“Neither of them, really” he whispered to himself, wondering why he was whispering, no one else was there and he knew what he was thinking. Perhaps he was merely adding emphasis, … so that he’d remember.
In a sense the thought relieved him although it seemed way past time to have committed to someone. Evidently though, although he’d tried, he just couldn’t settle. Two marriages, several engagements and several love-ins later (and one under way, shouldn’t forget that) he’d still to really commit.
For a little over a decade (OK, for eleven years), he’d felt that Artemis was the one. However, the anticipated relationship had never jelled. He’d blamed fate for the fact that their timing was never right. Whenever she was ready he wasn’t, and she was rarely ready. So, ….
Lilith had charged into one of their breaches, cute rather than pretty and certainly not beautiful, but she’d wormed her way in and once in, had done everything one might objectively have asked to merit staying, or she’d at least offered everything, he just wasn’t drawn to her other than in a protective sense which may well have been all she sought. Of course, that too was probably all Artemis sought; what most of his relationships had sought.
Now, after almost four years, Artemis had elected to pop back in and had “kind of” offered to take up where he’d hoped they’d been heading, … but as always, not quite. Artemis never really gave anything, she just hinted. Her heaviest hints at the moment were that he needed to free himself of his relationship with Lilith. “It isn’t fair to her” she’d whispered, “She’ll never find the person she deserves if you don’t set her free”.
“Cast her away” is what she’d meant.
Today, for some reason, he seemed to have attained an epiphany. “Neither of them, really” and so he’d whispered it to himself, wistfully and hopefully, not quite certain.
Artemis would never really be his although she’d tease and remain almost within reach, and he’d never be Lilith’s, perhaps, he had to admit, in a similar fashion. Not the image he’d hope to see in the mirror.
“So”, he whispered to himself, seemingly a day for whisperings, I wonder if she, whoever she is, really exists? He’d grown to doubt it, or at least grown to doubt they’d ever meet, which is why in his writings he often referred to himself as a rainbow-in-grey. Perhaps that was for the best. Like most of us, he had a profound gift for self-delusion.
He wondered how he’d feel tomorrow, he was awfully easy to manipulate and had never really been comfortable saying no to women. Or to anyone; old fashioned child-rearing. But the moment required that he say no to someone.
An image of an ostrich came to mind and then flitted away.
“Oh well” he whispered to himself, at least for that instant, perhaps a trace of clarity had fluttered in.
And who knows, perhaps she did exist and perhaps he might even someday find her.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.