People write what they like you know? Truth hardly comes into it. I suppose to some degree I should be grateful, I have a flower and a personality disorder named after me. You all know the story, Narcissus (me), lured to the edge of a pool whereupon he fell in love with his reflection, found he couldn’t look away and you know… just died.
What a fool he (I) must have been. A self-loving, arrogant man so vain that he died looking at himself. Now, any prick who likes the sound of their own voice, likes to hear their name mentioned or anyone inflated with their own sense of self-importance you say: “how very narcissistic”.
Well, let me tell you the truth. Not that it matters in this day and age, not that it ever mattered. The truth is often less entertaining, less likely to teach life lessons in easy to digest little packets. Very few mirrors in ancient Greek myths. People had said I looked good, sure, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Occasionally, in an overly polished dish, I might catch a distorted glimpse of myself. My face would be stretched and warped, but I wouldn’t pay much attention to it.
I had a good life I suppose. I was a good hunter and people seemed to like me, or at the very least pretended to, which is all you need really. Everyone puts on an act, mine was that of pride. Perhaps I over did it. I don’t know, perhaps I mistreated people. I got to the point where I just didn’t have the patience for them. I don’t think I was intentionally horrible to anyone. Not that Nemesis would care either way.
I spent more and more time hunting, out in the woods. I say hunting, I just liked the solitude. Away from the eyes, the wittering and the constant noise. So, I went out hunting and I was drawn to that pool, a nice tranquil little place. The water was clear and cool, a lot of greenery grew from it. The ground was soft, perhaps a little damp around its edges. The air was cool. So I sat.
I peered over the water and saw my reflection. The water was still and the image clear. It was my face, mostly as I expected it to look. Strong chin, high cheekbones, good bronze complexion, thick lengths of brown hair. I would have had every right to admire it for a little while, but I didn’t. What caught my attention was the eyes. They looked sad. They looked incredibly sad. Slight shadows underneath them, an almost glassy hollow look. They looked tired. So very tired.
Why were they so sad? Why was I so very very sad?
I couldn’t look away for this was a question I could not answer. I couldn’t abandon the man in the water, that sad lonely figure. The alternative was to return to the people who did not like me and who in return I despised. The alternative to staring at that sad watery figure would be to return to town and be amongst all those people and all their problems. This is the world of Greek myths too, constant popularity contests, bickering, backstabbing and betrayals. On and on it goes, no one ever genuine, no one ever caring about anyone beyond themselves… and yet I’m the narcissistic one.
I reached out and touched the face of the man in the water, stroked his cheek.
“Don’t be sad. Let me know what I can do?” I said.
“Stay here with me,” he replied.
And so I did.
And so I died.
And so I was forever remembered as a vain twat. Well, you are whatever they say you are I suppose.