Keith staggered, “What? Accept it?”
“It definitely didn’t sound as crazy in my head.”
“No, it’s not crazy. I just...I didn’t expect an answer like that. Accept the darkness, without falling into it or trying to push it away. Let it exist, but don’t let it take you over. Wow Elijah! That makes a lot of sense!”
A bit of pride entered my heart by getting intellectual approval from an Orange, especially one as bright as Keith. I didn’t think anyone, including myself, could contemplate so far into something like this. All this time, the Solar Convergence was a plague. It impaired our ability to differentiate from reason and instinct. Trying to see the other side of this argument was difficult enough, for these truths were branded into me.
I wasn’t even entirely sure if I could come to terms with my own words. How on Earth were we supposed to accept something that had tormented humanity for so long? How could I let those words free when I was having trouble fighting off my own darkness? How could anyone live with themselves knowing that there was a recurrent imperfection in their hearts?
How did I keep pushing forward with an imperfection in my heart?
Keith noticed that I was deep in thought, “Elijah.”
I snapped out of my trance, “Yeah, Keith?”
“Do you think we’re chasing perfection?”
My jaw clenched and my lips pursed. The question was so sudden, so bizarre. A straight answer was near impossible to give him. And yet, Keith waited eagerly for my response. How was I supposed to even begin to answer it? It was so vague. Who was he referring to? The Order? Humanity in general?
“Take your time. I’ve got the day to myself, and I’m genuinely curious about what you say. You’re quite the enigma, Elijah.”
“I think...perfection is too far out of reach. Like you said, darkness is always existent. There’s no real way to expel it for good.”
“Not the answer I expected,” Keith raised an eyebrow. “Out of any Guardian I’ve met, I thought you would be the idealist. But, even though you’re searching for something that may or may not be too far, you still hold firm to that belief. If I didn’t know you better, I’d think that you’re a hypocrite.”
He would be right to assume that. Here I was chasing my own ideals, while at the same time castigating such action.
“But, I don’t think you’re a hypocrite. I think—and this is entirely from my own observations—you’re confused. You want to believe in your convictions, but you doubt that your beliefs and your actions can coincide.”
There was no need to comfort me. I was a hypocrite, plain and simple.
“You’ve never really left your home before, and because of that, you lack the experiences that travelling gives you. Now that you’ve been exposed to so many different people—me, Solana, even Celeste—you’re starting to discover what you truly believe in.”
I leaned against the bookshelf to my right and folded my arms. Keith’s little speech did not convince me at all. There was no way that he could justify all the pain I’ve caused because I was essentially a child that didn’t know better.
“Did I upset you?” Keith pouted with concern.
“No, I’m just processing everything you’ve told me. Thanks for the talk, Keith.”
“Don’t mention it. I really enjoyed our conversation. Say, why don’t you take that book with you? Maybe taking a better look at it will help you on your search.”
I turned back to the table and picked up Under the Sun, Above the Moon. I flipped it around in my hands, examining it, until I looked up at Keith again.
With a smile, I said to him, “I will. Thank you.”
In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if that smile was authentic or not.