Ackee: A Twist on Rapunzel
A long time ago on an island in the middle of the sea, there was a couple that was very much in love. The wife's name was Amancia and the husband's name was Damerae. They had wanted a child for some time, but had no luck. Each day they hoped and prayed that their child would come.
Their dream came true one day when Amancia discovered that she was pregnant. Everything was going well, except she had a horrible craving for ackee. They had none themselves, and no money to buy it at the market. So Amancia asked Damerae to get some from her neighbor.
"You must be crazy! That old witch hates trespassers! And she'll turn anyone who goes in her garden into a rat!" He exclaimed. He spoke of Fayarda, the sorceress who lived in a tower next to them. As long as anyone could remember, she lived alone in a tall, dark tower where she would brew potions and cast spells. Her garden grew all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and herbs from all over the world. It was as large as it was grand. She was fiercely protective of it. Anyone caught in her garden would suffer her wrath.
When nightfall approached, Damerae snuck into the garden and took the largest, ripest ackee he could find. He took it home to his wife and cooked it with some salted cod. It was the most delicious thing she had ever tasted! It was so good that the next day she begged Damerae to get some more of it.
Since he had snuck past Fayarda the first time, he was confidant he could do it again.
He made it in and out of Fayarda's garden once more. This time when he was cooking the ackee he made a fatal mistake. He accidentally left in one of the seeds of the ackee, which is highly poisonous. When he took a bite, he became very ill.
Amancia tried everything, but she knew it was only a matter of time before her husband died.
"Please someone! Help my husband!" She cried.
Fayarda heard the noise and came over to the cottage.
"What is the meaning of this?" She demanded.
"My husband needs help right away! He accidentally bit off some of the seed of an ackee, and now I'm afraid he will die!"
"Where did you get ackee? You hardly have enough to keep the roof from falling in,".
"It was all my fault! I asked him to take some from your garden. I'm so sorry! Please help him!"
"Do not worry, I will save your husband, but on one condition. You must give me your child,".
Amancia had started to cry.
"I promise I will give them the best care,".
Amancia knew it was the only way to save her husband, so she agreed to Fayarda's deal.
Fayarda made a potion for Damerae. He soon got better, but with the baby about to be born any day now, Amancia was worried. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl. When Fayarda came to take her away she cried and cried, but she knew that she must keep the promise she made.
The child was named Ackee, after the plant her father almost died getting for her mother. Ackee and Fayarda lived in a tower that oversaw the entire village. Every day, Fayarda would teach her magic spells and potions.
Day by day, Ackee grew into a beautiful young woman. Her skin was as dark as the night; her eyes were the color of oak, but her most striking feature was her dreadlocks. They cascaded down past her feet in long, ebony loops.
Every day, Fayarda would call to Ackee to let down her hair.
"Ackee, Ackee, let down your locks, so that I may climb this tower of rocks,".
While she waited for Fayarda to return to the tower, she would sing.
One day a princess from the nearby kingdom was exploring the forest, and happened to hear Ackee singing. Her voice rang as sweet and clear as a bell. The princess followed it all the way to the tower. She was shocked when she saw Ackee standing on the balcony, her dreadlocks flowing in the breeze.
Ackee stopped her singing at once and called out "Muma Fayarda, is that you?"
"I am Princess Cedella. Who are you?" She asked.
"My name is Ackee. Would you like to come up?"
"How can I get all the way up there? You don't have a ladder, do you?"
"I've got something better," she grinned. She lowered her hair down in long coils. Princess Cedella giggled. She could see the ground getting farther and farther away from her as she climbed the tower.
Once she was in she struck up a conversation. They talked as if they'd known each other for years. Ackee showed her spells and magic potions. They had so much fun together they lost all track of time. The sun was beginning to set on the horizon.
"I have to leave now, but I will visit you again soon," Princess Cedella said. So Ackee lowered her hair down once more.
This continued for some time. Their bond was as strong as steel. The day came when Ackee decided to tell Fayarda. She was nervous and even a little scared, but she loved the Princess, and knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with her.
Fayarda called to her again "Ackee, Ackee, let down your locks, so that I may climb this tower of rocks,". She could sense something was off from the moment she touched Ackee's hair.
"What is troubling you my child?"
"Muma Fayarda, I got something I need to tell you," Ackee stuttered. "I'm in love with someone. And I'd like you to meet her."
