© By Cupideros, Wednesday, 04.08.2009
Hypatia Koine stood looking, turning gazing and standing where no one can stand and not falling where one should fall, in space, in the middle of darkest night. “The last I remember is my mom’s bedtime story. Hypatia inspected her clothes. Instead of purple pjs with flashy dragons guarding a golden-pink starred box, she wore a pink dress. The hem touched between her knees and thighs. Her cherry red hair should have been lighter from what she remembered however. “What am I to make of this? Where am I? Where is the green grass on this vast round plane? And what strange blocks standing guard, scattered on this parched barren land?” All was silent. The place lingered with age. She could see fragments of stones, no doubt, chipped from the many strange blocks. Nothing moved or stirred. Hypatia boldly stepped onto the barren plane and life jumped into the place.
One pillar block turned facing her, whereas before it sat at an odd angle, unreadable. “Welcome,” said the female word having completed its noisy scratchy revolution.
Hypatia turned her small blonde head sideways and after pushing her unbraided hair aside, she read, “L-o-v-e.” The ten-year-old giggle at the stacked gold letter upon gold letter, L on the bottom followed by a golden letter O, then V and finally E on top. Her skinny limbs relaxed. She stood upright again. Hypatia cheeks brightened with happiness. “I love words. My mom reads me a story every night…Though,” and the girl stepped closer, lowered her head with a serious nod like she was letting Love in on a deep secret and whispered, “I’m secretly reading tougher things after my mom’s gone to bed—teenage stuff.”
A nearby gruff male voice added, “I would say something,” and Love turned around and so her back faced the girl, “Hello, young Miss. I am hate. I am sure you are pleased to see me too.”
But Hypatia was not too please to see Hate and in fact Hypatia begin to grow a little frightened. “But--why are you glued to Love’s back? Are you attacking Love? I’m none too fond of people who attack my friends!”
Hate laughed. “Why so set against me? Am I not four letters stacked upon one another too? Am I not golden, H, A, T, and with an E on top.”
“I suppose but I don’t think you two get along well…I suppose.”
“We get along splendidly.”
“We get along,” replied Love.
“Don’t be sour grapes, Love.”
“You know I don’t drink, Hate?”
“Aha! That always gets her. Hypatia you shouldn’t be here. You’re much too young for this knowledge.”
“I’m ten. I’m reading older stuff.” She held her hand palms upward like a salesperson seeking trust. “I can handle this place. You’re only words.”
“Oh, I wish that were so,” sighed Hate.
“Let me tell her what this place is?” pleaded Love.
Hate gave what appeared to be a shrug of his H handles and thundery noise began again as Love faced Hypatia. Hypatia smiled for she was glad to have her friend back.
“This place is full of words. Words unfortunately come in two forms. Positive and negative. It’s impossible to have one without the other, I’m afraid.”
“Well I like you better, Love.” Hypatia offered.
Hate countered, “How can you be sure without me, Hypatia?”
“I just know.”
“No you don’t!”
“I’m not arguing with you Hate.” Hypatia defended. “I know what I feel,” Her eyes narrowing.
“Feeling hateful, Hypatia?” Aha ha ha.
“Stop it, Hate!” Love lowered the top of her O into a smile. “Give her a chance.” Love paused, “Have a look around and we’ll talk when you get back.”
“Yeah, we’ll have a good mean talk when you return--Hypatia.”
Hypatia felt happy to avoid Hate as Love kept her face turned facing Hypatia as she move deeper into the rocky barren plane. “WEALTH! Oh, I love you, too.”
Wealth seemed as if shaken out of reverie. “Yes. You can do plenty of things with wealth. Life is so much easier.”
Hypatia nodded. “I agree. Although, I suppose…from my readings wealth can mean many things. Jack in the Bean Stalk got wealth from the worthless beans.”
“So he did,” replied Wealth affectionately. “Wealth depends on your outlook.”
A large cacophonic grumble among the words began.
“Perhaps I’ve over stated things,” Wealth said.
“May I speak,” Poverty asked.
“We take turns here on this barren plane. You’ve seen what happens if we all speak at once.”
Hypatia laughed and said, “Cacophonic chaos.”
“Oh my, she’s smart,” said Poverty, as she swishy turn to face Hypatia. “I’m one more letter than Wealth, but it doesn’t amount to much. I’m not well liked.”
Hypatia shook her head in denial. “No…I like you Poverty…I mean what……I want to say….”
“I know what you can’t bring yourself to say, Hypatia…I’m use to by now. I do possess some virtues. Although those are quickly assigned to other words once people are not poor anymore.”
Hypatia pulled her blonde hair off her shoulders and flipped it over her back. “Didn’t I...cherry hair—“
“Side affect of being in this place. Everything must have it’s opposite, Hypatia.”
Hypatia shuffled her feet speechless of words to say to Poverty. “I guess I best move along.”
