Helen of Troy

Let me tell you about Helen. I caught my eye upon her shadow as I strolled alongside the looming castle walls. A figure bathing within the holy waters, reserved for only a deity herself although I could not see that far along the plane. Curiosity had struck too late, as I found myself already heading towards the untouched river. 

“Unto what may you seek from these holy waters” – I exclaimed, keeping a distance from the figure for it may have been armed. I still could not clearly see the figure for the uprising steam from the hot thermal springs scattered for miles. Silence. I looked down at my riding boots which had now sunk an inch deep into the the mud. The mud always remained this way. The King claims it keeps the ungodly off the waters. It was, of course, from the humidity of the steam but one can never argue with the King. 

I exclaimed again “To what may you seek from these holy waters, show yourself”. My words remained empty, a simple echo. But then I saw a shadow approach me. I stood en garde. I may be in danger. What I saw next, though, was far from it. 

She emerged through the waters up onto the bank which was home to a multitude of lotus flowers, both open and closed. This was no time to admire the landscape for this mysterious shadow had now revealed itself. She possessed thundering beauty. Her face, sculpted so much to perfection that only the finest sculptors with much delicacy could have done the deed. Cardinal red ringlets tumbled over her shoulders and passed her bare back. She stood before, bare breasted. Even her voice was angelic as she pronounced, 

“Helen of Troy, Daughter of Zeus and wife of..” She paused, “Wife of Menelaus” 

Paralysis ran through my body. The Gods have come. The Gods have come unto our holy springs. Above all this, a celestial woman giving me a feeling that I have never before encountered. 

I abstained from telling the King about her. About the Goddess from above and her profound beauty. Instead, when he had his daily nap, I would tell the nurse not to wake him and then head down along the murky path where she would be waiting. Each time I saw her, I would be more mesmerised than the last, encapsulated by her world, fascinated by her flawless allure. I sat on the bank and her in the waters. Sometimes we would sit in silence and admire the river and its creatures. Other times, I would braid her hair whilst she sat transversal to me, speaking of her adventures of the past and the ones she’d wish would come. She never spoke of her marriage. I never spoke of mine. With her, I was in a state of infatuation. 

One day she asked me to join her in the waters.

“Come with me”, she said “Let us forget the life we lead and begin again once more”

This surprised me. I spoke, 

“A Goddess and a sovereign belong in opposite realms. We were anointed to take your messages and pass them to common folk. Such interaction with one so high up within the caste will for sure lead to my abdication.”

She lay for a few moments and collected her thoughts. Then, sat up, cupped her delicate hands around my face and spoke with such enunciation. 

“Even if his love has to be silenced, the freedom we possess will be is limitless. Embrace this lust my dear. Without such thing, what job will there be for my sister Aphrodite. How can we have escapades when we are locked up by patriotism. Embrace this love, my dear. One queen may go missing from this kingdom, but another will be dominated by two. So as a holy figure, I beseech you, to come with me. Let us begin once more.” 

And with that, I undressed and and joined my beloved. Only to never look back. 

Rush Hour Crush

I got caught in the midst of rush hour on Thursday. The worst time of the day when you’re in London; crowded trains filled with business people or tourists. Everyone receives a fair amount of pushes, shoves and the occasional elbow to the rib. All in all, we just want to get home.

Somehow I got onto the tube in one piece. Holding a large shopping bag, wearing my backpack over my thick winter jacket and headphones in, a must, whilst listening to heavy metal to drown out the noises of crying babies and enthusiastic tourists. There I was, looking like a right sort. I was tapping my fingers on the pole to the beat of the music when I saw him. I must have been loud because he saw me tapping and smiled. He was standing about an arm’s length in front. But of course, having been rush hour meant that there were at least 3 people inbetween us – like the wall of Verona separating Romeo and Juliet.

He wore a charcoal grey suit jacket and an unbuttoned baby pink shirt. No tie – which I don’t blame because of the humidity. I couldn’t see his shoes but I presumed they were somewhat smart. He had an olive skin tone but it was his hair that had struck me the most. Locks of brown glossy hair, curly and remained at the scalp yet dead straight on the edges.

He got a seat after a herd of people got off at the train at Turnpike Lane, leaving me still standing. I thought it’d be a good idea to bluetooth him a picture of what I was listening to since he had cared enough to smile. He didn’t appear on the Airdrop list. To my unfortune, nothing came up with his image and instead I accidently sent the image to ‘Danielle’s iphone’ – boy I bet she was confused. A few stops went by and the seat next to him became available. A message from the heavens. This was my chance. I sat beside him and took off my headphones and adjusted my hair using the help of my reflection in the window opposite. He smelled strongly of a freshly applied JPG – a smell which was fairly familiar to me.

The remainder of the journey was a quiet one. We both left the train at the same stop via a different set of double doors. He smiled again when I turned to look around for him. Is he just polite or playing with my feelings?

The train jolted to a stop. I ran out through the doors and up the escalators to catch my next bus in time. This was it. Time for the love of my life to run up behind me and ask for my number so we could stay up all night and talk on the phone. Tonight was the premiered night of many that we’d spend together and live to have a life of four children and live in a country home and own the biggest farm. Tonight –

“Excuse me?”

I stop. Eyes wide open in shock. Heart pounding against my chest. Legs turn to jelly. My prayers just keep on getting answered today. The angels are by my side.

That’s when my farce o’clock struck. I turned around to find it wasn’t him. It wasn’t him at all. I knew who this person was though. He sat diagonal to me on the train I had just been on. Gym bag, jogging bottoms, baggy t-shirt, expensive trainers and wearing AirPods. He was probably one of those exercise people – oh no – a personal trainer. He’s not going to ask if I needed any help did he?

“Yes?”

“Would you mind if I had your phone number?”

I politely declined and walked away, still searching for my twilight tube man. He was gone and so was my bus ride home.