The Statue was made of thick vines, all connected and intertwined with amazing precision. As the years had gone by, the vines had shriveled and browned, but the Statue remained intact. At a different time every year, the vines would become green once again, and the Statue would seem to glow with different hues. It was a popular sight for all Beings.
Some lived in the forest that surrounded the Statue, and it was these people who cared for and nourished her. They kept her forest lush and beautiful, even when she could not. Some came from the faraway oceans, traveling in large groups by the great rivers. These were the ones who entertained the Statue with stories of distant lands and deep sea adventures. And some, though they were very rare, came from the sweltering heat of the desert, seeking shelter beneath her caring arms. They were the ones that she loved the most, for they did not want anything but her protection and care, which she offered in great amounts.
There were many days when the Statue would be lonely; the days when her lush skin became dry and brittle. She often did not see another face but an animal’s in those times. No one would come to see the Statue if she did not look beautiful in every way. It was this that saddened her the most. There was beauty in every Being, the Statue thought, no matter how they appeared on the outside.
It had been a long time since she had met a Being quite like her in that regard. That was, until the day someone came.
It was a gloomy day. The sky had been cloudy since dawn, and the birds had stayed quiet in their treetop nests. Hardly any sunlight reached the Statue through the now gold and red leaves of the forest. The Statue was lonely, thinking about all of the Beings that refused to talk with her during her time of what they called “Rest”. She was far from restful. Her mind would open up to all possibilities when she heard even the slightest rustle of leaves, or the quiet noises of owls flying during the night.
This was why she nearly uprooted herself when she heard footsteps. Real, live, Being footsteps. It had been so long. . . She found that the footsteps were getting louder with every second, and every second she anticipated seeing a Being’s face. It took only mere seconds for her to be discouraged.
This Being was unlike any she had ever seen. Its legs seemed to be a darker shade than the rest of its skin. Upon closer inspection, the Statue could see that really, the skin slowly turned to spiky scales. It was the same with its arms. There was a thick white fabric wrapped carefully around the Being’s chest and shoulders, and a slightly darker fabric adorned the lower body and feet. This, the Statue guessed, was the cause for the loudness of the footsteps.
And its face! Large brown, almond-shaped eyes with thick lashes that drew out the golden flecks on its skin were the most stunning part. It had thin lips, and its hair was short and golden to match its freckles. The Statue had never seen such a beautiful, and yet imperfect Being.
The Being looked up at the Statue and smiled, showing a bit of its shiny white teeth. Then its smile fell into a frown. The Statue was surprised to find herself wishing the Being would not frown in such a way. Making Beings smile was so precious to her, and this Being clearly was not happy.
It took a large bag off of its back and sat beneath the Statue’s open arms, and began to cry. The Statue could not do anything but stare. No Being had ever done this before. She could feel the sorrow and pain radiating out of the Being, but she could not reach the root of the pain. The Being continued to cry, and its tears dropped in between the Statue’s vines.
Through the tears, the Statue could see what had caused this Being to cry. She could see the memories, despite that they were slightly faded from age. Other Beings similar to the one sitting beneath the Statue were glancing backwards, then laughing grotesquely. At first, they had seemed beautiful too, but as they laughed, their features began to morph into ugly flesh and bone. Their hair seemed to become thick layers of mold and their skin turned ashy and gray. The memory slowly faded away.
The Statue was filled with so much compassion for this Being beneath her. It was unlike anything she had ever experienced. She slowly came to the realization that the Being must be from the desert. Though she hadn’t seen these Beings in what seemed to be centuries, she knew that they all had one similar feature: golden flecks on their skin. It seemed that they had evolved since she had last seen them. She decided she would call the Being “Waona”, because it was the Beings' native word for desert-dweller.
It began to rain, lightly at first, and then a downpour. Waona cowered even further beneath the Statue, who desperately wanted to comfort the small creature. Swelling with both rain and compassion, the Statue felt her body move. It was a slow, unsteady movement, but movement all the same. The vines curled and uncurled like muscles contracting. Soon the Statue protected the Waona from the rain with her body, and brought the small Being into an embrace.
Waona looked up into the Statue’s face and smiled a light smile.