Hypatia soon found the barrenness comforting because the words stood out like beacons of light. Most of the words were silver but Love and Hate were golden. In the distance toward the center she could see more golden words and couldn’t wait to reach them. “Shame!” said Hypatia excitedly.
“You are happy to see me?” Shame asked confused.
“Uhm…no. I mean. You’re a pretty complex word. Lots of teenagers are ashamed, or shamed or something related from what I’m reading—older teenage stuff.”
Shame replied, “So I’ve heard—about your older reading. I must say, if you can handle shame, you’ll find pride a piece of cake.”
“I love cake,” Hypatia replied.
“Can I have a word with Hypatia, Shame?”
Shame hesitated as if belittled. “Y-Yes. Of course.”
Hypatia felt happy talking to the words. “You two are a curious pairing.” But then the whole of the words began clamoring again, so much so Hypatia didn’t even hear Pride turning to face her. “Sorry. I mean all words are curious pairings.” The entire group quieted again.
Pride’s “d” and “e” made eyes around to Shame, “I did ask nicely didn’t I, Hypatia?”
Hypatia dropped her hands to her sides and became serious. “You were very kind in what you said…as far as I know, Pride.”
“Good. Ooh! You are a pretty thing! You’re blonde hair matches your black eyes.”
“Wait—I have black eyes now. They were blue, from what I remembered.”
“We experience opposites here Hypatia. Nevertheless, I bet your mom and dad are proud of your brains and your quick wit.”
Hypatia grew animated. “I do excellent in school. I get A’s in English especially, because words are so important my teachers say. I suppose art is a good skill too….come to think of it one has to have skillful and artful use of words—I’m good at ballet and tennis—“
“Oh Brother!” gasped Shame.
“I’m soooooooooo terribly and horribly sorry, Shame,” Hypatia said, after catching the sound of her gushing words echoing all throughout the barren plane and into the midnight sky.”
“Don’t you start, again, Shame…Hypatia’s my friend. She can be proud of herself.”
“You’re accusing me, for a second time, Pride.”
Hypatia held up her left hand to side with Pride, but when Shame roared around she held up her right hand to side with Shame. Back and forth, Hypatia went her hands held out in a useless effort to express sympathy. Their noise was so defying all the other words yelled for them to, “Stop Arguing!” But Shame and Pride wouldn’t for they had their audience and so Hypatia sadly walked further into the plane, which grew no grass.
Sadden, but still willing to go on she approached, W-A-R. “War. I guess I started my own war here didn’t I”
“Excellent job. I have a general’s position available, if you want it?”
“How can you have a general’s position. You’re just a word on this rocky forgotten plane in midnight space.”
“Don’t be silly. I’m everywhere. Have you ever heard of a century without war?
Hypatia thought hard. “In school they keep telling us about fights between peoples’ but it’s all rather about ideas and things far away.”
“Is that war you started over there, far away?”
“I didn’t start that...I mean…I didn’t mean too.” Hypatia shuffled her feet and then held her chin up. I merely meant to say what I was good at.”
“War! You’d make a great general. That’s all a general does is find something or someone or some other group and says how terrible they are in comparison to the general. All you need is to promote how you are better than others are and thus deserve their goods, lands, wealth,… Isn’t this wonderful?”
“We’re suppose to share time, War.”
“I must give way—“
Hypatia smiled and then frowned and then a sardonic expression colored her face.”
“Hi. I would extend a hand of peace, but my “P” will have to suffice, all right?”
“Of course, Peace, Hypatia nodded and shook hands. “I’m so sorry about my little war I started. I didn’t mean for such small words to get turned into such a big dispute.”
“Braid you black hair!”
“What! Now it’s black!”
“I’d think peace would be more important than hair coloring.”
“I—“ Hypatia quickly braided her into two pony tails, after Peace suggested that the one long braid she was first working on would only make matters worse.”
“There one braid for each side,” sighed Hypatia.
Shame and Pride stopped arguing immediately.
“Thank the Goddess,” all the words shouted in relief.”
“True peace comes from within.”
Hypatia said, “Within?”
“Harmonizing inside yourself.”
“Oh, cut the crap, Peace.”
“It’s true, War!”
“Yes, but she doesn’t want to know about peace. She’ll be a great general.”
“Wait. Stop it. I don’t want to be a great general…”
“Yes, you do,” said Peace.
Hypatia, exasperated said, “You just said.”
“That was when your eyes were black. Now they are brown.”
“My eyes are brown!”
“One of the conditions of this place,” confirmed Peace.
Peace said, “We must fight when it’s right to fight, not for any old selfish reason. That’s how you make peace.”
“I see.” Hypatia said, with a little confidence for she must be a war with herself continually to so easily start fights here and there. This knowledge didn’t please her so she kept it to herself as she walked on.
