Sarafina had trouble sleeping that night. Not only the fact that, once again, she had been passed over in her season, but the sight of other mothers cuddling their cubs wrenched her heart from her chest. She longed for the feeling of a tiny warm body huddled close to her, to kiss away the child’s tears, to nuzzle her own little son or daughter. To hear the words, “I love you, Mom.”
She spent time with the other cubs in the pride. Often, she offered to babysit so the mother could grab a drink from the water hole or participate in the hunt. But it… it just lacked in something. The time she spent talking to the cubs and playing games was wonderful, but in the end, she always would give them up to their mother.
Sarafina pondered all this as she lay on her back, alone at the edge of the water hole. Night had taken over the skies, and the great Kings of the Past were one by one taking their places in the heavens. She looked up and counted all the ones she knew, and sighed unhappily. “When I die,” she said aloud, “I’ll have no one to look down on and watch over. I’ll have no children of my own to wait for in the stars.”
She sobbed softly. “I’ll be all alone forever.” She rolled onto her stomach and wept into her paws. “Right now, my son could come to me and ask what was wrong… My daughter would come and comfort me… But they will never happen.” she thought. “I’m destined to die alone.” She began to wail, her heart pouring out in tears that ran down her cheeks and soaked the fur.
Suddenly, the water hole was immersed in a warm radiant glow. The light penetrated Sarafina’s paws and she raised her head. All about her, the land was as bright as day, even though she remembered watching the sunset hours ago. She gazed about and saw the source of the light. It had no form, and it seemed to hover above the ground. Sarafina stared straight at the light, without fear. It did not hurt her eyes, even though it was much brighter than the sun itself. She knew at once that the light was Aiheu Himself.
The light began to move towards her. It floated efforleesly above the tall grasses, stirring them slightly. A warm wind picked up and caressed Sarafina, and she purred at its touch. The light advanced, and Sarafina followed it with unblinking eyes as it approached her. She purred loudly as the warmth of the light and the wind reminded her of sleeping with a past lover, his presence warming both her body and heart.
The light stopped and hovered just above Sarafina. She gazed into its brilliance and spoke not a word, but her blue-green eyes begged the light for a miracle. She need not have asked. It descended upon her, enveloping her body with its shimmering glow. An unfathomable pleasure permeated Sarafina, and she arched her back and called out in ecstacy. Her entire body shuddered as the feeling overtook her, and she slumped back against the ground, purring happily in the presence of her Lord.
The sun rose, and the warm rays pried open Sarafina’s eyes. The glare from the light hurt her, and she quickly sealed her lids as she rolled to her stomach. She grunted softly as a slight feeling of discomfort rippled through her belly. “I’d better lay off the antelope for a while,” she said, chuckling to herself. She rose with a bit of difficulty and walked the few steps to the edge of the cistern. She lowered her and lapped up a few sips of water to quench her early morning thirst. But when she looked up from her drink, she noticed that the sun was well on its way to tree-tall. She had slept most of the morning away.
Sarafina sighed. “They’ll all be worried sick about me at Pride Rock,” she thought. She looked once more to the water and gazed into her own reflection before leaving. Something caught her eye, however, and she leaned closer to the water to gaze closer. Her creamy face was reflected perfectly in the glassy water, and she stared wordlessly as her reflection stared back. She gazed into her own eyes, and there in her reflection she saw her eyes glimmer in their own inner light.
She gasped and covered her mouth with a paw. Quickly, she sat bolt upright and placed her free paw on her stomach. She gazed down into the water hole once more, and sure enough, she had the light in her eyes. The events of the previous night came flooding back to her, and she closed her eyes, remembering the light, and how it had encased her in happiness. She then understood, and offered a silent prayer to Aiheu.
She stood, and began to make her way towards Pride Rock. And as she left, she gazed up to the sky and whispered, “Aiheu abamami. Thank you, my Lord.”