I am very late with this, but it’s Writer’s Island time again.
The prompt this week is – spellbound.
Here’s my little tale…..
I did it because I thought it existed. Deep in your heart. A love for me. It never occurred to me that when it was done your eyes would look towards me but your heart would look away.
She sat at a little wooden table on the corner of the street, draped in a long crimson scarf that could have been a cape, selling love potions with pleading eyes. I bought the little bag made of black velvet, tied with a scarlet ribbon mainly because I felt sorry for her. I figured that maybe she was close to being destitute or homeless.
The potion cost just five dollars. There was a queue. Those potions were selling fast. Seems everyone wanted a jumpstart to love.
The scarved lady handed me the bag; her fingers were cold. I felt bad she had been sitting in the chill air for so long. ‘Put this under his pillow and make a wish.’ Our eyes met. I felt her fingers clutching at my throat even though I was standing at least three or four feet away. I recoiled, afraid, throwing her money onto the table.
‘Be careful what you wish for,’ she called after me as I ran down the street.
The bag was heavy in my hand. My fingers twitched like they were being pressed with rocks. I thought more than once that I should throw the bag away but the lure of it drew me. I had a strange desire to follow through with it, to see if it would work.
When I got home you were in the shower. I rushed to the bedroom, furtive as a mother hiding a Christmas present from her child, plunging the velvet bag under the soft recesses of your pillow. ‘I wish that you will never leave me,’ I whispered.
The night was humid, thick with torpor. I wavered between nausea and elation. A light rain began to fall at dawn, more tender than tears.
You were attentive that morning, organising after-work activities, dinner, commenting favourably on my appearance. You made plans to return home an hour earlier than usual, cancelling your soccer game. Your attentiveness was unmatched for over a month. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
Then one day I found it. A letter written to me. On the same day I bought the love potion. On the same day I cast the spell.
I am fond of you, it said. But I love another. She is my heart. She needs me. She is having my child. I want to leave you so I can be with her but I am afraid to tell you to your face. I am afraid you will make a scene. I am afraid you will beg me not to leave you.
A parcel arrived that afternoon. Addressed to you in a childlike hand. It contained a photograph. An ultrasound of a tiny baby. A girl. I saw her little face like a shell looking at me. Beseeching me. There was a note. When will you come? It said.
I asked you about it. About the baby. You were non-commital, almost angry. ‘It doesn’t matter any more,’ you said then turned to gaze out the window.
For days you wouldn’t eat or sleep or go to work. I considered calling the doctor or enlisting the help of your friends but you resisted. ‘I don’t need anyone but you,’ you said, but your words were emotionless, slapping me in the face.
I went to see the girl, the mother of your child. I knew immediately why you loved her. I knew with a surety I had never before experienced that you were meant to be together.
‘Go to her,’ I urged. ‘She is waiting.’
‘I will never leave you,’ you replied. ‘Not ever.’
I ran to the streetcorner where the scarved lady had been. Seeking a remedy. She was gone. I asked passersby if they had seen her. They regarded me with suspicion.
I returned home. You were sitting on the bed plucking your hair out strand by strand. The phone was off the hook. I redialled the last number called. It was your girl. Your love.
‘Go to her,’ I cried. ‘I am begging you.’
‘I can never leave you,’ you said.
We sat in that room for hours, days, weeks. The nights crushed us like bitter memories. You grew wan, listless. Soon you could barely speak but you would not leave my side and I knew with the shock of revelation that you were spellbound.
Longing to leave. Bound to stay. We sit in this unforgiving room like subjects in a gruesome still life. Cast on rocks that cut us in two. How could I think I could make you love me when you don’t?
Be careful what you wish for. The words taunt me whenever I catch sight of the dull pain in your eyes. I got what I wanted. You will never leave me. And I will never be free.