I am the builder, my hands flicker with the need to touch and shape and move, a magic that wants to make things in the world.
Give me two things and I will fuse them together, hammer them against each other; I will make you a house, a ship, a palace, a grave, I will plant each homeless root I find into willing, loving earth.
Siegfried loves me for this, needs me for this very part of me. Siegfried has aspirations, knows he is meant to be something better than what the present holds.
I don’t perceive time in such a way, I can’t, I am too many things at once for something like time to seem linear to me.
But I am willing to make, to give, to use the effervescence in my palms on things that Siegfried desires from life. I’ve made him many castles over time, each better than the last, and I keep doing so. Not all of my creations live up to what we both imagine, and so far none of them have kept him close to me for good.
The problem doesn’t lie with the castles; they are wonderful, I know they are, the things I make are rarely far from beautiful. The problem is what Siegfried uses them for: endless distractions, endless parties designed to get people to love him. After a while, I have to hide from the activity.
But when I hide, that’s when Siegfried sees me most clearly, sees that I carry too many selves inside me. “Can’t you just be a woman, Melusina,” he begs me, “Just be one thing and be it fully, that’s all I ask.”
Every seven years, like the snake who birthed her, Melusina goes into the waters and rubs and rubs her skin until it comes loose from her body and sheds itself, running off with the stream.
This is an ability given to many humans in many cultures, but in Melusina’s case this act turns her body translucent. In this state of transparency, she can assess the damage her body has taken in those seven years, that time during which she loved too much, and was loved badly in return.
She assesses the state of her muscular tissue cramped and cracked from holding on too tightly, her tired tendons and bones. Has anything become crooked or stale, are there burst capillaries or clumped veins, has anything been deformed or permanently blocked? How broken is her heart? Are her lungs spotted from the air she breathes? Has another untruth been dislodged from the basin where she keeps her fears and made its way half-way up her windpipe? Has her liver ceased to care for her? Is anything cracked and in need of mending? Are her nails so full of ridges that she cannot scratch them down a lover’s back without leaving their dust behind? Are the roots of her hair barely clinging to the surface anymore?
For the most part, Melusina’s fine, healthy still, but who knows, seven more years may reveal a very different body to the one she has now.