Even with Maelin’s magic soothing Isellta, a certain level of fear and panic remained.
I’ll fall. I know I’m going to fall and disappoint her. But….Robin.
“Are you ready to do this?” Maelin asked.
I don’t want to disappoint Robin. And he will be disappointed if I can’t even walk.
I can’t disappoint him. I’ve disappointed too many people in my life.
“I’m going to walk you to the door and back to the bed.”
I disappointed her.
“Do you think you can do that?”
“Okay. If you need to stop, tell me and I’ll stop.”
He nodded again.
Momma, what would my life have been like if I hadn’t been such a disappointment to you?
“Here we go.”
He remembered a sunlit room…
Sunlight recolored the bedroom’s white walls. A warm breeze breathed in through the open windows and the sheer white curtains billowed. Something smelled like lemon and fresh cream.
Isellta stood in the middle of the room. He looked up at his mother. She seemed to be as tall as the ceiling. He stretched his arms upward. “Mama?”
She knelt and she was so pretty. As pretty as the sunlight.
Isellta laughed – a joyful, exuberant sound. “Mama!” He hugged her. His back muscles twitched.
She shrugged out of his embrace. “Not now.” She pulled his shirt off and turned him around.
The twitching grew stronger as she ran her fingers over his small back. Happiness bubbled inside of him. “Mama.” he sang. “Mama mama mama.”
“Isellta! Hold still.”
“I don’t understand this.”
He turned his head to the side in an attempt to look back at her. “Mama?”
“I told you to hold still!”
Isellta flinched as if she had slapped his face. His back muscles went still.
She traced matching lines on his back.”They’re right there.”
Isellta’s father entered the bedroom. “You called?” He stopped in front of Isellta and petted his son’s hair.
The small child looked up at his father. “Da.”
“Ilstheena.” his mother said. “What is wrong with him?”
“Nothing. He’s fine.”
“No, he isn’t.” She grabbed Isellta’s bare shoulders and forcibly turned him around. “Look at that and try to say he’s fine.”
Isellta tried to blink back his tears.
Ilstheena knelt and spread his hand on his son’s back. “They’ll grow out.”
“What if they don’t? Ilstheena, if his wings don’t emerge, you and I will become a laughing stock.” She stood. “I refuse to become a laughing stock. Fix him.” Having said that, she left the room.
“Da?” Isellta’s voice was a small, tremulous sound. “Mama mad a’ me?”
“No. Just disappointed. But don’t worry. You’re okay.” He gently turned him forward and wiped away his tears. “You’re a late spring flower. Your wings will come out all in their own good time. They will grow large and powerful.”
Isellta managed a smile. “Preddy like Da’s?”
His father smiled back. “Just like mine.”
I don’t know if I ever told Da how much he meant to me. I know I never told him that I loved him. How could I? I had no idea what love even was.
I wish I had known.
I wish I had told him.
He deserved to know.