I had a writer’s block so solid that I needed to write something to break it. And now that I have done, here’s what that ‘something’ is. Goodbye, writer’s block!
|Happy valentine’s day!|
Untying the fragile veil around the lower part of her face and placing it beside her, she swayed her feet gently in the water, sending ripples through the serene surface; the ripples followed each other in sync, carving beautiful concentric circles into the translucent liquid.
She sighed, tucking her fair locks of hair behind her ears; the mark at her cheek was now portrayed clearly, sending a jolt of pain through her heart. Rejection washed over her like a wave of fueled fire, hot in the lungs, and she drew in a sharp breath to keep her insides from burning out.
The man whom she had fantasized as her hero for so many days, the man whom she had imagined spending numerous nights with, had in a flash, declared that he would not marry her. Though it had been several months since he had said that, she felt its pain, original and fresh, every single day.
The denial felt so surreal, and her dreams felt so real, now that she was seated by the dreamy lakeside. A glimmer of hope never ceased to exist; that he would come running to her one day, enfolding her in his consoling arms.
If not for the slash on her face, he would have.
As her beautiful blonde strands tumbled down her back, he looked longingly at her. She was the little reason that he still aspired to live; the only thing to look forward to.
Behind that delicate veil of hers, she was truly stunning. He had only once seen what was inside her veil, and that was when he felt his virility take over. A platonic desire, yet deeply carnal.
She was the benevolent sun of his day, the flicker of starlight guiding him through the night. His very own angel, albeit a distant one. Her captivating curves were unexplored places of joy, and every delicate move she made affected him like she held his life in her slight fingers.
If not for the tiny mark on her face, he would have never seen things differently. If not for her unfortunate scar, he would’ve never dared to dream, even though a surreal, an almost impossible one.
Beautiful as she is, she aspired to capture the heart of another man, he knew very well, but his heart kept reaching out to her.
He wanted to go running to her, wipe out her sorrows and enfold her into his strong arms. He wanted her to feel what he felt beneath his mortal skin; he wanted to share that moment of ecstatic pleasure with her.
If only she would turn and spare him a smile… for now. He knew that he could pass another decade with it.
She felt movement behind her, and almost deceived herself. She couldn’t help hoping that it was her man, the reason of her burdened living. Her agile senses told her it wasn’t him, but her heart hoped… that he would return, that he would apologize, that he would take her away.
Before she lost hope, she swept her gaze around the lake. And not very far behind her, she caught sight of a man whom she seemed to know, perhaps from a distant dream. She managed a weak smile, for she did not want to look as devastated as she actually was.
The young man smiled back, a grim one at that; he then chose to stare right into her fathomless eyes, from the distance, which was so intense that it went deep into her soul where he resided. There was no place for another in her soul, and the man who had captured it had rejected it for all she was worth.
Whether he tried to alter something with his probing eyes, she knew not, but she felt something did change, for, she realized she never averted her gaze from his. And locking one’s gaze with a man’s was never a casual deed.
She averted her eyes to the lush grass below, embarrassed about what she had done. But she still felt the man’s eyes probe her as she sat by the tranquil lake. His thoughts seemed so disturbing that they sent a never-ending series of ripples through the water.
She glanced at the lake, to confirm if it was real. But no, the water looked calm and quiet, and reflected the same sullen face of a young woman. The ripples were now forming in her mind, like they always had.
Her mind was never once calm, never once settled; ever since the man of her dreams had uttered no, it was in turmoil. Ripples clouded her thoughts, and the once-clear dreams – the rapturous ones – that her mind conjured up were now a rippling blur.
She had thought that she would be alright, but she realized that her soul had been bruised for life. She will never be able to move on. He was the center of her gravity, and she was a desperate object, clinging onto his memories for dear life. He was the source of love, and he was the only one who mattered.
Even if all the water in this earth was extinguished, even if the sun came down to swallow the earth, her love for him would never change.
