“So as I wait for that blush to fade, I’d like you to talk about something that faded and something that finally happened.”
Sruni narrowed her eyes then chuckled, cheeks flushing with color again.
“I’d better start talking then or I’ll just keep blushing.”
She stood and paced for a moment before standing with her hands braced on the back of the chair.
“Those two things are linked for me. There was a moment I thought would never come, a day when the pain would lessen, when it would finally fade away. That day came not long ago.”
She looked away.
“When I was a girl I internalized that I was in some way tainted. Knowing what you do of Kaltua you might imagine why I internalized that feeling.”
She caught my eyes, her dark eyes intent, so intent I could not break her gaze.
“I learned to think I was something evil, so tainted I had to be hidden. When we fled to Lasdevan that changed. I was no longer forced to hide, mother and I walked openly, talked to whoever we wanted. I stopped being afraid.”
Her voice broke.
“But I never stopped thinking I was worthless.” She clicked her tongue. “It wasn’t my parents fault. It was the way we were treated. It was what I saw in the world. By the time we fled I had already absorbed it.”
She ground her teeth and rounding the chair sat down again, folding her hands on the table.
“The day that feeling faded into nothingness, the day it finally happened, it seems so silly now.”
She laughed self-consciously.
“I was buying food at the market. I was haggling with the merchant over fruit. He laughed and told me I drove the hardest bargain then took my money.”
Tears shone in her eyes.
“That moment broke something in me. The last shadow of that pain, that worthlessness fled in the face of a jesting comment. I went to Dani. I told him everything. It all spilled out and by the end I was crying in his arms. All he said was he was happy I finally saw it.”
Chuckling she wiped away the tears.
“He had known, known I wrestled that demon and had been waiting for me to win. After that day the pain became nothing more than a memory. The shining truth that my life was mine, that no one had the power to make me feel anything without my permission, liberated me. I was finally and completely free.”
She smiled and sighed.
“Happiness is something I had to learn. I’m glad I had learned it by the time he proposed.”
My mouth popped open and she giggled.
My thanks to Faith_theRivens for this fantastic February writing event. You should all check her out on Twitter @Faith_theRivens, and here on wordpress. She recently released her debut novella, Eléonore.