Miss Antigone
Miss Antigone

Miss Antigone

Abram Haynes

Miss Antigone,

I love you

“No,” Lycomedes sighed, finishing his edit, “that’s not how you start.”

Haemon turned pink. “What’d you mean?”

Lycomedes occupied the spare rolly chair, their shared room’s treasure, and squinted at his brother’s note. “Too forward.”

“You don’t even know her,” Haemon shot. He reached for the editing pen, which Lycomedes dangled away.

“I know you’re writing instead of texting,” Lycomedes smiled. “And I know you think you love her … so either a special lady, or you’re being an idiot.”

Haemon was starting to resemble a tomato, so Lycomedes tossed back the pen; his brother fumbled and dropped it.

“So,” Lycomedes began, “what about it?”

“She’s amazing.”

“How so?”

Haemon took a breath.“I mean, everything. She’s beautiful, and smart, and fences–”


Fences,” Haemon nodded, “like with swords!”

“Sounds intense.”

“She’s amazing,” Haemon glanced at his note. “Her sister said she liked me.”

“So you wrote a letter,” Lycomedes laughed. “It’s fine, we’ll workshop it.”

It’s fine. Haemon bit his lip. “Is this stupid?” He pinched the note, like it was a burger wrapper. “I mean, what am I even doing? Do you…do you think she actually wants it?”

“Well, it is too bold,” Lycomedes repeated. His brother frowned.

“You’re right,” he looked at Lycomedes. “I don’t even really know whether she likes me,” He slumped. “Who still writes letters?”

“You do,” Lycomedes grinned, and his joke deflated; Haemon was almost grimacing.

“I do,” he said, and stood up, his gaze lingering over the letter. “Think I’ll, um, do something else. Thanks for the talk, Lyco,” He tried to smile. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“Sure,” Lycomedes said. His gut was nagging, “Anytime.” Haemon left their bedroom, and Lycomedes watched him go. He wondered if he misspoke. 

A day later, Lycomedes was staring at the air. His dad’s office was cubic and austere, populated with a corpulent desk, coffee table, and window wall, plus a few gray chairs. Seated at the powerless side of his father’s desk, Lycomedes waited. He did that quite often.

A door clinked open. “–Yes, yes I’ll take that interview,” Creon prattled, shutting the door behind him. He clicked away his phone, blinked, and remembered his son; Lycomedes twitched. “Hello, Lyco…how are you?”


“Good,” Creon said. He glanced around, possibly for a cue card, then took a breath. “I’m taking you to lunch…?”

“Doctor’s appointment.”

“Right,” Creon said, because of course he’d read his wife’s text. “Is that why I have to drive you?”

“Well, it’s a doctor’s appointment.”

“Ah,” Creon nodded. “Is that why I have to drive you?”

Lycomedes rolled his eyes.

“Watch it,” Creon took a step.

Lycomedes tensed, “Okay?” 

Lycomedes stopped, and Creon scoffed, shaking his head. Lycomedes swallowed, “Are…are we leaving?”

“Yes.” Creon fished his keys from his suit pocket, considering his son. Like any narcissist, he picked kindness as one picks up socks, “What have you been up to, Lyco?”

“Uh, not much, now the semester’s over–” Lycomedes quieted. His father was rummaging through the big desk, listening in a nebulous, specious way to his kid’s life. Lycomedes would hate him, one day, “Haemon’s having girl troubles.” No response. “Someone named Antigone–“


Lycomedes faltered, because he hadn’t actually expected–

“Antigone? Oedipus’ kid?”

“Yeah, I–I think so.”

Creon slowed his search. He melted into his chair, fingers arched, and watched his son. “Haemon has a thing for Antigone?”

“A bit.”

“A bit,” Creon echoed. He wrinkled his nose. “Is he pursuing it?”

“Why are you asking-“

“Is he pursuing it?”

Lycomedes felt a creeping hollowness. “He…He planned to, I think. He thinks she likes him back.”

“Does she?”

“Why wouldn’t she?

Creon humphed. Delicately, he ran through the many ways a union would assist his position. Oedipus was powerful, prestigious, and a potential rival next November, when Creon would run for mayor. He smirked. “Good. I think our families would get along just swell.” 

Lycomedes pretended it was genuine. “Can we leave now?”

“Did Haemon tell her how he felt?”


“Of course,” Creon mumbled, but his face was rigid.  Lycomedes didn’t like that. “Tell her for him.”


“You heard me. Tell her for him..” 

“I won’t see her during break, and I don’t have her number–”

“Figure it out,” Creon ordered, and he stood up. “Your brother’s handsome enough, but he’s shy. You’ll be the middleman. Anway, sandwiches in the breakroom if you’re hungry, but avoid the Tuna. Awful stuff,” Creon shuddered, then left the room.

Lycomedes sat alone, for a moment, while his anxiety formed.  Haemon. “Oh, geez.” Lycomedes rubbed his eyes, feeling the strangling, sunken weight of a mistake. He’d shattered Haemon’s confidence. God, of course he had! If he took two seconds to think instead of screwing around–

The tirade dulled to background noise; Lycomedes needed a solution, and he didn’t know how to apologize. Or rather, he couldn’t. If Haemon got angry, if Lycomedes messed up…he couldn’t ruin what they had. 

