I could have loved you

thinking-black-man

I could have loved you
But the stars aligned
To place two imperfect strangers
In a perfect ship of relation

I could have wanted you
I rem’ber days when
Our bodies tangled
Desired each other
But I could have wanted you
If our bodies had a mind

I could have needed you
But just as the sun rises in the East
And sets in the West
So did my feelings

I could have kissed you
But I heard tales of your poisoned lips
Sweet as Velvet tamarind
With death’s lurking sting.

 

Photo credit: http://masetv.com/being-confused-allows-you-to-grow-maturity-through-uncertainty/

Who is the perfect boyfriend?

black happy couple

The perfect boyfriend is not one who gives his girl the world. The perfect boyfriend is not one who catches a grenade for his girl. The perfect boyfriend is not one who lays his life down for his girl. The perfect boyfriend is not one who takes his girl to the moon and back.

Why?

Because none of the above is humanly possible. They are all figments of the imaginations of romance writers who have forced these lines on us over decades of literature consumption. They are mere clichés.

Who, then is the perfect boyfriend?

The perfect boyfriend is one who does the simplest things in amazing ways.

The perfect boyfriend sends his girl genuine romantic texts everyday. The perfect boyfriend surprises his girl with gifts (no matter how little) for no reason at all. The perfect boyfriend accompanies his girl to the beauty salon. The perfect boyfriend shops for groceries with his girl. The perfect boyfriend helps his girl out in the kitchen. Scratch that. The perfect boyfriend cooks with his girl in the kitchen. The perfect boyfriend leaves “Thank you” notes in his girl’s bag for whatever reason every now and then. The perfect boyfriend makes sure he has enough spare shirts and shorts at his place just in case his girl pops in and she did not come with any extra clothes. The perfect boyfriend maintains a clean, safe and hygienic living environment because he knows he is not a pig and his girl is not a maid who does the cleaning. The perfect boyfriend knows how to spoon his girl without breaking a sweat or breaking her neck. The perfect boyfriend knows how to kiss his girl without smearing her makeup or eating her lips. The perfect boyfriend does not secretly check his girl’s text messages because he knows he is not an FBI undercover agent seeking evidence to use against a crime suspect. The perfect boyfriend understands his girl needs her space sometimes. The perfect boyfriend reassures his girl at every given opportunity that she is the most beautiful woman in the world. The perfect boyfriend never makes a joke out of his girl’s insecurities. The perfect boyfriend does not slide into other girls’ DMs. The perfect boyfriend knows by heart, his girl’s shoe size, bra size, dress size, foundation type, lipstick make, powder brand, sanitary pad brand, hair relaxer type and shampoo brand. The perfect boyfriend does not just orally encourage his girl to follow her dreams or pursue her passion, but he advises, guides and supports her so she does not falter. The perfect boyfriend is not blunt with the truth if it will do more harm than good to his girl. No, the perfect boyfriend does not lie to his girl either. The perfect boyfriend tells the truth to his girl in a way she will be able to comprehend it.

Above all these, the perfect boyfriend prays for his girl every day.


Photo credit: 36ng.com.ng

 

100 reasons why we can’t work out

giphyHi,
It’s me. I was wondering if I could have a minute of your time. I’m sorry for having to communicate this via a letter. I was hoping we could talk about it, but we wouldn’t have the time. I can’t remember the last time we had the time to have a good talk about serious issues. Talking about serious things has become a sort of luxury for us. We have the time to talk about every other thing except serious issues affecting us. Well, I have improvised a medium to communicate this to you. I hope you have the time to read it to the end.
I surmise you would have garnered a clue for the essence of this letter from the subject. No, I am not breaking up with you. I still love you. I think. But sometimes, I think love is just not enough. I feel what we share may be heading for the rocks. You know, like Titanic heading for the iceberg. Who would have thought it, that something so strong and beautiful could ever disintegrate?
So without much ado, let me go straight to the purport of this letter.
1. We are perfect, but not perfect for each other.

