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Chapter Ten: The Conversation


“How came you to hear of that?” Susan hissed, looking all about her lest anyone overhear either of them. Mr and Mrs Bryant were too far away, both of them talking to an older man. Carl stood in the midst of a group of friends, holding a glass high as if making a flippant toast.

Had Carl sent Francis to test her? But, no. Carl wouldn’t want to involve another person. He’d question Susan himself or send her away. That was the sort of man Carl was.

Francis, too, searched the people around them before answering. Then whispering, Francis said, “A long while ago I heard Ji—my sister talking with your sib—some friends. I was only sneaking up on them to play a prank, but then I found myself listening.”

Susan raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t you heard that eavesdropping is a very naughty habit?”

Francis laughed loudly, causing a few people close to them to turn and smile. “That’s only true if you’re caught—I’ve never been caught at any of my antics.”

Somehow his laughter eased Susan’s weary spirit a little, and she smiled.

Francis continued, “I noticed something different about my sister after she became friends with your cousin. I don’t know how to describe it, but it wasn’t the sort of normal difference that comes over a girl when she falls for a boy. Jill was more … confident? No, that’s not the word. She was much more than just that. My parents just thought her change was due to infatuation. But I knew that was impossible, because she was happy even when things went wrong, and Eustace wasn’t able to be around. She wasn’t stuck in some girlish dream world of fashion and lipstick, but seemed solid and sure about life. And she nearly drove all of us insane talking about God all the time.”

Susan picked at the tucks in her skirt. “You think this is because of Narnia?”

“Partly,” Francis said. “But I think it’s much deeper than just the place. As if she learned something very important there, and that knowledge is what changed her. I always wanted to ask her, but felt foolish whenever I tried. And now it’s too late—except you. I know that they said you had been there, too. Please, won’t you tell me anything? I feel as if I must know of this place.”

Susan swallowed away her surprise and searched out for Carl. It took several long seconds to find him because he’d moved on to a new group of friends. But he was still too far to hear them talking. And he didn’t even seem aware that they were talking. Carl was completely oblivious to her.

“To believe in Narnia is pure insanity,” Susan answered at last. “Such a place is impossible.”

Francis retorted, “To believe in anything might be risking the mind—yet we must believe or surely give in to insanity altogether.”

Susan didn’t wish to argue, especially when her own mind felt ready to break if she didn’t agree. So she said nothing. And the silence grew longer until she thought Francis might get up and leave out of concession.

“I just want to know if there’s a way I can get there … I want to see this world.”

“It won’t bring Jill back,” Susan said, knowing it was mean, but unable to keep the words inside.

“I know,” Francis sighed. “But maybe it would help me understand it all better. And I really want to understand.”

Susan murmured, “I already tried to go back. Of course, He did tell me that I would never be able to return to Narnia. Still, the way I tried should have at least taken me to the wood—”

“The wood?” Francis asked.

“It’s a sort of world between worlds that leads me to all the rest. But I couldn’t get there.”

“Ah, I see,” Francis said.

“As I said, it didn’t work. I don’t think we are allowed to go back to Narnia—any of us on Earth—anymore. I don’t think Aslan wants that anymore.”

“Aslan? He must be God, just another name? The way Jill spoke of Him.” Francis’ golden eyes lit with excitement as if this were the real reason he was asking about Narnia.

And maybe it was, Susan thought.

“You believe in God?” Susan asked.

“Of course. How else could I believe in Narnia’s existence?” Francis said.

Susan had no reply for him. But his words provoked her thoughts and memories.

“You don’t believe?” Francis gasped quietly.

“I … In what way do you mean?” She asked.

“In any of it?”

“I … I do believe. I just don't want to.” Susan twisted her fingers around each other, then she pressed her fists into her stomach. It felt as if she were confessing, but not so much to Francis as to herself. “I want to believe again—but it’s hard to remember how when all I feel is rejection by God.”

“Ah, I see,” Francis said.

But did he see?

“Please, don’t take this wrong, Miss Pevensie, but normally, if we feel rejected by God, it’s because we have first rejected him.”

Susan’s stomach burned. How was she supposed to take something like that? He didn’t understand. He had no right to scold her—she had only ever done what Aslan had asked of her, and then He’d rewarded her by sending her back to Earth, confused and with no hope of returning.

