In the ancient era, seven wonders reined the land across Egypt, Babylon, Greece, and Rome. In their time, the Wonders were the diamonds in the companionship of life itself, as well as, temples, statues as high as the moon and stars, and tombs and gifts to a king’s beloved. All of these diamonds have now crumbled into ash and dust leaving behind only one—The Great Pyramid.
The Great Pyramid stands in the desert of Giza, dust blowing around its stone base, as it weeps over what once was. But the Pyramid’s story is for another time. This story is regarding the Great Pyramid’s brother, the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The Lighthouse, like all of the other wonders, toppled into the Mediterranean one thousand years ago, leaving the Pyramid alone.
Yet, there was a time when the Lighthouse stood tall and proud above the Egyptian city of Alexandria, illuminating the path of lost fishermen in the Mediterranean. The city of shouting merchants, running children, slaves and civilians were always under the watchful eyes of the Lighthouse.
Her name was Shashai and she was known as the most beautiful woman in Egypt—number two to the Ptolemy’s wife, Cleopatra IV*. Her skin was two shades deeper than the sand she stepped on and her eyes, outlined in black kohl, were as green as a serpent’s emerald. She always wore her wig** down to her slender shoulders and black like a raven’s wing. But no matter how many times she was told of her beauty, she would still look into her gold mirror and sneer.
Shashai’s father was a merchant and never sailed home to Alexandria. He was always riding the waves to faraway ports in Rome and Greece but never failed to send his daughter the finest jewels and cloths.
But what Shashai desired most of all was not a sparkling jewel or silk that her father could send to her. What her heart yearned for was for what she could not have. Shashai had men asking her to wed on a daily basis. She could choose any man she pleased…except for Anemro.
He was a worker in the Lighthouse. He pushed wood into the burners so the guiding light would shine. Every day he would pass by Shashai on his way back to his home and every day he would talk with her for a few sweet moments. She loved him. She loved how his brown eyes glimmered when he laughed and how his dark cheeks would turn red when she brushed her hand against his. But every day, he would walk away from her to meet with another girl, Nanu. He looked at Nanu and his eyes would glisten and Shashai could hear his heart racing from where she stood. Shashai loved Anemro and Anemro loved Nanu.
One day, as the sky’s bright blue began to diminish into violet, Shashai watched from the shadows as Nanu and her love treaded away from her and down the sand streets. Shashai collapsed on the ground and her eyes watered. Her helplessness grew day by day as the moon rose and the sun fell. She wanted nothing more than to drown in the deep water of the sea. She would die for love. Her body ached for him. Her soul yearned for him.
“Shashai,” a voice called from the shadows.
She sat up and looked around the alley, seeing a hooded woman. She wiped her tears when she recognized the woman. “Hello, Kepi,” she whimpered to the priestess.
“Oh, get up, you poor, pathetic soul!” Kepi scorned, wrenching Shashai off the ground with her three-fingered left hand.
Shashai pulled her hand out of Kepi’s. “What do you want?”
“You love Anemro; do you not, my dear?”
“I do! I do with every piece of me! I love him more than Isis loves Osiris!”
“Do not question Isis’ love. You could pay in the Afterlife for that statement,” the priestess scolded, “but I can help you win him, Shashai.”
Shashai’s heart began to float on the Nile. “You can, Kepi?”
“Of course. All you have to do is wear this.” Kepi lifted a golden ankh medallion to the moon. “Tomorrow, Anemro will see you and not Nanu. It is the least I may do. Your father did something for me years ago. I should return