So much has changed in the past weeks. Just when I was beginning to get used to a new norm, another one comes along.
Rohan and I have re-formed our relationship. At the very base of whatever makes me, me, I know I love him. I just wish I could remember why. When we make love, it’s wonderful, but surely, there’s more to it than that. There ARE these little moments, however, when he’ll make a certain expression, a kind of half-smile, that makes my heart beat funny. My heart remembers him. I suppose I’ll have to be happy with that for now.
We bury the man Rohan killed, the one who tried to shoot Asa. We find out his name was Odin, so Vik carves out the name on a stone.
The men who sailed with him do not attend his burial. Instead, they remain locked up in the holding cells Vik somehow knew we’d need.
Rohan doesn’t let me talk to the man who’s awake. This would anger me except that I don’t know what I would say if I had the chance. I know he’s sad because I hear all about it as Orion talks to Sama.
She agrees to a trial of sorts.
Today, Zuri approaches me with her eyes lit up with excitement. “You have to see this!” I smile and let her lead me to a kind of cave I’d never noticed before.
“Why have I never seen this before?” I ask. She’s acting like this is something new, like even the old me didn’t know, but how could that be possible if I lived here my whole life?
“Because it was covered with brambles and shrubbery before they cleaned it out.” She’s right. Most of this was covered with a briar patch of sorts. It was in safeguarding the island that this became visible.
“Where does it go?” It looks scary to me, like it’s probably filled with all manner of creepy-crawlies.
She turns to me with a secret kind of smile she sometimes uses.
“Zuri! Are you crazy?” She could get bit by a spider or something terrible!
She laughs. “Calm down. I’ve already explored it once. Come on.” She disappears into the blackness.
I quickly realize the cave, or tunnel rather, isn’t very long at all. I see light ahead, and we emerge on the other side in a large clearing. Again, my mouth drops that none of us knew this existed before now. Well, maybe Sama or Asa did, or maybe myself, but I don’t know. Surely someone would’ve mentioned it, right?
A quick glance around almost answers my question. This might not be obvious to see from the sea, maybe just showing a cliff face and nothing else, a kind of optical illusion. The brickwork could be explained as well. There are all kinds of ruins on the island of houses people used to live in.
But this looks older.
“What is this place?” I ask.
“My guess is some kind of abandoned temple.” She walks forward a few paces. “I looked around a little earlier, but I knew I had to come and get you.”
“How old is it?”
“I have no idea. I’m not a… what is the word… an archeologist, but it looks like there were two definite time periods when things were built, judging by the different brick styles.” She looks back at me, waiting for me to catch up. “There’s a tile inlay that I really want you to see.”
I nod like I know what she’s talking about when actually I have no idea. My eyes continue to travel over the ancient stonework, wondering why it’s here in the first place, wondering about the people who built it, wondering again how we could have missed something like this.
“Wait a minute!” Zuri suddenly stops, staring at the crumbled, main building.
“What?” I follow her gaze.
“That. That wasn’t… That wasn’t there earlier,” she says almost to herself.
At the same time, I let out a little laugh of happiness. Finally! Something looks familiar! It’s my friend, the rock! Uh, crystal! How did HE get here?
“Yadira!” Zuri calls out in alarm as our roles are reversed. She’s the cautious one now while I bound fearlessly ahead.
“It’s okay, Zuri! I know this person.” I grin at her and watch her catch up.
I can’t stop smiling. “Yes! This is the r-… crystal I talked about!” I face the crystal. “Hello again! I’m sorry. I never learned your name.”
Relief pours through me when he answers. “Good to see you too, Yadira.” Contrary to what he says, his tone implies a kind of annoyance. “I suppose it would cause no harm in learning my name. It’s Peter.”
“Hello again, then, Peter.” I turn to my friend. “Zuri, this is Peter. He told me to drink from the fountain.” I’m again happy I’m able to remember the time just before I lost my memories. I can still recall the land of weird.
She looks like she’s trying to process what I’m doing and saying and stunned by both. “The crystal has a name, and it is Peter,” she states dully. “Did… he… tell you this?”
I turn and give her a funny look. “Yes. Just now. You must’ve been too far away.”
“She can’t hear me like you can,” Peter tells me while Zuri looks at me like she debates whether or not I’ve lost my mind. “However, unlike most mortals, she can sense a presence, like I’m no ordinary crystal.”
“He says you can’t hear him?” I ask her.
Her expression changes, and I think she believes me.
“No, I cannot. But I… believe you. After all, an hour or so ago, there was only this well-preserved tile inlay, and now, there’s a crystal with what looks like a fire inside it.” She pauses. “Interesting. I find this place then have an overwhelming feeling that I need to bring you here. Then this shows up. Er, HE shows up.”
“Oh, I like her,” Peter says, sounding jovial for the first time. “She’s… sassy.”
I look at him with a quizzical expression, wondering how he could’ve gotten ‘sassy’ from what Zuri just said.
She continues, “So, …he… was with you in the realm of the gods?” She looks at him with respect.
“Yes.” More like the land of weird, but yeah.
Then, she speaks to him, asking the question I should be asking, “Why did you tell her to drink from the fountain?” There are tears in her eyes. “I’m doing my best, but she wants her memories back. Tell us, what are we supposed to DO?”
“And why can’t I hear you?” she asks, stressing the ‘I.’ She starts crying. I stand here shocked while Peter speaks to me again.
“She is filled with jealousy of you. It impedes her progress. It’s one of the many reasons they decided to send me.“
“Who is the ‘they’ you mean?” I ask while Zuri sniffs, still crying.
“Our parents.” He pauses, obviously letting that sink in.
“I think I need to sit down.” He agrees with me, saying he’ll attempt to calm Zuri in a way that I can’t yet.
After I walk away, Zuri starts speaking to him in a different language. It would sound pretty if there weren’t such anger in her voice. I GUESS Peter can understand her? I don’t hear his answers, but I do sense powerful feelings of emotions pouring from him. He wants her to know she’s doing a good job despite the unknown-to-me jealousy and that more will be asked of her. That’s my best guess.
Meanwhile, I have no idea how to deal with the knowledge that Peter said OUR parents. Parents? Me? And that makes him my brother? My brother is a r– crystal?
Zuri saves me from my confusing thoughts when she emerges from the roofless inner temple area. “Everything okay?” I ask.
She takes a deep, quick breath before nodding her head once in a fast motion. Then, she walks over and has a seat next to me.
“This is not how I thought the day would go,” she admits to me.
I laugh. “Tell me about it, right?”
“His name is Peter?” She watches me nod a yes. “I think I like him, even though… hm… I sense an… attitude problem?”
I laugh harder in a kind of hysterical way. My brother Peter who is a rock has an attitude problem. Oh, right. Crystal.
Zuri joins me in my crazy giggling. “And Yadira, this will sound strange, but… go swimming.”
I look at her like she’s bonkers. “What?”
“Just try it.”
I do as she says, figuring it couldn’t hurt, and she walks away a little bit, probably to go have some quiet time herself to think.
The water feels nice. It even smells nice. Peter tells me to breathe in the mist.
“I’m sorry your memories left. We, I, thought it would make things easier.” He doesn’t wait for me to ask my next question. “You’re soon going to be put to a difficult trial. Having no memories would make it easier for you, but… Zuri’s right. It’s cruel either way.” He sighs. “So… here.”
I breathe in again, and suddenly, pictures fly through my mind:
“Thank you,” I tell him.
“In future, remember that you thanked me.” He sounds sad, and I don’t want to ponder what he means.
No, I want to go embrace my husband.