I have just recently read the Tale of Eros and Psyche. It captured my imagination so I have to write about it. It's one of the few Greek myths that has a happy ending, plus it is probably the soul reason why we have our famous Disney princesses today, plus the female protagonist is kick-ass! We're going to pretend that the Greek gods are the main religion of today, because this makes it easier to write.
What would the world do if I spontaneously disappeared? Would the world stand in shock and horror at my departure? Or would it smile about my loss? Some people would know the answer to that question. But me? …I am not sure. People act…strange around me. They seem in awe of me, yet they do not come any closer. I don't know why.
I know I am pretty. And trust me; I use it to my advantage. But sometimes I think I'm too beautiful. There have been instances of boys throwing themselves at me. And I mean that literally. Throwing. They tackle into me while no one is around and push me up against a wall so I can't escape. They mutter things like 'so beautiful' and 'mine', while kissing, biting and licking my skin, their fingers grappling with my clothes before I wriggle away and run like the wind. I have never been on a date, ever. I don't want to risk it. Other girls don't quite understand, but I don't expect them to. They never get bruises from boyish hands.
I stare at the whiteboard in Classical Civilisation, waiting for Mrs Perry to finish her lecture. She had to be one of the least inspiring teachers in the world. The woman needs to learn how to teach properly, I stopped listening about 5 minutes in. Her drone filtered through the musty air of the classroom brushing against my ears like a monotone lullaby. I rubbed at my itchy, tired eyes, trying to stay awake. Why was I so tired? I chewed on the inside of my cheek and focused my eyes onto Mrs. Perry's beak nose. She needs a make over. Maybe if she didn't use industrial bleach every morning to clean her face and if she changed her sack of a dress to something that resembled the 21st century, then maybe she could be passed as pretty. But she didn't, so the unfortunate masses of Athena High School had to deal with her ugly mug for every single day of purgatory.
I hate school. Really hate it. I know I shouldn't, it being one of the most exclusive schools in the country, but I can't stop hating it. Maybe it's the buildings or the people, I'm not sure which. The hulking buildings are Gothic Victorian in structure, trying to copy the easy grace of such buildings you see in pictures and failing miserably. Gargoyles leered from the towers, ivy crept up the stonework like octopus tentacles and the windows are small and let little light in. It's a place where Dracula should be hiding around the corner, ready to pounce on unsuspecting people. People like me. Other people in my school are technically not that bad. So long as I am not around. Otherwise they just act…weird. The boys stare and stare even when I tell them to stop. Their eyes flicker up and down my body like flies over month-old meat. A few times boys had shoved me into cupboards and groped me while there was no one around. I had gotten very good at kneeing guys in the groin. It was the only tactic that worked. The girls are a little better. They don't stare as much. But they still stare. With a good dose of jealousy and spite mixed in there. I even see it in my friends' eyes.
So yes, I am beautiful. But it's not something I regard as a gift. Rather a pain in the butt. It was only later I realised how much of a pain in the butt it is.
"Why her? Why is she more beautiful than me! Me. Aphrodite, goddess of love. Wars have been fought over me yet a mere mortal takes that title from me." In a burst of temper, Mother swiped at the table carefully prepared with our meal. As soon as she did so, the action was reversed. The spilling ambrosia and nectar poured themselves back into the golden goblets and silver plates.
"Careful Mother," I said a smirk spreading across my face while I fletched more arrows, "anger gives you wrinkles."
Mother narrowed her diamond eyes that had made so many men fall to their knees in awe of her. "Don't jest Eros. This is no time for your silly jokes."
"Oh come now Mother, Psyche Azaria is a mere mortal, like you said. She'll be dead in the next few decades," I said a bored tone to my voice, "Why fret over a mortal?"
"Because that mortal is a rival to my beauty," Mother hissed, "Everyone has been talking about her, everyone else knows! Even the mortals dare say that she is more beautiful than me. I have been the most beautiful woman for all eternity and I am not going to let a girl take that from me." She glided towards me, her powdery blue dress edged with silver billowing around her form. She grabbed my chin and forced me to look into her cold diamond eyes, "I lose my reputation: I lose my status. I cannot have that. If she's taken by an ugly beast then no one will even glance at her."
I suppressed a groan, knowing where this was heading. "Are you asking what I think you're asking, Mother?"
The corners of her rose petal lips tugged up into a vicious little smile, "Peirce her, in her sleep, with one of your arrows Eros. I will make sure to leave a monster for her to look upon when she awakes. Do this for me, please my son."
Like always with Mother, I felt my resolve slipping as I stared into her eyes. "Whatever you wish mother."
