It was at Brightenbush that autumn that I first saw them. I noticed two men attending the faery gathering that were spectacularly unadorned but for various matching tattoos. They walked the grounds in black loincloth style coverings and nothing else. One followed the other almost in lockstep. While you couldn't see everything, you could imagine that every part of them had been marked with ink.
They were known by the other faeries as simply "them", they had started coming to gatherings, sharing meals, and dancing until late in the night. They only came to the autumn gathering - and always arrived and left silently. Truth was, even asking around, very little was known about them.
"So - have you ever talked to either of them. met one of them?" I asked.
"There is something of an odd magic going on between them. It's not like nobody's been friendly to them. but they stay mostly to themselves. Even when dancing it's like they hear music nobody else does, and they remain enraptured with each other. We've never seen them in the play forest or any of the other sex parties, so as far as we know they are into themselves.
I'm here to hit the sex parties and be free, not create weird relationships with antisocial faeries. . my main problem with them is they don't shower much. They are too earthy for most men's tastes. I mean faery is all about loving nature and being out here to commune, but these boys seem to take it a whole different kind of seriously. Greg calls them the freaks in the forest."
"They don't stay in lodgings or even in tents. they sleep out in the open on a old cloth tarp. out back behind the garden. I don't think anyone has ever said you can't do it - so they just show up and do it."
The conversation made me all the more convinced, these were the people I was meant to know by coming to the faery circle and spending the weekend in the woods. Not guys I could meet over coffee in the gayborhood. I was drawn to someone, or someones, that took this all a 'whole different kind of seriously.'
I kept practicing how I'd say hello at a meal then lose my nerve. I kept watching them on the dance floor, rather obviously, but never interrupting their rapture. One held the other to his chest as they gyrated, the other seeming to be lost in the smell and sweat of his companion on the dance floor.
That's when I thought of my way to introduce myself.
I broke out my sketch pad, the following evening, and drew them in their dancefloor embrace. I worked to find a moving version of each tattoo, wondering what the story was behind each stroke of the pen. I rolled the drawing up, tying it with a ribbon, and left it on their tarp out behind the garden in the moonlight.
I am not sure what I expected to happen. The act left me rather sleepless overnight, and I found myself wandering the grounds in my nightshirt before coffee was ready at the dining hall.
That's when I noticed a rolled piece of parchment on my car's windshield. It was tied with the same red ribbon I'd sent with the drawing. I looked around, nobody was around, the grounds were silent. How did they know my car, or who I even was? I hadn't signed the drawing. I gently opened the parchment, and written in beautiful perfect letters,
"We have been waiting for someone to really see us. Join us at our tarp at sunset, and we will reveal who we are to you. If you love and get hurt, love more, if you love more and hurt more, love even more, if you love even more and get hurt even more, love until it hurts no more.
Do not be afraid of the shadows, it means there is a light nearby."