I don’t belong here.
These people all have interlocked lives, but I am not a part of their puzzle. I am the wrong shape and color. My lines do not match with any of their lines.
I belong with The Institute’s puzzle. I fit in with them. Our lines connect perfectly.
LM walked over to the window and looked outside.
But they’re all gone.
He watched a flock of pigeons fly from left to right. They flew with an easy, thoughtless strength. Their wings rose and fell without any effort. They were one with the air currents and the sky.
They flew and they were free.
LM tried to flap his wings.
They didn’t flap. They rustled loudly.
“It’s okay.” Capernaum said.
LM shook his head. “You don’t understand why this—” He tried to flare out his wings and failed. “—isn’t okay. I wish I could break them. I wish I could tear the ugly things off my back. I wish. I wish I could be normal for once. Just be a normal, ordinary fey. That’s all that I want. I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want to be different. And don’t say anything about how my nonfunctional wings make me special. They don’t make me special at all. They make me a walking ruin.”
Capernaum’s expression softened. “It’s okay.” He put his hands on LM’s shoulders. “You are you. You are my dear friend, whether you have functional wings or not.”
Capernaum put his hands on LM’s shoulders.
LM knew that it was him. He recognized the hands’ weight, their size.
The feel of them.
“Capernaum, my dear friend.”
“I don’t belong with these people. I don’t know. In all honesty, I don’t know where I belong.”
“Take it one step at a time. It won’t be the way it was with us. You and those people will never share that special magic and bond that you and I had. But they are not your enemies, LM.”
“What am I supposed to do?”
“How?” LM turned around. “How am I supposed to help them? They’re all so close. If I try to say or do anything, they’ll look at me like I’m an interloper diving into their private conversations.”
Capernaum smiled kindly. “But standing away from them will not make you and them any closer. Go over to them. Help them.”
LM looked into his friend’s kind face and his entire world threatened to crumble down. “I miss you.”
“I’m here, LM. But I can’t stay here indefinitely. You will have to let me go.”
He shook his head. “I can’t.”
“I know. But you will have to do it when the time is right. When you know that you are ready.”
“I will never be ready. You are my only and best friend.”
“But I am not the only one out there. Don’t limit yourself, LM. Don’t be afraid to go beyond our small circle.”
LM bowed his head.
What can I say to that? I don’t want to? That’s nothing but human nonsense. I am part human, though. Does that make me part nonsense, part sense?
He raised his head. “I understand. But I will always miss you. No one else will ever compare.”
“Then, don’t compare. Just take them as they are. Accept them for who they are, my dear friend.” Capernaum laid his hands along the sides of LM’s face. “Just the way I accepted you.”
LM’s world fractured into fissures and cracks as he responded, “I understand.”
Capernaum smiled again and disappeared.