“I had come to the house, in a cave of trees, / Facing a sheer sky. . . . / Sun and reflection wheeled by.” – Louise Bogan, “Medusa”
First he asked her to leave. Medusa was not a woman ever asked to leave. Men asked her to stay, not just for one night, but for night after night after night. Men fell in love with her as thought she had the power to bewitch them, as though she could subdue them with a single look, melt away their willpower. It was she who decided when to leave, not the other way around.
Perseus was different. They had made love, and it was sweaty and electric and obsessive – just what she was looking for. She had congratulated herself on selecting him as a sexual partner out of all the men she could have chosen.
But she never realized he had not looked at her, only at her image in the mirror. In all the mirrors in all the rooms in his apartment. Never directly. That was her mistake.
Her net of curly hair thrashed wildly when he asked her to leave. She almost pulled out a weapon – men like this did not deserve to live. But then she came to herself, remembered what this would all look like on Facebook, and she decided she would go.
She laughed as she put her things in the red leather bag she’d brought. She laughed for all the boys who had suffered tragedy for her, all the men who had followed her commands, all the ones she had tossed aside when they no longer amused her.
She laughed even more as she walked down the stairs to the street, picturing the mysterious snake infestation that would occur in his apartment in a day or two.
Lust was an ugly business.