Surely all of you know the story of Sleeping Beauty, don’t you? Now keep that in mind, because what I’m about to do is to tell it a little bit differently from how most of you will remember it. The basic premise stays the same: a young woman, asleep, no one around for miles. Just imagine her lying on an ornate slab of stone, all altar-like, in the middle of a serene apple orchard in full bloom, her chest falling and rising. Falling and rising. Falling and rising while the air is filled with myriads of soft petals shed by the apple trees, tinting the slanting sunrays a delicate rose, their shadows playing on Beauty’s marble face and – wait a moment.
The petals are there all right, yes, but – but, they’re falling upwards. And now that I listen more closely, the birds’ song does sound a little bit off, which does appear less of a surprise the longer I think about it. The chirps and tweets are disappearing back into their beaks, latching onto their syrinx, shivering one last – or is it first? – time and disappearing back to where all things come from.
There is something decidedly strange afoot in this orchard of ours, time is running into the wrong direction, and so I wonder what – no, this is can’t be happening, this is not what is supposed to be happening. She is waking up. By herself. And Sleeping Beauty finally opened her eyes as if it were the first day of her life once more and – okay, now again something’s changed – and one of the fragile petals just one moment ago still hovering in the air gently came to rest on her impeccable brow framed by long curls of her chestnut-coloured hair. She reached up with one of her hands that proved to be too weak from the prolonged period of sleep – no, it didn’t, now that’s not what I would have expected, I mean, her muscles should have been quite atrophied at this point and oh, I forgot to remark that time had begun flowing quite customarily again, in case you didn’t notice.
The sleeper got up, swung her legs over the edge of the stone slab and streeeeeetched herself extensively before taking a few steps, all the while the petals were still gently floating to the ground. After having eaten one or two apples (and having most unlady-like spit the seeds onto the ground over the stone slab), Beauty yawned, stretched herself once more and again lay down on the slab.
For a very short moment – and we’re talking about a really short fragment of time here – the grains in the hourglass stopped moving altogether, but only if you paid proper attention. The petals were suspended in the air as if hung from strings, the shadows they cast had stopped swaying and if you listened really close, in all that silence, the total absence of sound that ensued, you could hear the echo of the bird song carried on a ghostly gust of wind that had stolen them from their rightful owners.
After that short break the petals started falling into the sky once more, the chirping again became all warbled and the sun’s rays began drawing back to the star they had emanated from, setting off on a long, long journey. This reminds me, I wanted to tell you something.
Surely all of you know the story of Sleeping Beauty, don’t you? Now keep that in mind, because what I’m about to do is to tell it a little bit different from how most of you will remember it. . .