"Who are you? Is it you?" I asked the sleeping figure, floating inside a cloud of liquid nitrogen, her face the paleness of death, her dark hair hanging down, low, beyond her suspended body, her hands by her sides... how could the hands be at her side and her hair flow down, I asked myself loudly, expecting her to answer.
"You like physics, I hate it... you answer this question..." her pale lips hardly moving, her eyes closed.
"You like chemistry..." I countered, speaking softly close to her ear, afraid her frozen body would shatter into single molecules under the impact of my voice waves... "...so maybe the answer lies in nitrogen's chemistry wonders..."
She did not answer right away, and I was not sure she was alive. Maybe I had imagined this exchange between us. We were isolated from the world, a transparent castle surrounding us, a frozen forest I passed through on my way here leaving damp traces on the ground - transparent as well. She was dressed in a black robe, modestly covering her body from neck to ankles, her feet bare... I felt a sudden, terrible twinge to tickle the soles of her feet then run away like some stupid kid. Then remembered the nitrogen, the brittle flesh, the sudden impulse to laugh she may have had if she was alive followed by imminent explosion and death. It took me so long to find her, to reach her, I could not risk losing her now.
She talked... how could absolutely frozen lips move?... something may have warmed them to blushing pale scarlet...
"I am supposed to be a sleeping princess and only a prince could kiss me awake. I wanted to sleep for a full year. Or more. Silent. You are not a prince, why did you wake me up with words?" Her closed left eye got a sparkling glow accumulating at its left corner, and a pearly perfectly round blob of liquid nitrogen slid down to the floor. Followed by another one, then another one... evaporating in thin rainbows as they hit the transparent tiles... where did the light come from, I wondered, are there nitrogen rainbows in this world, wherever this was supposed to be? I jumped back lest one drop would hit my foot and pierce right through it, afraid not for my flesh burn but for the rainbow loss.
"Princes are busy chasing the wrong princesses, princess. I am here to use my word to find your word and wake you up to beauty. And if needed use your love of chemistry and my love of physics to explain your sleep. And the hanging hair. And the hands at the sides of your body. And show you the mirror."
The rolling blobs stopped their chatter. Thin mist was rising from her mouth, the red in her lips deepening, her tiny breasts stretching against the cloth, trying to get breath inside the body.
"Do I know you?" she asked, eyes still closed, her toes stretching as a ballerina trying to find the touch of a silver gilded floor. "I knew once someone who was talking to me in riddles, and talking about mirrors..."
I dared near my fingers to hers, afraid yet... I sensed the warmth radiating from her skin to mine... I dared take hold of her hand... it did not shatter. Neither did mine burn. She raised the upper half of her body and slid down to the floor from her invisible bed. Her eyes still closed, her other hand making mystical fluid movements in the air.
"Open your eyes, will you?" I asked.
"Because I want to see their color."
She opened her eyes, transparent as clear water pools sparkling next to the mountain's source, transparent as crystal glass formed by woven moon rays.
"You cannot see my eyes color, I never told you my eyes' color."
"True, you did not. I can paint them. But then they will be mine, not yours. I will wait till you tell me."
I stood in front of her, picked up my quill and started writing with white ink on her dark robe. Signs, letters, phrases started flowing from the endless ink source onto the cloth, staining it with white shapes, forms... she shivered as the wet liquid soaked through and tiny rivulets formed on her skin dripping down to her ankles.
"What are you doing?" she asked in genuine wonder.
"Changing your dress, painting it from black to white, filling it with magic..."
"Magic? Who gave you magic? For me?..."
"Magic, elves' magic and words and runes. You taught me this magic, you claimed you found it in Tolkien's books. Everybody thought these are fairy stories... you were right, there is real magic there. I found it. Now I speak it, I write it, I paint you in it, I turn you into magic. Till your robe will bathe into it, and your skin will drown into it and you turn into the white of love."
"Why white, I always thought love stories are pink?"
"That's why they are called 'stories'. We talk here reality. Beauty, innocence. White."
Those transparent eyes were fixing me with their stare, unreadable, yet so intense...
"One day I will tell you the color of my eyes. When you are ready."
"One day I will show you the mirror. When you are ready."
"When will I be ready? When you finish writing me white?"
"I am but a tool, all I do is helping you see reality. I paint reality for you, white, beauty, innocence..."
"You keep using these words - innocence, beauty, white... why? Does it have something to do with me?"
"It has everything to do with you. When you will not ask this question anymore then I will know you are ready for the mirror. Because then you are ready for reality. Let's go."
She closed her fingers around mine, warmth flowing both ways. I started walking.
"Where are you taking me?..." and as we advanced, behind us trees woke up into green, flowers into red, birds into song.
"Back to your world, there where so many princes are looking for you..."