"You? In love?! You're still a girl! You think I'm going to let years of work go to waste just because you're in love?!"
"But she's really a kind person. With her help, I've become stronger than ever. She's brought out things in me that I never knew I had."
"That is just your mind playing tricks on you. I forbid you to see her ever again!"
"Muma Fayarda, please! She's the most wonderful person I've ever met!"
"No Ackee! You're not going to throw away all your hard work over this!"
Ackee cried herself to sleep that night. She knew if Fayarda met Princess Cedella, her mind would change. So she set up a plan. When Princess Cedella would visit, she'd wait with below the tower with her until Fayarda returned.
The next morning when she woke up, not only had all her dreadlocks been chopped off, she was deep in the middle of the forest. Never having left the tower, she had no idea where she was. Still, she struggled to find a way out.
Princess Cedella called to her every day, but no one ever answered. She wandered the kingdom, searching for her. As she wandered she saw the suffering and pain of her people. Her already broken heart was shattered.
After months of searching, they found each other. Joy flooded them like a fountain. They embraced tightly and kissed passionately. Tears of joy ran down their faces. Together, they ruled as the empresses of the kingdom. With Ackee's magic and Cedella's kind heart, justice and peace reigned once more.
One day they got a visit. It was none other then Fayarda.
"You can throw me out and I wouldn't blame you, but there's something I must tell you," she said.
"Your birth mother was a very special woman, and will always have a close place in my heart. We were together like you and Cedella are together now. We had to hide it because we knew we'd become outcasts if anyone found out. Even though we loved each other, it didn't work out. I was so heartbroken that I didn't know what to do. I lost all my magic. I didn't want you to get hurt like I got hurt. I am so sorry. Can you ever forgive me?"
Now Fayarda had done something bad, but she was not the witch she had been made out to be. She had loved and cared for Ackee like she was her own child. Ackee knew this.
"We would be honored if you would be our advisor," Ackee smiled.
After years of separation her parents were reunited with her. It was a time of great joy. The old ways of hatred, prejudice, corruption, and suffering were gone. It was the dawn of a new day.
I want you to ask me
how I feel.
So I imagine,
"I feel cold."
But not cold in any usual way.
Cold, as if my bones are made of ice.
Cold and stiff
are my muscles
as if every movement
is akin to scaling a mountain-side.
I'm hanging on
but my fingertips are slipping,
as the trees and buildings,
the people and voices
grow further away
with each breath I take.
I feel so cold,
as f I died too.
Oh, how I wish to say it.
Though I know,
you won't ask.
And if the occasion arises,
to real conversation.
I'll only nod,
and say nothing at all.
Billions of stars, millions of solar systems;
Hundreds of countries, and seven continents;
But one obvious fact remains—
—an inescapable powerful truth.
There is ONLY
You are my anchor.
Life is an ocean and I am tiny,
A sailboat tossed around,
You say a word
It's a miracle
The ocean is still again.
Safe haven is where
I press my nose to your shirt
Your embrace a stronghold,
“What are we?”
“We are Vairens,” Syzygy replied nonchalantly by the portal-way, eyeing his partner surreptitiously. The couple had come into friction in the last few weeks, when the plight of the outcasts came to weigh on their collective conscience.
“You know that’s not what I’m referring to,” Amaranth said, her vision pulling upon the high mountains that loomed half a planet-width away. Any stronger, and she would’ve torn the peaks off with her gaze.
“We are Vairens,” Syzygy reiterated. “For eons, an illuminating pillar through the darkness, unbending, unconquerable, unquenchable. We were moulding light and shaping gravity even before the earliest civilizations had discovered heat or invented the wheel.”
“Yes,” Amaranth said, remaining unmoved. “We may have achieved a great deal, in most cases surpassing those of our neighbours, but if we subject ourselves, even one individual to such gross indecency…”
Syzygy stepped up, standing next to his symbiont. A moment passed and he turned to regard his diminutive other half. “We are no better than hive-chewers?”
“You mock me, Syzygy. I know you do.”
“I apologize Amaranth, it is not my intention to belittle your concerns. I—” he paused, exasperation crept into his voice. “We,” he corrected, “we have to preserve our way of life. It is who we are. It is… what we are.”
“And so I ask,” Amaranth said. “What are we?”