I know our friends adore us; they literally worship our relationship. They tell us how they envy our love. They send us pings, confessing their admiration for our recently uploaded BBM profile pictures. They enter our DMs, telling us how they appreciate our tweeted quotes on love. They like our pictures on Instagram and Facebook. They see us at social gatherings on weekends, holding hands, and they tell us how much that inspired them.

Our families  – oh our families. They can’t wait to hear when we’ll be tying the knot. They know we are meant for each other.

Our colleagues at work keep talking about how much we call each other during working hours. Our love must be so deep, they say.

Maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong, but you and I know we are in a strange place.

I like cuddling while I sleep. It makes me sleep better, but cuddles are not your thing. You would rather spread on the bed. It makes you comfortable. I don’t like how you spread.

I like preserving left over foods in the fridge. You don’t like frozen foods.

I like the Rose air fresher for the room. It makes me happy. The smell makes you vomit. You prefer a scent of lavender. I hate lavenders.

I love visiting friends on weekends. You would rather sleep at home.

I was brought up in an Orthodox church and would want to continue there. You were brought up in a Pentecostal and nothing would make you leave.

I don’t like your short hair. I prefer a woman who keeps long hair. You don’t like my little pot belly. You wish I worked out more.

I don’t like onions in my soup. But onions in soup, is the soup to you.

I prefer texting. You prefer calling.

So you see, we could be perfect in the eyes of others, but we are not perfect for each other.

2. Our career paths.

Remember when I got this job at the big auditing firm? You were happy for me, but sad that it took most of my time. I had to be out of the house before the cock crowed and wouldn’t be back until midnight. Sometimes I slept over at the office. I convinced you everything would be fine. The job was paying well and we needed the money. I promised to look for a more convenient job after five years.

Well, just as the five year ultimatum was closing in really fast, you informed me you got an irresistible job offer at that Multinational. Your dream job.

Hmm.

You know what your job description entails, right? You will literally live on the road. I know I was happy for you when you told me about the job, but you and I know it won’t augur so well for our relationship in the long run.

3. Our chastity resolve.

When we started dating, we resolved to remain chaste until our wedding night. We knew it was the best thing to do. Or so we thought.  We did not want our skin fusion to muddle up our real feelings for each other. We also did not want to offend God.

We held on for so long, kept our sides of the bargain.

Until that night.

I know we did not actually skin-fuse, but what we did, was close enough. Ever since then, we have continued in the act. We may not have skin-fused, but how long can we hold on until we finally do?

I stumbled on your diary the other day. I read your entry for the 5th of November. You said you were unhappy. You were unhappy about what we have been doing.

It made you want more.

It made you not want more.

You were not sure what we were doing. But you continued.

We should not have to live that way.
4. Our backgrounds.

You are from the North. I am from the West.

I know we already talked about this, even before we started dating. I know we agreed this wouldn’t be a problem. In fact, it hasn’t been a problem. We have circumvented everything that could have been a barrier. For example, our language of communication. We have settled for English. Well, we had no choice. It was always going to be English.

One other thing that could have been a barrier was the blessings of our families. But our families know we are dating and they are cool with it. Their paramount concern is our happiness. Wow. That should settle everything, right? But it hasn’t.

Being from different worlds has far reaching consequences than we could imagine. Have you considered the future? Our children? Our children’s children? I have.

When we have children – if we have our children, how do we want to raise them? Your Northern values are different from our values in the West. Should we super-impose our respective values on our children? Or let them choose which one to follow?

If we let them decide for themselves, there could be a conflict or friction in the home, especially when some of our children decide to follow one parent’s values and the others decide to follow the second parent’s values.

How about the language thing? Will our children also speak just English? How long before they forget their roots? What becomes of their own children?

A friend told me about his cousins who were raised in America. They have lived all their lives there that they aren’t sure if their parents’ country is Nigeria or Africa.

I know this is a long call as it relates to us, but I’m sure you get my point.

 

5. Wait. There’s a knock on the door.

No, “There’s a knock on the door” is not one of the 100 reasons why we can’t work out, Silly. I’m saying there’s a knock on my door. I think my neighbour is out of cooking gas.
Again.

