Her sweet young face flushed violet as the older woman walked by. Every week the ancient one came to sit with Kalimè’s mother. They would close the door and be in there for hours. Mother was teaching Estelæth her letters. It was so odd to Kali, at 17, to think that someone could be thousands and thousands of years old and not know how to read. Min’da tried to explain to her that when Estelæth was young, some of the lower born were never taught. And kept from learning later in life by being put in positions that both did not require it and had them far too busy to do it on their own.
From the wide window seat, Kali watched her move. She was graceful in everything she did. No movement seemed intentional. Rather it was as if the woman glided through, natural and calm. Her pink skin glowed in the vibrant golden candlelight of the tower. Long hair tumbled down her shoulders in a cascade of silken purple. She turned and nodded at Kali, the girl’s stomach doing flips. There was the hardness to her. Like she had closed herself off to much in the world. She was like ice wrapped about a raging fire. Kali couldn’t take her eyes off of her. Once again, she disappeared behind the door, closed with a soft click.
Hours later, Kali waited for her to come out. Just another glance. Her patience was rewarded when the door swung open. Kali scrambled out of her chair and bowed, a nervous smile on her face. Este returned it with a stoic nod of her head. As she made her way down the ramp and out of sight, Kali nearly passed out.
Now she lay next to the enigmatic woman. She wasn’t quite what Kali remembered. The cold woman wasn’t there. This warm, kind, though still very tough, woman shared her bed with Kalimè nearly every night. She capture the mind of a teenager. Now she held her heart. They had worked together for over a year now. Este had forced Kali to slow down. To think, focus. Find within herself what she thought was missing. She was hard when Kali needed her to be. Like a velvet pillow when there was pain. Snuggling in, she gently brushed her fingertips along the sleeping woman’s cheek. I cannot believe this is real…