Saturday, September 6, 2008
Excerpt from "Mahatalbhi I"
"As quiet as he is, she can feel the presence of her first love, her husband, Prince Keymahotep, enter the room. To her, he was like a wild hippopotamus rushing through a pottery house, sneaking. Into bed he crawls next to her and stares at her as he does every night. She could feel his eyes brushing on the contour of her face, her bare eyelids, her naked lips. Dahnseta could smell the scent of oils and flowers from a servant girl’s body fresh on his skin. Every night he stares at her as she endures the smell which is fast becoming a stench…creating an aversion to oils and flowers in her.
The question is not, ‘did he?’ The question is ‘with whom?’ Who was the chosen one this night? This beautifully cool night donned with curiously bright stars protecting the harvest moon. Who did her husband take delight in tonight? Who did he find more appealing than her tonight? Who was apparently more beautiful than her tonight? Who did his heart beat for tonight?
…’maybe younger, taller, more slender in frame, eyes like an innocent fawn’s, hair like exquisite fabric from the east.’ ‘I used to be beautiful too’ she thought. Now hips wide, breasts falling at the fruits of her belly that were never able to breathe one precious breath. Dahnseta pondered to herself as she did every night. Wasting thoughts into the night. Shedding tears from the inside of her heart; wrapped up in a blanket of silence.
Keymahotep gently sweeps Dahnseta’s hair away from her face with his middle finger as he does every night. She forces her heated breaths to become shallow as she pretends to sleep. Then he leans over and lets his lips softly touch hers sending an unexpected but welcoming warmth throughout her body. The same kind of warmth that possessed her body when she and Keymahotep shared their first kiss in the embankments of the Nile river.
Being the daughter of a high official, Dahnseta was subjected to Keymahotep's mischievous–filled presence everyday. All other young women would vie for his attention, but Dahnseta simply wanted to read and write, like a scribe. And the young Prince simply wanted her.
After playfully snatching Dahnseta’s writing utensil from her one day, he threw it among the reeds in the Nile. Naturally, Dahnseta, angry, pushed the Prince out of the way and jumped into the water to find it. Keymahotep, as surprised by her bravery as he could be, jumped in after her.
“Why did you jump in after it? These waters are infested with the leviathan.”
“My mother had that made for me you dirty boy. That was the last gift she ever gave to me!”
Keymahotep, after seeing the real pain etched on her face, dived into the muddy waters head first searching for the skinny little writing utensil.
“We will never find it like this!” Dahnseta protested as she searched also, desperately throwing globs of mud to and fro.
Their expensive linens were now dripping with the blackness of rich mud.
“What will you give me if I find it?” Keymahotep asked.
“What will I give you?...Hmm..” She thinks. “A strike for flinging it in the first place.”
Keymahotep laughed with his hand dripping behind his back.
“If I find it, do you promise to kiss me?”
“Oh, anything just as long as you find it.” Dahnseta blindly agreed, losing all hope anyway as she continued to drag more mud and reed roots to the surface.
As Keymahotep revealed the utensil in his muddy hand, Dahnseta lunged for it.
“You must seal the agreement now.” Keymahotep proclaimed like a commander of the royal army with a large triumphant smile of victory.
He wiped his muddy hands into his muddy shirt. Then he took his middle finger, which he knew yielded less pressure than the others and gently removed the mud from Dahnseta’s lips, revealing their red fullness. He then pulled her into him and kissed them softly as he did so many times before in his dreams. She did not want to kiss him at first but she succumbed to his passion that tasted like a hypnotic elixir which heated her body immediately and took her away from all pain and loss that plagued her. They were frozen in mud, in time, in place and did not want to be released from each others embrace as it got tighter and tighter and hotter under the last gaze of the orange sun as it smiled its way into the restful horizon.
Now, Dahnseta didn’t know from where this new person appeared from; this power-hungry, girl-hungry man. Prince Keymahotep covers his wife with his arm and nestles into her, content and with a restful mind. He immediately falls asleep but Dahnseta stays awake, hurting her head with thoughts of a better time.