The Marriage of Ariadne


There were two entrances to the labyrinth. One was mine, and the other was my half-brother’s. He―unlike me―never left his hiding place. What was sanctuary for me was prison for him.

The labyrinth was made for me, after all, even though it eventually contained him. It was my dancing ground, a place where I could hide myself away from everyone else who pretended they knew what was best for me. My bull-headed brother was never my concern. I was not to use the second entrance, his holding pen. I smiled at the guards every time I used my own entrance.

They never smiled back.

When the labyrinth was created, the key was tattooed above my ankle. It was a simplified version, but still it was our labyrinth, unsolvable and beautiful. There were more paths, of course, more dead ends, but the key only needed the two that mattered most. I was not to stray from my path.

It only happened once.

I heard a rustling coming from where it oughtn’t. I made a wrong turn, following it, and then before me stood a man. No. More than a man.

Before me stood a god.

“Ariadne of Knossos, Mistress of the Labyrinth, you shall be mine,” he said, and he smiled, and he faded away.

The morning sun beat down but the stones of the wall were still cool as evening. I leaned against them, heart pounding. The heat, I explained to myself, had simply caused me to see something that was not there. Granddaughter of a god, I could not believe when one stood right in front of me. I would learn.

I had to get out of the labyrinth, back to the castle, but I had never gone off my path before then. It should have been as simple as going back the way I came, it was only one wrong turn, but somehow I must have gotten turned around. I sat down, took a deep breath, and looked at the key on my ankle. It was only useful for navigating from the entrance to my hiding-spot and back. I was not supposed to turn off the path.

Another deep breath. The only one who could ever get me out of that labyrinth was me. I just had to concentrate. I stood up, and looked the path up and down. I can’t say how long it took me to find the exit, but I managed to. I could hear my half-brother, snorting and pacing, danger lurking in the darkest corners of the labyrinth. It was that day that I understood the labyrinth; before, it had simply been a path to a place I loved. Now it was something different, a place to truly get lost. It was more exciting than I wished for it to be.

A year passed before anything further happened. I still went to the labyrinth, but I was more cautious. There were dreams that I ignored, men in labyrinths laying claim. I was still young.


Then, one day, they were there. My half-brother was the sort who demanded sacrifices, numbered fourteen. (That is how the story goes, at least. My father was the one actually behind all this, demanding them from his enemies as a promise he would not go to war, placing the blame on the reminder of his wife’s infidelity.) I caught a glimpse of them as I danced my way down to the labyrinth.

One of them met my eye and for a second, just a second, I recognized him. Everything inside of me clicked into place. Then he smiled at me and the recognition was gone. He was just a man. No, not even a man. Just a boy, really. I smiled back at him, unafraid, and handed him a small ball of red thread from my basket. I did not explain to him that he could use it to trace his way through the labyrinth; if he was going to get out, he’d have to do it on his own, like I did. As I was about to skip off, he whispered, “Wait.”

So I did.

The corner of his mouth twitched upward, hinting at a smirk. This boy would be trouble, I knew, but I couldn’t help my actions. (My family has a funny relationship with fate. But then, what human doesn’t?) He asked me my name and I told him he’d have to find me to discover it. And I skipped into my entrance to the labyrinth, expecting never to see him again.

There was a small door, barely big enough to crawl through, at the dead end which was my sanctuary. You’d never find it if you weren’t looking for it. I tucked in on a bench there, next to the door, and started my embroidery. It has never been my favorite activity, but there is something soothing about the way it allows for an almost meditative state. I thought about the boy, and how as much as I want to be discovered, to be understood, there is a part of me that needs to be kept hidden, that runs away and hides itself at the center of the labyrinth.

It was then the door slowly opened with the grinding of stone against stone. Quick as he could, the boy shut the door behind him and stood up. He was covered in sweat and half-grinning, and he said, “Well, lady, I think I deserve your name. I’m Theseus.”

I’m sure I gaped at him. As I told him my name I noticed a sword by his side, dripping blood. Monster, I thought, not sure if I meant Theseus or my half-brother or both. “Well, Ariadne, let’s get out of here.” He offered his other hand and, not thinking, I took it. I could not have accounted for Theseus and his cleverness. He found me when I had hid myself, and that counts for much in this world. So I went with him.

