The Cost (A Particular History 3) {RW}

Cynthia’s dreams are cyclical. The way she could weave images together and create false realities so grounded and potent was a brilliant feat. She could erase their very existence in a few choice words. It was an act of strength to destroy that which was created. I always envied her capability. In her hands she held the very fabric of time and space each moment she took to breathe. She was also an excellent liar.

Cynthia used to speak of far off places and sword fights. She dreamed of technicolor swirling waterfalls that cascaded into endless seas of silver and of floating castles that lived amongst the clouds yearning to touch the ground. She spoke of mysterious towns covered in the fog of always midnight where shadows lived and lurked haunting the inhabitants who never had arrived to begin with. When she was sixteen, she told me of floating to another world in her dreams where the man in black greeted her and asked her for a promise. She did not give it to him. Instead she followed him through unending staircases to stores she could list off in languages that I did not name.

Cyndy and I also spoke the language. Cyndy, however, liked to pretend that she did not know it. She once whispered behind my back, to other girls, when I was empathizing with the bushes after they had been clipped. Their plight — a dream of growth and sky — had been squashed by scissors and razor sharp words. They knew the secrets regarding power I had given. The one I had not yet touched. That I have not yet touched.

When I was twelve, Cynthia told me names that I remember with every fiber of my existence. They resonated so deeply then, touching on a distant life once long lived. These days she dances around the subject with childish blushes and excuses of youthful foolishness. Cyndy, too, liked to act as if what we experienced in the past was a simple childhood desire to be something else.

The ten year old me had no concept of this. I have no need for it now. When the world circles on, acting as if experiences were imagined, what am I to do? What does it cost to lose yourself? What is taken from you when balance itself is but a thread you can flip over? The road that you meander is not the ones that those around you know. There are no keys. There are no stores. There are no men in all white and all black waving at you from street corners. There are only doors. Doors are meant to be opened. Doors do exist. What doesn’t exist?

Three young women — walking in a full moon night with a mysterious squall causing street lights to flicker until they burst into shattered glass and sparking rain — never sang songs of harmonious tune. They knew no such songs. They heard no thuds as trees fell and rain dripped upwards. Cynthia and Cyndy hung out with each other more than a dozen times. Today they claim they have never met. Tomorrow, perhaps, they will remember an anomaly that not even I remember. Then I will cherish it as it is stolen from them once more.

I write this as a way to articulate the memories that will never disappear. I know them all and wonder why it is that I am cursed. A silver key dropped in a lake as Cyndy made eye contact with me. A hostile laugh as Cynthia held a knife against the throat of a red headed woman who slithered and shrieked. Yes, I’ve seen the haze of hesitation on their lips before questions fill their eyes. They know they have lost something, although not what. And still, Cynthia repeats dreams to me that she told me once long ago, fresh as they were the first time she had them.

Years of friendship bind us. I am traveling this path alone, searching for the door that will lead me to safety. This record is for you to guide me home.

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