by Hani Ali
‘Her abode is concealed in the lowest recesses of a cave, wanting sun, and not pervious to any wind, dismal and filled with benumbing cold; and which is ever without fire, and ever abounding with darkness.’
I have been acquainted with Envy for a long while. My futile attempts at keeping her away have always been unsuccessful, though I have learnt to live with her now. Constantly awakening a darker side within me, she colours me malachite. From the moment I met her, she has been haunting me, unrelentingly evergreen. She is everywhere, you see. I envy the moon, for she lights up the sombre night. I envy the stars, for I wish I could take their place. I envy the bluebirds, for they sing their songs unashamed. She consumes me, everyday, absorbing each and every emotion and taking their place.
I met Happiness once, I remember. He guided me towards his radiance, pulled me gently towards him, and introduced me to his brilliance. He pranced, belting a perfect song – ‘absit invidia, absit invidia!’ But Envy did not let me forget her. Watching, waiting. She lingered in the corner, brooding in distaste. It was not long before she showed herself, taking him away. He has yet to return.
Still, I remained optimistic and buoyant. When I ran upon Hope, I clung onto her, digging my nails into her skin and imploring for an escape. Her smile, pitiful, was a true solace, for I finally saw a life without Envy. As you may know, however, Envy is not easily vanquished – a true fighter, constantly fighting, never defeated. The story went the same way, and I was rid of Hope. She has yet to return.
My dear readers, I am obliged to tell you that it hasn’t been all dark days and gloom. Envy embalms my sorrows with her comfort, her whispers not unlike those from Satan. You are better, they do not deserve it, it should be yours. She sings her lovely tune: hypnotising, as if the song of a siren. I am convinced she must be a lost daughter of Achelous, as I listen every time.
And still, after twenty one years, she is just as present. She persists in every aspect of my pitiful being – her friends, Shame and Loathing, accompany her on occasion. Perhaps I’ll never be free of her, ingrained into my soul: forever, forever, forever.
Author’s note: This is a work of fiction, not autobiographical.