The Greek Cycle, Part I: “Dear Narcissus”

If you missed the second Creative Writing Forum this past Friday, then you also missed a spectacular reading by sophomore Themal Ellawala, who presented the final part of his three-part cycle inspired by Greek mythology. Themal, a psychology major with history and theater minors, strove to relate classical Greek tales to the shaping of his own reality. Outside of writing and theater, he serves as a Resident Adviser and works for both Admissions and for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Read “Dear Narcissus” below, which represents the first part of the three-part series.

Dear Narcissus


The scent of you peels off my skin and swirls down the drain of the lukewarm bath. My heart yearns to grab it, trap it, wear it as an armor against the terrors of solitude. My mind rejoices, sated by the bitter, fleeting, hollow satisfaction of revenge. Neither wins. What is left is pain. It wrings my heart, seeps through my pores and wraps me in a cloying shroud of gloom.

I have followed you endlessly, skirting through the shadows of place and time to watch the sunlight dapple your cheek and the planes of your body shift and change in motions of poetic symmetry.

You whirled into my life at the head of a mighty tempest, seized and upended a lifetime of carefully packed thoughts and feelings, and scattered them in the wind. I was lost, floundering in the torrents of young love. I drowned in the deep blue depths of your eyes. I reveled in the melody of your voice, a symphony composed only for me. I was enthralled by the depths of your mind, how each moment revealed another layer, another facet to the brilliant clear-white diamond that was and is you. Each moment thrilled, for every nod, smile and yes of yours validated me. A hitherto unknown chamber of heavenly voices and kaleidoscopic colors was opened in a dizzying rush and I was struck speechless by the piercing beauty of existence. In that instant, life seemed limitless. Eternal joy was mine for the keeping, and I reached out with both hands to grab it, to grab you.

They say that it’s all in the mind but I am constantly amazed by how physical ‘it’ is. The pang of pain that streaks through my chest each time you look past me. The stab of disappointment when you fail to read my mind and say or do what I silently ache for. The squeeze of my heart when you ignore my shy advances is as real as any blow, compressed like the garbage that I feel I am, cleared away for something new, someone new.

You did not, perhaps could not know the wrenching change you brought to my life. Years of black, yawning loneliness, spent harboring a heart brimming full of unused pristine love, yearning for a soft caress, a warm embrace and hushed conversation in the dark. In you I thought I found new life. Yet you, you lay by the side of the pool, brooding over your own reflection and were deaf to the echo that waited patiently by. Mesmerized by your own self, oblivious to the anguish that seized my heart captive and blocked out the sun in violent sweeps of black nothingness.

I do not blame you for the folly of my heart. I won’t hate you or curse your name. I won’t dance in savage glee around a bonfire cremating what is left of us. I will resist the urge to paint you red and with horns. You and I met at crossroads, but we may as well have been galaxies apart. Both so similar and yet so different, which I both love and hate. The contradictions haunt me. Can I fault you for not being me?

Can I fault myself for not moving past you? By your sprawled form by the bank of the lake? I stand rooted to the ground, immobile, heedless to any other thought but the ache to see you, touch you, possess you. Perhaps you have not yet really heard me. Perhaps you will, one day, some day and forget your reflection. Each glance of yours, each word, every other second of time plays tricks on my heart. My mind is a galaxy of possibilities, probabilities and wild assumptions.

Do you ever wonder how I am? I think I can be honest. Happiness is an empty word, a false promise, an expectant turn around the corner to a dead end.

My thoughts cry out in anguish long after the echo of my voice fades.

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