“A million-year old race of hyper-intelligent beings.”
“I could say the same of the Metamorphs.”
“Those savages aren’t of the same evolutionary pedigree as us. They had a biased advantage, and by all accounts—scientific or otherwise—should have supplanted us as the dominant species in the sextant.”
“So, what does that say about us?” Amaranth angled her shoulders, appearing to examine her partner’s façade.
“We are civilized. We have social structure, intricate culture, unparalleled ecosystems, each developed specifically to blend in with the unique characteristics of the terraformed planet. The shapeshifters simply acquire and assimilate. They are barbaric.”
Amaranth was quick to counter, “and we impose an inflexible doctrine on our young, even before conception, dictating how each individual is to function within the confines of their society. We erode our own freedom before we even understand what it means to be free.”
“Without systemic perfection,” Syzygy said, “we would not be what we are right now.” His eyes narrowed slightly.
“So,” Amaranth said, “it matters not that our individual rights are trampled upon, so long as we have the ability to subjugate every other species that we come across, friend or foe?”
“Our system works,” came the retort. Syzygy was facing Amaranth in full, arms folded.
“We have never enjoyed more holistic and accomplished lives. Our achievements in science, technology, art, philosophy—everything—remained unrivalled. Do you remember when we were first inflicted by the phage?”
Amaranth closed her eyes, memories from almost forty-thousand years ago sprouted into her subconscious, seeking to soften her stoic visage. The ability to store and retrieve every single thought and mental nuance was both a blessing and curse.
“We lost billions,” she said after a pause.
“Indeed,” Syzygy said, his chest puffing out. “But you’re still not convinced.”
“There has to be another way,” she said, again after a short while. Her eyes were semi-moist.
Syzygy arched an eyebrow. “You are emotional,” he said. “I haven’t seen you like this in a long time. Not since we lost Daedal.”
Amaranth turned away at the mention of their offspring, and stepped toward the other view-portal.
“This can’t be about those vagabonds,” Syzygy said, shadowing her departure. But before he could get within arm’s length, his genetic-mate turned around with an open palm held up, intended to prevent his advance.
“I implore you,” Amaranth said, lowering her arm, “we must seek an amicable resolution for these individuals.”
“You frustrate me,” Syzygy said from where he stopped. “Surely you understand, the pairing works more than just a marriage of ideology and thesis.”
“But do you?”
Amaranth did not reply. Instead, she had her back towards him again.
“I’m inclined to comment,” Syzygy said, observing his spouse of two-thousand years. Still, only roaring silence.
“Don’t,” she finally said.
“Without the pairing,” he said, “our species will go extinct.”
Her frame heaved up and down.
“One half provides genetic surplus, one half consumes. Without compatible—”
“I said don’t,” Amaranth shot him a glare, both hands perched on her hips. “Have you forgotten that I used to be on the science directorate?”
Syzygy held his tongue.
“Have you forgotten it was I who composed the entire compendium on pairing? Have you forgotten that I propelled your station to its current stature, high above your peers? Is your head so far up the stratosphere that you suffer from fluid deprivation?”
“Enough!” Syzygy said, lunging forward to grip her forearms. “Amaranth!” he jolted her, “this isn’t you. Why are you behaving erratically?”
Both of her eyes had suddenly turned a shade of dark emerald, with smaller hair-like tendrils boring just beneath the surface of her skin, permeating deeper and wider with each second.
“Amaranth,” he said softly as he joined her on the floor, shins flat against the malleable surface that had recrystallized itself to form a low-lying chair. “Why do you weep? Where is this grief coming from? Tell me, please.”
She took several steadying breaths. Steadily, the dark green pigments on her forehead and cheekbones dissipated, becoming less prominent. “I…” Amaranth said, her light-green orbs finding his. “I request severance.”
Syzygy released her arms in an instant, putting distance between himself and his partner. “You…” he gasped. “What is going on?”
“I do not wish to seem an ungrateful spouse,” she said, “for we have shared each other for as long as I can remember without synthetic aid. I do cherish our experiences. But…”
“No, Syzygy, let me expla—”
“No!” he said with flaring eyes. “I said stop!” It was Syzygy who was now spotting viridian patterns on his face.
“Please,” she hushed.
“I understand now,” he said with a forced chuckle. “Why you empathized so fervently with the outcasts and want to champion their cause.”
