i come from a home, a place, written in between the plains of somewhere hot, somewhere deep, and somewhere where the sun crowns itself as the conqueror of the heavens.
late afternoon shines onto the table, burning something sweet into the wood as i watch on, eyes searching for a cloud to lean on — a drop of water to kneel for. oh, how the summer knows my name in these moments; how i yearn for the cold and dank moments of winter — for just a moment of reprieve.
sometimes i see these memories in between the gilded skyscrapers of this always alight city, the image of glass searing into an otherwise pure skyline. passing by, people reflect others unknowingly, and i see my mother in the crowd, not even knowing herself.
in the sin of missing you, i watch myself in the mirror of these buildings, looking into those same eyes and wondering if i were ever there before?
as if it seems that home never existed, and that i was always here — simply misplaced and misguided. as if home were a past life, remembered in passing moments too small to look back upon.
now home is so far away, and now that i see the world a different way, i wonder if i were ever right in wanting more. there is that terrifying question of whether i should stay or go. who will i belong to after i forget you? the rituals we decided so long ago, i fear i cannot be apart of anymore.
but in the quieter moments, when i am alone, forced to face myself beneath the lights and colors of this always shining city, i remember. you are there with me, skimming at my lashes and at my cheeks, as i stare across a murky yet shining bay, wishing you were there with me.
Come Wayward Star, the nights wade into darling dreams, and the clouds cushion the silver moon in the sky. Hands reach out for salvation, but instead find idealization—too dear to wash away.
Once upon a time, there was a love so near, the Wayward Star leered enviously. All of its life it had watched from the heavens in the bank of newborn stars, among its brothers and sisters, but had never known love so true.
What would it mean to be cradled?
What would it mean to be understood?
And so, the Wayward Star became a Wayward Soul on the starless earth. It had lost its memories of the heavens, of its truth. Instead, it became a human, mortal and weak. But perhaps, it had always been so, before it had been, when they envied the pure human love of life.
The Wayward one spent a life in dreaming, in wishing upon the sky, the moon, its stars; what is there not to wish upon in the perfect heavens? Yet, among them in the life, the Wayward One could not see, that the earth provided love endlessly.
Winters melt into a lovely Spring, and the clouds cross the skies on a Summer day to provide an alternative to the overbearing rays of the Sun.
Everywhere, there is music.
In between reeds of grass, next to whispering trees, and especially within the hearts of everything living.
The Wayward One had asked once, Why was I born? to the stars.
And to them, the stars replied:
To live a life.
In all of us, I find the Wayward One. They come in different forms each life. And every time, there is always new love to find and share. I have realized in all my livings, all my loves, in all my wandering, that though there is hardship to be found—we cannot know happiness without it.
Everyday we sing to the everything around us, unknowingly, in our heartbeats.
Everyday we curse the everything around us, unknowingly, in our thoughts.
Though there is not always a happy ending for the Wayward One, there is always something to be found and had. In actuality, this is the gift of Life.
And so, Wayward Soul, you who I always know, find Life once again. There are wishes to be made.
When you are a witch in my world, you are cast into the forest. We are told there is no place for you in Good society, and that we will perish among the demons and fae whom we love. We are told as children that the forest is a dark and wild place, with no governments, and no rules. There is no polite society in a place with beings whom no one sane could comprehend, slumbering in the shadows of ancient trees. There are dark beasts whom my kind dance with on the full-moon nights around a demonic hellfire, and thus, we are forsaken by all in Good society.
I did not know I was a witch until I was cast out.
My hands did not invoke terrible gods; my eyes only sometimes watched the moon; and my mouth was naïve to the spoken spells. Though, I had never been an acolyte of the churches, and I never planned on being one. Perhaps that was one of my many mistakes.
The maw of the forest had greeted me that first night, looking decidedly uninviting—like the folktales said it would be. But then, the fireflies flew from the shrubs, twisting round in their gorgeous splendor. Perhaps it was a faerie’s trick; perhaps it was an omen; but I followed it, having been tired of the endless crying I did in the day. I needed some hope. My hands were newly freed from my iron shackles, and I no longer wanted to feel the fire burning beneath my feet every time a man looked at me. There needed to be something else.
And there was.
