I collect statues. I have all sorts, in the shapes of men and animals. They stand in my garden. They must be carved by the finest sculptor in the world – and from the finest, smoothest stone – they are so life like. There’s a bird on a stone table, and when you look closely you can make out each tiny feather. There’s even a hint of the light it would have in its eyes, were it living, but living animals don’t come to my garden. Not for long, anyway.
Every day I walk in my garden, amongst my statues. I get lonely sometimes, but my statues keep me company. I admire their details. I think about who they might have been, I give them pasts and families and stories. It is only fitting, as they are all dressed in armour, wielding swords and shields. I think they might be brave, were they living and breathing. I put colour on the grey stone. I paint them with my mind; breathe life into their nostrils and voices into their mouths. They can’t do anything to stop me. They are mine; all mine.
Oh, damn my hair. A few locks have gotten twisted again, and they can’t get free of each other. All these girls, complaining of ‘bad hair days’. They should try having mine. I live for the ‘good hair days.’ This thick mane has a life of its own. It hisses at me. It’s complaining now, hates being tangled up as much as I do. There, there, don’t fret, I’m here. I can tease it out, so long as you don’t bite. I know this will happen again, sooner rather than later. My hair simply refuses to be tamed, but I’d rather get it sorted now than have to deal with multiple tangles later on. Come, come now. It’s over. You’re free. You can stop now.
Am I crazy? Giving words to all these voiceless things? Sometimes I believe that I am. Sometimes I get so angry and lonely I think I’m going to burst, and my anger will gallop away, fly elsewhere on feathered wings. I get angry when people come to visit my garden. It’s my garden, and they should stay away and leave me alone! What have I ever done to them that they invade my paradise?
Because I do get visitors, I get lots of visitors. Men. They flock to my garden of statues. They can’t stay away, and they never leave. They love my garden so much they stay with me forever. Not very talkative though. Shame.
Walking around my garden now, I’m beginning to doubt my skill. The faces of these men are all the same. They all wear the same expression, of shock and fear and surprise. It’s rather dull, actually, having to look at the same face over and over. Can’t one of them be smiling, just once? Even the animals look surprised. Can’t my sculptor carve anything other than fear?
And besides, that expression is a small price to pay for such lifelike quality. And it is nice to have someone to talk to, even if they never talk back.
Here comes another man now. Another statue for my collection. It is getting rather crowded around here.
(written 2012, inspired by the Perseus Cycle by Sir Edward Burne-Jones)