This is out of context unless the blog has been read in a chronological order.
Giselle, 4 1/2 years old:
”Bianca, say hello to James.”
I wave my right hand.
”What’s wrong with her?” The boy wearing the name James asks. Timothy ushers me forward.
”She has a Silent Self. That’s the next step for you – a third Self.”
”I don’t want another one inside me. Two is just fine”, James mutters.
”It’s not up to you to decide. It’s your father’s decision”, Timothy replies, somewhat irritated. I back away from James. Guinevere has already been in a fight with him and he can throw a mean punch.
”No no no, you two are about to get to know each other better”, Timothy exclaims. He wants us to hug and kiss each other. I lean towards James’s ear and call on Guinevere to speak for me. She whispers to him we should fight Timothy together. Or run from him.
”Let’s run”, James responds under his breath. I have a new ally.
We gave Timothy such a merry chase he forbade us to play together – for the rest of the day. Instead I’m being introduced to a girl called Flora. She’s one year older than me and Timothy made me swear never to speak to her of my Selves. Flora’s father is a friend of The Society, but not a member. He’s hoping Flora will manifest magical abilities, but so far she seems to be only one person. I mustn’t say anything that could help him make more Floras. Secrets like that are only for members.
”Now you’re a big sister Princess, and this is the little sister Princess!” Timothy announces with a cheery voice. Flora is cheesed off.
”You said I was your only Princess, your only Princess in the world! You said I was the only…I don’t want another Princess! I’m the only Princess! I don’t want her to have my things!” She is wearing a Princess dress and a plastic crown. Timothy is watching me closely so I can’t ask Guinevere to talk. I wish I could tell Flora I don’t want her belongings, because the rest of the day she follows me around, pinching and pushing me so I fall over.
”You and James are magical, but there’s one more”, Timothy informs me. ”The boy over there – Richard. You can’t play with him today, he’s being punished. His father is a member, this means Richard will know you’ve got more than one Self…” Timothy sighs. ”They’re equally difficult, Richard and his father!”
I see a little boy flying back and forth on the swings, fury in his movement, black hair blown in all directions. Timothy gestures to the other side of the playground.
”We have some member families in the other sections. You were lucky to be placed at The Butterflies. They all wanted their children to go there, but you stole the empty spot. Your relatives’ got some connections.”
James, Richard and I succeed running off to the woods a couple of times that first autumn. I’m happy when we’re the three of us – James is kinder when Richard is here. Once we brought Flora along, but she snitched to Timothy. Since then we hide from her like we hide from him. Tall and silent trees surround us as we traipse through a forest floor of moss, empty berry bushes and colorful leaves. Sometimes I wish trees could talk. I’m sure they’d scream at the adults for all the bad things they do. I draw a deep breath of air. Out here I feel free, the invisible chains constricting my chest inside the daycare centre’s fence have no hold on me. The boys and I try to construct a hut of dry branches, so we’ll have some shelter next time we sneak away. It’s hunger that beckons us back to the preschool. I’ve no idea this is the third time we escaped, but Richard’s father has been keeping count:
”Three times is the limit!” He snarls.
”We were only going for a walk…” I start.
”Don’t play stupid, Bianca! Tell the truth! I’m an adult, I’m smarter than you and I know when you’re trying to fool me!” Richard’s father being a pediatrician, I guess he really was intelligent. I decide to speak honestly.
”I was angry. I wanted to get out of here.”
”But you know you’re not allowed!”
”You and Timothy and Barbie are doing things not allowed. You could go to prison. Why should I care what is and isn’t allowed when you don’t care?”
”That’s it, you’re not playing any more with my son! Ever!” Richard looks close to tears and I feel as if I’m dying. He has come to be my best friend among the children here. James is one year older than us and his temper scares me. But when James leaves kindergarten one year later, to start school, he cries and says I’m the best friend he’s ever had. It makes me so sad – all the times I ran from him because his rages frightened me and still he considered me his closest friend. I wish I could have protected him from the abuse he suffered.
James, Richard and I know we’re not allowed to tell Normal children about our Selves, the Society or the ’training’ we’re going through. If Richard or James want to talk with me of those things, they must first make certain it’s not Bianca they’re speaking with. Timothy says we should only talk to him or maybe Barbie. Our tormentors are the only confidantes we’re allowed to have. Richard and I continue being friends in secret, James joins us now and then and Flora is still mean to me. A secret friendship is better than none but the truth is I was very lonely. Barbie and Timothy were always watching, separating me from Richard if they saw us playing.
Giselle, almost six years old:
It’s the first day of spring term, sun shining through frost covered windows. Timothy is walking me to the office.
”Today you’ll meet someone special. A magician of your own mettle…” Outside the room I see two smiling grown ups. In the doorway stands a silent boy with a reserved expression on his face. ”It’s my opinion children like you should be kept as far away from one another as possible”, Timothy mumbles while the family is still out of earshot.
The adults are the boy’s parents and they ask if I will play with their son. I nod. I can’t believe there are people who think I’d be a worthy friend to their child. I’ve gotten used to Society members forbidding me to go anywhere near their kids. I feel so moved, my eyes tear up.
He sighs when the boys’ parents insist Guinevere attend the meeting.
”I want to know why she’s crying”, the woman says.
”And I want to know if she’ll be friends with my son”, the man adds.
”You don’t know who you’re inviting, I banished Guinevere…” Timothy is upset, but the parents laugh at his reluctance.
Giselle and Guinevere as one:
I tell the family I cry because I’m happy to have a new friend. Timothy drawls on about how difficult I am, running away, setting fire to things (that was James, but it’s a secret and I’m no tattletale), hiding, acting rude and obnoxious, inspiring others to rebel…The parents look amused and the boy’s eyes has come alive.
”Elijah needs somebody like him”, his mother asserts. ”If they’re friends and learn each other’s signals, the switching will occur by itself. It won’t be your responsibility anymore – they’ll trigger each other naturally.”
”She needs me to control her…” Timothy tries to put a hand on my shoulder and I sidestep it with a twirl.
”This is how magicians are trained, traditionally”, the boy’s father reminds in a grave voice. ”Same age friendships with someone of equal talent. She’s got three Selves or more. He’s got three Selves or more. They’re a worthy match.” He says three Selves or more because Bianca, Guinevere and Giselle are the official Selves he’s been informed of. By adding ”or more”, he’s acknowledging the possibility of Secret Selves, which would add a whole other layer of complexity. I look at Elijah. Can it be true, I won’t have to play by myself any more?