Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2015 - Page 28

28 | Psychopomp Magazine

Erol calls you, playfully.

You are special to him only because you remind him of someone else. A girl, he says. She looked just like you. The girl who rescued him the day he fell from the ship. He kisses your forehead and never your lips.

One day, there is a ring. A huge, aquamarine stone wrapped in white gold. It is heavy on your finger and it catches the light, casting sparkles around you. Erol says something about love and then marriage. Big, cupcake dresses. Maybe even a dance.

The maids make no effort to disguise their disapproval.

Marrying a prince does not guarantee you will be treated like a princess. Here, in this bright palace, you are more of an accessory than you ever were in the company of your sisters. And somehow it’s different; it’s worse. The only thing that seems to distinguish you from the furniture is the smooth pink conch wedged between your legs.

Nothing belongs to you, not even that. On your wedding day, a doctor came to the house, and at first you thought he would look at your feet. What better gift than to glide down the aisle and receive your rightful half of a soul without crippling surges of pain? You honked and honked, even grabbed your foot and wiggled your toes at him, but the doctor ignored you. He pressed your feet into stirrups and pried you open. He split your tender ladyflesh and sank his thick, gloved fingers into the only space of you which still felt amphibious.

Virgin, he declared. No diseases.

Though it hurt you to do so, you jammed your foot into his groin. Erol did not think it was funny.

The wedding feast was a coiled nightmare of nets and anchors. The maids had decorated the great hall with lifesavers and polished harpoons. Each table setting featured silver hooks, imprinted with your new last name. There you were, gagged and bound by your frosted white wedding dress, amid an arsenal of weaponry whose aim was your captivity. The dining hall was rank with the stench of expired marine life. Though you hated eating, Erol insisted you do so: Just for the guests, at least.