She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
- Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28 )
Once upon a time is not how all stories begin and happily ever after is not how all of them end. Just what does happen after the story ends and books are closed? What happened before the story started? Why were the stepmothers and step-siblings generally made out to be horrible people? Even as a child, I wondered about those things. My parents didn't have what I'd call a perfect marriage, but is there such thing? What they did have was a solid and happy lifetime partnership. Velen and I were both blessed in that regard. Like the parents we left behind, their counterparts here are good people at their core. I say at their core because, sometimes, good people are placed in circumstances where they must weigh choices for the greater good. My grandmother had done that as far back as I can remember.
Someone once said that to ask for what is right is not always fair and what is fair is not always right. Does Maggie have the right to know what might be ahead for her? Is it fair of me to not tell her? Her path has already deviated from the childhood and preteen years that I had. The telltale signs are pretty easy to spot when you know what to look for. I was good in the dueling rings, but she has more drive for it than I ever did. There's something inside her that burns, but slowly. Well, it was burning slowly, but things have changed in the last year. Given the circumstances, it gives me pause to reflect on what might have been. At some point, she seems to have decided that she's going to stand on her own or, at the very least, be ready to.
I've seen some possibilities for others, but not for her as it would be looking into what could have been for me. I don't want to know. I'm living in what is the present or the now for me and I'm at peace with it. It's more than being at peace, I'm happy most of the time. Life is not always perfect.
How many children when reading Mary Poppins understand that it's not the children the nanny has come to save, but their father. How many adults understand it? I have often wondered, how many children feel they can rescue their parents from some situation or other. My Aunt Abby, six years my junior, is an example of that. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't get her to understand that she was not and never had been responsible for her parents' turbulent relationship. Eventually, I think it will sink in, but not until she understands that people must be whole on their own and not depend on others to make them that way.
I never felt that I had to rescue my parents. You might as well say that I had three of them; Mama, Da, and Uncle Bertie. While Gran filled many roles for us, there was always someone at home we could trust with our questions and troubles. I think it was especially beneficial for Uncle Bertie. Aunt Tilly, his mother, treated us as she would if we were her own grandchildren even after Uncle Bertie adopted a son. We were a bit spoiled by so many grandparents, but rarely did we act like brats. If we did, we'd have our bottoms warmed by a paddling. We grew up not wanting for any necessities and were taught to help others that didn't have as much as we did.
It's not the scale of what one does that matter, but that they do it at all. I spent many winter nights knitting scarves, gloves, and hats for children in the orphanages; I still do. Despite being so much like me in many respects, Maggie sees things on a larger scale. Where I saw the children of one orphanage in need of warm things for winter, Maggie saw children of the entire city needing medical care. Where I tried the Little Red Hen method, she reached out and asked for help. It isn't that I didn't know more people were in need. It was, perhaps, that I knew my own limits and was determined to do it on my own. I guess it's not that much difference from Maggie suddenly needing to stand on her own feet.
Some people say, ‘The play’s the thing,’ and for some that is true. I found myself getting lost in the role of Coppelia. When I was in my tween stage, I spent a lot of time making my way through Uncle Eregor’s collection of films. A favorite of mine was and still is a story about a magical car, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.’ The leading female role is that of Truly Scrumptious. The performance of her dancing like a wind up doll on music box helped me to get a very good idea of how Coppelia should move and dance. I pretended that I could hear gears in motion as I bent my elbows and knees. I had bit of fun with flopping forward as if hip gears had failed to work properly. Success! I could hear giggling in the crowd during the comedic moments. Dancing still gives me as much pleasure, now, as it did when I got my first pair of toe shoes. There is a freedom and joy in it that one does not always find in other activities.
It’s my first leading role and I’m doing my best to not fall on my face! From a technical standpoint, the hardest scene is where Aurora greets her potential suitors. I’ve spent a lot more time than usual working on balance for it. Thankfully, the gentlemen dancing in the roles of those suitors kept me on track. The entire troupe is a joy to work with! How many other people go to work and really love their job?
As a child and early teenager, I spent a great deal of time singing and acting in this theater. While I’ve always enjoyed dancing, it’s something I do purely for the enjoyment. Cate has always been the one that breathed dancing. It was one of the reasons that she had the role of Félicie in New Haven Ballet Academy’s production of Leap. Being the younger sister, she walked in my shadow for a long time. When I dance, I understand what that was like for her. No matter how much I love it, no matter how good I am, she’s the one that choose the blessing that Terpsichore offered on her thirteenth birthday. It’s why my little sister has been invited to dance in just about every corner or the multiverse. There is always something to be said for passion and fire, no matter who is best when it comes to skill.
My mother and some of her siblings took that step backward to, among other things, escape from a Rhydin that was burning down around them. What is that saying? The more things change, the more they stay the same? Without that jump backward in time, I would never have been. My father drowned in that timeline. Mama went back, but later than the others. They weren’t certain if she’s the Rhiannon they knew or one from another thread of time. She doesn’t talk about it, at least she didn’t until I was older. Da drowned in that place in time. While she says she came back to join the others, I’m sure she came back to find him.
Despite the warnings about altering the futures of others, one member of their group started telling people what she knew. Changes happened, Gabriel Wilson, who had been one of my Uncle Draven’s best friends, wasn’t born in this timeline. For some reason, his parents never got together. Aunt Dee said Gabe tried to force them together and likely succeed in preventing their relationship from blossoming.
In the last few months, especially in the last two weeks, I’ve been hit hard by empathic waves that could be described as having the force of a tsunami. Things are happening all over again, beginning, a few years back, with one of the major shifts in the Nexus when doppelgangers appeared and the dead seemed to rise. Hannibal was another sign. The attacks on mages were another. I have to wonder how much the recent events, like the Amore Belle rising, were coaxed along by the mapping expedition of the sewers in the city. That may have begun as a ripple and become the tidal wave with Deep Ones rising. Michelle may have been caught up in something larger than she knew. With the most recent event, the cataclysmic destruction of Opals, a fixture in Rhydin’s sports, I wonder what else will be repeating and how well people will cope with it.
I’m hanging up my dancing shoes for the time being. After Kit and Mik’s visit, I remembered one of the many reasons I lost myself in dancing among other things. With that set to rights, the survivor’s guilt I felt for so long began to fade and heal.
Professor Marvel reinforces the same message when he tells her to go home. Running away wouldn't have fixed things and he makes Dorothy see that. Facing the music is rarely easy, but it does help. In the end as there really is no place like home. It's where one should safe and at peace. Dorothy is an ordinary girl placed into extraordinary circumstances. I wonder what L. Frank Baum would have made of Rhydin and the people that have passed through here from the Land of Oz. The kids are almost always entranced by this tale. I believe that many adults lose themselves in the story to fondly reflect on their own childhood dreams.
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