Monday, September 30, 2013

Compromise


I thought the wait during the past two weeks to hear of my sister's fate was the worst waiting I would ever have to suffer through. However, the mere two days I had to wait for ada and Ellothiel's return proved to be much more frustrating. Two days was how long ada said it would take for them to travel back to Aurora Skies.

When ada told me he had found Ellothiel alive, I was so very glad. I was even more glad that Garthon and Rieldir were not around because I began to cry from relief. It was not simply a few tears that flowed down my cheeks, but I cried with such an intensity that I have not since when I was a young child. The tears that I've held back through this mess in favor of appearing strong to comfort the others flowed out all in that one moment.

Ada had even more good news for me. Ellothiel was doing better than either of us could have believed. She wouldn't say anything other than that she was able to talk to someone who gave her the encouragement she needed to find enough meaning to want to keep living. Ada says there remains a bit of chill on her skin, yet she can smile, and perhaps more importantly, gather the strength to handle her grief.

It was in some woods where ada found Ellothiel. They went to the nearest town to buy a charger for her phone, and we now resting in a hotel. They rented a long-distance taxi, but even by car the journey would still take at least two days. I let Garthon and Rieldir know the news as soon as they got home. I think they are still somewhat bitter at how Ellothiel was treating them, but they want things to just return to normal as much as I do. They were quietly excited at the prospect of finally having their mother home.

Unfortunately, because they have some kind of mandatory tests going on at school, I wasn't able to call them in sick so that they could wait with Elioviel and I on the day ada and Ellothiel were due to return. I got Eli ready for the day, and we waited on the steps all morning.


My fidgeting was getting a little out of hand when the car finally came around the corner. Zuri bounded out as soon as the door was opened. She bolted right over to Eli and began licking her. Her squeals of delight never made it to my ears for my entire focus was on watching ada help Ellothiel out of the car. Ellothiel and I locked eyes when she reached me, and before she could say anything, I slowly pulled her into a tight hug. Ada's words had been true for I could feel the light chill on her skin.

Still, when I looked into her eyes again I could see that my sister had truly returned. She eventually whispered an apology. I shook my head. I was tired of people apologizing. I was tired of everyone putting the blame on themselves. I was tired of all of us being stuck in this web of a mess. It had to stop. No more apologies, I told her. The only thing she had to do was stick around and be the shining, wonderful, loving person that she is. Ellothiel laughed quietly, and that was all I needed to feel almost completely alright again.


When I finally realized Ellothiel might enjoy proper use of her lungs again, I let go of the tight grip I had on her. She spotted Eli still playing with Zuri, and instantly picked her up to embrace her in her own gripping hug. Tears rolled down Ellothiel's cheeks, but the smile on her face revealed that they were tears of joy. Eli squirmed, but it was clear she was happy to be reunited with her nana as well.

Slowly, everything was falling back in place.


The reunion between Ellothiel, Garthon, and Rieldir was a bit more tense. I think Ellothiel feared that her sons would yell and reveal their hate for her after having put them through so much. The two did no such thing. They melted into Ellothiel's arms. Garthon and Rieldir might be growing into fine, strong young men, but they needed the warm embrace of their nana as much as Eli did. There were a few last apologies, which I let slide, and a lot of smiles. The five of us spent the next few hours catching up and enjoying the comfortable glow emanating from us simply being together once more.


There had to be a serious talk sometime though. Garthon and Rieldir went to their rooms to study for more testing the next day, and Ellothiel got Eli playing so that she, ada, and I could talk properly. Ada and Ellothiel caught me up on all they had discussed since they met. Basically, Ellothiel is unable to decide if she's able to continue the challenge. While she's steadily learning to cope with Cirabel's passing, she remains terrified that the next death will send her right back into that spiral of depression.

I suggested to her that she do what she did after Elrunamir and Ureliel's deaths. Moving to Monte Vista worked wonders for her. Ellothiel tentatively considered the option. However, ada was very vocal about his belief that Ellothiel's part in the task is complete. He wanted her to come home. I reminded him that until the task is completed, she isn't allowed to return. Her coming back would place her under exile, thus defeating the point of bringing her back. 

Ada didn't care. The task was too much for one to bear by themselves. Ellothiel had handled everything up till this point well, but the burdened should be shared. He promised her that if she came home, he would find a volunteer to take her place and so finish the task and appease the Goddess. Ellothiel was unsure. I could see the both of us were hesitant about manipulating the structure of the task like that. Ellothiel also pointed out that it's not like we could take Eli with us either, but she won't be an adult for some time still.

Yet, Ellothiel continued, she really couldn't just shake her fears away so easily. Ada instructed her to think over everything carefully. There was plenty of time. Given what has happened, ada and I won't be leaving until she can assure us 100 percent that she will be fine alone. Ellothiel thanked us.


