Statutory

by Vulgar Argot

(myth, magic, rom, MF)

 

The first thing Galatea knew was pain. But, not having a word for it and nothing to compare it to, she did not know it should be bad. It was only sensation, the first sensation she had known after an indeterminate time of knowing nothing. Thinking back, she could dimly remember having been a part of the Earth and being ripped loose by rough tools, but that had been before real awareness.

 

The pain came from chisels and with it brought awareness. So, Galatea reveled in each strike, making some piece of her become not her. Who she was focused and coalesced. Soon, she became aware of a second sensation, a hand, stroking her surface, finding the places to strike with the chisel and following where the chisel had struck, pulling away splinters and smoothing her surface. So, Galatea knew gentleness and pain as the two opposites of experience and loved them both.

 

In loving the pain and the gentleness, Galatea became aware of another, more complex love emanating into her. It was the love of her creator for herself, not this roughly-hewn piece of marble, but her real self, what she was now aching to become.

 

Quickly on the heels of love came a bewildering array of sensations, flooding in so rapidly that Galatea could make no sense of them, her cosmology being complete in the three concepts of pain, gentleness, and love. She let the sensations wash over her in a garble, fascinating, but frustrating in her inability to grasp them long enough to be examined and experienced in fullness. Her creator worked through the night, the chisels gone, replaced with finer tools that combined pleasure and pain in differing degrees. When darkness made sight impossible, he worked by feel, knowing exactly where to draw away what did not belong by the touch of hands and sometimes lips.

 

During the day, with time to reflect, Galatea ran those sensations that were strongest through her mind at leisure. The first and strongest was her creator's love for her as the essence of woman, clear and bright and radiant in his mind. The second, nearly as strong, was his frustration and bitterness at the frailties of women around him, one who had hurt him deeply and recently, the wound showing fresh and pink in his mind. The dichotomy was almost too much for Galatea to bear. Nothing she had experienced so far had prepared her for contradiction, so she saw no contradiction. She ached to communicate with her creator and say, "Do not despair. I am here. And I am all that you seek." But, she could not speak, being marble and, as yet, her head being roughly carved with no lips.

 

Soon enough, she had lips. Her creator came to her every day upon waking and stayed late into the night until collapsing in exhaustion. When he touched Galatea, she felt what he felt, but had no context for it. Mostly, she felt the smooth marble of her own skin under his rough, callused hands. Behind it, she felt a gnawing hunger in his belly and a worrisome flickering of his lifeforce as he ate and drank only enough to keep himself going. Some days, he slept at her feet, his devotion not allowing him even the energy to crawl to his couch before sleeping.

 

Some days now, her creator, whose name she now knew to be Pygmalion, would spend all day and all night caressing her flesh, and she knew it to be flesh, looking for a single imperfection, making only a single strike with one of his finest tools to shave off a single protrusion or deepen a single curve. During this time, Galatea yearned, aching for the strike that would free her from some irritation she didn't even know she had.

 

Then, for three days, he touched her, running his hands over her surface, his eyes closed most of the time, touching spots with his lips where his fingers were not sensitive enough to know right from wrong. In those three days, he did not find a single spot to strike. Galatea was perfected. Galatea was perfection. During these three days, Galatea knew her own glory fully, feeling it reflected in Pygmalion's mind.

 

In those last three days, Pygmalion did not eat and drank only small sips of water. Galatea knew fear, then, worrying that he was giving her all of his life force and would expire when she was complete. Finally satisfied, he slept at Galatea's feet, waking only once in the next day, long enough to take a long draught of water. When he woke from his long slumber, he gorged himself on food, purged, and gorged himself again. Then, he sat on his couch and stared at her for a long time. And his gaze was another, gentler caress.

 

Then, for days on end, Galatea was alone and Pygmalion was nowhere to be seen. And Galatea realized that she was not perfection, only the form of perfection. There was something missing, some small spark that would let her step down from her pedestal, follow Pygmalion where he went, and end the aching loneliness for the only living creature she had known.

