The Art of Knowing
Post series fic- possible spoilers…
Although quite frankly, it would be hard to understand this
story if you haven't already seen the parts I'd be spoiling
for you. =D So you won't even know you're being spoiled. <grin>
Did I confuse you, yet?!
It is, indeed, a very great thing to be here now—this I know.
Some things you know because people tell them to you. Things like two times two equals four, and that Bolivia is in South America. I know both because I was told at a young age, and, at a young age, someone proved it to me. You take two jellybeans twice, and you have four jellybeans. I've never been to Bolivia, but I know it's there. It has a longitude, latitude, an altitude, a climate, and most importantly, it has people living in it. That's the most defining thing, of course, the people. I've never been to Bolivia, but if I went to the library and got online, I could find web pages made by people in Bolivia. That proves that it's there.
And that's important.
Some things you know because your body tells them to you. Like when you're hungry. You don't know that you're hungry because some stranger comes up and says, "Hey, you're hungry. You should have a sandwich," you know because, well, you know. I am not sure how one would describe hunger to an individual who has never been hungry before. It's just something that you have to experience.
Most of the information we get from the world around us comes from our bodies, actually. Everything we see, for example. Of course, what we see isn't always reliable. Like, movie made by computers show you stuff that you know is impossible, but you're still seeing it, and it's still right there in front of you.
I don't like going to movies like that, and I think that that's why. My eyes say that it's real, and everyone around me seems to think it's real, but in my heart…
My friends say I take things like that too seriously. It's not something I can help, exactly, it just… bothers me.
And lastly… some things you know because you believe in them. Blindly or no, there's a spot in your heart that says, "This is the truth. This is trustworthy." Of course, your heart is nearly as unreliable as your eyes. Like, all those faery tales that your mom told you when you were little. I remember once when I was really little-- my mom and I were in this department store. There was a staircase, and it must have led to an upstairs office or something. Anyway, I wanted to go up those stairs _so bad_, but momma told me not to. She said that there was a bogeyman that lived up there, and if I went up there, he'd eat me. Suddenly, the stairs looked dark and foreboding, and I didn't want to go up there anymore.
I've read books that say that people shouldn't use trick like that to scare little kids. Something about them not trusting their parents later in life, or something.
Not that it matters. My parents are dead.
Himemiya—she's my room-mater—doesn't have any parents, either. I wonder if whoever did the room assignments didn't set it up that way. "Oh, I'll put the two girls without any family together. They'll be able to share stuff. It'll help them cope." But it doesn't- Himemiya never talks about her parents. Ever. It's like they never even existed.
Oh, Himemiya is nice enough, generally. It's a bit strange, though. I mean, being around Himemiya is. I feel like I've known her forever, but not really _known_ her. It's sort of like déjà vu, looking at her sometimes.
But she's nice enough. She has a little pet, a little grey monkey, which she hides in our room. We're not supposed to keep pets, you see, but she does it anyway.
She can't stand to see animals in pain. People like that are odd, sometimes. The people that cry the most in sad-animal films never seem to care too much about their fellow human's complaints. Himemiya especially. Sometimes she seems downright sadistic. This one time in gym class, this girl, who admittedly isn't very nice to Himemiya, fell off of the climbing rope and broke her leg. Everyone was shocked. It was the oddest thing, I mean, one second she was up at the top, ringing the little bell, and suddenly she was just…
Falling. She was just falling. And then she landed, and there was this crunch, and…
And I turned around to look at Himemiya- because sometimes I get the idea that she's very delicate, too. I wanted to make sure that she was okay, that she wasn't sick or anything. So anyway, I turned around to look at her…
And she was smiling.
I looked around quickly, to see if anyone else had seen her smiling, but no. They were all looking at poor Hitomi being carried away by the medical workers.
Smiling. She was _smiling_.
There was this other time, too. I was telling her about myself. It was when we first found out our room assignments, you see. I was telling her about how my mother and father were dead.
"Mine too," she said quietly.
"Oh, really?" I asked. "I'm sorry. Did it… Did it happen recently?"
"No, oh God, no." She laughed. "It was a long, a very long time ago."
"Oh… Do you even remember them at all?"
"Of course. I wasn't _that_ young."
"Well. Do you have any siblings?"
It was like she froze. I mean, literally, it was like seeing someone turn to ice. Her muscles suddenly clenched up, her eyes got all big, and her mouth set itself into a tight line.
