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Day Six: A Character-Building Experience

Today’s Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year? Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.

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pool in woodsThe Pool

She had been coming to the little pool in the middle of the dark, shriveling woods for as long as she could remember. At least 50 years. Everyday she would come and bask in the cool shade of the misshapen trees, set on a rock by the pool’s edge, and, with a notebook and pen resting on her lap, begin to write her thoughts. She didn’t know who she was writing to. Sometimes it felt like she was writing home. But she wasn’t sure where, exactly, home was. She loved her family, that much was true; but this obsession for writing was something they could not understand. Try as she might, she couldn’t stop. When she did try, she felt autistic, as if she couldn’t communicate with those around her. Everything in her longed to share what was inside her heart with others in a way that would allow her to connect with them. And yet, when she would gaze at her reflection in the pool to see who she really was, the reflection was always ripply and distorted.

One day as she sat scribbling and pondering, which was something else she was very good at, she noticed a man step into the clearing on the other side of the pool. He was tall, a full 6’5″, with short medium brown shaggy hair, a little graying at the sides, and arresting brownish-green eyes. Though a gray-streaked beard and mustache hid the bottom of his face, it couldn’t disguise the tentative smile that lingered there, nor the laugh lines that creased the corner of his eyes beneath his black-rimmed glasses. He wore a red knit shirt and jeans, and good sturdy boots. His tall lanky frame alone might have been enough to intimidate her, alone there as she was, but the way he stood, hands shoved in his jeans pockets, loose and easy, made him seem easily approachable.

“Hello,” she said as he walked around the pool toward her.

“Hi.” He stopped and stood towering over her, reading the words she’d written, a poem about the flow of the currents in her life. “You’re on the right path,” he said.

She blushed. Even after writing all these years, she was unused to people commenting so thoughtfully on what she’d written.

“Thank you. And thanks for stopping by to tell me that.”

Then the man did a strange thing. He started to recite a story to her. “Once there was a princess who never knew. And she never knew because she was never told. And that which remained unspoken was her true identity…”

A hush as a magic spell settled on her soul as the words fell lightly from his lips permeating her very heart.

And though the girl had no way of knowing at the time the story had been written for someone else, she was arrested by how the words he spoke echoed the experiences of her life. She invited him to sit and he did, pulling from his jeans pocket a notebook full of his words and thoughts. She read them. And read them. They tasted like honey as she mouthed the words aloud. A balm to her soul as she recognized his kindred spirit. She was not alone in her frail thoughts after all. Finally, hardly able to speak through the emotion, she looked up at him.

“I’m Calensariel,” she said. “I’m so glad to meet you. I hardly EVER talk to anyone about writing. And yours is so beautiful.”

“I’m Plato. It’s also unusual for me to speak of writing. I don’t know if my words make sense, or if the poetry is any good.”

The girl was amazed, for his words were mesmerizing to her. She was used to doubting her own writings, but his sentences were magical incantations to her old soul.

And so they sat for a long time at the edge of the pool talking of writing, learning of writing from each other, finding that their commonality was the treasure of words.

Meeting became a habit for them. His encouragement made her look at herself and her writing in a new way. She hoped her love of his work was a boon to him as well. And one day the girl noticed that all around her the trees began to take on a different shape. They became fuller, greener, stood taller, their fluttering leaves livelier with each visit. And she realized she felt the same way. Now when she looked at her reflection in the water, the pool was calm and clear and her esteem for herself had grown, for through their discussions of life and writing she was coming to understand that what was most important about writing was that it reflected the truth of who you are inside.

They are still meeting by that little pool. They’ve come to understand each other better and it has made the sharing of their writing more poignant for her. She will ever be grateful for the mentor the man has become in her life. And in their friendship has recognized that it was not a coincidence that they met by the pool that day. Some things are just meant to be…

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Please stop by Plato’s Groove and read some of his magical words… His writing is so amazing.