Footprints

Lord you said that once I decided to follow You,

We would walk side by side through life;

But when I needed You the most, 

I saw only one set of footprints in the sand.

The Lord replied: ”I love You and I would never leave You”.

During your times of trial and suffering,

When you see only one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried You.”

/Origin debated

Trigger warning – cult abuse, talk of sacrificing a person

Guinevere, 4-5 years old:

The snow lies pristine and undisturbed as he carries me through the forest. Above us the sky is blackening; shadows cast by the trees grow longer and darker. Eric (or more probably Lancelot, the alter aware of the cult) is careful not to leave footprints behind. He steps only on stones, roots and ice. In the beginning, we ran. But now it is important to not show where we’re going. Somewhere way into the woods is a hut made of fir branches. I don’t have any winter jacket on. We had to leave in a hurry, and we’re being followed, but I don’t remember what happened before we left. 

It is cold in the hut and we share Eric’s winter jacket. He is upset because he didn’t get any matches with him – now we won’t be able to light a fire. It is Eric’s mother who find us. She sits down in a squat in front of us and speak to Eric. This time, her voice is kind and compassionate.

”You cannot save her”, she says. ”I know it hurts – it is the hardest thing of all – but if that is what her father wants, you’ll have to let go of her”.

”But why!” Eric exclaims. ”Why does he want to sacrifice his own daughter! There is nothing wrong with her. Nothing!”

”Some people do anything for money”, Eric’s mother replies. ”Eric, he never meant for her to live. She was born to make him money. That is why he never married her mother.”

”But why doesn’t he just ’borrow’ her to people. Everyone else is being ’borrowed’ all the time – that would bring him a lot of money too.”.

”A sacrifice is a lot of money all at once. It would take years for him to get the same money by ’borrowing’ her to others.”

”Bianca’s mother would never let this happen. If her daughter disappears, she goes to the police.” Eric states with confidence. 

”Many children disappear each year and many are never found. Even though the police search for them.” Eric’s mother says. ”If it was up to me,” she continues, ”we would train her as a part of our family. But it is not our decision.” 

”There must be a way to stop it”, Eric insists.

His mother is silent, thinking.

”You do not own her. If you are not her owner, there is no way for you to protect her”, she says. 

”Then I will own her”.

”You can not do that unless you marry her, and you cannot marry her before she is eighteen.”

”..and it is now she needs protection”, he fills in.

Eric’s mother takes a deep breath: ”Sooner or later, you will have to let her go.”

Eric looks down at me, where I sit in his lap. I know they are talking about me. I understand my father is evil, that he wants something bad to happen to me. I don’t understand why Eric and his mother look so worried. If someone tries to sacrifice me – whatever that means – then I’ll bite and kick and punch my way out of it. I am very good at that; especially biting. I tell them so. But Eric’s mother looks tearful now. Eric too. Then he shakes his head and says:

”I am never letting her go”. 

I’ve been seeking the origin of all the great feelings I have for you, and this is what I found:

It was your words, keeping threats against me at bay.

It was your arms, carrying me away from danger.

It was your body, shielding mine from kicks and punches.

It was your life, that you risked standing up for me. 

Missing you is more than heartbreak. 

It’s an existential sorrow.

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