She’d been reading ever since she could remember. Fairytales gave her relief when home or school became abusive. She read almost every day. Grown, she continued her studies, still myths and symbols, fables and archetypes. She felt if she could understand them, she could understand everything. She travelled around, happy at times but always seeking, until circumstance and too many Stephen King novels led her to a small town, a community where people greeted you with sharp smiles that hid stunted minds. She moved into a house, and filled it with so much warding it gave the impression that no one lived there. She lived there, reading more books, slowly forgetting the life she had lived, the person she had been, accepting that stories were only dreams while reality was a dull and painful thing that simply must be endured until the end of life.
Until one day, an astounding Spartan came sailing into town, tall and strong, dark and dignified, looking for all the world like Odysseus, but on a school bus instead of a ship.
“I have travelled the world over,” he said. “I have sailed the Seven Seas, from the Mediterranean to the Orient and beyond. And never, never, never have I seen a more foul place than this. You are in Plato’s Cave, believing the shadows on the wall are real. You have forgotten Life; you must come with me or you will die. Not right away because you are strong, but slowly, until one day you are covered with dust, unable to move, and worse yet, not caring to do so.”
“I can’t.” she said. “I can’t quit my job. I am old; who will hire me? Go, and leave me to die.” And Odysseus sailed away.
He travelled many days to the northern border but could not bring himself to cross it. He turned around and came back.
“Come with me, please!” he cried. “I cannot leave you here to die.”
“I can’t.” she said. “You are asking too much. In the real world, one needs money to survive. Let me try to find a job elsewhere first, then I will go.” And once again, Odysseus sailed away.
He made it as far as a village with an old Grecian temple. He entered the temple and received an incredible vision. And then he came back for her once again.
“You MUST come with me! I had a vision in the temple! You must come with me now, not later. If you do not, you will surely die, and I cannot let that happen.”
“I can’t,” she said. “I can’t – turn you away a third time. I will quit my job, and sell my things, and I will sail with you.”
But the town didn’t want to let her go. In the days that followed, the two faced many battles, storms and monsters until the bus was ready, and then they sailed out of the town, across many roads and mountains, until they reached the farthest sea, where she found old friends and a new job and a new life in a city that smelled of rain and coffee instead of sulfur.
“He cried the relief he felt at finally seeing the pattern, the way all the stories fit together—the old stories, the war stories, their stories—to become the story that was still being told. He was not crazy; he had never been crazy. He had only seen and heard the world as it always was: no boundaries, only transitions through all distances and time.“
― Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony