My real name 3
It felt like an eternity that I stared into the mirror. Who was this woman in the mirror? Why was she dressed like me? Why did she move when I moved? Why was I not her? My blood boiled when I realized her small delicate hands were not my own. I never wanted to destroy someone more in my life. By the Gods did I try. No matter how I struck the mirror it refused to stay broken. It reforged itself with every piece of glass, every piece of wood and splinter. When I could not destroy the mirror I turned my rage upon the rest of the room. Sitting in the remains of the destroyed room I wondered if this is how Aletheia felt. That accursed mirror haunted my mind while I had to live with the truth of what I was.
I took my shield, a spoil of battle, and placed the now wrapped mirror in the duffle as best I could and made my way back to Griffith's apartment. The words of my mother filled my mind like an errant mist as that woman plagued me. "A warrior does not hide from the truth. A warrior embraces it and stands tall." What did it mean? I accepted the truth long ago. The truth cannot change. Can it?
Griffith was asleep when I returned but I was not about to wait until morning. I found an odd satisfaction when I smashed the mirror upon his floor, shaking him awake. In an instant, he was out of bed holding a dagger. "I see you have not forgotten everything it means to be a warrior." I don't know why it felt so good to torment him.
"Fucking hell, Prince." He sighed sitting back on his soft bed. "You don't know what it means to be a warrior."
"I know a warrior does not hide in an ivory tower while people suffer! I know a warrior does not abandon his people!" I thought back to the room in Aletheia's cave.
"You mean like you did?"
"I..I did not abandon them." I do not know what angered me more, that he was so calm in the wake of my rage or that he was right. "I found something strange." I pointed at the mirror which had already reforged itself as I sat upon his bed.
Griffith unwrapped the foul thing and I turned away from it not wanting to see its lies again. "What? It's a mirror."
"It is no ordinary mirror." I spat sharply. "When Aletheia looked in it she changed."
"She was your monster. She...did what she had to to survive."
"You killed a God?"
"No! That so-called mirror did. She feared it!"
"How? I mean, I am great and all, but I'm not stronger than a God and this thing hasn't killed me."
"When I looked into it, it showed me..something. I think maybe that is what killed her."
"Lucky." Griffith sat the mirror on top of a small bookshelf before sitting down next to me.
"Show me the woman."
"Why not? The big brave amazon wouldn't be scared would he?"
"I am not an amazon!" I shouted finally looking at that blasted mirror. "Please," I begged. "I can not look at her again. It hurts too much."
He left into the walk-in closet before quickly returning carrying a tie. "I have to see this woman but you don't."
With my eyes covered Griffith took my hand and lead me to the mirror. I shut my eyes tight as I neared the mirror once more. I could not look at her once more and see how wonderful and beautiful she was. "Wow," Griffith said in a hushed breath, clearly seeing her.
"You see her?"
"Yeah, she's amazing." He was silent for several minutes.
"Griffith?" What if he turned to ash like Aletheia?
As I reached for the tie I heard his voice once again. "I'm here. I don't feel anything."
"What are you talking about?"
"I mean, I don't feel like I'm dying or hurt. Other than I think I'm in love I don't feel anything." I felt him move my hand around, clearly finally catching on to the fact she moved as I did. "Amazing. She's even wearing the tie."
I walked away tearing the tie from my face and resumed sitting on his bed. "Then it must be me she is after. Perhaps this is what she did to Aletheia. She drove her to madness. Made her into a monster. What will she turn me into?"
"Look," he sighed wearily. "you're tired, I'm tired. We're not going to get any more answers tonight. Go to sleep, try to rest and we'll discuss it tomorrow. Or, later rather."
I was awakened by the sound of a large thud right by my head. Instinctively I kicked at my attacker, only to have my foot caught in Griffith's hand. "Payback's a bitch, huh?"
"You son of a goat!"
"Yeah well same to you." Griffith moved my foot away and sat next to me, picking up the source of the noise, a very large book. "Turns out there's a lot of legends when it comes to mirrors." He flipped the book open to a page he had marked. "You've heard about vampires? Of course not. One legend says the reason they don't have a reflection is that they have no soul, and a mirror reflects a person's soul."
"So this woman's soul is possessing me?"
Griffith ran his fingers through his uncombed hair. "That's one way to look at it."
"And the other?"
"Why does it hurt to look at her?"
"I do not know."
"You must have some idea."
"I really do not."
Griffith held a small mirror in his hand up to my face. My own face stared back at me. I don't know which reflection I hated more. "I checked before you woke up. If it was just a case of being possessed by some beautiful woman that we could see in a mirror we could see it in any mirror."
"Clearly it is a magic mirror."
"It is actually." He turned the pages to another section of the book he had marked. "So Aletheia is, was, the Goddess of truth and supposedly she had a magic mirror that showed the truth to all who looked into it."
