Look Into My Eyes, You’re Under

by Jason Erik Lundberg

Anya had been riding on the ancient whorled back of the Turtle for years, eons, forever, time stretched to infinity. Or, at least, that was how it seemed to her seven-year-old mind. The cut in her palm healed, but she existed in a daze of near-catatonic boredom. Bamboo forest gave way to grassland, then veldt, then coastal wetlands, then spruce and pine and fir. The Turtle refused to respond to her questions and attempts at conversation, barely acknowledging her existence. It plodded ever onward, toward what she hoped was the way back to her home and family.

When they reached bamboo once again, Anya realized that a cat was sitting next to her on the Turtle’s shell, mottled and striped and blotched in patterns of grey, with blue eyes the color of sorrow.

“Hello,” said the little girl. “Where did you come from?”

“Your father,” intoned the Turtle in a withered old voice like cracked leaves. The first words it had spoken to her during the long journey.

“I don’t understand. The cat came from my father?”

“No. He is your father.”

Anya’s eyes hardened and her stomach clenched into a ball of fury. She pushed off and slid down the Turtle’s shell to the ground. The cat stared at her impassively.

“Shut up! You just shut up! My father’s dead!”

“There is no such thing as death. We are all just varying states of energy and consciousness. Your father was once in one form. Now he is in another. Look into his eyes if you do not believe me.”

She did so, gazing deep into the cat’s blue unblinking eyes, at once recognizing them as the kind eyes from her infancy, her childhood, watching over her as she slept, ate, learned, fussed, experienced the world. The eyes an extension of his wide smile, his generous laugh, his strong arms, the man she’d yearned to amuse and be amused by, who had taught her the value of curiosity and optimism and open-mindedness.

“Daddy?”

The cat said nothing. He blinked once, slowly.

“Why did you leave me?”

“He cannot answer,” rasped the Turtle. “And the why is unimportant. He is here with you now, this is all that matters.”

She reached out and hesitantly scratched her father behind the ears. He smiled and purred and Anya felt something in her release.

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Previously:
01: Mini Buddha Jump Over the Wall
02: The World, Under
03: Androcles Again

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2 Responses to “Look Into My Eyes, You’re Under”

  1. PamM Says:

    December 30th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    The paragraph, the one about recognizing her father, wonderful! What a sweet read so early in the morning.

  2. Jason Erik Lundberg Says:

    December 30th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks, Pam! Glad you enjoyed it.