Somehow there was a boat waiting, as though the gods themselves had blessed this brash young man with success. I fell in love on the boat – not with Theseus, really, though there was so much love welling up inside me that some splashed over onto him, too. What I fell in love with was the wind in my hair, the sun on my skin, the salt in the air. I had already forgotten about the labyrinth, and my half-brother, and how Theseus murdered him. Thus are the charms of the sea.

I spent most of my time on the boat at the rails, leaning over to feel the spray of the sea. I felt Theseus’ hand on my back, and I looked at him. Everything felt wonderful, so I smiled and I kissed him. He kissed me back, but he wasn’t smiling. He said, “We have to make a stop, Ariadne. On Naxos. It shouldn’t take too long.”

Naxos was a place I had heard of but never been. I kept smiling as the wind blew my hair around, and kissed him again. I didn’t care where I was going; I was free from all the restraints of royal life. I was free.

I can’t say how long the journey took, whether it was hours or days. I should be able to remember (I remember so much else), but it was so long ago. Some things fall to the wayside. The ship docked at Naxos, a name bandied about court but which meant nothing to me. It was a beautiful island, and we set up camp near the sea. I determined that I needed (wanted, but I was young then; it felt more like needed) to sleep with Theseus. The setting was perfect, and after all, he had saved me.

But from what, is the question all these years later.

I fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing, and everything seemed perfect. I thought I had all the time in the world. No one had told me anything about our next destination, if there was one. The next morning, he and the ship were gone, and Theseus wound up saving me in a manner neither of us could possibly understand at the time. When I woke up, alone on the beach, there was a woman sitting on a rock by water’s edge. She looked regal, somehow; she reminded me of my mother in a way. Her hair was long, though, and dark as the stormy sea. She smiled at me. Despite Theseus leaving and my world changing completely, I felt like everything was going to be okay. “Oh,” she said, “you’re awake. Good. He’s been waiting for you.”


She laughed and it felt like joy, even through my confusion. “No, silly. Not him.”

“Who are you?”

“You can call me Nysa.” She stood up and took my hand. “Come on, it’s time for you to go.”

“Go where?”

“You’ll see.”

Without letting go of my hand, the woman led me to a more secluded cove a short distance down the beach. A man reclined on the beach under some trees. As we approached, I realized I had seen this man before, in the labyrinth. I went before him, mouth ever-so-slightly agape, and my escort smiled. “She has awoken, my lord.”

He grinned like a thief. “Ariadne. I’m so pleased you could join us here.”

“Who are you?” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, whoever he was, god or man. He was beautiful, almost womanly in his beauty, and I could feel my heart pound like it had that day in the labyrinth. I felt trapped.

His grin quickly morphed into a pout. “You wound me, Ariadne. Do you really not recognize me?”

“You’re a god,” I said, slowly, feeling addled. I saw him with the horns of a bull, saw him wrapped in leopard skin, saw him with a serpent draped over his shoulder. I blinked and there he was, looking for all the world like just a man. “Dionysus,” I whispered.

“Good girl.” He turned to Nysa and ordered, “Get her some wine, now!” He turned back to me, winking. He waited until the wine was poured, and I had taken a sip, before he continued. “Well, Ariadne, tell me of your journey. I hope you enjoyed it?”

It was too much. The wine was too strong, it was too early, he was too beautiful. I took a breath. “Yes, my lord, it was lovely. The sea is beautiful.”

“Oh, come now, Ariadne, none of that. I don’t want those formalities from you. Call me by my name!” He looked me right in the eyes and I felt capable of anything, even calling a god by his name. “After all, in only a little while we will be very intimate.”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.” The wine flooded my cheeks and I lowered my eyes.

He leaned in close to me, and his voice was at once softer and more intense than it had been before. “Ariadne of Knossos, Mistress of the Labyrinth, you will be my bride.”

There was no asking. I had no choice. This was the pattern into which my life was being woven by the fates, and beyond that, it would be an act of hubris to go against the gods. I was young but I was not stupid (and he was so handsome). I finished the rest of my wine and he smiled. “It would be my honor,” I forced myself to say, knowing that some response was needed on my part.

He took my hand and kissed it. “You won’t regret it, my darling girl.” He turned to Nysa, still quietly standing behind me, and said, “Get her ready for tonight, will you?”

