Meteor or Star?
Dreamed 2007/9/17 by Chris Wayan
I edit and format one of the Dreambank's most complex submissions yet: Jenny Badger Sultan's painting and dream-series Mandala during a Time of War and Disintegration. The hardest part is the section on our mutual friend and mentor Stephanie Van Zandt Nelson, who Jenny was deeply worried about when she painted the piece. She was right to worry: Stephanie died.
It's hard stuff to edit. Stephanie was my friend too, but I'd lost touch; I didn't even know she'd reached the end of the line.
I'm a shy girl. Insecure. I always have been.
But I have good reason. I was created by a wizard to be his mate--his dream-girl. Well, not "created"--that makes it sound like Frankenstein. Secreted, or exuded involuntarily! It's not rare among mages, male and female. But usually, such dream-lovers last only a few weeks: they're essentially a split-off part of the mage, an anima or animus turned solid, who shows the mage their hidden side. Then the split-off self fades painlessly and is reabsorbed. First translucent, then transparent, then gone. Unity again.
But it's been months. Every day I expect the first signs of oblivion. They never come. I'm getting used to it, and so are the people around me, but it's crazy-making. In some ways worse than seeing yourself fade and knowing you'll soon be re-absorbed, knowing you'll be a real person again, with a real history and legal status and childhood... not a pastless spook everyone treats a bit strangely.
But here I am... for today. How many tomorrows? Most of us long-termers do fade at our creator's death, but even that's not sure. A few have persisted indefinitely--ageless.
I may be one of those. But I'll never know for sure. I wake each day knowing it could be my last. What a chilling effect it has! Can I find friends or lovers, beside my wizard double? I'm attracted to some of those around me, but I'm afraid to get involved--what if I fade on them? I can't commit!
Or plan projects, enter contracts, act on ambitions...
Am I haiku or epic? I don't know. Meteor or star?
Zen masters say "Live each day like it's your last" but you know what? I've been there, and it's not Zen. It's frozen.
But then, my dear human readers... do you know? Meteor or star? No. You just think you do.
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