Friday, 2 March 2012

It's Who you Are

The three woman sat on the beach and looked out over the ocean. Behind them the sounds of a wild party could be heard, before them the waves were lapping on the shore. As the sun started to creep below the horizon people came out, hanging up ornate khanid style lanterns at regular spaces along the shore and around the pier. Two burly men in military fatigues were starting a fire pit and before long a great driftwood fire was burning. The sounds of merryment continued far into the early morning.

Together the three women watched the moon rise. It's pale disc casting a reflection across the near millpond ocean. Around them there were sleeping figures, alone or together who simply dropped where they fell. The fire was burning low and the taller of the woman reached over and threw another log on, cinders flickering into the sky as the fire started to come alive again. Still, in utter silence they sat and just stared.

With the coming of the morning sun the three of them were woken up by one of the Geisha. Leaving a tray of tea and cups she bowed and headed off. Two of them yawned and stretched and felt the cooling breeze coming off the ocean and smelt the hot tea that had been prepared for them. The third, slept.

Carmilla looked around, pulling her hair back and sighing, took the offered cup and smiled before standing up and walking to the edge of the shore. The waves lapped the shore and she could smell the tea, the scent of the saltbreeze and the woodsmoke from the fire. Her hair was a mess, but here, now, in this company she didn't care in the slightest. Sipping her tea she looked out over the ocean, and smiled in contentment. Turning she took in her companions on their lonely vigil.

Angelina took the cup and took a good mouthful before lying back and looking up at the distant clouds as they moved on their never ending journey. With the last battle finished, and the planet won she was free for a while, or until she went back. She had come back to see her sister. When she had met her on the landing pads, clad in her geisha attire and wearing the collar she had swept her up in her arms. For hours they had talked and drank and eaten. They had bandied around the names of old friends and comrades, talked about fighting and love, conquests and trades, of fortunes won and fortunes lost. And eventually the talk had come closer to home. Names were mentioned and dismissed, voices raised, tears shed and harsh biting words had come. Insults, threats.... and then pleading. Ever did two sisters fight, as they had done. But some words were said, and sometimes even though something needs to be said, there are places to say it and times to say it. But at the end of the day, sisters will always be sisters.

Angelina stood up and walked over to her sister and slung her arm around her and laid her head on her shoulder.
"Carm, I'm sorry about what I said. I truly am."
"Don't worry about it sis. Some of what you said was true. Actually... a lot of what you said was true. And I didn't like it because you told me what I had to hear, not what I needed to hear."
"Why dont you come with me? Leave all this behind, your geishas, your collar, your Mistress...."
"Could I cut off my hand and leave it here too?"
"Yes! You can replace your hand.... your arm, your leg. I did it, you can too."
Carmilla smiled softly, the patient smile she used on people, the one that compartmented what she wanted to say and kept a civil tongue.
"Angelina, you are my sister and I love you. But no matter what I do, or what I say, or how I behave, I love her too. And I can't leave her, I've tried. I keep coming back to her. Even though she is away for months at a time and I see her so infrequently. There is something about her. About this..." She tapped the collar.
Ang slipped away from her and stood in the ocean, then turned to her.
"What about your exile?"
"Self imposed...."
"But she begged you to come back!"
"No, I begged her."
"Carm, you are so infuriating!"
She smiled again. "Yes, I am."
"And what would you do if she came over that sand dune now?"
"I'd kneel and serve her. It is my place."
"Bullshit. Your place is with me. Is your need to serve her stronger than family?"
"She is my family. We have a daughter."
"And where is your daughter now? You dont know, do you?"
For a moment, Carm was uncertain.
"No. But she is safe."
"Yes. Safe... from you. Where is she? What estate, what planet, what region?"
"I do not need to know. Ithiria is looking after her."
"By the sacred moons Carm, open your eyes. You are tied to a rock waiting for a glimpse of her."
Carmilla turned around and walked a few paces to the pier.
"That's not true. I can leave any time I want. But why should I?"
Angelina walked out of the beach and over to her, grabbed her by the shoulders and looked into her face.
"Carm, I say this with all the love a sister can give you. You need to choose what is important to you. Your sister or your wife and mistress."
"Why can't I have both? WHy must I always have to choose? Who does that hurt?"
Angelina shook her head and turned and walked up the beach, shouting over her shoulder.
"Why dont you ask Bill that question."

Carmilla felt a pang of pain at the name. Bill, oh how she had loved him, but had hurt him bad. Choosing to go with her Mistress instead of the man she loved. One love instead of another. Back then she had believed she could love them both, and had hurt them both, had hurt all three of them. Bill, hurt, the pain in his eyes as she walked away from him. The hurt in her eyes as she watched him destroy the piano, smash it to pieces and withdraw within himself. The hurt in Ithiria's eyes as she saw that she wasn't the only one who had Carm's heart. And the hurt within herself that was all pervading like a cancer, gnawing away at her. She wondered how many people she had hurt, how many had tasted her love and wanted more only to be hurt by her black heart. Bill, Ithiria... Mizhara. But then, hadn't they hurt her more?

She sat back down in the sand and looked over at her other sleeping friend. Whisper, dear Whisper. So tranquil asleep, as if all the cares in the world were not yours. How I wish life was simple again. How I wish that my choices were simple.

Brushing a strand of hair from Whispers face she smiled and stood up, dusting the sand from her kimono and breathing in deeply.
"No," she said to the sky, "They hadn't. It's always been me, I have always tortured the ones I love. Just as I torture myself."
Below her Whisper stirred and stretched as she woke, looking up at Carmilla.
"Oh my, what a sight to wake up to."
Carm giggled, reached down and grabbed her hand, pulling her up and dusting the sand from her.
"Oh Whisper, you do make me chuckle."
"Then that is good. So what shall we do today? And where is your sister?"
"I think I.. annoyed her again. But she'll be back. They all come back until they tire of me."
"I will never tire of you. Just as you never tire of her."

Carmilla stood looking at the blind face of her closest friend and saw in the serenity of her face the look she had seen before on so many of her lovers and partners.
"Whisper, I dont want to loose you as I've lost those before."
"Regardless what anyone says, Carmilla, you know the value of loyalty. And you know the cost of love and devotion."
She smiled, the same patient smile that Carmilla used.
"Yes my dear?"
"Who will I never tire of?"
Whisper smiled, and took her arm and led her towards the Geisha House.
"You know in your heart."
Carmilla smiled, then chuckled then threw her head back and laughed. As she was taken to her house, led by a blind geisha she realised that this was ever her way in life. The blind leading the blind. She stopped suddenly and watched as Angelina's shuttle departed from the landing platforms.
"You can't go with her Carmilla, that is not your path. Your path is more arduous, and potentially more fatal."
"Fatal for whom?"
"For everyone you love. You cant' help it. It's your nature. It's your calling. It's who you are."

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