I watched Amma from the door of the chamber that had been left ajar. She was being helped to lie on her bed after the maids had finished putting on her royal blue crown and scarab necklace. The bed was a gift from a Hittite King whose name I could never remember nor pronounce. It was made of fine fragrant wood, strong and sturdy and never gave signs of tear even after years of being jumped on by her seven daughters, including me. Then from the corner of her eye, she spotted me.
“Ankhsenpaaten,” she said, calling my name. A smile crescented on her full lips. She stretched her arms, calling me inside the room. I pushed the heavy wooden door and strode in. I was no longer a child, for I had been made a woman, a queen, ever since the ruling Pharaoh, my cousin, made me his Great Royal Wife. But then and there, as I half-hopped inside the room, I felt like a little girl. Amma patted the cushion next to her bed, signaling me to sit. I obliged.
“I never really like my new name, Amma,” I said, looking down at my fingers that interlaced on my lap. I felt her steady gaze on me, like Aten shining all over Kemet, our land.
“That is why, when we are alone, I always call you by your old name, not Ankhsenamun. You have always been a gift of Aten, not of Amun. Nevertheless, times have changed. The people have been trying to return to the olden ways, the ways of yesteryears. And your husband has been nothing but very supportive of destroying what Akhenaten, your father, our one true king, had established during his reign,” Amma said.
“I miss Abba,” I replied as I lift my head to meet Amma’s gaze. She smiled, her lips curving like the shape of the scimitar.
“I miss him too. But now I’m taking solace in the thought that we will soon be together again,” She replied.
A soft knock was heard from the door and we saw a hunched figure. It was Ife, our loyal maid. She was wrapped in white garment, her hair covered with white shawl. “It is time, N’abat Imet,” she addressed Amma in her usual greeting: Lady of Grace. Amma and I looked out the window and saw the sun setting.
“It is time,” Amma said, taking my hands and giving them a faint squeeze. I felt the squeeze right to my heart that pumped tears down my eyes. “Binti,” she called me. Daughter. “Mer itin, mer itin,” she repeated. You are beloved to me, you are beloved to me. And we choked in our tears.
“By Aten, we must not cry. Our eye paint is starting to run,” she said and laughed as she looked at my face. I laughed as I looked at her and Amma took a soft papyrus and with her frail, trembling fingers, dabbed at the runny blackness from under my eyes. I gently took the papyrus from her fingers and dabbed at her under eyes, erasing the traces of the manifestation of her sadness. “I’m sure that barbaric whore is laughing at my demise right now,” Amma chuckled, reminiscing of how she had banished Kiya, Abba’s other wife and Amma’s rival back to Mitanni where she came from. “I’m sure that she sent dark barbaric magic that brought me this disease.”
“Let’s not talk about her, Amma,” I sighed.
“My Queen,” Ife said, rushing us. Amma nodded. I leaned over and kissed her forehead. Then, unknown to me, she lifted her arms and placed them around me, drawing me closer to her, and we embraced. I felt our blood bonded, our hearts pulsing of anticipation and anxiety of the unknown future and fate that lied before us. Even when being faced by something so inevitable and so absolute, I knew that we both knew not of the certainty in it. I knew we both knew not if it was Aten, Amun, or Anubis who was guarding it. I knew that we both did not want to let go of our embrace. But I also knew that we had to. And so I let her go.
“Through whatever adversity, whatever clouded judgment the men of the house of Amarna have, remember that they always turn to us for advice, for support, for truly it has always been the matriarchs of this house that rule Kemet,” was the last thing she said to me.
At daybreak when I came to her chamber to mourn, she had disappeared. Nobody knew where her corpse was taken and laid by the few who were loyal to her. My husband became very busy giving orders to destroy all marks of my parents, even when I was sitting beside him, grieving like a cow mad from the rays of the desert sun. He could order the people of Kemet to destroy every statue, every cartouche, every hieroglyphic remnant of Akhenaten and Nefertiti and erase them from history, but he would never burn the temple that I had set up in my heart for Amma and Abba.
Also note that although I'm trying to find the exact words for "mother", "father", "daughter", and "I love you" in ancient Egyptian, I think I may have failed.
The photo shows Ankhsenamun (right) and her husband Tutankhamun.