Silver restrains

Silver restrains

by:Harika

My best friend doesn’t wear silver.

Everything about her is golden; from the seemingly endless length of hair, she swings about, to the tan she picks up from making ever-more elaborate daisy chains in the summer, to the eyes as they catch the sunlight when you’re not expecting her to look at you.

I have silver-framed glasses that I cannot bear to wear, so I settle for wrapping silver around my wrists to tether me to my life, and hanging it from my ears to filter the lies. It’s not easy to be like this; you have to learn to listen by watching mouths and faces so that you respond to the white lies they give you rather than the trickle of truths you actually hear.

And when you’re walking back to your house after dark, pay attention to when the metal around your wrists grows cold, or tugs you in a certain direction.

People walk with me a lot more. They say I know things; what they mean is maybe you’re a changeling who’s changed sides. I say I’m just observant. The more timid ones will hold my hand for comfort, once, twice, three nights in a row.

Sometimes they stop holding my hand.

I’m not a knight. I’m just surviving the experience as best I can.

But my best friend doesn’t wear silver. She talks to me and the words that her mouth forms are the words that slide into my ear canals, no translation needed. She walks back to the house with my little group but she keeps to the edges, looking out into the darkness, eyes reflecting the sparsely-spaced lamps with just the barest hint of gold. She’s never been any different. 

A cornflower, holding my hand and mistaking distance for fear, telling me it’s ok.

But the cornflower doesn’t hold my hand the next night, and my best friend’s eyes seem a little more golden. But I’m not a knight. I am not their keeper.

My best friend doesn’t wear silver.

One night, we get back to the house and the silver-framed glasses are on my nightstand. If she knows them, she does not let on. 

Are those yours? They’re cute. Let’s see you with them on.

And for the first time, the words that slide into my ears do not match.

I dare you to see me.

I decline – I am tired, and the glasses will make it worse. Maybe tomorrow? Enough of a truth to slip by her, I hope.

Captured moonlight is not the only decoration I own, and tonight, while she sleeps, I slip an iron ring onto the middle finger of each hand, and gently unlock the silver from around my wrists.

They click into place around hers as if they were meant for her and she sits upright, knowing what I’ve done. She doesn’t scream, or howl, or lay curses upon my bloodline – it’s already ended with me, what more can she do?

She just watches, bound, as I get to work.

I am not a knight, I tell myself, as I hang a horseshoe over the door.

I am not a knight, I tell myself, as I twist a rowan crown into my hair.

I am not a knight, I tell myself, as I fill my pockets with salt.

And finally, I pick up the glasses from the nightstand.

I will not look at her; I don’t need to. Through the lenses, the threads of those who sustain her twist in the air, leading me away. Like Theseus in the Labyrinth, I ready myself to descend beneath the hill.

I am not a knight, I say out loud this time, and the truth of my own words wriggle their way unwillingly back into me. I have a responsibility.

And now my best friend wears silver.

 


 

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