Medea Naked on the Golden Fleece
Lit Up — April’s Prompt: Transition
Last season’s fruit is eaten
And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
— from T.S. Eliot’s Little Gidding
Medea: Why are you staring at me?
Jason: Because you’re beautiful.
Medea: Beautiful? Ha! I’m fat.
Jason: No, you’re not fat. Though I hope that baby inside of you is born big and plump.
Medea: Do you find my baby bump attractive?
Jason: To be honest, I might find any naked, young woman lying on the Golden Fleece attractive.
Medea: You certainly touch me like I’m a young maiden.
Jason: Let me rub you with your prenatal oils.
Medea: Oh, no. Neris can do that.
Jason: Your servant is busy nursing her daughter. Besides, I enjoy touching you like this. There’s so little a man can do for his pregnant wife.
Medea: Nonsense. There’s plenty a man does for his gravid wife when she’s suffering with swollen ankles.
Jason: Like get his family driven into exile?
Medea: Jason, if it weren’t for me you could have been king of Iolkos — as you rightfully should have been — instead of Pelias’s son.
Jason: And I could have yoked the fire-breathing oxen, slayed the enamel soldiers, and conquered the sleepless dragon without your help? No, I would have been dead and king of nothing anyway. You — you made what I do have possible.
Medea: I love you, Jason. [sighs]
Jason: What is it?
Medea: What do you think our life in Corinth will be like?
Jason: The second we land, I’ll build an alter to Hera and we’ll sacrifice bulls in her honor, then we’ll feast. I’ll pray for favor from King Creon. He’ll give us some land by the sea where Argo will stay docked and ready to serve my new king and Poseidon. Little Mermeros, well, our son will have space to run and play and get picked on by Neris’s daughter.
Jason: And you, for you we will build a shrine to Hecate in the entryway where you can practice your arts and look out on your herb garden. We’ll have a large enclosure made for the kennels where we’ll breed the finest dogs for your sacrifices to her. And when our second child is born, he or she will know only Corinth and peace and our love.
Medea: We’re going to have a son, I am sure of it.
Jason: You know now?
Medea: Yes, I know.
Jason: In that case we shall name him Pheres — a title of honor given to the Centaurs whose power to transform into beasts is revered and feared. Good Cheiron who raised me would be proud that I named my son in honor of his kind.
Medea: That’s a good and powerful name.
Jason: Yes, a perfect name for a child whose birth will herald the beginning of a new season in our life — one without a need for any more death and dismemberment.
Medea: Yes, but I will take one thing with me into our new life together: my loyalty to you.
Jason: And I will take this Golden Fleece you recline on, this ship that carries us through the Aegean Sea toward Corinth, and my steadfast fidelity to you and our family. But beyond that, everything else is left behind, and what is ahead is a change — a change for the better.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this, please leave some claps. This story is a part of Dialogues: a Collection of Creative Conversations. More about these stories-in-dialogue at the link below and at my website.
About the author: Randal Eldon Greene is the Author of Descriptions of Heaven, a novella about a linguist, a lake monster, and the looming shadow of death. His short fiction has appeared in 3:AM Magazine, 34thParallel, as|peers, The Creative Cafe, Literally Literally, NPR online, Spelk, Unbroken Journal, VLP Magazine, and elsewhere. Typos are tweeted @authorgreene and updates at authorgreene.com