“We do not seek to abolish the pairing, only that we incorporate additional compatibility criteria during the mutual-selection process.”
“Am I no longer worthy of your exudations?”
“It’s not that,” Amaranth replied. “It has never been about that.”
“Oh?” Syzygy folded his arms again. “Tell me, then. Tell me what it’s really about.”
“Intimacy,” she said. “Harmonious rapport that provides a deep reciprocity of both individuals—body, mind and spirit.”
“Yes!” she exclaimed. “That is what we yearn. To have a choice. To have a say in the matter that concerns our existence. And in many ways, the quality of our collective
“You mean that’s what you want.” His voice was dripping ice.
“No,” he said in quick succession and edged away. “It’s not possible. It’s… you clearly stated in the compendium that any other pairing process will not guarantee the same probabilities of success. I will not have it. The leadership will not have it.”
“You don’t speak for the leadership,” she said. “You are merely one part of many. If the lack of scientific interest in the subject is holding—”
“It’s too risky,” he countered. “We cannot allow personal interests to threaten what is otherwise a perfect system that has guaranteed the superiority of the species for more than a millenia.”
“But we don’t know if it won’t work,” Amaranth argued. “We discounted so many branches of thought at the time, so many ideas were left unexplored. I’m confident we can find a way, a compromise, a resolution to mend the mainstream with the divergents.”
Syzygy spun around without warning and had his hands around her neck the moment he was within reach. “There will be no studies or investigations,” he whispered into her contorted face. Her legs weakened as her internal systems were unable to compensate from the forced extraction of genetic substance. Another moment later and his partner’s face was pale, mired in wrinkles. “I can see the terror in your eyes. You thought you could anticipate, you thought you knew me. But you don’t, you never did.”
Amaranth was on her knees, hands on his forearms, staring into his eyes, a frowned etched upon her forehead. Her neck and ears were a shade of dark aubergine.
“Yes, dearest companion,” Syzygy said, “fear my wrath. It’s funny. To think I augmented by skin pigments years ago as a means of subterfuge—to ensure longevity of ascendance—never once crossing my mind that I would need to conceal my anger from you. Funny. How things worked out.”
“What did you say?”
She squeaked again.
Syzygy eased his claws and drew closer, his ears almost touching Amaranth’s lips. “Yes?”
“I impregnated my blood hours ago.”
He released his grip, the color from his face drained. “What have you done?”
“Taking a stance.” Amaranth soared up as she watched her spouse stumble backwards, his skin percolating grey.
“You won’t get away with this…” he wheezed, trying to prop himself upright.
“I already have.”
I'd burn the ground
Just to light up your sky.
I'd rip away my wings
Just to make you fly.
I'd travel to the corner of the world
Just to see your smile.
I'd hide you in my arms
And keep you safe from the darkness.
A Place of Discomfort
crimson wave and ink
were all mocking me in sleep
like pen unsheathed
protruding and foreign
in night's breath
like drawn blinds
like fixed tongue
like broken shards of heart
in fine dust, scraps of memory
Wishful is the setting sun
to see the rising moon
a figure, threat, authority
May the bitter taste lie softly
when the sweetness fails to show
It was a quiet afternoon. The sun was glimpsing behind the gray curtain of autumn clouds. Birches were green, yellow and orange and rowans were heavy with bright red berries. It should have been a moment of joy, of new beginnings and fresh starts. But for Katie it was something completely else.
For Katie the world seemed dark and distorted despite the rare moment of sunshine. The black wet asphalt grabbed her ankles making her every step a heavy one. The wind was stealing the breath from her lungs. An aspen shed a rain of yellow leaves on her. Once she would have danced with the twirling leaves, but this time they were weapons of her enemy, trying to slash her face with their sharp edges.
The more Katie tried to hurry up the slower she moved. Her back was wet with sweat and yet she felt cold. Her breath started to come in hasty sobs. There was a heavy hole in her stomach, hollow but still pulling her down towards the ground. Finally a tear squeezed out of her eye, eager to pull its friends along.
At that moment Katie stopped. Right there, in the middle of a walkway, she crumbled down. She simply couldn't go any further, not one step. There was a tiny building right next to her that was painted with dozens of graffiti. She leaned against it to keep herself from falling to the wet, cold ground. There she gave up the fight and let the tears stream out.
