“And when will that ever happen, the way you keep on collecting yourself new little girls?”
“Or creating them?” Jade called back to us, causing a fresh bout of laughter.
I spoke with a smile, “If Aganthi was my rose without any thorns, my little Jade has inherited all of them.”
“You think of her as a thorn!?”
“In a way. She seems to be fated to be the one to force me to see myself honestly.”
The group slowed and waited for us to catch up with them. I was surprised to see they had chosen Theresa as their spokesman (spokesgirl?).
“Robert, we have been talking.”
“Are you going to talk to me as Theresa or Ulya?”
She was taken aback by my question, but recovered fast. “As both if you want.”
“No. Ulya is gone, let it be Theresa who knew that sad girl, who talks.”
She nodded, as if what I had said made sense. “Can your daughters, all of the girls, can they please listen?”
“Should we go back home first, sit on the lawn in a circle?”
“What for? They can hear with their ears or their minds.”
“If you think they need to, then call to them to do so. I for one will listen.”
“You are not the one who needs to.” She felt all minds had tuned in to us. “We think it is more important the girls hear this. All of us who have been hurt by men who like to hurt little girls, like they talked about at the camp, we realised something we had not thought of before. Those men, the bad ones who hurt us, it was not only the sex that was bad. What was the worst was that they made us feel that we were bad, that we deserved what they did to us. They made us think of ourselves as dirty, sluts, as not being worth any love. They made us feel as if we were only there to be used as men want and if they hurt us it was because we deserved it.
That was worse than the sex, worse than rape and pain. They made us into things, made us even hate ourselves. If we had been left to that kind of life none of us would have ever loved, for we would never have thought of ourselves as worthy of being loved. I think we would have even always chosen the men who treat us like rubbish and hurt us.”
I had stopped walking as she talked and now found myself on my knees in the sand as their pains washed through me. I sensed Cherine on her knees weeping also. I wanted to pull her to me, but could not, until she threw herself into my arms. Then I held her tightly, fighting back my own tears.
“I’m sorry we hurt you and Cherine. We did not mean to.”
“Both of us wish we could take even the memories of the pain from you, we would do so gladly.”
“But you have!! That is what we came to tell you.”
“Then please tell us, for we need to hear that we have helped.”
They all knelt in front of us, their distress plainly felt by all.
“I knew it should have been Wendy to tell you, she would not have hurt you. I’m sorry, I am clumsy with words. Cherine, Dominique, the rest of the girls, you all helped, for seeing how you loved Robert, how you were loved, helped to open our hearts. The one who helped us the most was Robert though.
None of us had ever met a man as patient and loving as him. None of us had ever thought a man could love us, think of us as precious, never mind be willing to die for our love. He never showed any interest in us sexually, and never as things for him to use. From him, sex was a way of us being adored like a goddess.
Robert, it is your heart that healed what had gone wrong with our hearts, even if you did not know always what was wrong with us. Each one of us is now the same as those who love you without having known anything but love. I remember it was Aganthi who said she was luckier than your other girls because she really knew how lucky she is to be loved by a man like you. All of us feel the same way.
We felt you at the camp and as we walked here tonight, and we tried to find a way to let you know that you are wrong to feel you are bad. We can only find one way to do so. Robert, my husband and love, will you let us all open our hearts to you, will you please come in and feel how we love you? Will you please come in and see how you have taught us to also love ourselves?”
“I do not need to feel you love me to justify myself Theresa. I need to know you love me because you feel there is something of me that is worth your love. What wracks my heart is hearing of you learning to love yourselves. If I have helped, then I am truly blessed.”
“You mean we are blessed.”
“No. You have only had your eyes opened to the beauty that was already a part of you. I read once a science fiction story by Anne McCaffrey, about a people on another planet who have the custom of thanking the other person when they give a gift or help the other. They were right, it is a blessing when one is able to give. If you say I helped give or teach you love for yourselves, then I have been blessed and I thank all of you for allowing me to help.”
Aganthi spoke softly, almost as if she spoke to herself. “Please stop selling us flowers, let us thank you.”
“Aganthi mou, I am the field and you girls are the flowers, the green grass and the trees that give life and beauty to me. As your roots grow into me and draw life and happiness for yourselves so do you give my existence meaning. Without you I would but be an empty barren desert. I wish to see how deep those roots have grown and to confirm that I have nourished you with purity, so I welcome you opening your hearts to me.”
They did so and it was not just a pouring of love. They let us see how they had been and how I had changed them, how the love within our family had taught and nourished them until their own hearts were able to blossom. I felt truly humbled to see that I had helped just by loving them. I had not truly needed any Cherinian gifts to do so, just by giving love I had been able to save their hearts.
Jade came to me, the moonlight shimmering in her eyes as she knelt and put her little arms around me.
“Is that why you made me Robert, because you had too much love to keep it all within you, so you made me out of your heart?”
There was a stunned silence, only Jade not reacting.