Hang in there whilst I go lend him my gas bottle.

Oh. It’s not my neighbour. It’s the courier service delivering a letter to the wrong apartment.

I think I should give this letter to him to deliver to you before I change my mind about sending it.

I shall forward the concluding part of this letter to you on a future date.

Until then….

Yours,

Me.

*Addendum: I have just quickly scanned through this letter and I realise I did not refer to you in any pet name, save for Silly. I am sorry. It just feels weird that, for a long time now, we haven’t called ourselves those “mushy mushy” names we used to when we started dating. And me addressing you by any of those names in this letter would be plain hypocritical. You know I still love you, right? But maybe, ………………………………………………

#Classic: Kill Me Before I Die*

This is an old post I published sometime in 2012.

***

What is the worst thing that could happen to a man? Losing a mega contract? Getting ditched on the eve of your wedding? Being caught in the act?
I think the worst thing that could happen to a man is going to sleep, on the wrong side of the bed. Relax. Don’t get me wrong. Any of the above would pass. But to put things in perspective, if you go to bed with any of them in mind, you definitely would be going to sleep, on the wrong side of the bed. And when you wake up the next day – anything you do, touch or say would be a mess, because you definitely would be waking up on the wrong side of the bed as well.
I recently happened to find myself in that annoying spot – going to bed on the wrong side of it. The night in question was supposed to be a unique one. Sandra, a girl i had been wooing for some time had just got into town and i was determined to give her a treat. The treat – i gave her; i took her shopping; and then we went to the beach; we followed that up with having a walk before we finally rounded up the night at the movies. As i drove her home, we talked about stuffs. Well, she did most of the talking – she kept blushing about the movie we had just seen, the clothes and accessories i bought her earlier in the day, my nice heart, how handsome i still looked….blah blah blah. All the while, i waited patiently for her to get to the part where she would give me her decision on my proposal – was she ready to be my boo? She never did.
We got to her parents’ house, alighted from the car and i walked her to the gate. I was determined not to lose two things that same night – her decision and a good night kiss (at least for a job well done – the treat). So i placed one hand on the wall, using the other to stroke her hair.
“So you are not going to even give me a good night kiss?” I said, trying to act cool even though i was desperate for it.
She smiled and pulled my hand away from her hair.
“Dear, you know i…i can’t do that – atleast, not at this stage. I know we are getting too involved by the day, but i still need some time to figure out what we are getting ourselves into,” she said, looking at me with her dreary, innocent eyes.
The atmosphere was becoming tense and i needed to diffuse it.
“I know why you can’t kiss me,” I said.
Surprised, she asked “Why?”
I made for her ear and whispered, “Because your dad is a Pastor?”
She burst out laughing.
“Ah ah, no nah,” she said. “My dad is a Pastor quite alright and yes, he would kill me if he knew a boy brought me home – but no, he is not the reason i won’t kiss you….”
We both laughed at my joke and i kept teasing her – even begging her, hoping she would let her guards down. I really needed that kiss. The teasing and begging continued for another twenty minutes. I had got her in the position i wanted. Her back was against the gate as she faced me; my left hand was on the wall while my right hand continually made for her hair.
I was getting there. She was beginning to trip – even though she claimed she didn’t like what we were about doing. Our lips were getting closer. And then, i heard a clang at the gate as it swung open.
The silhouette of a big man occupied the gate entrance. Sandra immediately swung around.
“Dad?” she gasped.
An avalanche of ice immediately trickled down my spine and my legs started trembling terribly. I searched for composure but lo and behold, it was as far away from me as the heavens is from the earth. My mouth immediately grew dry as i searched for words; my heart pounded like it would tear out.
Then i heard the man bark, “Sandy, whether you kiss him or not is your problem! Just tell this…this…this son of man to get his hands off my intercom! We all have been listening to you two in the parlour! My pastors, elders, deacons, ushers, choristers…everyone! Fulfil your immoral act and make your presence available!”
Without saying a word to me, her dad slammed the gate and stormed away. I stood, deep-rooted to the ground, hoping it would just open and swallow me up. But how impossible – and stupid was my wish! Now, there was no chance I was going to get that kiss anymore and worse still, I may have put the girl i cared about in some deep shit. I knew i was going to bed on the wrong side of it – and i knew the next day would be hell.

