Ssh, quiet now. Listen to me. You can pull through this.

When I was young, it seemed like we were always attending vigils. My mother's relatives were always more shriveled at every service - eaten away by alcohol, time, and regret. They would always swarm towards me in droves, wrinkled hands outstretched - I tried to count the wrinkles to get over the anxiousness I felt at being near so many people. My face must have looked very funny, in retrospect...

Once, the church roof - for our church was very old, and in need of some serious repairs - fell in and crushed my foot. I still remember the strange lack of pain I felt at the time; the beam had almost cut right through my bone. Simple wood, and force - it was a miracle I survived, you know?

But I did, and you will too. Can you still here my voice? Stay with me. Listen.

... The priests - there were a priest, and deacon. They stopped swinging their censors almost immediately and rushed over. My father was trying to push the beam off and screaming, and crying - but he hadn't been in good shape for years. I remember wanting to laugh at the time; everything felt so unreal, like I was watching from a great distance. I asked the priests to keep the censors waving. They hadn't wanted to make it seem I would die, but to this day I feel like it was the sweet scent of incense that kept me from drifting off into the hole in the roof, into the open sky - and to somewhere else.

Keep breathing, and don't plug your ears. So long as you hear me, you'll be safe. You will be warm, and cared for. You will be loved.

I think it was that day I first wanted to be a scientist. At long last, some heavy machinery had come by and managed to pry me free and take me to the Unversity Hospital. It was like heaven, there - I could lay in bed and read all day, and know that all around me people were learning and living as one. Isn't that a wonderful thought?

Yet, to know that there were so many in such great pain - those without relief or succor to turn to - made it hard for me to want to recover. What was the point, if the world was so cruel that there was nothing to look to but old age and the irrationalities of hate and fear..? But irrationalities can be removed; ill circumstance be analyzed, eliminated and minimized. The world is not cruel - we are cruel, for we do not know love.

Stay with me. Listen, and know love.

You're almost there - just a few more minutes. Don't struggle.

When they finally let me out of the hospital, I remember feeling like a newborn. My mother had held my hand the entire way home - "See, Aleksandra. Look to Heaven, and everything will resolve itself." She felt weak, and old - but I realized that we would always be together, one, indivisible. And now we are - and now we will be. You feel weak - so weak - right now, but I know that even now you can feel the strainings of song in your heart, struggling to burst free.

It's all right. You can sing for as long as you want. Bathe in the harmony you feel with all other children, and sing. Sing for as long you as you want, in quiet praise. Now you and I are one - another facet of that peculiar light. You do not need to listen to my song any longer.

I am Judge Zelenin; and now, you are another voice in my choir. Let us fill the entire world with song.

Written by Stormlilly

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