“Why do you think Ulysses took so many years to get home?” He said, after looking at the cover, and placing it on the back seat of the car before driving off.
“Guilt,” I said.
“Over what?” He said.
“Ulysses was the architect of the pact that led to the Trojan War. All of Helen’s suitors would help whoever married Helen get her back in case she was stolen from him. That way they all thought no one would dare take her. But Paris did. And they all went to war. Because of the pact.” I said
“I suppose that would explain why he puts himself in harm’s way wherever he went. But what if Ulysses didn’t want to go back to Penelope?” He said
“Why wouldn’t he?” I asked.
“Well, you know, all the responsibilities of being a king.” He said.
“He was the king of Ithaca a tiny island. He didn’t exactly have an empire to run.” I said.
“Still he may have cherished the opportunity of going on a bender for a while.” He said
“For ten years? That’s one hell of a bender.” I said.
“And anyway he wasn’t responsible for the war. Paris was. Or maybe even Helen.” He said.
“Why?” I said.
“Well, was she kidnapped or did she do a runner?” He said.
“Maybe it was a combination of the two. Maybe Paris took her away against her will but later she came to love him.” I said.
“You mean a Stockholm syndrome kind of thing? No, that’s insane.” He said.
“Yes, maybe you’re right. But going back to your original question, ‘Why did Ulysses take so long to go home?’ Maybe Ulysses knew that once he got home he would never be able to leave it again, so he heads home to quieten his conscience, but he takes the longest, most arduous route possible, knowing he will live off those stories for the rest of his life when he gets home.” I said.
“I get that. There are nights I’d like to take the long way home.” He said with a sad smile.