Oh, young Narcissus, with a face, a body, an idea, a fantasy, a suggestion, a concept, so beautiful and perfect, there was never any doubt that he wouldn’t be yours.
Had there ever been a boy that fluttered more hearts, turned more onlookers into a swan, abandoned together on a frozen lake with feet unsuited for ice and sorrow? Sighs of the birds pleaded for a smile, a caress, or a kiss, he embodied bliss and Narcissus just stood there. On the shore, on the black sands, being himself, being wanted, he did not want this. He refused to look into the lake, the perfect mirror. Narcissus turned around and the hopeless swans were content with the sight he gave them, the slight parting of his lips, as if that was what kissing him is like, a distant thing, a visuality. His eyes were hidden, his lips were full, his skin was dark, his profile was divine, and the way his shirt hugged his chest was exiled to the screams of heretics and the niches of apocrypha; scholars knew that descriptions would bring only delirium.
“We have to stop Narcissus.” That was the idea of a rather malcontented man whose husband had let his gaze wander down Narcissus. His eyes journeyed across his body for forty years and came back with treasure, knowledge, and a longing for more. “Please love me,” did he beg, gods how he begged for the love he assumed was his, but his spouse thought only of Narcissus, a fantasy he’d never let go, happier than his marriage. “I know of a way,” responded a conniver. His skin was pale, his posture unsure, but his wrath was certain. He, too, had seen Narcissus, and he, too, fell in love. But he fell into jealousy as well. What Narcissus has and rejects with frequency, he had never known. “I’m hot and tired,” he imagined Narcissus had said, and it infuriated him to no end. He would break the ice and ruin him. The spouse-lorn man told him to do what he had in mind but never to mention what that was. They, the lonely and the conniver and the dozen swans, were complicit in deicide, for they would remove the masterpiece that is Narcissus, spilling blood on a god’s canvas.
That’s when you were approached. The pale man knew you were new in town, because you hadn’t spoken of Narcissus even once. He was all everyone would talk about – on the marketplace, in the temples of gods not him, in the workshop where you had to wait an extra hour for the lovestruck smith to finish your sickle. “Meet with Narcissus,” he suggested. It was a good suggestion; maybe then you would have something to talk about and maybe then your life would become less lonely. He offered you something to drink and he toasted to new relationships. Then he gave you a stake.
Narcissus sat by the lakeside, bored and unavailable like always. The swans had managed to waddle their way closer to him but began slowing their step – perhaps the distance was exactly what they needed. His black hair shined brightly even in the dead of this moonless night. The mere outline, the very concept of him was enthralling enough to weaken and waver your suffocating intentions. “Are you Narcissus,” you called out, embarrassed. The swans craned their long necks; disgusted at your boldness, the outsider’s impolitic ignorance.
Your hands are quivering. He stands up, the atmosphere thickens as the heavens move farther away to make room for he. He turns around and time slows down. You rush at him, stake thrusting forward. You don’t close your eyes because you don’t know any better, and he stares into them. Intense, ungodly, red. You trip and fall into him, he accepts you with open arms. The impalement doesn’t seem to bother him too much – you missed his heart. He grabs your chin and makes you look at him more. His breath is a mist, your body is lead, he leans forward. Your lips part for his thumb, your neck cranes for his mouth. It hurts, it feels wonderful. Everything has led to this point.
Oh, young Narcissus, with his fingers in your mouth and his teeth in your neck, there was never any doubt that he wouldn’t be yours. But you are his.