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Naledi
02/20/18 07:48 pm
Sunny but cold - Iím in the Czech Republic :)
Glorfindel
02/19/18 06:25 pm
I hope you are somewhere sunny, Naledi :)
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02/19/18 08:21 am
Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone! I had a lovely day and I still have a whole week of holiday to go!
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02/18/18 06:54 am
Happy Birthday, Naledi! Have a brilliant day! :)
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02/16/18 10:17 pm
Have a great holiday, Naledi, and happy birthday for Sunday!
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02/16/18 10:03 pm
Thanks, Ziggy and Ysilme. My birthday is on Sunday. Iím on holiday at the moment, so not able to check in so often.
Shout Archive


Bindweed by Himring

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Written as a gift for Oshun and originally posted to LJ on her birthday

 

 


‘Do you remember that book of flowers you sent to me in Formenos?’

‘Yes, I do, but that was long ago and you’ve never mentioned it since...’

‘It was bound with two strong clasps. The leaves seemed to bulge and, when I undid the clasps, the volume burst open and a cascade of dry and wilted flowers fell out, leaving their silhouettes like ghosts behind on the page. It was as if you had been culling the flower beds in my mother’s garden and tried to cram them all in. ’

‘That’s more or less what I did, yes. The book you had sent me for my begetting-day—you know the one I mean?—was almost the same but quite different nevertheless: specimens of northern vegetation from the area around Formenos, all neatly pressed, carefully labelled and botanically classified. I remember sitting up late that night while Telperion waxed and waned—in flowing silks and long impractical sleeves, for my begetting-day party had been one of those determinedly gay occasions, rather pompous  you would have thought it—and how I kept studying one pale unassuming weed after another and tried in vain to decode your message. Eventually I feel asleep with my head on the page and when I woke up, I concluded in disgust that there was no message: no reassurance or encouragement, not even accusation or reproof. It was as if you’d withdrawn completely from our messy human affairs…’

‘How much I longed to withdraw from those messy human affairs, those last months in Tirion! I thought it was only a stubborn sense of duty that kept me from barricading myself in the library and letting everyone go their own merry way—to destruction, if they insisted upon it. But the moment I sat down at that poky little desk in my chamber in Formenos and tried to write—write anything about any subject at all—my fears threatened to spill onto the page, blacker and more copious than any ink. I could not write anything except what I could not write for fear it might be true: that everything was broken beyond mending, my father’s mind, our family, the peace among the Noldor…  I managed to record the names of the plants around me; it was the best I could do. Do you remember how far the distance between Tirion and Formenos seemed, then, how long those twelve years of exile, how insurmountable the breach? Little did we guess what was to come! So much farther and longer, so much deeper and more insurmountable…’

‘At the time, I decided firmly to put you out of my mind. Life in Tirion must go on; we were all hard at work papering over the cracks. But after a few days it came to me, just like that, as I was walking down the street, how many hours you must have spent, gathering the plants, preparing the book for me...’

‘That volume was my second attempt, actually. The first one was a little more ornate, but I upset the ink pot all over it one evening…’

‘You did?’

‘Things had been difficult, that day, in the house…’

‘Had they?  Anyway, I rushed off to the stationer’s, bought a blank book and stuffed it with the flowers of Tirion, of home, as best I could. Then I waited anxiously for an answer—I felt all raw inside, over-extended, vulnerable…’

‘I did respond…’

‘Barely. You scrawled a brief greeting in the margin of Grandfather’s next letter and sent another neatly pressed northern flower. Bindweed you labelled it. It was just enough so I felt I had not made a complete fool of myself. Oh! Is that what made you bring it up just now? Bindweed? Convolvulus? It does grow plentifully here in Hithlum. I also saw it grow in Araman…’

‘I could not understand how I could have let myself run out of words to talk to you.  We had not even quarrelled—I think, like a coward, I had avoided talking to you, fearing that we would quarrel if I did, and had not let myself notice…  I resolved—I promised myself—that when we returned to Tirion—if we returned to Tirion—whatever else happened, I would simply go and sit on your doorstep and wait and wait for the words to come back… I did not do well on the subject of that resolution at all…’

‘Still, you’re talking to me now… Russandol, do stop fiddling with that plant. You’ve got your fingers all entangled in convolvulus. Can you even get them out of there anymore without tearing the stem?’

‘You may have to set me free, once again...’

‘Sometimes I think you do that intentionally, you know... And you know one thing that’s definitely nonsense? If you had ever turned up on my doorstep, you could have sat there gaping at me, mute as a fish, I wouldn’t have let you stay out there. Surely you know I wouldn’t have rested until I had got you inside. Even if you hadn’t managed to say a word! I would have dragged you in across the threshold, if I had to!’

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