A Walk With Oréveriel
I’ve taken to going on walks pretty much anywhere I can find time and a path through the woods. Sometimes, Pippin goes with me, but my old faithful friend has gotten old, and anything over two miles, especially in the Texas heat, is just too much for him, no matter how much water I have. Today, I wanted to just walk. To walk as far as I could without worrying about anyone, and wanted a place where I could do it mindlessly. So I went to Fish Creek Trail, a 12-mile paved trail through the woods dropped in the middle of Arlington that I had never been to. I always found my way to River Legacy.
About a mile in, Oréveriel showed up.
She was dressed for the occassion: with pixie short hair (dyed fifteen different bright colors, including two that did not exist before and will not exist again after Oréveriel forgets them) and mismatched women’s jogging wear that somehow managed to look fashionable on her. She even had pink earmuffs and green leg-warmers, despite it being 86 degrees.
“Why are you doing this, Vanyanan?”
“To get healthy.”
She smiled like she expected that answer, “And, how does this make you healthy?”
I knew there was a trap, but I didn’t see it yet, so I just answered honestly, “Humans eat to receive energy. Humans store excess energy as fat. And we burn energy through effort. I’m applying more energy than I eat so that I can get rid of the excess weight.”
She moved ahead of me and walked backwards in front of me, and asserted, “Then, it’s a human sacrifice for the Green God.”
I stopped walking. “No. No, it isn’t. I’m not killing myself. I’m just trying to be thinner, so that I have more stamina, and more energy, and feel better about myself. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Green God at all!”
She started backwards skipping, avoiding every crack in the sidwalk, and when she saw I wasn’t following, doing it in a circle until I resumed.
“I’m not so sure of that, Vanyanan. You certainly are speaking his liturgy. Energy input, energy output, energy storage. The state of your soul being a function of your energy reserves.”
“I didn’t say that!”
“Yes, you did, with different words.”
“It’s hardly the liturgy of the Green God if I use different words.”
This actually drew a look of contempt, “The metal god doesn’t care what words you use. He and the red god might hate each other, but they agree on that.”
“Well, I don’t follow the green god.”
Oréveriel smiled and turned away, skipping in front of me, “That’s nice. Vanyanan, the software engineer, thinking of his body like a machine, describing his body like a machine, casually talks of giving up a third of himself in the liturgy of the green god, doesn’t follow the green god. Vanyanan, the programmer, who lives in a land of make believe abstractions, and acts like if only he read enough he will find the abstraction for himself and the cosmos, has nothing to do with the strange metal god.” She turned back, “Yes, that’s nice, because it’s actually true.”
Oréveriel rushed towards me suddenly until our noses touched. This is an accomplishment, she is barely five feet tall and I’m six foot, but she looked down at me and whispered, “You lie, Vanyanan. You lie and lie and lie. And then you lie more. You don’t need stamina to program, you don’t need muscles to read, and you aren’t attached to your outcast nearly enough to worry about your health. You seek Isil. You are here in the woods on a pointless walk to nowhere because you know that’s where Isil is, and you are on a paved path because you know that’s where you won’t find her.”
I pushed her gently away to a comfortable distance. “I don’t follow Isil. You follow Isil. The whole world follows Isil. I follow Ainofiriano.”
“You could find Ainofiriano back where you were earlier today. You believe that right, that he’s there, inside that little peice of bread? They have him not ten miles from here, for all to see and worship and adore, cradled in the effigy of his mother’s womb. So, why are you in the woods?”
I sighed, “I told you why.”
Contempt again. I think this is the first conversation Oréveriel and I have ever had where she treated me with contempt.
“Yes, you told me that you strive and fast and work and suffer to sacrifice a third of yourself to the green god. I didn’t believe you then. I don’t believe you now. Tell the truth, or come up with a better lie. You also tell me you follow Ainofiriano and not the green god, and I’m not sure I believe that either.”
“You are the one that told me once that I never followed Isil, that I was always one of Ainofiriano’s men. Now you tell me that I don’t follow Ainofiriano but the green god.”
Oréveriel laughed, “I don’t have to be consistent, Vanyanan. No more than you do. You love Ainofiriano, you lust for Isil, and the strange god promises you power. Physical power, financial power, the power to make energy dance at your fingertips.” She smirked knowingly, “Other powers, too. You think little Oréveriel doesn’t know. Isil knows.”
I rolled my eyes, “Yes, I’m sure Isil knows all about ‘other powers’.”
“But Isil delivers. You are seeking Isil, because you know she delivers.”
“Now, you sound like the green god, Oréveriel, with this talk of results.”
“You admit you’re seeking Isil.”
“No, I don’t!”
She danced in my path, “You didn’t deny it.”
“I’m denying it now. But if you say I worship the green god because I focus on results once or twice, then the same rules apply to you.”
She tilted her head, “When did I say I sought results Vanyanan? Just now? I offered you results. Oréveriel doesn’t seek results. Oréveriel doesn’t worry about performance. Oréveriel doesn’t care if she is fat…” (she instantly gained a hundred pounds) “…or thin.” (she reverted to her normal pixie appearance) “I follow Isil.”
“And what does Isil want if not results?”
Oréveriel threw up her hands and stormed forward in frustration, “Passion. You worship Isil by seeking Terabithia, and she gives it to you, as often as she can without driving you mad. And she has to cut your dosage, because you’ve got the green god and Ainofiriano and Jesus Christ and Jordan Isil-help-you-because-Oréveriel-can’t Peterson so mixed up in your head that she can’t give you much without pushing you over the edge.”
“Jesus Christ and Ainofiriano are the same person.”
“No, they aren’t, Vanyanan! Did you listen to the gospel today? Have you been listening to the gospel at all for the past ten years? Jesus follows Isil!”
“Oréveriel, I made Ainofiriano up. Just like I made you up. Just like I made Isil up. I damn well know who I made Ainofiriano up to be. And Jesus Christ does not follow Isil.”
Oréveriel looked offended that I had pulled rank with the poetic license bit. “Did you make up Jesus Christ?”
“Then you don’t get to say who He worships. You can put words in my mouth, in Ainofiriano’s mouth, in Isil’s mouth. You created me and all the gods you talk about in your myths, but didn’t create Jesus, or Liswamire or Callemorina. You didn’t invent Yelloture. You have to accept that maybe they don’t fit your myth that you’ve made.”
“Go away, Oréveriel.”
And she faded away, sulking.
And I stopped walking to see that I had gone three and a half miles from my car, and that I was at mile marker 0, the beginning of the Fish Creek Trail.
“Get off the pavement, Vanyanan. You know damned well you won’t find Terabithia or her on some city park sidewalk.”
Then my agnostic mother called, and I started the walk back to the car. She asked about religion, like she always does, and I told her about how she is wired from within to seek Ainofiriano, and somehow in the midst of that, depressed her.
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