Ariadne/Chapter One: Girlfriends
Ariadne took a bath. The slaves smeared her body with incenses and expensive oils, combed her luxurious hair. She was dressed in an outfit of fine expensive fabric with embroidery of gold thread along the edge. She was like the very embodiment of grace!
She came up to the silver mirror, which reflected the splendor of her body in all its glory.
One of the slaves — with a low bow — handed a casket with ornaments. Among the numerous expensive and exquisite jewelry, Ariadne took only the diadem of fine work. She touched up her hair and fastened it with this ornament in the form of a thin golden twig with pearls.
Ariadne gestured for the slave to retire.
“What else do you need?” — she mentally was speaking to herself, reflected in the mirror.
Exquisite luxury of the house, decorations, outfits…
The wealth given by her father was great. Both father and mother now live in Athens and do not pester her with parental care. The most beautiful and wealthy of suitors ask her hand, and she can choose…
Thoughts flowed smoothly, as if the dialogue with the beautiful reflection, which Ariadne saw in the mirror, continued:
“What more do you want? Marriage? Children? It is only necessary to choose one of the admirers — and this will become a reality.
“Why don’t you get it?
“Fate fondled you like a warm sea. Why such emptiness is inside you?
“Or you need to understand — what all this is for?
“It will be another one or two decades — and the beauty will fade. What will remain then? What will happen to this beautiful Ariadne?”
Ariadne dismissed the thoughts of old age and death…
Today she was waiting for her friend Ferenika, who promised to visit her.
* * *
Ferenika, a beauty with fiery reddish curly hair, as if flew into the house of Ariadne and brought into the surrounding space all the irrepressible liveliness of her nature, enthusiastic and amazed exclamations, giggling laughter.
The girlfriends embraced tenderly. Exquisite treats accompanied and delighted their conversation. They discussed Ariadne’s suitors for a long time, but no one was given preference.
“All this is good, but the heart does not burn with love to any of them… And so marriage, birth of children, and after — old age, death?... All this — for what?! Why beauty should fade and go to the grave?! Why did it bloom?! Must be the appointment of life!” — Ariadne, at last, expressed vocally all the thoughts that today clouded her morning.
“You argue like a philosopher. Have you heard this term already, signifying the sage who loves wisdom above all else? Have you ever been at his performances? And have you heard his speeches?”
“Who are you talking about?”
“So you have not heard of Pythagoras? He’s here since recently. And — he is organizing a school for the ethical education of the youth or something like that. The speeches, which he gives, are admired by many! And they say that he is handsome, like Apollo. And — it has the power of Zeus!
“It is said that he is the possessor of Divine Knowledge, received from above! Perhaps — from the Gods Themselves!
“And they say that he is called Pythagoras, because Pythia in the Delphic temple even before his birth had already prophesied to his parents the great destiny of their son!
“Still they say that he became a priest in Egypt. And — he studied the magic and mathematics of the Chaldeans in Babylon. And now he decided to disclose what he knows — openly.
“And tomorrow — he also speaks! You can go and listen to his speech! Moreover, all worthy men will be there too! And you can shine with your beauty!”
“And you — will you go?”
“No… I’ll die of boredom there! I’m not like you, and reasoning about the meaning of life puts me to sleep. I want to live — but not talk about life’s meaning!
“If youth and beauty now shine in me — I really want to enjoy it, not ponder old age and death!
“Well, I say goodbye! Now my ardent admirer is waiting for me! And today we will have fun all the night until morning! I’m not ready to change this date — for the speech of even the best of sages! You will tell me about this Pythagoras later!
“Forgive me, friend, but I am like that! See you soon, dear!”