Sticking to old traditions, you are not allowed to play as other children do. You can’t appear as someone who’d rather have fun than to become the bearer of the burdens you must have.
I was always told this, and I could never fulfil their hopes. I knew they missed my brother, that they’d replace me with him if they could, just so they’d have a normal ruler someday. I can’t say I would have wanted to obey their words. They were so different to me. I could never understand what was so wrong with playing in the garden, interacting with other kids, discovering the world in my own pace. Instead, I was lectured regularly, taught about my future duties.
I spent many years like this. Or at least it seemed like it on the surface. Little my handlers knew that I’d always sneak out to play with other kids, spend as much time with them as I could.
We’d play tag; they’d run from me and I’d chase them, this going on for fifteen or twenty minutes when they’d come to a halt to tell me to just leave them alone. Or we’d play out household scenes: there would be parents, children, furniture… I’d always get the role of a chair, the others sitting on me while I was down on all four.
These were the funniest times of my childhood. Until I turned thirteen. Reality hit hard. Hierarchy shifted, regulations eased, traditions were no longer that strict, and I became replaceable. I ran away.
Only then I knew that what I was thinking about the world were all lies. I was used. I was humiliated. And the worst, I didn’t even notice it.
I stuck to a bunch of outcasts. They taught me real things about life: how to survive, how to get over my tragic past, how to benefit from my abilities. Soon they became my new family. I loved them like I never loved anyone before. I met my first loves, I got into fights, started to feel. And these emotions were different than from before. These weren’t a naïve child’s naïve fantasies about being beloved and taken care of; I felt alive with all the bitterness and anger and depression inside me. I started doing bad things.
It took me several years to calm down. But once I did, another shock came over me: the world changed again, while I was in my lowest. Being reckless wasn’t very social, the things I learned in my teenage years were now outdated, I had to learn to behave. I was about to stop being a child or a teenager; I was becoming a young adult. With that, came responsibility and the pressure to become someone. Nobody like useless people, and I wasn’t of benefit to anyone anymore. My rapid growing up just didn’t seem like it’d end soon.
All my past weighted on me, crushed me to the ground and below. I broke. I could only lie around and lick my wounds while getting new ones. That’s until I met the Nature.
What can I say about the Nature. I know we have a lot in common. Not only we share interests, but we are kind of the same type: dual, lurid, naïve, kind, misunderstood, calm, logical, overwhelmed, helpful, sad, lonely, introvert, self-destructive, intelligent. And I know what effect the Nature has on me: gives me strength and belief in myself, calms me and motivates me, inspires me to be more, better, the best version of myself.
The adventure we took on together is what keeps me moving, keeps me alive. My decades of knowledge would mean nothing without a power to keep the humanity in me. I’d be proud to say that the Nature completes me, but the Nature is complete without me. This sometimes makes me feel like I’m only a burden. But as I see, we broaden each other’s world view.
The Nature is always with me, even if she’s not by my side. I know I can always count on her, and I would do the same for her. I would do so many things for her.
Drifting away to fantasy-land, where we truly belong; holding hands while sitting by the fireside in the small old house, listening to the wind’s blow, getting scared of the crow’s words. Walking on the brightest green field dressed in fancy clothes, being invited to the local castle’s party, dancing, laughing; we couldn’t sleep at night so we’d light a candle to read by its light. Travelling through war-infected lands, giving a hand to the locals, helping to nurse the ill back to health, cooking poor but love-seasoned food; suffering with the howling souls, feeling their pain, blaming ourselves until the war ends. Crawling out of the mass grave they thrown us into, leaning on each other, crying but not looking back, hoping but never believing, reassuring one another that things will get better and not minding these small lies. Flying to a better place, call it a paradise, fighting for freedom, revenging our loved ones, drawing swords back to back, blood spilling but not feeling pain; being proud without regret, calling ourselves heroes in daytime but once the night comes just sit silently and reflect and think of those who couldn’t make it.
There is a whole eternity before us. We get to choose the order of events that we want to experience. We can’t sort out the good ones and the bad ones. We could, but on one hand, who could even tell what’s good and what’s bad, and on the other hand, I’m selfish and I’d want to experience all with the Nature. I never want to lose her. To me, the Nature is a phrase, and ideology, a thought, a glimpse of reality that I have to cling to. To the Nature, I’m just a tour guide; leading her to see more, to feel more, to live more. All living just use the other for selfish reasons. We are no exception. We are ashamed, we live with our guilt but we live. We got each other’s back. Me, being the third wheel to the Nature is still better than not experiencing all those fantastic things.
The moonless night covers our sins, underground we’re safe. But we can’t hide forever. We have to live. If not for ourselves, then to prove those wrong who’d want to see us dead. Hop on the steam engine led by chimeras, or take a ride hitchhiking a hearse, we’ll get where we need to be, eventually.