He’s not a bad boy, really, just young, and the son of a famous father: he thinks the gods favour him. He has never been able to believe I don’t care for him. I refuse his gifts, and turn my head away from his compliments, and he simply presses me more ardently. In his mind I admire him already – the trick is to make me admit it. He is only a year or two younger than I am, but I feel so much the older.

So this is the latest attempt. He’s so proud of the stupid things, and the fact is, he just looks silly. They’re beautiful, the feathers set so carefully in the wax in that graceful curve, but they look odd and awkward attached to someone’s arms. And Zeus knows if they work at all it’s his father’s doing, not his. Even imprisoned as he is the father is a great man; the son is a spoiled child.

When he came to show me he was strutting like a giant bird, boasting of how high he’d fly.

And I stand here, in the hot sun, and watch them. It was never about me, of course. The king will be furious at their flight. They’re soaring like the seabirds, away from his father’s achievements and the king’s jealousy. Silly boy, he hasn’t thought it through – he can’t ever return to see if I was impressed. And yet there he is, trailing his vanity across the sky, going higher and higher.

The gods watch over them, him particularly. He’s so young.

3 thoughts on “Suitor”

  1. This is an outside view about Daedalus, a craftsman, and his son, Icarus. Both have been imprisoned and are attempting to escape by modeling bird-wings for themselves. Icarus will fly too close to the sun and have the wax on his wings melt, and so die; this poses that part of his reason for doing this is to impress a woman — or maybe he’s just attempting to impress her with his hubris, and flown to high anyway. The woman, Our Hero, finds him silly and tiring; the tale ends just as Icarus and his father are about to set flight, with Our Hero wishing the best for them.

    I enjoyed this take on the story. It feels like the silly (but hopefully not THAT silly) kind of thing I could have done as a teenager to impress someone.

    I also like how who the son and father are is never clearly stated; we need to fill in the blanks and work a bit for it. Also, I like how you paint the father as a master craftsman who has created these beautiful wings, and describe Icarus against this.

    > the fact is
    I have a pet hate for this phrase, although it didn’t make me cringe here as it often does.

  2. I enjoyed this one – nice take on a famous story which fits the theme beautifully.

    I thought her condescending (and also slightly immature) voice worked well – especially the general ‘modernness’ of her turns of phase. I liked ‘He is only a year or two younger than I am, but I feel so much the older.’ a lot in term of how it illustrated both characters.

    Other bits I thought could have been more economical, ‘So this is the latest attempt.’ and the ‘When he came to show me…’ sentence both seemed a little unneeded.

    I like the story and the idea of examining /introducing a more believable motive for Icarus.

  3. Ah, well done on doing the challenge! :)

    You’re right in the story not being as polished as usual (but I suppose that is the point!). I did not like it very much on first reading but it is growing on me.

    The twist of the tale makes a fool out of Icarus, not just an innocent fool but an arrogant, vainglorious (indeed!) one. Like any glimpse into the reality of the myth, it takes away some of the innocent magic, which is sad.

    That said, the story is well told and the narrator, the father and the son all take on vivid personalities.

    “And yet there he is, trailing his vanity across the sky, going higher and higher.” is my favourite phrase.

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