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Fantasticoe 1996

The Golden Ring

Mayumi Suwa 

The sound of splashing in the little mountain lake made Matt nervous. He quickly turned around and silently he held his gun tight. He cautiously went through the bushes, moving slowly toward the sound. Then he pulled aside some lower branches to see what was there. What he saw almost stopped his heartbeat.

     There were beautiful naked women in the water, splashing water on each other. He stared at them in surprise. Why would they be up here? He knew that hardly anyone would come into this mountain since it was far from the village, but it was more than that. He had never seen anyone on this mountain before. Who would have thought to see women playing in the water? He stood still, wondering who they could be and why they were there. Their unearthly beauty made them look almost like angels. Were they?

     As he kept looking at them, he noticed each of the women wore what appeared to be some sort of ring--a golden ring. His eyes kept being drawn back to those rings. He got the idea that there was something special about the rings, but he couldn't explain why. The scene was full of questions, and he still couldn't get his eyes off of the women. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. There was no doubt about it, he was really seeing women in the water.
 

     Matt Barker lived in the small village by himself. He was one of the most handsome men in the village and every girl in town was hoping to be his wife. He had this killer smile and a muscular body. His sharp eyes reminded the girls of a wolf, and they sometimes commented on how much they would like to be EATEN by him. However, he was never present when the people in town got together for some occasion. It almost seemed like he avoided people. When he moved here, he even bought his house far away from the center of the town.

     The reason why he avoided people was because he couldn't talk. He had been mute since he was born. This made him a shy person, and was the reason he didn't want to see the people in town. He just didn't know how to act around them. However, this didn't mean that he didn't want to get married. He knew that it was about time he settled down and started a family, but there was just no way to go to the town and look for a perfect girl. He just wanted a woman who would love him including his sickness of not being able to talk. On the other hand, the women in town never tried to contact him. They had heard that he was a mute, but they didn't even try to see if it was the truth or not. They still admired him, but they never tried to know him better.

     Matt was leading a lonely life. He had nobody to talk to and no one to care about. All he did was hunt once in a while on a mountain behind his house. He hardly ever saw anything special on the mountain until today.

          That night he lay in bed, unable to sleep. Every time he closed his eyes he would see those beautiful women playing in the water. It had been so long since he'd seen anybody that closely. Suddenly, the tears were dribbling out of his eyes. He bit his lip and blinked back the tears, but still they came. He had always known how hard it would be for him to find a lover, or even a friend, when he had no voice. But never had it stung like it did now, and he realized that he wanted somebody to love and be loved, to have and to hold. Living alone had never bothered him before, but suddenly it was the most painful thing he had ever felt. As he thought of the women in the water over and over, it hurt more and more. Why did he have to live like this?

     Finally, cursing the world for not giving him a voice, cursing himself for not trying anyway, he decided. He would go to the town tomorrow and look for a woman to fill the emptiness in his life.

.

     When he woke up next morning, there was music playing all around the town. He got out of his bed and went to the window. It sounded like they were having a parade. He remembered seeing farmers working in the fields the last couple days, so they must have been celebrating the end of planting season. It was a good chance for him to go to the town today with all the people gathered. He put on his favorite shirt, shaved his beard, and was out the door. Even though he was a shy person, the music made him relax. Something good will happen, he thought. He tied his shoelace, and mingled into the crowds.

     When he reached the town square, he saw a group of women. He couldn't see any of their faces from where he was, but they seemed unfamiliar to him. When he was about to walk by them, he accidentally ran into one of the women, and she fell. He offered his hand to help her stand up. When he was helping her up, he noticed that she wore the golden ring on her right hand. The memory of the women in the water quickly came back to him. He looked at her face. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Then of course, he remembered that she had been naked in the water and he blushed.

     The woman said " thank you," politely, and he nodded. He was so shy that he couldn't look her straight in the eye.

" My name is Stephanie. I just moved in with my sisters today. " He looked at her face again. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. She had big brown eyes, beautiful flowing blond hair, and a dazzling smile. Her skin was as white and smooth as silk. Oh, just everything was so perfect about her. He felt a goofy grin spreading across his face.

     While they were looking into each other's eyes, her sisters called out to her. " Stephanie, what are you doing there? Come and help us move in!"

