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They Danced by the Light of the Moon

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Esmeralda is sitting in Ylva's house. She has grown to like being here, connecting with someone else "different," though if she were asked to describe what is different about Ylva she would not even know where to start.

Ylva begins to boil roots and when the steam reaches Esmeralda it sparks something inside her. The next thing she knows she is weeping, staring at Ylva and letting the tears run down her face. The older woman shakes her head and sits down next to her.

"It isn't easy," she says.

"Being different?" asks Esmeralda.

"Loving," says Ylva gently.

"What makes you think I'm crying over love? It was the roots--" But she starts to cry again and she knows she cannot fool Ylva. "I know she belongs with her family. I just want to know if I will ever see her again," she whispers.

Ylva takes Esmeralda's hands in hers. "Let me show you something." Suddenly Esmeralda has a bond in her mind with Ylva, not like the ones she has experienced before but something gentler, less frantic. She accepts it before she really knows it's there.

She sees herself, and Maja. They are kissing, and it brings everything back to Esmeralda. She knows the feeling of being held, of being touched and loved, and without it there she has had so many strange longings that she does not understand. Maja's scent surrounds her and Maja's mouth is a sweet reward for Esmeralda after waiting for so long. She sees them laughing together, huddled together in the woods by the trees.

"That never happened," she tells Ylva.

"That's not important," says Ylva.

Still in the vision, Esmeralda sees other people there, people like her and people like Maja. They are singing and clapping, standing under the moon in a ring in a clearing, pressed close by trees. And at the center of the ring Maja and Esmeralda dance. Not a dance from a nightclub but one drawn into them from the air. The people are singing in a language she has never heard but she can tell they are singing with joy. They sway back and forth in their celebration. The trees are answering the song and the ground beneath them answers the dance. And Esmeralda can see Maja's smile again.

The vision fades and Esmeralda feels empty.

"That definitely never happened," she says.

"Maybe it did, or maybe it didn't. Or maybe it will," says Ylva. "The world has room for more than one truth."

Esmeralda knows that if she tries to figure out what Ylva is saying, if she picks it apart, it may make no sense. But some wisdom inside her from older times knows exactly what she means.