I feel confused and impatient. Something is making me faintly angry, that nasty stinging fluid circulating in my veins, making all the stimuli more loud and bright and my reactions to them more ready and explosive. It is not pleasant and I don't understand it. I wish that Lord Ilmater would already come to me. My muscles are stiff and not even working in the garden soothes me. Where is he anyway, whom is he giving his attention? To a witless drunkard reaching for him in his tremors morning after, only to continue slowly destroying his mental faculties after the worst shakes wear down? Something like that... can they even appreciate the councel or do they merely take the consolation?
I feel my face pinched, the muscles of my stomach tight, as I walk to my cabin, haricot beans, cauliflower, potatoes and thymian sprigs in my basket.
As I set the basket aside and pull the door open, he appears, walking with that relaxed, soft gait of his, smiling. For some reason that intensifies the reactions I have felt all the morning.
- "Good morning, Joneleth," he smiles, and his benevolent expression irritates me.
- "It is noon already," I snap. I don't like my voice. It has a shrill edge to it and sounds strangled in my throat.
He stops in his tracks, arching his eyebrow.
- "How time flies," he remarks and picks up my basket. "I was hoping to enjoy your company, but I can always come another time if you don't feel like sharing mine."
It makes perfect sense. I was not glad to see him. Still I find myself saying something irrational.
- "You may as well stay for lunch. I imagine you are hungry as you have been busy, taking care of your important godly duties all morning."
He doesn't reply, but a strange expression lingers on his face. His frown is not an unkind one. We let ourselves in and he is carrying my basket.
I put the kettle on and start to string the beans and put them into the steaming basket, my mouth in a tight line.
- "You are not in a chatty mood today, Jon," Ilmater says.
- "Am I ever? And what is that to you, anyway? I am sure you have better thing to do than to spend your precious time with a pathetic shell of an elf desperately clinging to the faint memories of his former glory," I say. Now my voice is almost like a snarl of a beast. I dislike this body. It does so many things I have no understanding or control over.
He swallows and clears his throat.
- "Joneleth. One does not have to be a god or even a psychic to notice that you are angry at me. Why?" His expression conveys just curiosity, and as always, his eyes are compassionate.
- "Of COURSE I am not angry at you!" I burst in exasperation. "What sense would that make? You have done nothing to cross me, things are just as they have been from the beginning!"
- "Let us see. The tone of your voice. The stiffened muscles. The self-deprecating and bitterness, your facial expressions. Your lack of common courtesy. All telltale signs of anger. Now I would like you to try to be open with me. Why are you angry at me?"
I am dumbfounded, my hands slack, the cooking forgotten. He is right - I am not acting as usual, and this unpleasantness is nothing at all what I generally experience in relation to him. Yet, anger is a reaction at perceived or real slight or wrong-doing, yet nothing of the sort has happened. I rack my brain, annoyed at my lack of intelligence.
- "Let me help you a little. You are in the habit of doing a lot of thinking, and our discussions and your reflections give you more and more to think on as time goes by," Ilmater ventures on. "This morning, I would guess, you were thinking about something that made you unhappy and anxious, and you would have wished me to be there to help you. Yet I wasn't, and you felt helpless and abandoned. Now I am here, and now that you don't fear abandonment anymore, you feel it safe to display your anger at me."
Something about his words causes my body to react again. My muscles relax and my limbs start to shake, and the moisture starts to blur my vision. This unnerves me, as it contradicts with my deductions.
- "But... it does not make any sense!" I protest. "It is not possible for you always to be by my side whenever I happen to need your councel. The reaction would be unjust and illogical."
He walks to me and takes me into his arms. I used to flinch from such intimate gestures, and he gave them up in favor of light touches on my arm with fingertips and the like, but now he embraces me and I don't shy away. The moisture transforms into tears, into genuine crying. I shake more. I do not understand it at all, but the emotion is so overwhelming that I cease trying to. I just am there, comforted as a mere infant.
- "There is one thing about emotions, Joneleth. They don't necessary follow the laws of sense, justice or logic. They are far more primal than constructions like that. You must not berate yourself for feeling something - what is important is what you choose to do about it. And doing the right thing is much helped by recognizing the emotions, by being able to describe them. Now, cry as long as you wish, and then we will talk about what upset you this morning."
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