5.17.16 Blossoming Yellow Seed Wavespell
“Who are you Estes?”
“Once upon a time there was a childless woman. She tended a garden, trained to the pattern she had set, where peas, radishes, lettuce, and kale flourished amidst dandelion, chickweed, speedwell, and mint. Her garden was lush from the first spring greening right through the autumn, when plump orange globes dotted the drying grasses in a showy splash of color between tall golden stalks bearing blue and green kernelled ears of corn. The apple trees around her cottage bore golden sun kissed orbs with the fragrance of roses carried by the crisp cool air to where her neighbours lived. Three seasons long they breathed in perfume permeating from the space she had carefully lovingly created; lilac, buttercups, violets, honeysuckle, primrose, strawberries, lilies, peonies, peach, and plum tantalized their senses with sweetness. The interplay of colors from blue borages and chicories, pink milkweed and zinnias, golden calendula and lovage, to white queen anne’s lace and catnip transported them to varied heights and their eyes sparkled with delight at the blossoming they’d behold.
A longing for turnips seized the woman one spring tide. Their leafy green tops waved at her from above purple ringed creamy globes hidden by the foliage. She’d walk past her neighbours garden and look through the tall hollyhock stalks with scarlet blooms at the turnips planted beside purple ruffled kale. Oh, her mouth watered at the thought of roasted turnips, steamed turnips, she wanted those turnips and one evening, while standing outside watching bats wing in the inky skies where a crescent moon was barely showing, she told her husband so.
“Dearest, I simply must have turnips, no matter what! Our neighbor has more than she could possibly eat, and certainly wouldn’t miss a few!”
Her need for turnips was fierce and pierced her husband to the core. Before he could think about what he was doing, he was in their neighbours garden pulling up turnips by the fistful. His wife was delighted and cooked herself a creamy turnip soup with the treasures. Yet she was not content, if anything her desire had grown and her husband found himself pulling up turnips once again. These gems she roasted and enjoyed with balsamic vinegraitte and bread, yet her longing only deepened. The third time her husband ventured out he was caught where he was kneeling, pulling turnips out of the earth.
“Gotcha!” Came a female voice from behind him.
His heart leapt into his throat, he’d not only been caught but red-handed right in the act!
He looked up from his bent position and sheepishly said, “Umm, I’m sorry, you see my wife, she badly wanted turnips, so I . . . .”
“So you simply dashed over and stole my turnips! You see there, there’s a door, where you could have knocked, and requested turnips, I’d have given you some, but now, now you’ll have to pay a sum for these are no ordinary turnips my good man, no these are not ordinary turnips at all!”
“I’ll pay, of course, gladly, how much are we talking?” he asked as he straightened up from the ground.
The woman burst out laughing, the sound made him tremble, his mouth went dry, his tongue felt numb and thick in his mouth.
“Pay? Oh yes, you’ll pay . . . these turnips my love are growing in your wife’s belly, where in ten moons they’ll emerge as a babe, a baby girl she’ll have, and that baby is what I claim as payment for my turnips! Since you pulled them out of the ground and planted them elsewhere, well then it’s only fair that they’ll grow where sown and I’ll receive the beautiful harvest as my own!”
The man stared at her mutely. The woman was surely crazed. His wife wasn’t carrying a child! And if that’s what she thought, well he’d agree to it, a mad woman’s whim nothing more. He felt relieved, he had come off lightly, truly this would cost him nothing at all.
“Are we agreed then?”
“Yes, I agree, of course,” he heard himself saying.
“Excellent, let’s spit on it and you can keep the turnips in your hand,” she grinned and spat on her palm, holding it out toward him, “Now you.”
He imitated her, spitting on his palm and holding it hesitantly toward her, where she took it in her own and shook. He felt their spit mingle; a jolt went through him bouncing back and forth from his head to his heels. When she released his palm it was dry and he had a white blaze on the hair atop his head that looked like a lightening streak. He turned and ran away with the turnips clutched to his chest, shaking all over with a combination of fear and exhilaration.
