A Girl and Her King: A Life Alone

The story of A Girl and Her King, joins the young protagonist as she grows in her commitment towards her good king. She is young and he is old. He teaches, her watches over her, protects her. He has taken her to the battlefield, the arena, and now asks her to find her place inside the calm environment of her old home, where challenges abound to test her dedication to him in even in the smallest matters. She does not yet know what form their love will take, if he will one day bring her to live with him in the palace, or request she stay in that quiet home forever. But willing to wait, she receives the lessons he has in store for her.

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‘Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene at the Empty Tomb’, artist unknown

The king asked Philothea to consider for a moment life without him, life turned away from the king and the kingdom, her crown removed, her dress changed, her ring taken, all freedom gone; to give herself to beasts and the wilderness, to be kept from her king in darkness, in loneliness, away from love and gentleness; to be beaten for enjoyment, to be raped, hated, to cry, no veil, no paths without stones, no shoes for her blistering feet, no joy, no peace, and her beloved turned away.

“Why did I look at that?” she asked. The image was harsh and dark and it was painful to turn her heart to it to look at it. Philothea turned only a little.

“It is important to know,” he said. The king said very little about it because there was an image on his part as well, should Philothea decide to turn away from him.

He had tears as he reached out his arms and hands to her, fighting for her, fighting through the beasts of every kind that she would put between them as she ran from him. The image of her running, throwing her crown as it splashed in the mud, removing her veil and stepping on it as she ran. Running and throwing her arms around another, her gentle, beautiful arms, only to be scratched and attacked, held down and beaten by a hideous beast. To see his beloved so ignorantly run into the arms of…and yet, not ignorantly because she knew. He wept and he shed tears for love of her to see his Philothea make such a choice.

“Stop!” Philothea cried. She would not look at her image. She could not help but look at his. “I would be alone!” and she wrapped her arms around him and lay her head on his chest. “I would be alone,” she breathed hard. It was the most frightening thought.

He was her heart. By showing Philothea reality through his eyes she saw the reality of what could be, to choose darkness over light, to run from love. Foolishness!

How she clung to him there, unable to speak and he held her.

“We are more in love than we have ever been,” Philothea said finally. “Last night, you would not speak to me, but I wouldn’t leave. I wasn’t satisfied. Then I listened and you gave me my answer. I knew you’d tell me anything I asked in that moment. You’d give me anything. You’ve always given me everything because you love me and we are in love.”

Philothea held the king closer and said “if I chose anything but you I’d die – there’d be nothing left of me. You are my heart. I have to get used to that, not having my own, but I can’t leave you. I won’t. I love you. I can see you now. When I was blind I might have left or wanted to leave because I couldn’t really see the difference or the darkness. I’ll hold onto you. You keep me, I know you want me to be happy, not unhappy. I love you.”

It was a childlike possessiveness that captivated him most. It made it impossible for his love to deny her anything. And so, yes, they were more deeply in love than they had even been.

“Hold me closer,” she said.

“Yes, I will always hold you close.”

Philothea thought of the battle as he described it. She thought of how in battle she felt so far away from him. “No,” she thought, “there will still be a way for him to hold me. Something will be different than before. It is not what I first imagined. It is different. My heart is telling me it is.” And because he now filled her heart, she found it easy to believe.

Appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene after resurrection, Alexander Ivanov, 1835

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