Where does one begin? Do I start at the beginning, or at the crossroad where I truly began? The question answers itself: there was nothing before the crossroad, nothing of particular note. Days passed, years drifted, and a curious child grew up. Others thought her curious too: too odd, too piercing a gaze, too many questions. Never truly fitting into her skin and itching at its limitations.
At some point, the details wane with the passage of time and the insignificance of that first being, the itching became a clawing. An unbearable misfit — in the true sense of a miss-fit, the body not accepting the soul — that the young woman could stand no longer. She sought answers that no one could give, knowledge that was forbidden. Her questioning drew sharp breaths and hastily muttered prayers. How could wanting to understand the wheeling stars in the sky, how a river picks its course, how a deer knows precisely where to put its hoof, what drives a man to madness… who would not want to understand such mysteries? She was puzzled by their reactions and further withdrew into her mind. At night she whispered questions into her cupped hands.
One day the wind answered. A breeze curled around her neck, brushed against her collar bones, and urged her forward. There was not a moment of confusion or doubt. Her eyes sought the horizon and her body sought solace. She felt the wind and complied, releasing a sigh of relief that mingled with the wind’s gentle insistence. She followed a call she could not hear, a signal she could not see, and she began to walk.
For how long and how far does not matter. Nothing mattered until she walked down the well-trod road, which turned into a dirt lane, which turned into a deer trail, which turned into… nothing. It’s hard to describe what came next: a feeling, an overwhelming feeling, of dread, of eternity, of possibility… of a cost.
It’s hard to describe what came next: a feeling, an overwhelming feeling, of dread, of eternity, of possibility… of a cost.
I’ll admit that she, the previous me, panicked. How could she not. Nothing prepares a mortal for the veils to be lifted. Like a pitcher of icy water doused over one’s head, the truth is offered abruptly. It presents with a howling scream that is both overpowering and silent. It dares the soul to step into its rightful vessel.
The young woman lurches forward and stumbles back, in a mental paroxysm of action and counteraction. All is understood and nothing is spoken: she could step forward into the unknown or step back into the known, but a sacrifice would be demanded either way. She could return to her previous life, burdened by the knowledge of the choice, and doomed to relive the moment in her mind until it drove her mad — or I could step forward.
Young one, you know what I chose. I sacrificed my sight for my Sight, and I would do it a thousand-fold. There is no knowledge without pain, no vision without blindness. I gave my eyes for my answers and in return I whisper them into my cupped hands as offerings to the wind.