Daffodil yellow and the frill of their edges when I was a girl.
The white, a moment with narcissus, the demurring and pitying smiles of ladies in waiting, the whispered trill of laughter as they danced down the tall, stone, halls – she loves narcissus, she loves narcissus flowers – well she should, well she should, as she weds the living breathing man himself.
I’ll wed in April I said, I’ll wed when the dew is like diamonds upon the white of narcissus and the deep red of its heart like the beating of mine exists to please the eye. My pale, tall groom, so stoic and waiting – I remember being a young girl and not really knowing.
I wed in June as all brides do – I longed for the cool of April. He stood so tall, so austere as in my dream, my knight of white, he stood tall and without a smile or glance of kindness. The monk took a pitying glance at the roses in my grip that trembled, he glanced the pallor of my hand – what manner of man was this that I was kept in tall towers to await his approach?
– I dread the night – I dread the knight.
No food touched my lips not wine would I allow, even with the supplications of kinder women that I knew – take they said, take and the coldness of his touch perhaps will warm, this night.
He held out his arm, that I may touch but not lean – that I stay within my austere body and not weep to leave those who cared for me. If I had seen a measure of kindness, If I had seen any sign of even cruelty upon the pallor of his skin, the blackness of his brow, the pale, thin, red of his lips – only a mask of a man handsome to some – narcissus, narcissus I heard the girls sing – and now knew their meaning.
We walked beneath the high vaulted ceilings hung in tapestry and glory. His voice alone now mine to hear, deep and austere “I have secured the borders of this high tower and your beauty and your fairness are now mine to ponder.”
I bowed my head and sealed my lips refusing to look at a man who views me as a prize and perhaps, yes perhaps worthy in feature to be called his bride.
Narcissus, narcissus I hear the girls clatter.
“You think me shallow, I simply see the outside of my wife – not at all, not at all my dove, I see both inside and out – you are lovely, a fair spring flower…”
A daffodil I remember and let the tears slide. No sorrow, or compassion, no tender touch – he waits and so I pull within myself the grief that has escaped.
To the high tower, our bedchamber now – and in a daze and docile I go. The air seems light and the June evening at last cool, the lights are low and the rose petals upon the floor, upon the cushions, and upon the bed do glow. He seems well satisfied, he seems content, and at a pinnacle of satisfaction looking about and then his eyes light upon me.
But to the edge, I have crept while his mind took stock of all that is now his. A moment of hate flashes across his face and a word of denial screamed, slashing like a sword’s edge from his mouth –
Too late, too late and it is I who smile as the cobblestones below I embrace for comfort– a moment’s pain and years of release
– narcissus, narcissus they whisper not jeering, nor in laughter, narcissus, narcissus they whisper as I sweep along the cobblestones, leaving a tinkling, icy laughter.
I glide upon the stair during autumn’s long night – I wait, I wait, my hand now cold and white. His grip in marriage did slip, he now dreads with all the force of living, of living man upon the living earth.
A madness sears his once handsome face, the narcissus blooms in fields every cold, cold April – a reminder that I wait.