“Of course, my lord.” I felt her hand on my elbow, pulling me away from him. When I was finally able to tear my eyes off him, a feeling akin to terror rose up. My fleeting taste of freedom left me anxious for this, for marrying a god. Nysa smiled at me, and I felt that feeling of joy again and was comforted. “You’re nervous, I’m sure,” she said as I nodded. “But it will be beautiful. You are so lucky.”

The wine had gone straight to my head; I was only used to the watered-down stuff we had at court. I wondered what my father would think of all this, or if he had even noticed I’d gone. My mother would have noticed, but would she be more upset at the murder of her monstrous child, or at her daughter’s disappearance with his murderer? Everything from Knossos seemed far-away, like a dream. Had that really been my life, only days ago?

No matter. I was no longer their concern.

I was led to a spring, where women sat languidly, whispering and laughing with each other. Nysa took me to a rock a distance away from the others, and as I sat, a spread of cheese and fruit was presented. I smiled at the girl who brought it. There was more wine to be had, and I was urged to drink.

The remainder of the day passed in a fog. The cup of wine I had been handed was never empty, no matter how much of it I drank. There was always a girl on hand to fill it back up. My hair was cut; I was undressed and bathed, wine-warmed, in the winter-cold spring; oils were rubbed into my skin. I was almost delirious with pleasure and the wedding had not yet occurred. As the sun began to set, I was dressed in a diaphanous gown the color of crushed grapes. A crown made of flowers was set on my head. Torches were lit. They were taken up by the women, and Nysa led the procession back to the cove, where he waited.

He stood, illuminated by torchlight, leopard skin wrapped around his shoulders, the horns of a bull jutting out of his head. “Ariadne,” he bellowed.

The procession stopped. Nysa looked to me and nodded. I stepped forward, head held high and proud, drunk, until I was in front of him. I answered him: “Dionysus.”

“I claim you as my own. I name you wife.”

His eyes stared into mine. My blood pounded in my head. “And I name you husband.”

He reached over and I noticed for the first time a girl standing there, holding a tray. He split a fig and offered half. My face flushed as I reached for the half he held out to me. When we had eaten each half of the fig, a liquid was poured into two goblets. He took both of them and presented one to me. I had a sip and was overwhelmed; I could feel the liquid dribble down my chin as I gulped at it. It tasted like nothing I had ever known before. When it was gone, wanting coursed through my veins and I felt powerful. I was the bride of a god, I was young, and I was invincible.

It was a feeling unlike any I had felt before in my trapped life. (My half-brother was the one who was overtly caught, but do not forget that the labyrinth was originally meant for me. It was my escape, yes, but truly I only went from one trap to another.) I felt capable of anything. It reminded me of hubris, but this was sanctioned by a god so it was better.

Dionysus took my hand and led me away to a structure that looked like a small temple, though instead of an altar there was a raised bed. “Welcome home, wife,” he whispered. He put my hand on his neck, sliding his own along my waist. He pulled me closer, kissing me, and my blood ignited. I kissed him back more fiercely than I ever had with Theseus; after all, I had only wanted Theseus because he was there, and this was different, this was in my blood. This was my fate.

He picked me up and carried me to the bed. After he set me down, he pushed the leopard skin off of his shoulders and I realized he must have been naked under it the whole time. There was wine by the bed and he gulped down a cup of it, quickly, then poured another and handed it to me. I sipped some but it wasn’t what I wanted. It went back on the tray near the bed, and my new husband prowled onto the bed, kissing me. Some dim part of my mind noticed the horns I had seen before were gone. The thought did not stay long. His hand slipped underneath my dress, kneading my breast. He slipped the dress off my shoulders. The kissing stopped for a moment as he slid the dress off entirely.

I felt my body tense, but as though it were separate from me. “Don’t worry, darling girl,” he murmured in my ear. “I won’t hurt you.” As he soothed me, his hand crept between my legs. I gasped as his fingers found their target. They stilled and he asked, “Do you want this?”

My body moved toward his fingers and I managed to answer, “Yes.”

He slid down and angled himself between my legs. I closed my eyes. His mouth on me, I felt transformed, stripped of all that I had been. It seemed to me that my skin was the only thing holding me together, and I started laughing because I had never been so happy, had never felt so good. As it started to fade, Dionysus crawled back up, kissed my neck, and pushed into me, gasping.

I clung to him, moaning, losing track of time. It began to feel as though this was all I had ever done, all we had ever done, and it crept up on me, that sensation of expansion and being bigger than my body. Then it dissipated and this god slumped over me. He looked at me, kissed my cheek, and said, “Sleep now, Ariadne.”

