laila & agape
had been raised side-by-side.
Y continued to pay visits to Z as they entered adulthood, and their friendship ripened sweetly. The clarity and frankness of their conversations forged an intimacy between them which far surpassed any intimacy that could exist between man and woman. The complementary nature of their characters gave them a wholeness in each other’s company upon which they came to rely, for comfort and confidance.
Z's cloistering in the Oculeye cooled her heart, giving rise in place of its fire an element of passionate devotion in her relationship to all objects, animate and inanimate. It was with this full absolution that the two girls engaged, transcending the prototypical double-talk and complexly layered social gestures of language.
Y's heart craved the incendiary passions of life, and pursued them, but she could see that Z had a density of life within herself that fulfilled her in her own way. It was not a realm she fully empathized with, because her hearts held no ecosystems. Instead, Y's heart was shaped like a luminous high-beam. It began as a slim flame, growing more saturated over time, feeding on air. Her irises were dense and radiant, those of a person at the height of her personhood. Vibrance at its most vibrant. Color at its most colorful. Each girl felt a sorrow for the other, for the elements of life that she lacked, as well as a pride in the areas where the other shone.
Y brought Z a gift- a silver carving knife, laid into a thin box lined in blue crushed velvet, along with several blocks of burled hardwoods. Like many of their exchanges, the gift was given with little pomp or occasion, and Agape offered her thanks in the form of a warm, upturned glance. Z lifted the knife’s edge delicately and turned over a square of rosewood in her palm. With the knife’s blade she conjured a feathery nestling from the rosewood’s burls, rendering its down with precision. She had the ideal model for her carvings, and she granted, for the first time, the ecosystem within her its own liberty. Rosewood finches were soon flocking alongside oak starlings and pine warblers. Mahogany mockingbirds soon added their songs to the chorus, followed by ebony lyrebirds and orioles of maple.
She placed within them delicate mechanical hearts that beat wooden blood through wooden bones, and lifted them up on wooden wings to the sun.