[Part of a series that may never see the light of day, but this episode felt good enough to publish on its own.]
She is not an object of desire.
She is not even human.
Yet she is my next quest.
Her: Why can’t you just leaves her alone?
I look at her.
I am wearing the skin of a saber-toothed tiger I killed with a wooden club.
I carry a stone-tipped spear I use to hunt mastodon.
I’m sure I could kill her.
I know I want to.
But… she would not want that.
Nor would He.
Me: What do you think I am trying to do to her?
H. Control her. Tell her who she is. Point out everything wrong with her. Make her more like YOU.
I look at her.
I am no longer angry.
I feel… curiosity.
M. Is that why you left your mate?
She has enough shame left to look embarrassed.
H. Well… yes. That’s why I took pity on her. I put up with him for far too long. I don’t want her to suffer the way I did.
To be honest, I was intimidated by her at first. But she no longer seems a big scary dinosaur. More like a big scared bird.
Something frightens her.
I frighten her.
Something flips inside me.
I was in “enemy mode.”
She was a threat.
Trying to take away what was rightfully mine.
An evil to be opposed.
An enemy to be conquered.
An opponent to subdue.
Now she seems like a giant chicken.
A lost chick.
She isn’t threatening.
She is pleading.
And I realize.
She doesn’t want me to fail.
She wants me to rescue her.
But she doesn’t think she can trust me.
This isn’t an attack.
It is a test.
I lay down my spear.
I hold up my hands.
Palms forward in peace.
Careful to maintain my distance, I turn to face directly towards her.
M. I am so sorry. I had no idea how much you had suffered. What happened?
She is taken aback, having expected me to identify with him over her. My question triggers a reflective pause.
H. It… it started out good. He was so sweet. So romantic. I trusted him. But over time… he changed. Became more demanding. Judging. Every little thing I did he started finding fault with. I ended up dreading having to spend time with him.
She pauses. Looks down at the ground. Then back at me, glaring.
H. For the longest time, I thought it was all my fault. That I was just supposed to be a good submissive wife, and sit there and take it. Even if it crushed my soul.
She stands up and stalks towards me, wings flaring.
H. That was a lie! It was NOT my fault. I am a daughter of the King. I deserve better than that! And so does she!
She is in my face, her sharp pointed beak angled toward the center of my forehead.
I take deep breaths and force myself to regard her calmly, compassionately.
Jesus, what does she need from me?
No words seem adequate.
So I give the beast a hug.
And she turns into a woman.