 He’d find Antigone. Yes. Lycomedes blinked, sketching the idea in his head. He’d find Antigone, like Dad wanted, and tell her about Haemon. She’d be delighted (her sister must have been sincere), and there! All fixed, all set right – farewell freak-out.

That’s what he told himself, anyway.

That weekend, Lycomedes visited a party. It was too loud for him to hear his heartbeat. The mob choked the yard, spewing misty breath and vape and music. A rickety stage crested the crowd’s center and someone, spurred by chanting, wobbled on a table and chugged spirits. Lycomedes felt a stranger.

He wandered the periphery, a little like middle school, and wondered how to start a conversation without actually talking.

“Holy sh–”

A wasted classmate plunged into him, and Lycomedes pitched over. The combination of beer and blunt grass was sickening; he nearly screamed.

“S-Sorry dude,” the classmate slurred. “Got pushed.” He staggered to his feet, half-tripping, and Lycomedes gradually uncoiled. He stood too.

“It’s fine,” Lycomedes said. “Really.”

“Thanks bro–” the classmate froze. He squinted. “Lyco?”

“…A-Ascanius. Ascanius Campbell. We’re in Spanish together.”

“Yeah!” Ascanius beamed. In the party’s half-light, he looked like a tipsy corpse. “Whaddya you doing here, you hate people!”

“I’m looking for Antigone.” His lungs were tightening. “Is she here?”

“ ‘Course she is!” Ascanius chortled. “She’s the star!”


“The star,” he yelled, slowing the syllables. “That’s what the stage’s for!”

Lycomedes peered through the crowd. Blurred and disjointed, he discerned the wooden structure, and wondered for the first time what it was for. “What’s it for?”

“She’s fighting! Said she could take anyone in the school, right here, tonight!”

“What the hell.”

Ascanius lowered his voice. “…and don’t spoil it, but I hear she’s fencing.”

“Right.” Lycomedes breathed deep. “…So I need to see her. Could someone tell her…” He trailed off. Somehow, he doubted wasted teens are good messengers. Funny enough, that included almost everyone.

“Naw, man! She’ll be busy.”

“You think she’s serious?”

“Dude, if someone goes up there…” Ascanius mimed an explosion, and Lycomedes blinked.

“Okay. Well, good to…good to see you, Ascanius,”  Lycomedes began to bow out. “See you in class.”

Ascanius replied something good-natured, but by then Lycomedes wasn’t listening. He sleuthed away, buzzing with the vicious obligation of amending. He hated it. 

The crowd thickened near the stage, a mass of sweaty, drunken bulks swapping bawdy jokes. These were the challengers, Lycomedes presumed. 

“Where’s Antigone?” He asked a linebacker. 

“Getting dressed,” the senior grunted.

“Okay, but like where –”

Ready!” A voice declared. A masked fencer, sword glittering, appeared on stage, and the party shifted towards her. The school’s quarterback was the first challenger. He climbed the stage, taurine and arrogant, while Antigone prepared to trounce him. 

“Would you like a sword?” She asked. 

The quarter-back spat into the crowd, and someone yelped. 

Antigone shrugged. “All right!” She signed to a girl in the crowd “Ismene, if you’ll count us!” It started with five. 

“This is ludicrous.” Lycomedes said it out loud. “Like, what the hell–””

The count finished. The quarterback sauntered forward, so Antigone waited. As he wheeled for punch, she delivered a round-house kick to his ribs.

He screamed, tettered, and toppled off stage as Antigone bashed him. The lawn exploded in approval. Another player hauled up, embarrassed to crimson, and charged forward. Antigone side-stepped. Deftly, she slashed his back and shoved him into the grass. 

Antigone bowed amidst fiery cheers. “Next up?”

 Lycomedes wanted to leave. He was overwhelmed, because what was happening, and why was guilty, and why was he raising his hand to speak. “Excuse me, um, Antigone!”

“Give her hell!” A student screamed, and suddenly Lycomedes was being pushed. He stuttered and squirmed, only to rapidly find himself on display. The stage was colder up close.

“I–I think there’s a mistake–”

“Sword or fists?” Antigone gestured to the side, and Ismene proffered another blade.


Antigone grabbed the spare saber. “Sword or fist?”

“I just need to talk.”

The fencing mask twitched. “Who are you?”

“Lycomedes,” Lycomedes said. His chest was boiling butter, and he wondered if he’d faint. “H-Haemon’s brother!”

Antigone tore off her mask, unleashing an auburn storm. “Haemon?”

Lycomedes swallowed. “He loves you,” he said simply. And suddenly, conveniently, delightfully – the crowd quieted. Lycomedes shivered in a gust, but he didn’t stop, because he couldn’t. He needed to say it. “He really, really loves you, and he’s too shy to say it.”

Antigone was, for perhaps the first time, speechless. She cleared her throat. “Um, thank you.” Below them, the crowd cycled confusions, but Lycomedes was too freaked out to care. 

“Can I leave?”


And he did. Unpopular, exhausted, but superficially less guilty, Lycomedes went home. 

The family stayed local for winter break. Creon had meetings and worked over Christmas, while Lycomedes was remarkably alone; his brother was out more. Suddenly, Haemon enjoyed parks, coffee shops, and skating – this last was particularly off, for Haemon could not, in fact, skate. 

Lycomedes chuckled to himself. He bet Antigone could. 

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