forever is just a matter of time

Forever is just a matter of time. Ever means always, it means at any time. It means both of those things simultaneously. At any time, always.

For always. For any time. For ever. Forever.

What lasts, what remains, for the future. For all of the future. Without an end.

When I think about forever, not figurative, but literal, I realize I can never fathom it.

Never is just a matter of no time. Never means not at all, at no time. Not in the past, not in the future. Not at present.

Not now. Not then. Not ever. Never.

It is telling that as a species I believe we have a better grasp on the literal concept of never.

Prince

“Thank you for letting me stay,” said the princess, “but I really must be going.”

“You… slept well?” the queen asked.

The princess shrugged, but decided not to elaborate. The queen really needed to know, so pushed the issue.

“Then it was better than the previous night.”

The princess sighed. “It was. Once I got rid of the peas under the bed. I’m not sure how they could have gotten there, they were mush. If they had been on top of the mattress I would have left, but I figured I could handle one night of their mush as long as I wasn’t on top of it.”

“Mother!” the prince said.

“She is a princess, all right,” said the queen.

The prince didn’t agree with how his mother determined that. “Anyone would have noticed that!”

The queen nodded. “But only true royalty would call me out on it.”

“That’s nice and all,” said the princess, “but I really have to go.”

“Have a good time,” said the prince.

The queen put up a hand. “You… you are not interested in marrying my son?”

The princess frowned. “No. Not really.”

“Let me get you a good steed to get you on your way,” said the prince. He quickly moved the princess away from his mother, knowing he would have to deal with this for some time. “I’m so sorry about that.”

“Don’t worry,” said the princess. “I know you’ll find your princess eventually.”

The prince sighed. “I’d much rather a prince, at this rate.”

“I’ll send my brother over. You two might get along.”

The prince and the princess wished each other well and the princess departed.

You’re hired. Come with me.

With the rest of their tests, the scores were sent on to someone none of them had yet to see, to sift through and determine who amongst them was going to get the job. Tatsu waited impatiently at the door. She managed not to pace, standing there with her hands at her sides.

Four feet tall, Tatsu was a bit more striking because of the blond streak through her jet black hair. The dye job could have been done better, it was as though the hairdresser messed up, because it wasn’t the same lock. It started at the roots of one and went diagonal to hit other locks of hair further down. While it looked strange now, it would look stranger when it grew out beyond the chin length it fell to all around her face.

The others were congratulating Gio. It was true, they had heard a lot of their scores while out on the floor and it was true, out of all of them Gio had consistently gotten the highest. Tatsu said it was still too soon to say. None of the others appeared to mind as much. Out loud, that was.

“Still have hope?” Gio asked. It was hard to tell if he was being proud or boastful with his tone.

Tatsu’s tone was more clear. “Hope? I nailed this one.”

The woman who had walked through everything with them with the clipboard entered, looking confused. “Tatsu?”

Tatsu turned to her with a calm smile. “Yes, ma’am?”

“You’re hired. Come with me.”

“Yes,” she said, with a low key fist pump. Shooting Gio one last smile, the man absolutely stunned, Tatsu followed after her.

Emine (pt 15)

“What do you want for your birthday?”

Emine hadn’t known anyone here knew her birthday. She shouldn’t have been surprised Sanni did, but she felt it nonetheless. Her birthday. Eleven years old. A year since her parents cast her out.

Sanni’s expression went from a measured amount of excitement to some concern. “Emine? Is something wrong?”

She shook her head. “I… No, nothing is wrong. I wasn’t thinking about it. I don’t know.”

“Surely there is something you want.”

Sanni sat down on her bed and Emine, after a moment, went to sit next to her. Sanni did something her mother used to do, which was put her arm around her while she sat next to her. Emine barely remembered it though, because she had been very young when her mother had done so.

“Yes.” There were quite a few things she wanted. But a birthday was when you asked for something you didn’t think you could ask for during the rest of the year.

“Tell me about it.”

Emine’s mind raced. What did she want right now that she might not get the rest of the year? Surprisingly, her mind settled on something quickly. Something Sanni couldn’t give her. But Emine wanted it nonetheless.

“I want to fly on dragonback.”

To those beneath

The regent sits upon their throne
And hears the moan
Of the man there
Before their chair

Pleading for something they don’t
Care for, or won’t
Listen more than they
Need as to weigh.

A tug upon their sleeve then shows
Their child who knows.
They listen to more
Words on the floor.

Khaalida dropped the cup over the railing and walked away.

The completely covered woman didn’t react physically to her companion’s words. “Sure I will. Looking down from here is a great way of finding surface thoughts. Especially when they don’t look up.”

“You could always call attention to yourself.”

The blue and black woman scoffed. “Like hell I would, Khaalida.”

“That’s right, how can an attention whore call more attention-” Khaalida had meant to cut herself off with a sip of her tea, but as she was then sucking at air, with an empty cup, it just sounded silly. “Did you just-”

“No,” came the lie.

“I hate you.” Khaalida dropped the cup over the railing and walked away. When it crashed, all of the applicants looked up to see the concealed woman, glowering down at them.

“Ow, really?” Tatsu complained, pushing some fragments of glass away with her foot. She wasn’t looking up with the rest of them.

The other woman followed after Khaalida, then went off in a different direction, not interested in ending up where the older woman was going.