While you may see "an older single," I see
walks the long, high-ceilinged corridor. She looks to the right and to the
left; her pace is steady even when she retraces her steps. Her gaze is
determined, even when her eyebrows rise in intrigue or when she gasps in
delight or fright at the scenes she encounters. She’s been walking for a while,
but she shows no signs of faltering or even of weariness. She passes through
many corridors, enters into different rooms, ascends and descends staircases,
turns and then turns again. She hears the faint voices and laughter of those
already seated and enjoying their bountiful repast, royally prepared and
served. They didn’t find the way there themselves. A servant had accompanied
them there upon their arrival here, the king’s palace.
the king’s palace. From the age of eighteen, they begin lining up to enter.
Many dream of this day for years beforehand and prepare extensively; for
others, it seems this day took them completely by surprise. Either way, there’s
no way to know who will be led straight to a room and who will be taken on a
walk before being allowed to settle at last. Some push and whine in desperate
attempts to be guided first, but the servants seem to have their own method of
deciding, as they calmly select and direct, not paying attention to behavior or
had also wanted to be first, long ago. Among other reasons and feelings, it had
beckoned as the most secure of options. She hadn’t even entertained the thought
that she wouldn’t be seated immediately, or at least very quickly upon arrival.
She had heard of those “walkers,” but they were an odd part of society—inside
the palace but not yet positioned—and she didn’t know how to place them, so she
sort of dismissed them from her reality. Now she herself is a walker, and she
can’t understand how she had never recognized this absolutely beautiful
existence. Nobody understands why she says it’s a beautiful existence, and even
her fellow walkers dismiss her, often with anger.
beautiful because she knows the king is overseeing her steps. While he had
commanded his servants to escort the others quickly to their destinations, for
some reason he wanted her walking. And that excites her. Sure, it’s draining,
lonely and at times frightening because hey, she doesn’t SEE the king—but she
knows he’s aware of every step of her journey. How is she so sure? Because it’s
the king’s palace! Nobody wanders aimlessly in the palace of the king! The king
controls who enters and who exits and everything that happens in between.
Everyone has a purpose and a destination. If the king is watching her walk and
he doesn’t intervene, that means he wants it that way. From time to time, a
servant will appear and hand her some royal provisions or offer a kind word.
She thanks him and the king in the same breath. After all, the servant is but
the arm of the king.
does he want her to walk? She does not know. At first it had made her sad and
confused. Does she not deserve to sit? But that couldn’t be it; everyone knows
that sitting has nothing to do with worthiness. Was she possibly so unimportant
that she had been forgotten about? No, in the eyes of the king, the differences
in status were minor, even non-existent. Was she simply not destined to ever
sit? That’s silly, of course she will sit, but for some reason, she was chosen
to be seated later. She does not know the reason, but she does know that the
king chose this. This realization spreads a warm blanket of comfort over her,
and the gentle yet secure embrace gets stronger every time she revisits that
conclusion. But she generally doesn’t have much time for those thoughts. She’s
occupied, rather, with walking.
and what glorious discoveries she encounters as she walks! Every sense of hers
is repeatedly thrilled and gratified with the exotic and luscious sights, sounds,
smells and feels. Over the hum of those reclining in contentment, she marvels
at her luck. Soon, she too will be seated. But now she is absorbed in the
antiquities and opulence of the palace of the king. She sees paintings, crowns,
furs, swords, coins, birds, chains and jewels. She strolls through the garden,
reads through the library and converses with the royal staff. She begins to get
a glimpse of the inner life of the king. History fuses with the future to
deliver a most tantalizing present to her, as per the king's indirect yet
explicit command. Each encounter changes her just a bit inside, where it really
counts. She gets a little wiser in the rooms, just a tad more humble in the
corridors, and a smidgen more confident as she climbs. Her emotions
get straightened out as she turns corners, and when she falls down the steps, she is pleased to see the effect
that the palace has had on her. She now gracefully rises, suddenly so similar
to a princess, and seeks out a solution so that no one—she as well as
others—shall fall again. She calls out her gratitude to the king, unsure of his
location but certain he is within earshot. She is well aware that it is solely
her extended time in his palace that has enabled her to so seamlessly transform
failure to far-reaching success.
face radiates with understanding. This wasn't chance; this had been the plan of
the king from the start. Not wanting her to be satisfied with merely sitting,
he mindfully had her walk the palace in hopes that she would contemplate and
absorb her surroundings until she discovered the soul behind it all. And thus
empowered, she would reveal that soul by transforming darkness into light and
bitterness into sweetness.
still doesn't know why she was chosen to walk the palace while others were left
to sit, without this privilege. She bursts with gratitude and her walk spills
over with love, leaving droplets of joy in her trail. She smiles at the distant
sounds of gladness. She is happy they have found peace in the palace of the
king. She, too, has found peace in the palace of the king—for she has found the
Dedicated to M.U.M. and C.S., for turning on the
palace lights for me .