The Oyster and the Pearl

Soft and precious in herself, she nestled in her house. There was one room. Very small, but cozy. So small, she could feel the walls all around press against her. They were comforting where they rested against her back. They were comforting beneath her. Better than any blankets. Smoother than the smoothest silk imaginable.

The house was in a special place, a place without air. She was a special thing. She did not need air. She had never felt air. What she had was better. It was thicker and heavier than our poor element. She nestled in her place of deep darkness, impossible pressure, and safety.

Soft and precious in herself, until one day she felt a new discomfort. It started as an itch. A small itch unlike anything she had ever known before because she had only known comfort. She had no nails to scratch it. She had no teeth to bite at it. So she tried to lick the spot. And this did bring her some relief. Licking and cleaning at the spot, she tried to settle back into her endless napping.

The relief, however, was temporary. The itch transformed into a new pressure. Not like the comforting pressure outside her house that pushed the silk smooth walls over her like a blanket. This pressure was in the room with her. It pushed against her. A growing new bruise.

The bruising thing was in the house with her. She could not go outside. She had never been outside. All she knew was her house. And herself, soft and precious to herself. But the self could find no comfort. She tried licking, and there was no relief. The pressure was insistent dull pain. She pushed against the walls of her house. They did not yield. Smooth, yes, but hard. Her house felt like a cage with this new thing in it.

The days passed, and she struggled with the newest and cruelest result of the bruising thing. She was awake. No more endless napping. Awake. Dreamless. She knew, for the first time, the incremental passage of time. And the knowledge was torture.

Then another change came. A great upheaval. Without windows, she could not say what was happening. The house seemed to be turning, spinning, and rising. The old element and the old darkness was falling away. Someone began pulling her walls apart. Even though she might find relief from the bruising thing, she was afraid. She clung to the walls. She tried to hold them together. But the house was opening. Air choked her. The touch of it burned her.

The pressure was gone as the walls spread apart. She yearned to know her old feeling again, to be soft and precious and complete in herself, as it had been before the worthless bruising thing had entered her world, before this terrible upheaval.

But the old pleasure of being precious in herself was gone, gone forever. What she felt was a new and priceless treasure. There was burning from all sides. It was the touch of Baptism, a great bright washing in a new element. There was blinding light all around. It was rapture. It was new knowledge beyond understanding. Before her death, she felt the bruising thing taken away by a greedy hand, and she flew into the light.

(C) 2017 Ted Kelsey

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