When Your Girlfriends Save Your Life
There was a storm once, and it threw me in the river.
I fought to swim and stay on course, but the sky turned dark and the current tossed me to and fro; I became tangled in branches and limbs along the side. It was cold and I heard only water. I was tired and afraid.
But then seven sisters appeared, as if summoned, and un-wove me from the brush.
They pulled bramble from my hair and cleaned my face. They told me the storm would pass and that when it was over, there would be unbearable light that danced on the river.
When I was free from twigs and moss, they lifted me beneath my armpits and dragged me ashore. 4 of them sat with me while 3 went to gather food. My chest was heavy from fear, and my body was cold. They built a fire, and the others returned with berries and herbs. I slept while they cooked food and spoke of suns and moons.
Eventually the fire began to warm me, and tears fell down my face. The ache in my chest turned from cold to warm, but the pressure and fear remained.
When I was warm enough, they stripped my dress from my chest and rubbed a salve over my heart and lungs to draw out the source of the ache.
It came out first as flame and fire, and they threw these into the river. Next they pulled out daggers of ice, and they threw these into the river, too. They pulled boulders from my chest and large chunks of iron. Everything they threw back into the river, except for one large rock which they threw into the fire.
They held me up, I cried, and they kept tending to my heart.
When it was over, they wrapped my chest in wool and laid me down to rest. They told me in the morning I’d be able to stand again. I cried all night, even as I slept, and they took turns holding my hands while the night took hold and passed through.
In the morning I awoke to a piercing sunlight, and though I felt shaky, my chest was clear.
In the place where the fire had burned there was a circle of ash and a large, glittering gem, which they rinsed in the river and gave to me. It was the rock they had pulled from my chest and thrown in the fire.
They said I should keep it.
They took my hands again, and we stepped back into the water, walking toward the current.