A few busy people on bikes rushed past her. Someone turned around to look at her miserable figure but moved on. The wind picked up a little, making Katie shiver. To her it seemed like a hurricane that was trying to pry her off the ground to whisk her into some unknown depths in that gray sky. Part of her wanted to let go and let the wind take her, but still her hands clawed tighter to the rough brick wall next to her.
Time passed. Maybe a minute, maybe half an hour. Katie’s damp clothes cooled down and the muscles in her upper back started to ache from cold. She wanted to move, to get away from this spot that reeked of pee, but she couldn’t get the message through to her limbs. She stared at the wads of long grass. There were brown leaves stuck in the grass. Some of them had slipped between the sharp strands of grass. She felt like she was trapped there with them, in a prison of benign looking but deceptively sharp blades of grass.
Suddenly the grass stopped glimmering in the sunlight. It took a moment before Katie realised that it was because a shadow had appeared. The wind couldn't reach her either. A human shaped barrier had appeared next to Katie. It had tight jeans and worn sneakers and it smelled of fried chicken. The smell of food made Katie nauseous. She knew it was probably too late to try to appear like she hadn't lost her mind but still from somewhere came the need to act somehow normal. So she straightened her back, wiped her face with the back of her hand, and tried to breath normally.
Katie hoped that the person would just go away, but the shadow lingered there. She didn't dare to turn her eyes towards the stranger. That would have meant that she acknowledged their presence and would need to communicate somehow. Communicating with anyone was the last thing she wanted right now.
The stranger spoke. It was a soft and melodic voice, a tenor rather than a bass but definitely a male voice.
“This is not the best place to cry”, it stated. Katie said nothing and kept her eyes fixated to the ground.
“I know that because I've cried here too. See that graffiti that is right where your hand was touching a moment ago?” The man leaned a little closer to Katie. She could feel the warmth of his breath on her cheek.
“Don't tell anyone but I made it” he whispered with a conspiratorial tone. “It’s the one that says 'Ele’. That's the name of the woman I loved more than the life itself. When she left me, I came here, sprayed my grief to that graffiti, and stood the rest of the night looking at her name and crying right there where you are. I got a nasty cold and spent the next week cursing my life with the added annoyance of a sore throat and clogged sinuses. So believe me when I say that you really should continue that inside.”
He spoke in a light and colourful manner. Katie felt a small spark of something flickering inside her. Calling it joy or happiness or laughter would be exaggerating, but it wasn't sorrow or blackness either. It twirled for a moment like a bright yellow leaf falling to the ground.
“Come on, let's go somewhere warmer. Your lips look a little blue already,” the stranger said after another silent moment. A big hand touched Katie’s shoulder firmly but briefly. It left a warm spot behind.
Still Katie didn’t move. She opened her mouth to say something, like that she’s alright and he shouldn’t worry, but words got lost somewhere between her good intentions and her tongue. The warm spot on her shoulder spread shivers up her neck and when they reached her eyes, tears flooded behind her eyelids again.
The stranger placed both of his hands on her arms and turned her gently towards him. Katie instinctively lifted her eyes and her gaze was met by a pair of brown eyes above high cheekbones and a sharp nose, and under an untidy mane of dark, curly hair. The young man looked at her with a serious expression. Katie wondered shortly why she didn’t mind the stranger’s hands on her.
“Is it okay if I take you to my place? I live right over there. I have a roommate who should be at home. I'll make you something warm to drink. Okay?”
Katie felt herself nodding. The young man smiled a little, took his hands away from her arms, and extended one of them back towards her.
“Tony”, he said.
Katie wiped her hand quickly to her pants, hoping that there wasn't very much snot and tears in it, and grabbed the hand feebly. “Katie.”
Tony smiled again that small, reassuring smile. He took a couple of steps down the road, all the time looking at Katie like he was saying “come on now”. Katie felt surreal when she stepped after him. Her head seemed to be far away from her feet, but at least she wasn't getting stuck in the asphalt anymore.
They walked in silence to a large apartment building close by. They walked up two flights of stairs in a hallway that smelled like plastic mats. Every squeak of their shoes or a tap of their hands on a railing echoed all through the building. Finally Tony stopped in front of an anonymous looking door, dug out some jingling keys from the pocket of his tight jeans, and opened the door.