But then Susan’s own memories scolded her, too. Yes, she had loved Aslan. But the pleasures of this Earth had always beckoned, and to forget everything of Narnia had been very easy.

Was it true, what Francis said? Had Aslan truly not rejected her, but she Him?

“I’m sorry,” Francis said. “That was harsh of me.”

“Don’t be,” Susan said. “You … you might be correct.”

A new group of people entered the room, but Susan hardly noticed them.

“I’m sorry,” Francis said again. “But thank you for speaking with me.”

Susan nodded.

“I see my fianceè is here now, so I better go meet her.” Francis rose as he spoke.

Francis’s words struck Susan. What was left of her heart, which seemed very little in her pained chest, ruptured further. Susan shifted guilty. She had no right to be sorry over Francis. He was a good man that deserved a woman better than she was. That she’d even think such things when she had Carl showed how far she had fallen.

Queen Susan of the Horn would never have been so flippant with men, so disloyal.

“Oh, you’re engaged?” Susan blushed deeply as she choked over her words.

But Francis was looking away toward a young woman, and so did not see Susan’s blunder. “Yes. She’s very much like my sister, passionately kind. I’ll make sure to introduce the two of you sometime this evening.”

“I’d love that,” Susan said honestly.

As Francis walked away, it was as if Susan had lost something very great, something that had never been hers. Something that might have been hers if she had chosen differently as a young girl.

She should not regret—but then, how could she not?

If only she had remained a true friend of Narnia.

But Susan stubbornly decided that, just because she had lost everything, it didn’t mean it was too late for her. Aslan still called out to her. She would answer. She would let her time with Francis be enough, for he had helped her see that remembering her child-like faith was good.

🎕🎕🎕🎕🎕

After Carl had dropped Susan off at her home, and she had hung up her coat and purse, Susan went to her room and removed her heels and stockings. But before she could finish undressing for bed, a pile of opened letters with a key on top of them caught her eyes—the key to Professor Kirke’s cottage.

She hadn’t hardly thought about it since she’d received it weeks ago.

But suddenly, as if someone else had placed the desire and fear in her, Susan knew that she must get away.

Talk of being sent to an asylum had only increased, and her nights were filled with very real nightmares of Carl dragging her away and locking her up forever. Maybe the Professor’s house might offer the sanctuary she needed for a time.

What do you think Francis meant when he said he couldn't believe in Narnia without having first believed in God? Do you think Francis was too harsh with Susan? Were you stunned when you saw he is engaged . . . and what are your thoughts on that? Do you think Susan was awful for nearly having fell for him while she was still with Carl? 
Do you think it's good that Susan is going to get away for a short time? 

Links will be available when posts are published. 
A new installment will be posted the first Monday of every month: 
Prologue: Polly and Digory
Chapter One: The Mirror
Chapter Two: The Church
Chapter Three: The Friends
Chapter Four: The Party
Chapter Five: The Book
Chapter Six: The Hospital
Chapter Seven: The Kiss
Chapter Eight: The Dinner
Chapter Nine: The Rings
Chapter Eleven: The Cottage
Chapter Twelve: The Train
AFTERWARD: Why I Wrote Susan Of Narnia 

Comments

  1. Oh this one is really deep. I hope she goes to the cottage.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Somehow I missed last month's chapter?? But I love that one and this chapter. :D I love Francis' excitement about Narnia and God. Maybe that's what Susan needs to see, especially in someone who lost someone too.

    I can't wait to see what happens when she goes to the Professor's house. :D

    Also... I just noticed there are only two chapters left?? Whaat :o I can't believe we've already come this far!

    theonesthatreallymatter.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Francis was seriously so fun to write ;) Certainly what Susan needs. Yes, only two chapters! I can hardly believe it myself ;) Thanks!

      Delete
  3. "“Please, don’t take this wrong, Miss Pevensie, but normally, if we feel rejected by God, it’s because we have first rejected him.”" <---- So true! Ah, this chapter was so good. I hope that Francis and Susan can become friends, and I'm so glad that he talked to her!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried to sneak in a bit of theology for sure ;) And yes, Francis is the sort of friend everyone needs. Thanks!

      Delete

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