There she sat; impossibly balanced atop the pillars that made up the entrance to the shrine.
With her body in a squat position, and both hands holding the beam between her feet she started down at me with blank, gray eyes.
“State your purpose.”
Her hair was white and wispy.
The hair of age.
Her eyes shone with an unmistakable light; the light of wisdom.
The light of guidance.
Her body was youthful; her skin seeming to be made of the same substance as the coating a pearl.
I had felt the wind drawing nearer.
I had heard it travel in between the trees; chasing me as I raced up the stone steps leading to the pillars. A sweet and distant smell had been carried along with it. The mysterious smell had given me comfort.
But when I reached the top, everything was still.
It had made me feel strange and I’d turned my head hoping the sweetness had simply stopped behind me; that the pillars had frightened it, but that it would continue to stay by my side nevertheless.
But it wasn’t there and I was alone.
It had surely been an illusion I had created to keep me calm as I struggled to reach the top.
I’d truly believed that.
But now as the trees began to dance once again, I felt the scent waft through my fingers,
in between my legs,
through the fabric of my dress,
and about the strands of my hair.
I’d felt it embrace every curve of my body before I was allowed to smell it completely and entirely.
I wrapped my arms around myself, entwining my fingers through hair and fabric hoping it would linger.
“What is your basis for coming here?”
She was standing now; perfectly balanced with her hair dancing like the leaves of the trees. Wisps of it had concealed tiny fractions of her features, only making her more mysterious.
And only making my nerves quiver more furiously.
“You shall not be granted entry until your reason is clear.”
Why had I been so desperate to reach the top?
My reason had been clear, and I had lost it along the way.
The scent grew stronger, ‘causing my eyes to water and the inside of my nose to burn.
It made me feel such a desperate need to remember my knees grew weak and I struggled to stay standing.
“You will not remember.”
Squinting and holding myself, I watched as my image of the girl turned milky.
“You will not remember, and you will not be granted entry.”
She raised her hand designating the place where I stood.
A light began to trace a circle around my feet.
The light grew brighter and larger until it had trapped me completely within it’s beam.
As the ground beneath my feet turned dark, I began to unravel myself. As I did so the scent began to fade, and instead of clawing towards a surface, I tried to grab hold of it again.
But, it slowly receded back into the depths of which it came; taking my memory of it as well.
I longed for it to linger.
I longed for the memory of why I longed for it.
I longed for my reason.
I longed for entry.
But, the trees had ceased dancing, and the scent did not linger.