Robert Townsend wanted to get up to see the sun one more time. Instead, he wasted away in this bed, covered with his own sweat and disease, smelling of rotten flesh already.
The servants kept the dark and heavy curtains drawn so he couldn’t see the sun anymore. He woke, and slept, and slept some more, never knowing the time. Is the sun out? What is the weather?
The servants didn’t visit him much anymore, as they waited for him to die. They hardly brought him food. When he saw food, his stomach rebelled and wouldn’t let him eat it. The only thing he could take was chamomile tea, plain, no sugar. That helped him sleep.
He awoke again. He stared at the ceiling, wondering if the servants would bring him more tea. That kept him alive, he knew. Robert Townsend also knew that it was time for him to die, to join his lover among the stars.
But when? When? It had been eight years since his true love Abraham had left him to sit among the stars in the sky. Waiting. Waiting with the Queen of Heaven.
The door to his sickbed opened. A woman in white glided into the room, suspended on air as she walked, taking the area from the door to the bed in two great strides.
“T’annu Sehutu,” said the woman, in a language that penetrated into his soul. She pushed back her veils to reveal a beautiful woman colored gold by the desert sun, her black hair in braids and beads cascading down the front of her gown.
“Little Twins,” she repeated. “It is time.” She offered her hand, not dainty and pretty like the women of Virginia, but firm, hard, ready to take him on his last journey.
He took her hand, and he became as light as she was, floating on the air above his body. He looked down to see the aged body lying still on the sheets, quiet and serene. Finally free.
Robert Townsend was no more. His soul, found in the recesses of Erishkigal’s Realm, would return to its final resting place among the stars. He looked up into the night sky, picking out the star he wanted to be paired with.
Abraham, he intoned, the name echoing in his being.
He joined with the white star in the evening sky, among the constellation of The Little Twins.
Once the Little Twins were paired off, Lady Ishtar had to return to Erishkigal’s domain to find a replacement. This T’annu Sehutu lived longer than most humans, from the end of the Byzantine era until 1838. Immortal—in that he did not age or could not be killed—until he found his true love.
Lady Ishtar presented herself before the Gates of Erishkigal’s domain, and was met by the gatekeeper.
She had to divest herself of all her worldly possessions before being seen by her sister Erishkigal.
And then Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven, had to die.