The alarm clock sounds. My eyes fly open and I search for the button to turn it off before it wakes the children sleeping down the hall.
“How do I forget where the stupid thing is every single morning?” The words escape through clenched teeth. I find the button and push it as hard as I can. “Please! Shut up!” I whisper to the intrusive time piece. Silence. I lie still for a few moments straining my ears. The children are still asleep. I hear only the water trickling in the stream beneath my open window. I slip out of my room and sneak down the hallway into the bathroom.
I open the window to a pale blue morning and start the bath water, watching as it fills the tub. When it is ready, I step in and slide down so that the water covers my ears. I can only hear the sounds of my heartbeat and air as it rushes into and out of my lungs. I close my eyes and enjoy the simple magic of life. I smile as the words drift through my mind.
I open my eyes to look at the brightening morning sky through the unscreened window. A spider is weaving her web in the corner just below the casing. I watch her as steam from my bath pours across her handiwork leaving fragmented drops of dew on her silken threads. The words float across my brain, tickling my consciousness.
“You’re here,” I say.
I am. The friendly, comforting words dance into my thoughts.
I turn in time to see a soft white mist gather to form the shape of a woman. She sits on the side of the bathtub trailing her fingers through my bath water. I slowly become more aware of everything. I feel the coolness of the tile where I have propped my feet. I notice the chill air from the open window tingling across my exposed skin and the steam billowing around the lights above the mirror.
“How can you do that?”
“Make me…notice things more.”
You feel for both of us. I’m a Muse. I can’t feel it, but I can experience it through you.
“That’s so sad.”
No. It’s just the way of things. I can do things that you can’t too.
Like this. How many humans do you know that communicate directly to your mind?
“Good point,” I say.
I can feel all of your emotions. I can know you more deeply than any other entity because I am your Muse and I love being your Muse. I take all of your hopes, fears, and desires and distil them down into words, fragments of sentences that bring you back to yourself…and you’ve been ignoring me. The voice in my head changes to one of slight chastisement.
“I’ve been busy! I have children. I’m working…” my voice rises in self-defense.
I know all that. I’m watching you every day. But it’s becoming more difficult to reach you. I’m worried that if you don’t start writing, and practice hearing me, there will come a time when I won’t be able to reach you at all.
I feel her sadness at the thought of being silenced, coupled with my own terror at the thought of losing my Muse.
“I can’t lose you! You’ve been with me my whole life! You’ve comforted me on my darkest days. You’ve shown me the beauty in my life I appreciate what I have because you’ve let me see it more clearly! I need you!” Tears begin to flow down my cheeks as I think about what life would be like without her.
Her hand leaves the water and touches my cheek. I don’t feel her hand, but the warmth of her touch. Don’t worry. It’s not too late. I’m still here. The answer is simple, very simple. Leave time for me every day. Focus on the feelings and messages I send to you. I won’t give you too much, just enough…so that we don’t lose what we have.
I wipe my tears with my wet hand. I look into her eyes and feel calm. I start to breathe again, noticing only then that I had stopped. I resolve within myself to listen, and to write daily.
She can feel my intention. Good. You know you were beginning to worry me. I’ve tried to share some lovely stories with you, but you are always preoccupied with other things.
“I know…and I’m sorry. I knew something was missing. I just haven’t felt like myself,” my voice catches. Tears are threatening to come again.
I know that we Muses can be demanding, but I’m trying not to be. You’ve promised to listen and I believe you. She straightens up and shines as the sun begins to creep though the window. And I…I will promise to help you in your everyday life. She gestures toward the door just before I hear a tiny knock.
“Mom?” A small, sleepy voice comes through the door.
I look at my Muse and she smiles. Let her come in…she needs you.
“Come in, hun. Is something wrong?”
My seven year old daughter walks into the room, tears in her eyes. I look at my Muse and see my daughters feelings reflected in her face.
Unaware of our visitor the child sits on the edge of the tub next to her. “Mom, the tooth fairy took my tooth and didn’t leave anything.”
Instantly, the events of the night before come back to memory. I took the tooth intending to return with a treat and a new toothbrush, but my plans got interrupted and I had forgotten. I sigh and struggle to think of something to say. The words
Tell her a brownie took the tooth.
“A brownie must have taken your tooth. They’re mischievous little creatures. They like to interfere with the work of fairies. It’s an ancient, but somewhat friendly war…” The words flow from me, telling my child how the fairies will get her tooth back, how they will bring her something once the battle is over and how the fairies will celebrate when it’s all over.
I begin to realize just how beneficial it is to have a Muse help me in everyday life and how easy it is to listen to someone who wants to tell beautiful stories.