‘Visions Of Athena’ by Ahmed Nader Gretly


I sat down on the cracked sidewalk with the feeling of moist blood descending down my face where the skin covering the edge of my eye socket broke, complete numbness except for the searing pain from the wound next to my left eye and the back of my neck where my dear old father grabbed me and pushed my head through the wall. Not through it precisely, but almost. He heard me and my mother fighting; she told me how worthless I really was, how she thought I was a good for nothing failure, and how I brought shame to the whole family. My father, with his mighty temper stormed in and did what he did. The events that followed are not clear to me now, all I remember was the pain and the blood splatter on the wall. Right after that, I found myself in the car, driving around the neighborhood and not knowing exactly where to go or who to call. The idea of calling someone did not appeal to me that much, given that I did not have any friends, or at least, I did not have anyone who cared enough to be my friend. I parked my car in front of a supermarket, after avoiding a bunch of accidents along the way, and got out of the car. Ignoring everyones stares and the shopkeeper’s question about the blood on my face, I bought a pack of smoke and lit myself a stick. And then another one, and another as I sat on the sidewalk. I realized that I was wearing an old T-shirt and sweat pants, ones that made me look like a homeless person. The warm wind did not help the burning sensation I felt in my skull. I wondered for a moment if I’d chipped a part of my eye socket, but then ignored the thought. All those feelings were getting in the way, all those memories falling like bricks one after the other over my head. I couldn’t help myself from thinking about ‘The Dark Secret’, one of which I do not have the guts to share with you. I kept wishing I had a razor blade or something to cut myself with; I wanted to bleed, needed it so bad. The reason I felt like cutting –and the reason I started cutting in the first place, was that I couldn’t cry, not because I’m butch or anything like that, no, I just couldn’t cry. I took a puff from my cigarette and inhaled all the smoke inside my decaying lungs, I felt the smoke creeping inside of me, the sensation felt too heavenly. I got up suddenly and had a head rush that pushed me back down to the sidewalk; I looked up and saw the moon shining above, looking down on me. It gleamed with this incredible hue; its topography looked like a face staring at the earth, a neutral stare that freaked me out for some reason. I managed to get up again and staggered to the my car with its scratches and bumps. I remembered that I had a flick knife in the glove compartment, I reached inside and took it out, then went back to my spot on the dirty sidewalk. I flicked the knife open; its blade reflecting the light from the full moon, that reflected the light from the sun that was shining bright somewhere on the other half of the globe. I took a deep puff and held it in, I raised the knife over my left thigh. And there she was. Standing right in front of me was the most beautiful angel-headed girl I’ve ever laid eyes on. A modern day angel wearing a powder white hoodie with the zipper half way up and a black T-shirt underneath it, dark jeans along with white Chucks. I could not help but stare at this mythical being in front of me, she had this smile, this amazing smile that made me drop the knife right away. She emitted this force that went right inside of me, touched my lost soul, the feeling was indescribable; it still is.

Athena, how I adore you. 

I felt myself standing up with my weak knees about to give up on me at any second. Athena looked up at me, still wearing that mystical smile and took me in her arms. I felt all the pain melting inside of me, all the sorrow, the darkness, all the evil and bitterness being forced outside of my body, outside of my soul. She spoke, she lifted herself on her toes like a ballerina would and murmured in my ears, her voice sounded like music, like heavenly harps who’s sound was never meant to be heard by a mortal like myself.

“Cry. Let those tears go, for you’ve been holding them in for too long” her voice echoed in my mind.

I cried. She held me tight, she held me like the broken shell of a man I was. I let go of the tears I’ve been holding in for all those years, I let them stream down my face washing all that blood away. I felt safe, I felt like I was worth something. I knew that I wasn’t a failure, that I was capable of great things but that life will never get any easier. I knew that all that hate, all those scares and bruises, all those memories and evil made me tougher. I knew that one day, I’ll create something beautiful, something so beautiful that the world will cherish forever. I knew that she’ll be there for me when ever life throws me a curve ball, when I get kicked down. She’ll be there for me, she’ll be there for me.

Ah Athena, how I adore you…


About Ahmed Gretly

Ahmed Nader Gretly. Construction/Site Engineer, fiction writer, poet, psychopath, researcher, a book addict, and a daydreamer from Cairo, Egypt. Currently doing Construction Project Management, MSc, at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
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