They say that I, while wandering restlessly from place to place, reached Africa. I was the one who dropped the venomous reptiles, the snakes in the 'Dark Continent'. I am a monster, a Gorgon, the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto; I am Medusa.
The days when I was a golden-haired, fair maiden, crossing the streets of Manhattan, you helped me dodge a red bicycle. How would I have known that the smell of fish on your hands would attract me like it did never before? You reminded me of someone. I knew where to find you again. Thus I followed, I traced the smell. After my art class, which usually ends at 4, I couldn't lie to my companions about how I won't be able to hang around with them; not today, because today I had planned to see you again. I couldn't frame an attractive story about being in love for my colleagues, because I didn't have any. I never could fall in love since the day Athena turned me into a monster, gave me snake hair, made me gruesome and ghastly. Everyone left me alone to rot. Isolated and shunned. But I found you, with a promise to never leave again. I treaded towards the alley down the street, crossing the Bakery, the brand showrooms, down to the fish market. The crowd was thin, I searched for you down to the corner of Harvey's.
People were throwing rough gestures at each other. A group of men and women were gearing up for a mug of foamy beer. I was heading deep into the centre of the market. The smell was getting stronger with each step. Scales were scattered everywhere. I clutched my rolled canvases harder, disfiguring an already disfigured creature with a face as beautiful as a lioness and, hair as wavy and curly as a loathsome bunch of snakes.
As I was delving deep into the market, I noticed faces staring at me, people pointing at me, turning to take a glance; I was different, I didn't belong.
I crossed lanes after lanes, tracing your smell, and there you were sitting on a platform, a lit cigar between your lips. Tall, muscular, wearing a red German cap on an ochre jacket and deep brown pants. You had wrapped up your day's work. Your shell fishes, tunas, prawns and salmons were all sold out. You looked tired after the daylong bargaining when you shouted for a mug of beer. And then, when you turned to settle yourself back, you noticed me, standing amidst the crowd, looking at you. How long did we hold the stare? It seemed like ages. The first chills of winter had already grasped the city, and as the sun was setting down, the red and orange hue on your face reminded me of the crimsoned Atlantic. I imagined you riding the sea on your horses, like you always did. Creating waves and storms, and again making the sea appear silent and tender, vulnerable like a new born baby.
You stood up. The crowd of men and women were busy discussing their ordeals, addressing one another in filthy code languages. The place was corrupted. And it was already 6; children were drawing men to the brothels. You saw me crouching in a corner. Perhaps because of the cold, or perhaps because I felt afraid. You took the trouble to ask me, you made me feel comfortable— yet again the snakes were stirred by the waves of the sea.Even today, after ages and centuries, after so many books and theories written on me, written on you, the abandonment only excites me more. I show the world that I can fight alone, that I still stand strong even after being beheaded. Every night, I (silently) rejoice and sink into my bed. Medusa was in love.
My art was complete. With shades of blue and black, I painted her on the paper. Medusa was never so beautiful. Her hair, black and wavy as the darkness of the night. Her eyes, blue and deep as the ocean. Her face, golden as the Sun. She is not hideous, she never was. She stands tall on the cliff that ends at the sea, holding her sceptre, she reigns as the Queen of the Isles.
Sketch By: Sneha Lakhotia