Oh, shopping. How thou dost inspire me.
But seriously. I wanted to do another of these before the start of semester on Tuesday, but I couldn't work up the motivation until I got to the nail salon. It was then that my fingers started itching to type, just as I caught a glimpse of a little stone replica of a Greek statue. It was a woman with a man kneeling at her feet, like he was proposing. And POP! Idea. Of course, I had to wait for the paint to dry to type in ideas on my phone.
So, thank upcoming semester and the shopping/manicure combo for this:) I plan to do Orpheus and Eurydice next, and eventually Cupid and Psyche. If people are still enjoying by then, maybe Narcissus and Echo… if I can get it to work?
Check out a similar story I did, called "The Hunter and the Huntress"… the story of Orion, only Sess/Kag!
If you're reading on IYFF or FFNet, just click my penname and the link to the story will be on my page.
This is another where I'm more inclined to leave out their Japanese names and just give the characters of the real myth their personalities and such. Though I think this is a bit OOC. Oh well.
Standard disclaimer applies!
She was perfect. To me, she was everything that a woman should be. I knew it was absurd, the sort of thing a fool would do.
But I couldn't help it. I would let no one tell me that I was wrong, that she was not perfection set in purest ivory. I soon found that the rebukes of others would not be a problem, however, for I told no one about my secret love.
I created her. I, the Sculptor of Cyprus, carved the epitome of a woman by my own hand. And I found that she meant more to me than any woman of flesh and blood.
This was certainly not my intention. I did not sit down one day and decide to carve a woman to love from a giant lump of ivory.
It was one of those things that just happened.
I had spent another day watching those poor wretches, poor excuses for women groveling on the streets. They solicited customers without a hint of remorse, not a shred of disgust for their own profession.
They were the Propoetides, women of no respect or standing. These females – for I shall not call them women – had been cast down into their current state by the goddess Aphrodite. They had committed horrid acts of blasphemy, earning the wrath of the goddess of love. The Propoetides denied the divinity of Aphrodite, going so far as to even make little of her beauty, to mock her husband Hephaestus and lover Ares.
Enraged, Aphrodite stole from them their dignity and beauty, cursing them never to love. They were made to be the most commonly used whores of Cyprus. Just the sight of them, their boys' tunics hiked up to well above their knees to show off their 'wares' was enough to disgust me. I found the bile rising in my throat when they were near. I avoided walking past these women, for they seemed little more than scum. They lacked the things that I held most dear: respect, dignity, and honor.
It was after my first encounter with these used husks charading as members of the fairer sex that I began to see the flaws of others.
My suddenly clearer vision did not apply only to females; I saw through the facades projected by men and women alike. This was when I lost my taste for humanity, preferring instead to keep to myself, avoiding relationships at all costs. I threw myself into my art and denied myself the pleasures of the flesh. I did not want to be taken in by a deceptive woman only to find later that she was not who she portrayed herself to be.
Sculpting became my life. I have no words to describe the joy, the utter satisfaction of watching pure alabaster stone come to life beneath my hands. I created things, I gave birth to everlasting beauty carved in shining stone. Every morning I would rise to greet the dawn, rushing to break my fast so that I may finally tie back my long hair, reach for my tools, and begin work on a new piece of life.
Every day was my own little adventure. I was always wondering what I would come up with next. I never planned out what I would sculpt; the final product was just as much of a surprise to me as it was to anyone else. My deft fingers flew over my medium, trimming a bit here, sanding here, lopping off a large chunk here.
Then came the day, many months after I had sworn to never become involved with a deceitful woman, that I made her. I gave life to a beautiful woman of ivory.
I once more found myself stunned by the outcome. What had prompted me to sculpt this? Had I not risen to a place above the need of a man for a woman?
Apparently not. Because there she stood, kind, sightless eyes staring into mine. For a split second I caught myself wishing she were real, wishing she were made of flesh and blood, wishing that she had a pulse and warmth.
But not to worry. I caught myself and scoffed inwardly at the idea.
Life went on, much as it always had. For some reason I could not (or perhaps, would not) explain, the statue of the woman was not moved to the storeroom with all of my other creations. She sat there silently, gazing upon me as I worked. Her eyes seemed to follow me, as if they admired the way my hands flew over the stone as I tamed it, as it took the shape I desired.
Nothing changed. Nothing was different. My routine was the same. The only addition was the statue, watching my every move. Each day before I set to work, I would polish any dust from her pale ivory body. And each day after my work was finished and a fine layer of grit coated everything in the room, I would give her another gentle sweep with a cleaning rag.
I often mused to myself about this seeming presence, albeit completely silent and unmoving, that had invaded my home.
I would occasionally stop in my work to gaze upon her. She was perfection. I suppose that should have been more of a boast concerning my own ego, but it quickly turned into a compliment for her.
Still, there could be found no flaws with my statue. She had curves in all of the right places, though she still retained a slender body type. Her legs seemed long enough to span a mile. I pictured her with inky black hair that sparkled in the sun to complement her ivory skin. An almond-shaped pair of bright blue eyes stared back in my imagination, so like the clear night sky that it was a surprise to find no stars twinkling deep within them.
It was when I had her appearance thoroughly mapped out in my mind that I came to a full realization about just how childish I was being, playing with imaginary friends. She was a bit of ivory, nothing more. This assurance calmed my mind and I was thankful, though at the same time it felt like a denial.
