Synopsis: Maya. Rosalie told me that it's Illusion. Dream. Sadness. But sometimes a dream can be, yes, sad, but I wouldn't trade this dream, this sadness, for anything in the world. For she was in it. No, she was it: my dream, my all. And that was enough. One shot.
Rosalie sat looking at me from across the table as I lay in bed.
It was night, and I was so, so tired.
So tired, I couldn't sleep.
My eyes seemed to be glued open by fatigue, and all I could see was her.
And all she did ... she didn't study her books for another (another?) post-doctorate in whatever! comparative religions, comparative cultures, comparative what. ev. ers! that she was studying at a rates stupifying to comprehend.
She was just looking at me. Not with love in her eyes. We had, very clearly, established that, ...
And my heart continued to break just thinking of that. Just thinking of what I said.
And what she said.
And what she didn't say. Just three words. Just too, too much for her to say.
She told me.
She didn't look at me with love in her eyes, as my eyes couldn't help but look at her with anything but love.
I couldn't help myself.
No matter how stupid she thought I was. No matter how young she thought I was ... (and that hurt, a lot, too) ...
I couldn't help myself. I looked at her with love, for she was my beloved. My eternal beloved.
Who told me she could never love me.
And so I, lying on the bed, broken, sad, weak, looked at her with love. Helplessly. But ...
But ... nothing. Just helplessly. Not pleadingly. I loved her. That was that, and I couldn't ...
Because I loved her, I couldn't force her to love me, or to say that she loved me, or ... anything: show affection, or care, or ... just a spark of hope. Because she said she had none of these things. She said she was none of these things, so there was nothing inside her to give to me other than lies, and she told me I deserved better than that.
So she didn't look at me with love. But she didn't look at me with hate, nor anger, nor impatience.
Here I was, the silly little human girl who wasn't going to sleep so she could do her theses, you know: do something productive with herself other than picking me up every time I fell, wiping away my tears every time I cried, feeding me every time I was hungry, clothing me when I was naked and cold.
She did all these things. All these things that Jesus-God-Himself said were sure-fire ways to get into Heaven. All these things which were the only demonstrable proofs of love, but ...
Yeah. Whatever. You try talking sense into her. She's Rosalie, and when her face gets on one of her set looks, you just can't ...
You just can't talk to that.
You just can't talk to that without losing your train of thought, your sense of self...
... your dignity as you try break through to her, then, as you cry, your dignity more, as she wipes away your tears with her beautiful hanky or her perfect fingers, breathing you in to herself through your tears, and looking right into your eyes, into your soul, with those cold, hard, eyes that ask the 'are you done yet?' question with a callous dispassion that crushes your soul that is so desperately trying to save hers.
Save her soul. Heh.
She claims Edward says they don't have souls. You know: them. She said she tried to die. Tried to go to hell, but she couldn't get in, because even Satan, himself, hated and feared her, so he threw her out.
So now she's living her hell on Earth.
That would be with me.
Because she has whatever she wants, and can do anything she wants, all so effortlessly, but they all, all, are empty and meaningless, because there is no love in any of it for her.
And I try to tell her that I lov-...
Too late. I feel the tear staining the pillow case, and I see my vision of her blur, and I see her looking at me, her: eternal, still: unmoving and unmoved.
If I had had the faith of a mustard seed, she told me, I could tell a mountain to cast itself into the sea.
She was always lecturing me, always teaching me.
But I've never seen the sea, the ocean, and I didn't have faith, because I can't even get the smallest pebble to move, much less a mountain.
Much less something so much more important to me: her.
I sniffled and wiped my eyes with my bare forearm, feeling her gift of silk caress my sink like my flannel pjs never could ... like she wasn't caressing my skin now.
"Rosalie...?" I said.
Her lips twitched upward.
"A bedtime story?" she offered kindly.
I shook my head. Her bedtime stories always had morals to them, usually demonstrated by a horrific ending of the poor, frail, weak little heroine when she's ensnared by the all-powerful evil villainess. I'll let you guess who plays who in those stories. I didn't need to wake up screaming from nightmares Rosalie 'kindly' put into my head as warning to me about her and her irredeemable nature. I didn't believe that of her, anyway, and I don't need graphic depictions of how wrongly she sees herself to try to convince me otherwise.
"You said you'd tell me what's in that book, and ... well ..." I said.
Rosalie smiled at me, pleased at my half-ventured request.
