No one knew where the girl had come from. She didn’t even know. She came in a burst of light and having cast off all memories she embraced the wind and fell from the stars. Her dark black hair had blossomed and bloomed in the moonlight, fluttering like a trapped bird in the cage of time. And yet time had no hold on this girl whose face held the sorrows of a thousand ages. Perhaps that was why she could not remember herself. She had stayed for so long that there was nothing left to remember. It was as if her memories were tied to the places they came from and as they flickered and faded out of time, so did all that made her who she was.
The people around her came to call her by a name: the Girl that Time Never Touched. As they married, had children, grew old, and then died in each other’s arms, she stayed the same. No one was her friend, though few were her enemy; no one loved her, though few hated her. She was simply alone, lost, forgotten, and afraid. She was so, so afraid. The legends began to grow as the centuries passed. Trees grew and fell, villages turned into cities, and the screaming girl stayed exactly the same. Eventually she stopped coming near people, and all that was left to remember her was the title of Banshee. She screamed every night, but it seemed as if she was only heard if the light slipped from another’s eyes and the ground grew cold beneath her feet.
In her home in the forest that slowly faded away around her she simply sat, thought, and cried. She tried to remember, but she soon began to forget why memories were so important. Each year that passed took another year’s memories with it. It was as if her memories were tied to the air, and each season of wind that came sent the rest running for the hills. She would have run too, if she remembered what hills were. Instead she sat in her cave, dark and damp, and carved letters into the walls. She didn’t know where she had learned them, or when, but she wanted never to forget. She carved letter after letter, until there were only five letters left for her to remember. They weren’t in any order, and she had no idea what she was doing or how it would change her life.
She slipped into life, just wishing she could slip out again, and found her only comfort in the stream of ice water that flowed down from the skies. It was like a gift from heaven as it washed past her skin, making her forget that she had forgotten and remember what it was like to know. To know what? She wandered through the trees, wondering what she was missing, as days turned into weeks, which turned into months, which turned into years, which turned into lifetimes. Occasionally, there were friends. In 1857 a young girl wandered into her cave and showed her the stars. But when winter came she was gone, and no one remembered she had even existed.
It was 1923 when she first felt love, or thought she felt it. Mama Sarah vowed to care for her until she died, and she treated her like a daughter. She even took her into her home and taught her about the world that she lived in. For the first time she could remember, she had a family and her heart ached with joy and love. Heart aches hurt, but not always. One day, the pain was gone and it never came back. But love is a funny thing. Every now and then, as the girl stood in the rain looked up at the wind, her lips would start to twist into a shape she didn’t remember and the ache would return as she smiled at the ghosts of the past. But it was not enough.
It was the end.
This is the story of a boy.
Everyone knew where he had come from and never let him forget. He came in a flurry of excitement and, born on the wings of circumstance and fortune, went through life with a friend in everyone and in no one. He was loved by all, and hated by all. He was the friend of all, and the enemy of all. He ruled over the weak and weary without fluttering one beautiful eyelash. His eyes burned with disdain for the world.
And none could blame him for hating the world, because it had not treated him well and he was forced to remember it every day. The streets laughed at him as they threw every mistake in his life back at him. They wove a blanket of regrets and sorrows and wrapped it around him until it was more of a rope which strangled him. He pushed and pulled as he tried to escape the world’s view, but the rope of “good fortune” kept pulling him back to his house. They came to know him by a name: The Boy that Could Not Be Forgotten. No matter how they tried, he was always there. No matter how he tried, he was always there. As trees grew and fell, he always stayed the same. He was a figure of change that stood still like a statue of a man in motion. What a contradiction it was to present something moving, but make it stand still.
In his house called a mansion he simply sat and grew while the world pointed and stared at the boy who never aged. True, he grew taller, and true, he grew older; but to the world he was always the same child and he never would change. His fear grew to bitterness, his bitterness grew to anger, his anger grew to hate, his hate grew to pity, and his pity grew to love. As the world saw no change, he saw none. And yet what no one saw was the change in his heartbeat. The steady pounding of the drums of war slowed until they were nothing but a distant hum that was filled with sorrow and love. And yet, he knew none of it, or how his life had changed.
He slipped into life, but no longer wished he could slip out. He melted into his world and found comfort only in the steady pounding of the warm ocean that fell from the heavens. It enveloped him is a blanket of joy that would briefly untangle the noose of the world. He wandered through the grounds around his mansion and wondered why he felt so empty. What was he missing? Occasionally, he had real friends. When he was twelve years old he befriended a boy of similar age who followed his every footstep but didn’t follow his every command. The played together as they wove themselves a third blanket of playfulness that formed a cocoon around them and filled with warmth. And then winter came and the holes began to show as the warmth drained and his friend disappeared from his life.
He never felt love, at least not real love, aimed at him. He always imagined it as a heart-shaped arrow that flew through the air and stung the target so that he felt both pain and joy at the same time. When he watched others, he saw it more as a vapor of colors that bounced off of their upturned lips and through the air as the laughed and giggled with the effects of joy. They were delirious with love, like a drug that embedded itself in their skin, never to be rubbed off. But it was not enough to watch them.
It was the end.
This is the story of a boy and a girl.
Everyone knew of them, and yet nobody knew them at all. The boy was a legend and a pretty face, but had no heart in the eyes of the world. He was wrapped in a noose which slowly dragged him towards the hatred of a hateful world. The girl was a story and an ear-shattering scream, but was not remembered by the minds of the world. She was trapped by her own memories which always seemed to end.
They never met, but if they had…
Time stopped, the world stood still. He stared at her and saw the light of her birth and the whole of her life. She stared at him and saw his loving heart and his lonely soul. They stared at each other in perfect peace. The one knew not what to say, the other could not remember what to do. So they simply stared at each other as the forest around them filled with ticking clocks that slowly, so slowly, ticked, tock, tick, tock, tick, tocked to a stop.
The sky around them was filled with darkness that blotted out the stars and it boomed with the roar of a thousand lions. The light that filled the sky danced around from cloud to cloud as it twirled behind clouds and around clouds and through clouds. And then, the oceans collapsed. Out of the sky fell a sea of water that was warm and cold. As each drop plinked to the ground, it splashed off with a tinkling jump that bounced it back up so that it hit them again.
Both looking up at the sky, they suddenly felt something on each of their faces and it wasn’t the rain. They spread their arms out to welcome the downpour and brushed hands. And then, they looked at each other and felt something growing on their faces. Even as they felt it, they also saw it on the other’s face. They were smiling! The smiles grew bigger and bigger until it seemed they would split their faces in two. Even though she couldn’t remember, the girl didn’t care. Even though he could remember, the boy didn’t care. She had found someone to love, and he had found someone to love him.
It was the end.