“Whatever’s the matter with you? Do you have the turnips? What took you so long?” His wife fired at him upon his return home.
He told her all that had happened in the kitchen where she prepared the turnips for steaming. These turnips were tasteless and neither of them ate any, tossing them into the compost.
“No more turnips for me!” The wife declared while they continued laughing heartily at their insane neighbour.
A few weeks later they were no longer laughing at his encounter, for the wife’s womb had quickened and new life was growing there.
“But that’s impossible!” The man exclaimed, “Neither of us are fertile! There must be a mistake.”
There was no mistake and the man grew pale as he remembered his neighbor telling him how the turnips were not ordinary, magical turnips she’d hinted at their being, and they’d laughed at her! Perhaps she had been jesting, surely she wouldn’t really claim their babe when the time came?
When the time came one wintry night, there came a knock at the door the moment the baby girl received her first breath in a warm room where a cheerful fire crackled in the woodstove, atop which a simmering pot of herbs scented the air. Slimy and sticky with birth juices, faintly smelling of turnips, her eyes stuck closed together, dark hair matted with creamy white globs; the baby girl was gazed upon by fond eyes as the knocking grew louder. The man went to see who it could be. And there she was. His neighbor, her eyes snapping, her breasts leaking milk leaving wet circles on her shirt!
“Give her to me!” she said, pushing past him into the house where she found her way to the babe, claiming her.
“My own little turnip grown so tasty and sweet!” she exclaimed, putting the baby to her breast, “I shall call you Esme.”
And she left as suddenly as she had come, leaving the couple stunned. They never saw her again. She vanished into the night, Esme suckling on her nipple. However fate had a surprise in store for them, for a second baby was on the way. A baby boy. The wife named him Estes before she took her last breath from blood loss and shock, leaving the man to raise the boy, his turnip, alone. He journey’d on ten moons ago, and before he passed he told me the tale of our birth. Your twin is who I am Esme.”
Esme blinked. Somehow she wasn’t surprised. Somewhere deep inside she had known this already. In the empty places, where it felt like something was missing, an absence; it was him, Estes. Her heart raced and she felt suddenly breathless. She wasn’t surprised but this was unexpected, for once she didn’t know what to do. Her ordinarily capable mind was blank, all she could hear was dhuka dhuka dhuka, was it coming from him or from her? She didn’t know and the world felt upside down.
Splash! Water, soft, all over her face, dripping down her neck, drenching her heart. And what were these purple bits floating about in there? She nibbled on the soggy wrinkled petals; Violet! Delightful, absurd, the whole thing was an absurdity. She broke out in peals of laughter just as Estes dowsed her with another splash, at which she collapsed on the ground and guffawed until beads of water streamed out her eyes and nose and soaked her already wet face, dribbling down her chin on their way to her heart. Her mirth increased at the sight of a white handkerchief with dainty lace edges being offered to her by Estes, the fragrance of lily-of-the-valley emanating from it.
“What next? She asked merrily, dabbing herself dry with the delicate cloth, “Crocheted gloves with frilly wrists woven loosely with the finest silks?”
“Alas, mi amiga, ‘tis a powder puff, a brush, and mirror I offer,” Estes returned quickly, digging in the pockets of his vest and handing her a small pouch, “These were our mother’s I was told, her mothers before her, now they’re yours.”
“Ah Maman!” Esme thought wonderingly, “All these years and you never told me anything, it all makes sense now for I’ve been from the very beginning nothing more or less than a turnip! Your turnip!”
“Come,” said Estes, “Let us play in earnest now.”
“Yes,” agreed Esme, “Let’s play together.”
Far away from Lemuria, the wizened old woman called Maman by Esme and Bibi by a young apprentice smiled in her sleep. Her turnip had discovered her origins and now the play would begin in earnest, yes, it was good that it was so. The twins were united and their light would shine where it was needed. She knew these two, for long long ago she had carefully and lovingly sown the seeds they had sprouted from, tended to them, enticed the woman next door to desire them that they may grow and flourish in her womb; now they would dance their destiny as she had dreamed it once upon a time.