Seshen. Oct 24.2006

I awoke to find myself wrapped in a dense mist or fog. So dense was this mist, that I could not even see my feet. I had no idea of where I was. I just kept walking, with my arms extended, trying to reach out for something… a wall or… anything. Something went past my leg, rubbing itself against me. A scream caught in my throat, but I kept on walking. It seemed this fog would never subside.  I heard something now. Someone was singing. I kept listening, and I realized that the singing was more like chanting, and that the fog had a sweet, wooden smell to it. It was incense. More things started to rub against my feet and my legs. It was soft, like a fur, but still, I couldn't make out any form in the dense incense fog.
 After I kept walking, following the chanting voice, I finally reached a place where the incense was not covering anything. I got to see the chanting man, who was wearing a robe with his head shaved. A few girls where behind him carrying fruit baskets just as the priest had.  He was offering it to a stone idol, which was about six feet high and made of black granite. It was a big cat with gold earrings and necklace. I saw in the floor lots of cats wandering about, and some drinking milk in a short but large bowl. Those where the things that went past me! The priest looked at me, and made a small bow of his head but never did he stop his chant. I walked out of the temple, and remembered suddenly the name of the stone idol:  Bastet; the cat goddess of crops. I was blinded by the sudden light of the mid-day. Re was shining on us and I wished Khepri would hurry up with his job of moving the sun disk across the sky. Memory was slowly crawling back to me. I had gone to the temple of Bastet to make an offering, so the crops of my late father would grow and make good harvest. I didn't know why I even made that offering, knowing deep in my heart that the stone idol would never listen to me. I also knew that there was no such thing as 'gods' or 'goddesses'. I made the offering because of tradition. I thought of Re, Osiris and Khepri, out of tradition, not because I actually believed in any of them. But my mom sure did… and now she's dead.  Or as she would've said, she was with Osiris in the fields of Sekhet-Aaru, the Field of Reeds, and an abiding habitation in the Sekhet-hetepet; Field of Offerings. She would've been very confident that she would pass the test of the judgment of the heart and be reunited with her husband, Ptah in the afterlife. She had insisted all her life that in her sarcophagus we put ushtabis carved to the likeness of her dear slaves. I wondered for a minute if she was fine, and if she had in fact, be reunited with dad.
I recalled having gone to the temple, but fell asleep. I had not slept all night and went early to the temple. I had gone there just to please my superstitious servants, who urged me to go. Even if I did not believe, they believed. When I got out of the temple, my servant Horemhotep was waiting in the chariot for me. He had brought ta-heneket; beer and bread, for me. He knew me too well.
"N-Ka-k" He said. "To your ka", he made a toast. I drank thirstily and eat a piece of bread then spitting out a little rock that was in the bread. "I brought you this snack before the sety-r which you like so much." I smiled as I stepped into the chariot.
"Today, Horemhotep, I would like to eat lunch someplace else than my house. Do you have any recommendations?" I asked.
"Well, I do hunet Seshen. There is this little place where they serve good hippopotamus, near the Iteru."
"If it is near the river, it means that they have fish. I have no appetite for hippo." I replied. Horemhotep took us to the small, struggling place. I knew it would serve good food because Horemhotep was a fan of food as I was. I liked to come to these places, disguised as a normal woman with a coat on top of me. People often got nervous when they saw my jewelry, because it spoke of my nobility. I didn't want them to feel anxious when around me. The Nile breeze felt good against my hot face and the racing of my two black stallions Wind and Thunder. Thanks to them, we got to the place quickly. We sat near a window, in the floor, and a nice woman with long, wavy hair from Canaan served us fish. It was great as I had predicted it. Horemhotep knew how to pick the places. We left the little place, but I was not ready to come home to my duties yet. I decided to walk around the market, and shop for perfume and maybe some jewelry, which I like a lot.  After much browsing around the marketplace, I came across this beautiful vase. It gave me the idea, that I could reproduce it. I usually painted vases for my own pleasure, but never did anything about them! And my work was much better than this. Maybe I should open a shop someday, and get paid for doing something I really like. I kept on walking by the busy streets of people from all over the world; merchants, who were trying to sell me something. I smelled the spices, and drew in every color of the jewelry, tapestry and amulets. As I walked, Horemhotep was waiting for me in the chariot, knowing that I would be fine. I always did this. But now, I was not dressed as a commoner, but as myself, Isis Seshen, daughter of Ptah, the brother of the vizier. Not that it mattered right now. My father was dead, as was my mother. And I, Isis, should care of the name of my family, and take responsibility over my brother, Menkauimen. I was responsible for the grain crops and its numerous profits. It was way too much for me to handle, at such a young age and not being married yet. I knew very few people of my age that were not married, but my dad died before he could arrange it. I had to take over the estate's wealth. I had no choice.
I decided not to think of any of these things now, because it troubled me deeply. I wanted to get away from everything, and the market was just the place to do it. This market was overshadowed by the pharaoh's palace. I loved to visit the palace from time to time, when I was a little girl, but now, I had not been inside the palace's walls for about a decade. Things must have changed in the Per-AA. An idea overcame me. I wanted to see this palace once again, and be in the shadow of its sycamore trees in the royal gardens. I walked past the guards, who were obviously happy to see a young maiden.
"Ii-uy.  Inedj her-k nefer hunet, sudja ib." He welcomed me and told me that I made his heart happy. I blushed, but continued on.  It was uncommon to see a young noble, like myself, to walk unaccompanied on the palace grounds. I had no escort, no fanning servants, litter servants or shade servants with me. But I didn't care. I did not need them, and thought that having them was useless, unless I wanted to show my status.
I walked to the gardens, and a particular gate took my interest. Its gates had a lotus flower on them. They were my favorite flowers. I walked in to the garden, without the guard noticing anything. I guess he was too concentrated on some other girl. In the middle of the garden, there was a pool filled with lotus flowers and lotus blooms. I was awestruck! There were as many of them as there were stars in the gereh. I slowly approached them, overcome by the sweet scent of them that filled the air. There were blue lotus flowers, purple lotus flowers, white and pink, all filling the lotus shaped pool.
            I took a small one from the pool and took it to my nose, so I could inhale the sweet smell of it. I was just fascinated by just having a garden dedicated to my favorite flower. I remembered my mom. She was the one who picked the name, Seshen for me. It meant "The lotus one". I smiled, because she somehow knew that it was going to be my favorite flower all along.  I sat on a bench under a sycamore tree and besides the shenu trees; the acacias were in bloom. The bench had a lotus mosaic on it. I couldn't help but smiling and being happy. I sat there, just looking at the flower, entranced by its beauty.

No comments:

Post a Comment