Fiction Sad Romance

*Heliotropium – “The name ‘heliotrope’ derives from the old idea that the inflorescences of these plants turned their rows of flowers to the sun.[5] Ἥλιος (helios) is Greek for ‘sun’, τρέπειν (trepein) means ‘to turn’"


There are many tales of nymphs that loved the tricks and faults of selfish gods.

Some found a way to escape bad fate some had less luck and washed away

You see when gods of old and new look down at nymphs that looked up too,

they fall in love quite abruptly and the love once pure turns rather ugly

Long gone were the days when she watched the sunrise with an idle smile on her face and long gone were the days where the sun smiled back at her. Now when she emerged from the deep waters and sat on the rocks at the shore everything felt different. The cold morning wind no longer felt refreshing, it felt dull and melancholic, the sound of the ocean waves hitting the sand cased to bring her comfort and the rays of morning sun felt like fire scorching her bare skin. She did not regret the deed that put her in this position, after all, she was abandoned and left to suffer the loss of love that she knew belonged to her. All she wanted was to get that love back, was that such a crime? A soft whisper into the ear of the right person and the problem was solved, or at least that’s what she thought at first but the Sun was blinded by his own light reflected off of Leucothoe’s empty gaze. It was then that Clytie realized that the daughter of Orchamus was not the problem. It was Helios’s own blind pursuit of vanity, but she couldn’t hate him even if she wanted to but the love that fuelled her once ethereal heart now felt like the sharpest dagger drawn to punish her. Why would he punish her for his own mistake? His own lapse in judgment, she was his equal and Leucothoe was merely a reflection of all he wanted to see in himself. She hoped that the princess’s death would make him realize that but she underestimated the power of conceit that now ruled over the Sun. The last time she met him at the end of his daily chariot ride he did not even stop to acknowledge her, turning around to make his way back. She yelled after him, screamed at the top of her lungs.

“Please you must understand I did this for us!” He stopped then turned around, fury and disgust evident in his gaze.

“No, you did this for yourself” taking the reigns the last thing he said was “I never want to see you again” and then he disappeared into the shadow of Selene, leaving the nymph heartbroken and alone. That was five days ago, and in her own grief, Clytie hasn’t moved from the seaweed-covered rock. The Sun may not want to see her but that didn’t stop her from gazing upon the love lost. She spent her days reminiscing over the times that he came down to see her only to mourn them later, the pain was too much to handle and the need to punish herself grew. Her sisters would visit her to bring her food and drink but she always refused, they would beg her to come back home but her home was next to him and it was out of her reach. Time passed, her sisters stopped coming. She only spoke when dusk came, hummed and sung the song of hearts broken beyond repair.

My sun my only companion

Why would you leave me be?

Is the reflection you seek worth

The song of a broken nymph?

Days went by the Sun ignored the wails of the nymph but she still turned her face to him with longing.

 The daybreak on the ninth day was different like suddenly everything came back to what it once was. The morning light caressed her skin with affection again, the pinks and oranges of the sky bleed together creating the most beautiful painting as the stars retreated to make way for the Sun's golden chariot. She knew he was close when the birds sang their daily symphony anew. Could it be true? Had he finally understood why the princess’s death was a gift and not a tragedy? Was he reminded of his equal? His Clytie? The nymph stood up and the most beautiful smile appeared on her face as she spotted Helios travelling the sky. The chariot and the golden stallions that obeyed their masters every word. As they passed overhead she realized that he must’ve missed her and quickly stretched out her arms above her head to wave but then the spell that made everything look and feel as it once was, broke. When Clytie beheld her arms that were no longer arms but rather small green leaves that swayed with the ocean breeze. Her once delicate and slender body was now a stem and her legs were roots that attached themselves to the cold rock to remain there for all eternity. Her face and hair were replaced by delicate purple petals and then she finally beheld her fate. Nothing came back to normal, in her lethargic state she must have missed the moment when the goddess Aphrodite glanced upon her, touched the nymph’s shoulder, and gave her the only gift that could somehow fix her broken heart. Now she would be eternal but small enough to let go of the pain she felt when she had the room in her body to store it. She would be content to follow her loves path each morning turning her soft petals towards him in a silent confession of her devotion that he never quite understood.

To this day she sits on the rock, as months and years go by. The wind sways her petals as she watches harmlessly from a distance. Helios occasionally glances down at the flower that follows his every journey and treats it as a reminder that being blinded by love is a danger in itself, that too much of it can be a blessing or a curse. It was truly a shame that Clytie never arrived at that conclusion. 

June 21, 2021 08:29

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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