April 5, 2006
The oddity of her rebirth was that it happened in the middle of the afternoon. Her skin didn't intertwine with the rising sun as in most fairytales; nor did it emerge with the moonlight of an eerie pitch black night. These would have, too soon, foretold the tragedy of her demise. No, she had to burst back to life in the middle of a summer's day, it would not have worked out otherwise. We secretly refereed to her as "Nymph of the New Ages," our jealousies prevalent in our faces.
No one took notice of her the day she returned, no one but the eldest of the nymphs because it was her rebirth as well. Rebirths are quite the commonality in the place we are bound to. We are bound by the threads of an initial birth rite. By the mystery of the seven hills and the legends that cause its rivers to sparkle and gleam in the darkness we are bound. It's been said that if you launch your transporting device onto these waters, the water creatures will carry you clear out into the middle before swallowing you up. No one leaves because they cannot, the force will not allow it. Gravity determines everyone's fate in the end.
This mysterious creature of the past was rumored to be the niece of Adeona, prophetically known in nymph society as the one who leads the children away for awhile. Adeona was a heroine to most. The eldest of the land passed on the mesmerizing tales of Adeona, about how she teaches each of the children to fly. Never mind the fact that not a single one of the nymphs had ever seen a non-creature with wings before. They'd heard the stories of the goddess so much they knew them as nothing short of truth. Once they learn to fly, they'd continue, she guides them on long, arduous journeys to distant lands and far off places. They fly until their heart's content but always return home after long. These stories secretly made the eldest's heart swell; she was envious of those who could fly. She was envious of those who seemed to just disappear for awhile and return with tones of chocolate etched across their skin. These telltale etchings and whispers of grandeur are what gave mystery to the younger one. The eldest would sneak glances at the younger, searching the exterior of her body in hopes of catching a glimpse of her coveted wings. She yearned to know the younger, to be a part of her somehow.
Eventually the eldest came to know the younger. The youngest was known to travel in a pack of three known kindly by most as the Charities. Sometimes acquiring another here and there, these three are the ones who Adeona had elected from the beginning into her coven. The rest of the nymphs were unaware of their greatness; but to the eldest it was apparent in this one. The eldest and the younger sporadically came together. The younger, blessed with the gift of song, would entrance even the lowliest of nymphs with her beautiful voice. She was not stingy with her gift, as most often were at the time, but saw no harm in sharing it with all. Her voice changed lives; it healed the cripple, sutured broken hearts, and even sent the stoniest of souls into whirlpools of tears. In her frescoes, her colors were vibrant and endless. The rose in her cheeks seemed to splash over her entire body, depending on which light you caught it in. At certain angles one might imagine splashes of crystal blue in her hair, reminiscent of unfinished passions and devilish desires. Things others only saw in paintings, the elder experienced in life. Their time together was brief but impossible to forget.
The eldest seemed to have left them all behind, many were bothered by her departure of sorts. All except the youngest. When they eldest would return home, as all do on occasion until inevitably settling, the youngest would always be there waiting. It fate really that drove these two together. The younger's presence came to be expected by the eldest as often they would spend time inquiring on nature, swinging skillfully through the branches of the greatest wilderness. They dipped themselves fervently into the torrents of the waters and sung great songs of carefree humor and unbounded joy. They dreamed to one day be unbound from this place, but never spoke a word of it to each other. They dare not for fear of those even older then their two ages combined for the elders of their land did not take kindly to those of a wild kindred spirit. The true elders were afraid of the world beyond flight which made the nymphs want it all the more.
The eldest, tired from her mini excursions, returned home one day to discover that the Charities had been called upon by Adeona, it was their time. When she learned of their escape the long ago flames of jealousy again arose within her. She tried to subdue them but knew it was futile; how could one so much younger get what she'd always desired. How had the younger flown before her? How was it possible that the nymph with the skylark's voice had managed to somehow succeed? The eldest was jealous of the Charities' glory; of the youngest's ability to accomplish something she felt she never would and of the two others who were chosen to go with her while she was left behind to grow. While she, the eldest, was left to be just like the rest of them. Just like everyone else. Her insides swelled with anticipation, with expectation of their return. At least, if nothing else, she knew she would finally be told by the youngest what it felt like to fly. She knew when the youngest returned, she would know once and for all the stories she believed in for so long were real. She sent hope and excitement into the air of that summer afternoon; at the moment of her descent she sent prayers of joy into the wings of her youngest angel.
The tales of the monster spread like wildfire throughout the land of seven hills. The eldest heard whispers of how the monster had gobbled up her young, her dear, her sweetest nymph companion. She heard many, many versions of how it happened but in the end one stood true.
The eldest learned that Adeona's visit had come as a surprise to the three. First she had come to her niece, the youngest, with a sly smile that rendered her unintelligible to all. It was said that you never made a move until you found out, for sure, what the smile meant. A flood of commotion, of steam and sparks and clutter fell out of her mouth; excitement pierced the youngest's ears much like a child on a swing set's gleeful scream of delight or a passionate lover's cry of ecstasy. Nothing with Adeona was ever normal, ever monotone, ever without emotion. From the clutter the Adeona proclaimed that today was the day, today the youngest would receive her wings; and not only that but she could pick two of her closest companions to receive theirs as well. she chose the Charities of course.
The story of her flight, however, is where things become a bit cloudy. It is one that few, if any, will ever come close to feeling or being or living. The story of how she flew so close to the water's surface that the very tip of her chocolate-speckled nose could just barely skim the jade blue waters. Her wings of stark white with their tips of blue, it was told, appeared toned and well trained, she flew with a confidence no other understood, with a confidence that even gave Adeona a moment of pause. She looked down into the waters that day, she looked down into her own reflection before she fell and saw in that moment it was made up of us all. She saw her aunt in her fiery eyes, reflecting from far above, she saw the eldest in the flecks of blue in her wings and her sisters in the strength of her arms and legs, she saw her Charities on either side, flying tandem on high, and all the others not with her then composed everything else she was made of. We made up who she was, but really she was the common part within each of us that created that invisible, binding thread. She was bigger than all of us combined, she flew higher than we could ever hope to fly, and yet she was something we each wanted; she was something we could never become. And with that she dove deep into the ocean; and she became immortal.
I decided to write an allegory about my friend Hannah who died in a plane crash this past Christmas break. Some of the more interesting of the symbols in the story and what not are as follows. A nymph is "any member of a large class of female nature entities, sometimes bound to a particular location or landform. They are personifications of the creative and fostering activities of nature." This seemed to fit Hannah, as well as myself (being the eldest in the story), given the fact that we are both women, both teenagers, both born and raised in the small town of Rome, and both felt tied down to it (our hometown). Hannah was creatively artistic, completely full of life, and athletic; no matter what she was always outside involved in something or interacting with someone. She did whatever she could to be a part of life, always fully engaging and investing in every single person she came into contact with. This is just a brief and beginner's understanding of what this is all about; mostly the moral of the story is that Hannah was truly an amazing human being....she broke the mold and redefined the act of friendship and selflessness. She meant something special to everyone and anyone and is unbelievably and unforgettably missed; because she is irreplaceable.