DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Nothing more than a drabbic, from Natalia's POV right after the wedding that almost was. Unbeta'd, so all mistakes mine.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Speaking in Tongues
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13
She tried to pray, as she watched Olivia, head down against the cold and the pain, trudge across what seemed a vast white expanse, tried to form the right syllables, tried to push the right sounds from her lips, but nothing came. She searched her mind for the words, vibrant and passionate and real, to make God listen, but all she found were the dry, desiccated remains of prayers she had long ago abandoned: prayers for security, prayers for wisdom, prayers for Gus. Even a few for herself.
But none of them measured up, none of them showed her how to ask God to stop this woman, this woman, she loved from walking out of her life. Those words felt so foreign in her mouth they might just as well have been some ancient, forgotten Hebrew dialect. And yet, like a Pentecostal speaking in tongues, she found she did know the words, found that the language fell from her lips in a sudden rush of sound, spilling forth into the cold air in a cloud of expelled breath.
She had stood in the church just a few hours ago and quoted to Frank from the Book of Ruth. He hadn't understood, but then she knew he wouldn't, couldn't. He hadn't been the one she had been thinking about, hadn't been the one for whom those words of devotion, of unconditional love, had been intended. His face had offered her that blank stare, that bland smile she had come to expect.
She had known that, had she said the words to Olivia, she would have found understanding and warmth and love in those green eyes. " your people shall be my people, your God, my God. Where you live, there also will I dwell ." That was what Olivia had offered her. A people, a place, a home.
All without condition. Without question. Olivia had confessed her love for her, offered it up as sacrifice, wanting only Natalia's happiness. Urged her to marry Frank, stood at her side as she prepared to take those sacred vows, the ones she hadn't been able to take. On the scale of sins, that lie, that hypocrisy had to eclipse what her church told her was an unnatural love.
As if loving Olivia could ever be anything but the most natural thing in the world. Like breathing. As if God would have granted her such an astonishing gift only to have mere mortals tell her it was wrong.
Now, all she had to do was find a way to convince Olivia that the words that had fallen from her lips to lie newly born, struggling for breath on the snow covered ground between them were real and true.
"I don't love him. I love you."
Now, all she had to do was find a way to convince Olivia that, unlike the ancient dialect that flowed from the tongues of the believers, she understood what it meant to speak those words, to pledge her love. Pledge her heart.
"I love you, Olivia."
Now all she had to do was find some way to convince Olivia to forget all the harsh lessons of her past, to forget all the times she came in second, all the times she lost, all the people who promised to love her and then left. All the empty words.
"What happens to us?...There is no us."
Now all she had to do was find a way to convince Olivia that of all the truths she knew in this world, this one alone would abide.
This time, Natalia had no trouble praying, the words spinning through the frigid air to tangle with the flakes now tumbling in earnest to the ground. Not prayers for salvation, not prayers to help her make sense of her feelings. Not even prayers to know God's will for her.
She knew His will for her now. She had seen it in Olivia's eyes as she stood at Gus' grave and professed her love. She had seen it in Olivia's face as she stood beside her in church and watched her pledge her life to someone else. She had heard it in Olivia's voice as she walked away, trying one last time to let her go.
It was simply to love Olivia and be loved by her.
This prayer was the simplest one she had ever spoken. A prayer not of pleading, but of gratitude. A prayer of love.
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