The trees twisted and curved as I passed by, leaves shuddering with the wind passing through. A storm was brewing on that inky night, and I felt power boiling in your domain. In your absence, there was little for me. Yes, I had my talents, accomplishments, and perhaps my beauty, but nothing else. That would be enough for most—those are all the Good qualities of a potential married woman—but it never seemed to be enough for me. I was occupied with too much wonder, and lofty with pride. My parents had faulted me for it.
But when the forest had led me down your left-handed path, with the fireflies blazing the way, I found myself before your dais, the moon shining atop the crown of your head.
The fireflies had transformed into a court of faeries; and the shadows that I thought I had imagined passing through the forest, out came beasts and witches from them, firelight twinkling in their palms. The wind stopped in respect for you, it is undeniable. They all stared at me, perhaps expectantly. But before everyone, I felt I had nothing. Especially before you, at first. You sitting so poised on your wooden throne, a crown made of brambles and roses, with the moon sitting above it. Gods, how afraid I had been. With fear, I had kneeled. Good women kneeled before their kings? Didn’t they?
You were after all The Demon Summoner; you, the malevolent watcher; you, the King of Crows; you, the son of the Moon goddess; you, the menace to Good. But for someone so allegedly beastly and malefic, all I could think of was your godly beauty. So ethereal.
“Lift your head,” you had commanded me, voice reverberating amongst the glade. I nearly flinched if I weren’t in so deep a daze, and I made the mistake of looking directly into your eyes.
The stories were true. You had two, great, silver glowing eyes that watched me carefully. And in your gaze, I found the godliness of old—of tale. The godliness that the churches had sought to make me revere in other beings, but all along, it had really been in your forest. There is such power in your gaze, I’m sure you know this, for when we met eyes, I felt your dominion over the enchanted forest. I didn’t know what it meant, this power of yours, and what it meant for me. And then you had spoken my name with that resonant voice, and I felt my knees lift me off the ground.
“You are free to leave, if you wish, before the boundary closes again.”
You gestured to a moonlit path, trees opening up to a pasture. Beyond it, I saw the nearest town, glowing warm and inviting. The miles between the town and the forest seemed to shorten in some instances, the hills rolling with the manipulation of your magic. I stared, awestruck. I had never seen such a display of power, in anyone, witch or otherwise. All at once, a ringing fell prey to my ears, and buzzing reverberated to my fingertips. What could have told me to stay?
Lifting my hands, I found them flaming with an orange, hot blaze. It burned my eyes to look at. But then the forest erupted into a hollers and cheers. Closing my hands, I found the beings of your forest raising their hands of fire. I turned to you, and your eyes were twinkling. Almost as if you had found something. I hadn’t known what at the time.
But for now, I know.
The other handmaidens gasp around me as we see the acolytes cleanse dispassionately at the blooded dais; my Lady watches with a straight back, her thumb caressing the bulb of her cane. She glances back, those two eyes shining from behind the translucent silk of her veil. I smile at her, and she nods.
This was the first instance of our agreement.
I knock her cane against the wooden floor of her chambers, listening to the sounds of her robes rustling as she stands before me, fingers decorated with glittering golden claws. Those two same eyes shine like obsidian behind she veil she dons. I give her the cane reverently. My Lady bows her head to me. I allow a secret smile to twitch at my lips before I leave, that small smugness at her approval growing at my heart, swelling an ego that I had long left behind before our first meeting.
“Reveal nothing,” My Lady mutters in a smoky voice, marred by the time and huffs of pipes she used to love to smoke. I only give her an acknowledging look before she moves past to her son, speaking to him in low whispers. I revel in the envy the other servants give me for knowing everything she says, and it powers every step out of the room as if I am a Lord.
Those two black eyes shine up at me as I watch from the steps of the palace, hands placed placidly in my lap as we mourn the death of the king, the smell of incense and the wind floating throughout the court.
She is still not scared when there is talk of beheading those who orchestrated his killing.
My Lady sits beside her son, a smug smile on her red lips as she watches the court lower their heads to her and her son. I watch from above in the balconies with the rest of the handmaidens, bowing my head only gently to watch her. I had only dreamt of a crown on her tall head, but it seems as though that crown will stay with her unto the afterlife. I grin.
When the palace is seized by the lords from the southern lands, I take her cold land as she lay in the court, tears coating her young son’s paling face, dragging her away as my vision blurs the ground, dulling into that black darkness seen by so many.