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JOVE'S LIMBO

Dreamed 1994/11/27 by Chris Wayan


Elves are real. Immortal nature-spirits, not gods, but with considerable powers. No wonder humans envy them. But humans have some abilities they don't, too.

I ought to know. I'm half-elf, half-human. Caught between. On my bad days I feel lonely, rejected by both species. But I have a couple of abilities that true elves and true humans don't. Hybrid vigor!

I can flit between realities like a fish, for one thing. It's fun, and I wander spacetime alone a lot. Today, I investigated a couple of the strange half-places I call limbos. The first had several Indian women in saris, who want to get out. Whatever they did to get imprisoned here, they're sari now, so I agree to help. I can't do it alone, but I memorize the place to bring others back to help me pry that world-door wide enough for them to slip out. Mortals, and even full-blooded elves, need a wider passage. We halves don't.

The second limbo is bizarre--a miniature afterlife created by Zeus/Jupiter/Jove, that ancient storm-god (dare I say his fourth regional name, Yahweh?) It contains exactly one sort of person: men who murdered their wives. Not the reverse; I wonder if he made a separate limbo for wives who murdered their husbands or if he left them in the general population of Hades.

Yuck, an afterlife of no one but men. How boring. To me, it sounds almost worse than an afterlife of murderers! I wonder why I was sent here--I'm hardly the right agent to help them. I find it hard to sympathize with men at the best of times. My worst failing.

But as I listen to their stories, the official charges start sounding fishy. Sure, you'd expect many of them to falsely claim they're innocent, but that's not what gets me suspicious. EVERY SINGLE ONE of these guys PERSONALLY offended Jove.

And several boys here killed no one at all--Ganymede for one. Zeus kidnaped and raped him, seduced and bribed him with petty divinity, made him the Divine Bearer of the Cup. Now there's a challenging job for all eternity! His "crime" wasn't killing his wife, for he had no wife. He was the wife. His crime was quitting. Tried to leave his abusive husband. His rapist, really. So he was cast into Jove's Limbo, with the wife-killers.

Jove's got a private agenda, and some of these men deserve rescue as much as those sari wearers. I have to set aside my biases and suspicions, and get them some help...

NOTES ON WAKING

Women trapped in a limbo of "sorry"s! On the radio, a linguist said men are slow to say "I'm sorry" because in their dialect it means "I take responsibility, so I have to fix it" where women mean simply "I hear you, I feel sympathy." Raised among sisters, I grew up speaking women's dialect, not the men's language others expect from me. Caught between two groups, a hybrid.

The wificide limbo, Jove's personal shitlist... Oho! I've been trapped in Dating Limbo--too shy to ask anyone out, and no prospects anyway. The dream says I'm not in Limbo out of fear, or to protect women against the distant possibility I'll abuse as I was abused. I'm in Limbo for refusing to allow any more abuse--for daring to challenge the grim god ruling my childhood. Obligation, is that his real name? Glum Endurance?

Like helping my housemates when I'm mad at them--which I did today. Worshiped that old, irascible god of obligation.

Not that it does much good to worship him, if Ganymede is right.



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