She had been admiring the grass for too long, never once looking back at him. He knew he should’ve expected this much from her, but it pained to know that she did not think of him more than she would think of the grass beneath her.
He knew that her love for the other man was great – so much that even if the water in this earth was extinguished, even if the sun came down to swallow the earth, her love for him would never change.
But with the intervention of a man, it could.
He stepped closer, painfully slow in his movements, so as to give her time to act.
He knew very well about her; he could judge her every act before it happened, he could guess what she would do without a doubt. She was not predictable in what she did, but he always knew.
To love is not a slight matter, after all. He knew her very well, and for that, he loved her more. And with every passing minute, his love for her grew twofold. With every smile of hers, with every grimace, with every move of the finger, his heart picked up.
And now, he knew she would step away. She had never before allowed a man reach out to her, and he knew she will remain so. Still, he advanced, knowing she would step away, just to give her a hint – a hint that he was worried about her.
Her gaze shifted from the grass to him, and he could not help suppress a smile curve itself on his face. Her eyes locked once again with his; last time, her eyes were cautious and wary, but now, he found a renewed purpose, a strong ambition in them. Something that startled him to his very core.
Something that questioned the Mr.Know-it-all within him. Something that he had not seen in his life-time. Something that shook him and his instincts like the ripples that shook the water surface.
Her eyes cast a spell upon him, binding him to the ground. A fleeting thought told him that even his brother was not graced with such a look from her. They drew him like he was a slave – and he had willingly surrendered to them – and ordered him to never let go.
And he held on, like the slave he was.
She slowly got up, never once turning away from him; she had never thought it possible – that a man could love her more than she ever loved him. But now, in this man’s eyes, she saw love in its purest form – something that he did not grace her with.
She saw a longing in those eyes; those that set her soul on fire, burnt it to ashes, and melted the remains. There was a new-found home evident in them, all thanks to the ugly scar her cheek was sporting.
She had never once dared to face anyone without her veil; she knew she looked ghastly. But this man loved the real her, she realized; he loved the mark along with her. And to such love, she never hid her true self.
He stood there, transfixed by her stare; she took a few steps towards him, away from the lake, judging his every thought. She slowly took a few more steps to the side, till she was well away from him. All the while, his eyes kept following her, every movement of his eyes pierced her, as if he was touching her with its intensity.
Suddenly, she felt exposed. Neither her thick fabric, nor her skin could protect her from his demanding gaze; his gaze was like fire, enfolding her within its flaming confines. He could see through her, it seemed, and very well so. She melted under the scorching fire, although never yet surrendering. She convulsed and swirled within its boundaries, and it simply held her captive.
She was a slave now. To the fire that was his gaze, she had fallen.
And with this realization fresh in her burning mind, she averted her gaze from his and hurried away. Before the fire could get to her, before it could burn her, she knew she had to act fast. Wounds of fire never quite healed, like the fortunate scar her cheek bore.
Drops of rain began falling to the ground. He stood there, the least bit concerned about his getting drenched. She was the cause for the rain, the only thing that possessed the power to put out the fire in him. She had responded to his feelings, and it would not be long before she realized they were suppressed-up feelings of old.
Something had changed that day. He knew not what it was, but the feeling was there – so fresh, so real. Something had changed within her, something had changed about the way she viewed him. Something had changed between them, and the change was permanent.
A tiny part of him had managed to escape into the depths of her soul, and he liked it back there. And for the first time in years, she had tried entering the confines of his heart, and had never quite left.
For the first time in their lives, they had exchanged love. Through their eyes. And this feeling between them had been so intense that it would mean either of the two in the near future – it would either kill him entirely, else, would be the sole reason for him to live henceforth.
He hoped it had better not be the former. The lightning in the skies assured him of the positive outcome, as the downpour proceeded to extinguish his fire totally, soaking his thoughts as it did.
She dared not remove her veil, even while alone. The fishes would see it, and she did not like a reflection that showed her how ugly she truly was.
