“Welcome home, Calais,” I whispered as he rolled back onto his pillow, skin glistening in the early morning light.
It had been far too long since I last saw him. His life as an Argonaut meant many lonely nights for me. My days were filled with anything and everything I wanted. We lived on Colchis where my brother, Aeetes, was King, and I wanted for nothing other than the company of my husband.
Calais was the son of Boreas, the North Wind, and brother to Zetes. He was a beautiful man. Without question, I adored his heart. Capable of incredible tenderness and attention. Yet, he looked as if he’d been sculpted by one of the greats. His arms consistently reminded me that I was never alone no matter how long he was gone, and his silhouette above me always emphasized our undying desire for one another. Until this morning.
Reaching out to sense him through his skin, I couldn’t help but notice the distant gaze in his eyes. Pulling into him, I placed my head on his chest just to feel his breath. The only thing at peace was his hair, gently flowing across the pillow. Puzzled, I asked, “Where are you, Calais? Your body’s here, but your mind is elsewhere. What’s going on?”
Hypnotized by the ceiling, he replied, “I’m here.”
Feeling the bliss leaving my body, I asked again, “What’s going on with you? This morning felt as if we were two different people.”
Caressing my back, he assured me everything was fine.
“My body wants to believe you. The satisfaction of your return fills every element of my being. Thank you. Thank you for loving me this morning. This time with you is never taken for granted. These are sacred moments to me, no matter how many times you go away.”
Both exasperated and empathetic, Calais exclaimed, “I know this about you Circe. I appreciate all that you do for me. I realize this is what husbands and wives do for one another, but I am burdened with the effort of dishonesty.”
Feeling uncertain and a bit rattled by the pretense Calais exhibited, I asked, “Does this have anything to do with Orpheus?”
Outwardly put off by my question, Calais responded, “I won’t deny it. I cannot stop thinking of him. During our last mission, our teams took turns rotating duties. Orpheus and I managed to get away from the disorder. One day, long enough to enjoy some music, poetry and, of course, intimacy. This time was different, though. It changed me to my core. Nothing mattered…only the experience of remarkable bliss. I realize he and I have shared tenderness in the past, but this time. This time was emotionally telling. I knew then, I didn’t want to live another moment without him. To share a life with you, we must be apart so that I may fulfill my duties to the King and society. To share a life with Orpheus means he is always near. So, yes, you are right. I was away in my mind. I was picturing him as you and I made love. Thank you for being my wife, but I must go now.”
Quietly observing a committee of Stymphalian birds pecking with their bronze beaks at the rocks below, I replied, “I appreciate my husband’s honesty.”
Once breakfast was prepared, I invited Calais to join me one last time. While he was in the other room gathering his belongings, I prepared a beautiful assortment of fruits and bread along with some freshly laid eggs. He asked for some grape juice, but I decided tea would be more fitting.
Wanting to make small talk and keep the conversation light, I asked, “Where do you go from here?”
Without swallowing his food first, Calais replied, “We travel to Taokheti.”
“Hmmm,” I said with a nod.
Curious about my motives, he asked, “Why do you need this information?”
Looking out the window, I let him know my desire was to keep our relationship on good terms. “Friends are interested in one another. May I offer you another cup of tea?”
“That would be nice,” he answered. “Is there anything without honey? I am in the mood for a bit of nasturtium. Do you have any around?”
Getting up to pour a glass of hellebore tea instead, I let him know with a glance, “As you wish.”
Although strained, we continued our conversation until Calais started to feel weak. I assisted him to the bedroom to lie down. I sat with him stroking his long, soft hair. Moaning, he whispered, “I’ve never felt like this before. What was in the tea?”
Leaning over him, I spoke softly into his ear, “Nothing more than hellebore.”
With his final burst of aggression, Calais demanded I tell him why.
His lurch was so unexpected, I lost my balance and fell off the bed. “There’s a madness about you, Calais,” I explained. Needing to see his face as I spoke, I crawled up to be next to him once more. “What man could possibly find life satisfying without me? Your thoughts made no sense! Because I had heard others talk about drinking hellebore tea for such maladies, I decided it was what you needed to clear your mind.”
By now, Calais was laboring to breathe. It was frightening to observe. With a final huff and piercing look, he said goodbye, “I told you I could not live without Orpheus. My statement was true. You are not a wife. You are a selfish murderer.” With that, his body went limp. My Calais was gone.
Looking around the room, I had no idea what to do next. I wasn’t a murderer. The plan was to help him see that I was just as good as Orpheus at loving him! I was going to be the last person he would make love to, not Orpheus. I wanted him to see that he couldn’t live another day without me! What was I supposed to do now? That thought no sooner entered my mind when a Stymphalian flew in through the window and carried off the lifeless body of Calais.
My eyes shot wide open. “What in the world was that?”
SWASH! Chairs were rolling across the patio and smashing into one another. “What’s going on?” Shaking my head, I stumbled out of bed. Still feeling a bit bleary, the only thing I knew was that sand and wind were blowing through my room. “Yech! Spt. Spt. I think that was a bit more than just sand!” I said out loud, sputtering my lips.
As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could see splintered shutters and blinds inside and out. But just as I grabbed my wand to fix the problem, Brady came running into the room.
“Oh hey,” I uttered, kicking my wand under the bed.
Tripping over his tongue a bit, Brady finally asked, “Um. Uh. Is everything all right in here?”
I couldn’t help but snicker. There we were, both naked and appreciating one another. This time in the privacy of our sanctuary. I gave him a nod of reassurance, explaining, “The racket from this storm woke me up from a very interesting dream.”
“Oh really,” he said with a hint of curiosity. “Do tell.”
Circling him, I closed in and gently forced him back onto the bed. Climbing on top, I leaned over and whispered, “I dreamt about being the last woman a man would ever want to make love to.”