A Tale of the Lover.
A number of weeks after the rich man came home with the lover was the time when he exposed her to all he knew. The moment the lover emerged from the shadows of the spiraling staircase, questioning looks flew around the room. Who was she? Where had she come from? Her sheer beauty was like a bright light that no one wanted to shield their eyes from, like the discovery of a sparkling diamond mine. The air thickened with envy. All the women who had tried so hard to surpass each others appearance on the night paled in comparison to such an awing sight. But no one had seen her in the town or anywhere else for that matter. The silence soon turned to a questioning chatter. The rich man felt no reason to explain how he came to meet the lover and so encouraged his guests to enjoy what was left of the night.
Albeit the rich man chose not to tell his guests a tale of how he came to meet his stunning partner, it is not to say that a tale does not exist"ÃÂ¦ That's the place to begin. Long ago, even before Grandmother existed, there was a realm; a place between the living and the dead, a place where our sense was nonsense, a place where perhaps dreams were made reality. Some say that such a realm did not exist, others swear to have seen it and believed. Grandmother is a firm believer in the realm and has given me reason to believe that such a place actually exists, but like the other hundred, this tale could possibly be just another legend. Nevertheless, this is how Grandmother tells the story.
Legend has it; the only way one can behold the realm is to be summoned by the spirit of existence. It is said that the spirit will come and collect the chosen ephemeral and take him to the realm of the between. The spirit of existence watches time and so anything inside it is seen by him. It is not often that the spirit sees an ephemeral that he considers to be worthy of his grant but the rich man's selflessness, good heart and kind nature caught the spirits eye. Once the chosen one has reached the realm he may have anything his heart desires. The rich man thought about the places he had been, the people he had met, all the money and worldly treasures that he owned, his mansion, his staff of fifty servants and realised that the one thing that he did not have was someone to share his wealth with; someone that actually cared for his existence.
When the rich man awoke he found himself lying in his bed like any other morning. Only he was not alone. He rolled over to find a person, a woman. It had not been a dream. The rich man was no longer alone. He soon realised that the lover was new to this world and would need to be taught the way things were done. As well as being the rich man's lover she was also his student. He taught the lover how to eat using a knife and fork, how to dress, how to act in front of company, how to play croquet, how to appreciate ancient artifacts and most importantly how to enjoy life by doing things that pleasures one most.
Time passed and soon the lover would become accustomed to the rich man's way of life. The lover admired the rich man and marveled at everything that he taught her. She loved him dearly. The lover had fallen for the rich man's generous and heartfelt nature. She felt the couple connected like the sea to the shore, like the sky to the earth. She did love the rich man. But sadly the lover was not in love with the rich man. He had become more like a mentor, a teacher, rather than a lover. The lover did not want to tell the rich man how she felt, although he had taught her to always speak the truth and to speak her mind, as she knew that it would break his heart.
One morning, the rich man decided that it was time for the world to behold his love and more importantly for the lover to behold the world. That night the rich man would host a party. A party unlike any other he had ever thrown, a party of which he would not be attending alone. It would be the lover's first formal occasion and it was to be special. The rich man informed the lover of the event and lay out a dress that she would wear on the night. The dress was breathtaking and it almost brought a tear to the lover's eye to think that she would be wearing the dress under false pretences. The dress lay there sparkling like the surface of the sea on a mid summers day. Guilt surged through the lover's body; she must wear the dress, after all the rich man had done for her she could not ruin the night that he had been looking forward to for so long. How could she tell him that she cared for him dearly but did not want to be made to stay within the confines of his estate and that she wanted to see the world outside the jungle? The sun started to set and the guests started to arrive. Everything was perfect, the function room glorious. Bouquets of flowers filled the room in a pervading fashion. The mansion was prepared for a grand night. By nightfall the final guest had arrived, the rich man requested that the lover join the party. After quite some time, the lover finally made her entrance.
It was at this point in time when the tale began, but what is a tale with a beginning if it fails to provide an ending? The evening continued without a flaw. People chatted, others danced, and others drank. The lover however did not. Throughout the entire night the lover remained at the top of the stairwell motionless in an uncomfortable manner. She watched the rich man as he moved through the sea of aristocrats and acquaintances welcoming everyone and occasionally looking up at the lover and baring the smile of an infatuated man. Soon the night would come to an end and the rich man would escort the last guest to the front door of his mansion. He took the lover by the hand and the two went upstairs to the bedroom. The rich man and the lover changed out of their party outfits and climbed into bed. The rich man was exhausted yet satisfied; he would never be alone again. He rolled over and kissed the lover goodnight.
The clock read 3 o'clock and the lover could not sleep, she lay there staring at the ceiling. She knew what she had to do. When the lover finished getting dressed and packing her things she knelt down beside the rich man and tenderly kissed him on his forehead and said her final goodbye. As the lover walked towards the window she placed an envelope, which was marked with the rich man's name, on his bedside table. The lover stood on the terrace with tears streaming down her face. Slowly she climbed over the railing and down the vine growing up the wall. And with that she was gone.
For months the rich man searched the world for the lover without any luck. He had everything and yet felt empty just like an enormous prepared feast, a banquet with no one there to indulge; he would give it all up for one last night with the lover. The rich man would not give up on the lover's existence; he was determined to find her. But as the months wore on his energy weakened and his cause seemed irrelevant.
He never did end up returning from his search. Some say he died on the seas, others say of an incurable disease and then there are those who believe that the lonely rich man eventually died of a broken heart.
Word count: 1365