"But she had it covered, so clearly-"
"So did you."
"Because of that woman!"
"Aletheia covered the mirror because she didn't like what she saw."
"Right, the woman."
"No, the truth. She was eating people."
I stood and walked towards the large windows. "You do not know what you are talking about."
"The mirror shows the truth no matter how ugly or how much you hate it. Aletheia hid from it because it reminded her of what she had become. A monster."
"You are wrong."
"A warrior doesn't hide from the truth. A warrior embraces it and stands tall!"
"How dare you? I accepted the truth a long time ago. I did not hide from it."
"Accepted what truth?" Griffith stood.
"That I am not a-an amazon."
"Why is that?"
"You know why."
"Why aren't you an amazon?"
"Because I am not a woman!"
"And that's the truth?"
"Of course it is. Look at me."
"You accepted it?" he stepped closer to me.
"Then look in the mirror." He was barely a foot away now.
"Why not?" My breath became shallower as I tried to focus.
"What are you twelve?"
"Answer me. Why don't you want to look in the mirror?"
"I already told you. It hurts."
"What kind of hurt?"
"What do you mean?"
"There is all manner of hurt, physical, emotional, mental. What kind of hurt?"
"I do not know."
"Look at the mirror and maybe you'll be able to describe it." He grabbed my hand and pulled me to his bedroom. To the mirror.
"No!" I tore my hand free. "It hurts to even think about."
I patted my chest, trying to catch my breath. "If I look at her again.."
"Her? Not the mirror?"
"Yes, her! She is so beautiful and happy and a true amazon. Everything I am not no matter how hard I wish I were!"
"You wished you were an amazon or you wished you were a woman?"
"What does it matter?"
"One is the truth and one is not."
"If you could be given one wish right now would you wish to be an amazon or wish to be her?"
"I..There is no point to-"
"Don't give me that! You live in a world with Gods and magic, and Gods who bring people to life out of clay. So don't lie to me and say you don't-"
"Of course I would! I wished for years, pledged my eternal servitude to any God that would fix me but none came!" I thought I would feel better when I finally said it out loud. Only I felt like the same sobbing little boy on bended knee in Hera's temple. "I accepted the truth that this is the way the Gods made me."
"Is it the truth?"
"Look at me, of course it is."
Griffith walked away sitting back on the couch. "There are truths and then there are truths. You were born male for true, but you are not male."
"You realize those two statements contradict one another, yes?"
"You'll find that happens a lot." Griffith ran his finger over his phone. "If you were all alone on that island and no one mocked you for being male, no amazons, no one saying you couldn't be an amazon because of what's between your legs...would you still wish to be a girl?"
The thought of running along the beaches of Themyscira as a girl filled me with the same happiness I felt looking into the mirror. "..I would." But like the mirror, reality came crashing back in and I was left with a deep sadness.
"There is someone I want you to speak to. A doctor."
"I am not ill."
Griffith furiously ran his hands through his hair once again. "It's not that simple. She's not that kind of doctor. She specializes in cases like yours."
"How do you know this doctor?"
"I don't just sit in my ivory tower you know. I'm what's known as a philanthropist. I get rich people to donate their money to worthy causes and approached me a few years ago, she handles veterans who..wanted to lose themselves in battle, to switch off and be a weapon."
"I will speak with her." I turned back to face the city once more. I wanted to be lost in that city so bad. To 'switch off and be a weapon'.
The rest of the morning went by quickly, I showered and shaved and sure enough, she was not there in the mirror. Strangely I missed her but I dared not look at Aletheia's mirror. On the way, Griffith gave me my phone. I knew somewhat of how the technology worked from my studies my first night and it seemed not only to be a useful tool but a standard for everyone who was part of the world to have. The first thing I did was enter Clark's number into my phone. I briefly wanted to call him but what would I say? I looked around the train car and wondered how relationships work. In Themyscira it was simple, you approach a beautiful girl, compliment her sword technique or her skill with a bow and if she were interested she would offer a personal sparring session. I did not know much about man's world but I felt it did not work this way here.
"How do you make your money?" It was easier to pester Griffith with questions than it was myself.
"I am a highly skilled warrior."
"So your sword's allegiance is to gold?"
"A mercenary? You wound me Amazon, no. There's an entire city built on gambling money on games of chance and sport. I sold what little gold I had for a nice bit of cash, found a fight and bet on the outcome. When I won I did it again, and again, and so on until I had a nice little fortune. Met a nice soldier who did what I do and taught me everything else I needed to know."
He smiled, but I could see the pain behind his eyes. "What happened?"
He faked a smile before looking at me again. "Our stop is coming up." He stood, clutching onto the pole as the train came to a stop. "A few things though, she'll only speak with you alone."