"Are you going out tonight, Psy?" Becky asked as we walked down corridors to the outside world. It was a blazingly hot day, however in the far distance black angry clouds hovered over the skyline. The air was smothering, the metal tang of electricity dancing on my tongue. A storm was coming and I didn't want to be around to see it. I could feel a bead of sweat roll down my spine and another trickle across my temple. The school insisted that we all wore blue tartan skirts with white stockings and a starched white short sleeved shirt. The uniform was meant to keep you cool but something had gone wrong in the designing process because they still felt smothering and itchy when it was warm.
"Um…probably not," I said quietly, hitching my bag up higher my shoulder. "I've got that essay for Mr. Thatcher due in tomorrow."
"Come on, Psyche! You never go out, yet you have the face and body to make guys fall for you hook, line and sinker. You're even more beautiful than Aphrodite herself! Why don't you come?"
"Maybe because I don't want guys to look at me like I'm a piece of meat in a butcher's window," I replied while heading for my car, a red Audi A5. I didn't mention this to anyone but my mind flickered back to the last time I had gone out. We had been at a house party and a man I didn't know grabbed me around the waist and pulled me away to a dark corner of the house. I had to scratch his face, punch his gut, wriggle and squirm in his arms and finally kick him in the groin before running away as fast as my legs could carry me. I ran all the way home, in broken heels and a torn dress. I don't go out anymore. Its way more dangerous than it should be. "And don't say things like that about Aphrodite, it could get you into a lot of trouble. I could get into a lot of trouble."
"Oh come on! It's not that bad! You worry too much about stuff like that. Aphrodite doesn't care for girls like us" Becky scoffed, "Anyway you'll have fun going out, I promise!"
I smiled and shook my head, "I think I'll pass."
She pouted but said "Alright… See you tomorrow I guess."
I got into the car and gave a small wave before pulling out and driving home.
My father was the wealthy Mayor of Miletus, so we lived in one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods of the city. It was so exclusive you had buzz yourself in before you entered it. I drove through the quiet suburban streets, the sun creating heat waves that rippled off the tarmac. Several old pensioners sat on their porches slowly cooking in the afternoon sun. I pulled into my driveway, a 4 storey mansion sitting behind it, complete with a sweeping garden and large garage. It was perfect, a perfect home for a perfect family. Seriously, we're the family you envied. Father made a point of inviting his colleagues over to show off his beautiful wife and daughters. You might as well place a sign on the front lawn saying, 'Look at us. Aren't we wonderful?'
After switching off the engine, I hopped out the car and slammed the door behind me. I tugged at the collar of the claustrophobia-inducing shirt in the summer heat and walked up the drive to the front door.
"Psyche, darling," came the wind chime cry of my mother. She was perfect: perfectly curled, dyed blonde hair, perfectly shining sapphire blue eyes, perfectly smooth skin, not one wrinkle in sight, perfectly tailored clothes: a powdery pink dress, threaded with gold thread that just screamed expensive.
"Hello Mama," I said smiling wearily at her. We air kissed in the foyer and she smiled her designer smile at me.
"How was school sweetheart?" she said, plucking a piece of fluff off of my shoulder.
"It was good," I said pulling away from her, "I've got homework to do. I'll be down for dinner."
"Of course sweetie," she said, her face looking close to cracking in half with her smile, "and sweetie?" I turned to look at her while I was halfway up the stairs, "Take a shower, you're all sticky and not quite smelling of roses. You know what I say! A clean lady…"
"Is a happy lady. I know Mama," I said, giving her a tight smile. She smiled back, unaware of my exasperation.
The evening was mundane as usual. I did my homework, had my shower, and changed into a pretty purple silk dress for dinner. It was like every other dinner. Father would sit at the head of the table and ask the standard questions: 'How was school?' and 'How are your friends?' and 'Any boyfriends I should know of yet?'
The answers were: 'good', 'fine' and 'no'. After that father wouldn't speak to me for the rest of the evening, turning his attention briefly to his wife before the rest of the evening would be spent in a thick silence. Afterwards we would all slope off to our rooms/studies and eventually settle into our beds with no more contact with each other.
As I stared up at the ceiling from between the satin pink sheets, I heard the wind outside pick up. The trees rustled and the branches snapped against the side of the house. The usually clear skies, were now thick with dense clouds, hail pummelling the roof, sounding like children snapping away on tin drums. The sky burst with white light and was rippling blackness again. Zeus was angry tonight. I often wondered during thunderstorms, what he got so mad about. Was it about other gods? Was it about humans? What did he care about so much that it would affect the world below him?
I rolled over and stared at my wall. My body was tired but my mind was whirring, thoughts flickering on the stage of my mind. Something was coming, using the storm to mask itself. I could feel it in my bones. It took me a while to drift off to sleep. But when I did, I dreamed of winged man opening my window, crouching over me as I slept while pointing a gold arrow at my heart.
