Next in my series of channeled short stories from the Banshee. Very surprised the Oriental flavour and Spirit great irony at the impending New Year. Please catch up on previous posts in the Roisin series Category, or here and here.
The petals fell as she stood there; the wind blew them through her hair and took with it the heaviness she had been feeling. Today should have been a joyous celebration, but it never was for her. She always felt like everything was going on around her, like she was somehow central to it all, but looking in from the outside. Unnoticed but totally essential.
She walked to the clear stream, sat crossed legged and ran her delicate fingers through the water of the landscaped stream. At least the koi noticed her, and bobbed up wondering if they were going to be fed; she always liked the white one with golden spots best, and there were three in this part of the water. She smiled, her long dark, pin straight hair scraping the water as she leaned forward. The weeping willow copying her further down stream; time stood still and she was unsure in reality how long she had been here. But it was dark now. And it was time.
She looked up at the noise; the fireworks, the banging of the drums. Red and Gold; the New Year was felt as blessing for many as they wiped away their old year. But she knew in reality it never worked out like that; ignoring the past just meant it came up and bit you in the backside. Just as it would for someone now.
She stood up and walked through the crowds; an old lady looked at her and there was recognition. The quiet and reflective always were able to see more than others. They nodded a bow to each other out of respect; but today she was not here for her. It was not her time.
She started to move more swiftly now; the crowds were milling and moving fast. She needed to be in the right place at the right time.
She saw him stood there; his greying hair neatly styled and swept to one side. He was smiling at the sites around him; enjoying the laughter and the joy in the faces of others in his last minutes. This made her happy; it somehow made it easier.
She stood for a moment just watching him. It was beautiful; the world revolving around him even though he never knew it. His reacting to and absorbing all of the joy around him; he saw such beauty in everything. She reached out her hand to him and the world stood still around them. Then, in that still moment, they saw eachother.
Zhang looked at her confused; realising something was wrong but not sure what. He looked at the scene which was once around him; now removed and at a distance. He stumbled and she caught him; his body laying there, with others rushing around him in shock.
She drew him close. ‘A heart attack’ she said gently. ‘Already?’ he queried. ‘Yes’ she said ‘how did you expect your heart to go on when you held so much in?’ ‘My grandmother always said you would come, but I never really listened to her old folk magic’ he replied.
‘Your grandmother asked me to come; she has been trying to get through to you for years. To help heal your heart. But you never let your guard down; so sure you were of the real world and of the folk magic belonging to an age now dead. So sure you were that love was not meant for you.’
Zhang hung his head and tears fell from his face.
She could see his heart; one which had so much to give but held onto so much too. Always to scared to let down his guard and using his manners to get in the way. Turning down opportunities to connect; always afraid, always sat in the background watching life float by. Life floating by, scene by scene, throughout his life. The scenes, unfolding in front of them, leading back to the fateful day when, as a quiet teenager, he went to open his mouth and speak his love out loud, but as he did, as the girl flashed that smile that had taken his heart so fully, he realised that she flashed that smile for someone else. And as the words began to fall out of his mouth, they fell on deaf ears. As the girl only heard the words of another.
‘It was this moment, this moment, which closed your heart off for good. It was this that lead to your broken heart one day consuming you.’ she said.
‘But I am only 49’.
‘Yes’ she took both of his hands in hers. ’37 years of holding it all in’.
‘This, this small moment?’
‘In some ways yes, in other ways no. But it isn’t that small a moment, is it? It is one you are often lead back to, is it not?’
‘Yes, yes I am.I think of this moment often’ He looked at the scene again for a moment ‘but it is something so small in reality. Such a small moment’
‘It is easier to see from the outside; it is easier to see now. Why did you never look for the outside perspective; why did you never share this with anyone?’
‘I had very little friends; the only person I had in the world was my grandmother. I had noone to share it with; I never wanted to worry my grandmother. And in reality. It was something so small, so trite. How could I admit that my heart was broken over something so small; that I was so weak that I would allow this to overwhelm me.’
‘But that wasn’t that start of it; that was the end. What really broke your heart was this . . .’
A scene materialised from Zhang’s heart; a scene where he was no more than two years old. His mother’s goodbye as she went off to start a new life; a life which would give them more money, more opportunities, even if it meant loneliness for the little child. His mother and his grandmother both tear streaked cheeks; he not quite understanding what was going on. First clinging to his mother and then clinging to his grandmother as she disappeared.
