814 - The heart loves to feel compassion more than contempt
Coming face-to-face with my brother’s mortality… I wrote that, didn’t I? While he hung between life and death from Hayel-rain. Now it’s the certainty. Next summer.
Sometimes I feel: you get what I want every time, don’t you, Chevenga? Even death, I planned, and you came in at the last instant and claimed!
I know. That thought is crazy. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be keeping it secret from Taina, Enta and Daha out of embarrassment.
I have not been impeached from the semanakraseyesin of Yeola-e anyway, if semanakraseye is as semanakraseye does. I will still hold the national crystal in Assembly. Until he returns from Arko, having set them free of us as well as themselves, to claim it back… or not. If he does, it will be only for a short time.
I thought he was asking Assembly to keep me on as Acting purely as a sop to me, out of guilt for getting me voted out of Arko. Or to keep me from committing suicide. Now I see—he was also setting up for when he’s gone. Arko will have an Arkan Imperator, so he’ll leave no hole there, and Yeola-e will have an experienced semanakraseye already in the role, so he’ll leave no hole here either.
It’s been two moons—I fly back to Arko tomorrow to watch his second Ten Tens—and I have worked on accepting it. Two things have helped most: seeing how his foreknowledge answers every question I ever had about him… that convinces. And my shadow-mother. I already loved and respected her enough to be in awe. I feel that ten times as much now. I had my loves to hold that first night after; but I couldn’t talk to them about it. Next morning, there she was, and he had told me she knows. He must have asked her to come.
She took me arm-in-arm and we walked to one of the atrium fountains. There she held me in her arms while I cried a long, long time. We spoke at length then, and have several more times since. We talked about everything that happened, right back into Cheng’s and my childhoods.
I have had to change my whole view of why he was doing what he was doing, and what kind of person he is. It’s made me realize how much wrong I did him in my mind, thinking things like he’s so driven because he has to prove how much better than he is than everyone else, especially me. Or he says I can never be him in chiravesa because he thinks he’s so superior. You learn the truth, and you realize how mean your speculations have been.
And how they opened you up to manipulation… every lie the hawks told me, I believed because I already had misconceptions, and envy. They played to the joy I took in seeing him discredited. They played me like a harp, using my weaknesses. That will be to my eternal shame. I’ve been reminded often, as with a brand on my mind, of the quote from Karao: “Tendency to contempt is fertile soil for being deceived.” I never understood those words, but I do now, having lived them.
He is totally forgiving. Whenever I’ve gone to him clutching my forelock, he’s always said the same thing. “You didn’t know. I didn’t tell you. I shouldn’t have left it so long.” Or how clever they were, how no semanakraseye has ever had to deal with a group of people like the hawks before.
I no longer speak with them. I wrote some letters, but whether because I’m no use to them because I’m not on the Crystal Throne any more, or because Inatalla has turned them all against me, even Mirasae and the others I was closest to don’t answer me. I hope Chevenga ruins them all, with compensation suits or charges or what-have-you. I hope they all end up destitute and powerless, and the worst of them in Arkan prisons. That’s where Inatalla should be.
I cannot see Chevenga’s capabilities and victories the same way any more. I cannot hate him for them. My heart will no longer do it. It’s no longer there. I can see him only as a flame that had to burn bright, because it will burn short.
With the change in how I see him is a change in how I see myself. There is part of me that wants to flog myself for the grudge I bore him for all those years. But more of me feels a weight lifted off my shoulders. Shadow-mama said that: that without the envy, I will feel more free, more in love with the world. I didn’t believe her. But I am finding it’s true. I think with horror sometimes, maybe this sense of freedom comes from knowing he’s going to be gone, and I hate myself freshly. But she keeps telling me, don’t do myself such injustice. It isn’t that. It’s being released to love him fully. It’s because the heart loves to feel compassion more than contempt.
I thought he never really suffered… another thing too crazy to admit to those close to me, so that I know I shouldn’t have thought it. After all he suffered, I thought that, and he was suffering far worse than I knew.
When I say that, he again always says the same thing. “I could handle it. I was fine. I didn’t dwell on it or let it haunt me.” But I’m thinking, all along we’ve been attributing his brushes with madness to the Arkan torture or to remorse about the Sack… how much were they actually caused by this? It can’t be easy to have to count down the years like that. Really, you can blame it for anything that happened to him because he overworked or underslept, because it’s why he did those things.
When he was away before, I never missed him that much. Now I find myself wanting to be with him like crazy, and we’re trapped by duty in different countries. Here is more of my madness: even when he was a prisoner in Arko and then a fighting-commander in an underdog war, I thought he’d always be around, as if he were immortal. Now I know he won’t be, he’s become precious to me. I know, I know, I didn’t need Shadow-mama to tell me, he should always have been precious to me.
Crying again. I’m not going to be over this until at least a year after he dies and maybe not even then.