Once upon a time, there was a little worm-girl. She lived in the quietest part of a garden, under hte shade of a wild-haired tulip.
There was not one thing special about this worm. She was not important, she was not talented, she was not (certainly not!) pretty. The easiest way to describe her is a Nobody among Nobodies.
The grown-up worms knew her to be a simple-hearted little thing with no big aspirations and no big exceptional traits, but a big heart - big for a worm, that is. The boy worms were blinded by her blindness and usually mistook her for a ladybug. Ladybugs are good at listening, but are usually too prim and proper to be friends.
Maybe they were right. She was a very blind worm, and not very important at all. Either way, she listened a lot, and she loved to listen. But she still couldn't see and maybe that was her biggest fault.
One day, she was squalling about in the shade of the garden. It was so bright and hot and her skin hurt. She, in her ungainly worm fashion, squinted her forehead where her eyes would have been and squirmed uncomfortably away. She thought about the sun and the other worms and the tulips and suddenly wished she weren't blind even though she'd know how ugly she was.
She froze. She knew that voice. It was a bird, one of the bright winged creatures who are as full of light as they are of air and beauty. They also eat worms. "Hello, bird." She said. She flails side to side, trying to face him as best as one can with no face.
"Don't trouble yourself," he said softly. He hopped around to face her. "Are you alright, girl?"
She can't remember the last time she was alright.And she knew birds. They tried to be kind, but they're so beautiful, so undeniably better, that they end up devouring poor worms like her. "What do you want from me?" She said.
He waits a long time to answer. When he does, his voice is soft as warm poppy petals. "Just... just to love you." he says quietly. "To be friends. You've always been kind."
Not to wild birds. "Thanks, but not really. I'm not kind." she says, worming her tail awkwardly backward.
"Yes, you are. You've always listened and cared and asked and been kind to me. I-" he hesitates. "Don't you remember how kind you are to me?"
"I do not know you." What a sorry thing to say. "I'm sorry, but I don't."
"That's okay." he says, and he's not quite disappointed. "I think we are friends."
"I think," he hesitates again. "I think I, maybe, love you." It sounds like a question.
She didn't answer, because birds can't really love worms, not really. They may care, they may be merciful or even kind, possibly sweet, but never ever can they really love worms. Where would they live?
She wishes she could have seen how he looked when he said it though.
He did keep coming back, the bird boy, every day. They did nothing together. She couldn't really fly with him, and there was nothing that she would like him to see about her home. So they lazed. They listened. They sat. They talked. They were together.
"Tell me about seeing," She said. They're sitting in the sunshine. Her tail is would around his talons.
"It's amazing." His breath and his wings are against her back. She sighs, because it's good to be together and alive together. "The world is very bright." he continues.
"I see things as they seem, I think. It's not like what you do, dear."
He stirs a little. "I love you."
Before she can talk herself out of the glimpse of light she just had, she says, "I love you too."
Oh no! She is blind. She is a blind ugly worm. She can not love him. He can not love her, but even less can she love him. "No! No, I can not love you." She gulps down a pocket of tears. "I am a worm and you are a bird."
"You don't understand. Love isn't like that."
"A bird can not love a worm, my dear. Where would they live?" She says, and the world is very very dark again.
A blink of light. "We are each other. Not a bird, nor a worm. We are who we are."
A blink of tears. "No, you can't do that. Don't become a worm for me."
His wings move. "I've always been a worm. It was you who first called me a bird."
All of a sudden, she remembers who he is and why he knew they were friends. But she knew him, once a long time ago, not as the bird that he is, but as one of the other wailing worms. She had listened to him.
"But I feel your wings." She says, stubbornly. "You are more than you think you are. How could you be a worm?"
He smiles. "Sometimes love goes by many names. Sometimes, its best name is blindness."
Love is neither sight nor blindness.
"No." She says. "Love's name is not blindness. Love is what is real, it is a realization. You are a bird. My blindness gave love realization."
"Do you not feel your wings?" he says softly. "My sight will realize your reality, too."
She is not a worm. He is not a bird. They are real and the in between of wings and worms is where they live.