I woke the next morning in the arms of a god. He sat up and, looking down, noticed my tattoo for the first time. “So you will never be lost,” he said, touching it gently.

A sleepy laugh escaped my mouth. “I am already lost.”

He laughed uproariously at that. “Hopefully you will not feel that way for long, darling girl.” He kissed my cheek. “But for now, it is time to dress and greet our receivers.” I watched him stand and place the leopard skin over his shoulders; he turned to me and offered his hand. I hesitated for a moment, feeling all of my own nakedness, before standing and retrieving my crumpled dress.

I could feel him watching as I slid back into the dress. When I looked at him, a smile grew on his face. My head throbbed slightly. He held out his hand. “Come, wife.”

We walked to the front of the temple, where two elaborate thrones stood. He led me to them, gestured for me to sit in the slightly smaller one, and sat down himself. Anticipating his wants, two girls appeared, one with a tray of fruits and cheese, the other with a pitcher of wine. Other women began to form a line in front of us. He nodded and one by one, they brought their offerings. There were urns of wine, oils, and perfumes; there was greenery and a few small snakes; there were gifts specifically for me, including a small hand-mirror, combs, and jewellery.

It was a little overwhelming, and my mind started to wander to the previous day. The details were blurry, but considering how much wine I had imbibed and how unused to it I was, there was a considerable amount that I did remember. I realized that my inner thighs were delightfully sore and that all I wanted, very simply, was more. Dionysus could sense this, and gave me a small smirk. “We are almost done here, little one. Then we can do whatever your heart fancies,” he whispered, as he plucked some grapes off the tray.

I probably blushed a little bit. Somehow he had managed to make his sentences sound lewd, even though there was nothing outright provocative about them. There were only a few more women left in the procession and we were finally done. With that began the first portion of my marriage to a god.


That early part was spent mostly in bed and when we were not there, we were cavorting on the beach with the maenads. Things were simple, and good. I barely thought of all that had come before this, drunk as I was on wine and a feeling of invincibility.

Naxos was a beautiful place, and hardly inhabited. (I went back, once, much later, and was shocked to find it so changed.) The population seemed to be mostly women; I don’t remember ever encountering a man other than my new husband. Surely there must have been some, but either they were kept from me or me from them. The wine flowed steadily enough that none of it mattered. We – all of us – existed in a state of semi-permanent pleasure.

I thought about Theseus every now and again, and how grateful I was to him for freeing me – and my half-brother, though in a very different way – of my labyrinth. Sometimes the tattoo on my ankle would take me by surprise, and I would be forced to remember my old life. There was never a wine glass too far, however, and this helped the forgetting. I liked forgetting my life before this, and remembering anything that was not my life on Naxos seemed taxing and unpleasant. Being now the bride of a god, I was discouraged from such activities.

It wasn’t that my life before had itself been unpleasant, but it seemed like a life that was not mine. Surely that had been some other girl who obeyed her parents but danced in a maze while youths died around her. It could not have been me. That girl had been powerless and I could feel my power emanating from my body.

Wine was easier than remembering, so I drank. Sometimes it was watered down, as it had been at court, but more often it was not. It made sense, given who my husband is, but being in a state of perpetual drunkenness has its downsides. Days passed where I could not remember any of the activities I surely had engaged in. (I say this with the benefit of hindsight. I was a girl then, and I enjoyed the oblivion my life had become.)


All things end, however, and soon we were traveling. The Mysteries of Dionysus are well-known; or rather, let me say they are infamous. Stories are told about them, about the tearing and rending of flesh. His maenads roamed the countryside, destroying in a frenzy anything on which they could get their hands, copulating with whomever they pleased. It is said that they took fawn and wolf to breast and tied snakes in their hair and around their waists. Stories are often more fantastical than the truth, but the truth is also often mad as a maenad.

We traveled. The maenads cleared our way for us, and the smell of blood was washed away with wine and ecstasy. Sometimes there would be an Initiation, and the number of maenads would increase. Certain women – who clearly felt more at home in the wild than in society – were drawn to this lifestyle, and they made up the Initiates.