"Ah, perfect!" she said brightly. "This'll be a delight!"
You ever imagine Rosalie Lillian Hale as chipper?
She wasn't actually perky-chipper about it, but her muted, but obvious, enthusiasm had me concerned that I was walking into another object lesson from her.
She took out the book of straight-strong lines where characters curved and entwined with each other. The book I couldn't read, until I fell asleep on top of it, and then those letters swam and danced and then resolved into words, and those words told me how a vampire could prepare a girl perfectly for ... well, you know: eating her.
Except Rosalie told me that it wasn't that at all.
She placed the book on the table in front of her, opened it, not to somewhere in the middle where I read those terrifying words, but right at the beginning, glanced down at it for the briefest of moments.
Then she looked up at me, smiled, and, oddly, got up from the table, went over to her corner, and pulled the mandolin from its case and returned to the table.
I remember when she first played me the mandolin.
You know — or you don't, I'm so tired I don't care — I grabbed it from her and told her she was playing it wrong?
You know? She was playing it like a piano? Not a guitar? So I tried to show her how to play this tiny guitar by strumming a few chords? Except my fingers got all confused, trying to make a C-chord on the six-strings when there were four? (actually, eight, but when they're doubled like that, then I count 'four,' — thanks! — and why in the world do they do that?)
And she took back the 'little guitar' and asked me to sing her a song so she could accompany me to it? And I actually did?
"Down in the Valley," right? Everybody knows that.
And I really, really shouldn't have sang that song, because she played C-G-C-G and I sang and sang, my little voice, and her looking at me, and playing.
And I got to the part where I sang:
"Roses love rain, dear, Violets love dew.
Angels in Heaven, know ..."
You know how that finishes, right?
I knew, too.
As I was singing it.
My throat tightened up so much, right then and there, I almost spat up blood.
Which, you know, spitting blood on a vampire after a long, trying day of taking care of weak, little me, ... that would've been a classic ending of my day, and well, everything else, too, after she ripped into my neck to get at the rest of my blood so intoxicating to her that just the smell of it inside my body shades her eyes black with pure want.
Yeah: "Down in the Valley," because little me singing Angels in Heaven know I love you isn't so obvious a hint to her that she wouldn't just ... well, do what she did to me, and say what she said to me, and how she said it, and what she called me, when I did tell her later that horrible night.
And then the oh-so-lovely conversation the next morning when I woke up ... woke up to her very critical and condescending and ... furious stare. And she told me exactly what I knew about love, and told me if I were saying absolutely nothing, that is, everything I knew about love (you guessed it: nothing. She showed me how much I knew about love by asking me a very simple question that I had to answer ... and I couldn't), then I had better take it back, or else ...
The 'or else' she left hanging.
I didn't take it back. I told her she could kill me. I told her she could hate me. I didn't care. Not anymore. I told her that yes, okay, I'm dumb, stupid, selfish, everything she implied I was, but I loved her, and I wasn't taking it back. Ever.
She said, 'we'll see.' And I gave that right back to her.
She was less impressed with my resolve than I was with hers.
But this time ... well, we'll see.
As we're seeing right now.
Because there she is with her mandolin, looking down at that book, and here I am in bed, praying so hard I don't make a fool of myself again. I hope to God she doesn't ask me to sing a song I know, again, 'cause ...
'Cause what's the worst thing that could happen this time?'
I've learned, the hard way, not to ask that question.
Suddenly, she plucked one, strong note. It hung in the air.
And that note reached out across the table, the air, my thoughts, ... reached into me, and pulled me into her.
Then, leaving that note there, she began a mournful dirge-like chant:
Sri guru charana saroj raj, nij mane mukure sudharee...
She was reading from the book, singing it out to me, in that magical vampire language of hers! I shuddered, scared, but enchanted by the awful sadness in the tone of the words.
Varnao raghuvar vimal jash, jo dayaku phal charee...
Finally, she plucked a bell-like note, then, as she continued to chant, the same monotonic tone, reenforcing, echoing her chant as her voice rose and fell with the words, one following the other in meaningless syllables:
Budhi hin tanu janike, sumirau pavan kumaram
Balbudhi bidya dehu mohee, harahu kalesa vikaar.
