By Fhionna Mac
If I could be with my Aurora again, the way she was, we would take a trip to the mountains. “Let’s go to Sgùrr a’ Mhàim, through Devil’s Ridge,” I’d say, holding her hand, pretending we had all the time in the world together. Once we reached the highest point, we’d stare down, in silence, across gray mist to the valley below. I’d tell her, “I’ll protect you from him. You don’t have to be his,” but I’ll know my words are not true.
Aurora would be back how I’d always known her, as she had been before all the shouts inside her had doubled into screams, before her thighs had parted for the Fae; before his winged shadow had shattered her thoughts. “I love you the most in all the world,” she would say to me. She’d lean forward, hoping for a closer inspection of the tiny houses in the bowl of the valley below. Intoxicated by the freezing air in her lungs and the scent of wild heather, she’d say, “I’m at home here,” as the wind whipped her fair hair across her freckled face, and she would turn to me, and smile.
My fears for the future, the anger and the hurt and the shame that visits whenever I close my eyes to sleep, the grief that all this stirs inside my heart—all that would crumble away. I’d feel whole again. I’d feel nothing but love for Aurora coursing through the veins in my arms as I held her to my chest.
We would cling to each other as we stumbled our way back down, through the bracken. We would climb over ramshackle fences, tear the lamb’s wool from the wire that keeps them safe, and scale another rock face just for the fun of it. “Maybe you didn’t have a choice. His midnight visits, your withdrawal from me. Maybe you felt like you couldn’t refuse. That’s right, isn’t it?” I’d say. There would be no answer. We’d both place our palms on the rock, as if touching forgiveness. “We can walk back slowly, take all the time in the world,” I’d say. “No need to rush home, we’re safe here.”
Halfway down the mountain, Aurora would take my hand in hers and squeeze my fingers through habit. “The garden will look beautiful before long. The cherry blossom is already in bud and the blueberries will color soon.” We wouldn’t talk about the Fae. “The air is fresh here,” Aurora would say, “but the rocks and land are changing, eroding, shifting. Nothing stays the same.”
Back at the bottom of the mountains, in the valley, we’d spend our last few hours together just watching the clouds move; all of us purposeless and carefree. As day would pass into evening, we’d notice the color of the sky change so many times and try to name every hue. We’d close our eyes and rest on the wild grass; we wouldn’t see the claw marks on her fragile skin. We wouldn’t taste the bitterness of unfaithfulness or hear his whispers in the wind. We would know who we were and what we’d been, waiting and dreaming about what we could still become.