The eye of the Gorgon turns mortals to stone. That’s all I know. I’ve always known, from the moment I opened my eyes and saw nothing, that everything had been taken from sight. The halls of my childhood were lined with marble statues, and I could touch, but could not look. A world built of stone is a cold world. We cannot live in temples.
All my life has been leading up to longing. It builds up behind me, a trail of desire in my wake, and I wonder what it would be like to live. Atlas’ burden is only the world. I wish that were all I carried on my shoulders. I wish I bore nothing but the crust of the Earth and all the hollow things in it. I wish I were weighted down by nothing but the elements and the spaces between the beginning and the end. Atlas meets the eyes of the world, and I cannot.
The eye of the Gorgon turns mortals to stone, that much I know, but does the eye petrify that which it sees, or that which gazes upon it? If the eye were blinded but the heart left beating, would the body be free? Or would it simply be robbed of the choice between what it spares and what it kills?
The living wait outside, and I am within and without. I hold death’s glare in my gaze, and I am powerless. There is a periphery between seeing and being seen which I dare not cross. To behold is to be held, and my hands are empty. For fear of being seen, I have never looked.
I wish the world were on my shoulders. I wish it weighed me down until I could not draw breath. I wish I could hold it close enough to hear the worms in the soil and the footsteps just above; to feel its breath against my cheek, ghosting like all its ephemera. I wish the whole world were blind, and I along with it, sightless and unsighted. I wish all the world were monstrous, and I a part of it, not apart from it.
I could carry the world whole if it could only tell me what it saw when it looked my way.