“I’m still fond of words Forever,” Hypatia said with glee and she checked her hair to make sure it was still black and looked into the shiny silver lettering of Forever to see if her eyes stayed brown.
“You have forever to get yourself together.”
“Forever?” Hypatia questioned with awe.
“This words project takes a long time.”
“I can tell.” Hypatia agreed. “I feel like you’ve been here forever.”
“My turn!” And the stack of metal words turned grounding pebbles into dirt. The grooves looked like they’ve been operated a billion times. “Endlessly pretty ten-year old.”
“You’re not going to trap me into pride, Endless.” Hypatia said, her arms across her chest. She noticed her pink dress collected bits of ground dirt near the hem, but she firmly decided her appearance was unimportant. Words and their meaning demanded her utmost attention.
“You have endless amounts of time to get it wrong, and finally get it right. What’s your rush?”
“Aggh…Uh…Rush. Oh I...never in all my—“
“In your endless life heard such a statement.” And Endless nodded with her “l”.
“We live forever then.”
“I’d rather say life is endless, but take your pick. The soul lives and lives and lives, only the body dies.”
“What about my mind? My teacher says, If I put my mind to it I can do anything?”
“He’s joking, because you’re mind as you know it is part of your body. Your soul does all your thinking for you. Your soul is with you endlessly everywhere. So you better get use to loving yourself, Hypatia.”
“I love myself,” She patted her dress clean of debris and smoothed her braids.”
“You smudged some dirt on your cheeks, Hypatia.”
“Aggrrrrr. You are endlessly annoying.”
Forever, said, “You have forever to love yourself, Hypatia.”
Laughter burst out. “Come here little Hypatia. You’re so funny,” Humor said.”
Hypatia felt relieved she didn’t cause another argument. She didn’t know if she could make four braids and what color her eyes would be when she did and if that would be enough to bring peace within herself. “Humor. I love humor.”
Humor lowered his ‘r” and said, “Shhhhhh.”
Hypatia bashfully offered, “Oh. I’m afraid to look behind you.”
Humor said, “Don’t worry, you’ll get your turn, Cry.”
“Damn!” Hypatia said, “Like I’m sorry…teenage girls curse something awful.
“Isn’t it funny when they curse.” Humor laughed. “They laugh about the craziest things. Much like adults. Adults always do funny things. Especially in politics.” Laughter.
Hypatia tried to halt herself. First her shoulders started to heave giggles, but she began to laugh out loud. Her pink dress vibrated from all her ruckus laughter. “Teenagers do, adults do and politicians are the funniest.”
“One sided conversations are so trite,” said Cry. “May I give my view?“
“We have to share…you know.”
Hypatia whispered and nodded after leaning forward to Humor, “I understand.”
After the whizzing, crunching noise ended, Hypatia faced Cry.
“People make jokes about things they don’t understand or are afraid of or are helpless do do anything about. They also make fun of things they want to continue but have no effective rational argument against. Laughter by comedians against politicians only serves to make their political criticism less effective. We all learn to laugh at ourselves and get on with letting things remain the way they are or were. All this humor makes me cry!”
Hypatia’s eyes started to tear up. “I never want to make fun of evil things…and encourage them…”
“That’s what Humor does. It pulls down the lofty ideas into the gutter. We can all find a joke or make a joke about something—it’s not rocket science. But it is evil to apply humor without thinking.”
“So one should not laugh, Cry?”
“One should tell a joke with the utmost care and save it for the worse offenses and outrages one is helpless to prevent. If one can do something about the event, one shouldn’t turn the event into a joke and imply no change or improvement is necessary because you just made a funny joke. The mind is a dumb thing when it is laughing and this makes the soul and Goddesses and Gods cry!”
Hypatia walked away drying her tears.
She kept walking past several tens of words in a straight line until she reached the center where golden Words stood himself. W-O-R-D-S.
Hypatia dried her cheeks with her hands and used her brunette braids to soak up the excess. She hoped to bring on her inner harmony. “Okay, Words. What have you to say.”
“I have too much to say. I am not one word but words!”
“Sorry about that. I’ll try to be more specific.”
“It’s okay. You’re a brave little green-eyed girl.
“Okay…I accept that my eyes are green now…whatever.”
“Condition of this place.”
Hypatia nodded and stopped sniffling “What is the best word?”
“How come I learned so much from the other words like Hate, Peace, Shame and so on?”
“Because we all are complex creatures once we’re human souls.”
“And I’ll always be a human soul?”
“Honestly, you don’t have a human soul. Your soul is made from the Abyss, not from man and woman.”
Hypatia wearily tried to walk around and talk to the Abyss. Words kept his earth shattering grating noise and faced her. “She only speaks when she wants. I have no control over that.”
“I’m afraid you’ll confuse me Words.”
“I’m afraid you’re right. I can always find some new way to tell you what words and life is all about. I too use to think words were simple, as you.”
