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* The Library - Fiction for the Heart *

The Gathering
Ch. 5 - The Circle of Their Safety

The woman and the two children spent their days together talking or singing, or sometimes just sitting quietly, letting the magic of the valley seep into their wounded souls.

At night they sat together around a small fire the woman built just outside the cave, and they talked about many things. They talked about how they were remembering - that the memories of what happened to them seemed to be tied up in the pain… and once they cried the pain, they could remember what happened. This seemed a most marvelous gift to the woman, who wanted to remember more than anything. She felt hope, that this was a way for her to find more of her own memories.

She thought about the voice and its words, turning them over in her mind and trying to make sense of them. It... no, HE, had said he wanted to help. She didn't know why the voice frightened her, and that bothered her most of all. She hated being afraid and not knowing why - it made her feel like a crazy woman. But HE had said the more she remembered, the more she would hate and fear him. She felt no hate at the moment, but she trusted that what he said was true. And she knew it had taken great courage on his part to try to reach her.

She sat stunned for a moment, stunned and awed by what she had just become aware of in herself. She knew something to be TRUE. She felt it deep within her. A true thing. Had she ever known truth from untruth before? She didn't think so. She had the feeling that much of her fear had to do with this … not knowing truth from untruth. She had a vague memory of confusion and doubting her own senses, being lied to, but not knowing when, or how to discern.

She went back over his words. "I want to make it right… I want to help," he had said. She chewed the words, tasted them, tested them against her newfound ability to know. Yes, they were true. These words were completely true, she knew it, she could feel it.

"It was a mistake." Again, she tested the words against her feelings. Yes, they were true words, but not completely true. They felt different. Not completely false, but not the whole truth.

She was still afraid of the voice, but perhaps less so. Because she believed that he really DID want to help. However he had hurt her in the past, he wanted to make it right.

As she turned all his words around, exploring her new ability, she discovered she could also feel unsaid truths. For, running undercurrent to his words was… fear. She felt it, tasted it. What was he afraid of? Her wrath perhaps? That thought made her laugh.

The two girls looked at her laughing across the fire and smiled, not knowing why, but loving the sound of her laughter.

They sat together, the two sisters, as they always did, with their arms about eachother. Walking or sleeping or sitting, they were rarely more than a few inches apart, and their hands were usually touching. The woman supposed that after all their aloneness, neither could bear to be separated.

The older child asked, in her soft shy voice, "What is your name?"

The woman thought for a moment, puzzled.

"I don't know. I don't remember! Why can't I remember?" Her voice began to rise and the children came to her and wrapped their arms around her. "I can't remember, I can't remember who I am," she cried.

"It's alright," the older girl said, "we never had names at all." She laid her head on the woman's shoulder. "I would like to be called Miri."

"Alright… Miri," said the woman. They both looked at the younger girl.

"I'll be Sara," she said.

The woman put her arms around them and held them to her. "Miri and Sara. Then I shall be... Magda."

She got up and stirred the fire, adding more wood until the flames leaped high.

"This is our sharing circle," she said. "This is our safe place, where we will be Magda and Miri and Sara, and never be afraid or alone again."

She walked the circle all around the fire. "This is where we can tell our stories, remember our past, feel our pain."

The girls stood, and holding hands, walked the circle behind Magda, chanting with her, "Tell our stories, remember our past, feel our pain..."

Three times they walked the circle, and then they sat facing eachother across the flames. After a moment of silence, Miri said "I want to share".

"Tell us, Miri," said Magda.
"Tell us, Miri," said Sara.

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