I clung to the trees, invisible to the human eye, staring intently at the girl's bedroom window. Water streamed down my naked back and dripped through my hair. I shook out my waterlogged wings trying to futilely dry them to not much success. Otherwise I ignored the rain, more interested in the window and the girl behind it.
It was shut, the silk curtains drawn but I sensed the girl slumbering within the walls. Silently and quickly, using my dagger to open the catch, I slid the window open. I stepped carefully onto the plush rug, quickly shutting the window behind me. With a mere thought, my body dried itself and treaded towards the four-poster bed. It's occupant, through the gauzy curtains, was tossing and turning, mumbling distressed sounds. I circled the bed, readying one of my golden arrows before pulling back the hazy material to see her more clearly.
I could now see what everyone was in uproar about. She was perfect. There was no other way to describe it. Clear golden skin stretched unbroken across her body. Her eyelids however were pale lavender, her black lashes sweeping across her cheeks. Her rosy cloud soft lips were in perfect proportion with her straight petite nose. Her raven blue hair spread chaotic yet soft looking curls across the pink expanse of pillow. Her oval head was set on a swan like neck that led to a well-formed body. A body made of proportional curves and long shapely limbs. Her hands were long fingered and elegant, soft and un-callused, the fingernails an almond shape, the colour of seashells. There was only one imperfection. I could see the yellowing and blue bruises that hid beneath her flesh, marring her otherwise perfect complexion. They were in the shape of clumsy hands, unknowing of the beauty they were maiming.
An unfamiliar feeling welled up inside me: pity. In all my aeons of living, I had never felt pity before.
This girl was too pretty for her own good. Too beautiful, too perfect for this mortal world. The poor girl was entrapped between the throes of the mortal world and the immortal world. In my opinion she has done well to get this far without being violated or abused. Her beauty was her tragic weakness and it pained me to know I was about to give her more suffering.
I readied my arrow to graze her shoulder, eyes focused, finger guiding the arrow to its target. I was ready, ready to ruin this girl's life in one fell swoop. Its funny, how humans think love and desire is a good thing. That it would bring them happiness. When sometimes it does quite the contrary. Sometimes it shatters, it destructs, better than any weapon in the world.
She opened her eyes. She stared right at me. Pale, pale blue eyes bored into my eyes. She looked perfectly calm, which made me think she couldn't see me. I froze in shock, staring right back at her, the golden arrow grazing my finger. She breathed out, one long breath, her large iridescent eyes still fixed on me.
The world spun and then righted itself. I stumbled back from the bed before falling to the floor. The girl sat up, her eyes sweeping the room as I sat on the floor; feeling like my heart was about to burst out of my chest. She blew her hair out of her face, glancing at the window. "Just a dream," she whispered, running her fingers through her hair, "just another bloody dream. Gods! Get a grip of yourself Psyche!" I watched with awed fascination as she slipped out of the bed, the silk blue night gown she was wearing slid across her form. She walked to the bathroom, still unaware of me. I clutched my chest, breathing deep before trying to swallow the lump in my throat. My head was spinning, my body and mind longed for the girl standing in the next room. I heard the running of water and got up swiftly.
I walked to stand by the doorframe and simply watched as the girl splashed water on her face and neck. I watched as the water slid down her neck and in-between her collarbones. Her eyes were now a violet colour as she stared back at her reflection, a perfect frown creasing her brow. I walked silently towards her, to lean against the marble sink, witnessing her turmoil. All thought of the mission was now out of my mind. All I could think about was her sweet scent: honeysuckle and apples, her golden skin, her raven black hair. I wanted to hold her, I would just be happy with holding her for the rest of eternity. Keeping her safe. I leaned closer, running my nose along her skin.
She was tying her back now, although curls still escaped from her fingers. A salt tear escaped a corner of her crystal eye before she quickly wiped it away. "Pretty girls don't cry," she muttered, "Pretty girls mustn't cry."
My fingers reached up to trap a lock of her hair, but she turned away before my fingers even brushed a tress.
My thoughts turned back to the mission again and I recoiled from the idea. How could I hurt her? How could I even think it? The idea was repulsive to me now. She was so fragile yet so faultless. She needed someone to protect her, not hurt her. She needed someone strong, someone to defend her from Gods. She was my life, my heart, my soul was now irrevocably tied to her.
I followed her back into her bedroom again and watched as she settled herself into the sheets again. I continued to watch as she began to sleep again, the peaceful look settling over her features again. I smiled, walking to her bedside. I kissed her forehead and whispered my promise to her, "I'll protect you my darling. I'll make your pain go away."
I flew towards the window and was out into the pouring rain again. I had to have a talk with Mother.
There we go! Do you like? This is my own little interpretation so please tell me what you think!