My dear best friend !
My name is Hephaistion Amyntoros, I am eight years old. I don’t know you. Nor who you are, or where you live. But, what I know is that I shall meet you one day. Like me you will be a boy, and I hope you shall have the same age than me. I want to write this letter for you that I don’t know yet. Like that you will learn who I was before the day of our encounter.
One day we shall meet and at the moment our eyes will cross, I shall know that you will be the most important person for me : my best friend. But first let me present myself and my family.
It is not so easy to describe myself but I will try. I am tall for my age. I take it from my father. At least, it is all the people say about me. Cause of that, often they treat me like if I was older. Sometimes it is nice, but sometimes too I would like to be treated for who I am. Just an eight years old boy.
I don’t really remember my mother. She died when I was a little boy. Every body says that she was the most beautiful person on Earth. Sometimes, some ghost memories haunt me. I feel on my cheek like a caress. A light and white hand who slides on my hair. Sweet lips that smile and whisper, I can’t hear the voice but I imagine that this one was soft and gentle. Another image : Serious blue eyes like mine who look at me with love and sadness like a farewell.
Often my father says that I have the eyes of my mother. I smile and hug him tight to hide my embarrassment in seeing the tears in his eyes.
My father calls Amyntas. He is tall as I said and well build. He is strong and the most beautiful man I have ever seen in my life. He has 23 years old. He has long hair and green eyes. I have never met my grandparents. They were dead during the great decease before my birth. So I have, from now, only my father. But you know I am not unlucky contrary to what it seems. I am surrendered with so much love : my father, my nanny and all the people living on the domain. My father has inherited some richness from his parents and we have servants and slaves to make the duties on the lands and to play with me.
Our house is really big. At least, it is for me. You enter in a short hall who lead to a peristyle : a square place edged by marble columns ; and, in the middle of this one an oliver tree. The rooms are organized around this courtyard. First, at the entrance, to the left the andrôn, where as you can think we receive the guests and to the right the library. Then, following the andrôn, a hall on the left who drives you to the kitchen and the storeroom. If you continue to follow the peristyle, come after some bedrooms then my favorite room : a private thermae.
After we came back from Athens, my father decided to build a bath room. Living far from a city, he missed the comfort we had in Athens. My father is really a genius and he has imagined a way to bring the water from the river near the house to supply in water the bath. It is amazing ! Each room is decorated with mosaics dedicated to Gods or Goddess. My room is dedicated to — don’t laugh, please ! — Aphrodite. Dad said that it was my mum who chose. So I do with that. But I would prefer Zeus or Hephaistos. I am not Paris after all.
By the way, do you like Homer’s Illiad ? The last year before we leaved Athens, my father met a lot of philosophers like Xenocrate and Aristotle. And one of them gave him the book. Often when my father is in mission and I miss him, I read the book. I like the story of Achilles and Patroclus. Maybe when we shall met we can play to Achilles and Patroclus. It would be nice ! Sometimes, I feel a little bit alone, you know. And it would be a dream to have a friend with whom I could share all my thoughts and my play.
My father owns a lot of horses. He learnt me to ride before I could even walk. At least it is what he always said with such pride to every body who is amazed by my ability. But, my father worked too for the king Philip. Sometimes, he leaves for some missions. And cause of his duty, my father and me were obliged to live in Athens during a long time. I discovered again the Macedon only when I was seven.
What kind of job my father does for the king, stays a mystery even now. All I know, it’s that must be dangerous because more than once he came back home wounded. He never said a word about what is happened to him. But I could see the ghosts in his eyes and the sadness like the joy too sometimes. Each time I asked him what it is happened, he looked at me and smiled without a word. He pated my hair and kissed my forehead. And he added : « I just do my job ». I understood at this moment, it was useless to ask for more. My father has his secrets. His job was not the only one.
Some day ago, my father had a guest. This one arrived home in the night. It was really late but I was looking the stars at my bedroom’s window. You know, I like looking at the stars and trying to imagine what it could be to be a God. It is my dream, you know, to meet a God. Yes, a wonderful dream ! Anyway ! So the guest !…
I was distracted from my revery by the sound of a horse. It was not usual so I stay quiet and silent. You know in case it was some robber or some other danger. I wanted to be sure before to warn every one in the house. I heard a door, a whisper in the night. And the silence. I was so surprised and so curious that I decide to go and see. Like a cat I head to the enter. And hidden behind some furniture I could see my father and a stranger.
This latter grabbed my father by his arms and took him in a strong and manly hug. Cause of the way he acted, I thought : it must be a good friend of my father but I have never seen him before. I heard my father said with some emotion and astonishment : « Philip ? What do you do there ? And alone? It is too dangerous and… ». The man cut him : « I don’t care. I wanted to see you. You will leave soon again and I couldn’t wait to see you anymore. » At this moment, the man took the head of my father between his hands and kissed him on his lips like if they will never have another chance to do that again.
I look at the two men, mouth opened like a fish. So shocking ! I feel my face grew red. I never saw my father to kiss anyone. I felt guilty to be there and look at something I didn’t have to see. But, in me two feelings fought : the shame and the curiosity. This last one was the vanquish.
