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Finding our place

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It was a dark and clear night. Glittering across the night sky were hundreds of constellations, the Milky way an echo of the Nile downhill, their boat just visible on the docks below. The great river was swelling already, and the star Sopdet was rising for the first time. The season of Inundation had begun.

Standing on the balcony of the house he had… commandeered the hospitality of for their stay en route to Ethiopia, Radames and Aida looked out across the valley and the star-littered sky.

He could barely believe it- they’d done it, they’d gotten away. They could start a new life together, just the two of them.

In his arms Aida leaned her back against his chest, resting her head on his shoulder, her gaze far off in the distance in the direction of their new home, where the stars met the desert.

For a moment Radames could do nothing but stare at her tranquil beauty, her spirit and the fire he knew to be in her heart quiet that night. Surely there was no luckier man alive than he. He had left his home, his wealth, and his status behind, and yet he had never felt happier, never felt more at peace with his life, and with the world, than he had now, with her in his arms.

He would gladly have left everything twice over– ten times over!– if it meant he could stay with her until the end of their days.

The past few days they’d been sailing up the river Nile as it started to grow beyond its banks. They avoided the larger cities, and at night they stayed in whatever local dignitary’s house he could talk or commandeer his way into hospitality.

If news, or orders of their arrest have been sent down to follow them, they have not yet caught up, and most days a mayor or nobleman is quite honoured to receive such a great general as his guest.

His nights were... not as restful as he might have liked. He found himself waking, time and again, to unfamiliar surroundings, and a rush of where-am-I-what-happened and where-is-she. His dreaming mind still worried, still feared it had all been a dream, and in the reality of his dreams they failed to escape Egypt, and were caught, and sentenced to die in many different ways, all of which were unpleasant.

Tonight was no different, and so they stood upon the balcony, and watched the stars. On the eastern horizon, Ra’s first rays of light are visible. The stars are chased away as the new day announces itself. Though Radames felt tired beyond belief, he did not feel the need to sleep. Not just for the terrible dreams that haunted him. That moment on the balcony, as they stood together, was worth so much more than any sleepless night. 

Aida never complained, in fact demanded to be woken when she learned of his nightmares. They could sleep on the boat, during the day, she said, the boatman –all of them her countrymen– could steer them safely without their aid.

She was right, as she so often was.

Though exhaustion dragged at his eyes and his limbs, he would not trade any of this. Not for all the riches of Upper and Lower Egypt.