Chapter Summery: Stuck in Iceland for decades as huldufólk, Siggi was ready to see the world! YAY! ... She may not know this, but the world just might not be ready to see her.
Keflavíkurflugvöllur, Keflavík International Airport of Iceland. February, 2017.
"Bless, Jón," I said and squeezed his hand affectionately.
Jón was having none of it. He looked out over the runways of Keflavíkurflugvöllur and moped. All men are boys at heart, and all boys mope when they don't get their way. It gets old, fast, but I was being cheery, for his sake.
I've know Jón a long, long time. We were friends ... good friends, sometimes, and, yes, lovers, but Jón was a romantic at heart, and he wanted me to be more than what I am. He didn't want me as a friend or a lover, he wanted, nay, needed, a soul-mate.
And me ...?
I didn't want Jón. Sorry. He wasn't for me, and I wasn't for him, but he just didn't see it that way.
"Why must ye leave me?" he asked bitterly.
I sighed. "Jón," I said, "I want to experience the world beyond Iceland. I want to know what it is to be a person among people, real people."
Jón snorted. "People!" he barked. "What need hath thee of them? Ye have me! I, thou! That is the world, Siggi, not the insanity out there!"
I rolled my eyes. "Yes," I replied testily, "you and I, that's your world, but I want more than that."
"Why?" he said.
"Siggi, ..." he began sadly, but then he broke off. "Go!" he said. "Ye will come to find there is nothing out there in the vastness of the Vineland, just empty, abandoned places, or, worse! Empty people crowding their empty streets and empty buildings with their empty lives! They have nothing in them so they fill it with things and sound and furious activity! But look ye into their eyes and you will see them vacant! Ye'll be back! Mark my words!"
I wanted to retort that I had considered them marked, but two things stopped me. Firstly, was that the emptiness he was taking about? It was me: I was empty. Year after year after year of the same sameness, doing nothing and doing it without purpose. It is a heavy burden on the soul that crushes one. Why go on when there's nothing new to look forward to? But you go on, the new dawning the same as the last, and the last before it.
Secondly was this: "You are right, Jón. I'll be back."
I knew this in my heart. Iceland was all I knew, and I was beside myself with excitement, seeing in the moving pictures on the screens of America, or the Vineland as Jón still called it. I had to be there and experience being among its people of so many different shapes and sizes and colors and hearing the words they said!
And, especially, not being feared by them, as we are feared here.
With good reason, to be sure. We are the huldufólk, the hidden people, and it was a very rare person that lived to tell the tale of seeing one of us.
But, that, too, was tiring, and wore one down. To be feared, despised, whispered at wherever one went. To hide from humanity, not because you were scared of them, but because they were scared of you?
I wanted to be in a world where one could say 'huldufólk,' and the only response would be an indifferent: 'What's that?' and then a return to whatever Americans talked about, living their glamorous, frenetic lives.
That. I wanted to experience that.
But then ... how long would that last? Ten years? Fifty? One hundred?
When you have forever, one thing remains, not the sound and fury and excitement. No, the things that remains are the constants in your lives: who you are, and ... home.
I know this. I'm forever fifteen, having died more than a half-century ago, but I know my lark is simply that: a lark. But like the lark, I ascend. I will not be bound here, not to Jón, who cherishes me, the poor boy, and not to Iceland, my home. I ascend and shall fly from this place, ...
... even as I know, someday, perhaps years from now, perhaps longer, I shall return.
"Then why go?" Jón demanded.
I smiled, and, standing on tiptoe, kissed his cheek. "That's my æroplane," I said as my answer, and ran, ran as fast as I could under the cover of the evening to catch my ticket to the United States of America: the Boeing 757 as it taxied down the runway.
"Siggi!" Jón's voice called after me, but he did not pursue. Iceland was his home. Iceland was all he knew. He would not leave it, not even for me, his true love fair.
I ran alongside the plane and clambered up into the wheel well as flight FI613, at full power, rotated, then took its leave from the ground, departing for New York City, ... the city that never sleeps. That burned me with an excitement I have never felt – "the city that never sleeps" – just like me! I am huldufólk: I can't sleep. I haven't slept since I was 'reborn,' five decades ago.