Listen to the Sunday Writers’ Club May 2021 Podcast. This month Paul Malone chats with Sunday Writers’ Club member Evangelista Sie about her writing and career in journalism, and Evangelista reads her latest short story titled The Lady of the Isle.
Writing inspired by the SWC creative writing prompt: “Portrait of a Lady”. Who is the lady in the portrait? Portrait illustrations by Belgian artist Xavier Collette: https://www.xaviercollette.com
The Lady of the Isle
The Lady of the Isle
By Evangelista Sie
She owned everything: the vast land with the rugged rocks, the salty sea, the steep cliffs that led into its waters, the sharp teeth of the rocks just below the grey surface. At night, when the sea reflected the half-moon’s light onto her striking cheekbones, even the moonlight seemed to be hers. And so it seemed to be the case with him.
She had met him long before she was the lady of everything – when she was just a child with no more than the title and privileges of the firstborn to call her own. He was her trusted friend: the one who sat next to her in class, whispering the right answers into her ear, the one to whose family she got invited and where she was allowed to stay overnight for dinner, laughter, and play, the one to whom she told all her secrets; he was even the one who knew that she was secretly very ill and not destined to live for long.
Together they hatched plans on what they would do about it. They tried to prolong her life by outrunning death on the then summer green isle full of meadow flowers, by making every day count, by jumping from the cliffs into the sea; and by performing other such daring challenges that she was afraid of and thought she could never accomplish. By doing all these things, she wouldn’t have to regret that she had never done them before it was too late: She stood up for weak ones, got a tattoo of her favorite evergreen flower on her ankle, and had her first time with him. Eventually she told him that she loved him. Dying early didn’t seem too bad with him around.
What she didn’t know, though, was that bit by bit, his feelings for her had started to change. She didn’t know if it was her thinning hair or her sister’s now shapely figure, her ever more radiant skin and thick hair. She only knew that it started with the waning of small gestures. The intervals between his visits became a bit longer; his caresses, a little bit shorter and more seldom. The intimate moments faded. His words grew colder. And when she turned to her sister to cry about his fading affections, her sister was not there, sometimes gone for days, leaving only short messages for her not to forget her medicine. The days with the disease became harrowing: her hair grew long and grey; her bones began to show beneath her gaunt skin; her eyes became hollow.
But it was not before that one night that her fate was sealed. That night the front door swung open. She thought it was the storm. But it was her sister and her love standing there, arm in arm, beneath the chandelier. They were radiant, their hair and clothes a bit fuddled, faces glowing, smiling. Her sister spoke:
“Eleonore,” (for this was her name) “we came to a decision. We are going to marry. In an unofficial way, we already are. You’re the first one to tell because you are the dearest person to us. Please share your blessing with us.”
Although she somehow already knew, the truth drove her to her knees. The last thing she was aware of was her love and sister looking down on her, speaking together, it seemed: “Come on, Eleonore. It’s time for you to die –for the new Lady and Lord of the Isle to take over.” Her love’s arm was raised, his hand a fist. Then the blow hit her and the world turned dark.
Sunday Writers' Club member
Evangelista is an independent journalist, editor, writing teacher, co-founder of blackcitystories.org, and dedicated to queer-feminist activities/perspectives. She has published in outlets including diepresse.com, Augustin, Radio Orange 94.0, managed print and online projects for media publishing houses, and conducted seminars for companies, NGOs, institutes. Evangelista holds a master’s degree in “Journalism and New Media” and “Economic and Society of East Asia.” Currently, Evangelista develops during the CUNY Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program a Pan-European, digital magazine focusing on Afro-European and Black lived realities in Europe. The prototype, blackcitystories.org, has been awarded with the Stars4Media diversity prize.