*Fiction. Adapted from a joke.

 

Photo credit: Single Black Male

***

Let me know what you think. You can follow me on Twitter (click here) and like my Facebook page (click here). Gracias.

My Romantic Rules of Engagement for a hitch-free World Cup Season.

My love,

It is with great pleasure and a deep sense of responsibility that I write you this letter. I trust your night was awesome. I am sorry I could not make it home last night. I could say that I was working overnight in the office, but you would know I am lying. I was re-scheduling my diary for the next one month. That brings me to why I am writing this heart-felt letter.

As you already know, the World Cup starts today. Yes, the one I have been talking about in the last few weeks. Baby, isn’t this exciting?! The World Cup actually starts today! Whew! So I have written down a few understandings you and I will have during this period. I know you love me and you’ll do anything for me, right? Remember how I stood by you and endured you during the BBA last year? Yeah baby. This is my BBA and I expect you to stand by me. You will stand by me, baby. Right? Right.
So, here we go:

dv18190401. If you call my line twice and I don’t pick, don’t call it the third time. I am not dead. I am watching a game. And oh, don’t expect me to return your call immediately. I am watching a game. If you call me the third time, baby, I will block your number. I love you.

2. If I don’t return home on time or if I don’t return home at all, no baby, I have not been kidnapped. I am watching a game at a sports bar or I must have crashed at a friend’s place after watching the game. Please don’t ping me incessantly, asking if I’m safe. I will delete you with love.

3. We can’t attend any parties or events on Saturdays. My Saturdays have been fully booked. I will be working overtime at my friends’ place. Don’t call my friends to confirm. They have my instruction to block your number.

4. If I return home on time, the only chats we’ll be having will be football-related. No, don’t tell me what the Landlady did. Or what your boss said to you at work. Unless he said something about football. Baby, you know the world has been clamouring for gender equality? I have come to agree with these clamours. During the next one month, you can take charge of everything in this house – fix whatever is broken, give the house a make-over, pay the bills, empty the trash can, arrange for Baba Tobi to come and fix the plumbing works, take your car to the mechanic workshop…and mine too, do the garden etc etc. Don’t discuss with me before taking any decision. I love you and I know you can handle stuff by yourself.

 

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

5. The sitting room and its ‘hereditaments’ belong to me for the next one month. I have ordered for a new TV to be placed in the bedroom. Baby, you can have it all to yourself. I love you that much. Just don’t tamper with the sitting room TV or the DSTV decorder/remote. If you must visit me in the sitting room, kindly enter and leave without a hush, like the proverbial thief in the night. I must not hear your footsteps. I mean it.

6. No. Your friends can’t come visiting during that period. Unless they are male friends, then they have my blessings. And when they come, they’ll be restricted to the sitting room. If I sight a female friend walk into the compound, I will accidentally feed Bruno, our dog with beans and dry gin and I will thereafter, accidentally release him. And he will accidentally bite her.

 

food

7. This will be our food roster for the next one month:

Breakfast: Any food you decide to prepare.
Lunch: Don’t worry, bae. I’ll be fine.
Dinner: See Lunch above.

8. You will support any team I support. We have always had things in common, right? It must remain that way this next 30 days. If you scream the name of a team I don’t support, even by mistake, you are moving out of the house. I am not joking.

sad black guy

9. If my team loses and I feel bad, you must feel bad with me. If I laugh, you must laugh with me. If I’m pissed at a Ref, you must be pissed at that Ref. Anything short of this, then the house-keeping money for next month will be short too. And our planned vacation to Dubai during the hols will be cancelled indefinitely. Baby, don’t test me.

productivity-sticky-notes

10. I bought a sticker note and a pen. This will be our mode of communicating during the next 30 days whenever I’m not at work. Tell/ask me whatever you want to on the sticker notes. However, you are only restricted to use one page per day. And I reserve the right to reply in whatever manner, language or abbreviation I want. If I write “K” it means “K” and “end of that discussion.” If I write “No” it means “think of another option and execute it without involving me any further.” If I write “LMFAO” and I keep the straightest of faces, baby, ni tori Olorun, joor keep away from me for at least two days.

