Authors: Jordan Silver
Copyright©2014 Alison Jordan
All Rights Reserved
She came into the world when I was seven. I was one of the first to hold her, to see her, and touch her. She did not enter this world kicking and screaming, no; she came in, quiet as a lamb.
She was covered in her mother’s blood and the fluids she’d spent the last nine months being protected in.
From the moment she entered this realm I felt her. I had no knowledge of such things, no understanding of the strange force of emotion that overtook me.
All I knew was that this little being, no bigger than a doll, was somehow mine. I was in awe, the enormity of the moment maybe too much for one so young, but nevertheless, I accepted.
It was the way of my people, we’re a strong lot, from a great line, or so I’ve been told all my young life.
She had drawn me here, to this place where I was not allowed. But from her first stirrings in her mother’s womb, I knew that it was imperative that I be here.
Excitement kicked in my belly, my heart raced, and my mouth went dry. It was here, whatever it was.
It had been building for the past nine months, or however long it was that she’d slept in her mother’s womb.
The pull had grown stronger in the last few days; that’s how I knew tonight, was the night.
I could barely wait. For what, I hardly knew, but I knew that it was going to be something amazing; even better than the new puppy I’d got last summer. Anticipation flowed through my veins in a loud rush.
I felt the tension in the room, the sorrow, before a word was uttered. I sat hidden in the corner, quiet as I could be, my eyes peeled to the place from whence she would arrive.
I was not supposed to be here they’d said, but no force on earth could’ve kept me away.
She’s been calling to me since she was in her mother’s womb and I as always, answered her call. From then until now I’ve stayed close, ever watchful.
Slowly I came to my feet, a sudden fear making my heart tremble. There was a sense of darkness but one that I could not see with my eyes, I could only feel in my soul.
I crept forward, ever closer, my eyes drawn to the little form as it was held within the light of the moon, as it peeped through the branches of the trees outside and into the room. Slashing a bow of color across the bed.
“I’m sorry Anna but the babe…she’s dead.” The mother’s wail was full of torment, torture, and despair. I understood this even before I knew what the words meant.
They wrapped her in swaddling, but not as one should a newborn babe, no, they covered her face.
They all turned at the roar that rent the air. I too turned to see from whence it came, until I realized that it was I who had emitted the sound of rage. Flying out of my hiding place I confronted them, with one purpose in mind.
“Get away from here you bad boy, you should not see this.” I fought like the demons of hell. Kicking and scratching and biting until I reached her where they’d laid her.
I removed the cloth from her face gently, my young heart racing with fear. I alone cleaned her up, I alone opened her mouth and it was I who placed my lips above hers and breathed my life into her.
Her eyes flew open, eyes as beautiful as one of mama’s gems. We stared at each other for what seemed like forever before I turned back to the room that had gone deathly still.
“She’s mine.” I warned the room at large, even as she opened her lungs and wailed for her mother’s breast.
I did not know how I knew this, but I did. I felt it with everything that was in my young mind and heart.
The room became a flurry of movement as the grown ups sprung into action.
I released her only because I knew that now they would help her, but I stayed glued to the midwife’s side.
“You know you really shouldn’t be in here.” I ignored the woman as I watched her every move. Never taking my eyes away from my baby. Mine.
I felt the sense of excitement, of things to come. The pressure that had befallen me in the last hour or so was no more; it had eased with her first breath.
She was so tiny, no bigger than one of my arms, I felt fear for a moment as that darkness that my young mind had sensed loomed, but beneath I felt strength. No harm will come to her, I will see to it.
The little one held my eyes as they tended to her and I felt the pull from those deep orbs. Even then as a child, I knew that they were unusual.
A deep purple that changed to light as the tears and wailing subsided, to an unusual lilac.
I didn’t know the name of the color until some time later, but it stayed with me always.
It was then the bond was formed, a connection that would transcend time and place and see us through the darkest hours yet to come.
The mother reached out her arms to take her and laid her at her breast. Only then, when she’d taken her first draw of life giving sustenance did I feel my shoulders relax, and the tension leave my body that had been strung tight as a bow.
“Okay young man, you can leave now, if your mother ever hears of this there’ll be hell to pay.”
I paid no heed to the midwife or the other servants who’d come to help; my only interest was in her.
I didn’t wonder at my fascination with this new little bundle, when I’d hardly given my baby brother, born just a few short months earlier, a second glance.
There was something strange and exciting going on inside of me, but I was too young to understand it.
My world changed that day in that room where death had reached out its greedy fingers.