‘This is the moment you should have been coming back to. This is the memory you all too often ignored.’
Zhang looked at her. ‘That was the last time I saw her. I thought at the time if I made life easier for everyone, she would return. If I did better at school, if I put my needs last, if I prayed. But the prayers for me nowhere and the I realised over time I was the reason that she left; the illegitimacy of my birth always haunted her. In reality the new life was for her and not us, and the money was sparse. My grandmother never complained; never complained’.’
At that his grandmother was by his side ‘Zhang, Zhang, my little one.’ Her touch was strong across the ether and he wept harder than he had for a long time; his grandmother embraced him. He found themselves sat on the bench in the gardens in which he played as a child; over looking his not so elderly grandmother. Together they laughed and played in the grass beneath the willow tree; it’s long branches trailing the water. He remembered with joy the stories his grandmother had told of the sacred willow and the Spirits who dwelled in it; stories she believed in whole heartedly. And of the offerings which felt like games and the prayers which felt like magic.
‘My care for you was great Zhang, my love and attention absolute. But I never brought into words what I realise I should have done then. Look how happy we are; you were never a burden. Always a joy. You could have asked for your hearts desires and your gentle ways would have created desires which were never too much. I should have told you so when I had the chance; I could see how much she damaged you and I never said. It was never your fault. She was always reckless and selfish; but so beautiful in her ways! She was so much fun; I could never not indulge her. She was just like her father; who did much the same thing to her when she was young. And I never stopped loving him either. What I did was spoil her. I spoiled her and I am unsure if she ever became the mother a child like you would need. But what she did was to give me you; a child on whom I could lavish all my love and affection and still he would never be spoiled. A child who gave much more simply by existing than he ever took.’ She took his face in her hands ‘you were the most beautiful thing in my whole life. The gift given to me; and I should have given you more. I should have given you heart back. Simply by opening my mouth and speaking truths which I taught you to ignore, I could have given you everything you desired.’
‘All I ever desired was Love Grandmother. Just Love. And I see now, all along, that I was so loved. So loved.’
‘I know my darling; I know. And so now, I give you this gift’. With that she placed her hands on his heart. It glowed red, full of life, and then orange, full of warmth and joy, and finally hot pink. Love. The Spirit placed her hands on top of the Grandmother’s ‘And with this gift, I give you mine’. Hot electricity, the colour of the sun, ran through her being and out of her hands. Zhang looked shocked ‘What is this?’. ‘This is the Quickening’ she replied and the electricity ran through her once more.
Next he opened his eyes and saw, again, he was at the centre of his Universe; a band of paramedics around him, with defibrillator in hand; ‘We have him, we have him back’ one called. Circled around were spectators and on lookers. Some gawping; others hands clenched in prayer. As they began to strap him to the bed to bring him back, he looked around. Was that all a dream? Then he noticed the willow, trailing her branches in the manicured koi pond; he had been here so many time and never seen just how beautiful it was. The wind blew through it’s branches, bringing the spring petals with it. The wind spiraled and circled him; he breathed it in. And with that he knew; as he was loaded into the ambulance, he knew he had been given a second chance.
The Weeping Willow took the hand of Zhang’s grandmother and Roisin walked out of the shadow of the willow trees branches. ‘Sister of Second Chances; thank you’ she said as she took both their hands. Willow nodded a bow of recognition at Roisin as she placed both the Grandmother’s hands in hers. ‘Now Grandmother’ said Willow ‘Now you have fulfilled your motherly duties, it is time for you to fulfill your own. Go with my Sister of Sorrow.’ Grandmother nodded a bow a Willow, and walked with Roisin back into the shadows of the willow trees branches.
Willow smiled and sat back against the tree to play her flute; the burden never felt lighter, but it always felt so good in the end.
One thought on “The Roisin Banshee Series; The Weeping Willow and New Year”
After I channeled this I did some research; as I occasionally do. And I found this: “In China, Willow is a symbol of immortality and rebirth. In the other parts of the world the willow trees feature in mythology and literature as a symbol of the moon, water, grief, healing, everlasting life and often symbolizes grief. The willow tree’s association with the moon comes from the lunar influence on water, including tides.” Pretty cool confirmation for what I channeled! So very happy! Taken from this article! https://hail.to/lan-yuan-dunedin-chinese-garden/article/LdczlSZ