 

When Pygmalion returned, it was with another slab of marble. He placed it right in Galatea's line of sight so that she could watch him carve it. Mostly, she watched him not carve it. Every morning, he would come in to work on it, stopping first to gaze up at Galatea, then gaze on her again with the last rays of the sun darkening around her. When he tried to work, Galatea could feel his vexation coming off of him in angry waves. Soon, the gazing would last longer and start sooner until he stopped bringing his tools at all and spent his days gazing up at her, silent tears rolling down his face.

 

One day, overcome, he kneeled at Galatea's feet, wrapping his arms around her legs, his tears rolling down her cold, unyielding flesh. Over and over, he whispered, "My Galatea." But, all of her effort would not move her hands to comfort him or give her voice to tell him not to cry, that she was here. In the end, he whispered a prayer to Aphrodite to let her come down from her pedestal for him. When he left, Galatea took up the prayer, singing it wordlessly to the heavens.

 

The next morning, when Pygmalion came to gaze upon her, he had only gazed for a few moments when he said, "Galatea, I do believe you are singing." Her soul leapt with joy. Pygmalian wrapped his warm, soft body around hers and planted a single, chaste kiss on her lips. Then, he went to work. Each day, now, he would come in to work, gaze upon her, and radiate a long-sought peace from within his soul. Then, he would go and work on his new creation, which Galatea now knew, before even Pygmalion, would be a stalking tiger, every sinew, every muscle, even his great, proud balls an expression of menace. While he worked, Galatea sang her prayer to Aphrodite, no words, just pure desire--to move, embrace, to hold and be held.

 

Some days, Pygmalion would bring her little gifts such as young girls love--bright shells and polished stones, ribbons for her hair, beads and amber. He dressed her as any woman would dress, put rings on her fingers and a necklace of diamonds around her neck.

 

As he clasped the necklace on her neck, he kissed her gently, just above the clasp, "My Galatea," he whispered in her ear, "I must away to Cyprus, where I will pray for what we have both longed for. I will hurry back as I can."

 

For the second time, Galatea knew loneliness, but she also knew real hope, the kind that can only be felt when tinged with the fear of failure. She stood and sang her prayer and waited.

 

When Pygmalion returned and saw her still standing there, he was crestfallen, "Oh, my Galatea," he cried out, "When I said the prayer to Aphrodite, the altar flame roared up three times and I thought for sure that I had received her blessing." He fell to his knees, wrapping his arms around her waist. And, where his tears fell, Galatea felt them. Not merely sensing them or the echo of them in Pygmalion's mind, she felt them roll down her belly and thighs.

 

"Galatea," he whispered, "Galatea, I would swear that you are warm. Surely, it is a trick of the sun or my fevered mind, feeling what I have dreamed so long of feeling." He stood up, running his hands over her everywhere. In his haste, his hands tore away her raiments.

 

"No," he said in wonder, "you are warm." He placed his head on her breast, "And I can hear your heart." And, when he said it, Galatea knew it to be true. Then, her hands came up, burying themselves in his hair, drawing Pygmalion to his feet and into a kiss, her lips now soft and yielding like the wax of Hymettus. Wherever he touched her, she yielded, warm and alive. Galatea felt, in wonder, her own breath and pulse and the thousands of things a living woman feels. Even the familiar sensation of her creator's hands on her was a thousand times more intense now. The first sound from her lips was a shuddering moan of pleasure, the second a laugh of pure joy.

 

All Pygmalion would say was, "My Galatea," over and over again. He lifted her, light as a feather now, in his arms, carrying her to his couch, where he lay her down. He rent his own garments getting them off before joining her on the couch. Now, his hands were more insistent and urgent. Galatea touched him as he touched her, shuddered in pleasure at the way her flesh yielded to him. Instinctively, her hips rose to meet his, her feet locking in the small of his back. He entered her, cautiously at first, but Galatea used her feet to drive him in deeper. She whispered his name in his ear and he lost all reserve, driving himself as deeply as he could into her, where the pain and the gentleness mingled like they had the first time he touched her.