She looked like a demon without it, she knew. Everyone had said so. The man she loved had said so. But one thing that confused her, was that he never seemed to care. The rejection crippled her, and she knew it was all because she wasn’t beautiful enough.
Now this man had replaced the man she’d craved for since that fine day, and she could think of none but him. The true love that his eyes held, the long stories that they told, the secrets that they held… it was too much for her.
She looked back at the reflection in the water. And, instead of seeing a veiled young woman, she saw a face that she so craved to see… it was him.
He gestured her to get up.
She took in a deep breath. It was about time she confessed her love to him. She got up slowly, and took a step towards him closing the aching space between them, till she felt his breath mingle with hers. His breath was tattered, she realized, from the evident intimacy.
She looked up and stared into the depths of his eyes, only to realize there was no room for anyone there – except for her. She was in the midst of a brain-numbing epiphany: this man was her man, and not the other that she had constantly been thinking about. She had always been wrong, she had always failed to understand true love.
And this time, she knew she had finally found her man. And that was all that mattered, in the end.
|The Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli: Wikimedia Commons|
Unearthing a five-century-old love story seems exciting enough, and so I see that people want to believe that it’s Simonetta who was in his paintings. Botticelli had also willed himself to be buried along with her upon death – which is evidence enough for many historians that he was in love. This passionate story is something that I could not find in Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s lives – they’re rumoured to be homosexuals, which is even proved in the case of the latter from his own poems – but the duo were better researchers and liked to exhume corpses and stuff to study the human anatomy in detail.
|Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci – painted by Botticelli
-Taken from the Wikimedia Commons-
But Botticelli? He looks more like a man of love, to me… he looks like he lived for Simonetta, for, he had never painted any other woman after he had laid his eyes on her. Even after her death, she is seen in numerous paintings of his. She died in 1476, and yet, Botticelli’s works that came much, much later contained her portraits only, when it came to painting a woman. Many historians call it the face of a nymph which Botticelli might have used, but there’s no proof for anything, is there? Sure, Michelangelo seemed to have some woman as his ‘friend’ later in his life who meant a great deal to him, but it didn’t look like they really had an affair or something, though Michelangelo is said to have regretted not kissing her on her face. And Leonardo… man, I wish I could just listen to his brilliant theories and lectures – research was his only wife, and that is pretty much obvious to all of us.
Now, one thing that keeps me confused is the question ‘how did all the men of Florence try to get to her when Simonetta was married?’ ‘Was Marco, her rightful husband, really weak?’ And there seems to be no good answers for questions like these… and is left to speculation by the addled minds of the masses. If Marco was really a dedicated husband, he would have never allowed the ‘great fighting tournament whose winner would get Simonetta’ from happening. After all, she was his wife, was she not?
Yet, the ruling Medici brothers seemed to approach her…
Yet, the youngest Medici won her by winning the jousting tournament…
No one knows what happened after that. This is when Botticelli comes to my mind. He is never mentioned at all at this point, because, let’s face it: a painter, however romantic he wanted to be, could not afford to fight powerful men. He could only paint a portrait of her and stand undetected in a corner of the crowd.
I wonder what he would have felt when the lady of his dreams was ‘won’ by someone else… by someone he knew and respected. Would he have not shown any feelings at all? Alas, news of Botticelli’s every reaction cannot survive the ages, and here I am, thinking of what poor Botticelli would have done that very day.
This site discusses about Botticelli’s legendary love story, which could be true, and which was an inspiration or this blog post. Of course, men all over Florence would have given a similar reaction, and I’m probably being apathetic towards them right now, but I don’t know them well enough to think from their perspective. I can only empathize with Botticelli, because, let’s face it: he’s famous, and I can know only about him. Yet… the fact that he declared to be buried along with her seems to be telling something about his unending love even decades after the Beauty Queen of Florence passed away…
Alessandro Filipepi. Sandro Botticelli. A name so fine. A name of love. A name that bore the title ‘very fine painter of the Italian Renaissance era’ along with two of his peers, Michelangelo and Leonardo.
Yet… he’s different.
And love made all the difference.