“her ladyship Calypso clung to him
in her sea hollowed caves –
a nymph, immortal and most beautiful,
who craved him for her own”
She said, ‘Why did you seduce me then, if you were never going to stay? Why did you bother to make me fall in love with you? You didn’t have to go that far.’
‘Why did you beguile me with your words? Your mad stories. The adventures, the travel, the deeds. It was your words. I fell in love with, your words, you fool, not the things you said you did, or thought you did, or wished you’d done, or that other people said you did, or that never really happened anyway. You sold me on the stories themselves.’
I stayed silent.
‘You live in your stories, and that’s why I fell in love with you.’
She laughed to herself, ‘So why did you say those things? Why?’
‘I meant everything. Everything I said. I always meant it.’
‘But you always knew you were going to leave me, too.’
‘I meant everything,’ I repeated, my voice lowering to a whisper.
A short laugh.
Fury. Blinking back the tears. She shook her head, ‘Yes, you did, and more fool me. You meant every word you ever told me, and then some. I know you did. And you meant every lie you ever told me too. And I believed you, knowing you were a liar, a trickster, a storyteller. And every story you ever spun was for my pleasure. All those bloody stories. I believed them, because I believed you.’
‘I have to go back.’
‘I always had to go back.’
She looked at me, fierce, a goddess, and I understood why I’d tarried. ‘And I always had to try and make you stay.’
‘I know,’ I said, ‘I know what I’m giving up.’
‘She can’t love you like I do.’
‘You wasted me,’ she said, opening her arms wide, raising her face to me, a flower facing the setting sun, ‘You wasted all this.’
She turned away.
And then she turned back, a truth dawning, ‘And you’ll turn this bloody, bloody scene into another story, won’t you?’
I said nothing.
‘For someone else.’
And already, I was writing it down, in my mind, to retell at some later date.