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from Aradia's Diaspora by Susan Woerner

Copyright © 2018–2020 Susan Woerner

Scene 85

What I remembered next was being on the beach at sunset. The woman was there tending a bonfire. The three other women I recalled being at the waterfall danced around in the firelight, as if an unseen drummer set her hands to a djembe. Watching the yellow and orange sky fade to red then to indigo, I had a distant recollection that I had come from somewhere out on the water, but it didn’t matter. I wouldn’t be going back out to sea, this was my new home. The beguiling woman who coaxed the flames higher - she was to be my bride and I hers.

“Beloved,” she said to me, “have some more wine, your chalice is empty.”

I looked into the cup I held, watching it fill with divine ambrosia. I fell into a place where I was drinking her, not the wine. I was putting her to my lips, tasting her, pulling her onto my tongue, swallowing her. She moved away from me and I watched as she went to the three others, who also held goblets, who also drank in my bride. How dare they. I moved to stand, to confront them, to pull her away from them and back to me. What I accomplished was a tipped goblet, wine being lapped up by the sand. I reached forward, standing the goblet upright.

Firelight flared and I saw blood-colored wine fill the cup resting in my hand. My mind tried desperately to wrap itself around what my eyes saw. My bride was not here to fill the loving cup. Or was she and I could not remember? Thinking it merely a trick of the fire’s light, I tipped to chalice over, watching wine disappear into the sand. Closing my eyes, I raised the vessel to my lips. Th...

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