Here lies love

                By:Harris Rizwan

The flames of the hearth crack­le, danc­ing viva­cious­ly in their new­found open­ness cre­at­ing shad­ows on the face
of the trekker as he sleeps. The moon­light beams on them through the bro­ken con­crete ceil­ing, illu­mi­nat­ing the
stone ruins, per­fect­ly pre­served till this day. The weath­ered pil­lars and remain­ing facades stand erect, a rem­nant
of the once great locals of the area. With­ered ros­es and myr­tle flow­ers strewed the parish, ivy cov­ered every
sin­gle rup­tured wall or pil­lar that it could find. The pro­fuse branch­es of the olive tree sway in the gusts of strong
wind, yet still the trekker sleeps sound­ly on the senile stone stair­way. It leads to an ele­vat­ed mez­za­nine, a wall
on one side and nowhere else. He sleeps sound­ly alright, unaware of the arrival.
There is a con­crete bust in the mid­dle
of the mez­za­nine, which lies on a stone pil­lar. It is of a woman, glanc­ing side­ways how­ev­er with grace. Her
facial fea­tures can­not be prop­er­ly made out, weath­ered by the years’ worth of winds and gales. Veins of moss
cov­er her face, her braids, and her toga as if con­sum­ing the entire stat­ue or what’s left of it. At the base of the
pil­lar, there lay frac­tured tablets and plates all made of clay and stone. But what’s pecu­liar about this is the one
lying the mid­dle, propped up against the base. Words are etched in Ancient Greek on the frac­tured piece:

Edó énkeitai i agápi

She appears at twi­light from behind the sin­gu­lar wall, tak­ing grad­ual steps across the plat­form. An ele­gant white
chi­ton is draped over her shoul­ders, nei­ther trans­par­ent nor opaque but translu­cent. Her auburn hair is tied in
bun with an ivory lace. Despite her being bare foot­ed she walks with dex­ter­i­ty and poise, approach­ing the
trekker who’s encased in a cocoon of slum­ber. It is quite amus­ing that the sud­den change in the ambiance
doesn’t wake him up.
Sud­den­ly a fetid fra­grance of rose­wa­ter and incense can be smelt, light at first but as the woman
comes clos­er to the trekker, and it becomes even more pun­gent and over­pow­er­ing. As she walks, the with­ered
ros­es and myr­tle flow­ers at her feet seem to spark to life, blos­som­ing under the moon­light. It seems as though
she radi­ates life or care, but the eye catch­es only what it sees. She gen­er­ates love alright, but that is just a
weapon of choice. For what­ev­er could a god­dess radi­ate if not pow­er.
Aphrodite walks with appar­ent pow­er and vig­or, her eyes full of vex­a­tion and anger. But with
pow­er there comes weak­ness. Although it is con­cealed beneath a veil of bold­ness, you can see the frail­ness. The
all-pow­er­ful god­dess and her domain has been reduced to this; del­i­cate and weak like chi­na, able to break with
the small­est of force. Well aware of her sit­u­a­tion, she intends to do some­thing about this.
The moon has now ful­ly risen, encas­ing
every­thing in blan­kets of sil­very haze. The once strong gales of wind are now light warm breezes, the weeds
sway­ing in their wake. As Aphrodite approach­es Neil (our trekker) the swivel­ing fire in front of him changes its
col­or, from a bold flames of orange to a dim lus­ter of pink. Final­ly she has arrived, at the foot of the steps where
Neil is sound asleep.
She cir­cles him like a bird of prey await­ing the write moment. She plays with the braids of her
auburn hair keen­ly observ­ing Neil’s face as if a prize to be won.
Her lips part and in a soft whis­per she says, “Ah Neil! Let’s have some fun shall we?