Over the next few days that passed, I felt a bit strange as we somehow fell back into routine. I kept expecting something to happen that would break the peace, but there was nothing. Garthon and Rieldir got up early to get ready for school, the family ate breakfast together, and ada, Ellothiel, and I took turns playing with Eli as the others did chores about the house. Life continued as it was supposed to.

That meant that inevitable happened. It was time for Garthon's birthday and graduation. I watched the graduation ceremony feeling more proud than I have in the past. Garthon managed to survive all the hardships while still managing to study hard enough to be valedictorian.

He didn't leave the house right away though. I kept accidentally noticing the secret conversations he and Ellothiel were having. I never eavesdropped on them, but the small glances of them speaking that I caught let me know that Garthon was convincing Ellothiel to do something and that he wouldn't leave until she made up her mind.


Apparently, Ellothiel making up her mind didn't take too long. Garthon was ready to move out a couple days later. Interestingly enough, he ended up in the house that Erondir and Fiendir used to live in. He used the large spare room they built for their exercise and sculpting equipment for all of his musical instruments. Garthon's goal in life is to master as many of them as possible.

I had enough spare time, so I helped him get settled in. I quickly realized all of the instruments Garthon purchased were pink in some way. I asked if that was because of Cirabel. Garthon told me yes. He wants to make sure he remembers her every day. I thought what he had done was a wonderful thing to do. I spent the next couple hours listening to Garthon play before I walked back down the street to our house.


Ada and I got to find out the content and results of Ellothiel and Garthon's conversations before the week was done. At first, we thought we were simply taking a trip to the cemetery with her. She hadn't gone since she returned. I joined Ellothiel in sitting down in front of Cirabel's tombstone. Ada stood patiently behind us. We both knew whatever Ellothiel was about to say was of great importance, and so we waited until she was ready to speak.

She eventually told us that she had made somewhat of a decision. Ada's idea of going home and not having to worry about anything anymore was tempting, but the fright in the pit of her stomach that doing so will evoke the Goddess' wrath simply won't disappear. Garthon helped her to come up with a compromise when she sought his help. Ellothiel would use my suggestion of moving to a new town. She could feel that it's time to move on, although we would wait until after Rieldir's graduation. He had already agreed with the plan.

Ellothiel didn't know where we would go just yet, but the idea was that she would have one more child and bide her time until the next death comes around. That way she would see if she could handle the task. If she is able to keep control of herself, then naturally, she would stay. If the pain proved too much, then she would raise Eli and the new child to adulthood before returning home and taking her chances.

Ada and I considered the plan, and came to agree. We once again reiterated that we would not leave until she makes her final decision.


However, I don't think either ada or I realized just how much little time that gave us. Rieldir's birthday was right around the corner. Ellothiel was on a constant search for the best place while ada and I packed. It was much harder than I anticipated to see everything be put in boxes. The house began to feel cold and bare. There was something about seeing the backyard empty that made me feel lonely. The only good thing to come from all the packing was that Ellothiel decided to sell the chickens. There was simply not enough time to care for them with so much stress to deal with.


The turning of the corner came just as we became ready. We finished securing the last of the boxes with tape right before we celebrated Rieldir's birthday. He ended up staying a few extra days as well to help us sort out the last of the details we needed to take care of. Since he wants to be a chef, he volunteered to do all the cooking until we left. None of us were about to complain. Rieldir did all the work and all we had to do was enjoy they great meals he prepared.

The time for him to leave did come though. I wasn't surprised when he and Garthon decided that he would move in with Garthon. It was heartwarming to see that them going through all the low points together made the two of them as close as can be.


Now that both of them are out on their own, their presence has become greatly missed. Somehow I think it's Zuri who actually misses them the most. Even though she isn't large enough to see out the windows, she tries as hard as she can to look out to see when Garthon and Rieldir will be coming back. I took her to visit them whenever the opportunity came, yet they were rare because our departure was days away.


We had to wake up very early that morning. The town Ellothiel had picked was back west, only a two day drive away from Appaloosa Plains. Perhaps we can make a trip there to show ada the place he sent Ellothiel to and where she raised his namesake. The truck carrying all our things had left the day before so it could get there first. The person from the car service pulled our car up, and we walked through the front door for the last time. Zuri happily bounded along like always. Eli, still in her pajamas, slept in Ellothiel's arms.

When we got in the car, there was definitely a heavy weight of bittersweet feelings that enveloped us all. Ellothiel kept staring in the direction of the cemetery as we drove away from Aurora Skies. I placed my hand in hers hoping to comfort her. She smiled at me, but the reality I had to face was that the frosty chill still hadn't left her skin......

1 comments:

Julie said...

It feels sad that she has to keep leaving her children behind :(
looking forward to the new town

I wander who she went to speak to when she disappeared Mmmm

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