written as a secret santa for someone. used a few lines from their works but edited them to be my own. we'll see how well it's recieved. it's ridiculously angsty.
So Icarus Fell
The first time she met him was an accident, really. She took a wrong turn, he took a right one and they spent six minutes together trying to figure out where exactly she'd gotten off track. His eyes were green and brown and gold, his skin was smooth and nut brown except for a long pulled and twisted white scar, running down the back of his left arm. She wanted to touch it, know it, know him…but she couldn't hand around long enough to wonder about his life story. She was intrigued… and very, very late. Together they figured her out and she was gone like the last glint of the sun on water, leaving a purplish void in her absence.
It was weeks later when they met again and who can say whether it was an accident this time. But certainly it was one of those meetings one could look back upon, years later, and wonder about things like fate and destiny and where either of them would have been if not for those two.
She was on the bus home from the art museum. Who knows what he was doing, whether he was coming or leaving, going to or from. But the bus stopped and she looked up and followed a long white scar, pulled and twisted in remembrance of ancient agony, up to brown skin, a strong nose, dark curly hair and green and brown and gold eyes that made her think of a jungle she wouldn't mind getting lost in for a while. It took a moment for eyes to lock, for him to recognize her, (she had always known she seemed unremarkable) before he was sliding into the seat next to her, not smiling, not frowning, face calm, waiting. And she sat there; work in her lap, quietly watching his chin because looking in those eyes almost hurt, hoping he'd talk because she couldn't bear to. She couldn't speak because she knew she'd somehow make a fool out of herself and somehow he would know that she'd spent hours thinking about that scar and those eyes and the man behind and underneath them.
There were four more stops until home and she doubted she would speak unless he did so first.
She waited and as the silence stretched, longer and thinner, his lips spun into a smile, small and quiet at first, but within minutes he was chuckling. A deep breath, almost a sigh, and he turned towards her.
"Icarus," he stated simply, proffering his hand.
She breathes a subtle laugh and took his hand, her smooth skin catching on the calluses of his work-roughened palm, "Cassandra, pleasure to meet you… again."
His smile fades; he grows solemn, squinting into the distance at the dying sun. "Children of Greek mythology we both are. Tragic… tragic."
The bus shuddered and stumbled to a halt. He stood abruptly, grabbed a silver sharpie from his pocket and scrawled his number along her pale forearm. "Call me sometime, we'll talk, get coffee…." He smiled again, winked and disappeared onto the street.
Had fate brought her a friend? She smiled the entire way home, fingers caressing the silver lines on her arm.
They had been dating for months. Well, perhaps not dating. But they were more than friends, deeper than lovers. Where other men had made her feel weak…dependant, Icarus was good for her. His presence in her life gave her force of will; she brought him laughter and peace…
It was almost August when he invited her to his cabin in the mountains. The city was hot, humid and the sky dark with pollution that just made the heat more oppressive. She accepted, of course, and he picked her up early one foggy morning. She napped for most of the four hour drive and woke up in a place that could only be called paradise.
The trees surrounding the house were lush and quiet and ended abruptly at the close side of the lake. The far side was brush and rocks and flatness ending in a rugged cliff that fell away to the sea. She explored for a bit before returning to the house to help unpack.
They ate dinner outside, watching the sun make its weary progress across the sky. Icarus showed her a softly beaten path that led to the cliffs and what he called his favorite view in the world. And it was as the sun died a fiery purple death that he told her the story of his scar.
He was on the edge of the cliff; his eyes were out towards the sun. There was a distance in his eyes, a nostalgic ache that tightened the skin and made his crows feet seem more pronounced. She sat behind him, chin on his shoulder, stroking her fingers lazily across the silverish scar.
