I had always believed that women were responsible for every war in history. Looking at her, sitting on the throne with a grin, I realized that I was right. Her face was radiating; after all, it was ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’*.
“Did he abduct you?” my voice trembled with rage.
“No,” Helen answered.
“Don’t you love Menelaus anymore? What did you see in that delios?” my tone gave away my hatred for him.
“I don’t understand the intention behind that question,” picking a grape, she threw it in the air and she caught it in her mouth. Offering the grapes, she extended her hand towards me. I took the grapes and tossed them in a bowl of water. The water splashed and splattered around. I anticipated she would be livid, instead, she bit her lower lip.
“I can discern that I hurt your pride…” she said sans a smile on her luscious lips.
“Why would…” probing for the right words, I stuttered. She knew that I had admired her all my life.
“Achilles, valiant though you may be, you lack chivalry and so does Menelaus. Paris is a gentleman. He reveres me, dotes me for who I am. You and Menelaus, on the other hand, are barbarians.”
“Barbarian? You are the reason for this war, and I’m a barbarian? Women are the reason for every war.”
Pulling her on Paris’ filthy bed, I forced my hungry lips on her. She didn’t flinch. Her heart pounded faster under mine, her breathing quickened. I stopped and looked into her eyes.
As I was about to move away, she smirked. How much I loathed and loved her in that moment! I gave her a dánkoma agápis* on her neck.
“Achilles, you insolent swine!” touching her neck, she screamed in anger.
I wiped my lips smeared with grape juice. By planting the mark on her neck, I planted a seed of distrust in that delios’ mind. I hoped that the stolen kiss would make me immortal, if I wasn’t one, already.
“Achilles, I thought you knew better than this. It is nothing but a facile excuse for men to incriminate women. Is it really because of a woman? Or is it because of a man’s insatiable greed and another man’s wounded pride? You too standing here, querying my morality. What right do you have? And what exactly are you here for you? For your friend? Absolutely not. I chose Paris, not just over Menelaus but over you too, the mighty Achilles. I loathe you,” saying she spat on the ground.
The truth shone brightly in her acerbic words. I stood ashamed of myself. My old belief was dashed along with my pride. I couldn’t look into her eyes. Without touching, she had planted a tight slap across my face.
Walking out of her chamber, I knew I still had to fight the war that now I wished to lose… the war of greed and pride.
Delios- Greek word for coward
dánkoma agápis- greek words for love-bite
*the face that launched a thousand ships- the phrase borrowed from Christopher Marlowe.
Photo by: Adora Goodenough
This is an entry for #TheLie #Five00-8, a room8 writing event –in 500 words.
Check out the event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/room8/thelie
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