Wednesday, 6 November 2013
Short Story - Narcissus Denied
In a world without silver and glass, those with poor eyesight were selected out. Victims of predators, but also condemned to die as lonely hearts.
For without silvered mirrors, lovers constantly asked their swains to construe their own unseen beauty for them. To trace their features with their fingers and relay a description of what lay beneath their pads. Love making with a running commentary. These verbal echo chambers, pinging back the co-ordinates of the heart by plotting the topography of the rest of the body. Reaffirmation of flesh through the word as much as the adoration by sinew and plasma. The connection was less the physical merging, more the establishing of an image in the mind of each partner of themselves.
Suitors gave air to what attracted them to their inamorata and gave generously. All became poets and lyricists as they gave vent to the full range of their imaginations, reaching for increasingly outlandish metaphors as they moved their lover’s hands over their own countenance. True love often exaggerated, sometimes it outright lied and fabricated.
Moving in to steal a partner from a rival was often a case of offering a different and maybe more flattering or appealing portrayal of the paramour’s pulchritude. Flimsy fixities of self-images crumbled as they were effortlessly overwritten. Duels were fought with incongruously soft-edged verbal bouquets. The vanquished reeling away to brush up his verbal palette elsewhere.
Without mirrors and with the quality of water too muddied to hold a sharp reflection, men were unshaven. Their visages partly covered up from delineation in word. Their faces remained opaque. Not so very different from our own world in many ways.