Artemis and Me

 

 

He slipped into the booth

adjacent to mine

this morning

at the coffee shop

down the street from

my mother’s apartment.

 

He told me his name was Hugh,

when I asked  if Louie and Dewey

were coming to join him,

he did not appear to be amused.

Perhaps he was averse to ducks –

or me.

 

Hugh was lit from the inside

he seemed both

birthday candles

and birthday cake.

 

My heartbeat.

The hunger.

I want it.

I want it.

 

Hugh was wearing a large

beaded tiger’s eye bracelet

on his left wrist

that immediately grabbed

my attention.

 

I had to have one

just like his,

even though

I had long ago

given up jewelry-

even though

I had long ago

given up men.

 

My heartbeat.

The hunger.

I want it.

I want it.

 

I lusted after his bracelet

knowing if I owned one

just like Hugh’s,

his super powers

would flow from his

bracelet to mine.

 

Hugh told me about Jasmine,

creator of the bracelet,

who sold her jewelry

from her home

across from his yoga studio.

 

Of course

he practiced yoga,

I’m sure he brought

his own mat

made out of

organically grown hemp.

 

After some gentle prodding,

Hugh gave me Jasmine’s number.

I could feel myself inching closer

to the magic.

 

My heartbeat.

The hunger.

I want it.

I want it.

 

 

I sent Jasmine a text and

she replied instantly.

“Come over right away!

I live in St Henri.”

Which meant nothing to me

since I am

directionally challenged

on the best of days.

 

“Is that far?” I asked

“I don’t have a car and I will be

walking with my dog.”

“It’s not far at all” said Jasmine

“Just walk down Greene Street,

then turn left

onto St. Jacques.

It should take you less

than twenty minutes.”

 

So off we go

my puppy Lucille and me,

intrepid journeywoman

and her trusty canine companion.

 

Except that it doesn’t take us

twenty minutes

or thirty minutes

or even forty,

but I tell

myself I don’t care

because it’s all downhill,

because it’s a sunny day,

because Lucille is happy,

because the eye of the tiger

is calling me home.

 

I reach my destination

and knock boldly on her

crimson coloured door.

A full bodied woman

wearing a vintage

Japanese kimono

opens the door and says

“Welcome, I’m Jasmine!”

 

My heartbeat.

The hunger.

I want it.

I want it.

 

“I have been walking on my knees

for a hundred miles through

the desert repenting.” I said

“Well then you must be thirsty”

said she.

 

She offered Lucille and I

water from her well.

I had never tasted water

so pure and so sweet.

 

Jasmine brought out

her baubles for me

to admire.

She had bracelets made

of amethyst and garnet,

lapis and hematite.

She had bracelets made

of silver and gold,

copper and pewter,

but no tiger’s eye in sight.

 

I asked Jasmine if she could make me

the same tiger’s eye

bracelet that she made

for Hugh.

 

“I’m so sorry” said Jasmine

“Hugh is divine incarnate,  I made

that bracelet only for him”

 

And just like that,

with one little snap,

I was banished from the island

where hope and hearth and family

reside and I

most definitely,

now never will.

 

My heartbeat.

The hunger.

I want it.

I want it.

 

I couldn’t help myself,

my eyes immediately

filled with

tears.

 

Jasmine offered me a consolation

prize, a bracelet made of hawk’s eye.

 

Hawk’s eye?

I was not a graceful loser,

always mortified to come in second.

Most often when the going got tough,

I left the race, easier to escape

than deal with the shame of defeat.

 

So there I was

my tears staining

her cherry wood

table, when Jasmine gently

took my hand and placed

the bracelet on my wrist.

 

“Look Katharine, I think

Hawk’s Eye suits your

skin tone even better.”

 

“Tiger’s  eye is the sun, but

hawk’s eye is the moon, and didn’t

you just tell me that your

favourite colour was grey?”

 

I did and it is and I keep

a portrait of Artemis

Goddess of the Hunt

and the Moon, on my bedside table.

 

I know my hunger –

my wanting,

will never be sated by

donuts and Dim Sum,

baubles and bling,

winning medals of

honour or any shiny thing.

 

I get that-

I truly do

but the wanting,

my wanting,

is the closest I’ve gotten to

feeling tethered

to something tangible.

 

So for a moment,

for that one brief wanting moment,

I can stop feeling

that I’m here dangling

all alone on

the edge of the earth.

 

My heartbeat.

The hunger.

I want it.

I want it.

 

 

K.A.L.

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