"'Oh, I don't know,' he said. 'Πελλαίου βοῦς μέγας εἰν Ἀίδη.' This was something to the effect that, in the Underworld, a great ox costs only a penny, but I knew what he meant and in spite of myself I laughed. There was a tradition among the ancients that things were very cheap in Hell. " --Donna Tartt, "The Secret History"
I know all the things you've never told me. I know the late nights and the gnawing feeling in your chest, the dreams from which you wake, clawing your way out of tangled bedclothes. Gasping for air.
I know the jobs you've taken and the ones you've refused. I know the desperate twin chains of inertia and fear, the fear of hurting someone who truly cares for you. Sitting up at night, you think of me, but only when you can't distract yourself. I'm still waiting, though. I've been down here a long time, but I'm doing okay. Getting around only costs me a penny, and everyone in this place knows just what I'm going through. I'd never leave you if I had any say in the matter, you know.
Some nights I think you'll find your way home to me, follow your heart down here. Then I could make my escape. I could touch your hand and all the years we've been apart could dissolve into nothing more than the swirling rainbow film on a puddle of water in the parking lot. I could make you remember. I could make you forget.
I remember you, upright in that leather jacket. I played at vegetarian disgust and secretly longed to be folded into your arms. I didn't actually care that you were wearing a dead cow. I have this thing for writers and percussionists. The craziest guys come down here, and it's true, I have my fun. You're not here, so, it's true. Every time I close my eyes, though, it's you. Always you. I wake up from my dreams in tears, muffling myself in the pillow so I don't disturb whichever one is in my bed this time. They don't matter, only the dreams. I dream of you and your hollow days, pushing on in denial. Other times it's of the past, of the comfort of apples, the weariness of love.
I think you are refusing my calls, refusing to believe that I could still be here, burying yourself in the meaningless pursuits of the upper side. Cowardly, clinging to the sunlight you never loved. You don't even play your music anymore. You never write to me, for me, of me. I think you've given up hope. I think you've sold the dream for her scraps of passion, and worse. Even in a Hades market, I think you're selling the dream too cheap.
For this week's IndieInk Writing Challenge, Billy Flynn challenged me with "Selling the dream cheap", and I challenged Diane with "Old Scratch and El Salto del Colacho. Make it funny if you can--if you can't, make it terrifying."
There is an interpretation of the Orpheus myth that colors him a coward, afraid to die to be with Eurydice forever. Instead, he defied the gods to retrieve her, because he wasn't ready to leave the upper world. I find this rather less romantic than you might think.