Alright, but are you telling me there wasn’t a tearful and thankful hug between these soft children before they left The Unknown? My lil brother has been in tears hugging me, and all i did was help him down from the monkey bars, if we’d escaped a soul eating eldritch abomination, believe me, we’d both be in tears.
“There is an ancient conversation going on between mosses and rocks,
poetry to be sure. About light and shadow and the drift of continents.
This is what has been called the “dialect of moss on stone - an
interface of immensity and minuteness, of past and present, softness
and hardness, stillness and vibrancy, yin and yan.” Robin Wall Kimmerer,
Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
Moss on limestone, Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming
Maggie and Lucy knew it was an act, right from the start, the bravado. No matter how many comments Alex threw out about how ‘this isn’t necessary’ and 'I don’t even know why you’re bringing me here’.
An act they would see through even if they didn’t know that Alex took sponge baths, and couldn’t be in the bathroom alone when she took them. Even if they didn’t know how Alex froze if the sound of running water caught her by surprise. Even if they didn’t know about the nightmares.
An act they saw through because her voice was just too high, because her grip on their hands was turning her knuckles white. Because she had asked them to do this with her, for her, and seemed to be fighting every step.
At home, they sat in the bathroom whenever she asked, they warned her before turning on a faucet, they cuddled her between them, doing their best to wipe the tears away as soon as they formed.
Walking from the parking lot to the beach, they squeezed her hands as hard as she was theirs, they kept the conversation going, urging her forward, but making sure she knew she didn’t have to.
Making sure she knew that this was entirely her choice.
The sound of the ocean grew louder. Alex’s steps grew slower.
“This is stupid,” she mumbled, coming to a full stop, pulling her hands free and wrapping her arms around herself.
“No,” Lucy quickly said, stepping in front of Alex. "No. Nothing about this is stupid.“
"I’m a grown woman afraid of water.”
“And for a good reason,” Maggie said. "We can go, if you want.“
Alex looked to where the ocean was, still hidden behind a row of resorts and a raised board walk. She shook her head, then looked to the ground.
"I grew up on the ocean, I know it’s different than…”
Than tubs and showers and tanks designed to drown her.
She took a deep breath, then grabbed their hands again and started to walk. Her knuckles still turned white, but her steps were more sure than before.
They turned around one of the hotels, and the ocean spread out before them.
Alex stopped. Her muscles tense. She closed her eyes for a moment, the nodded.
Her steps were slow as they walked towards the sand, then stopped completely once they stepped into it.
“How do you feel?” Maggie softly asked.
Alex nodded, then shrugged.
“Do you want to go to the water?” Lucy asked.
Alex shook her head. "No. Can we just sit on the sand for a while?“