"No one saves us but ourselves,
No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path
Buddhas merely teach the way.
By ourselves is evil done,
By ourselves we pain endure,
By ourselves we cease from wrong,
By ourselves become we pure."-The Dharma, or The Religion of Enlightenment; An Exposition of Buddhism (1896) by Paul Carus
Whoever she was, she was powerful. I needed to follow the words of her familiar and keep attuning to whatever she did...maybe she really did have good intentions for Eden; and me in particular. I just needed to focus.
"You're confused, aren't you? Fighting..." "Well, that two-pack set of dreams were confusing. What next? A huge dragon or something? Just to verify this whole "princess" motif you got going here? Maybe a knight, too? I don't know...your son made my brain, technically, and it's going in so many different directions. Plus, you never answered the foot thing. Like, seriously, is that a cleaning tic or what? I know, I know, too many questions..."
I looked, almost charily, "...but I'm still human. I think. That weird red rash on my head as a baby wasn't explained clearly either...was that always there? What was that?! And the bugged-out look on my face when I first met my parents...I mean, I know babies are terrified of the world, but I looked like the world had a nuclear meltdown already. What the...?"
Her smile, her absolutely warm but also petrifying smile, as the nearly frozen turkey sandwich on my plate froze even more. Who was going to eat that thing? I wasn't starving.
"What did you do to him? You promised. I mean, I understand everyone doesn't have to be happy, but...he...I get it, I'm still a little bit in love, but...that was natural! Natural happiness, and..."
The ranting went on for a while--she knew I didn't mean it.
"--why not pass some of that good luck to him? Good Lord knows I don't need all of it. Like I said, all this is nice, but without someone to share it with--it's sad. Please, I ask you, Mama--cheer him up for me. Show him you mean well, as you've done for me."
Her painted smile turned into a disgusted glower, now, as she looked at the sad, angry, dejected, underfed (he had avoided what he derisively named "her" food) prince, then turned to me.
"Why do you care so much for him, hm? Little more than just sweetmeat." Her voice was laced with niceness, and yet an undercut of--disappointment? "I don't know...I didn't want to care. I wanted to just carve out my niche in the world and call it a night, but no. I care, dammit. 2,000 year old worldview or not I care about...this...guy and I sound like one of those stupid princess movies but...I am willing to let my love for him die, as Orpheus had to look back upon Eurydice to reach paradise."
Her eyes had a strange quality to them that I couldn't quite point out, considering I had already been suitably well-fed and my mind was rather foggy at the moment anyway.
"Good girl. Now, let's see how he's doing, yes?"
"Of course, Mama. Whatever you say."
I looked at the crown perched on my head, then at the tiny bottle on the desk labeled with a curt, tiny drink me.
"Drink it, my love. Therese sent it special..."
Taking the bottle in my shaking hand, I wanted desperately to talk to Therese or someone...what my boyfriend told me just didn't feel right. At all. That wasn't the Mother I knew.