But she had to chose, and it was a hard choice indeed. She wanted both, knowledge and love. She walked from one stand to the other, thinking hard. And then, suddenly and unexpectedly, everything shattered; everything apart from the globe. Catalina was surprised, but she understood why it had happened. She was torn between the owl and the globe, and whoever the voice had belonged to had shattered everything but for the item she desired the most. And deep down inside heart, she had always known it was love.

She took the globe in her hands again. The air inside shimmered again, and a verse appeared.

“Thee shalt harvest the fruit of love

And with it other treasures thee shalt gain,

But first thee need to overcome hardship

For there is no gain without pain”

She stepped outside that peculiar chamber, and found herself within the city. She asked for direction, but no one replied. She asked for a place to stay, but no one answered her. But the city wasn’t empty, it was full with people chatting and greeting each other. It was like any other typical cities, with the exception that Catalina did not existed here. She was treated with indifference, and that was even worse than being treated with hatred. Hatred at least showed that one acknowledged one another, even though not kindly. Indifference meant that everyone treated Catalina as though she didn’t exist, even though she was standing right next to them. Then she understood why.

It was the price to pay for her choice of love. Indifference is the opposite, and having experienced it would ensure that she fully appreciated the gift when it was time to go. Willing herself not to loose hope, she lived in that city for a year, taking food and water and repaying it by doing small chores at night. She reminded herself who was on the other side of the wall, and worked away. She suffered much pain, but willed herself to ignore it. Then one day the crystal ball gave off a shimmering light, and she took it out of her pouch. The verse that had appeared in the choosing chamber had appeared once again, only slightly different.

“Thee have harvested the fruit of love

And with it other treasures thee have gained,

For thee have overcome hardship

And understood that there is no gain without pain”

She left the city. The verse was the signal that she no longer had to suffer the hardship. She trudged on wearily, exhausted from the wisdom she had acquired. She passed towns and villages, where girls her age were either engaged or were already a mother. She looked at herself, coming into her twentieth year, and sighed. She was on the verge of passing the marriageable age, and she knew she would never marry. Her heart was made for Jonathan only, and now he was beyond her reach.

The End

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