My life is messed up. Wonderfully messed up, but messed up nonetheless. I have yet to give my gifts to either Yal-hune or Skuuinja and now with Skuuinja upset with my shallowness, I wonder how to best go about it. I want to talk to Yal-hune about the projection and this teleportation device I still have not removed from my wrist. I also want to go upstairs and talk to Skuuinja. I want to comfort her and make her understand that I do not compare her to Yal-hune, but love her for herself and that beauty is truly everywhere. These competing desires leave me sitting here wondering what to do.
"Go to her. I can talk to you later."
Yal-hune is very understanding and I race up the stairs and down the hall to Skuuinja's room. I knock at the door.
I open the door an come inside. Skuunija is lying on her bed and smiling.
"I knew you would follow me. If only to prove you are not as shallow as you act."
"Are you enjoying this?"
"Yes. I am. Are you?"
I leap on the end of her bed like I'm 18 again. It bounces and she almost falls off.
"Hey! Be careful!"
Skuuinja slides over and I lean up against the headboard with my back.
"If we're going to live by total honesty, I figure there should be no secrets between us. You're beautiful. You know I find you very attractive and you also know that I don't compare you and Yal-hune like contestants in some beauty pageant - so why do you try to make me feel bad?"
"Don't forget, I spent 15 years overshadowing you. I know how easy it is to override your higher impulses and get you to accept lower impulses and embrace them as your own."
"Well, then you also know the real me - the way I truly think, feel and love. So all the more reason not to paint me as loving only beauty."
"When those beauty thoughts pop into your mind - how many are you and how many are overshadowers who want to imbalance you and direct your line of thought away from mental faculties and spiritual qualities? You don't get it, because you don't recall the overshadowing procedures. When dealing with more developed people, even the slightest derailing of their focus is deemed a success. Getting you to first think about physical beauty and appearances is a victory for whomever is assigned to overshadow you. YOU - the REAL YOU...never thinks about beauty first, you always think about that person in a mental way - and about their personality. When your thoughts first turn to beauty - you can bet your tush you are being overshadowed."
"So you started overshadowing me when I was 15. Were you looking out for me or did you just hate me so much at that point that you got your kicks that way?"
Skuuinja looks at me with her black eyes and she stares deep into my eyes.
"I started off with bad intentions. I wanted to see you squirm. I worked on knocking you down a peg or two. After the first few months I found it hard to continue with that sort of motive. I got to see inside your mind better. At that point I stayed with the program. To make your life easier or to awaken you to the overshadowing would have resulted in someone else being assigned to you. I realized that I could protect you from worse overshadowing treatment if you had me. I kept you away from drugs, drink, casual sex. Had some other folks been in charge, you would have been pushed into one or more of these 'pastimes' for certain."
"No, don't thank me. I did enough lousy stuff to you to keep my assignment secure."
"Do I even want to know?"
"No. You don't. I don't really want to review that time in my life either."
"You got used to being in my mind and you fell in love with me. Sorry...you were thinking about it and I picked it up."
"Yes. I did. I know you better than anyone. Spend fifteen years inside someones mind and see what happens to you."
"Wouldn't they make sure to shift you around so that this wouldn't happen?"
"They do. Most folks don't have overshadowers that last more than a month or two. They rotate regularly. I had special privileges. Even though I was not the only one overshadowing you, I was the longest. I could undo the work of others who tried to set you up for worse experiences."
"And you are here because you still want to protect me and you love me - and you don't want to see me influenced even one iota from other overshadowers."
"That's about right."
Skuuinja leans over and kisses me. She's in my mind again and now I can finally place her - for years I had assumed she was part of my own consciousness.
"This is useful. You can help me recognize and fight the overshadowers still on my case."
"Yes. That's why my comment about shallow. You are the least shallow person I know and I hate to see some overshadowers have their way with your mind and corrupt you. I take some measure of pride in having preserved as much of you as I could and spurring you to read and further develop your mind. You don't know how unusual you really are for a human."
"I have some idea."
"Not really. You don't. But you will someday."
I pull a small box out of my pocket.
"Merry Christmas Skuuinja."
She takes the box carefully out of my hands and I occupy my mind with other thoughts so she doesn't know what it is from me thinking about it.
She opens the small box and inside is a small heart pin.
"So you know you always have my heart."
She smiles, examines the pin, puts the box down and kisses me - my mind. A kiss I will not soon forget. I kiss Skuuinja with a kiss that I've wanted to give her for some time now. I realize a whole new dimension to my consciousness as our minds and lips interface. She is there and new pasts open up...flashbacks to other worlds and other times when we were together. I have known her for much longer than I realized...at least half a million years.
She pauses and pulls her lips from mine. "It's time for your gift."
She puts her brow next to mine and our foreheads touch. She gently enters my mind and proceeds to transfer all sorts of information to my brain.