Samantha Lee’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Horse of a Different Colour
She smiles and nods her head vigorously as she reaches for the remote control. "Definitely, and possibly again after that," she declares, then laughs when I groan. She has not laughed in a very long time, not in truth, and I smile now to hear it. "I really, really like this movie," she tells me.
I flop down beside her on the couch and pull her close until she's nestled tight against my side, her head resting on my shoulder. "Why?" I ask her, wanting to understand, wanting to know. She is a mysterty to me, even after the decades we have spent together, still there is always something more to her for me to discover.
"I understand Dorothy," she says. "I think we have a lot in common."
I glance around the room at her half dozen cats and raise an eyebrow. "And her little dog too?"
She smiles and swats half-heartedly at my arm. "I've never been to Kansas either, Tru; I wasn't being literal. I just meant that...well, the whole wanting to go home but not being able to because you're trapped in a foreign land with a wicked witch out to get you...I can relate to that. Except Dorothy gets to go home in the end."
She sounds sad; a common habit of hers lately. She will not talk about what is bothering her, not to me, not to her wraiths, not at all. Her moods have always been sudden and unpredictable, as likely to smile as weep, to lash out as bottle up. It made life interesting, to say the least, and added a sharp edge of danger to our relationship I personally found rather exhilarating. Unfortunately, it also left me at a loss when she withdrew into herself and left me with a morose and quiet version of her usually vibrant and eccentric self.
"How many times have you watched this?" I ask, settling in as Judy Garland begins to sing of places over the rainbow.
"Today? Um...seven? Eight maybe?" She shrugs. "I don't know. I guess a lot."
"Are you going to tell me what is bothering you, lumina mea?"
With her left hand, she fiddles with the Anubis charm that lays against the hollow of her throat. It is a nervous gesture, one I have seen her do countless times. She sighs, shakes her head, then sighs again. "I understand Dorothy," she says again. "I don't understand the Cowardly Lion."
I blink. "The...Cowardly Lion?"
"Yes, I don't understand his...his motivation."
"I thought he wanted courage."
"Dorothy helped the Scarecrow off his perch and oiled the Tin Man...they're indebted, I understand that. But the Cowardly Lion...he had no reason to put himself at such risk on the behalf of a virtual stranger. He snarled and growled at her, yes, but that is his nature. I can understand curiosity driving him to tag along for awhile but once the danger was made apparent...I don't understand what keeps him around."
"This is what has been bothering you these last few days? The motivations of a fictional character?"
She blushes and ducks her head, her hair falling forward to curtain her face. "Yes."
"The horse of a different colour."
"The beast that is forever alternating between colours as it pulls Dorothy and her companions through Oz when they first arrive?"
"Through the Emerald City, yes."
"What does the horse of a different colour have to do with the Cowardly Lion?"
"Nothing. He was just a horse who couldn't decide what he wanted to be and consequently spent his days going in circles around a limited area, always shifting and changing while remaining virtually in place."
I do not need one of those degrees mortals are so fond of collecting to understand what she sees represented in the horse; it is obvious the parallel she is making to herself. However I still do not see the connection to the Cowardly Lion and I tell her so.
"Oh, I was watching the horse changing colour and it got me thinking about following leaders and that made me think about the Cowardly Lion which got me thinking about...um..."
Ah, and now I see what is bothering her. I smile and gently nuzzle my cheek against her hair. "It got you thinking about how I am your Cowardly Lion?"
She clears her throat and shifts uncomfortably before nodding in confirmation. "The...the wraiths are like my Tin Men - I get them moving again - and the Fae are like my Scarecrows - I get them unstuck - but you...you're just here."
"I did try to kill you," I remind her, teasing, "perhaps I seek redemption."
She snorts and offers me a smile, small and hesitant, but a smile nonetheless. "If I recall, I kicked your butt. Repeatedly."
"And as I recall, Dorothy kicked the Cowardly Lion's butt."
I wait. We have been with her long enough now to know when to wait, when to push, when to let it go. This is a time for waiting.
"But at the end of the movie," she says quietly, "at the end of the movie, when the witch is defeated and the Cowardly Lion has been given his courage...do you think he's still called the Cowardly Lion once the Wizard gives him his courage?"
I smile. "No, they probably call him the Courageous Lion, or maybe just Lion."
"I think...I think I'd want people to keep calling me the Cowardly Lion."
"And why is that?"
"I don't think his mother named him 'the Cowardly Lion' so he must have other names, maybe a lot of other names, and...and maybe he liked the other names but Cowardly Lion is the name he had when he found himself - that's the name that has the power because that's the name he bore when his story changed."
I shift so I can see her face more clearly. Her expression is hesitant, unsure. She is deflecting, trying to get away from the earlier topic but I will not let her. There is something to be learned here, something important, something I need to know and we need to discuss.
"What happens at the end of the movie, lumina mea, when the witch is defeated and the Cowardly Lion has been given his courage?" I lift one hand and carefully trace a finger along her lips before cupping her cheek and pressing my forehead against hers. "Tell me."
She closes her eyes. "Dorothy goes home alone," she whispers.
I understand what she's saying, what she's afraid of. I press my lips to hers and kiss her, softly at first, then building heat and strength until I feel her breath quickening and there is no question of my passion, my desire.
When I pull back, her eyes snap open and she looks at me with summer skies trapped in her gaze. I love her eyes, can never get tired of seeing them, always changing, always new but familiar. "I am not the Cowardly Lion to your Dorothy, lumina mea."
"No, I am not, and you are forgetting - Dorothy does not go home alone."
"She has Toto, remember? The dog she was willing to give up everything to protect, the dog she braved a tornado for, the dog that braved a witch for her, that stayed with her loyally before and after, beginning to end. I am not your Cowardly Lion, if anything I am your Toto."
She laughs again, finally, and runs her hands through my hair then wraps her arms around my neck.
"And you, lumina mea, are my horse of a different colour," I tell her. "You are always changing, always shifting, always becoming something else but, when all is send and done, you ultimately remain what you always were, what always will be."
"And what is that?" she asks, her voice unsure, her eyes searching mine.
The answer is simple and absolute. I smile when I tell her, pulling flush up against me and bending my head close to hers, my lips so very, very close to hers. "Mine."
She smiles and I am in Eden, I am home, I am hers, and she...she is mine. Always. Forever. Mine.
You can read my blog - Calliope's Domain - over at calliopedomain.blogspot.ca