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The Beacon of Hope

In her pyjamas, young Alex would sit on a stone handrail that connects their porch to the roof of a vacant house that also belongs to her family. She would be with the company of tomatoes, oregano, and the annoying mosquitosโ€”but she wouldn’t mind them because her mother had rubbed a mosquito-repellant lotion on her skin earlier. The roof was her favourite place. She considers it the safest place next to her mother’s arms. She will spend all her remaining hours before bedtime there, staring at the moon and wishing Artemis exists. She would imagine seeing a beautiful maiden perched on the crescent moon, her legs dangling, and a couple of stars swirling around her feet. She would later tell her nephew she heard a soft laugh coming from the moon and her nephew would believe her.

Image by Florian Kurz from Pixabay

Young Alex considers the goddess her only friend because she doesn’t have any. Her parents don’t allow her to play with the kids in their neighbourhood since they’re ill-mannered, but it’s okay with her because she thinks they’re too loud, and she doesn’t like loud. Her only playmates are her nephew and her two cousins, who live on the first floor; but they’re all boys, and they suck at conversations that aren’t about robots and toy guns, so when she’s not in the mood to play with them, she’ll be alone.

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She’s lucky because her dad introduced her to Greek Mythology at an early age, and would find comfort in a goddess who, for her, would make a good friend for girls who don’t have friends like her. She would tell Artemis how her days went, tell her about her dreams, what she wants to be when she grows up, which changes every day. She wished to learn archery from the goddess herself too, hike the forest with her, and to be able to get close to wild animals. Young Alex doesn’t care how absurd that idea was because her faith was unconditional.

There were many nights where Alex would plead Artemis to take her away because her dad is mad again, and she’s scared. She wanted to be like the goddess who stays away from boys because Alex thought all boys would probably be like her dad when they grew up. So she swore to her she would stop having crushes when she grew up because by then the boys would be mean. Alex would go to bed a little sad every night because Artemis didn’t come. But Alex was an optimistic young girl, so she’s sure she will finally come tomorrowโ€”a beautiful maiden in a silver chariot pulled by stags with golden antlers, smiling down at her. Her faith was unconditional that she believed in tomorrows too.

But Artemis would never come, and Alex would grow up and would eventually leave her childhood fantasies behind. But her love for the moon will never changeโ€”never will she forget to look up and marvel at it or miss it on moonless nightsโ€”and it will be one of the many things she will love with all tenderness and yearning.

Artemis might be a myth, but she is the beacon of hope of the young Alex who wants to escape.

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PS: This piece was initially posted on autumnartemis.tumblr.com. It has been published here with the author’s permission.

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