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That evening the queen asked the girl to stay the night in the palace. She went, not thinking or considering what this invitation could mean. When she entered she could feel that evening was different than all other evenings.

She was honored to stay specifically at the lady’s request, specifically at the king’s request. She was in awe of the magnitude of this invitation as she walked through those large wooden doors. It was five years ago when she stayed last. She knew so little then. She felt young and scared. The girl was not so scared now. This time the girl had been asked to stay. That request touched her heart.

The girl knew the king better too. It was rare the king should open these inner doors. He invited several to stay to share this audience in the middle of the night. The setting is intimate, private and sacred.

These days the girl saw her king everyday, during the day. To stay longer in the palace in his presence was altogether different. It would be surrounded by the darkness outside and the shining stars, the deep quiet around them and the whispers between them as they talked, candles flickering at his sides.

She could remember.

Because of her memories she dared to return.

What beautiful moments they had! When she saw him the next day, she could see a difference. He was always a king, always noble, always glorious. But during their audience in the night, he was vulnerable, because his love was very simple, very calm, and very strong. He asked little of her in that time. It was her time to come to him with special needs or just to be near him. He welcomed her. She was tired. Her mind wandered over and over again. The hour felt long though it passed by quickly.

If the girl married him the audience would be every night because he would have taken her to live with him. But she she did not go that night thinking of marriage. She was more patient than before. No, she went, honored by the invitation. She went to learn and love.

He listened attentively as she spoke. He spoke intentionally, his words intense and great. The girl rattled off her thoughts, got distacted. He caught her attention, smiled and said hello, called her back to him. He did this several times. Each time she stopped dead in her thoughts and responded, “hi. You’re wonderful” or he would say the same words to her, “you’re wonderful.” That was the time they began to use the word wonderful for each other. The two delighted in their company.

Whatever it had been or for whatever reason this was her invitation. Perhaps the girl could have made more of it. She nearly jumped at the end of the hour, ready to go, ready for sleep. In the morning, the girl felt her place. Still tired, her mind wandered while he spoke. She was a terrible listener.

Oh love! His love and her desire for it would never be satiated. It was a love she knew she could never have enough of. Her heart knew it as well and it breathed, swollen and filled with that living water of his love. Yes, she loved. No matter what, she would follow him in this love.