[Kaimee]: 5.Mixed Poetry&Prose.H
She watched him hesitate, passing his keys from one hand to the other, anger still present in the set of his shoulders and the muscles along his jaw.
She watched him and realised, once again, that she didn’t care overly much as to whether he stayed or went. The result would be the same. She would have to break his heart. This time there was a child involved, sure, but there were probably millions of children involved all over the world. What was one more?
The glance she had shot him had merely been habit. It was in her nature to at least try and keep him, as it had been in her nature to snare him.
He threw the keys and his jacket onto the side table and stalked away into his drawing room, his fury still shouting itself from his stance.
Dora lazily scratched her bare knee and drew heavily on her smoke, the nicotine punching as it hit, heavenly, she thought ironically. If only. His keys slipped heavily to the floor next to the child’s scattered blocks, and she imagined the hurried exit he'd try and make, and smiled at the thought of him scrabbling with the lock.
“Fury too,” she called, softly mocking and knowing he’d hear. “Well, wrath really, but fury is what it comes down to. Come back and let me feel your wrath!” Her hollow laughter was greeted only with the sound of books moving in the shelves, and she frowned. Frustrating man. He should already have come back to her, begging her to stay, whispering that he knew she’d change, she just needed love… Hope blinded them all.
She propped her feet up on his kitchen table with a thunk, knowing the sound was usually enough to get him coming in, telling her to put them down again, have some manners. Nothing.
She did it again and simply heard pages turning. “Fucking talk to me!” she yelled, less laughter in her voice and more frustration. What was the point of falling in love if she couldn't make them hate her by the end of it? She'd had aeons to try every other sport, but eventually the careful steps of this game had snared her mind and all the lesser intrigues had died.
She threw her life, over and over to Love, the greatest intrigue of all.
Who better to prove and re-prove time upon time again that the sins of man were still very strong in the world, and who more deserving to suffer for it than her?
Setting up each relationship and letting herself fall so strongly in love each time - lust, greed, she reminded herself - was crucial to the downfall, and to her own personal war. She knew they watched. She hoped they hurt every time their little sister threw herself on the barbs of sin, and man.
His “No” when it came was muffled and vague, not the screaming fury she’d still expected from him. Her feet came to the floor with barely a whisper, making a joke of her heavy placement earlier, and she appeared at the doorway looking in at him. She was met with a great sprawl of books on the floor, and a proud but distracted man sitting on the carpet with his nose buried in one.
She recognised it, and something inside her squirmed to see it again, oh and again and again and again. It was one of the few possessions in the flat that had come with her, one of the few that had stayed with her through many flats, and houses, and hovels.
She watched his squared, strong fingers absently smooth down the ancient binding where it was coming loose, as many had before him, and she saw when his eyes snagged on that line, the line that had held a hundred eyes fast, before his.
“Poseidon gave her a pearl necklace and the ability to never drown,” she intoned stonily, watching as his eyes tracked the words, the dark lashes just brushing his cheeks. “Zeus made her idle, mischievous, and foolish - as you have noticed and so often remark upon. Hera gave her a fuckload of curiosity; and that bastard Hermes, along with giving her cunning, boldness and charm, then gave Pandora a box. Which you’ve seemed to enjoy so far.” She finished with a smirk, armored in that drawled indifference.
He spoke slowly when he finally replied, a habit from a job that taught caution, and how to deal with hysterics. “Pandora is from ancient Greece. Pandora is biblical or something. You can’t be Pandora.” She wasn’t hysterical though. His words could not change the meaning of what she spoke. She was tired from the ages she had lived, and the countless times this conversation had repeated itself.
They had made her immortal, to forever suffer the sins she released. To suffer the painful moments as each man battled with the inevitable, as it dawned on them that she was serious.
“No you’re right, of course not, silly me believing it all these years, I’ll just pop over to the bridge and drown myself now if I’m not immortal after all then.” Her voice was steeped in bitterness and he finally, after so many months, found some of the passion he’d reckoned on when he first met her.
He watched her pick up one of the small carved stone ornaments on his desk, a wedding present. A little sandstone hound she had whimsically called Hermes, a tiny delicate dog she would dance over their son’s silk skin, a dog she had a thousand stories about. They hadn’t always been nice stories, he remembered, as he watched her touch a finger to it’s nose. Hermes, her brother he realised, if she were telling the truth.
He watched her and saw suddenly the fine planes of her face as ageless. The harsh light overhead cast her eyes into shadow and for a moment he imagined her as an ancient being, imagined the hollow voice of a TV reproduction ghoul.
He noticed, as she replaced the carving with purposeful moves, the pent up energy and frustration that he’d only glimpsed in pieces after the day he met her, standing on a bridge in the rain and screaming into nothingness.
“A visit from my bastard of a brother” she’d said, and later in bed, “I don’t see him often. He lives far away, only comes to these parts when he has a message to deliver, he stops by to gloat at me then.”
She stood now with one hip hitched against the desk, hands playing nervously over the pens and scattered paraphernalia lying there, hands that stole again and again to the dog’s nose.
He saw some of the force that had attracted him, that had been shelved as she played happy wife and mother. A force that showed her graceful movements as mockeries of elegance, as carefully blunted power in each limb.
That force was now turned on him, with implacable and intolerable truth written stark on her face. She was telling the truth.
He climbed slowly to his feet and stood with arms dangling uselessly at his sides, the archaic tome weighing heavily from one hand.
“How many?” He asked, flatly, tiredly. She looked at him, and they were caught in each other’s stare for a long moment.
He never had time to sigh angrily at the truth, or to walk out and leave her. She was old at this game, and was gone and out the door, the book taken from his hands, before he knew she had moved. The child felt a press on his cheek and stirred restlessly for a moment, and then she was gone.
She hoped her brother watched from somewhere, and she hoped he saw the tears slipping down his littlest sister’s cheeks as once again she spun up the horrors she had released into the world. She hoped he watched his little sister’s game.
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Piece © Kate-Aimee Conrick. All rights reserved!