Title: Not Ready to Be Found
Disclaimer: I do not own the Chronicles of Narnia, etc.
Note: This is not part of my challenge series as I was just inspired to write this out of nowhere a few weeks ago (been trying to stagger my fics out) and it doesn't fit with any of the challenge words. The story is written in the first person, which I don't usually write in so it's a bit rough along the edges. It takes place after Susan stopped believing in Narnia, but before the Last Battle.
I do not understand my siblings' persistence in believing that Narnia was real. During the war we had created a fantasy, an escape, a land where we pretended to rule for many years. Of course we never truly went anywhere at all, but for some reason my brothers and sister have never accepted that Narnia was a game, even though I have accepted it quite easily. Despite its childishness, their conviction of Narnia's reality really would not be so bad if they did not continue to insist that I believe as well.
Peter argues with me, usually quite logically, if one can be logical about a magical land existing in closets. Lucy pleads with me to believe, her eyes wide with confusion about how I could abandon Narnia, never understanding my point that the land was only a game, a childhood refuge from the shadow of war. Neither of them listens to me as I urge them to grow up, act like adults…adults in this world, not the one our minds concocted so many years ago. They call me silly, say I am in denial of the truth, that I have become shallow like the girls I call my friends.
Though their words cut me, I have been able to brush off the hurt like so much dust. If they want to believe in Narnia, if they refuse to listen to reason, then let them. Narnia was a pleasant sort of fantasy, and I suppose I can allow them their game, as long as they do not expect me to join in. I just have so many other, better things to be doing with my time, real things that do not involve other-worldly daydreams. I have no need of the silly games my imagination constructed as a child.
Only…the shadow of doubt has always remained, hidden in the back of my mind. Peter's arguments I can refute. Lucy's pleas I can ignore. It is Edmund's eyes that prick the shell I have built around my heart and mind. I see in them something more, something truer than the words of our siblings. Perhaps it is because I have always been closest to Edmund, the two of us night to Peter and Lucy's day. We are both silent, thoughtful, often grave, while our siblings are laughing, lively, and always merry. Edmund and I are connected through our similarities and I have always been able to read his expressions. It could be that this is why his eyes make me pause.
I think, though, that the real reason his dark gaze makes my heart shiver with doubt is the wisdom I see in it, the memory of darkness that should not be there if Narnia was just a playful diversion from reality. I have not forgotten the story we created: Lucy finding a snow-covered forest in the wardrobe, running from the White Witch, the coronation. It was a game, a childish fantasy. But a fantasy would not haunt Edmund's eyes as I see Narnia has. I see the memory of a prison of ice, the pain and anguish he suffered, the struggle for self-redemption once saved. The memory is strong, tangible, real, and I cannot deny what I see. Narnia is a game, a game, but it changed my brother so utterly that I am at a loss to explain it, at a loss to know how his eyes could be so old without accepting the impossible.
Moreover, Edmund does not argue like Peter, or plead like Lucy. He looks at me and reads my eyes as easily as I do his, sees the wall I have built. And he only ever spoke to me once about Narnia. He stared at me and simply said, "If Narnia is a game, then Aslan is but a dream, both there and here, and then His forgiveness means nothing. And without His mercy and love I am forever lost. We are forever lost." His eyes had been sad, but not hopeless. "Susan, when you are ready to be found, He is here to find you…as He once found me."
Edmund has not spoken of Narnia to me since; he has already said all he needed. As always, he understands me, knows that I will not be badgered by words into a belief I refuse to accept. And I do refuse it, I do! I will not be party to a silly game of talking animals and magic. It is illogical and childish and I would much rather laugh with my friends than weep over a world I will never see again. This world, the one I live in and love in, is my home; I do not need anything beyond what I see around me. Not Narnia, not Aslan.
Still, I never do quite meet Edmund's knowing, wise eyes. I choose instead to run from his piercing gaze; because I fear, with a terror buried in the farthest reaches of my soul, that if I look too deeply and too long that I will believe. And if I believe, if I acknowledge that there is more than this world, then I will have to give up the life I have created, let myself be found by that terrible lion. No, I will not look in Edmund's eyes. I will not believe.
I am not ready to be found.
I actually got some inspiration for this from several people I know. Most of them were raised in Christian homes, but they have either rejected or ignored the faith of their youth. And often I think the only reason they haven't become Christians is that they are afraid to give up themselves and the world they live in, as Christ calls us to do. They know the truth, as Susan does here, but they don't want to be found by God.