The Nymph And The Satyr

The setting sun has burned the last of my hope away. Dried the last of my tears and left my remains ashen and fragile as sand. Across the sea that glitters unawares, my eyes have strained to see your distant shadow, and my ears have ached while cawing gulls echo where your voice should be. This place. This beautiful peaceful retreat. Where I lay in your arms, safely closing my eyes, and breathing.
While I’ve waited on this shore, the daisies between my toes have withered. They cannot survive on memories, and no matter how tenderly I speak to them of times now past, the tales sadden them. They miss your serenity – always more considered than my excitable exclamations of delight. The silence you afforded them conveyed a respect they had not felt worthy of, until you noticed them. Until you watched their merry heads dance in the breeze. We hang our petals in the grasses, heavy under the cloying sweat of abandonment, and sway to the wind’s barbarous intrusions, shaking silence far away.
800 nights since I first felt your breath upon my cheek, and smelled the heat of your smooth neck. Along this shoreline, we walked in cautious glee. You lengthened your spine, while I curved my shoulders, and we tried to balance one another without knowing how. But in the nights to come, with words and tenderness we assumed our truest forms, and my wings unfurled from their cobwebbed refuge. Do you remember how we soared in this cloudless sky, forgetful of our mortal shells?
And now the dogs howl.
Hooves beat the sand into dancing clouds that form the shapes of our ancestors. When we reach the surf, the waves write our futures as we dive beneath them. Suspended in sapphire we dance on pebbles forgotten by the sun, immutable and dreamful.
Entwining limbs like seaweed, locking our joints into the strange shape of what we might be, the lulling tide masked the motion of you stretching beyond my fingers, gasping for air. Imperceptible to unwilling senses. Throughout the idylls in which our mismatched minds sought solace in difference, and contentment in wonder, lunar cycles manifested their fatalistic warnings that it was never my habit to heed.
As I drank from your cupped hands each dawn, and you smoothed my hair while dusk descended, so my eyesight blurred and I no longer saw you. The chained wanderer, confined. Tensed muscles urgently straining, not for my body, but for no body. No space. No home. With a danger I begrudged knowing, that which captivated me would destroy me.
And you knew.
So you watched me flourish while I saw only haze. Enchanting me until I saw light, and became light. I shone without consequence or thought, forgetting the impermanence of myself. Of you. Yearning for the very liberty you bestowed.
My strength, so un-belonging to me, would be rendered lame with your departure. The tender guardian you set nearby faithfully accompanied me, but brought no relief. Each affectionate yelp arrived distorted at my lap, and became a guilt-sodden affront, transforming the smiles you had woven into my skin, to scars. Where you had faith in my resilience, I frayed unravelled and dissolved, too late to discover that my independence depended on you.
And in time I’d learn.
The sorrowful whines wearying my throat have torn it open. The ache must end, or I shall. Devoid of certitude I will turn to dreams, create masks, and beneath them find the glimmering remains of that which captivated you. And that you will carry with you throughout your nights.

200 days I have wandered these mountains, filling my lungs with clouds, and exhaling rainbows that stretch to the shore where I left her. In time, she will forget me, though I carry the caresses from her wings across my shoulders like lead. To free her, I freed myself. Yet I am more ensnared in chains of doubt now that my mind has overtaken my heart.
300 days of forgetting, and I hear her song with every rising moon, though it grows fainter and more painful with each cycle. The distances I have travelled, seeking knowledge, pleasure and peace, stretch endlessly before me, bereft of promise. While each sparkling dew-drop reminds me – I left my answer by the sea.
360 days. Does this path stretch backwards or must I proceed in the hope of renewal? Tonight I shall not rest. Ah – this foolish wretch that inhabits me! Sun – give me strength to rip out his pride!

Do not despair when you see me. 
Have faith that our strength resides in us both. 
When my wounds have healed I shall open my eyes, and gaze into yours. Make sure they are not clouded with tears. 
Observe me clearly, as I shall be observing you. 
As I search for uncertainty, you may see mistrust.
 Lay your hands on my throat, and you will hide the scars that are yet to heal. 
And as I rest my head to your chest, so your heart beneath it will be restored.
 And we will find in one another that which we lost of ourselves

With his tender touch she awoke, and he believed himself to be the cause of both the wounds that pierced her, and the magic that healed her, and thenceforth carried guilt sufficient to drown seven sirens. To disillusion a creature of his gentleness must be most carefully timed, and to relieve him of one shame could easily burden him with another. So she waited, and grew, and while he looked on, became as strong in mind as her magnificent wings that carried her. In turn, she saw him grow peaceful, restful, joyful, and delighted in ensuring he was full of her love. By the time it was clear to each that they had created their own miseries, and their own joys, both the Nymph and the Satyr were dancing, with daisies at their feet, and to an audience of hounds. And any questions remaining were answered.


About Gabriella Apicella

I am a freelance screenwriter and tutor, regularly working for various organisations and institutions including Euroscript, Kingston University, Central Film School London and the BFI. I also co-founded the BAFTA-accredited film festival Underwire.Several short films that I have written have screened at internationally recognised film festivals. Currently I am working on feature film projects, and while they differ in genre, central to all of them are female characters.(photo credit: Eleni Stefanou

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