I was chosen for this day, that the newest of Them might learn how to care for Fragiles. I would be the first Fragile the Newest would encounter. Under supervised watch, he would learn to be gentle and careful.
It was required that the young Newest ‘be taught how to handle’ Fragiles. The Newest would then be given watch over some of them. But I cared not for what came after this, for it was this very occasion that I was selected of the many others in my company. This was a task of highest honor and importance.
When the Mentor came for me, he held me with such care that, had I not known of his touch, I would not have felt it at all. But his presence was evident in that it could not be mistaken or unnoticed… The Mentor spoke to me, not audibly, but in a way that his intentions were conveyed upon first touch. I was not worried about being ‘stolen’ away from the place I was, the Mentor promised my safety. It almost seemed as if time lay dormant as this took place, and I was brought to a place of light where my eyes could not truly see.
There, not standing or sitting, but rather existing, was the Newest. It seemed, to me, that there was silence, but at the same time, the sound of wind blowing and far-off rumbles of thunder; sounds that soothed, rather than invoked fear.
I could feel his gaze and the excitement of his smile, but saw nothing to indicate such features as had by Fragiles. The Newest’s hands stretched out to receive me and the Mentor carefully placed me within them.
At first, the Newest’s hands seemed to me a vast expanse and my skin burned at his harsh touch, but there was no pain. What would have seared me was nothing more than a slight discomfort. He was being gentle… Already, he was closing his hands around me then opening them again; a test of his restraint. I was shifted about with simple movements, feeling no fear as the Newest held me in a way one might consider as ‘playing’. Sometimes, I was able to stand, others, I was cradled in his palm.
The feelings between the three of us were of joy and curious interest. Nothing seemed more natural than these in such a setting. The Newest held me with increasing care, curling fingers around me to ensure continued safety. But there was more to learn and I was withdrawn from his grasp by the Mentor.
“Child,” he called him, now giving new instructions to the Newest. Again, his hands stretched out to receive me, but he reached instead. To lift me on his own would be a challenge, at first. A hasty touch from hands like Theirs’ and we Fragiles would fall to pieces. Thus, the initial movement was slow and hesitant, taking care not to injure.
I was singed and he retreated. The Mentor looked to me with warmth as my pain was taken. Even now, fear was unrecognized to me, and the Newest extended himself for me again. This time, there was burning without pain, like before, but also a pressure. The weight of something too great upon my weak body. He had succeeded in his goal, and I was returned to his palm to be cradled once more.
It seemed to me, then, that for a brief moment, I was cherished. Not in any way I could put into words, nor voice by meager noise. And though it lasted only a fraction of a time, it seemed an endless eternity… Then I was back where I had been, lying on grass under a blue sky. A dream, perhaps, but my skin recalled the burn of Their touch. It felt as one does when they are in a certain way for some time, only to leave it with nothing more than the lingering of it’s sensation on the body. A memory that still seems presently real, and makes one to wonder if they ever left it behind at all.
But I knew that I was no longer where I had been, no longer in such company as They presented. I was left with only part of a mind to attempt such things as remembering; Their faces, Their touch. And to debate, if one could ever really debate such things, whether it had truly occurred at all…
(Started and dropped 2/12/13, pick-up and finished 3/7-8/13, written by Kelly Shelby, inspired by C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces, pg 112, paragraph 2, lines 1-3, “‘And he took me,’ said Psyche, ‘in his beautiful arms which seemed to burn me (though the burning didn’t hurt)”, and paragraph 4, lines 8-11, “for West-wind is a merry, rough god. (Sister, do you think young gods have to be taught how to handle us? A hasty touch from hands like theirs and we’d fall to pieces.)”)