"It's called patient, doctor confidentiality. She won't tell anyone what you say or else she'll lose her license and prohibited from practicing." Griffith could see the look of concern on my face and pulled me closer through the crowd of travelers as we left the tunnel leaving out into the street. "It's to ensure your safety. You can look up rights on your phone later. In that same vein, I told her you were a runaway that I found on the street."
"That's the truth though."
"Yeah, but not the whole truth. Most people aren't ready for someone like you."
"So, I should not tell her the truth?"
"Yes, just not the whole truth. I told you, it's complicated."
Inside 's office was warm and welcoming. I could see why people felt safe opening up to her. Perhaps that was by design. "So." She opened a folder and gave it a strange look. "You're name is Prince?"
"That..is what everyone calls me."
"Well, what do you call yourself?"
"I had not thought about it."
"That's fine." She made some notes in her folder. "Names are tough, sometimes they feel right for a while then they don't. Why don't you start with what brings you here today?"
She smirked, "He's a great man. I understand he's allowing you to live with him?"
"Did he tell you what it is I do?"
"You help soldiers who want to 'check out and become a weapon'."
"I have heard some describe it that way, yes. But why do you think you're here? Do you feel like checking out and being a weapon?"
"Sometimes. I think it would be easier."
"Easier than what?"
"In what way?"
I shuddered, a warrior was not supposed to complain, but I was expected to bare my soul to this woman. "I wish I were a girl." I scoffed, it honestly sounded so stupid to say out loud. "Gods it is so stupid," I mumble under my breath. "Griffith said you could help me switch off."
Her brow furrowed and she set her pen aside, "I think you may have misunderstood. Switching off is the opposite of what I do for patients like you."
"What do you do?"
"Well, I evaluate your situation and give you the tools to handle your situation."
"Why can I not just be empty? It would be better." The pain I felt reminded me why it was better to be empty.
"What about what makes you happy? Would you give that up?"
I thought of my mother, the nights she spent telling me tales of legendary heroes and of the Gods. Training with my aunt. Hunting in the forests. Laying on the beach with Mala, the only one who was my friend. My first kiss. Clark. Griffith, as much as he annoyed me I liked him. "I do not believe I could."
"So, what would make you happy?"
She very obviously did not seem to like my response. "Now, that's a good ideal to have, but what would make you personally happy?"
"I had..a, uh, dream, and I saw this girl in the mirror and she was simply wonderful. She was everything I wanted to be. It made me happy until I woke up and it was worse than before. Because I saw what I wanted more than anything."
We spoke for a long while, according to my phone thirty-five minutes, she asked about my family and childhood and I answered vaguely enough even though it pained me to lie. Amazons were not one to lie, although I could see why the truth me more harm than good. Perhaps that is what killed Aletheia. If the mirror showed her the truth...then why did it show me a lie? It was obviously a lie because I am a male. I began to get frustrated and angry. I should be finding out more about the mirror, not in this woman's office talking about myself. "I have to go," I said suddenly.
"Is something the matter?"
"I do not wish to do this."
"Talk. I should be doing something, not just talking about unimportant things. I am supposed to be a warrior."
"Talking can be very effective if done correctly. And what makes you believe it's unimportant?" I stood and walked to the door. "If you want to leave I won't stop you, but a warrior faces what he fears, even if yourself."
"What makes you think I am afraid of myself?" I tightened my grip around the brittle copper doorknob.
She seemed more relaxed as she spoke, "Plenty of people are afraid to look within and truly know themselves. It can be very daunting."
"I am not afraid of myself."
"Then why are you leaving?"
"Because nothing will come of it."
"Come of what?"
"Me." I released the door.
"Let me ask you this, Where do you see yourself in five years."
"On the battlefield."
"Fighting of course."
"And after the battle?"
"Train for the next one."
"When does it end?"
"It never ends. Millennia of war and it has never ended, not for mortals or Gods." I did not need to turn around to know she was scribbling in her notepad.
"Soldiers, warriors, fight for the ones back home usually. Do you have anyone now?"
I thought of Clark and mother, and even Griffith, but I would not say I have them. No matter how close I get to any of them there would always be this deep chasm separating us. Separating me from the rest of the world. "No." It struck me how utterly alone I was for perhaps the first time.
"Tell me this, this girl in the mirror. What do you think she would do after the battle's won?"
I did not have to think what she would do because I had imagined it all my life. She would go home to family, swap stories like all other amazons. She would have friends and a family and happiness. And I hated her for it. "A sword, that is all I am. My wants and feelings do not matter. I should never have come here. I wish the Gods had sunk my ship in the ocean. I am sorry for wasting your time." Before she could respond I walked out the door down the long corridor to the lobby where Griffith awaited me.
"So, how'd it go?"
"Find me something to hit."