Word Count 491
By Sharon Collins
Ariadne opened her eyes to the cool caress of the tide tugging at her towel. Eerily, she was all alone. There wasn’t even a seagull sharing Shipwreck Beach…Coming completely and coldly conscious, she realized that it was actually the echoing silence which had awoken her. “Oh my God, I missed the boat!” she cried, to the limestone cliffs soaring above her as panic began to stake its claim. Needing solitude and time to think, she had booked this day-trip, then ensconced herself far away from the rowdy crowds coating the beach in sunscreen. Lulled to sleep by the warm, white sand, the iridescent aqua beauty, and the sleepless nights since his proposal, she had been dreaming of that day, two years ago, when he rescued her from the Minotaur and first asked her out…
Back at Admitting, Ari remembered finding her voice and asking, “How long did it take to memorize this labyrinth of tunnels?”
Smiling, he had pointed to the floor. “ I just follow the red thread…Brilliant don’t
‘cha think? The lines were my idea; I got it from Our myth.”
“Our myth?” she had mumbled, still dizzy from the scan.
“Don’t you remember? Ariadne gave Theseus a spool of red, silk thread. He unwound it as he searched the labyrinth. After he killed the minotaur, he simply followed it back out. Nuclear Medicine is at the end of this red line.” For the first time, Ari noticed the rainbow of painted lines spreading out from the entrance.
“Brilliant,” she agreed. “Has anyone ever guessed your inspiration?”
“Nope, nobody reads Bullfinches or Edith Hamilton anymore,” he sighed. “Well, where would you like to go?” he asked holding the door.
“I’m not sure what you mean. Go where?”
“On our first date, of course. How could Theseus not ask Ariadne out?”
Twenty–two successful rounds of chemo later, she found herself in the Greek Isles. This trip was Theo’s idea, planned and executed to celebrate her clean-bill of health. Complete remission; release from the Minotaur’s embrace. No sacrifice, She. Two indigo evenings ago over strong coffee and baklava, Theo had proposed. When she hesitated, two seconds too long, he ordered two ouzos. Raising his, he vowed, “We’re destined. Our myth demands it.” Knocking back the liquid-fire, he stood. Reaching into his pocket, he placed the blue velvet box on the table. Bending close, he left her with licorice on her lips and a whispered ‘I’ll wait…”
She hadn’t opened the box yet; it was tucked deep inside her backpack, marooned with her on this deserted island. She knew its contents would be beautiful, perfectly paired to her, just like the man who designed it. Theo was her soulmate; no doubt on that score. In fact, there were not doubts on any score. She should say yes. She’d be insane not to say yes. But surviving cancer makes you hesitant; its shadow hovers behind every happiness, a mocking parody of hope.