When he disappeared inside, Katie was suddenly filled with dread. What am I doing here? she wondered. She was going voluntarily into some complete stranger's home. Would it be safe? She could hear her mother's voice in the back of her mind scolding her.
Tony's head appeared from the crack of the door. “Are you coming?” he asked. Katie looked at his kind face and started to stutter. “I-- I'm n-n-not sure.” Tony looked at her for a moment and then nodded. “Wait right there. I'll be right back”, he said and disappeared back inside. Katie stood in the hallway changing the weight from one foot to the other. An uneasy feeling squeezed her chest.
Finally Tony came back with two foldable chairs and a blanket. “I grabbed these from the balcony. They're not the most comfortable seats ever but at least you don't need to sit on the floor,” he explained while he set up the chairs next to the hallway wall close to the door. He seemed almost proud when he offered one of the seats to Katie. She sat carefully down, and Tony wrapped the blanket over her shoulders.
“Now wait a short moment longer. Is hot chocolate okay? We don't drink coffee and the tea we have needs to be brewed slowly so hot chocolate comes faster.”
Katie couldn't help but smile a little at this stranger's eagerness to help. That little yellow leaf fluttered inside her again. Tony scurried back inside and Katie leaned her head against the cool concrete wall. She still felt hollow and the tears had clogged into a sticky ball in her throat, but she also felt somehow more safe. The whole world wasn’t falling on her anymore.
Tony came back with two big mugs filled to the brim with sweet-smelling light brown liquid. He offered one to Katie, sat to the other chair and cradled his own mug carefully between his hands. Katie blew into her mug as she watched him take a careful sip. They sat there quietly until their drinks had cooled down to drinkable level. Katie took a gulp. It slid down her throat with some difficulty, spreading warmth as it went. It melted down the sticky ball of tears and suddenly her eyes were aching with the need to cry again. Tony noticed that.
“Would you like to talk about it? I’m in no hurry.”
Katie took another gulp of the hot chocolate and thought for a moment. What could she say? How could she explain what she was feeling to a total stranger?
“The weirdest thing is that there’s no one thing I could talk about. I didn’t lose a boyfriend, no one I know has died, my life should in general be just about perfect. I’m studying to my dream job, I’m getting good grades, I have friends and several hobbies that I love. But for some reason sometimes the world goes dark and I just can’t breathe.”
Tony furrowed his brow ever so slightly. Katie bit her lip. She felt guilty. This kind stranger had done all this to make her feel better, and now he found out that she didn’t actually have any reason to feel bad in the first place.
“Sorry, I guess this isn’t what you expected to hear,” Katie muttered and lowered her eyes towards her drink.
From the corner of her eye she saw Tony shaking his head ever so slightly.
“No, don’t say you’re sorry. It must be hard when you don’t see the reason. I mean, when it’s a girlfriend who dumped you you know that the sadness will pass and there’s more fish in the sea and all that. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to feel all that pain but not know how to make it stop.”
Katie just nodded. The little yellow leaf inside her was joined by a few more, all tumbling and twirling down to fill that hollow part one tiny leaf at a time.
in the middle of the night
in a swinging hammock
between two trees.
wove a silver web
between the forest leaves
where she danced
with a smile
was never meant for me.
Still, I chased her,
grabbed her hand,
gave her my light
when we climbed the stone path
which blistered bare feet.
When we sat
in the barn, abandoned,
the flashlight held loosely,
bouncing and disappearing
I urged to hold her hand.
When I watched
the delicate way
her hair fell
over her eyes
as she whispered her stories,
I sat close,
praying for a kiss.
in the middle of the night
in a swinging hammock
between two trees.
wove a silver web
between the forest leaves.
I found her at dawn
asleep in the car.
Stretching and sighing
which was never meant for me.
A Spark of Life
A woman stirred, rousing from slumber. She reached over, caressing her companion. Gradually, they came alive. Sparked. Danced. Climaxed.
Despite having watched thousands of times, I remained smitten by these powerful acts.
That was 7 days ago.
The woman prepares in her kitchen, unaware as I observe.
I descend from up high, through the roof, ceiling, floor. There she stands. Care-free, oblivious, beautiful. There within was the potential for pain, pleasure, challenges, adventures, love.
It is time.
I look at her once more.
Just as the soul departs after death, so it must join at conception.
See you soon, mother.