Baby, I hope the foregoing is sufficient to ensure we have a smooth relationship this next 30 days. You know I have listening ears? So, I am open to any reservations you may have about any of the foregoing terms and conditions.

Kindly document your reservations in the box below.

comment box

 

 

Love,
Harold.

Sex and the Sixty

black-love-oldThey say life begins at forty. But mine was officially over by then. My name is Osaro Oghenekevbe. I used to be the campus dude who knew what’s up during my hay days – my nicky “Double O” could attest to that. I could tell the taste of a woman from the curl of her lips, or the colour of her lipstick. I knew how to turn every girl on – until I met my wife. If someone had actually told me I would get married in this life, I would have wished to swallow a bag of nails instead. But here I am, married to the woman of my nightmare – Ogene. Actually, I wouldn’t really say I married her. My mom did – when I turned forty and she felt my life was heading for the doldrums. Not only was Ogene a minus facially, she was too local to be my wife. I mean a girl from the village? The gods forbid! And not only was she also short, she was actually a midget! I thought they said thunder never struck at the same place twice. But with Ogene, it struck more than thrice. She was just bad luck, and the cause of my present predicament. I married her because my mom threatened if I didn’t, she would beat her flaccid breasts for me.

We have been married for about twenty-five years now – or thereabout. I can’t really figure our anniversary date. You wouldn’t if you were in my shoes. So you can guess my age. Yes, late sixties. Our first night together was a total disaster! One look at her nakedness and I lost my libido – FOREVER! Come on, don’t laugh. I mean it. Can you imagine making love to a midget? Ah-ha! My man became like my aged mothers breast, forever. So, for like twenty-five years, I didn’t know what it felt like to have s…

My doctors have recommended a whole lot of bullshit. Forgive my language. (It’s only an expression of my agitation.) To get my grooves back on since I turned forty, I have done things real sane people wouldn’t. I have been on therapy, gone to the church, mosque and recently, the herbalists. I have drunk concoctions in the name of natural herbs and I have starved myself to death-points in the name of dry fasts!

Today, all that is about to become history. A friend just recommended a rare treatment – a visit to a call-girl. I throttle into the brothel on three feet with a paper in hand. It was my ticket to youthfulness. Written on the paper is the name of my mistress – Ibukun. I ask everyone I see for her room and they direct me further. The hall smells of burnt tobacco and strong ale. Screams of ecstasy and mortal fulfilments ooze out of the dark, filthy rooms by my side. The sully hallway, with paraphernalia ranging from pails with dirty water to shoes of both hosts and clients, looks like a coven. Clients stand by doors waiting for their turns. The red-yellow bulb above my head blinks erratically.

I finally get to my room. Luckily for me, there is no client waiting. My aged hand shakes uncontrollably as I knock on the door. An angelic voice invites me in. I brush my hair (if only I still have a strand on) with my rough palm, dust my shirt and move into the dark room.

“Undress and close your eyes,” the sweet voice commands in the dark.

Excitedly, I obey. My imagination grows wild. I expect my miracle.

“But wait,” I say. “I like to do it with the lights on.”

“No problem, papa,” Ibukun says as she saunters to the switchboard.

*Click***Click** The lights go on as I open my eyes to see my saviour. And what?!! Standing before me is who? Ogene?!!! My Ogene?!! What? How? What prank is this? My midget wife on G-string? In a brothel?

Another look at her thick, muscular nakedness, my heart takes a long pause…and restarts. And I know I am going to have a cardiac arrest!!!