Truth be told, she didn't seem like ivory. She didn't have the cold, detached quality that most statues have. She always had a fond look upon her face, the slightest hint of a smile turning up the corners of her generous mouth, her full bottom lip in a perpetual pout. I always sensed life from her. It was like she would suddenly jerk into the movements of a stretch, giving a little sigh of satisfaction at the way it made her weary bones feel after so much time unmoving. All of the times I had company, I expected her to chime in with a light tinkle of laughter at a bit of witty humor.
As laughable as I knew all of this was, I wasn't laughing. She just seemed so real. I mentally berated myself every morning as I tended her, speaking the occasional thought aloud as if waiting for her approval.
This statue of mine would have made a rather pleasant companion, I decided with a tinge of wry humor. She was quiet and listened attentively. If I came across a woman that had such an amazing capacity to refrain from interrupting me in my work, well then I may not have been quite so hesitant to enter into a relationship.
Though she was made of unyielding ivory, she fit perfectly into my little world as though she had bent herself around my needs.
My lowest point came on an ordinary day, nothing out of the norm expected.
I was very famous among the people of Cyprus. I indulged in an admittance of skill, yes, I was an incomparable artist. My works were the best to be found. It was a simple truth, not a boastful statement on my part.
On this particular day, I had sold a carving of a great animal, one of the beasts they brought from Africa. It had wrinkled grey skin and large flopping ears, its girth more than I thought possible.
The man I sold to was one of the rich; he had been buying from me for quite some time, sure to show up as soon as I finished rendering one of these sorts of animals into my chosen medium. He said he was building a stone menagerie, and while I lifted an inquiring eyebrow at his declaration in my mind, I did not tell him I thought this venture pointless. He was a high-paying customer; if he wanted to waste his family's money on silly whims, so be it.
This man had brought with him many servants to cart his purchase back to his home. I counted his currency and, when all seemed to be in order, I turned and left him to it. Before I could make it all the way back into my home, however, he was calling me back to him. I didn't wish to torment myself with the presence of this addle-brained man any longer than completely necessary, but business is business. And business generally involves refraining from offending one of your most frequent customers.
We stood together and watched his purchase being carted away for a while in silence, but then he turned to me. He reached into the purse at his side and pulled out a long string of the most perfect pearls I had ever seen.
"For you," he said, "because I appreciate your assistance in the completion of my menagerie."
He handed me the pearls and I felt their weight. They were hefty, each a pure, creamy white, approximately the size of my fingernail. Each matched the next of the strand perfectly and I realized just how much money this trinket could fetch.
"You are sure?" I asked him, only because I was always hesitant taking what did not belong to me if I had not earned it. But if he thought I had earned it, I wasn't going to argue with this bit of luck.
My patron nodded enthusiastically and gestured his farewell with a wave as he followed the cart carrying his stone beast off of my property.
I watched him go for but a moment before once again returning inside.
I went and sat in my workroom, the place that had always brought me peace throughout the years. I slid the pearls from hand to hand, enjoying the cool smoothness that met the pads of my fingers. The texture, the pure flawless beauty of them reminded me of the ivory form watching me from the corner of my workroom. I turned my gaze to her motionless figure and, without a single thought in my apparently empty head, I moved toward her and draped the rope of pearls around her neck.
I suppose this was when I had reached the point of no return. I had just gifted a statue, a decoration, with a strand of priceless pearls.
I, the Sculptor of Cyprus, was in fact, an idiot.
Days came and went, my sanity becoming gradually more and more questionable. I treated this woman as if she were real, as if we were lovers in the greatest time of our relationship.
I berated myself in my mind, but day in and day out I admired her beauty and wished only that she were alive.
Never had I heard tell of something so absurd.
I thought perhaps I needed to go out, expand my horizons a bit. And so, on the day of the festival of Aphrodite, I ventured out into the streets.
I met a few people I knew, letting them carry most of the conversation. I was never one for unnecessary words.
We wandered the streets, enjoying the festival. The smell of festival food was thick in the air, laughter and shouts ringing between buildings and through the open square. We made our way to the altar of the great goddess Aphrodite and paid our respects. We made the customary offering of food we had bought just down the street at one of the many stalls set up for just that sort of thing.
When it came my turn to offer up my respect, I found myself contemplating the idea of love. What was love? Surely it was not such a simple thing as many made it out to be; poems and stories were always touting love as being something one feels at first glance, something stemmed from an admiration of beauty. I knew this was not true for – yes, I have always been this blunt – even the most unattractive of people fell in love sometimes.
When the thought of true love came to my mind, I was a bit put off to find that she came to mind. If only there was such a woman for me as the woman I felt lived in my carved ivory.
I truly felt she lived; I was an artist. Do not all artists find life in their medium? Always I have been a carver of stone and ivory, a sculptor of clay. It was and always will be my duty to bring out the true life of the medium, making it sing and breathe and be.
And so, kneeling at the altar of the goddess of love and beauty, I made a silent plea. Too ashamed to speak such things aloud, I mentally made a request of the goddess.
I asked her to please, if there were any woman such as the one I saw in my lady of ivory, please send her to me. I rose and backed away from the altar as the burning flames honoring the goddess roared to even greater life. Many would see this as a sign that Aphrodite looked on me with favor. I knew that it was more likely a trick of the wind.
Little did I know that Aphrodite had actually heard my plea.
I would just like to say that at the part about the whores, "Two Hookers and an Eightball" by MSI came on my iTunes. Win.