redamancy by Lauren Hisey
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redamancy by Lauren Hisey

redamancy by Lauren Hisey


They marry on a Sunday evening, with no witnesses but the birds in the trees and the stars in the sky.

The valley is quiet. A soft summer breeze ruffles the leaves of the willow tree the pair has found shelter under, the brook murmurs behind them as they sit face to face. The last few rays of the dying sun cast the field in shades of gold, turning the flowers to jewels and setting the water on fire. A patina of peace has settled over their little sanctuary, enveloping the birds and the trees and the brook and the bees in a soft, motherly embrace. They will not be disturbed here.

One of the two, Florian (though this is not the name they were born with, the name their mother gave them, the name that means long hair and swishing skirts and skin that doesn’t fit quite right), tips their head back and runs their hands through the tall grass, collecting the dew on their fingertips. The breeze tousles their hair, cut short with dull kitchen shears in the middle of the night (how their mother screamed when she saw), and they breathe in the sweet scent of honeysuckle dappled with moss and fresh dirt. They want to live in this moment forever, to dig their fingers into the earth and let the flowers sprout amongst their bones, here where they are Florian, Florian and no one else.

The other, Merle (though this is not the name they were born with, the name their father gave them, the name that means marrying well and staying home to look after the children and flinching at every reflection), gives Florian an infectious smile that breaks them in two, like they know each and every one of their thoughts. Their own hair hangs down by their shoulders, free from the leather cord they often use to keep it out of their eyes while working in the smithy with their father. Merle’s eyes sparkle with glee as their bare toes dig into the soil, their skin smudged with dirt; Florian calls to mind the roots of the willow they are sitting underneath, stretching down, down, down, a firm, unfailing foundation. Florian has never wanted anyone more.

They reach forward, taking both of Merle’s hands in their own. As their fingers intertwine, it’s almost as if something fits back into place in their chest, something that had always been just slightly dislocated. This day has been a long time coming, from the very first day they met, when Florian had looked across the busy market square to lock eyes with the blacksmith’s only child, wearing boy’s pants and reenacting a tale of knights and dragons to some of the local children.

“Are you ready?” Merle asks, their voice hushed, their eyes alight with mirth. This moment is clandestine, and the pair are giddy with the feeling, with the knowledge that nothing can touch this, nothing can stop this. Florian could grow wings and take to the sky just because they are here, because they are free.

“I’m ready.”

The words are sweet, bursting on their tongue as if they’ve bitten into a fresh strawberry. They tighten their grip on Merle’s hands.

In the end, they exchange few words. Both know the love in their hearts to be true and reciprocated. Anything they could say fails in comparison to this; this beautiful, holy love they have found in each other.

Florian isn’t sure when they both started crying, but when Merle takes their face in their warm, rough palms and kisses them like they never want to let go, they decide it doesn’t quite matter. They are more focused on the feel of Merle under their hands, the cut of their tunic, the fall of their hair, the beat of their heart.

They lie together then, the birds and the trees and the brook and the bees as their witnesses. The sun has set, bathing them in starlight and moondust, the night sparkling with pearl and silver. The soft summer wind blows around them, the majesty of the earth singing the pair a soft, motherly tune. If only they could root themselves into the very soil, into the rocks and the roots of the great willow they lie underneath, planting themselves here for all eternity, safe from all harm. If only they could grow as tall as the trees, standing as a monument to those before and those who will come after; to say that they are here.

We lived, their hearts beat.

We lived, and we live, and this cannot be taken away.