Sunday, May 22, 2011

Because I'm Going Through Old Shit

Another school project, this time for The Odyssey.

Odysseus; my Odysseus- my only son, the love of my life, taken from me. Driven to war, to defending his pride and his honor, and now-though the war is over, the Greeks victorious- he still wanders the mighty court of Earthshaker Poseidon. My poor Odysseus- I fear troubles far beyond a normal man’s capacity have befell him and his fleet. I can only hope that his incredible wit and bravery can pull him through these troubles.
My name is Anticlea- I am wife to Laertes, mother to Odysseus. It has been seven years since the Trojan war was ended and Odysseus sent on his way back home- I spend my days in silence, staring out at the sparkling blue ocean and waiting for the day when a white mast will poke above the horizon and bring my son home safely.
Laertes is no comfort- he dresses only in rags, and has refused to see me for days- I think he figures this was somehow my fault, that I could have done something to stop Odysseus from leaving. Oh, men- they can never see their own folly. Instead, they blame it on us women.
            Every day, I go to the market in search of gossip, of any news on my Odysseus. Oh, the tales I have heard! Of monsters, and storms, and the wrath of a god! My poor Odysseus, always favored by the all-loving gods and goddesses of Olympus, held accountable for a deed he couldn’t have avoided! I’ve heard stories spun of hurricanes and typhoons and horrible Lastrigonians- but most of all, of a Cyclops, Polythemus, taking my poor Odysseus and his crew and holding them hostage, of bloodshed and eventually, Odysseus’s cleverness as their savior.
I’ve heard such stories- and yet, my Odysseus hasn’t returned! How much trouble and pain can one mortal possibly endure before cracking? I can’t even imagine.

            The morning dawned as brightly as any other- the sun was shining over the deep blue sea, making it sparkle and shine like a sapphire. However bright it shined, I would never again see it as a thing of great beauty and mystery- to me, it was a monster. A monster working to destroy my Odysseus.
I stepped outside into the sunshine, shielding my eyes from its brilliance. Once they had adjusted to the light, my eyes beheld a peculiar sight. Up the rocky path from the village shuffled a stooped old man, a stranger I had never seen around the market before. He walked slowly, painfully, and I hurried to help him up the path to our house. Zeus Thunderer has taught us mortals of the rules of hospitality, and it would not be right to ignore them now, though my poor heart still aches for my son.

“Thank you, kind madam,” he said once I had him seated at our dining table. I smiled sadly and placed a platter of peasant meat in front of him, the best I could offer since Laertes had stopped working. He ate it gratefully, and when he was finished I cleaned up after him. As was custom, I waited until he had finished his wine and sat back contentedly to inquire after his name.
“My name is Athanasius. I come from lands far from Ithaca- lands I do not think you would have heard of. I am very glad for your hospitality- you should be rewarded. Is there anything you desire?”
Odysseus, my heart screamed, but I was not about to trouble this strange old man with my grieving- just because depression was my only companion for now does not mean I should bring down others’ happiness.
“Well, Athanasius, my son… you see, he went off to fight honourably in the Trojan War, but he- he hasn’t returned yet,” I said hesitantly.
He nodded knowingly. “You want news of him, am I correct?”
I hung my head meekly. “I hope it isn’t too much to ask of you… I just want to know if you’ve heard anything. My son… his name is—“
“Odysseus.” I gasped involuntarily. “Yes! Have you--?” I trailed off expectantly, my eyes shining, watching his every move. He sighed heavily.
“Your son, Odysseus, is with Circe, the witch goddess, on her island. Against his will, I’m sure,” he added hastily, seeing my look of shock and misinterpreting it as horror that he would forget Penelope and have an affair with a goddess. All I could see was blackness- I felt dizzy, and had to grab onto a chair to steady myself.
“H-he’s alive?” I said breathily, grasping at the only good news this tragedy brought. Athanasius nodded, watching my face warily.
“Is he going to be okay?” I asked desperately.
“That is for the gods to decide- I’m sure they’re doing the best that they can. Now, miss, I’m sorry to intrude on your hospitality for so long- I should be going.”
“Oh! Oh, if you’re sure…” I snapped out of my daze long enough to help him out of his chair. Athanasius hobbled across the room, pausing at the door long enough to look back and offer one last condolence.
“May the gods be with you.” He walked out of the threshold and shimmered, disappearing. I gasped again, clutching my hand to my chest. “Of course,” I breathed, wondering how I hadn’t seen it before. Athanasius- meaning immortal. Names were powerful- a god had just visited me.

The next couple of days were the worst of my life. Depression seemed to haunt me at every corner, and I wasn’t the only one. Laertes, after hearing my news, seemed to sink farther into his own sadness, and in doing so, he shrank even further away from me, the only comfort he might have in these lonely days.  

Now, I fear things are getting even worse. I have not heard any gossip, not even the wildest of stories- stories that I have now come to believe as true- and I fear for my Odysseus’s life. Without him, I’m not sure what I’d do. Thinking of his return and hearing of his travels is the only joy I had, with Laertes so far gone, and the gods have seen fit to keep even that bereft of me.

My appetite seems to have fled with my joy- I haven’t eaten in days, and I can feel myself growing weaker and weaker. I know I should eat, but I feel like denying that pleasure will somehow even the score with the gods and send my Odysseus back to me. I do nothing all day- nothing but stare at the ocean, with its endless tides and rippling waves, and send prayers to the gods to help my plight.
I long for Odysseus, for my son, to return home. I know not how long I can go on doing so- my body seems to betray me, and normal actions like walking or moving around seem as impossible as shifting a boulder. Even so, I am not worried- if I die, perhaps one day I will be reunited with my son, my Odysseus, once more; but for now and always, I wait.


  1. Hi how are you?

    I was looking through your blog, and it is nice, so I want to invite you to follow my blog, and if you follow me, I will follow yours...


  2. I really wanted to see the video really really really badly, but nothing happened when I clicked on it. I'm sorry.

    Cool post. I didn't love The Odyssey but hey, I don't think it loved me either. Just like my parents. (Sob.)

    I think the guy in the comment above me is a big stupid head. In fact, I think that's what I'll call him from now on. How you like that, Mr. Big Stupid Head?