I was a child slave in Ancient Egypt.
More specifically, a child slave to the Pharaoh’s first wife, the Queen. She would sit for hours, staring out of a window that wasn’t a window, and worry. She fretted over the state of the Kingdoms, Upper and Lower. Her headdress would denote which of the two her husband ruled, but I’m confined to the eyes of my child self and can’t see if it bears the cobra, vulture, or both. Her concern knew no limits when it came to the people. Would they revolt? Were they content enough? Would they perish in the desert winds, buried like their ancestors beneath the dunes of restless sands?
The Nile Delta was everything, but it wasn’t the heart. Her husband was the heart. He was the Gods made flesh, surrounded by his powerful Priests; the people’s only connection to the divine. He held their fates in his hands, just as the people held his in theirs. It had always been a tumultuous, symbiotic balance.
The fragrances of clashing incense was smothering here, choking. The crispness of the Queen’s linen much fresher than the sweet dates left to gluttonous flies upon a golden platter teetering the edge of a small, square table to my left. I sat with the other children around her. She liked us there, even though she was absent of mind and thought toward us. Ever looking forward, outward and the air coming through the glassless window revealed nothing. It was absolutely sterile, smelling only of heat.
I’ve known the Queen since. A beautiful, spiritual woman with a compassionate soul. She was always looking forward, while completely ignoring the most important aspects of the children around her.
Who was she, this Queen? She wasn’t Cleopatra of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Not the Seventh. Not the one who’d lost everything in her desperate attempts to lose nothing. Was this the mysterious Nefertiti? Tutankhamun’s very own stepmother, defaced by the people after the death of her husband? Or was she simply one of the countless unknown Queens still waiting to be discovered in the Valley of the Kings?
It appeared that I didn’t know everything, after all.
“Some things cease to matter,” The voice lent helpfully.
“Or, they simply haven’t happened yet.”
“There is no time or space here,” The voice repeated… or was this the first time I’d heard it, if there was no time? “Past, present and future exist simultaneously always.”
Well… that’s just damn confusing.