Narcissus and I

“Time is a blur and I do not remember what I was before. For as long as I know, the day I came upon these untouched waters, was the day I began to live. For is not to love, to live?”

The days follow the same pattern: the sun glows its slanting light in the morning, the leaves whisper and the grass below me crumbles softly. Time is a blur and I do not remember what I was before. For as long as I know, the day I came upon these untouched waters, was the day I began to live. For is not to love, to live? The face gazing back at me from the fountain, the loveliest face, is the object of my love. There have been nymphs of great beauty that have implored me to love them. Yet my heart seems to have been closed to them all. However, this heavenly entity that gazes back at me from beneath the veil of water, is different. I have never longed to touch anything more, I have never yearned for someone as much. If I touch his face, there are ripples that form and he flickers and trembles. In those moments, I feel despair so deep that I can scream. And I often scream. Yet my beloved, my water spirit, my deceptive reflection, does return. 

But never have I felt him. Never have I felt his arms around my neck or his lips playing with mine. What Goddess has cursed me to love my own reflection? Was it you, Nemesis? What world is this where I am cursed to be the most beautiful, yet terribly alone. Pining over one that could never be had, never be felt. And why yet when I see his eyes, those adoring, divine eyes, I feel this curse’s pleasure. And his hair, ruffled about his beguiling face, brown curls of beauty. His body, his beautiful skin that resists my touch. The nymphs that sigh around him, around me, are much like myself. Sighing for the unattainable. But does my reflection not love me? Does it not yearn to break free from its veil of imprisonment and embrace me as I do? It is all miserable. Beauty brings with it a certain sense of misery. At least in my case, it does. My hand reaches for his, yet all it touches is liquid. My love is nothing but ephemeral ripples.

The poets talk about youthful lovers lying under the moon’s light and whispering sweet nothings to one another. Yet nighttime happens to be the worst for me. My love disappears in the depths of his waters and does not return till dawn’s first light. Sometimes, the sweet moon, who understands the ways of lovers, showers her gentle light and I get a glimpse of the soft image of the face I love. But she is not always kind, and there are nights so dark I cannot see a thing before me. I yell in agony, beating my chest, in vain. And the nymph of the night, she replies, in vain. And I ask “where are you, my love,” and the night repeats, “…you, my love.” The sun’s first rays hit the pond, and I see his face come to the surface. My heart is full. Every moment away from him is an eternity, and an eternity away from him is laborious torture.

The rain falls heavily today and it is disastrous, for my beloved’s visage is disturbed. Yet the rain brings clarity to one’s heart. As I see him reappear, I tell him I love him more than anyone I have ever loved. I tell him I can bear to be away no longer. I cannot bear to see him and not have him. The beautiful Narcissus and the lover he never had. As I lie here, I tell him I will not let life separate us. But I will make death join us. 

“Farewell”, the nymph of the night seems to whisper from her sleep as I touch my lips to his, my face to his, my body, his. It is with him that I belong, it is him that I am. It is with him that I shall be.

The nymphs cried into the water. They pulled his mortal body out. Death had never looked so beautiful. “What a loss”, they said. “Alas”, Echo said. They saw him lying there, the very vision that they loved; that he loved. His beauty was his destruction. His love became his death. They covered his body with their lush tresses and wept over him by the edge of the water. She stood away and repeated their cries, unable to speak. And later the nymphs would see in place of his body, a beautiful flower–white on the outside and golden within, leaning over the edge and gazing into the water, at its reflection.