The wiser, older Atlanteans always gave the ‘young ones’ endless pieces of advice, clasping our hands and nodding sagely at every opportunity.
Mostly, we disregarded the scraps of sayings and mumbled phrases as out dated, out of fashion nonsense, but occasionally, a small pearl of wisdom found its way into their speech and we all found
ourselves listening intently, and treasuring it.
One of those sayings that was often repeated had come from an elderly women, as wrinkled as a dried piece of fruit, with pale clouded eyes. She told a group of giggling girls about my age,
rejoicing over the latest engagement that true love should not be thought out or tried too hard to gain. It should sparkle in the air like cobwebs in the early morning dew, and glitter like the sea
dancing in the sun rays. It should not be a game to play, where one person always wins.
This piece of advice won the hearts of most of the girls (and probably the boys too, yet most of them claimed it was feminine wishful thinking that needed to be disregarded- except for Solo, who I
noticed ducked his head and smiled to himself, as if holding a secret to his chest like a baby, and when I quizzed him later, he refused to answer, his cheeks flushing a shade similar to that of a
It was quoted too often to count, by the girls who thought of little else but clothing and romance, and by the worried mothers, alarmed at their daughter or sons choice in partner. I had never had
reason to have it quoted at me, or to quote it at anyone else, but it came to me as I got up four days later.
Zeth’s conversation had been on my mind ever since I had left him, and thinking back, I was appalled at how brazen and over confident I had been. The initial awkwardness I usually experienced with
strangers hadn’t seemed to have been there.
Hm. Is that normal?
I sighed, pulling my clothes on wearily. The chilly morning seemed to have worked its way into my bones, and I was as stiff as a rag doll. I stretched my arms up uncomfortably and blinked sleep
away from my eyes. My head was aching with thoughts, and I felt strangely out of place, as if I should be somewhere else, far away.
I sat down on my mattress with a thump as this stupid feeling overwhelmed me. Why couldn’t I be normal and happy like the rest of the Atlanteans? Why was it I alone who had these disturbing
feelings that something was amiss, that misplacement trembled beneath the foundations of the island like earthquakes. I rubbed my temples, trying to think through my emotions. They were irrational-
Atlantis would always be here, always. Nothing could change that, we were safe. But as I told myself this, I could not help but think that I was lying to myself. Something didn’t feel right, but I
couldn’t place the feeling, or justify it, so I kept it to myself and suffered in silence.
I desperately wanted to be as carefree as the others my age, to have such joy in life, and though I acted as though I was, inside I ached with the burden of this feeling. It could not be ignored.
I turned my thoughts to Solo, in hope of release, and though a smile flashed across my face, it was a sad smile, for I could not help but think about how short a time I had to be with him.
So I thought of Zeth. He could have no worries, he could swim away from danger as soon as he had feelings of worry. I rested my head in one hand, and looked down at the neatly swept floor, every
tiny speck of dirt catching my attention. I frowned.
My heart seemed to be yearning for the freedom Zeth had, the safety he could experience, the knowledge that he could escape from anything.
Now I was being stupid. Of course he didn’t feel completely safe. There must be hundreds of fearsome creatures in the sea ravenous for a Zeth sized snack. I shuddered at the thought.
Perhaps I would go and ask him. Yes, I decided, and before I could change my mind, made my way to the bay where I had met him only four days before.
He rose up from the waves as soon as I got there, a wide grin plastered boyishly on his face.
“Airla! You came back!” he pushed himself up on a rock, and smiled excitedly.
My feelings of discomfort shrunk down into non existence. I beamed back at him.
“I was waiting for you, all this time.” he murmured, as I came timidly closer.
I blushed, not being able to think of a response.
“How are you?” he asked, smiling still.
I nodded, still unable to form words.
“Where’s your voice, kyria?” he asked curiously, “You certainly weren’t this quiet last time we met.”
I opened my mouth and tried. “Well, erm,” I cleared my throat. This was just silly. “I… Zeth, do you ever feel scared of… this whole place? Don’t you ever want to swim away? Is it just me that
thinks one day the whole of Atlantis will sink or something? Is it…?”
He broke into my string of questions with a shocked look. “Arketa! Where did those thoughts break out from?”
He still looked horror struck. Oh great, I thought, miserably, now he thinks I’m a complete freak.
“Atlantis is completely safe,” he told me, “I’m sure of it. Trust me, Airla.”
He reached out and grabbed my hand in a firm clasp, and my worries soaked through me, into him like I was a sponge being squeezed out.
I looked at his emerald eyes wearily, and sighed. “I’m sorry, Zeth. I’ll shut up now.”
“No! you’ve got to let it out sometimes, kyria,” he squeezed my hand in a comforting way, and I smiled at him.
“Why do you worry?” he asked, and slowly I found myself describing my life, teling him all about what I did on a daily basis (omitting the fact that I was a spirit of course) and detailing how
happy everyone else was, so stupidly happy that it seemed to be naivety.
He frowned at the appropriat moments, smiled at others and when I was through, he gave me a warm hug and departed in a hurry.
His abrupt exit surprised me, but I was glad of it. I was close to telling him thast I was a spirit, which couldn’t have been good.
I sat there, holding back tears for another silent minute, until I decided I had better be going. Zeth was gone, and my life must revert back to what it had been before.
I got up, shook out my skirts, and walked to the top of the beach. I turned the corner before I reached the house I lived in, when Solo flung himself at me for a hug.
“Whoa!” I took a step back as I caught his weight.
“I was so worried where you were,” Solo stood back up, looking uncomfortable. “Where do you keep disappearing off to?”
I looked away from his honest face, feeling like a liar, an outsider.
“Nowhere. Just by the sea, you know.”
He frowned, and reached out for my hand. I snatched ine away, remembering how Zeth had held it.
He gasped. “What’s happened to you? Where is my elfa under this?”
His elfa? I could not meet his eyes, and shuffled away awkwardly. I could not bear to argue with him, but I could not tell him. He would not understand.
If I told him, he would think Zeth was evil, I just knew he would. And I couldn’t bear to be separated from seeing Zeth- he made me feel so wanted and loved inside.
I turned back slightly, to see a sight which made me ache inside with guilt.
Silver tears streaked down Solo’s face as he watched me go with sorrowful eyes. I had made him cry.
Suddenly I was overwhelmed, and I ran, far away from the pain I had caused with my deception. Tears spilled down my own face, and they would not stop. Oh what had I done to him?
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