By Jessy Wallach, TIWP Student

No one ever remembers what color her eyes were, just that you shouldn’t meet them, that you needed to look away, fast. Close your eyes, or she’ll turn you to stone. She never wanted to turn them to stone, only maybe she did. Maybe she was tired of them laughing at her, of them calling her a monster. Maybe just once she didn’t hate her stupid eyes as much as she needed to in order to fit the role of the victim instead of the villain. Maybe she wished they would all just turn to granite and marble and basalt and leave her alone. But what did it matter? It’s not like her eyes would change if she wished hard enough. Sometimes she just wanted them to meet her gaze when they called her a monster. But even the gods, the great, immortal gods, were too afraid.

Except for Poseidon. Poseidon who was the only one who knew the color of her eyes, and the only one who told her they were beautiful. He didn’t care that she had snakes for hair. He was the god of serpents. He told her that she wasn’t a monster, that the world was wrong and she was perfect how she was, that he loved her, that she was beautiful. He told her that she was beautiful.

And she started to believe him. And they were ready to turn their backs on the rest of the world, who couldn’t look her in the eyes. And she was ready to be happy, and she was ready to feel beautiful, with her head of snakes and her infamous eyes she’d never asked for.

And then a young demigod came and chopped off her head and Athena stuck it on a shield and used it to kill her enemies, because monsters don’t get happy endings. They get slaughtered by brave heroes who find love and rule kingdoms. And no one remembers what color Medusa’s eyes were, no one but Poseidon. They could ask him if they wanted, but why would they? No one cares if she was Medusa the brown-eyed or Medusa the blue-eyed or Medusa with eyes like sea foam. Medusa the gorgon tells a much tidier story. Medusa the monster.

Medusa who turned people to stone.

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