…know me…don’t just see me with your eyes… Jay Asher
Looking down from his golden tower, the King surveyed his newly acquired land. With a self satisfied smirk he thought about how easy it had been to manipulate the populous into believing his lies of creating a changed country and working for the people. Fools! he thought. Fingering the solid gold coin he always kept in his pocket, he gave a cursory glance at the bell he had put up at the base of the long, steep stairs leading to his golden tower. He had to make it look as though he cared about what the people thought, so he hung a bell that could be rung if anyone needed to speak with him. But the king, being who he was, made the bell much to high to reach, rendering it useless… nothing more than mere decoration.
Getting ready to turn from the window, the sound of the bell ringing caught his attention and he quickly turned back to get a better look. Grabbing his binoculars, he scanned the stairway until he came to the last step. Standing beneath the bell stood a young woman, patiently waiting for a reply from the King. Filled with rage, his Highness leaned out the window.
“Who dares to disturb me by ringing that bell!”His bellowing voice could be heard throughout the land. So consumed by his self importance and anger over being asked to do his job, he failed to wonder how the bell was rung bye such a small person.
“My name is Gabriel your highness, and I represent the people.” Although her reply was softly spoken, the wind carried it to the King so it would be heard. “We have concerns about the choices that you are making, and how they are affecting us all. We would like to speak with you if we may”
Looking through his binoculars, he scanned the land once again, but she was the only person standing under the bell. Deciding to pay no attention to one single peasant, who in his mind was obviously confused, he layed his binoculars down and walked away. Knowing this would be the Kings response, Gabriel began to make the long journey up the very high stairs.
As she began the long climb Gabriel started to speak. Her words echoed inside his head as though she was standing beside him. Covering his ears, the King tried to silence her words, but to no avail.
“You can not run, you will not hide… We the people will be heard. I may be just one, but I am the vessel that carries the voices of the many, and we ask that you hear us.”
Running back to the window, the now terrified King stood in horror and watched as Gabriel made her way up the stairs. With each step a new voice could be heard, and Gabriel seemed to grow in size.
” … We are the children who’s only meal is lunch at school. Why do you wish to take that from us? Don’t we deserve nourishment so we can learn and grow?”
“… We are the seniors who built this country and fought for your freedom. Why do wish to take away our only source of food, and for some of us the only human contact we receive”
… We are the poor and the disabled, and even though we try to survive, you want to take away our health insurance which provides us with our only source of medical care. Why?”
…. We are the LGBTQ community. All we want are the rights we fought so hard for, and to not live in fear of violence and death just because we choose to live our truth. Why are we being punished?”
…. We are the Muslims and other religious communities being persecuted for who we choose to pray too, and being blamed for crimes we didn’t commit. Why are we not being protected?”
…We are women. We have the right to make our own decisions about what we do with our own bodies. It’s our right to choose how we protect ourselves against unwanted pregnancies and other medical issues. You have no business in our personal health choices, so why are you trying to control what we do with our bodies?”
…We are the children of immigrants who have committed no crimes. Our families work hard so we can have a chance to live a life of freedom and safety. Why are you sending us away?”
On and on the citizens spoke, and with each group of people Gabriel’s grew in size until she was greater than the Kings golden tower. As the voices finally ceased, Gabriel reached into the tower and picked up the King, who layed huddled on floor, quaking in fear.
In a single voice created from the unity of many, Gabriel spoke again.
” Know me…. don’t just see me with your eyes. Hear me… don’t just pretend to listen. You will not destroy all I have fought to achieve. I am many, yet I am one. I will fight for all that I have gained, and nothing and no one will take that away. So hear my offer… correct your mistakes and remember that you work for me. Or take your court that you have filled with demons and fools, and leave this country.”
Dropping the King onto the ground, he scurried off as fast as he could away from Gabriel. Laughing softly, she slowly began to shrink back down to her former size, waiting to see what would happen next. To no surprise, the now defeated King, left his golden castle with his unholy court, never to be seen or heard from again.
The sound of the people’s cheers reverberated throughout the country as they celebrated their defining victory. A new leader was voted upon and she ruled with fairness, strength and equality for all.
As for Gabriel, she returned to her quiet life amongst the animals and the trees, living in peace… but she kept her eyes and ears on the country she so loved, always ready to return to service should the need arise…