Dreamed 1988/1/6 by Chris Wayan
My best friend Silky leads me into a beautiful cathedral. This church is the only one that's tried to reconcile the Two Religions--it's been performing mixed-faith weddings and coronation ceremonies for a century and a half, since the year 330 or so by our calendar. Everywhere else, the two faiths, Y-Forkism and Crown-Ringism, are considered utterly incompatible. The Two Cults have fought since their founding.
Patricia McKillip wrote a famous novel on their long feud; she called it "the root of our modern psychological schism." Her book used this cathedral as the answer, the icon of unity.
I loved that book, but now, walking in that very church, not in spirit but in the flesh... my soul breathes deep. This cathedral, like medieval ones, is a sanctuary, but it feels precious in a way no Christian one ever did: a refuge from religious bigotry itself.
And we're going to get married here. At last!
Silky and I walk in... She's a human girl, not a black mare today. Oh, didn't I mention Silky's a shapeshifter? But she's being nice for my relatives today.
In the far left upper corner of church hang half a dozen paintings. To my shock, I know the artist. Me! "Woman With Plans", "This Isn't Seeing Him", "Mare Crisium", "Snowbank with Vesta", "Silky on Fur", "Who Knows Who's Your Mate?" Full of color and sex and life... and horses.
But they're by a steam vent and they've faded, discolored, and bled. Just shadows of my original intent!
Yet... maybe the steam did them some good, too. It makes them look like centuries-old art treasures. Authoritative! And I did loan them to the church long ago, maybe even centuries--time here is not the same as waking time. I may be centuries old too! Of course there's no reason to grieve over the deterioration: this is really a movie, so the set designer just had copies of my pictures painted to look ancient--the originals haven't aged in the waking world. I'm flattered he found them worthy of his cathedral of reconciliation; it's a beautiful space!
What? Someone congratulates us on "your coronation" not "your wedding." A robed priest ritually hands me a ringlike crown. I put it on Silky, and she tips it off... she doesn't want to rule! But neither do I. Too fractious a country, too tedious a responsibility. We wrestle over it, giggling, enjoying touch... I can't tell how serious she is about not wanting it. I'm not really sure about my OWN actions--how serious is MY refusal to wear it?
She tries to find another person who'll wear it. "No!" shout the people. "It must be you." But which one? I slowly gather my courage and say reluctantly "All right, then. I'm willing..." just as Silky starts to say "No, I'll do it then, I know it scares you."
We get married at last with the crown on her head. I'm happy, though a little disappointed with myself for lacking the courage to wear it. But at least one of us has it. My wife. Silky, the magical shapeshifter, sweet crazy spirit. My wife.
I'm one happy coward.
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