Second star: Change (I).
Second star: more recollections.
I do not know how that coin ended up in the pocket of my apron. In this case it is not a question of not having such a memory. It is simply that I do not know it. I remember the shadow of a man, an accidental collision. A shudder, an unpleasant feeling... Nothing else. Around me everything went on unchangeable: music, loud voices, laughs, those songs by the drunkards, and the moans upstairs. It was a night just like any other night in a brothel like any other... And at the same time, nothing was as it was expected. At least, not that night.
The newcomers attracted attention. Everybody’s attention. The other girl behind the bar was giggling all the time, listing all their virtues. One of them was younger; the other has a more virile appearance. The blond’s smile was absolutely seductive; the eyes of his friend were totally bewitching. I soon decided to forget about her soliloquy and her sighs, which were accompanied by flattery from the other girls. The more practical ones took a look at the clothes of the pair, wondering whether their pockets would be full of money. Why could not they earn an important sum of money in exchange of a good service... to a pair of good-looking men? In their minds that plan was quite tempting. In my mind there were only orders of beers and those constrained smiles I had to put on my face for each person I looked at.
It was possible that because I was the only one who was not interested in lending them my services I was the one who has to deal with their orders. Without knowing it, they had begun to change the routine of that place... And, by extension, mine.
The first to speak was Gharin. His alabaster face turned to me with the smile of a man who is not accustomed to be rejected. There were stories which could have been recited by minstrels behind his sky blue eyes. It was that gaze which analysed and compared me with the other girls. A smile spread across his face. However, I show myself indifferent, even bored. I misjudged him as being like the other men who were there. So I treated him as one of them, smiling at him charmingly. I tried to forget his possible thoughts... I was sure that all of them were related to an upstairs bedroom.
I was almost ignoring him. Have not I mentioned how dangerous that curiosity can be? My eyes betrayed me… And, suddenly, I was looking at him.
Allwënn was completely different from his friend. Gharin was elegant; his features were fine, almost like porcelain. His face was not feminine, but the truth is that he had a delicate beauty, even fragile, due to his elven blood. But Allwënn… Allwënn has always been different. Even in that moment I should have imagined it. I did not know anything about him. I did not know who he was, how or why. But I imagined it, in a way or another. I understood that he was special, that he was something I had never seen before. Nothing I was going to see again. Nobody has been like him. Nobody will be like him.
His hair was long, black like a night without moon. Without stars you could confess to. Without starts and, therefore, without spaces between them. While Gharin’s face was smooth, young, Allwënn’s seems to be more weather-beaten. A stubble beard grew in his cheeks. They were different… and, at the same time, surprisingly similar. Nobody has ever understood each other like them. A friendship would have never endured what they have endured. Gharin kept in his eyes bardic tales, adventure stories and women. In Allwënn’s eyes, however, there were hidden stories of wounds and suffering. And there was something more. His green eyes were still vigilant, looking around, searching for something I could not understand. There was something more in the purpose of those men, apart from a pair of cool beers and a warm bed. There was a secret.
I could not imagine to what extent that coin in the pocket of my apron was related to it.
First star: Destiny.
First star. First recollection.
That dive. Voices which are celebrating, the common fuss in the place. There is an image of myself reflected in the mirror but I am not conscious of it. More voices. Everything begins in that moment: a closed room, someone screaming my name, blurred moments in my poor memory. Caresses of rough hands. There are not in my body (fortunately) but in the body of the other girls. I recognize faces that I met before but I cannot manage to name them. Everything seems a race to obtain the best client... and his money.
How did I end up there? My question to the stars around me is never answered. Sometimes they look at me mockingly, as if they knew for sure that I am not going to found out an answer. It seems paradoxical not being able to remember your past and living with the certainty that you know what is going to happen in the future.
Images look more vivid as every second in time turns into an eternity in this place. Sketches turn into defined figures and I can discover tiny points of colour in those black and white pictures. There are fragments of a quarrel with someone... It does not matter. The feeling of change that brought that night still seems to brush my body as in that moment. It makes me shudder, leaving my throat dry.
There are moments in which the smallest detail can change your life forever. There are bonds which have to be forged sooner or later. It is called Destiny... and I am sure that it was Him who decided that I should meet Allwënn and Gharin.
It was that night. They entered that dive looking around. One of them was on the alert. The other looked pleased with what he could see: Gharin has always liked short skirts and low-cut necks. Allwënn was tense, but not the way in which a man is expected to be in a place like that. I can remember his green eyes examining everything. In those days he just seemed to me a mean man who feared that in a place like that all his wishes could not be fulfilled. Wishes of having a rest... or anything he liked.
At first I did not pay attention to them. Behind the bar, taking brusque men’s orders, I did not have time. The other girls did not think like me. They all raised their heads and the whispers began. The new customers looked different from the scum we were used to serve. I did not care about them... at first. Excitement usually leads to curiosity and curiosity was what made me to raise my eyes.
It was then when Allwënn’s eyes and their scrutiny discovered the curiosity in my eyes.
Fate has decided. In that instant, He forged a perfect bond that linked my life and Allwënn’s forever.
Nobody or nothing could have avoided it.
In the place of a Star.
A long time ago my past disowned my memory … However, there are memories that cannot be forgotten.
There is nothing before that dive. There is nothing except darkness. There is nothing before that night in which the fire burned everything down enabling me to be reborn. There is nothing…. before meeting him.
I have thought about it a lot of times. I have had a lot of time left to think, after all. Maybe I just have no past before he appeared in my life... because I did not need it. Maybe he was the only thing I should have. The only thing I should know. The only thing I should love. And maybe that is the reason why I remember everything as if I was still there…
There are times in which I look around and I see everything clearly. I see the amused sparkling in his eyes and the great efforts he used to make in order not to show a smile in his lips. I can also hear the mistakes of his will when, much to his regret, he laughed out loud or got closer to me than what we both have expected at first. He is not the only one who is in the reminiscences of those days. In my memories there is also a place for the mocking and seductive voice of a young man. He still summons my dreams up with the mermaid’s melody of his lute. There have been times in which I found myself murmuring the forgotten lyric of a song, being transported, unintentionally, to secret meetings in front of a fire exhausted by the night.
Everything has left behind. However, it is still alive in my soul, more important than anyone could imagine. I feel more real, living among pieces of distant memories. I can almost caress them, touch them, take them in my hands in order to remember every feeling, every moment. The rough touch of that man’s wounded hands resides under my fingertips. All the caresses he left in my skin are still burning. All the smiles are kept in my lips: smiles that the sun got out of me for waking up with him by my side. In my mouth… the taste of that mixed blood man who I loved once.
Nonetheless, I often find myself discovering once and again that memories can betray me. When they come near, gentle, so sweet, they cannot be caught. They slip like fine sand through my fingers, even when I try to close my hands. In the end, the only truth I can really apprehend is my home, the place I dwelt in.
Long ago… I met someone who counted stars to discover a space between them. He said that when he found it, he would know that the woman made for him alone, the she-star, would have come down from the sky. Then, he could search for her.
Long ago, I loved that man and he loved me.
Long ago, someone decided that my name would be Äriel.
For a long time... I have dwelt in the space of a star.
Can you see me… Allwën?