Love as Fragile as Time
A young woman and a mysterious old god pay each other visits to the forest every now and then, and this time the woman asks the masked god a more personal question…
“What is it like to be a god?” the young lady asked, emerald green doe-like eyes looking up at the masked god before her.
“What is it like to be a god…” the masked god echoed as he tilted his head upward to think. The sun’s rays leaked through the trees overhead, highlighting their long golden hair and their shattered yet intact white porcelain mask covering their distinct facial features.
“Being a god is…lonely.”
“Lonely? That wasn’t the answer I was expecting,” the young lady responded as she took a seat against a tree, and plucked the blades of grass near her feet as she talked, “What about your power? Your strength? What makes you different from everyone else?”
The masked god silently turned to the young lady and took a seat on the ground next to her.
“After you have lived for…a long time, your god-like powers become normal,” the masked god said, “You grow used to your powers until you realize that you are not like the rest, and never can be.”
The young lady hummed in response, “Why would you want to be ‘normal’ anyway? Do you not like being a god?”
“It is not that I dislike being a god, rather, I can not simply stop being a god,” they answered, “I am the god of the skies, I can see everything that the light touches. I have lived for millennia and I have witnessed history unfold in front of my very eyes. I’ve watched civilizations rise and fall, and I have watched and outlived several generations. As a god who sees everything, time passes relatively quickly compared to humans, and I can never seem to slow down.”
The young lady stopped fidgeting with her hands and looked around, “Is that why I keep finding you here? Do you come here to slow down?”
The god tilted his head slightly as they looked at her, “I’m sorry, I don’t seem to follow.”
The young lady stood up and wandered over to a low-hanging branch from the trees standing tall above her.
“This place is always stunning during autumn,” she comments as she plucks a fiery-orange maple leaf from the branch, twirling it in her hand, “though it is a shame that its duration tends to be brief. For me, this time of autumn would last for a few weeks. But for you…” she turned around to look at the masked god sitting before her, “You could blink and you’d miss it.”
The masked god looked up at her and the way the branches filled with warm hues of red, orange, and yellow leaves reached up toward the sky, yearning for the sun’s warm embrace. They gazed longingly at the view in front of them, they gazed at her.
“I understand now,” the masked god rose from their seat on the ground and strolled around the small clearing, “I suppose that this place is of some sentimental value to you as well, am I correct? I come here to rest, and you come here to…” their voice trailed off and waited for the young lady to finish the sentence.
Upon hearing what the masked god said, she tilted her head down slightly and smiled to herself.
“My friends and I would sneak out and hang out at this place a lot, I made a lot of good memories here,” she responded as she walked towards a tree the masked god was standing next to and pointed at the letter engravings on the bark.
She sighed in reminiscence, “Those were some good times, but now we’ve all grown up and we have our own lives and responsibilities…those memories are a thing of the past now…but ever since I ran into you in this very spot a few months ago…” her voice trailed off, “All of a sudden I feel like I’m not alone anymore.”
The masked god gazed at the young woman once again and gently reached for her hand still holding the maple leaf.
“When you think about it, memories are similar to leaves,” the god started, slowly tracing the lines of the leaf’s veins onto her soft and dainty hands with his finger.
“Leaves grow, change color over time, and eventually fall off the tree and wither away. Memories work similarly, memories are formed, and over time, memories start to change, and become warped compared to the events that happened that day, and eventually, so much time passes, we can’t help but let them fade away…”
The young woman looked up at him with those same verdant green eyes, this time with a hint of curiosity.
“But when the time comes, those leaves grow back once again…so does the time to create new memories,” the masked god continued, gently taking hold of her other hand, clasping onto her two hands tight with sincerity, “I would love for you to be in these new memories with me.”
The young lady’s eyes widened as a subtle smile crept onto her face, though it quickly faltered, “But, eventually the leaves will wither…”
“Then we shall make the most of our time, make every minute of our time together count.”
The young lady remained silent as she let go of the hands of the masked god and inched closer to the masked god. She traced her hands around the edge of the god’s worn mask.
“If we are to make every minute count,” she spoke, “Then could we start with…” her words trailed off as she gripped the edges of the cracked mask, and she slid it downwards ever so slightly. Her actions were returned with the masked god guiding her hands, his hands held her softly by the wrist, encouraging her to pull the mask off completely.
The mask revealed a fine yet scarred face, physical reminders of past battles they must carry with them for the rest of their life, a few of those scars strike right through a matching pair of piercing green eyes meeting those of the young lady. She allowed the cracked mask to drop to the ground as she brought her comparatively small hand to the god’s face, gently caressing their cheek with her hand, tracing the old scars with her thumb.
“Why do you hide something so…so beautiful…” the young woman breathed as her gaze remained fixated on the once-hidden beauty in front of her.
“They are…leaves that have long since withered away, I choose to leave what is in the past in the past,” the god explained briefly, allowing their hand to trace the back of the young woman’s hand.
“What matters is the present, and the marvel currently standing before me,” the god clutched her hand in theirs and planted a gentle and tender kiss on the knuckles of her hand.
“Sophia,” the god muttered, with more sincerity in his voice he realized “I promise to cherish these memories together for as long as I remain in this world.”
This piece is part of a planned trilogy where each story is focused on a different god and how they deal with emotions and relationships – romantic, familial, and platonic – this one is the more romance-focused story. Writing this story was a very interesting process because as someone with little to no romantic experience, it was hard to write a story where the main focus is romance but I managed to work around it.
This idea of an immortal god falling in love with a human (and the character of the masked god to begin with) originally stemmed from an old wip that I discontinued because there was simply too much for me to write. Still, I was slowly getting back into rereading fantasy, and the book I was reading along with the music I was listening to while I was writing helped me to get the idea to rewrite a portion of my old wip and hopefully build upon this story in the future.
Andrea Judan is a 15-year-old who found their passion in life through creativity. They immerse themselves in various media of art daily whether it be listening to music, drawing, or most significantly, writing. She identifies as aroace (aromatic asexual) and agender, and has found writing to be an outlet to share her thoughts and experiences she was going through. They hope that through their writing, not only can she share her bright and creative imagination with others, she hopes that readers can resonate and find themselves in their writing.