Outside of their formal schooling, Sira and Reag spent much time with Merin, and Reag’s mom, Vika, also a teacher at the academy. Vika also wrote and directed plays performed by the students. Others of their students, as well as Reag’s older sister Neris and her friends, were often about taking part in vociferous discussions and impromptu entertainments. Sira’s younger sister, Jenia, soon became a regular there as well. It was not just the kids. Other teachers, even some of the parents, would drop by as schedules permitted. It was good that Merin and Vika had such a large lovely home just beyond the academy grounds in which to enjoy and entertain their many friends.
At home Sira and Jenia were not so merry. Their parents’ fear, and loathing of their subservient lifestyle, permeated the rooms, the walls. The girls were not cruelly treated. They were loved, cherished as the hope of a dearly desired future. It was the here and now, day to day, grinding away at aspirations, at any chance of joyful prosperity or even honorable integrity that made this home a little taste of hell. It was so good for Sira and Jenia that they had their school, their friends, their own growing lives. For some, with only mini-hells to build on, life at best is merely unbearable. Sira and Jenia are built of much more. They have the potential to build a future more suited to living than dreading.
In the due course of time, Sira and Reag’s magnetic friendship blossomed in the strong bath of maturing hormones, into true love. The idealism they imbibed in their academy garden of knowledge matured in Sira, Reag and Jenia into studies leading to caring careers. Reag and Jenia developed their loves of learning and children to find teaching positions in a neighborhood low in hope and ideals. Sira, strident and self-assured, found working with the troubled and disempowered rewarding when her efforts made a significant difference in more empowered and self-defined lives going forward. Reag and Sira found a large rambling home, full of character and charm, near their respective jobs at the high school and community center. They also found themsleves to be expecting parents. They were living an emotional high, giving them incredible energy necessary to maintain the activities underpinning their high emotions.
Jenia and her young man, Toriv, primary teachers, had a cute little apartment nearby. The sisters, as close as ever, entwined lives, shared the excitement of the baby. Jenia and Toriv were hoping to have their own child as well soon. Their love of nurturing young children was a strong bond that had helped to bring them together. They were also concerned, it was a mostly unspoken but growing concern among their people, that their population was dwindling. After the devastating diminishment of the exile, the numbness of being so overwhelmed with emotion and the fearfilled introversion had been their major theme. Time and routines had mellowed that fashion of thought. Perhaps a group identity so maligned that it must remain a secret link shared by a secret few is in no position to demand continuation, survival as a kind. Perhaps assimilation into the accepted norm is the saner, ecologically sounder way to go. Jenia, Toriv, their friends and family, could never be convinced of that.