Then the notes transformed from a monotonic metronomic bell to a continuo, accompanying her words, sliding up and down with them, but then her other fingers lightly tapped the soundboard, a scintillating percussion that, paradoxically, didn't rouse me, but settled my head further into my pillow, my eyelids drooping as she continued to chant the happy-sad peaceful prayer.
For that's what it was. I felt it in my heart. She was praying. For me.
Jai hanuman gyan gun saagar
Jai kapis tihun lok ujaagar
Ram doot atulit bal dhaama
Anjain-putra pavan sut naama
mahvir vikram bajrangi
Kumati nivaar sumati ke sangi
Kanchan varan viraaj subesa
Kaanan Kundal kunchit kesaa
Somewhere in her song, her prayer, my eyes closed completely, and I began to dream, and in my dream, I woke up, and I told her, with my eyes, that she was supposed to tell me what those words meant.
She was supposed to tell me.
She didn't stop singing, she didn't stop playing.
She didn't stop looking at me, then looking at her book, then looking at her fingering, gliding so effortlessly up and down the neck of the mandolin, as I wished her fingers would so lightly stroke my neck with such gentleness and ease.
But then I realized — how many words in? — that she was telling me.
Her song was telling me:
Hooooolding me, in your arms ... vast embrace.
Hooooolding on, shining in, ... in the space.
All I want is to be with you.
All my prayers have been heard.
All I need is to rest inside
Your heart as wide, as the world.
I looked away, your beauty ... too much to bear.
Where could I run? Your eyes I find ... everywhere.
All I want is to sing to you
The song that no one has heard
All I my life, has lead me to
A heart as wide, as the world.
Sri Ram, Jae Ram,Jae-Jae Raaama.
Sri Ram, Jae Ram,Jae-Jae Ram
Sri Ram, Jae-jae Ram.
Then I did something.
I truly heard the words.
I became the words.
And I realized...
She had become ...
My throat tightened at the thought.
She had become...
Singing, she had become me.
I mean: the words! Her beauty, not mine, was too much to bear.
She was singing as if she were ... me.
For she was everywhere and everything for me.
And what did I want more than anything in the world?
I wanted her to hold me... in her vast embrace.
And she was singing those words to me.
As if she were me, singing those words to her.
Words I could not express, could never express, as beautifully as she sang them now, and she offered them up as a prayer on my behalf.
With her heart, her heart that I knew was as wide as the world.
That could love me, that I could rest inside in her arms, in her heart...
And I looked at her, singing this song, this prayer. Praying, as me, for her to love me, and I felt her infinite sadness that she ...
That if she ever did love me, ...
She was afraid.
She was afraid that her heart, as wide as the world, and her vast embrace, would crush me. Her, a god, reaching down to a mere mortal, and crushing me with her lightest touch, a flower she admired, held in her hand for the briefest of seconds, then, sadly, moving on after the only one day the flower had withered and died in her palm.
She couldn't love me. It was impossible. It was impossible as me falling in love with a flower, watching it wither and die. I could admire it for a moment, but then I'd have to move on. I couldn't give my heart to it. That would be stupid... foolish.
Pointless. I'd feel sad for it, for a moment, if I bothered to have stopped and admired it, but that would be all.
That's all I was. That's all this was. Just this one moment in time in her Eternity.
And my eyes looked to her, a god, and ... my mere mortal, imperfect eyes looked to her ...
And I pleaded, in a soundless sigh, 'come to bed, ...'
Come to bed, I prayed, and wrap me in your vast, ... your tender embrace.
And her eyes said ...
And she put the mandolin aside, and the music continued to hum, suspended in the air around us, and she moved to me, in her utter stillness, easing in behind me, wrapped in the silk slip, in the cotton sheets, in the woolen blankets, she wrapped me, wrapped in all of that in her arms, and hummed her chanting, still, in my hair, her hands over my heart, beating for her, for it was hers, and over my tummy, pulling me tightly into her, just like I liked it, and her leg draped protectively over my legs.
And I was encased into her.
I was surrounded by her.
And I dreamed she kissed me, so gently, on the crown of my head, and she sang:
Sri Ram, Jae Ram, Jae-Jae Ram.
Sri Ram, Jae Ram, Jae-Jae Ram.
Sleep, love, in my love,
Sleep, my love, in my love.
And I slept, surrounded by her Being.
And, for now, tonight, and forever, ...
That was enough.
A/N: Inspired by Krisna Das' singing of the Hanuman Chalisa, recorded 2009 in Kakrighat, India.