The Cave by the Sea
He brought me flowers again today. He does so every day. Every morning I wake up and see them laid out on his pillow, the small yellow petals like little strips of gold in the morning sun. Always six flowers, never five or seven. Always six. He says that they grow in small patches of earth between rocks and that there is always just seven of them on every patch. So he takes six and leaves the one so that another six could grow from its seed.
How he does it, I will never know. How he scales the cliffs and navigates the crags, never once slipping. Men with eyes that see would fall over and break their bodies a hundred times, so dangerous is the terrain that surrounds our cave. To north, east and west there is nothing but razor sharp rock for mile upon endless mile. To the south there is only the gray sea reaching to infinity. And yet he does it, almost gliding over them, as if he trod upon glass. As if he could see. But he cannot and it is better that way. Were he able to see, he would not be here, would not live here with me. Would not love me.
My kind don't expect love. Cursed from the dawn of ages for a crime noone remembers anymore, we live our lives bringing pain and death and misery and receive and expect nothing in return but hatred and derision. And when finally we die there is nobody that laments our passing. But there are multitudes that cheer.
I was different. I must have been or else I would not be here. They told me, others of my kind, that there had been others like me, one in every few generations, who are born with the will to change their life. Not their destiny, just their life. And they told me they always chose the same. Exile. Self-imposed, but exile still.
They say we are cursed. And for many nights I wondered, while I was still alone in this cave, who is cursed more: my kind who cannot but do what it is their fate to do and live among men...or me, who had been given a choice and now lived in utter isolation.
And then, one morning, I was no longer alone. I do not remember anymore how he came here or what he said to me first. I should but I do not. All I know is that he arrived and he remained and is with me still on this desolate shore, only I and He and not another soul, living or dead, for mile upon endless mile.
I never asked him anything about his life before his arrival. I never asked how or why he came to me. I never did those things because I was afraid. Not afraid of his answer, but afraid that if I pose those questions he would simply disappear...like a dream does when you realize you are dreaming. And if he is a dream I do not wish to wake. I do not know how I deserved this happiness, but I do not ponder upon it too much. I just take it.
He is still out as I rise from our bed. He is either fishing or gathering eggs of seabirds. His eyes may be blind, but he sees in other ways. He sees with his hands, his ears and his nose. He might have been a warrior or a scholar. I do not know and I do not care. He is in love with me and it is all I need him to be.
There are no mirrors in here. We have no need of them. He cannot see and I have no need to see myself. I know how I look. To any man or woman I would appear an ordinary woman. You might pass me in a street and not even look at me twice. Then again had you but looked at me once a long time ago...
The clothes I wear are simple. I require no jewels nor gold to adorn my body. I wear nothing but a simple cloth dress. And my cap.
The cap, almost a helmet, fits perfectly to the form and shape of my skull, covering my head from my forehead to where the neck meets the back. It is of metal, thin but strong enough to fulfill its purpose, to cover what must be covered and give it no room to grow. I remember the nigt I received it. It was smooth under my fingers and it glistened black in the pale moonlight as the old ironsmith presented it to me, as payment. On that night I also killed my last man.
I rise and I dress and I already know how this day will end. When the sun sets we will lay in our bed and we will make love. And then we will hold each other in our arms, exhausted but content and blissfully happy, our hunger sated, our bodies shivering and yet warm.
"I wish I could see, if only for the briefest of the moments," he will say as he always does.
"You always say that," I will say as I lie nestled in his arms. "You don't need eyes to see me. You have said so yourself."
"I know. I know," he will whisper softly and I know he is smiling. "I know every part of you, I know you body and soul. And with every passing day I love you even more. Yet I still wish gods would return my sight but for a second."
"And what for?" I will ask, as I always do, though I know his answer. It has become a ritual to us.
"To see your eyes. They must be the most beautiful eyes in the world."
"And how can you be so sure?"
"A matter of logic, as a good friend of mine, a dead philosopher now, used to say. Every other part of you is beautiful. It is only natural that your eyes be beautiful too."
And I will say nothing, just kiss him and listen to his breathing grow deeper and deeper as he falls asleep.
Then I will step outside, look into the night sky and cry. Cry for happiness that I feel, I who caused only misery and pain. Cry for hope that I feel, I who brought only despair. But most of all cry from fear. Fear that love and happiness and hope may not last forever. Cry from fear that gods, cruel and callous as they are just might grant him his wish. Then I will dry me tears, call myself a fool to give in to such fears, tell myself to count my blessings and return to the warmth of him between the sheets. But one thought will assail me still.
Yes, I may be beautiful, but if there is one part of me that is not then it is my eyes. How could something so deadly be beautiful? How could it be anything but vile and repulsive? I would have rid myself of them many a year ago, but that is impossible, because even after I am long dead they will still be able to kill if allowed to.
They say that the eyes are the windows of the soul. If that is true, then my soul is death itself. Because there never was nor will there ever be a mortal creature that could look into my eyes and see anything but its demise.
Every part of me may be beautiful. Except my eyes.
That is the way with every Gorgon.