     " Sure, Sis, I'll be right there." Just when she answered, he realized that he was still holding her hands. He quickly let go and stepped back self-consciously.

     " Well, I have to go. You live at the end of the village, right? Well, I hope to see you again, good bye, Matt." She smiled at him and she was gone. He stood there for a while thinking, How did she know where I live? Why does she know my name?

     Still wondering how she knew things he didn't tell her, he started to walk toward his house. Stephanie. He could tell his lips were curving quickly. He hadn't smiled for a long time. With that smile on his face, he danced back to his house.

          He started to go to town a lot more often hoping to meet Stephanie again. He didn't know where she lived; when he first met her he hadn't been paying attention to where he was, and he had completely forgotten everything except her beauty. However, he had felt something concrete in his mind--he knew that she would be the love of his life. That idea was what kept him going to the town. He had been lonely all his life. However, God seemed to notice how he was happy for the first time in his life, and he and Stephanie found each other often in the town. They got to know each other little by little, and gradually became very close. Matt had tried to tell his thoughts by writing and Stephanie tried to understand his thoughts by his gestures, even though she seemed to understand quite well before he told her anything. Finally, almost a year later, he proposed to her, and she accepted.

          However, just the night before he was married, he couldn't sleep. He was scared. It was true he had never been this happy since he was born. His sickness had always closed doors for him, and he had never had the courage to open them. Stephanie was the one who encouraged him to live just like the other people. She had opened those doors for him.

     She was the love of his life. But he was just not sure if she would be as happy as he was. She would have to be with someone who wouldn't talk all his life. Would she be happy? He just couldn't be confident enough. On the other hand, he wanted her to try to live with him. He needed her so much to live his life. Maybe she needed him like he needed her. As the first rays of the sun came through his window, he finally decided to trust her words. He was about to marry her.

     The life after they were married was just full of happiness. He was there for her and she was there for him. She never gave up on him for being mute, and on top of that, she even tried to help him regain his voice. She was doing her best to overcome his sickness by finding a doctor who could help. But although she tried everything, he was still unable to talk. Every night she tried something on him and failed, after he fell asleep she would cry into her pillow. But the next day, she would try again.

     One day, when he was getting ready to go hunting to the mountain, Stephanie came by his side.

     " Matt, listen, you know how much I love you, right?" He looked at her for a second, then rose, put his hands on her arms, and looked deep into her eyes. She bit her lip and blinked back fresh tears as he nodded, conveying more with that gesture than anyone else ever could have said with words. He quickly looked around for a piece of paper. Carefully, he wrote, " I love you more than anything." Then she started to cry. Matt knew this wasn't an ordinary thing, so he was worried. Then she spoke again.

     " Matt, would you please wear this golden ring on your right hand?" Not understanding what she was up to, he wrote down, " why?" As her tears were dropping from her eyes, she whispered, " please." He thought something was wrong, but he took the golden ring from her and put it on his finger. Then, he felt something tickling in his stomach. In the next moment, he had opened his mouth and shouted, " Oh my god, what's happening?" He looked back and forth between Stephanie and the golden ring. Then, laughing with sudden joy, he threw his arms around her. But he realized he didn't feel her in his arms. Shocked, he backed up and looked at her and found that he could see right through her body. His mouth fell open, and he tried to speak.

      " I, I, oh my god, Stephanie, what's going on?"

     And slowly she spoke. " Matt, I am not a human. I came from heaven to heal your sickness and my sisters are doing the same thing. We all had a mission to heal someone. But I fell in love with you. I just couldn't leave you because I love you so much. I kept telling myself that my job was to heal your sickness, but I just couldn't use the golden ring yet because I wanted to be with you a little longer. But it hurts me that you were not able to talk. I wanted you to be happy..."

     " Stephanie, I wanted you even more than a voice!" He tried his best to speak with the unfamiliar voice.

     " Thank you Matt, I loved you with all my heart, and I always will... I will always wish you happiness... Good bye.."

     " Wait, Stephanie, I want YOU!" he screamed at her fading form. He blinked just once, she was gone. He was left standing alone, with only his voice, echoing through the room.

Acknowledgments: Mukashi-Banashi, Harry, Sachi, Joe, Tammy, Computer Screen, Solitaire, Julie, Caffeine, My family.


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Fantasticoe 1996