Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pygmalion’s Statue

He chiseled at me, piece by piece. Every day, he would come into my room, his workshop, and he would give me all his time, every single moment of it. I got his complete and utter attention. The day he made my eyes was the happiest day of my life. I could finally see him, my creator, my raison d’être, and he was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. He treated me delicately, brushing away any dust, paying attention to every detail, making me as perfect as could be. He chiseled at my hair, carved my body, my dress, my hands, every single digit of my fingers. I could see it in his eyes, his love, his devotion, all those hours he spent with me and only me. He loved me, more than anything in the world he loved me. He loved me ever since I was an idea in his head, an idea of unmatched beauty.

His caretaker came into my room every night when he was out relaxing at the pub. I wore him out, you see. She would clean the room, even dust me off sometimes. He never paid much attention to her, who would? She was a mess of a person. I wonder if all the living women looked like that; hairs tied in a bun and clothed in rags all the time, smelling of soap and garlic. If they were, it would explain why he would love me and only me. She would drop off his food in the middle of the day and he wouldn’t even turn to her, barely murmuring a thank you. Sometimes, she would bring him flowers with his food, a Jasmine or a Lily, He must love those. Before he made my eyes, another woman used to come in. she smelled of jasmine and lilies, the smell of the oils he used on me sometimes. He used to care for her, but I guess she had been no match for me after all. I was everything in his life, and she faded away.

One day, the caretaker woman came in to give him his food, and she called at him in a most irritating manner that he screamed at her, “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“That would mean I have to see you, and hear something other than your screams,” She replied.

Then she added, most insolently, that he was crazy to abandon the living for a statue. I could feel his anger, his hurt. He got rough with me that day, almost broke off a fold of my dress, but he finally gained control of his temper. That day, he kissed my hand before he went out, and from that day on, I kept wishing that he would do it again. I didn’t understand why he did not just let her go, that insolent girl.

That night, she came in to clean my room just as she always did. She was crying. He must have reprimanded her. Good! When she was done cleaning, she stood in front of me and stared at me. Such a pale creature, I never got to see her so closely before. She had such sadness in her eyes, it couldn’t have been just the reprimand, was my love violent? Did he hit her? No, it wasn’t that. The way she looked at me… she loved him! She was heartbroken, and she was jealous. Then her face changed and she picked up the chisel without taking her eyes off me. She screamed and screamed; angry, hurt, broken, and now she was going to break me. She was going to kill me, and he would die of grief. I could not not look at her, I could not not see the expression on her face, nor the look in her eyes. I wished I would see him one last time, but he was gone. The chisel flew at my hand, the one he kissed. The first thing she would destroy was the thing I cherished most. But the chisel never hit me!

A shattering sound came from behind me. She must have broken a window. She moved out of my sight, probably to clean it up. He mustn’t know of her attempt to destroy me, he would never forgive her. But she came back. She was holding what remained of a large mirror; a hundred pieces held together only by an ugly wooden frame. She put it right in front of me on the other side of the room. “Now he will see you shattered, just as he now sees me. He will see the cracks and creases. He will look at your perfection, then he will turn and see you as you should be, after time is done with you, broken!” and she left.

I had to stare at myself all night. I was turned into a monstrosity in that mirror, jagged pieces and rough edges. Even though I was still intact, it hurt to see myself like this, reduced to fragments. Was that really what I would become one day? No, he wouldn’t let me. But what if he dies? I mustn’t think about that. I stared at the reflections of my face. I really was quite beautiful, but then I never worked and I never cried. That caretaker would have looked a lot like me had she not been so careless with herself. If that swelling in her eyes went down, they would be a lot like mine. I don’t understand why she let herself become like that. What could possibly be so important as to let her forget to look beautiful? He would remove that mirror in the morning, and he would probably fire her, too.

What happened in the morning was not what I had expected. When Pygmalion came in and saw the mirror, it was as if he was struck by lightning. I wanted to scream at him that I was safe, that it was just a silly broken mirror. If only he would turn to me and see me intact, that would have made it all better. Instead, he sat down and cried, staring at the mirror, as if all that was left of me was that ugly reflection.

“Why did you leave me?” he sobbed.

“I didn’t, I am right here, just turn around”

“I swore I would always love you, and I never stopped. I was doing all this for you, slaving away at her, for you”

“What are you talking about? I love you, too. Who are you talking about?”

“She was my gift to you. The gift I swore I would give you. I promised you immortality, and you left me”

“I don’t understand, I am right here, my love”

“On our wedding night I promised I would love you forever, and that the whole world would wonder at your beauty. I promised that even though I would make a statue of you, it would still fade next to your glow”

“…”

“How could you say I didn’t love you anymore? Who was I doing all this for!” he screamed.

“…”

He sobbed all day and all night. The woman didn’t get him his food, nor did she call him. She didn’t come in to clean my room, I mean his workshop. The next morning he was asleep on the floor, crying in his sleep. Days and nights went by as I stood there gathering dust. He never touched me again, not with his hands, not with his lips, and not even with his chisel. He just cried in front of the broken mirror. It was never me he loved, it was always her. If he loved her so then why did he treat her so badly? Why did he show me all the love he should have shown her? Why did he kiss my idle hand while he could have kissed her hands that served him so well? I was nothing but an image of his love. I was just a statue. When my heart broke, it made a loud cracking sound that he never heard. It was broken so deep inside me that he never knew it was ever broken. Would he have cared if he knew? Probably not.

Ending 2

He never noticed when she slipped into the room. He didn’t move when she sat beside him, but he cried harder. The breeze that blew through the door had the scent of jasmine and lily spread across the room. He must have smelled it, that was why he cried harder. She took his hand in both of hers and kissed it, just as he had once kissed my hand.

“It was always just you,” he said quietly.

“I know,” she said, and ran her hand through his hair.

“Why did you leave me?”

“Because I love you”

“I was doing this all for you,” he looked at her in a way that made me realize that he never really loved me.

“I just wanted you back,” she smiled at him, and at that moment, I knew that I do fade next to her glow.




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6 comments:

  1. Dina, Dina , Dina.. Where to start ? Of course by now you should know that you are one of the few people I know who are able to manipulate their excellent knowledge of the English language. And you use it brilliantly to depict the images. The piece is very much touching and the choice of name Pygmalion is of course something very attractive..The scene was very well drawn , the feelings and emotions were real, you could feel the anger of the sculptor and the jealousy of the lady (should have given her a name though) , the idea of the broken mirror was BRILLIANT..Which only reflects how very genuine a writer you can be, it's a simple touch yet.. Holds a thousand meanings. Now to come to the ending part which you have made very difficult yet slightly easy to choose.. While the second ending is more of my preferred type since I do not like sad endings.. But the first ending is more felt, more real, and goes better with the story.. If you were to choose to end it with the second ending then you would have to put more into it.. A lot of things can be extracted from such a piece.. A lot thoughts go through one's mind.. I'd like to thank you for sharing this piece.. And telling me about it .. But also for my getting the chance to read it ! An Excellent job Dina.. Simply brilliant.. You shouldn't let this go.. EVER

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    1. I am completely speechless, thank you so much for your kind words :)

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  2. I admire and bow. V. deep real manifestation of .... what do I call it...life's endless dilemna. You have what u need. You ignore it and u think u r serving it. U make wrong people fall for u when it is the one u have ignored is the one u need :)
    Big clap :)

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    1. Thank you very much :) I'm glad you liked it

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  3. Replies
    1. Coming from you, I am deeply flattered :)

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