“Jade, I will not have you glorifying me for something I do not deserve. I created an illusion to play a trick. It was Meli who turned you into a real person. That does not mean…”
“You do not understand then? Did you think I became Jade when Meli changed your trick? I became what I am the moment your heart opened to me Robert. When you poured your love and life into me, tried to share your soul, I became Jade, daughter, creation and lover. If I will be your thorn Robert, my pricks will never poison, never draw blood, they will only be my way of returning to you some of that love.”
“Jade?” She looked at Cherine. “Will you then do something for all of us that love this stupid but lovely man?”
“Help him to stay crazy. We have tried, but we cannot. He is changing, allowing others to make him as they are. We need him to stay the Robert we love.”
“If he gave me some of his craziness, then I will.”
“Then after Robert, you will be number one in our hearts.”
“That would frighten me Cherine. Then I would have to always be as you want me to be.”
Cherine's eyes glowed, “See Dommi? She truly is made out of our Robert.”
“Perhaps you all have it the wrong way around. Perhaps I was only created for the purpose of giving existence to her.” Jade stared up at me and for the first time I saw real fear in her eyes. I managed to give a grin. “You girls were right, she really is like me, she takes everything far too seriously.” I stood up, holding her to my side.
“Wendy, Aganthi, Claudia and Theresa. The four of you searched for a way to reach my heart, ease pains you feared you saw there. My pains were not for myself, but for all of you. However, your search led you to a clearer understanding of yourselves, releasing some of the poisons you still harboured within your hearts. Think on this. As you tried to give from love, so did you enrich yourselves, freeing your spirits, growing taller so that now your faces are no longer hidden in shadow, but are bared to the sun. I am proud of you and my heart feels like it is bursting with love. May I have a kiss to seal this sweetness within us?”
I kissed them tenderly and then made the mistake of looking over towards Cherine and felt my heart breaking at the look of love that filled her eyes. How can I ever be deserving of such love!!
We are back home and I cannot help thinking this has been the strangest honeymoon ever. We have all grown as a family, but also as Cherinians.
On November the 14th, the birthday of our precious Dommi, our delight, my sweet wife and daughter Cassie was born, losing all the ‘firsts’ Dommi had wanted for her so that all our Cherinians could be a part of her coming to us. As is becoming the custom, all Cherinians arrived before the birth. It was a happy moment for all of us when Nicko arrived from Chicago especially for her. His two wives were with him and it amused all of us to hear a slight American accent within such a short time. Their enthusiasms were those of children, all that excited them about the USA made little sense to the adults. I secretly smiled when I saw that Nicko understood and encouraged them. My tough friend has changed so much that he did not even dare to tease me about my marrying Cassie before she was born. All that mattered to me and the girls was the look of happiness on the face of our Dommi as she held him to her for a while.
As requested we had brought over our alternates, Dominique sitting by Dommi, held her hand throughout the birthing. Rob was trying to see to all that had to be organised with so many people present, keeping the coffee, sandwiches and pastries flowing. I was playing it as being very detached and cool, which was stupid in a house full of Cherinians. When the top of her head appeared I kept my eyes on Cassie, forgetting or ignoring all others. This was her time, the most special moment of her life and I belonged to her alone for these hours.
Soon as Cassie was in our world, held in her mother’s arms, the two Wendy girls with Lua and Candy sang a harmony that sounded like the “Happy Birthday” song we all know. I let the parents of Dommi be the next to hold her then all my girls, Nicko (both of them), my mother and so on. I waited to be last, for I could afford to, she was already sharing her mind with me, giggling and making funny little comments to me as others made all those silly faces adults (even children) do, compounding their folly by cooing and talking nonsense baby talk. I had a difficult time keeping a straight face, for I was finding my little Cassie has a good sense of the ridiculous. Finally she was in my arms and I stared into those baby blue eyes that will darken later and felt myself sinking into her warm personality. I felt as if she had wrapped herself around me, her tenderness and love a shield that will hold my heart with love forever.
When I returned to my senses it was to find the entire room staring at us, their eyes all melting with love and tenderness. I had, without realising it floated about a foot above the floor, humming softly to myself as I broadcast our feelings.
A few hours later we cut the cake for Dommi and as usually happens with any group of people, we drifted apart, small knots of people discussing different matters while the children, children once again, went off to talk in the bedrooms. It was the first time Pavlo was left out of their group and he was too young to feel at ease with the adults. Soon he found his own company, Henry and Angelo, who were discussing girls and how difficult it is to find one suitable for them and for joining the Cherinians. I could have set them right, but felt it was better they mature on their own. Dommi put her arm through mine, smiling down at Cassie who lay in my arms, her little face showing her contentment.
“You are right Robert, they are looking for an ideal girl, qualities they will never find in any real girl.”
“Can you feel how self-satisfied Pavlo feels, almost smug, as he listens to them. That boy has his head and heart in the right place. I think when he grows out of his teen problems he will be a wonderful Cherinian.”
I hope you enjoy reading this story of fantasy, adventure and love - and should some of it be true for our reality, I hope you will love our Cherine.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
1st September, 2019
* posted on PALNet - Steemit - WEKU - CreativeCoin: 1st September, 2019