*********************************

If you love this story, then I have a special package for you. Stalk me on twitter @haroldwrites to receive your package or like my facebook page at Facebook.com/HaroldWrites

Photo credit: Atlanta Black Star

*This is a republication of an old post.

Rumpelstilskin

Green Fairy courtesy of www.escapeintolife.com

Green Fairy courtesy of http://www.escapeintolife.com

Enjoy this beautiful piece by my very own Miss X. 

 

Pocketful of dreams in midnight city
I could sell you one if you desire,
In this city with neon lights & golden skies,
For the smallest thing you’ll pay a price!

Are you sure you do not want mine?
Do you dare to create that which you do not know?
If you try, will you ever reach this place?
Where the streets are made of gold & diamonds reign…

 

My price is just a token, your puny heart is all i need…
Give it to me and you will know my secrets
In your dreams I will place my treasure map
Somewhere only you will see my most precious piece.

Do not think, do not stall
There are many others with more to give,
Is this not what you have always wanted?
My dear, your heart is something you do not need
Here is the map to midnight city…

Again it seems I have fooled a man,
My gold, my wealth have tricked his mind.
Such silly beings most of them can be!
They have no idea the value of the heart that they possess….
Their loss, my gain…..on to the next!

CASTLE WITH GLASS DOORS by Miss X

Remember the lady with whom I had THE PROPOSAL conversation with? Yup! The Lady with a Heart of Steel? Yup. The One who rebuffed my die-hard advances? The One I am in love with tried convincing to use her creative pen more often but wouldn’t bulge? Yup. That one. I finally talked her into letting the world have a taste of her creativity and after almost two hours of pep talk, she agreed to oblige me with some pieces. I picked “Castle with Glass doors” first and after going through it, I was left in a pool of my tears. So strong was the message in this that I decided to put it up first thing today. Read it, and feel free to cry your hearts out too, in the comment section.

broken-glass-heart

Trapped in a castle with glass doors

Transparent blindfolds

Candy chains that tie me to you

I can leave but won’t do

I can’t breathe  still choose you

Simply nothing to loose.

Inside this castle we built

Mind jaded by broken cupid

Can never tell if its sunshine,

rainstorms or hurricanes

Oblivious, I still remain

I still remain.
Tear stains, are bold red

Heart beat has faltered

Can’t sleep but I dream

Can’t see but I see you

I’m free but I still remain…

I still remain.

THE PURSUIT OF TRUE LOVE: HOW FAR SHOULD YOU GO?

boy and girl in loveThere was a time I used to wish that somebody of the opposite sex, anybody of the opposite sex would fall in love with me irrespective of their physical attributes or class. This was way back in secondary school. I never had a girlfriend throughout my six years in secondary school. I never fell in love with anybody in that six years span, not because I didn’t want to but because it just didn’t happen. I didn’t know what it was like to be in love.

I had read of stories of people’s first love and it always occurred way back in either their nursery or primary level of education. I never had a childhood first love. Heck! As a child, what did I know? I hadn’t finished falling in love with my mom’s breast milk, so how could I fall in love with another girl? There’s only so much love one could fall into at a time after all.

The closest emotional encounter I had with a girl in primary school was a fiery one. The girl was a bully and I was her victim.  I fell in hate with her.

The first time I really felt something nice for a girl (which I don’t think was love) was in my final year in secondary school. And it happened in comical circumstances? A guy picked up a fight with me because he noticed the girl he was into, had an eye for me instead.  After the fight, I walked up to the girl and tried to understand what my fight partner was all about. In the process, I think Cupid struck me with his arrow (not the love arrow, but something close) and I started Continue reading

THE PLEASURE OF CUPID AND PSYCHE

Image

In 1934, Thomas Bulfinch captured the myth of Cupid and Psyche in his work Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, Legends of Charlemagne. It was such a touching story of love that I couldn’t help but wonder if such love could ever exist amongst mortals; a love likened to the soul – so peerless and immortal.

The original story of Cupid and Psyche was told in The Golden Ass, a work  by 2nd-century Roman philosopher and writer Lucius Apuleius.