I never attended the Initiation. It was still early in my marriage, and our time was better spent with each other. I could hear it sometimes, though, far off and vague with drunkenness, and nonsense about how they would scream about escaping evil, and the god who comes, and finding betterment. There were also wordless screams, hitting somewhere between terror and pleasure. None of it concerned me, not when I had a god whispering in my ear.

We had been traveling for some time (how long since I had seen my family? I had no idea, so firmly had I settled into my new life) when my husband deemed it necessary to attend the Initiation himself. He sent Nysa to stay with me so I would not be alone. She bowed upon entering, and greeted me: “My lady.”

“Hello, Nysa.” I smiled. “Come, sit with me.” I poured two glasses of wine and held one out to her as she sat. With my husband gone, my curiosity got the better of me. “Tell me what my husband is doing right now. Tell me about the Initiation.”

“My lady, I―” she started.

I smiled, the way I used to at court, when I wanted my own way. First I was a princess, after all, and now I was the wife of a god. I felt invincible. “Never mind, then. Just sit with me. Have some wine.” We passed the time chatting idly, and the screaming started. I had been careful with my wine, hoping that Nysa had not. I looked at her, hard. “Nysa, please. Why all the screaming?”

She laughed. “Why does anyone scream? Terror, and pleasure. These are at the heart of the Initiation. That is all I can say.” She drained the rest of her cup.

I thought then about the pleasure of my husband’s hands on my body, and wished he were here instead of Nysa. I wouldn’t have to think about the screaming and wouldn’t imagine all the potential scenarios that could be occurring. I wouldn’t have to think about my role in all this. Neither maenad nor maid, I was something else entirely. But what?

At some point I dozed off, and woke to my husband’s smiling face. He kissed me and said, “Come, Ariadne, let’s get you to bed.”

He scooped me up and set me in bed, crawling in after me. I rubbed my eyes and sleepily asked, “Why did you choose me?”

“Not even Zeus can control the Fates, darling girl.” He kissed me again, and I noticed that he smelled of blood and wine. I didn’t care; even through my sleep-fogged mind, I wanted him. He laughed when I kissed him. “You are insatiable,” he whispered in my ear, “and I love that about you.”

“Is that why me?” I couldn’t help asking.

He sat up, anger flashing in his eyes. “Ariadne, I will not tell you again. Do not question me.” The moment passed and he was tender again. He touched my cheek. “Just know you are mine, my love, and enjoy yourself.”

We made love that night, but something was different. Something had been lost, had been shattered. There was some kind of disconnect, something in my brain that I could not shake. Something wasn’t right. As we continued traveling, the niggling feeling wedged itself firmly in my brain.

Time went on, and the feeling only got worse. I tried to drink even more than I already had been, to drown out the building despair, but it didn’t help. If my husband noticed, he said nothing. Everything continued on outside of me as usual; the only change was within me.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had been used, that I had not consented to my current situation. It’s an old story―women did not often consent to their situations in those days―but something seemed irredeemably wrong about it. I had been tricked.

It’s hard to say from where we get ideas, but somehow it got into my head that I was done. This life―any life―was not for me, not anymore. I was done. Maybe if Dionysus had noticed things would have been different. There is no use considering it; things are always as they should be, as they are fated. It was clear to me that this should be my course of action, that the fates had decided it was time for my string to be cut.

And so, since string had played such a large role in my life, I chose to hang myself. Once I made the decision, everything seemed easy. I smiled when I was supposed to, didn’t speak unless necessary. I waited. Soon, there was another Initiation, and I was left alone without even Nysa for company, as I had requested under the guise of weariness. I found a light stool. I practiced tying knots, wondering if I was going to make a mistake. It seemed like the Fates themselves guided my hands, measuring the rope, taking it out to the woods. It all felt beyond my control. What was happening was what should happen.

(These days people see fate as an excuse. It is not an excuse. Fate is a way of looking at the world. I made the decision, do not mistake me, but what other decision could I have come to, with my background and my situation and my thoughts and feelings? There was no other choice for me. That is fate.)

The night air was cool and sweet, and I could hear the screams of the ritual in the distance. None of it bothered me, or made me reconsider my decision. I breathed deeply, fully, and relished my last moments. I chose a tree and hung my rope. Once on the stool, the noose around my neck, I took a deep breath and fell.

Everything went dark.


I woke up gasping. There was a shriek, distantly, but I was too concerned with the light in my eyes and the air pounding its way into my chest. Nysa’s face came into my view. “My lady? You’re dead.”

