May. 9th, 2011

applespice: it is a sparkly fairy ([art] courtly love)
I saw her face in the stone before my chisel ever formed her features. Every curve and angle of her was as clear to me in that unmolded hunk of ivory as the day that I perfected the last delicate touches – the fine fan of her eyelashes, the hidden smile at the corner of her lips, the fragile musculature of her neck. Even before I began to shape her under my hands I dreamed of her, always her, with her luxurious mane of curls and the sensual flare of her pale white hips.

And so I built her, carefully, perfectly. I pulled her from the stone. And though her skin was hard and cold she did not seem so to me. To my eyes, my touch, she glowed. When I touched her hands I felt the barest warmth, as though life pulsed just millimeters beneath the ivory. Even her eyes seemed alight with passion, and her face held all the secrets and seductions of women.

I admit it, I desired her. I burned for her as I have never burned for a living woman. Everything about her was perfectly suited to me – and why not? I did create her, after all. When human women pursued me, I turned them away with harsh words and disgust and watched their faces crumble without the slightest guilt or regret. My heart belonged to the beautiful white being that I had so cunningly brought forth, even if she did not – could not – love me back.

But I was so lonely. I spent hours staring into her exquisite pale face, my heart ragged and torn with need and deprivation. It wasn't the mindless mania that grips some men in the absence of physical intimacy, but something more profound - it was only her that I wanted. A warm body was not enough if it was not her body, and I knew her shape so intimately that darkness did not hide the dissimilarities between her perfection and even its nearest human incarnations.

When I felt that I could bear no more, I fell to my knees before the only one who could grant me my dearest wish. Sacrifices I burnt in Her name, only the purest and best, for my darling was both of these things. Hours I prayed, my knees dull with pain and my eyes streaming with tears. And every night, I returned home to see her still standing upon her plinth, flawless and insensate.

The last night, I prayed so hard I thought that I might collapse. I poured out all my heart before the Goddess' sacrificial fire, twisted with grief that I might never press my darling beauty close and feel her heart beat next to mine. When I left the temple I knew that if my prayers were not received this night, that I would end my life - for what was life, if I could not spend it beside the one I loved so dearly? Nothing but a pantomime, an empty puppet-show, devoid of meaning.

So intent was I upon my plans that when I entered my home I did not immediately notice the lack of light that signified the absence of my beautiful lady upon her pedestal. The ethereal glow of her white skin did not immediately arrest my gaze upon entering the room, for she was not standing in her usual place. It was empty and shadowed, dark with the loss of her. But I did not understand what it meant; I knew only that she was gone. It was only when she touched me, her hands warm and gentle and soft - oh! How soft! That I fell against her, trembling and weeping with an ecstasy I have never known before or since.

I was exquisitely happy. The first months passed as though in a matter of hours, and much of what I remember are the little things - her hand passing over my chisel with reverence, the spark of her eyes when she discovered some new tool or object of beauty, and the knowing smile upon her lips as I lay her down upon the pillows of our bedchamber. She was everything I had dreamed of, beautiful and passionate and quick to learn, and she seemed so delighted with all the world had to offer that at first I barely noticed that there was, in fact, something that she lacked.

For in Her capriciousness the Goddess had given me all I desired - everything but a voice for the woman I loved more than life itself. My darling had no tongue, no way with which to speak.

The months flowed on and though I loved her singularly, I could see my angel struggling with the silence imposed upon her. She could do anything she liked... everything but speak or sing or whisper. It bore down heavily upon her, and she began to withdraw into herself, dissatisfied. I tried to explain to her that I did not care whether she and I could converse; I knew her face so well that even the slightest animation spoke volumes to me. My words had no effect, however, and she grew bleaker by the day.

Now I realize that it was only a matter of time before her desolation turned to anger and that anger turned on me, but when I first felt the flashing ire of her gaze I felt stung to the core. How could she look at me like that, with such fury, when I had brought her out of a cold and empty world into my own? How could she look at me like that when I loved her so completely? I hoped that her anger would fade in time, but it only seemed to grow - she did not like to be near me, much of the day, and when we made love her face was fierce and her eyes filled with revulsion. As I could not stop my heart from beating, though, so I could not stop myself from loving her. I wept at her feet and begged her forgiveness, but she stared at me with loathing. I feared that she would leave me, so I did not let her out of my sight - when I left the house, I locked her in my bedchamber. I could not bear the thought of being without her.

So when I awoke that night and found her sitting astride me, looking down, my heart soared with hope. My flesh called out to hers and stirred to meet her, but she pushed my hands away when I reached out to take her in my arms. She was strong, and though I struggled her grip was as immovable as stone.

"Why are you doing this?" I cried, wriggling desperately beneath her. "Don't you know that I love you? I would give you anything - anything!"

And this time when she smiled, there was nothing secretive in the curve of her lips.

"No, no," I whispered as she prised my lips apart with her cold, hard fingers. She did not respond. Even if she could have spoken, there was nothing more to say. She forced my teeth apart and reached into my mouth, grasping for my tongue. I thrashed and twisted, but I could not get away.

When she ripped out my tongue, I remember that she smiled - the bright, glowing smile I remembered from those first days. Then the blood and pain filled my mouth and I was shrieking inarticulately, clutching at my face as she silently left the room.

I understand now that she lacked more than just a tongue. That was the Goddess' cruel joke at my expense, a way of showing me that no love is perfect. It was the soul that I forgot when I crafted her. Everything else I wrote upon her face, intelligence and passion and boldness, but I did not build a soul into her features.

So now as I set my chisel to the uncarved block of ivory before me, I think of where her soul might reside. I can still see her just as clearly as if she was standing here in front of me - her luxurious wealth of curls and the sensual flare of her pale white hips, her seductive smile and high, full breasts. But where shall I put her soul? In the corner of her mouth, perhaps, or in the arch of her brow? I will find the place, it will come to me as I shape her from the stone.

This time, she will love me back...


Pygmalion and Galatea, Jean-Léon Gérôme

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