Cupid, the Roman god of love is today represented as a mere naked cherubic boy with a bow and arrow. We imagine him as a fairy antique that we can place by our bedside, mirror or any other house furniture. This great god of love is now reduced to a mere antique.  Psyche on the other hand, for all her role in the love circus of Cupid’s myth is unfortunately not remembered for anything.

This post was initially planned for publication before Valentine day because its morals are quite instructive for lovers of today who may have forgotten the very fabric true love is made of. I hope this isn’t coming too late. Here is a contemporary adaptation of the story:

Once upon a time there was a king with three daughters, all were lovely, but the youngest named Psyche, excelled her sisters in beauty so much that she seemed like a goddess. The fame of her beauty spread far and wide and soon many people came to worship her. Meanwhile the real goddess of love, Venus (Aphrodite) became neglected as fewer people came to her temples to make offerings and pay her homage. Venus grew jealous of Psyche and turned to her son Cupid (Eros) for help. She told Cupid to go and shoot Psyche with an arrow as to make her fall in love with the most vile and horrible creature on the earth.

Cupid took up his bow and arrow, flew earthward, had one look at Psyche and was lost. No victim of his gold arrows was more deeply in love than he. While everyone worshipped and admired Psyche, her beauty was so awesome that men were fearful to express their longing and desire for her or make plain their sentiments. Both her sisters though less lovely than Psyche had gotten married. So Psyche sat sad and solitary, only to be admired but not loved.

Psyche’s father began to suspect some curse had fallen on his youngest daughter, and went to the nearby town of Miletus to consult the oracle of Apollo. The oracle said that Psyche was to be dressed in clothes of mourning and placed on the summit of a mountain. There she would be taken away by a fierce winged serpent as his wife. So the sad parents prepared this funereal marriage for their unfortunate daughter. All the people of the town mourned and wept, and Psyche was escorted to the appointed mountain top and left to her fate.

As she sat atop the mountain Psyche wept and trembled not knowing what was to come. Suddenly a warm breath of wind caressed her neck and the invisible wind god Zephyrus lifted her up and away until she came down upon a soft fragrant valley far below. Psyche had forgotten all her fears here and fell asleep. When she woke, she saw a magnificient palace in the distance and hastened towards it. At the threshold of this unguarded and uninhabited mansion, she heard a voice telling her: “All this is yours. Come bathe and refresh your tired limbs and prepare for dinner. We are here near you, but invisible and will satisfy your every wish and desire.”

The food was delicious and the bath so refreshing. While Psyche dined, she heard sweet melodious music, but could not see who was playing. As the day passed she began to feel reassured that she would soon meet her husband. As night came she heard the sweet whispers of her husband’s voice in her ears and realized that he was no monster of terror, but someone she had so desperately longed for. However with each dawn, her husband was gone, leaving Psyche alone in the giant palace.

As time passed, Psyche had become accustomed to a life of luxury. Because the time with her husband was only at night and so brief, she became bored and restless. One night she begged her husband to permit her sisters to visit her. Reluctantly he consented but warned her not to discuss him or the nature of their life together. Her sisters greeted her with warm embraces.

But they became jealous when they realized their wealth was nothing in comparison with hers. So they began plotting a way to ruin her. Psyche’s sisters began to arouse suspicion and fear that her husband of the dark was not some handsome god, but really the serpent monster prophesied by the oracle of Apollo. “Be careful or one night he would devour you,” they warned her “arm yourself with a sharp knife, and check out his face with a lamp when he’s asleep.”

Psyche’s heart began to fill with terror instead of love. That very night she did as her sisters suggested and when her husband was asleep, she took a sharp dagger to bed and lit her oil lamp. When the light came on, she realized it was not a monster but the most beautiful man she had ever seen. In fact, her husband was none other than Cupid himself in all his glory. Shocked by her finding, she trembled and a drop of hot oil from the lamp fell on Cupid’s shoulder and the pain awakened him. At the sight of this mistrust, Cupid fled without a word.

