“One of the secrets of the universe was that our instincts were sometimes stronger than our minds.” – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I am him, and he is me. I’m not a figment, part, or fraction of him. I do not live imprisoned within him. We do not share thoughts, feelings, or sensations; we feel, think, and sense the same.
I’ve been called many things, all of them abstract and not always polite, but he -my container- has only ever acknowledged me as fire. Powerful and, as most powerful things, not pure nor corrupt. Hunts. Protects. Drives.
So, do not mistake me, I’m no soul.
I’m simpler. I’m primal. I’m instinct.
Do not mistake me for mere survival or reproduction. I’m not a simple collection of feelings or personality. I’m not some voice inside his head. I’m that sensation he cannot explain. I’m his wariness of people, looking at who to trust and who’ll attack. I’m curious about the world, what it offers, and how it changes. I’m his challenge and ambition, his need for shelter, food, water, and other resources. I adapt, I’m the resilience that fuels him. I fight, he can always wake me when bravery and aggression is needed. I’m his loyalty, loneliness, and longing; I protect my pack, or as he calls it: family. I look for a suitable mate. I’m his touch starvation; I play, I laugh, I caress, I love.
We are the same.
I make sure his needs are met. I make sure we are safe.
But most importantly, we live.
I’m the fire that keeps us burning.
I am, when you look deep down, what drives him.
She was at the piano, wearing a simple silver dress and mask. Attractive, his attention easily followed every single one of her movements. Her dancing delicate and deliberate, as if she was a ballerina doll. But the feeling of restlessness he could not explain was mine.
First, I caught her scent, mellow to my nose. An entrancing sweetness mixed with a hue of bitterness the closer you got. He -my container- says he didn’t realize he was moving until he found himself a couple of feet away from her.
I scoff at that, it was me who had moved closer to her. We wanted to study her more closely; her slender figure of pale skin, the long fingers on her hands, and a sweet smile framed by thick lips. It was me who noticed the sweetness came from her perfume and the bitterness was her natural scent.
She exuded tenderness, an exquisitely delicate prey.
But finally, I saw those bewitching gray eyes.
I had been fooled by a poisonous butterfly.
She looked confused when I stiffened, and the gray in her eyes seemed to turn into a light shade of scarlet.The music stopped, and my container’s wariness disappeared when she lowered her head and laughed at something he said.
He glowed and I felt myself bristle in surprise.
She giggled and asked her audience for a controversy as the music changed. She was, once again, on top of the piano dancing at the rhythm imposed by the upbeat melody. Her hands extended to the sides, and I could almost see the beautiful wings she could have had in another life.
He claims he has no idea why he followed her, and I scoff.
If he ever listened to me, he would understand.
A carnival started.
Her silver dress tried to get lost in the sea of flushed faces and excited smiles, but I was not willing to lose all the control my container had lent me that night. The blissful music and silly laughs did nothing to me. The masks were nothing more than an obstacle between me and her. Prague may have become Rio de Janeiro, but I needed to find the girl of bewitching gray eyes that started the carnival. The mate.
She was the one and only muse.
The muse with no name.
It took me an hour before I reached her in the middle of Charles Bridge, moving toward the border in delicate steps. A beautiful choreography from which she was going to fall. Her gray eyes seemed to notice the urgency running through my body.
She claims too that she does not know why she tried that night to comfort us, to let us know she was going to be alright. If they listened to me I would tease them. How could they not understand? She was not the one comforting him. She was comforting me.
Our sights met once again. Her gray eyes reassured me that we’d meet again. I knew then that there could not be urgency, but the certainty of her wanting this. She spinned in one last graceful movement and fell. A stunned silence filled the air. All you can breathe is anxiety and I desperately try to smell that bittersweet scent.
I hoped to find her climbing from a rope, but what I found was even more spectacular: hope rising as the warmth of sassafras tea. Someone took our hand the second we saw her sprained silver mask on oxidized metal. I turned to meet a curious pair of gray eyes.
We finally got a name for the muse: emancipation.