"I had a twin brother one," he began. "He was Daedalus, I was Icarus. He was older, fairer. My parents both majored in the Classics, met in college, didn't foresee any sort of horrible omen in naming their children after a genius who went mad with jealousy and a boy known for ding young. We always came up here for the summers when we were kids. Family land, this is, with no other houses for miles. My parents loved the solitude. My mother would come out here and quote Thoreau and Wordsworth the whole summer through. We passed the time swimming, hiking, cliff-diving, rock climbing by day and learning the constellations and Greek myths by night. It was … idyllic…during the summer. School was nothing compared to it, though we saw a lot more people in the winter." He softens for a moment, relaxes against her and squeezes her hand. He turns his face towards hers and leans his head against her temple, his eyelashes fluttering against her cheekbone as he sighs and turns back to the sea.
"Dae got sick fall after we turned nine, one thing after another, culminating with acute respiratory distress the day after New Years. They didn't know what was wrong with him except that it was probably unpronounceable. He got a little better in March or April but by June he was slipping fast. The doctors sent him home and told my parents to make him comfortable. They brought him up here to watch him die.
I was nine years old, watching my brother, my best friend, waste away. He got thinner and thinner. He barely had the energy to walk let alone run and play with me. I watched him die and I knew it wasn't fair; Icarus was supposed to be the one to die young; to fall and give away his name. Daedalus was supposed to grieve and move on. There was time there for a while when I hated my parents. I told them, time and again, that they had named me wrong. That I was Daedalus and the he was Icarus and how could they have been so wrong. Everyone knows Icarus was the golden one and Dae had blond curls and the biggest gray eyes that held a twinkle that could get away with anything. But you can't help fate, can't control destiny and the wrong twin was destined to die.
It was July 18th when Daedalus fell; three weeks before we turned ten. July 18th when Daedalus fell and when the sun fell too and the sky was dark for a little while.
It was a month after he died; I was one week ten when I went a little crazy. My mother had told me that Dae was an angel now, that he had wings now, like the real Daedalus and that he flew down every night to visit us, only we couldn't see him.
It was late, the stars out, the wind whipping the sea and I wandered down the cliffs to a place my parents called the Altars. I missed my brother so much and I had this thought … It was night, when my mother said angels came down to earth to visit their families and maybe if I jumped he would catch me and take me with him. Maybe I would fly too.
So too fell Icarus, like his foolish namesake.
I landed in the water fine, sobbing though, since he hadn't caught me, Icarus couldn't fly. The waves were not as kind as the fall had been. I was shoved into some rocks. Pounded would be more like it, really. I broke my left collarbone, dislocated my shoulder, fucked up some ligaments in my elbow and got this beauty of a scar. My father found me, bleeding out, hoping to die. I don't remember much of the next month except the unfairness of it all. That Dae died when it should have been me, that he flew but wouldn't take me, that my parents named us wrong, that I couldn't even manage to join him. It took me a long time, a very long time, to realize that there is no justice or fairness in fate. That perhaps it is better that the world is unfair because if it wasn't then Dae would have deserved to die and there is nothing he could have done that would have earned him that punishment. And so slowly I learned to live without my brother with only a jagged nasty scar to remind me of the injustice in this world."
The sun had set, the waves beneath us crashed, ebbed and crashed again.
"I like your scar," she says, "even with the story behind it." He turns and looks at her confused, unsure of where she's going with this.
"The world is unfair, yes, but it's also beautiful. You wouldn't be you without that scar. You might be happier without it, then again, you might not be. Fate chose for you. You've dealt with it obviously, since you're still here and you're the person standing before me. The Icarus who got a second chance, the Icarus who fell but then got back up, kept flying…" She lapses into silence.
"Anyway… thanks for the story. I'm sorry about Daedalus…" She lies on her back to watch the stars appear.
"Yeah. You've always been curious about it…. Least I could do." And that was a lie, he could have done less. He could have simply not told her anything. But someone needed to know.
She was engrossed in the sky overhead and so did not see his eyes before he turned from her and so did not see the morbid determination in them as he looked out over the sea. She thought to grab his arm but didn't, thinking to leave him to his thoughts, and he never turned back.
So Icarus fell.