"Don't you remember anything at all?" she asked indignantly, coldly, as if I _should_ remember.
"Re-remember?" I asked hesitantly.
She laughed again.
"Ah, Utena-sam- …Utena-_san_. I'm sorry, what am I thinking of? Yes. I have a sibling."
"Oh. A sister or a brother?"
"Still in school?"
"Still in school?" she repeated. "I expect he'll never leave school," she continued.
I think I laughed.
"Not too bright, is he?"
"Oh, he's very bright," she said darkly. "As bright as a star. As bright as a planet viewed through a layer of gas, or a layer of dreams."
I resumed unpacking. She was starting to scare me—this was only my first day knowing her, after all. I wasn't really used to her… rather enigmatic ways, at that time.
And then I met Chu-chu. Honestly, I don't know why she calls him that. Strange name for a monkey. He's very friendly with me, though. I must smell good to monkeys, or something…
On second thought, I definitely smell good to monkeys, given the kind of boys I tend to attract.
I had the oddest dream that first night in our new room. I dreamed about a man, a man with very dark hair and eyes just like Himemiya's. And Himemiya was in it too, only…
Only she was small, and hurting, and trying to escape, but he wouldn't let her- the man wouldn't. Because he was hurt, too, and she couldn't just leave him all by himself. He looked so kind, in the dream, and I found that I was much younger than I am, now. He looked so kind, but like I said, he was hurt. Dying, even, maybe. I wanted to help the both of them so badly, but… But I couldn't. I was little-- my legs were stubby, and so were my fingers, and how can you help someone who is long-legged and noble, when you yourself are so small, and can't make it to the castle on your own? No horse will carry an eight year old so high! And what eight year old would want to go that high? Afraid of heights, afraid of trying so hard, afraid to be upside down in a world that's falling apart?
I did, though, I did! I wanted so badly, so very badly, to help this dark man, and this dark woman, that I would have done anything. I would have endured the pain of the rack to make my short limbs long enough. I would have jumped through hoops of fire, walked over swords, anything; because their suffering was so full of nobility, their pained gaze so steady and unwavering, that it was almost like they were one being, trapped in that coffin, in that castle, carried on the back of that horse over the never-ending, salty ocean of their combined tears, and mine.
And, in the dream, I cried out, "I'll become a prince!" And thought, "I'll save both of them!" But he laughed; and he wasn't laughing at me, but at himself. His laugh said more than words—he thought he could save himself. Thought that he could save her, too, maybe, but now knew that that wasn't possible, but he'd never stop trying for that planet viewed through layers of gas and dreams, never.
But then, maybe he was already there.
I woke up, then, and looked at the moon, and I remember thinking, "Don't we look at the moon through layers of gas and dreams and even through the dreamers themselves?" My desire, at that moment, was to find a sword, and spear the moon down from the sky, to strip it of its petals, and hand them to the people from my dream. At that moment I knew, somehow, that it's sacrifice would stop their suffering. All I needed was the moon…
The truly foolish thing is, I had gotten out of bed in a vain attempt to reach the moon, and, so doing, had woken up Himemiya.
She took one look at me with those green eyes, and said:
"Go back to bed, Utena. It was only a dream."
And I did. I got back in bed and thought about Amaterasu, hiding in a cave, suspended in the sky, wherever. And her brother- Tsukiyomi, and how I would sacrifice him for those in my dream… in the morning… in the morning…
Morning came, however, and the moon was no longer on my mind. It stayed out of my mind, too, as classes became harder… The dream faded, too, until today, until this very moment.
But it's just a dream, right? And Himemiya is only my roommate. But somehow, I feel-
No, I don't feel. I know, and it's the third type. The most unreliable type. I know that they exist, somewhere, and I know that I am to help them, and somehow, I know that I am caught on a wheel that keeps revolving, sending me and her back to the same place, to try again, until what Tsukiyomi wants has been attained. Because he doesn't want to be sacrificed- he wants _her_ to be sacrificed. And I am the one holding the knife.
November 24, 2001
Okaaaay… That was weird. O_o I started getting
a bit trippy on myself, there, at the end. My, my… And incidentally,
I realize that what happens in the dream sequence isn't technically
accurate. ^_^ I knew, I wanted it that way. Hope you liked!