Sunday, February 12, 2012

Melatiah DeCuir, Chp. 9, Gen. 3, 1763

     The mirror became Aphrodisia's new least favorite place to go.  Though she hated it, she visited it multiple times per day, always scrutinizing the premature wrinkles on her face.  It was where she had to face her appearance, without a single lie.  A mirror, after all, only tells the truth, and truth was something that Aphrodisia had a difficult time facing.  

     The mirror became a site of defeated sighs, furrowed brows, and disbelief for Aphrodisia.  Her appearance became an obsession, an addictive trial -- and always error.  No matter how many times Aphrodisia tried to find comfort through her appearance in the mirror, she never could.

     Melatiah seemed to hide his concern about her new wrinkles.  He tried not to acknowledge them, and often made witty jokes like, "I suppose it means you're wiser than I am!" and "A wrinkle a day keeps the apples away!", but Aphrodisia always yelled at him because she did not find her wrinkles nearly as amusing as he found them.  Once she would yell, Melatiah would say, "You wanted to be human!  Wrinkles are part of that!"  He just didn't understand!

     However, Aphrodisia was not always upset.  When she discovered she was with child, she was all smiles and nearly forgot how upset she was about the lines on her face.

     One night, Aphrodisia drew a bath.  Stepping into the steaming water, she relaxed and fell half-asleep.

     She was running through the sand... she wanted to get away.  The ocean always offered a calm sense of safety.  Rocks scraped against her feet, and mud dirtied her dress, but she didn't really care because all she needed was to reach the ocean.

     The sand between her toes felt so good...  the sea salt in the air stained her dress with the smell of shells and salty water -- the best smell in the whole wide would, she thought.

     Finally, she had arrived!  The waves rose up to her feet and tickled the tips of her tiny toes.  

     A sea-bird clamored overhead, and she stopped to look up at it.  Such pretty bird!  She ran into the ocean, drenching her dress, dampening her hair... she held her breath and jumped under... 

     Aphrodisia opened her eyes.  It wasn't a dream. It was real.  It was a memory, from long, long ago.  She had nearly drowned in that ocean.  But she didn't.  She didn't drown.  She had lived.
     Suddenly, Aphrodisia felt like she was being trapped in a tiny space, like the air was slipping away.  It was getting hard to breath.  She gasped, choking for air.  Fear had gripped her tight, threatening to not let go.  Panic-stricken, she got out of the tub and dumped out the water.  Something had scared her, and she didn't know what it was.  She had to get out, or she might drown.


     A stormy cloud settled over Aphrodisia.  She did not know why she felt so sad.  She spent most of her time outside, watching the flowers grow, and dozing in the sun.  Why was she so scared and melancholy?  Her child was going to be born soon! She should be bursting with happiness!  She walked into the sun, trying to rid the worry marked on her face.

     Something jerked gently in Aphrodisia's stomach.  Startled at first, she realized that the baby had kicked her! 

     Sobs of sadness escaped from Aphrodisia in jagged shards.  Why am I crying?  Why am I sad?  I love my child!  My baby moved!
     Though no one had seen her outburst of sadness, she retreated indoors for some time to herself.


     A few days later, Aphrodisia screamed with pain, as the baby was coming.  The midwife rushed in after hearing her cry out, and at Aphrodisia's request, no one called for Melatiah, who was out at the moment.

     "Anne DeCuir," Aphrodisia whispered to the baby.  "I hope you like that name -- it's yours for keeps.  Your father always wanted to name his daughter 'Anne', and I think it is a beautiful name, too."

     Aphrodisia gently hugged her baby close.  "I love you, so much." Crying, Aphrodisia realized why she was so sad.  Her knees grew weak as she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror.  A few gray hairs were starting to grow right before her eyes.  She started breathing hard.  Tears streamed down her face.  
     "I will never know who you will become, or what you'll do one day.  I'll never know your opinions on different things, I'll never be there to teach you how to cook or to tell you the story of my life.  I'll never be able to give you advice, laugh with you, cry with you.  I won't be around for any of that.  You'll never know me, know exactly how curly my hair is, or see the sparkles in my eyes.  You'll never hear from me the story of how you came to be, and how much joy you have given me.  You'll never know how much I love you, because tonight is my last night to live.
     "I can feel it in my bones, I can feel my life draining away from me.  I can see the gray hairs taking over my head.  I only wish I... If only I had a little more time."


     Aphrodisia was slouchy and her bones were brittle.  In the few hours since she realized she would die that night, she had lost about thirty pounds and felt like she might blow away.  Her face was thin and gaunt and she hugged Anne in her arms as if the baby would keep her from leaving the earth.

     Melatiah would be returning home at the top of the hour, and Aphrodisia would have to tell him...  She shook her head with regret.  
     "If only I hadn't drank that poison.  I would still be young and alive!" She mumbled.
     Anne squealed.
     "... but if I hadn't drank that poison, then Anne would not be here.  And, Anne is worth more than my being young.  Anne means more to me than anything else."

     Aphrodisia gazed out into the night sky.  "If only I had a little more time."
     Anne cooed, as if in agreement.

     Melatiah ran from the front of the house to where Aphrodisia was sitting, yelling, "Why didn't you call for me--"  He caught sight of his wife.
     "I... But how?  Aphrodisia?"

     "Tonight is my last night, Melatiah.  It's my last night to be this baby's mother and it's the last night to be your wife.  Oh, yes, and this is Anne."

     Melatiah was speechless.
     Aphrodisia stood up and placed the baby by a patch of weeds.  She looked at her husband.

     Placing a hand on his shoulder, she said, "Let us please make the best of my last night.  I may look different, but I'm still the same Aphrodisia inside.  I hope you can see that.  I have had more time than most people in the world; yet, I still feel it was just not enough."  She closed her eyes, holding back tears.  "Gosh, why does leaving have to be so painful?"

     "This is our last kiss," Aphrodisia said.  "You don't hear that too often."

     The couple sat down on the cold ground to watch the stars.  Few words passed their lips, but each had so many things to say.
     Once, Aphrodisia grasped his hand hard and looked at him straight in the eye.  
     "Please don't forget me."

     "I won't ever forget  you."
     "Never.  And this baby will always hear about you."
     "Always.  As long as I live."
     "I won't live forever.  But I'll never marry again."
     "You can."
     "No, I can't.  There is only one true love for me.  It's you."
This conversation was Aphrodisia's last.  Melatiah saw the light leave her eyes as they closed and would never open again.  He saw the life leave her body as she gently fell to the earth.  He saw the last breath leave her mouth forever.
     Melatiah lay down beside her, not wanting to let go.  He closed his eyes and pulled her cold body toward him.  He did not want to let go.

     Anne began to cry, pulling Melatiah back into the world of truth.  He left Aphrodisia on the hard earth, cradling his child and kissing her forehead.  In the sky, a shooting star burst across the starry night.
     "That was your mommy."  Melatiah was sure Anne had seen it too.

*The Antique Legacy*
Melatiah DeCuir


  1. -cries-
    I didn't think I'd get so teary at her passing but I did. D: Emotional chapter.... but I loved it :3

  2. At first I think everyone thought she was bad to the bone, but she seemed to turn out all right, in the end. I'm sad, too!

    I'm glad you enjoyed it; thanks for the sweet comments :)