The beautiful golden days when you were soon to be dying but could still enter into random conversations with strangers, random but also deliberate, so impressions of the world were still forming and changing you, and the city was at its most radiant, uncrowded in summer though by then everything was happening more slowly— boutiques, restaurants, a little wine shop with a striped awning, once a cat was sleeping in the doorway; it was cool there, in the shadows, and I thought I would like to sleep like that again, to have in my mind not one thought. And later we would eat polpo and saganaki, the waiter cutting leaves of oregano into a saucer of oil— What was it, six o’clock? So when we left it was still light and everything could be seen for what it was, and then you got in the car— where did you go next, after those days, where although you could not speak you were not lost?
When Hades decided he loved this girl he built for her a duplicate of earth, everything the same, down to the meadow, but with a bed added.
Everything the same, including sunlight, because it would be hard on a young girl to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness
Gradually, he thought, he’d introduce the night, first as the shadows of fluttering leaves. Then moon, then stars. Then no moon, no stars. Let Persephone get used to it slowly. In the end, he thought, she’d find it comforting.
A replica of earth except there was love here. Doesn’t everyone want love?
He waited many years, building a world, watching Persephone in the meadow. Persephone, a smeller, a taster. If you have one appetite, he thought, you have them all.
Doesn’t everyone want to feel in the night the beloved body, compass, polestar, to hear the quiet breathing that says I am alive, that means also you are alive, because you hear me, you are here with me. And when one turns, the other turns—
That’s what he felt, the lord of darkness, looking at the world he had constructed for Persephone. It never crossed his mind that there’d be no more smelling here, certainly no more eating.
Guilt? Terror? The fear of love? These things he couldn’t imagine; no lover ever imagines them.
He dreams, he wonders what to call this place. First he thinks: The New Hell. Then: The Garden. In the end, he decides to name it Persephone’s Girlhood.
A soft light rising above the level meadow, behind the bed. He takes her in his arms. He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you
but he thinks this is a lie, so he says in the end you’re dead, nothing can hurt you which seems to him a more promising beginning, more true.