The light around her began hum excitedly to create tendrils that groped the curtains behind her and pulled them down gently. Rizzo was taken aback when a dress was fashioned around her form rather quickly.
With one step, she realized the blue makeshift dress was heavy, shimmered like water, and that she had a flowing train behind her. Her skin looked luminous like the moonlight of a clear night, and she was brought back to his title for her: “She Born of Water and Night,” she murmured to herself.
“Walk with me,” he rumbled earnestly. “We have much to discuss.”
This was a hopeless task, and she knew it and said, “Walk with you? Where are you?”
An almost human laugh was heard at least ten feet to her right, and her head whipped toward the sound.
A gentleman with a steady gait, mahogany medium length hair and eyes that shifted hue every second, it seemed, was standing before her with his…hand outstretched toward her. He wore a suit of black with delicate but bright red trim, and when he smiled there was a radiance that froze her heart for a few beats of time.
He bowed and said, “Nice to formally meet you, Rizzo Lamilia. You can call me Rizzo ImProper.”
“I am not going to call you that,” she spat.
“Good, then you will call me RIP?”
Her eyes widened and then turned toward the ground as she said, “How depressing…Am I dead?”
He laughed again while shaking his head and said, “No no, my dear. Not even close to being dead.”
“Then can you please stop scaring me and allow me to call you something else?”
He looked a bit surprised at this and nodded. “Call me what you want then, Moonlit Water.”
She tapped her chin and said, “I will call you Hue, since your eyes change color so much.”
He nodded obligingly in understanding. “Alright then, Hue it is. Are you ready for our excursions?”
“Take my hand, Rizzo,” he gently demanded.
She took his hand and all around them closed like a book and they were the dust caught between the pages.
When Rizzo opened her eyes, she heard screaming. Bolting upright, she looked around and saw she was in a jail cell. Her dress was still intact and catching light as usual, but in the cell there was a bustle of two inmates.
“What the hell is going on here,” she asked, out of breath.
Appearing beside her and twirling her locks between his fingers, he said in a low tone, “You have to observe to understand.”
She was perplexed but stayed in her corner with him and started listening to what was going on around them.
“Man, I just want to get out of here!”
“You just got here, you idiot—you’re not going anywhere for a while after what you did.”
“I will if they find it was self defense! I have faith in justice after all,” said the first inmate, dressed in orange. He was young, tall with olive skin, and had perfect teeth.
“I’ve said that all my life, sweet cheeks. Ain’t nothing going to change the fact that you are stuck in this cage with me.” The second inmate was an older man with very dark skin and an award winning smile that covered his face elegantly.
The first inmate was quiet for a bit, working up courage to ask, “So, what are you in for, Fellah?”
Second inmate raised his eyebrows a bit. “Well, I was on my way home and I saw a pretty lady all by herself. Back in my time, if you even talked to a pretty white lady you may as well bet on jail time. Well, I was young and dumb when I tried to help pick up her stuff for her and hand it over.” He shook his head regretfully.
The first inmate was looking at the second with confusion. “Soooo, what did you do?”
“She screamed rape because I was giving her shirt back…and also said I was trying to steal from her.” He shrugged and added, “I wasn’t trying to hurt nobody.”
There was a silence in the cell, because both of them knew that was not the whole story. The first inmate decided not to press further.
“So, Cowboy, what brings you to these parts,” the second inmate asked.
Looking slightly annoyed, the younger man started his story. “Well, you know that feeling when you get really angry and just want to beat someone’s head in? Yeah, I got that feeling and beat a guy’s head in with a few bullets…”
“Son, that is nothin’ to be proud of.”
“I know,” he snapped. “I was just so angry that I couldn’t see straight. I swear he was coming at me, but being a minority, I never got the benefit of the doubt.”
The second inmate was nodding knowingly. “I know the feeling there.”
She was listening intently to the conversation when a hand was tapping her shoulder. She turned her head and a light breeze met her face to blow the hair out of her eyes.
He asked, “Did you see that?”
She looked at a loss for words and said carefully, “I saw men in jail, condemned for life…lying about what they did, I think. What is the point of lying more when you are already in prison?”
“First, to answer your question: Sometimes people must lie to themselves in order to cope with the situation they are in. Like you did when you realized that you were not performing anymore. They have to make sure that they do not believe that the way they are being treated is correct. Yet, why do you say they were lying at all?”
“They obviously were…”
“You surprise me,” he stated simply.
The scenery shifted like fog blowing over a new mountain.
They were sitting on a park bench where there were no people walking by.
She was sniffing the air because it smelled like wild flowers and asked, “Why do I surprise you?”
“You do not, actually. I was being sarcastic.”
Looking aggravated and a bit insulted she asked, “Well, what was I supposed to say about them? They were confessing horrible things and do not deserve the decency of an—“
He cut her off and said, “Everyone, no matter what, deserves the decency of an unbiased observation from time to time. This is lesson number one: If we are to go on this journey, there must be no judgment.”
“Aren’t we learning today,” she stated sarcastically.
He looked a bit saddened but the light around him brightened with a vibrant pink. “Why yes we are! Lesson number two: You need to learn to separate conditions and crimes from the people themselves.”
“So you are saying that I should love everyone and accept them despite the fact that they clearly violated others and took away their beauty of life?”
He shook his head slowly. “Nooooo. What I am saying is that you should strive to understand them. You do not have to accept them and invite them to your dinner table. The only way a situation or person will let you in is if you give up your preconceived notions and biases to simply understand what is going on around you in detail. To more easily do this is to separate the person from the offense for five seconds in order to get a more accurate temperature.”
Nodding her head she said, “Alright, I will try to do this.”
“Another thing though…”
She looked at him with concern but asked, “What?”
“I am going to ask you to reorganize these situations.”
“And If I don’t?”
“You will after you see what you obtain for putting forth the effort.”
Her mind was reeling as she set her mind in determination toward the next task at hand.