Memoirs of a Bitch
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The bitch. That's what the crew call me. The bitch. They say it behind my back. But I can hear them. My name's Helen, I was born in Sparta, but I went away for love. They used to say I was the most beautiful woman in the world. The minstrels are already making up stories about how little I've won and how much I've lost. Lying tales. They weren't there, after all. But I was. From her childhood in Sparta, through the turbulent years of her marriage, and of course her disappearance with Paris and its consequences, Helen of Troy tells her own story. In a lyrical and musical style, Helen sheds her legendary persona and walks from the page as a real woman of flesh and blood; the archetype of all the women who, throughout history, have followed their hearts, forsaking wealth and power.
red stripe down its back. I reached out to touch it, but it vanished. I came up again, my newly growing hair thrown back like a whiplash and my mouth open, panting for air. Farewell to dreams, farewell to ghosts in that clean bracing early morning air. It was then that Diomedes came up behind me, so that I did not hear him. He grasped me firmly, pressing my shoulders against his body and pulling me under. The world filled with bursting bubbles as he dragged me down till I touched the river bed.
we were offered us black bread and hard cheese. It was lovely to watch Diomedes talking with those old men gnarled like olive trees, and biting with hesitant teeth into the impenetrable crust of their humble bread. I crowned a lamb with a brushwood garland. It stumbled over its own thin legs trying to reach the dangling twigs with its toothless mouth. And when the long shadow of the Peloponnese tinted the sheep’s woolen coats with violet and dogs ran about rounding up the animals with wolfish
offer me water and ask for nothing back. The gods they prayed to had no relation to the gods venerated in the temples. If I had been born like them, I would have died after an anonymous life of exhausting labor and been buried close to the door of my home. They had never expected anything else. It was the only destiny open to them. They had read it in their mothers’ wrinkles and sucked it in with their milk, accepting their destiny just as they accepted their own blood. But for me it had been
attended court ceremonies only when protocol demanded it. Even then he would be simply dressed and say little, would do his duty and then leave. To exercise an army enfeebled by too many years of peaceful prosperity, or to ride with Aeneas beyond the mountains and over the plains of Asia Minor, to capture horses that he would then ride bareback. Or to spend whole nights in the forest, hunting. Sometimes Cassandra went with him, or so it was said. The king would shake his head and say nothing.
smile; I realized Cassandra was right, because there was even something sad in his smile. “We can never fit together here, Helen. And I’m in no hurry.” “Nor am I. All I want is to sleep. With you.” He paused a moment in his smile, then came and sat beside me. The only way for us both to lie on that camp bed was for him to take me in his arms, making the hollow of his collarbone my pillow and his chest my couch. I closed my eyes in the golden light, and slept. 15 So began the time of my love