Noonday of My Mother & Neyah
When my mother died, I prayed to the Gods that I might not shadow her noonday by my sorrow. She left Earth smoothly and quietly as a sailing boat drifts downstream on the cool wind of sunset. It was as if she had lived in a house with closed shutters, and had opened the door upon a garden where dreams were flowering in their glory, for she had walked out into the Light and seen my father waiting for her.
ART : ‘Horus’ ~ Son of Osiris
Her body joined my father’s in their tomb at Abidwa. Beside her, as she had wished, was placed a painted wooden chest, which long ago Neyah had made for her. In it she had kept the presents we had given to her and to our father when we were children: Little slips of ivory on which I had written her name while I still found it difficult to scribe; pieces of broken limestone on which Neyah had practised carving; and two ivory game pieces of a set that he had started to make for her and never finished. In her sarcophagus she still wore the bracelet that we had given to her when I was nine. And with her were put many other things that she had been fond of: a little statuette of Shamba, my father’s lioness; and some painted pottery which he had brought home from Minoas when we stayed with Kiodas.
When the tomb of the great Atet was opened, the flowers that I had put there when I was a little girl, like soft brown shadows still held their petals’ shape. Before my mother joined her husband, the room was filled with fresh garlands as for a bridal. And their bodies slept beside each other even as their spirits rejoiced together.
The Death of Neyah
When I had been on Earth forty-six years, the sun no longer rose over the horizon of my days and sorrow hid the stars from my sight. For Neyah, who had gone upon a journey far to the south of Kam, died of the fever of the swamps.
He told me in a dream that his body was ill, twenty-seven days’ swift journey from the Royal City. And he told me that I could not reach him upon Earth, for within two days his body would be an empty house.
Away from Earth death is a rejoicing; but to waking eyes it shadows beauty, flowers lose their perfume and the singing birds are dumb. Yet although all the people of Kam could show their sorrow, in my eyes the tears must burn unshed. For to my people I must speak of the littleness of death, tell them that they should rejoice that their Pharaoh drove his chariot in the Golden Army of Horus, tell them that he had but gone ahead of them and waited to greet them when they too should die.
Neyah was their shepherd and the avenger of their wrongs, and they loved him as they loved their Gods, for to all of them Pharaoh was the symbol of what one day they would become. But to me, Neyah was the little boy I played with when I too was little, the one with whom I had always shared the secrets of my heart, the one with whom my tongue could be unguarded and heart un-walled.
And I was so very lonely.