I wander into the Navel every so often. Sometimes I pick up a cup. Sometimes someone working there chooses one for me.
I take it home, fill it with some sort of liquid. For a moment, I almost see a face reflected within the water, tea, coffee, fruit juice, wine, whatever the goblet holds.
The face isn’t really there. I know it’s not. I still stare at his smiling features, holding the cup.
For one moment, I imagine myself as cupbearer once more. Standing in the dining hall of the gods at my father’s side.
The image never lasts. Eventually, I break the cup, shattering to pieces.
I’ll never hold it again. Neither will anybody else.
Sooner or later, I’ll return to the Navel, looking for another cup. Again and again.
Gabrielle doesn’t judge me for this. Not like my mother, whom flutters and fusses over my cycle of destructive behavior. Poor little Hebe, once a heavenly cup bearer, now an exile, because her father found a prettier one. My mother is only too willing to hold me, murmuring what she thinks are words of comfort.
“We’ll get our revenge on that shameless letcher. He’ll regret what he’s done to us, oh, see if he doesn’t! Next time, we’ll hold dominion over him, won’t that be nice! Hee, Jupitre will be our slave and he’ll bend over backwards to please us!”
I don’t want to enslave Jupitre. I don’t particularly want him back in my life.
I accept my mother’s embrace, clinging to her, wishing I had the strength to let go.
I watched Gabrielle with an envious yearning, all beautiful golden tresses falling from crazy hats. Seeing her act with such bold boisterousness fills me with a kind of hunger, as acute as the need for the cups.
I wish I could be like her. She’s so uniquely…herself.
I wish I could be unique. I’m tired of being a faded relic of past times.
What I want more than anything is let go of my former self. To find a new self. I’m tied to my past, my cups, as if they were chaining me to all I was.
What I truly want to shatter is the link to all that.
This desire is getting stronger. Perhaps it’s strong enough to open a Door to the Shadow Forest. Perhaps it will lead me to a path, which will guide me in turn to my heart’s desire.
This may happen in Stealing Myself From Shadows when it’s finally released.
I hope so.