Being here brings back memories, I wrote, returning to my journal, shifting positions in the uncomfortable plastic chair. Not that I was here, of course. But underneath the ocean-themed decor, it smells the same and that’s enough to take me back.
I remember lying in a bed like this for what felt like ever. I don’t think my stepdad knew what was going on. Every time he visited, his eyes would glitter with sympathy and he would say meaningless phrases like “Stay strong, kiddo.”
He was so convinced I was sick that I believed him. At first I thought I’d switched places with my step-brother. That I’d misunderstood what my parents had asked me to do. I was convinced they’d given me his cancer so he could be better and I could die. To be fair, I was, like, six. It made sense to me.
I remember being so angry. Screaming into my pillow and crying myself to sleep wondering what I’d done wrong. Why had they picked him over me? But then I’d try to be so good when Mom visited. Like if I was just sweet enough, loving enough, good enough, she’d switch us back.
I drew in a deep breath, antiseptic smell of the hospital stinging my nose. The incessant beeps coming from the machines attached to Elise made it hard to focus. My step-brother never visited. I think they told him I died. He sure was surprised to see me later, though that might have been the gun to his head.
Then I found out the truth. I thought I’d felt angry before. Betrayed. But that feeling didn’t even begin to touch the way I felt the day I realized they were farming me out for parts and selling me to the highest bidder.
“They wanted to call it ‘Hope.’”
That’s one of the last things my mother ever said to me. I wonder what would “they” have said if they’d known “Hope,” their miracle cure, their golden fleece, was a terrified girl that had to be strapped down to the bed, screaming and crying every time the doctor walked into the room, because she knew what his presence meant. That this time, blood wasn’t enough. “They” needed more.
When we last left off, Jason completed the trials of Colchis, grabbed Medea, and sailed away. But this wouldn’t be a Greek myth if the story ended there. See, first Medea had to go from betraying her father’s pride and helping Jason win to the completely unrelatable zone of killing her brother, cutting him to pieces, and dropping his body in the ocean to distract her father. Her father stopped to gather the dead bits of his son, allowing Jason and the Argonauts to escape.
To be fair, had the King intended to be fair and give Jason the fleece as promised for completing the tasks, Medea wouldn’t have had to resort to such measures. She knew for a fact Aetees intended to cheat Jason out of the reward, possibly through nefarious means because he told her as much. She considered suicide first, but ultimately, the promise of a life with Jason was, in her mind, worth her brother’s life.
One thing I haven’t dwelled on much in this myth is Medea’s magic. Sure, she helps Jason with some potions, but her magic is actually a lot cooler than just brewing herbs. Doors open for her. She can chat with the moon. Her mythical abilities vary by myth, but she’s not a god or a demigoddess. There’s not a lot of just random spell casters in Greek mythology, so Medea as a character is fascinating.
Anyway, Zeus was not thrilled by the gory murder of Medea’s brother, so he decided to make their return trip hell. He sent storm after storm, delaying their trip and endangering the crew. Depending on the myth, the storms either blew the Argo to Circe’s island, or the boat got so sick of the storms that it *asked* Jason to please take it to be cleansed by Circe.