SUMMARY / NOTES:
Serina (Bitter Sojourn) attempts to make nice with the general public. A piece revealing a small bit of the difficulties of adapting from a life that has known only constant battle/war for the last 5 years.
- It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
- - Anne Frank
- How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
- – Barry Lopez
The stream of humanity flowed past, parting around the unmoving heroine. She drew quite a few looks, a few odd ones but mostly appreciative glances particularly from young men. Otherwise the majority simply ignored her, quite used to costumed heroes and heroines in their midst. She could see them passing her without opening her eyes, feel them without touching. And through it all, she remained outwardly oblivious but inwardly struggling not to be overcome by the sensation of life. Their conversations, their shouts, the sounds of traffic, a cacophony of sound, that threatened to overwhelm her, send her reeling with vertigo. Death was about, it always was. But here it was remote, driven back by the sweating, struggling, seething masses of humanity; a tantalizing and thrilling fear somewhere always over the horizon. Not the intimate companion she had become used to, looming over them, Death’s cold breath caressing the back of her neck.
She felt her excitement, her sense of life and nearly euphoric happiness at simple survival draining away as she recalled her past. The joy she had felt from being among them, among the living, from just being on a world that had not been devastated by a war of survival turned once again to ash in her mouth. She trembled with the struggle to keep her gorge down, to keep her bitterness and rage in check. She wanted to scream at them, to strike out as her hands clenched into shaking fists at her side. Make them feel the fear her people had, the helplessness, the loss, the utter sense of futility and insignificance! These ignorant fools taking their freedom and the fact they still had their very lives for granted. She wanted to shake them, make them open their eyes and see the risks. See that they had to mobilize, organize and tear down the ancient and archaic fears that kept humanity separated and apart. To explain that nothing else would keep them safe and perhaps not even that.
With a soft cry she wrapped trembling arms about herself, biting her lower lip until she tasted blood, lowering her face so that her straw colored hair shielded her face. Her cry had drawn attention and suddenly she couldn’t stand to be among them. She couldn’t stand to be among these ignorant, ungrateful and completely innocent people. Innocent of her rage, her contempt, her judgment, all of which she knew she should instead turn on herself.
She quickly launched herself skyward, fleeing the tentative comforting hands and queries of the crowd. Once free and floating over Kings Row, she breathed, slowly regaining control and concentrating on her mental training and discipline. Ironically she was using tactics for interrogation resistance to recover from simply being among others. Still, she had done better this time. She had lasted far longer than the last time and she had hope that her progress would continue. Hope? She shook her head as the wind whipped her hair about. Why was she doing any of this? Why did she bother becoming a hero? Portal Corp had provided her the option of granting asylum and living her life out in anonymity. After everything she’d been through she deserved a rest, some peace. Instead here she was, fighting to defend these people. What was it in her that refused to give up on them, that kept believing?
Maybe it was because this world was still alive, still had a chance. It was hard to imagine that just about half a decade ago, her world had been much the same. That she, at one time, had an upper middle-class upbringing; preoccupied by flicks and the stars, inane vagaries like worrying about status at school, who had worn what, dated whom, the latest trends. That she had been looking forward to a promising career in politics once she had finished her stint in the mil forces, against her parents’ wishes, of course. But if you had political aspirations you had to have that military background. The memories of her youth however tasted odd. It was as if they were memories that didn’t belong to her, belonging to some other girl, innocent, naïve and completely unprepared for how things could change.
But then again, everything had changed with their arrival.