I couldn’t help laughing. “I am afraid not, Nysa.”

Nysa looked panicked, like she had seen a ghost. “But we found you, hanging on the tree! My lord did not take it well, I’m afraid.”

“Nysa, listen to me.” I continued only when I had her full attention. “You cannot let him know what has happened here tonight.”

“But my lady―”

“No. He cannot know. Promise me.”

She hesitated. “Of course, my lady,” she whispered, “I promise.”

I looked around my surroundings. We were near a river, where a ceremonial boat waited. The sun was setting and everything seemed blue. I smiled. “What was the plan? Was the boat involved?” She nodded. “Then that is still the plan.”

It was surprisingly easy. I lay down in the boat, let the current carry me down the river, and when I felt far enough away, out of sight, sat up and started rowing. For the second time in my life, I was giddy with freedom.

From then on, I ran. I kept on the move, never staying in one place for too long, afraid of being found. My life had become its own labyrinth. I saw the world change. (We are immortals, of course; it’s just that we don’t have quite as much power, as much influence, as we once did.) It should be impossible. Perhaps it is. Myth or metaphor, I remember these stories in my blood. Does that not make them real?

I would see my husband in split-seconds, on the streets in bustling cities, out of the corner of my eye. Another blink and he’d be gone; in his place was always a young man who looked almost-but-not-quite like him. He was inescapable in cities, even when he wasn’t there. (Sometimes he was there.)

There is no way to sum up a life as long as mine. As my husband told me so long ago, not even Zeus can control the Fates. It was my fate to marry, it was my fate to run away, and it was my fate to live this long. I have been in the North for some time now, making a living designing mazes for those who would lose themselves in them. It’s a desire I can understand.

It’s a remote location, by the sea, and I rarely get visitors. Most of my clients communicate with me via technology, which allows me to hide myself away, just like I used to in my own labyrinth. My time is spent walking by the sea, falling in love with it day after day, remembering that first time on the boat so long ago with Theseus.

I think it is a curse to live this long.


A man walks into my office, gazes at my exposed ankle, and heat rises to my cheeks. He says, “I’ve been looking for you, Ariadne.”

I have become quite adept at hiding who and what I am, but the tattoo remains. I have been found. “Well met, husband.”

“Your hair is long, wife. How old-fashioned.” He smiles like there is no bad blood between us, like everything is still new. He is probably drunk, sitting askew on my rarely used couch. He is still impossibly handsome. This modern age suits him. “How long has it been, my darling?”

“Why are you here?”

“I told you. I’ve been looking for you. It has been too long. You were hard to track down this time.”

“Did it ever occur to you that maybe I did not want to be found?”

He smirks. “I am here because I love you, Ariadne, hard though it may be to comprehend.”

“You’ve got a funny way of showing that.”

I push my sleeves up, an idle habit, and he notices the scars on my wrists. “Oh, darling girl,” he starts.

“Only ichor.” There is silence and in it, I feel my body warm to him. All these years, and my body still wants him. It feels a little like betrayal. “Well, Dionysus, you found me. What now?”

He stands. “Give this up. Come with me.”

As he moves closer, I tense up. I feel trapped, caught at the center of the labyrinth. It’s a familiar feeling; this is old history. “Stop.” I don’t look at him because if I look at him it’s all over. “How could I come with you? You tricked me, husband, you cursed me with this life. You took advantage of my youth. You took advantage of me.”

The god standing in my office has the grace to look abashed. He has softened with the years, with the lack of power. “Ariadne, I―”

“You what?”

“I’m sorry.” He sounds sincere. I glance at him, waiting, and he continues: “I am a god, and all I was doing was acting by my nature. But I am sorry, Ariadne, and I do love you.”

“I think you should leave.”


I sigh. “Maybe someday I can forgive you, or look at you and not see what you’ve done, what you did to me. But that day is not today, husband. Please leave.”

Anger flashes in his eyes, and in a moment I am transported back to the old days, when everything was new. It passes. Maybe he has changed. It doesn’t matter. He takes a breath and smiles. “Of course, wife. But this is not over.”

He leaves and I can breathe again. I close my eyes, focus in on the breath. I’ll have to leave, maybe find another coast, another country. I’ll have to make myself even harder to find this time. There will be more precautions, more left turns.

I will make a more complicated maze, and I will hide myself in the center of it.