Part 22

The next morning Muse went down to the graveyard to see about her car.  It was no longer there.  She stood staring at the empty spot in the ditch, where she had parked it, as if the flattened grass might tell her where it had gone.  It didn’t.

My car, she thought helplessly, and felt a sudden urge to sit down in the graveyard and cry.

But she didn’t.  Because Immortals don’t cry.

It was just a car, anyway.  An old, broken down car.

Finally she went back to Beauty’s house, and Beauty remarked, “It was probably towed.”

“Where do you think they took it?” Muse asked.

“And impound lot, maybe?”

“Do you know where one is?”

Beauty shook her head.  “No idea.”

“Can I use your phone?”

A shrug.  “Go ahead.”

Beauty’s phone was a rotary dial, with gilded edges and a peach colored ceramic body.  It suited her, Muse thought.  It suited her, all elegance and old fashioned charm.  Her whole house and gardens had the feel of an old lady’s home, which, Muse supposed, it was.

There was a phone book inside the cabinet and Muse paged through it looking for anything that might apply.  She called the local town hall and police station, and then some car repair shops, but no one could help her.  They suggested she call the church which owned the cemetery to see if they had towed it, since the ditch was likely private property.  But the church was no help either, they denied having noticed a car parked outside the cemetery and said they had done nothing to it.

“So my car just disappeared into thin air, is that it?” Muse asked no one in particular after she hung up the phone for the last time, not knowing who else to call.

Beauty came around the corner, holding a thermos of coffee, and said, “I have to go to work.  You’re welcome to stay as need be, but if you leave the house please lock up.”

“Where is work?” Muse asked, surveying Beauty’s brunette hair pulled back into a bun, a pair of wire frame glasses perched on her nose, and her sensible peach blouse and black skirt.

“The local library,” Beauty responded.  “I am the children’s librarian.”

“Of course.”

When Beauty had left, Muse wandered over to her bookshelf and went idly through her books.  She didn’t know what she should do next.  Her car was gone and she didn’t have enough money to buy a new one.  She supposed she could find a bus station and spend the last of her money on a ticket to a big city, where she could get around on foot more easily.  She didn’t know if a town so small like this even had a bus station, though, and wondered how far she would have to walk to get to one.

None of Beauty’s books interested her — she’d already read most of them and the others she just didn’t feel in the mood for.  Beauty didn’t have a television, which disappointed her, as it would have been a nice way to relax.  There wasn’t much else to do besides snoop through Beauty’s closets and drawers, and Muse felt disinclined to do so.

She walked out the back door, into the backyard garden, and spent some time staring at the flowers.  Finally she sat down on a bench and stared off unseeing into the far corner of the yard.  She thought about her life, how long it stretched out before her, and how lucky some mortals would think she was.  She had forever to dally in while they did everything with an anvil hanging over theirs heads.  So little time, so much life to live, so many things to do, places to go, people to meet. . . .  And here she sat, nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to live for, and an eternity of it at her feet.

Not even having Love for her own could change that, she feared.  For she would always be too tired to feel what she should, to appreciate the love of another.  When he found her, would he be disappointed to learn that even forsaking Beauty as she asked, he couldn’t win her?  Not really?  For what was there to win?  A hollow shell of sleepless yearning . . . .

The more she dwelt on it, the surer she felt.  It was unfair that those with everything to live for rushed from one end of their short existence to the other, leaving heartache and unfinished lives behind them.  They would give anything to have her gift.  To have the time she wasted.

I would give my immortality away, let another have it, if I could, she thought.  If I could but have that bright burning short life.

She began to cry on the bench in Beauty’s garden.

Muse did not cry.  She was a goddess, immortal, they did not cry.

It was not done.

I do not sleep or dream or cry, she thought through her tears.  But they didn’t listen and still they fell.  She couldn’t stop or silence the sobs that echoed through the garden, disturbing the morning quietness, no matter how much she told herself she had nothing . . . she had nothing . . . she had nothing to cry for.

“Why are you crying?”

She looked up, mid-sob, to see Dream standing there.  She stared, for a moment, as if seeing Dream for the first time.  She seemed taller, and older.  Her white skin and hair that flowed to the ground had a shine like moonlight, and she wore a cloak of glimmering darkness like the starry night sky.

“I’m tired,” Muse told her.  “I’m crying because I’m so tired of living.”

“My poor child,” said Dream, stepping closer.  “Is living so hard?”

Muse covered her face.  “I need to rest or I can’t live at all.  I’m not strong enough to be Immortal, Dream, I never have been.”

“Muse, look at me,” Dream said, brushing her hands away, putting a gentle hand under her chin, tilting her face upward.

Muse did as she was told, gazing tearfully into the dark well of Dream’s eyes.

Dream smiled.  Muse saw it in her eyes.  She could see nothing else.

“Don’t cry, don’t be sad.  I love you.  I’ll make everything right.”

Muse felt herself fall.

And fall . . . .

And fall . . . .

And fall . . . .

Until she fell into sleep.

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