Psyche roamed all night in search of her husband but there was no sight of him. Meanwhile Cupid had gone to his mother’s chamber to have his wound cared for, but as soon as Venus heard the story she left Cupid in his pain. She became even more jealous and angry. She vowed to show Psyche what it felt like to bring down the wrath of a goddess.

Psyche’s search for Cupid was to no avail. Finally she went to Venus herself and begged forgiveness and offered to do penance so she could see Cupid again. Venus was angry at seeing Psyche, but would grant her wish if she completed a series of formidable tasks. She led Psyche to her temple storehouse where there was one huge heap of wheat, barley, millet, beans, lentils and poppy seeds— and said “Sort these grains, putting all of the same kind in a pile by themselves, and get it done before twilight.” Then Venus departed, leaving Psyche to her dilemma.

As Psyche sat in despair, overwhelmed by her impossible task, Cupid stirred up a little ant to take compassion on her. The leader of the ant hill summoned an army of his six-legged creatures to help. Wave after wave of ants lined up as if for battle and before nightfall all the seeds were arranged in ordered neat piles. Then the brave ants returned whence they had come. When Venus returned from her banquet, she was surprised that Psyche had completed her chore. “Your work is by no means done” said Venus. She threw Psyche a piece of black bread for her supper and went away. The next morning, Venus devised a more perilous task for Psyche. “Look down in the valley below,” she ordered, “there are sheep grazing near the riverbank with fleece of gold. Go and bring back to me some of the golden wool from their backs.”

When Psyche reached the river, she thought of ending her sorrow by drowning herself, but a voice bade her not to: “Do not give up hope, fair Psyche— the rams are ferocious and will kill you when you get close. Wait till sunset when the flock is tired and resting. Then you may gather the golden fleece sticking to the bushes and tree trunks.” So Psyche followed the plan and brought Venus her fleece of gold.

Venus then tested Psyche’s courage and demanded a jar of ice-cold water cascading out of a mountain peak. As she approached the waterfall, Psyche realized that only a winged creature could reach it. This time the eagle of Jupiter came to her aid. He seized the flask from her with his beak, filled it under the falling mountain stream, and placed it quickly in Psyche’s anxious hands.

But Venus had one final task for Psyche— “Go down to the Underworld and ask Proserpina (Persephone) to fill this box with some of her beauty.” Psyche found her guide in a tower on her path. It gave her careful directions on how to get to Proserpina’s palace. She was told to bring two coins in her mouth as round-trip fees for Charon, the Styx ferryman, and six honey cakes to feed the three-headed monster dog Cerberus on her way in and out of the palace gates. Psyche followed her guide’s instruction precisely and Proserpina was happy to do Venus a favor, handing back to Psyche the box filled with an elixir of beauty.

The voice in the tower had warned Psyche not to remove the lid of the box, reminding her the evil spell that befell Pandora. However, Psyche was curious to see the beauty-charm in the box. With all the trials and tribulations she had gone through, she needed some beauty potion if she was to see her husband Cupid again. She opened the box but there was nothing inside. Suddenly a heavy mist arose from its chamber and caused her to fall into a deathlike sleep.

Cupid’s wound was finally healed, and he could bear no longer the absence of his beloved Psyche. He slipped through the windows of his mother’s chamber, and flew to the spot where Psyche had fallen. He stirred Psyche awake with a light touch of one of his arrows— “Again, you have almost perished by your curiosity.” He wiped the sleep from her eyes and placed it into the box. Cupid told her to take the box to his mother and all would be fine. To make sure, Cupid flew up to Mount Olympus and spoke with Jupiter himself. Although Cupid had been playful, making gods & goddess fall in love with his arrows at will, he agreed to end his mischief. Jupiter summoned all the gods, including Venus, and announced the marriage of Cupid and Psyche. Mercury brought Psyche to the palace of the gods, and Jupiter himself gave her the ambrosia to make her immortal.

Venus was finally satisfied, for with Psyche up in Heaven, she would not command attention and admiration from the men on earth. In due time, Psyche and Cupid had a daughter who was given the name Pleasure.