Monday, June 25, 2007
A house I pass every morning No. 2
The Elysium of the Princess. Elysium, an obscure name that evolved from a designation of a place or person struck by lightning.
In Homeric legend, the Elysian Fields lay on the western margin of the earth, by the encircling stream of Oceanus, and there the mortal relatives of the king of the gods were transported, without tasting death, to enjoy an immortality of bliss.
The black gates of the mansion are always closed, the shutters drawn. Sometimes a step ladder is seen beneath one of the fruit trees in the garden, but no one is ever seen climbing up into the branches.
Yet the garden always appears cared for, if with some lack of imagination. The pebbled pathway around the dried up fountain is kept raked and tidy. Not that there are any skipping feet to disturb the stones.
The postman passes every day on his yellow bicycle, glances up at the windows carefully curtained from prying eyes with swags of lace. He's waiting with trepidation for the 14th of April, the day when he will find in his sack, among all the other letters, a slender black envelope. The same envelope he finds every year, without fail, on that day, addressed in a spidery hand.
How he dreads letting it drop into the dark cavity of the letterbox, down among the dozens of other slender black envelopes, slipping among them with a dry whisper that takes away his breath.