Once there was a child born blurry. The midwife gasped in surprise. She rubbed her eyes. The child’s skin shimmered like a reflection on the surface of the lake on the edge of the village. The midwife couldn’t understand the sight, but the child cried out when she poked it. It seemed — by all other accounts — a normal infant.
“It’s a girl,” the midwife said, placing the child in its mother’s arms.
“Will the blurriness go away?” the girl’s parents asked. “Is there something wrong with her?”
The midwife shook her head, knowing little else than what her trade called for. She packed up her blood-soaked cloths and bowls and went home. News spread that there was something odd about the newborn child. Doctors traveled from neighboring villages to discover what manner of disease she might have. They examined the girl’s skin, collected drops of her blood, and peered into her eyes.
“She’s healthy,” they decided, a bit let down.
“But can she be cured?” her parents asked. “What can we do?”
The doctors shook their heads, knowing little else besides their tinctures and poultices. They gathered their tools and jars and went home. News spread that there was nothing physically wrong with the child. The priests came to learn what demonic affliction might have befallen the girl. They burned incense that fogged the house, making the family cough and their eyes burn. The priests chanted prayers to draw out the dark spirits, calling on God and his holy angels for help. They inspected the child’s eyes and ears and nose and mouth, but no demons appeared.
“There is no evil here,” the priests said, a little disappointed.
“But will she always be this way?” her parents asked. “Is there anything that might help?”
The priests shook their heads, knowing little beyond Scriptures and old hymns. They collected their incense burners and Bibles and went home. The blurry girl’s mother and father looked at each other. They swallowed the questions leaping off their tongues. There was no one left to ask and besides, the girl seemed — by all other accounts — a normal baby girl. They named her Aster after the flowers that grew in the garden.
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