Dance on Golden Ground/ Fly, My Mortal Mind/ Lady
Dance on Golden Ground
Memory, try to stir memory! Can I remember where I was? No, I never gave much thought to my surroundings. [laugh] I still don't.
But I remember the hills, rolling green hills, deep dark green, stretching on for miles from what I could tell. My mother, 30, my sister, 4. We, sat on the swings, next to each other as mother pushed us. Pushed us pushed us...
The feel of her touch on my back, propelling my movement, the glance up at the clouds was enough to turn my lips upward to the in contrast gray sky. My brunette locks falling against my smooth 5 year old skin smooth 5 year old skin... provoked a laugh, a gale falling against the still air. Beside me, I noticed, my sister said not a word.
Her curls were darker than mine, still are, they framed her grinning face well, still do. Casting a smile in my direction she leaned forward from mother's grasp and touched her foot to the dampened ground.
I dangled my legs in frustration- at one year her senior I was still several inches shorter. Lean, lean touch the ground... touch the ground. I could not. I cannot.
I wailed screamed and cried, unleashed the fury and selfishness that a 5 year old possesses, but no one could reply to my plea. They still can't. They still can't.
In the midst of my sufferings the gray clouds burst open, light brimmed past the surface and caressed the hills. Instantly gratified I clung to the chains of my swing and swung my legs to the sky, to the golden ground that lay ahead of me. The golden ground... the golden ground.
They called to me, they do still. Come to me come! Sense the freedom sense! And I tried to dance on the golden ground.
10 years later I have still not gotten there. But it calls more than ever.. come to me come. Not on the swings though I still go, in solitude now since my sister's grown up. But in the middle of a math test, while studying for biology, or working on a history project. come to me come. And I remember.
Remember the heart felt days of 5 on the swings. Before grades carried meaning, before it mattered if I fit in. Before the slew of emotions past happy or sad. It called to me then. And it calls to me now.
"Hello? Hello? Wake up!" I open my eyes.
Mother stands before me. "You fell asleep dear. Long day?"
I struggled to sit. "Yes, yes very long."
"Done with your homework I presume?" As if she had to ask.
"All done. All done."
Mother smiled. "Then return to your dreams." Return to your dreams...
5 years ago, and 5 years after, I returned to those swings... were they those swings? with a boy that I knew, forgotten now. Mother told me that summer that he'd be in my 4th grade class and that I probably wouldn't like him. But it was He who stirred my imagination in the drab elementary school classes and He who had become my best friend.
He was a daredevil all right, and had urged me to sneak out that night. Sneak out... sneak out... We went to the swings- illuminated in the moonlight.
He dropped to the metal and I gracefully sat down. And then we pumped our legs hard, already enlocked in competition before it was even announced. And I looked past the swings to the rolling hills... rolling hills.... and the voice called to me again. Come to me come.
But I blanched in horror. This was not the golden ground that had lured me 5 years ago- this was a silver sea. I cried at the change.
He stopped, skidding to the ground. "What's wrong?" he inquired, what's wrong?
But I could not explain. I still cannot. So I sat there, drowning in the misery of change and not being understood.
But He knew just what to do. "Look at the moon," softly He beckoned, "what a beautiful sight."
My eyes traveled upward, suddenly locked in the luminescence of the glowing ball before me. glowing. And then I realized that this was the same, although changed. Golden ground lived on through silver sea, just different. And I let out a laugh, the gale of a 5 year old.
He smiled in triumph. "Isn't that better?"
I nodded, unable to speak. For my eyes had caught another beauty, an enigma of it's own. Him. The daredevil. The best friend. My love.
I wanted to kiss him, kiss him, I still do. He made me laugh, he was a friend, He was my friend! He made me feel special. Now I wanted to give back.
But I knew not how. I still don't. So I enjoyed the moment and let the opportunity pass by. I still ask myself- Good choice or bad? Would have my ten year old body and mind been more content with the kiss or the friendship. the kiss or the friendship?
We've lost touch now- Him and me, and I'll never get the chance... never get the chance.
I turn to the voice, anxiously, maybe it's him. But it isn't. It is Mother.
"What's wrong dear? Another 'bad' grade?"
I stare in confusion bad grade.. bad grade... And then I remember. The present.
I nod through a lie for I know not how to tell her of my thoughts. For the past five years I have been governed by my grades. Only for the first 10 I was governed by magic.
But for all 15 I have searched for the golden ground and the silver sea.
Fly, My Mortal Mind
My legs, moved, as if propelled by their own power. Have you ever had the feeling that you can just lift off and fly? Well, that's what it felt like. I lifted one leg towards the wind and the other took flight, just for a second. Then the first leg would hit the ground about half a foot away and the other would flop to the ground, dragging. But in that one second when I was airborne, I felt the meaning of life in the hair cascading down my forehead, the wind whipping across my face, in the sound of my own breathing, the intake of breath, not a falter sounding from my voice box.
