Disclaimer: The Chronicles of Narnia, all characters, places, and related terms belong to C.S. Lewis.
Light That Overcomes the Darkness
The excitement at last calms down. Your mother releases your hand, having held it through it all; quiet still, her heart is in her eyes. You kiss her cheek before she slips away. Your friends' mixture of congratulations, offered support, and demands to know "What are you thinking?" fade away. And Courtney Cornwallis at last steps away from you, distracted by Billy.
It is only now in the growing calmness that you realize, gaze brushing over each person that a face is missing from the party. Guilt pricks at your excitement and anticipation. It is not the first time such has happened; yet still something in you sinks. "Be careful not to take for granted those things important to you for less worthy things..." You push away Grandmother Kirke's words.
A careful glance about the rooms reveals a window seat occupied at the other end of the room. The straight back and slightly bent head provide you with no clue to your friend's mood as you slowly, almost nervously approach. She turns to you when you've reached the window and offers a small smile, one you are unable to interpret. Your own smile feels forced as you sit with her. You search her face. Silently she turns her gaze back to the view outside. For a time you, too, gaze with her at the gathering dark clouds slowly blocking the sun, before looking to her once more.
"And what do you think, Polly?" you ask quietly, seriously.
She smiles faintly and looks you in the eye. "It does not matter what I think of your decision, Digory," she replies lightly.
You firmly shake your head. You've made your decision, yes, yet her opinion matters to you. "All the same, I would like to know," you request, leaning towards her slightly.
You watch the smile melt from her face, and she looks down at her lap before meeting your gaze, her own solemn and serious. "I-"
"Digory!" Suddenly Courtney is there. "Your uncle and aunt are leaving."
You feel an inkling of annoyance at this interruption. Only after Polly's whispered assurance, "Later," do you allow yourself to be led away to say goodbye to your relatives.
It is a cloudless night with the stars all shining. The air is quiet and still. Sam, Eric and I reminisced about wishing on stars when we were boys. Sam said tonight he wished on one to be home again soon, with Nancy and little James. ...To be home. See the beloved country and house. Ride the pony. Be again with Father and Mother, Uncle Andrew, Aunt Letty, and frie-
You stop writing mid-sentence and stare into space. What will it be like to go home? Return to that life far from the guns, groans, grime? Will you be able - want - to forget it all? When each night you dream... A cold shudder runs through you, and your heart beats painfully in your chest. Your eyes squeeze shut against the memories.
For an instant you almost believe you feel warm fur brushing your face followed by a lion's kiss. You sigh deeply, some of the weight lifting from your shoulders. A image faintly passes through your mind: you in a chair, one of your tired, worn hands held gently as she listens to you, not fully comprehending, yet there. She, who through your letters, has shared the terror, hopelessness, pain surrounding you. It has always been so through the years. How much she has supported you, how much you've relied on her. Without her in your life, how would you have come this far? "Dearest Polly...," you whisper with wonder. Is it truly only now you realize how much she means to you?
Leaving the line you started unfinished, below it you write without hesitation: Do I have any chance with you?
You never receive a reply to your letter.
You step off the train into home. Wild cheers and clapping meet you and your comrades. So many people, so much noise, so much light... Among the crowd there is Mother and Father. Somehow you reach them and are crushed in a tight embrace. And you are surrounded by dear familiar faces. Even as you return Father's handshake and kiss Mother's tear-stained cheek and gaze for a moment up at the English sky, you are suffocating. All this celebration, joy, cannot drown out the memories flashing before you. It almost makes you sick.
Then you spot her. Standing behind Mr. Dorrit, she watches quietly, a tiny smile on her face while her eyes are sorrowful. And you can breathe, guided by this beacon of light. She who has traveled this path with you of hardships, anger, doubts.
You do not reply to the well-wishers as you work your way towards her until she is less than an arm's length away. She is Polly and yet not. You regard each other.
"Digory. I knew Aslan would keep you," she speaks first in a trembling tone.
Paying no mind to your family and friends, you embrace her long and hard. She cries into your chest, and some of the shadows dim.
"Dear Polly," your voice sounds husky. Gently you draw her back just enough to gaze into her face. The world narrows down to only you two there. "Share the rest of my life with me." Warmth fills you as her face flushes and her eyes shine. "I love you. Will you be my wife?" you ask, your heart pounding.
She touches your face gently. "Yes," she answers in a whisper. "I will."
And you press your lips against hers, sealing the promise.