“Words are definitely not simple…not their meaning anyways.”
“Wise…very wise and courageous to think that, Hypatia. But without words to lay the barest foundations, the Abyss is meaningless.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Those are the three wisest words to say to one’s self. Go around to the Abyss, if she’ll have you, you can face her and well I can’t say what she knows because I’ll be using words. Go.”
Hypatia in her black hair and black eyes and her face smudged with dirt on both cheeks and her untidy pink dress went around to face the Abyss. It wasn’t the best first impression image for meeting the master of all words, but what could she do.
Hypatia shrugged her shoulders. She stood tall. She waited. She stared at the five words. Abyss didn’t come easily when she searched for a definition from her class work. Abyss didn’t seem friendly, although nothing unfriendly seemed a foot either. She raised a hand in futile frustration as if to say, “I’m here… talk to me.” Nothing. Then all at once the Abyss sucked Hypatia inside. She went into the blackness and couldn’t see hair, or hands or limbs or her dirty pink dress. Neither could she feel any ears, or smell anything, for she had no nose or toes and her back and tummy didn’t exist either. Nothing existed in the Abyss but the Abyss, yet something stirred within it with her.
While Hypatia was inside the Abyss, all the good words felt glimmers of happiness and surprise and joy untold and even let out sighs of relief. While the negative words grumbled under their breath and sneered and scowled words none of any of their fellow words heard clearly.
Words knew, in his heart, all would one day be well. Hypatia had broken the barrier between them. She had bridged the gap, filled the space with her sense of wonder and curiosity.
Peace felt the peace beyond all understanding.
Cry felt herself easing to sniffles.
Poverty knew that somehow she’d survive.
Each opposite word knew healing winds would blow upon them.
The Abyss spat the girl out and she landed on her bum. Hypatia braids red on one side and blonde on another. When she quickly hopped up ready to fight again, “I understand you—an open palm toward the silent Abyss.“ Then she fell haltingly silent as if burgeon, torrent of words assailed her tongue and wanted out. Her hair turned blonde on the other side and then brunette on the other. She stood at the ready for another blow perhaps, her legs stiff and slightly apart. She raised an accusing finger at the Abyss. Her black letters silent and deeper than all the oceans of all the worlds.
All the negative words shouted, “Tell us her secret! Out with it, girl! Don’t be so selfish!”
Before Hypatia felt guilt, all the good words whispered and sighed under breath, “No! Stay silent! Please!” The ten-year-old raised her small hands to her ears, but the sounds entered her eardrums anyway. She shot eye-daggers at Abyss, which simply absorbed the blow as if the girl didn’t even matter at all.
Words said, “If you speak, then, you speak—“
“Forever,” Forever sighed.
“Endless added, “Let it out Bitch!”
Hypatia’s hair turned brunette on the other side and black on the other. She wanted to scream at Endless. Her anger bursting Hypatia shook her fist with rage. Words surfaces scratched loudly in unison on the grassless plane. Words’ W sadly shook “no.”
Hypatia began walking back from the center blocks of words, who never agreed, yet could not do without one another, who loved their drama. All the negative words berate her. She seemed beaten down for the good words where silent. Hypatia passed by Poverty who added almost as if involuntary, “I hope you don’t have enough money to raise your thirty kids. Then hurriedly tacked on, “I’m sorry. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Hypatia almost stumbled when Shame cast her out with “You’ll never grow any breasts.” She lost her concentration and for there where random stones here and there from centuries of turning back and forth, pieces of the words a fractured “p,” broken ladder of ‘A,’ and shortened “t” with the cross only remaining lay thrown about although each word always regrew whole.
War replied in his deep voice, “Die in a war…soon.”
Pride offered, “Show us how smart you are.”
Humor blabbered, “Sticks and stones may break my bones,” and laughed for a minute, “But words…words can never hurt me.”
Hypaita’s hair turned black on the other side and platinum blonde on the other as she held her chin up. She fixed her mind to make it to Love for surely love would have something comforting to say. Her mind quickened as she realized Hate too waited in ambush. She almost stopped and dropped to her knees and cried, but refused to give in and pushed onward, forward.
Pain stabbed Hypatia with, “You curse-ed bloody bitch!”
Hypitia wanted to rapid fire back, ‘I’m not even fertile yet!’ She reached Love and they looked upon one another with anguished, loving looks, but Hate snatched the floor, turning facing the girl and finally added, “You no good whore!”
Hypatia, angered, stepped off the rocky barren round plane filled with millions of word pillars standing vigil. In this dark midnight space, she hesitated. She turned back one last time at those pillars of civilization,. All the good words finally yelled and shouted, blared out and screamed, “Go tell all!” Tell everyone!” “Tell everyone forever and ever!” And the girl disappeared leaving sparkles of golden light all around.