The Storyvore

walking

I eat stories he said and blinked or would have blinked or maybe not who knows; he has no eyes. She had noticed this immediately when the two had first met under the big tree. She had been sitting alone for a long time, hidden from view and had watched the leaves grow while the ice had melted in her hand coloring her arm in blues and yellows and some reds. She remembered how she had thought that leaves were funny creatures and how they would make for a nice dress and that the dress would change color in fall and would swish swish swish make her beautiful. Like a tree. You eat stories, she laughed and he could not help but laugh with her or would have or maybe not who knows; he was not capable of such music-making. You are too funny she said and her eyes shone like they always did when the two were together. She did not laugh very often. He loved the honesty in her eyes or would have or maybe not who knows; no one had given him a heart. And how do stories taste she asked like she had asked him many times before and like before he said that one could not taste stories but that stories, when consumed could feel like sunshine, ripe apples or butterflies and she had clapped her hands in delight and had wanted to eat one too. Lately I have been having indigestion he confessed and while she marveled how a creature with no belly could have indigestion she believed him and asked why and he seemed sad. Stories are not always bright and easy but they can be heavy and in such a disagreeable condition that even a voracious Storyvore like myself would wish for an alternative diet only that to exist I need them both – the happy and the sad. Oh I am sorry she winced and meant it. She knew all about sad stories and remembering started to shake all over and wished she could become a butterfly and fly away. If you eat my story, she asked, will it go away? She looked so very small and while he could not see he felt that she was more than the young child that she appeared to be when seen skipping across the field with hat and teddy bear in hand but that in her eyes he could feel a disenchantment and a loss of magic. But she hid it well and only in his presence was everything revealed. Child he voiced and she felt his sincerity caress her wind-blown hair, I wish it were so and I wish I could eat your story and leave you with naught but the best in life but I am but a Storyvore and all that I can do is share what you feel for when I eat your story it becomes a part of me as you become a part of me but although a connection will be born between us, your story remains your story and nothing in this world can free you from that burden. Her eyes shone as she gazed up to him and they appeared to him as deep as the sky and she nodded slowly and then with more emphasis. Yes, that makes sense, I just wish that…. after a long pause she mumbled, you only miss someone when they are gone, and seemed to withdraw into another world. Is that how you want to start your story he asked and she came back and smiled a sad little smile and shook her head. I always wanted my life to be miraculous, as big as the universe and as colorful as the brightest bird. I wanted it to fly; to be full of songs. That sounds like a grand story he agreed, one that I would gladly eat. A giggle escaped her as she wiped two tears from her cheeks and got distracted by a ladybug that had started to climb up the tree. He left her to this smallest of magic and thought about how many lifetimes of stories he had already consumed and how this little story had existed over and over again in so many varieties but with all the same pain and confusion and how it had almost un-made him the first time that he had consumed such a story. For many hungry days after he had refused to eat, never knowing if the next story would be one of happiness or would threaten to fracture him for stories can do that and he had been fractured many times since. He had always managed to find himself again but never did he become used to the pain for you don’t need to have a heart or a body, for that matter, to feel a story. There had been good stories too but he felt complete only if happy and sad joined in him for they were the two sides of one coin. I love these little creatures she told him and sat back down. He agreed and told her that even a ladybug had a story. That made her smile. That must be a small story she offered and he told her that one of the grandest stories he had ever eaten had come from a sparrow and she nodded as if that made sense. I have many stories too she told him and was partly proud partly upset. I know child and I would love them all but she refused and turned away from him and he could tell that some stories weighed heavily on her and kept her youthful body under strain. He would not force her to share her story and would rather go hungry for he knew that regardless if happy or sad, a story stolen, would always ache. I have to go now she told him but I so enjoyed being with you again and I will be back and he knew that she would and that she would carry more stories with her and more pain for where she now returned to, gentleness was in short supply and yet she never ran away. She waved to him and parted the branches of the tree. Goodbye Storyvore and goodbye Ladybug she sang and left much behind as she skipped across the field towards more story and her leaving led him to see the ladybug which was jumping up and down to catch his attention. He stepped closer and heard that it wanted to share a story as well and it began with Let me tell you about this beautiful girl that would visit every day and in her being and caring and laughing would transform this modest ladybug’s world into one of song and color and make it seem as vast as the universe and the Storyvore smiled or would have smiled or maybe not, who knows. That is indeed a grand story he said and so everything turns, as it always does and connects…

 

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