Something wild and wonderful had been born, and not just the babe, though she would prove to be that and more.
But something came alive in me, some hidden strength that had as yet been unknown.
Others saw it as well and wondered, I had no care for them or their petty murmurings.
Wherever she went I followed, always underfoot; I heard the whispers. None of it bothered me, as long as they left me alone to follow my heart.
From that day on, I was her constant companion. I spent every free moment with the little bundle that brought me such joy.
I had no reference for the abounding love that sometimes threatened to choke me, when her mother would seat me in a chair and place her in my arms.
Neither did I understand the strong sense of possession; I was too young to understand such things.
I just knew that she was mine and would always be; and nothing was going to change that.
For my young heart, that was enough. I’d been raised on the stories of the strength of my lineage, fierce and honorable men.
Before her, those tales of my ancestors were my greatest source of pride.
I could spend hours at my father’s side, my chest swelling with pride, at the stories of valor and triumph, from a long line of men that led to me.
Now I’d given them up for days spent watching over her, somehow I knew it was what I was meant to do.
The adults had given up trying to keep me away after the first week or so.
Now they just shook their heads and went about their way when they’d find me in her nursery, when I should’ve been elsewhere.
Sometimes I hid in the corner of the little room that had been given to her here in the caretaker’s cottage.
I was too young, and maybe too disinterested at the time to understand the dynamics of the family who lived here; and it was of no great concern to me either way. As long as she was there that was where I longed to be.
It was hard staying seated while my tutor took me through my lessons, or my mother insisted on trimming my hair.
It was as if I was afraid to leave her alone without my protection. As though I somehow knew that that way laid danger.
So each morning, as soon as my eyes were opened, my every move was to get me closer to my little angel.
I rushed through my obligations, understanding full well that the adults had the upper hand, that we were caught in an invisible balancing act. I gave a little they gave a little…
“You must not spend all your free time with that baby, it’s not normal. Wouldn’t you like to play with your little brother?”
That was my mother’s daily argument, which fell on deaf ears, but still she tried.
“She needs me, I have to go; am I finished?” she brushed the hair from my neck with a shake of her head before shooing me away. No one seemed to understand.
Three Years Later
“No Jasmine you mustn’t.” The little doll ignored me as she ran after the puppy, too close to the water’s edge as usual.
I ran after her on my ten year old legs as she laughed and sped up. Everything was a game to my Jasmine, she had no fear and no amount of scolding deterred her from her path.
Was it because she knew even then that I would always be there to catch her? Maybe. Or maybe it was because she had an inner will of her own.
I could hear the servants calling after us, they’d finally missed our presence, or more to the point they’d finally realized that we were off together again.
For whatever reason, that seemed to be forbidden. There was always someone trying to keep us apart; but every chance I got, I sought her out or she me. Inseparable we were, that bond pulling tighter and tighter as the days grew on.
It had been this way since the day she was born. At night I would sneak out of the house and down to the little cottage where her family lived.
It wasn’t very close to the main house, but I was never too afraid to walk in the dark, because I knew she needed me.
I would stand watch over her at night while her family slept, until I grew too tired to keep my eyes open. Then and only then would I give into slumber.
In the mornings I would be found fast asleep in her nursery at the foot of her crib, where I’d usually finally fall asleep after keeping watch all night.
Sometimes her mother would find me there when she came to check on her in the night, but she would only smile and close the door again, before going off to her own rest.
Everyone else kicked up a fuss, especially my parents, which I didn’t understand.
Neither did I understand the whispers and the hushed tones. None of it made sense to a boy of ten and neither did the growing bond that had spanned three years.
With each passing year instead of waning, it only grew stronger. This seemed to be a cause of tension among the adults, but for me it was just as it should be.
No one seemed to understand, no one but Jasmine and I that is. Because as soon as she could form words and move around on her own, it was I she came to.
Even before her mother’s, my name was first on her lips. We were inseparable, as I spent my days teaching her new things and new words.
In the afternoons, as soon as my tutor was on his way, I would seek her out and we’d be off to our secret place.
Where I would watch her run and play to her heart’s content and my delight.
“Come Jasmine let’s go find the birds.” That was her favorite thing to do, trying to catch the birds in the trees.
Had I known then what was to come, I would’ve captured every moment on the new camera my dad had got me for my last birthday.
But back then at ten, my mind wasn’t on such things, besides it was better experiencing the real thing in the here and now.
How young I was then, young and naïve. But in those last few days had I known they would’ve never got me on that plane.