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A Testimony to the Wingless Ones

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Oh, how beautiful she is! Her Effy. Like an embrace of the warm summer breeze as it passes over the meadows. Like a kiss of the spring sun that pours down into the forest glades, filling them up until they are all but bursting from light. Kneeling next to her, the Sylph would like it so, to embrace and to kiss her most beautiful Effy as she has fallen asleep there in the heavy armchair near the fireplace, but they are not alone – the living room also residency of a few of the farmhands. Sleeping, as well. In their seats, like farmhands are prone to. Heavyset men, used to labour. She tiptoes closer to them, to watch them in their sleep, to sense how easily awoken they are. None of them stirs at her presence, none of them senses it – the gust of wind that always accompanies her, making her garments flutter at every movement. She laughs in relief and hurries back to Effy’s side that she suddenly cannot understand why she ever abandoned. Such beauty and she left it behind? Oh no, but it was only for a brief moment. Now, knowing its twin path which is to be Effy’s wholly and fully, she could never choose that other route. No, now that she has laid eyes on Effy, fallen in love with Effy… her most beautiful Effy… There is simply no going back! Through the pastures, along the river to the forest. Back to the other sylphs. The Sylph must stay here, instead – and certainly wishes to, wishes to! Must stay here by Effy’s side, to watch her sleep just a moment longer, her beauty so alluring. So tempting that the Sylph gives in, finally. Oh, to feel the warmth of that glowing, pale skin against her lips. Yes, just for a spell... Thus, she leans in. Quick and light as a playful autumn draft, pressing her lips to Effy’s forehead. Lightly, lightly. Stealing a kiss, the kiss she has been waiting for forever. Since she was first conceived – in the assimilation of a dewdrop with the air that breaks its fall against the ground, before she even knew of Effy’s very existence, she has been waiting for this kiss! This love!

At the touch, Effy startles. Awakens. She is standing up just as quickly as the Sylph retreats, the two of them facing each other suddenly, but at a distance – if not for the first time, then for the first time consciously. Surely the Sylph has traced Effy’s every step for such a long time, seen her grow from girl to woman in her everyday doings, in the house and in the fields, but this…This is the first time they are looking each other in the eye, isn’t it? For always, always, the Sylph has stayed invisible and unseen. However much she has wanted, desired, longed to be seen. Her presence to be acknowledged merely once by beautiful Effy. She could not. It is too dangerous, the other sylphs had warned. Humans do not understand our nature, they do not understand that the air cannot be captured. She will be the same as all the rest. She will want to possess…

Oh, but to be possessed by Effy – the Sylph thinks it cannot possibly be as bad as her sisters claim. They do not know the nature of her beloved Effy, they do not know how beautiful and gentle and loving she is. But the Sylph knows. Then, why is she still fearful?

Effy moves forward, causing the Sylph to quickly move back. Their steps matching in time, like a little choreography. They’re dancing! Just like the Sylph has dreamed of them doing ever since that summer’s day when she first saw this adolescent girl in the meadows, pulling along with her a brindled cow while she hummed the gayest of melodies under her breath. It had been such a pretty picture, everything about it making the Sylph’s very soul sing. Along, along. She had followed along for miles, listening to Effy’s sweet voice and watching as her feet would at times skip a beat. With not a foot touching the ground, she had flown – the only thing separating her from the Sylph’s sisters the lack of wings on her back. Oh, it had been such perfection, the sounds, the sensations and the colours – the Sylph simply could not help herself. She fell in love. Right at that very moment!

“Who are you?” Effy’s voice is still as sweet, though with time it has taken on an edge of earthliness. She is a woman now. She is getting married -- Oh, but no! No, the Sylph will not think of that. It is too horrible a thought, too cruel a fate for her otherwise so enduring romance. Enduring distance and ignorance. Enduring grief and pining. This love that is only unrequited, the Sylph is sure, because Effy has not had the chance to feel the lure of her being and fall in love with her, right back. Right back. Yet, she doesn’t answer – simply moves forward, one step at a time, watching with glee as Effy is now the one to follow. Entranced. Their eyes never averted, they reach the armchair before Effy does what the Sylph had truly expected her to do much sooner. She reaches out, as if to grasp for her – for the hems of her floating skirts or her hand as white as the petals of a lily… With a playful laugh, the Sylph averts the touch, although she would much rather be touched than flee that which she desires the most. Still, she runs towards the fireplace. Casting a glance at Effy over one shoulder. So heartbroken she looks, her beloved Effy. She never meant to cause her harm and hurt, but it is her last chance, today. If Effy is to belong to her and she to Effy… She must let her charms be known. She must let herself be seen. All warnings and dangers aside.

“I retreat now, but know – you will see me again,” the Sylph says. Not as a response to Effy’s question that has no answer, for she isn’t human and has no name that is her own, but as a promise. A promise as potent as the promise that Effy’s fiancée has made. Just as binding. Before the day is over. Before Effy is a married woman, she will see the Sylph again and she will come with her, to the forest. They will run together along the river, walk through Anna’s fields in a way so as not to disturb the crops and the cattle – until they arrive at their destination. Where Effy will be at home and never wish to leave. Never wish to leave the Sylph’s side again. It is as beautiful an image in her mind as the image she carries with her, of Effy singing in the meadows and it is with those same emotions in her heart that she flies up the chimney. Yes, once more leaving her beloved, her most beautiful Effy behind, but only momentarily. Only until they see each other next and from now on, the Sylph will let herself be unseen no longer.