by Josh T. Alto
About a beautiful woman the protagonist saw on his wedding day, and could never forget.
|I first saw Elena in a wedding hall, five minutes before my wedding, as she came down the stairs with her new husband. She was wearing a delicate tulle dress topped with a white gold necklace and sapphire earrings. Her eyes were light blue like the stones in her earrings and for a few seconds I was standing there and could not take my eyes off her. Our eyes locked instantly, but then she advanced down the stairs with her husband. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
Unfortunately it was also my wedding day to Lorraine. I was surely in love with Lorraine and I had a strong desire to have her as my wife, but Elena was something totally different. I remembered what Iris Murdoch, an Irish philosopher from the twentieth century wrote about it, “Every man needs two women: a quiet home-maker, and a thrilling nymph”. I thought, if that was true, then that woman I somehow need to find.
My name is Alex. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, and I run a sculpture workshop near the city center and also teach art at the local school where Lorraine is a biology teacher. Even before our marriage, we had a quiet life, no quarrels. I always knew she was the perfect wife for me. Still, since I had seen her in the wedding room, I always had my fantasies about Elena.
At that time, I obviously did not know her, nor her husband’s name. But, as it happened, she had married a well-known heart specialist and soon enough, I saw a picture of them in one of the medical papers in the waiting room of our family doctor. She was his secretary and accompanied him everywhere. I guessed her husband showed her off proudly wherever they went. I really envied him.
“Do we know them from somewhere?” asked my wife when she saw how intensive I studied their picture. I thought that if she did not recognize her, why should I raise suspicion without any reason. “First I thought so, but I’m not sure now.” I answered. She must have believed me because she continued reading her book. I finished the article where Elena’s husband, the professor Samuel Jacobs, had given an interview on his epoch-making innovation for heart muscle regeneration.
For a long time I have not heard anything about her, though I saw her in some of my boldest dreams. Once I even thought she was standing at the shop window of my sculpture studio, and I ran to the street as soon as I could get rid of the customer. But the street was empty, not a soul was there. Later there was an article in the local paper about her husband, professor Samuel Jacobs. He had accepted the invitation of a well-run research center in another town, so they moved out of my sight.
Months passed and I almost forgot my fixation when something terrible happened.
“There was another airplane crash over the Amazon rain forest,” my wife said while having breakfast on an early winter morning. “This was the second one this year” she continued. As a biologist, she was particularly interested in rain forests, especially events that could damage the forest. “There was a local professor on the plane, a Samuel Jacobs,” she added, “Never heard his name”.
According to the results of the investigation, that were announced a few weeks later, there were no survivors. They could not even identify all passengers because the bodies were scattered over a huge area. “So that is the end of my daydreaming about Elena” I told to myself. “Time to return to my normal life”.
For a long time I just tried to push Elena under my subconsciousness, tried to avoid thinking of her, tried to forget her eyes, her smile, her body. I had a happy life with my wife. She was the perfect home-maker, but I missed the nymph – so I made her alive. It started with an announcement in the local paper. More specifically, a tender for a statue for the fountain to be built in the city center.
I do not know how many sculptors applied, but to my greatest surprise mine was accepted, The Nymph. I imagined it in white marble as it was floating over the water in the middle of the fountain. I made some sketches, as well, that seemed to have won the jury’s approval. The Nymph, as it was slowly taking shape from the white marble became more and more Elena. Her facial features, her hair, and hear body could not have been more perfect if only she had been sitting there herself.
I felt satisfaction as I finalized the sculpture, “I have created the nymph that was missing from my life. Now I can lean back and enjoy my life” I thought. It was beautiful and people liked it too. It really seemed as if the nymph, a charming, airy beauty were floating above the water, sparkling in the sun.
A few months later I got a phone call from a secretary at the Major’s Office. “Someone is interested in buying a copy of the nymph, or any sketches that you had made while working on the sculpture. Is it possible, or should I just turn her down?” It was not a very unusual request. It had already happened with other sculptures, so I thought let her come to my studio and we could discuss the business.
Next day, an elegant car stopped in front of my studio. A woman dressed in black got out of the car, entered my shop, and came to me. “You?” I stammered in surprise. “No, I’m Lara, Elena was my twin sister” she said. It took me a few seconds to recover from the shock. I could not imagine how Elena, after she died in an airplane crash, walked into my studio.
“I’m so sorry about your sister” I said, took her outstretched hand and looked into her eyes. Just like her sister, she also had light blue eyes, and for a few seconds I was standing there and could not take my eyes off her. Our eyes locked and while looking into her blue eyes I was thinking about a quote from Alexander Graham Bell “When one door closes, another opens”.