cam, wherever she might be’ I said: where else could we be going? I found even more space inside my head to be anxious as I realised the purpose in us walking together wasn’t clear.

‘Oh, Cam, right, that is your girlfriend or something, isn’t she? Yes, now I remember’ said Sygfrieda. ‘No, we’re close, if she is in fact where we think she is’ she said, and then she stopped walking and looked directly into my eyes as she said: ‘Trust yourself, dear. Don’t you feel so disquieted. You would be able to make it without us, so now that you’ve got us you’re even closer. Your heart has been racing ever since we found you and it is honestly bothering me. Keep calm, if you please.’ I would have taken those words to be the rudest and at the same time the most encouraging I could hear at that moment, but the tone of her voice was unequivocal: she meant it in a very honest and endearing way. I tried to do those things at once but it was no easy task. Sygfrieda must have known it, because as I was trying to calm myself down she looked at me: my heart was still beating heavily and I felt as if nothing I could do would change that. The look in her eyes was not one of disappointment or anger, though: it was as if she noticed my effort; and as if that was enough, for the time being. How could she be so nice to me?; she did not even know me. I had just learned that we were on the “enemy’s” ground and she was supposed to be an enemy then, by extension: the woman walking beside me, Rhosalíne, had been wearing the same serious look from the start of our walk, as if she firmly believed and cared about the history our peoples shared. I had not seen the non-fox for quite a while, and I assumed it was hovering somewhere else. The only one showing any real compassion or concern towards me and my deeply troubling issue was Sygfrieda. She must have been right around my age by then: she must’ve understood how all that that was past between our peoples and histories couldn’t be further from reality for my generation. And it was, indeed: even for Cam, who had been brought up in such a traditional way, those stories sounded like nothing more than stories one tells one’s children before putting them to sleep.

And then… It had a been years since I last felt it, but now I could feel it again: I could feel Cam’s presence. I could feel she was somewhere near: I could feel her. I was so happy to be able to feel her and, at the same time, so upset for not knowing exactly where she was or how, and if she was fine: I would’ve kicked myself in the teeth if I could. I had taken that for granted: I had done it so that I had forgotten most of the things I’d been taught. Years earlier, and even when I was a kid, I would’ve been able to pinpoint her location and the state she was in: I would’ve been able to help her sense me. And now all that I could get was some sort of a weak signal. I had so much to learn again; and I wanted Cam to be there to help me and to feel smug about being right all along.

I looked to the east, to the shining sun, and there was my personal sun also shining a few dozen metres from me. My eyes couldn’t discern Cam from trees from other things, but something else inside me could and it did. There were those beings again, those weird things hanging around her, and they looked nothing like Sygfrieda: I couldn’t tell whether they were simply there or if they were hurting her. I couldn’t tell what was going on but that was Cam and I was speechless; I softly poked Sygfrieda and pointed at that direction, as a way to let her know I had found what I was looking for.

(Carol Smnt)


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