I walked slowly home carrying my bags of groceries. The coolness in the air lifted my spirits, even as my heart constricted when I thought of Dakeh and how much fun we would have have had on a day like this.
I was almost in front of my house when a male voice called out "Belinda, it's you!" Startled I stared at the man. His clothes were worn and frayed. He looked familiar, tall, rugged and sunburned with a stubble on his face. He had a scar on his right cheek and looked to be about thirty-something. It was unmistakably Conner. "Conner, you look so different. I didn't recognize you."
"I have been to the Valley of Sorrow, Belinda, as you know it changes people. I brought this one back." Standing next to Conner was a young boy. He looked to be about 8 and appeared as raggedy as Conner. The boy appeared to be blind.
"Please come in and let me make you something to eat," I said. Turning my attention to the boy, I asked: "What is your name?" Conner slowly shook his head. "He hasn't spoken since I found him outside the war zone, wandering around. I don't know what to do to help him, so I brought him home."
I offered Conner the guest room and some towels. I showered and changed clothes. Then I called Gammy and asked her if she could help her find clean clothes for Conner and the boy. I told Gammy about the young boy thinking Gammy might have suggestions or magic to help him. I was not prepared for Gammy's reaction. "It was foretold! He has arrived! It is happening!"
"What are you talking about? What is happening?" I asked in bewilderment. "What are you talking about?"
As if she hadn't heard me, Gammy continued excitedly. "The two forces will grow in strength. The Dark will appear to be all-encompassing but the Light will be luminescent. We are coming to the time your father spoke of." Then she abruptly hung up.
There was a bolt of light and Gammy suddenly appeared in my kitchen with clothes for both Conner and the boy. She began feeding the boy and speaking to him in a language I did not recognize. He started laughing and nodding. Conner and I looked at each other perplexed.
For the next three hours, Gammy only spoke to and played with the boy. At the end of the day, Gammy led a freshly scrubbed boy to Conner and me.
The boy now looked like an angel and spoke in a high clear voice. "My name is Jacob. I come from a place of war." Pointing at Conner he said "You saved me. I was alone for 6 months before you found me."
Both Conner and I were bursting with questions, but one look from Gammy told us to hold our tongues as Jacob began to speak.
"A few years ago, my mother told me about a dream she had. She told me that one day I would be without her, I would be very frightened but I would be safe. And that day happened soon afterward. I cried very hard until I couldn't cry anymore. Then I stopped caring. I felt dead even as I was fighting to live. " Turning to Conner, Jacob said "Conner, when you came, I didn't, I couldn't feel anything. I was so lost. I want you to know how very grateful I am that you cared. Thank you."
Pointing to Gammy he said "You brought me back to life with magic. I feel gratitude and happiness, and alive. I am only 8. I didn't know that was possible. My mother said I was born to lead but I am alone and my eyes do not see. But amazingly, I can see you all!"
Without stopping to catch a breath, a high sound that one might imagine occurs at birth and death came out of Jacob's mouth. It was a sound destined to draw crowds.
When the sound stopped, we were transfixed. Then we all started to embrace this child, the one who had come.
"Magic" snorted Gammy, "it was the doughnuts, works every time," she snorted again to cover her embarrassment.
"But he is human," I said, " so we must teach him our ways." Conner looked puzzled. I sat down and shared hours of my realm's history with Conner. "This boy is going to form a bridge between our two worlds. He has the gift of purity and both the humans, faeries and the elementals will move forward toward the other because of our love of him."
"It has been a long time since purity appeared for humans and the fae to love. Most often we find it in music, poetry, and art. Whenever beings of any kind find something or someone that touches the deep recesses of creation, awe, sadness, anger, passion, there is a possibility and this little boy will stir that. To look at him is to feel.." Conner asked "So, is he a religious figure?"
"No, " said Gammy emphatically, "just the opposite, He will merely speak around the world, telling of his life and how he was able to feel truly alive again. BUT MOSTLY, HE WILL SING! We will need a year to get him fully alive and childlike again. Yes, he is wise but that is because he has been allowed his full experience."
I asked Gammy "Can you take him to be with Milika for a time? Conner will you be his guardian, his father, his friend?" Conner looked at her "I went into this to gain what I thought was the greatest prize and have found an even greater one."
He smiled, "I do understand Belinda. Both of you have my love and undying allegiance."
Conner looked so much older than his years. It was as though the majestic statue of Michelangelo's David had come to life with flesh & blood, lines of pain remembered and eyes which held gentleness doused with a depth of love that was rare. As I watched Conner with Jacob and Milika, I was overwhelmed with the tenderness he showed each of these special ones.
We all sat there in silence thinking about how each one of us could contribute in this grand plan. After a few minutes, Conner turned to me. "Thank you for the trust you are placing in me. I now know in my heart that this is what I was born for Belinda. I have been searching and now know I have found my life's purpose. I can't believe the life I might have led had I not met you."
"Conner, you were destined. I have come to admire you so." With my heart in my throat, I breathed in his fresh scent, like fresh linen before leaving the room.