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when I curtsy, bid me farewell

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Celia follows Rosalind every time.

Once it is the early seventeenth century and her skirts are heavy on Touchstone’s back. When she says “I cannot go no further” it is due to nothing but her outfit and her thirst and the sun beating down upon her back. Rosalind—or Ganymede, brave Ganymede, just as she is now Aliena—says “Well! This is the forest of Arden,” and surveys their new domain.

This, too, will happen every time.

The Forest is bright with sunlight, turning the leaves neon green. The birds chirp. There are sheep and an old shepherd, a place to make a home, and eventually, Oliver and Orlando. Always, eventually, Oliver and Orlando.

Another time it is the 1920s and they are escaping her politicking father in wealthy New York, trading gas-lit streets for the woods that creep and curl up the Hudson. Celia’s hair is bobbed around her ears in the newest style, a decorative hairpiece pinned askew in their haste. It is easier, then, for dear Rosalind to disguise herself as Ganymede; easier for Celia to raise her hemline and hike through the woods in her sturdiest pair of shoes. What’s a little discomfort, after all, when you’re going on an adventure?

It is always: “I like this place, and willingly could waste my time in it”, and each time Celia does, whether the Forest is truly a forest or a desert with strange cacti in the wild old West, the cobblestone streets in the oldest part of the a city or an asteroid field. Each time the Forest beckons adventure, sure as Rosalind does in the curve of her smile and the light in her eye.

Sometimes she wonders what would happen if they kept going into the Forest, what it might throw at them. She thinks Rosalind would be able to handle it, with her knife at her belt and Celia murmuring encouragement behind her. She would go, of course. The fool might protest, with her weight on his back, but he could stay where it pleases him. Celia thinks she would get to the ground and go.

It never was the fashion to give the lady the epilogue, but Rosalind said it anyways, and what she says is up to her. It hasn't happened yet, but Celia knows escape, and Celia knows Rosalind, and one day it might.