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Like a Mountain

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Without me, you are nothing...

The words seemed to have a life of their own. Floating around the chilled air of the evening day.

The lonely figure sigh once again. A painful sigh, full of nothing.
"Nothing..." murmured the sweet male voice, lowering his head so he could stop seeing the beautiful sunset. His night blue eyes were too sore to see anything with beauty. Tendrils of copper took momentary life with the soft breeze, falling around his face, playing with a truly beautiful face. He closed his eyes. No more tears fall from them, now.
The night sky was silently crawling, pushing the light away.

'Like me!' thought Hephaestion 'cut from the light, by the light itself.'

Soft footsteps were getting close. Feet that spoke of respect for the pain in his heart. He wanted to be alone! They always left him alone, so, why now that he needed to be alone they bother him?! To gloat over his misery, perhaps.

The tall presence stop near him and after a moment of pause sit down next to the suffering Macedonian. They were facing the mountains from where the moon started to peek, glowing with a mockery light.
The rocks were hard and sharp, having little vegetation to soften the contact with the tender flesh. Neither man spoke or moved for a while, getting used to the other presence.

"You are loved, Hephaestion!" a murmur that didn't stir the air.
Hephaestion turned his head to his companion, with a little smile in his lips. A smile full of pain and disbelieve. Eyes that spoke without words: hurt, tenderness, love, loneliness...
"Alexander didn't mean that. You know him better than anyone!" he couldn't stand the hurt reflected on those lovely eyes, on that magnanimous soul! "He was angry and lashed out to everyone."
Another sigh broke from Hephaestion lips and he looked at the ground on his feet.
"You don't have to defend him, Ptolemy. I'm not against him." That made Ptolemy look sharply to him, forgetting the mountains. "I know him, like you said."

A breeze blew again, playing with the new night, hide and seeking with the silken hairs that could find.
The long haired general removed the soft tendrils of hair from his face. He looked again to the darkened mountains where he found some measure of solace. They were kin!
"There's this hole in my heart!" he whispered with aching voice "A fire that freezes everything. Like those mountains. Touched by the sun and yet chilled with ice and snow! Lonely mountains. Surrounded by rivers, plains, vales, forests ... but always lonely!" Again he averted his eyes. "The chill of my heart makes me tremble, the pain makes me hurt but the hole I feel ... makes me scare! For I'm afraid there are pieces that will never be filled again." Hephaestion looked Ptolemy in his eyes, seeing his own pain reflected in there "I will never be whole again, Ptolemy. There's a part of me missing, destroyed by Alexander's words that I will never get back again." And then a broken whisper, "I mourn."

Ptolemy swallow with effort. He had never seen such raw pain in Hephaestion eyes. Never heard him speak with that amount of pain. And they have faced many painful moments before!

The older general let the silence stretch a little, giving time for Hephaestion to mourn.
He study the darken mountains for a moment before speak again.
"Why do you think the vales are so green?" he asked as if they were at Mieza studying the known world, looking at his friend when he didn't answered.
The blue eyed man let his perplexity show in his gorgeous eyes, replacing the pain, only for a second. Ptolemy was still waiting for him to respond.
"Ahh...because of the soil... and the water!" Hephaestion answered almost as a question.
Ptolemy seemed to be satisfied and turned his eyes on the landscape again. But he was in a role and did not give up easily.
"From where do you think that soil came? Was it always there?" His voice was soft as if thinking to himself. "I think it came from the mountains, brought by the water and the wind, for the Gods don't like barren places were they can harvest wild flowers and animals, to play with!"
The other let a small smile to grace his lips but did not participated in the musings.
"And the water!... " the blond continued, observing again his surroundings reverently, "Rivers are born in the core of the mountains. It is not let wasted on the rain or the snow. It's kept inside the rocks until the next spring, when Proserpine is out bringing joy and life again." He stopped for a minute, letting his words float away in the chilled night air.

Hephaestion let out a painful sigh, filling his chest with new air that got heavy as soon as touch his heart...and his soul. The silence stretched bringing the mourning sounds that only the general and chillarch could listen.

"You are like the mountain, my dear Hephaestion!"

Ptolomey felt awe for his own discovery. "The Sun touches the top, burning it, alighting it! But the mountain shines on its own! It gives the ground we need to walk on, the rock that shelter us, the water that keep us alive. There were bee no vale, no forest, no prairies, no life, if the mountain never existed!" His voice became softer. "And I'm sure the sun would be just a light in the sky if there were no mountain to play with him. For the Sun is the most lonely of all!"

Yes, like a mountain!
Always there, providing water, food, shelter, cooler air from the torrid desert.
Alone.
The sun touch it when was setting, watching from afar since rise till dawn. Then it went away, after touching for brief moments the mountain and making it glow. And the mountain stood alone again.
And then the final suffering realization came!

"I can never have the sun to myself!" the painful exhalation left his chest like it was ripping apart.
"If I am a mountain I can not be the moon!" Hephaestion whispered. And the tears his soul was trying to avoid, run free from his eyes.
Like the rivers from the mountains!



"That's what I'm mourning, that's what I finally understand! I have never had the Sun. And I never will." He turned his watering eyes to Ptolemy, like the lakes gazing to the sky, reflecting the stars. "Like a mountain! I fell in love with the sun, even when is not there in the sky! Like the mountain I wait for the Sun to warm me and melt the ice and make the snow glitter. Like the mountain I lived alone and I will die alone."
Hephaestion finished with an almost sob and turned his face to the ground. Not quite mountain ground, but almost.

He couldn't say anything! There were no words except the almost silent hitching breaths of the hurting man. And Ptolemy didn't know what to do. He took his hand to his left cheek and looked amazed to his fingers. He was crying! The knot in his throat was getting tight. Too tight to speak.
"Like the mountain," he whispered with vacillate voice "you are strong, provider, companion...essential...envied. The sun is not always there, not always constant, sometimes its loneliness makes it do mistakes in the heat of the moment." He breathed, controlling his emotions. "You are the best of all of us! You, Hephaestion, are the true heart of the kingdom. Without you there is nothing worth. Without you, we have nothing. Without you, we are lost!"


Without you there is no Alexander!
Ptolemy put a friendly hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently before standing up.

The receding footsteps of the companion made company to the grieving man.
He looked again to the mountain in front of him.
Clouds play with the top, shadows with different colours embrace it. Distant sounds of waking night animals could be heard.
The silver light of the moon made the shadows have a life of their own along the mountain.

It's beautiful!

The pain was still there. The hollow emptiness was still there. The cold ...surprisingly was not so sharp! Tomorrow would be a new day.

There was no sun now, only the night, with a starring sky and a shy moon.
But the mountain was still there!
So was he.

Just like a mountain.



The end.