Nectar of the Gods
For the first time in ages, I woke up alone. One might think a woman who had spent months sharing her bed with countless strangers would be relieved at the change. I was troubled to find that I was suffocated by the empty space next to me. I only let myself linger in the sheets for a moment before I needed to get away from the feeling of emptiness.
But the disheartening dark cloud chased me as I wrapped myself up in the sheets and paced the room. Catching a glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror hiding in the corner was sobering. My eyes were glassy and hazed. My spirit was missing from them and had been replaced by throbbing red lines left behind by my night of tearful realization.
My newfound weakness was disgusting and terrifying at once. I tried to think back, to find the point where I had first become so desperately lonely. There was a time when I’d been completely indifferent to any company. The love of a man was the last thing I’d wanted, and I had guarded myself fiercely against it. I had always preferred to be alone.
Well, I supposed that was not completely true. When I was a child, I’d longed for the company of others to play with. I dreamed of escaping the prison of lessons and studies. Instead of learning to sharpen swords, I wished with all of my heart for another person my age to play pirates with using pretend ones.
I mourned for the confident, complete woman I had lost so suddenly. When had I become this lost, dejected little girl all over again?
I pointed a critical stare at my reflection. From the day I’d met Perseus, I had seen the savage destruction love had left him with. It was the kind of pain a shield couldn’t protect against. Almost all the men who frequented the tavern wore the same shattered mask, and now, without a choice at all, I wore it, too.