Philip, the friend of my father continued to kiss him. My father tried to push him in saying : « Philip, please, stop. My son… my son is here. He can hear us. » But Philip chased his last resistance in saying that I must be deeply asleep.
What happen next was really strange. Philip was a short man but seemed to be really strong. He put the body of my father on his right shoulder and lead himself to the andrôn. My father protested about this treatment. Asking to Philip if he was already drunk and saying in laughing he was not one of his concubine. Philip just answered in giving a tap on the buttocks of my father, saying that he was like a horse that needed to be tamed. The answer of my father let me open mouth : « And how does my King hope to do that ?… ».
My King ? My king ! This man is the King of Macedon and the friend of my father ! I was so excited. The King was in my home ! But, wait ! I wonder, if the King is my father’s friend, maybe he is a little bit my friend too. I have to ask to my father.
My father has always spoke about the King with pride. The Gods endowed him with an uncommon force. He said that « Philip » was a great King, wise and moderated. Yes, I remember now that he always called him like that. Telling fabulous stories about battles they have done together and how Philip was really smart in revolutionizing the art of war, making the Macedon stronger against their enemies.
He said too he was a good man and a good father who loves his son and heir Alexander. I wonder how old is the prince. It would be nice if he has my age. Maybe I could be his friend like my father and the King. But I shouldn’t like this one kiss me on the mouth. Ahh ! Disgusting !
I wanted to see more about the King and I dare to approach the door of the room closed by a curtain. I was about to move aside the thick curtain. I let my hand in abeyance in hearing a strange moan, then the voice of my father in a strange tone pleading Philip. My heart beat so strongly in my chest. I felt something was wrong but I couldn’t understand what. I was excited and afraid to continue my move and to discover what was hidden behind the curtain.
Slowly I moved aside the curtain, when a hand retained me. I raised my head to discover Pelias the servant of my father. He put a finger on his lips and brought me in the kitchen. Without a word he helped me to sit on a chair and put on the table a glass of milk. Then he sat beside me waiting my question. I know I was wrong, but I asked accusing why he stopped me. He said : « Curiousity is a good thing Little Master, but some things must stay hidden. » Pelias like my father always spoke in a mysterious way. Then I asked him if he knew what was happening in the room. He didn’t say anything. He only smiled and put a hand on my shoulder adding that I have to go to bed.
You know, I hate when adults did that. It is sssooooo irritating. I would like we make a promise to never hide anything to each other. And to always share everything…
Alexander stops his reading, hesitating between laugh and emotion. He turns his head to the bed where a naked body was spread and lied flat on his stomach. He approaches and joins his forsaken lover on the mattress. He can’t help himself to cling to Hephaistion hugging him by behind and to slide a leg between these ones. The young man assaulted in this tender way, opens his eyes and can’t retain a whispered complaint :
« Please Alex ! Not now. I am so exhausted I can’t even raise a finger. My hips and my back ache like hell. »
And as soon as, not waiting for an answer, he closes his eyes again.
Alexander doesn’t answer, just puts a light kiss on the shoulder and reads aloud a passage of the letter :
« I wonder how old is the prince. It would be nice if he has my age. Maybe I could be his friend like my father and the King. But I shouldn’t like this one kiss me on the mouth. Ahh ! Disgusting ! »
At the reading, a sleeping Phai opens his eyes with surprise and blushes :
« What ? »
« I don’t know if you find my kisses disgusting yet, but for what it is to be « friend » like…my father and yours, I think I fulfill your wish tonight »
« Where did you find this ? »
« I wanted to read your Illiad, I take it and it felt from the book »
« Oh ! »
« By the way, you are wrong. Your mum had a good taste for your room. »
Then he whispers seductively in the ear of Hephaistion :
« In this ambiance, I feel really a husband, the day of his wedding, deflowering his pretty spouse on their first night under the kindly gaze of Aphrodite. »
Alexander laughs in seeing his lover turning as red as a beetroot and avoids the pillow he sends to him.
« Silly idiot ! »
Alexander smiles tenderly at the answer. But he can’t stop to tease his so new lover and adds :
« Do you think your father heard us ? I didn’t know you were so noisy. »
The face turns red even more and Hephaistion takes his head in his hands in complaining in shame :
« Oh Gods ! I hope no or I shall not be able to face him ».
As an answer to Alex’s question, Pelias enters in the room and says :
« Your bath is ready Little Master »
« Oh ! Thank you ! But… I didn’t ask for anything »
« Oh ! It is your father, he said to me that after the night you have passed, you will need a hot bath. »
Alexander bursts out in laugh while Hephaistion hides himself under a pillow saying that he would like to die.
Pelias adds almost mysteriously :
« I think you know now what was hidden behind the curtain. »
And without waiting for a response he leaves.
At this moment, he realizes. Yes, Hephaistion has the answers to all his questions now. Looking at Alexander, he understands.
Sometimes, some things must stay hidden behind the curtain… to last.