But after awhile, Sarah's mind returns to my body and I am mortal again. Time to go home.
As usual, the first thought that comes to Sarah's mind is regret, as the problems of her life fill her head again, and regret that she couldn't stay the immortal free spirit that allowed her to fly. Then, the immortality in her is gone and I no longer refer to the mortal as Sarah, but as me.
Yesterday Mother found me daydreaming and nearly threw a fit. "Sarah, Sarah!" she shrieked. "Welcome back to Earth, Sarah! Why must you always be stuck inside your own head? You have to take part in the real world!" I was mad, furious in fact. The woman's infernal shouting had broken my connection with the vestige of immortality still inside me. I call her "immortal" because she is free of all human toils. When I become her, I no longer feel like the troubled outcast teenager. I don't feel any emotion at all, just the motivation to fly. And I do fly.
If I stay away from the immortal too long, I am sure that I'd just break down and die. How much more can my mortal brain take of stressful assignments that seep in through the cracks of my life and invade like an army, and a mother who's never satisfied? "Sarah, pull up that grade! Sarah, invite a friend home! Sarah, take part in the real world!" That one angers me the most.
Outside of my head, in the real world, shyness and slowness handicap me. I try my best at my studies, I try my best to talk comfortably with boys and girls alike. I fall short, of course I fall short because these are my weaknesses. But my mother fails to realize that with weakness comes strength.
My mother often compares me to my older sister Ashley. Ashley's curvy, tall and beautiful with soft brown hair falling against her shoulders and tender features. Ashley has mountains of friends and boyfriends. Ashley's starred in school productions and county productions and has made the Yearly High Honor Role since she was old enough to read a textbook. That's what my mother sees.
I see doubt. I see an insecure child, angry at her successes; they make it all the harder to fall short now. I see a girl whose "friends" pressured her into doing things with boys and pills; I've seen the evidence. I see a girl who cries herself to sleep each night, not because of school failure but because she feels like she's failed herself.
That's my gift. I only realized that I picked up so much about people a little while ago, just by watching their behavior around others and by themselves. This gift has made my own mortal burden a little easier to handle. Perhaps I can use this gift to help people, like through therapy. And that's the happiest thought of all, because I agree somewhat with my mother that I am selfish and introspective.
But Mother sees introspection as a bad thing, whereas I see it as good. Without learning about and accepting myself, how can I possibly step out into the real world? Mother thinks it can be done but the more I think about it, the more I think that she doesn't know the real world at all. She desperately tries to make the "real world" a haven for all that she's good at: confidence, knowledge of studies, and social ease. But something I've learned from that moment I become mortal from immortality is that the world is never easy for humans. The world is filled with complex problems and multiple personalities, which none of us can master fully. Mother sees this as a bad thing and therefore feels the need to simplify the world. I see it as a good thing. None of us are perfect, so those who pick on us can be ignored because there is nothing wrong with having problems. They have problems themselves, which is why they pick on us in the first place.
Has my immortality led me down this path of life knowledge? No. Immortality allows me escape, escape that I might not need for much longer. It was I, through my weaknesses and failures that discovered the real world and the path I must take on it. So I will start down that path and learn by my weaknesses and failures and strengths and successes because I am Sarah, mortal, with the same opportunities as every one else. I feel my mortal legs begin to lift off the ground and I fly.
I clutch my knees to my chest, back and forth, back and forth, the carpet soft and thick under me. The lacey curtains rustle, wind drawing my eyes to the view, and suddenly I see her.
She is tall and thin with pale garments flowing outward from her body. Red hair flowing like her clothes is pushed down by a straw hat with a pink ribbon tied around it.
She is on our lawn, laughing and twirling, but my heart seems calm upon seeing this stranger, playing with herself as one might play with a child. The trees and flowers seem dimmed and out of place with her presence, like she is the only thing I'd ever known.
As she spins, slowly her gaze meets mine, eyes remaining open and joyful, and her ruby lips open to a smile. She sings: come away with me, child, come, to place where you and magic will be one, come away with me, child, come, to place where you and magic will be one.
A hand brushes my shoulder, softly but startlingly. I turn and see: it's Mary. Dark eyes, tight hair in a bun, work clothes covering her body. "What are you looking at, Ella?"
I turn back to the window and she's gone, but the music still remains, drawing her out from my memory. I get lost in her eyes, her smiling ruby lips… come away with me, child, come, to place where you and magic will be one.
Mary sighs and leaves the room, her high heels clashing loudly with the wooden floor. And I keep my eyes on the window, rocking back and forth.
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