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Tales of Thanksgiving: A Drabble Collection: 18. The Mirror
For Alina is "The Mirror." A funny thing happened with Alina's request. Being one of my dearest friends, Alina gets stories for gifts whether she likes it or not. Because she was busy in a new job with no time to send me a request, I made a note next to her name in the file: "Alina: Fëanor; naughty." A few weeks later, I got a comment from her, lamenting that she'd missed the original call for requests. Would I write something for her about Fëanor? And could it possibly be something naughty?
So for a dear friend whom I know too well, here is a naughty series about Fëanor: two drabbles and two double-drabbles. Be forewarned: It is naughty. In other words, "The Mirror" is for adult readers only. It is dark and contains both sexuality and violence as Fëanor examines the idea of both self-love and -loathing following his estrangement from Nerdanel.
He would never want another to see him. Not like this.
I watched him as he studied, as he moved around the room. As he lay upon his bed and allowed the blank, white ceiling to become a backdrop for his dreams. I set up mirrors everywhere to better watch him. Sometimes, he broke the mirrors; all the better, though, to observe single facets of him. A hand, a chin, a hip. His eyes. His lips.
Lips that turned into a frown, for he knew that I watched. I traced my fingers along the glass and imagined them smiling again.
A sculptor knows her subject with a special intimacy, Nerdanel used to say. I'd found her sculpting me once; wondered why she'd blushed. Molding my legs from clay, a tiny fringe of toes, a foot cupping her fingertips. She'd yet to touch me then, of course, for we were both still very young, but one day, she would.
Her hands were always wise upon me. Nothing about me ever surprised her.
My statue, I would do in the nude, as Nerdanel had not dared to do. Not at first, anyway. I watched his robe slip from his shoulders like water. He had a strong back and a narrow waist. Firm buttocks and long legs. I caressed him in my mind, flaws and assets both. I thought that there were more of the latter than the former, but I doubted that he'd agree.
Touch yourself. And let me watch.
His head tipped forward. He was ashamed. He shook his head vigorously-No!-hair falling in his face, his beautiful face, colored by his humiliation with eyes closed-yet I saw.
He was already hard, his hand slipping up the inside of his thigh, the tears on his face bright as diamonds.
A special intimacy.
There he laid, upon his side, cold flesh left too long without love. In his dreams: the lover who had once known him with "special intimacy." Had known, too, how he would hurt upon her leaving.
Yet left anyway.
He had strong wrists with delicate bones, and she'd once caught them-thumbs upon his fast-thrumming veins-drawing him into a kiss. He took those wrists as hard as he could against the headboard of his bed. To punish himself. To empower himself as one capable of hurting him worse than she had. To make his body into one she did not know.
His flesh bruised and swelled. Bled even. Sleeves worn long, only he knew. She did not. He'd erased that "special intimacy."
Watched in the mirrors as he carefully caressed damaged flesh. Loved it. Kissed his wounds, lips red with blood as they'd once been with wine, in his days of joy with her. Learned to command the pleasures of his body as she had, only his study took him in different directions, where pleasure lay on the boundaries of pain, where she'd never gone.
Until the day she'd left, of course.
He finished her work.
And now: the statue.
For I'd watched in mirrors long enough now. It was time to prove that special intimacy.
I made him in steel. Eyes closed, I caressed the shape. Or hammered upon it until my arm ached.
It is hard for me to sculpt you, Nerdanel had said at the end of our marriage. I know you too well, and nothing is ever right.
But I knew the lines of his body. The beat of his heart; the color of his blood.
Or-my nose touching his, eyes lowered in shame-the way he looked in the mirror.
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