The Woman Who Would Be a Goddess
It was a fine summer evening, with the usual touch of ignorance and the promise of an approaching winter that would take the moist breeze and along with it, the fine evenings. Not that it would hurt a middle-aged man without a family, but summer, sometimes, promises to last forever.
I had plans for a theatre show, that fine summer evening. The word of a dancer had plagued the town; a dancer who could mesmerize men, offer them her last breath and in return, bind them to her noble magnificence.
What distinction did she hold, you ask? Why would the world be such a chaotic mess if she were not any different, I ask you.
This woman, this dancer, was far from the refined streets of the common women. She resorted to something astonishingly unusual, only to raise voices in her worship; something so implausible that one might believe her to be insane. She would dance on a stage, bound by hoards of men, with nary a robe on her body. She would dance almost naked but with sand plastered all over her skin. Fascinating it was, to think of such a woman who would abandon clothes and embrace the sands. Disheartening it was, to think of such a woman who would swallow her pride to conquer the weak. What possible scars could she bear, I wondered. Maybe, she fancied the idea of shedding her skin every night, only to find that the mornings wouldn’t let her run free.
Men waited, in agony and dismay, for her to bless them. I, so desperately, stood amongst them only to witness the act and in the process, surrender to her. And then, she happened.
Seventeen hundred men screamed for her presence in that theatre, and like a goddess who would bless the worthy, she stood before them; magnificent.
My father once told me that it would take a goddess to take down a hoard of men. Wise man, he was, with eternal wisdom.
No man could dare move a muscle or blink for the next turn of the hour clock. She spun and she swirled, bathed in sweat and sand, dancing to the voice of Maria Callas and there we stood, like eggs in a basket, hoping for her to never stop. The voice of that opera singer rose high and with them, she lost her senses. I could see passion and lust drip down her naked body, only to be masked by the sand. We waited, like desperate preachers, for her body to shed the robe of sand. But it wouldn’t.
And in those moments, only did I realise that all men must possess the sentiment of lust. We had her dancing like ‘Terpsichore’ (the Greek goddess of dance and chorus) would dance midst a forest, and yet we prayed for the sands to disrobe her. They hoped so, for they were men of weak morals and would trade their souls to see a goddess undress. I wished so because I was jealous of the fortunate sands.
All men must suffer, for they dare to lust.
I had an unbearable urge to see her again and if possible, talk to her. Not many men were willing to find words to elaborate the pain, and I stood among them. Her manager wouldn’t let me anywhere close to her. Charity then, I suggested. I offered her manager a glorious recommendation on the front page of my newspaper, and in return the dancer would spare five minutes for me. Fair trade, wouldn’t you say?
She, the manager, walked me to her room. I took a seat beside her bed. Oh, what fun it was to imagine her breathing painlessly on the cool crisp sheets. The walls all had pictures of her, dancing. I could see some half-burnt cigars that had been severed from her lips. She had all the famous men lying inside her closet; Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker and Jose Poquito.
Classy inside, beautiful outside.
A minute of the allotted five had passed when she decided to show up. Wearing a red robe, more red than her lips, and a cigarette in her hand, she stood before me like she would on a stage; magnificent. I spent the next one minute staring at her.
“What is your name?” she decided to break the silence.
“Why do you do it? Rather, how do you do it?” no more waste of time, I decided.
“Is that why you’re here, to ponder upon the obvious?”
“Yes, and I shall not leave until you answer me.” I was weak in my knees and terrified of her presence.
“And, why exactly the sand?” I had no time and too many questions.
She rose and made it a point to embarrass me. She looked at me with pity moistened in the distasteful syrup of mockery. Her robe failed to veil her skin completely and I could see how beautiful she would look without the sand. I imagined the rest of her skin to be as beautiful. And then, she took it upon her to erase the line between what is obvious and what lies beyond the lands of men who dream.
She removed her robe, threw it into the air and stood before me like she would on a stage; magnificent.
“Would you still like me to answer the obvious?”
“Yes, I do.” I struggled to concentrate on her face. My eyes hopelessly begged me to surrender to treachery. She held my hand to look deep inside my soul and as she breathed down my neck, my senses abandoned me.
“Do you mind if I hold your hand? I seldom have men looking at me without the sand.”
I nodded along.
“Answer me now. Why do you do it?” If only my mind would let me bow to a sin.
“In this world of madness and depravity, I stand disrobed to inspire men such as you and to save you from the vicious circle of boredom. The sand is all that stands between what the men desire and what I bless them with. I do not mean to torture, or preach. Neither do I look for a man who would pay to see me without the sand. I dance, soaked in the sands, only to ignite the passion that rests somewhere hidden beneath your breasts and the one simple thing that has brought mankind to such extremities.”
“What might that be?” I asked with a choked throat.
“Imagination.” She said. “Men are born with desires and lust so that they may live to bind their souls and spirit into one. And to imagine is to live, with thoughts that bow to no boundaries and desires that seek vengeance. I seek to establish a sense of patience in them and to conquer their hearts. I intend only to lift the boredom that has plagued the minds of men such as you. I am nothing but an ordinary woman, but I dare to imagine. When the men suffer in wait for the sands to uncover me, I do too.”
“Are they wrong to want that?” She still wouldn’t leave my hand.
“Would it be so wrong if they muster up the courage to imagine what lies beneath the sand? You had the chance to see it and your eyes have yet to wander. Now there is a kind of man I admire. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I want you, but you make me want you. Tell me, don’t you wish to see what all men would?”
I broke free from her grasp and pushed her away.
“I would rather watch you dance, soaked in the sands.”
“What if I told you that I want you to see me without the sand?” she mocked me again. She mocked my senses, my pride and she went way too far to mock my imagination. Woman of such aura are destined to be catastrophic.
“I believe that my five minutes are over. I shall take your leave now.” If I had stayed there for a second more, treachery would’ve embraced me with open arms.
“Do you know what kept your eyes from wandering off?” she put on her robe again.
“My morals?” I hesitated.
“No. You came in like every other man, wishing to seek what secrets I held beneath the sands. But something changed after I held your hand. The passion inside you rose like Jupiter’s fortune and your imagination started to run wild. You had hoped to shamelessly devour my skin with the fangs of your lust, but you were terrified to think of it. You had a picture of me in your mind and you did not want to blemish it with the touch of reality.”
“It is possible, I think.” I collected my gatherings as I prepared to leave.
“Remember, there is no such thing more beautiful than imagination. For what purpose does a mind serve if it adheres to the lights of the eyes? I have uplifted your boredom, love. I have unveiled your imagination. Let it run free.”
She looked at me for the last time. This was not mockery, after all. She was the woman who took a stand against men dying in a rut. It would take more than a woman to dare to think of such a feat; a goddess, I believe.