I could feel Iason’s arms around me, his breath on the nape of my neck. I could smell the mixture of sweat and sea on his skin and craved the taste of his lips. Iason. My Iason.
“Oh, how I’ve missed you, my lady,” he purred into my ear.
“And I, you, my sweet prince,” I replied softly.
“My lady,” he whispered as he kissed my shoulder. “My lady.”
I opened my eyes as I felt his grasp begin to release. I watched in horror as he slowly seemed to be pulled away. “My lady,” he called in an almost inaudible tone. I reached for him, but to no avail. “My lady,” he murmured once again before disappearing into a white mist.
“My lady,” whispered another voice as something touched my shoulder. I jumped in fear, turning to face my attacker.
“My lady,” said a young woman looking back in fear, “I’m sorry to wake you, but we’re almost at our destination.” It was then I realized it was the flight attendant speaking to me.
“Oh, yes. I’m sorry,” I replied, trying to get my wits about me. “I’ll get myself ready. How’s Lana?”
“I’ll live,” I heard her moan from across the aisle. I looked over to see her still having issues, but with a little more color in her cheeks.
As the plane landed, I felt something begin to stir inside me. I knew this place better than I knew myself, which wasn’t saying much at the moment. It was my beautiful island. My sanctuary. My home. Crete.
We gathered our belongings, then made our way to a car waiting to take us to the hotel. As we rode, I noticed that Lana was looking a little better. I told her a hot bath and a short nap at the hotel were all she’d need. She nodded her head, but I don’t think she believed me.
Once we arrived, we each went to our rooms. Lana didn’t say much as she entered hers, and I was okay with that. I entered mine to find the beautiful rays of the morning sun pouring through a wall of windows. The shades of orange and yellow danced from ceiling to floor. I felt rejuvenated.
I walked to the windows, allowing the beams to caress my body. I looked out over the island from my penthouse suite, broken memories trying to come into focus. I began to feel the call. The call of my island.
I closed my eyes and felt the warmth on my face. I removed my jacket and kicked off my shoes. I stretched out my arms and felt the healing energy of the sun on my skin. I unbuttoned my blouse and dropped it to the floor. I removed my slacks, kicking them off to one side. Finally, I took off my bra and panties and bore my soul to the world. My world.
As the sun wrapped its rays around me, my memories fought harder to be seen. I closed my eyes to see a coastline before me and a wheat field at my back. To my left was a high cliff with a naked woman’s outline, and to my right was a small cottage made of mud brick. I knew that cottage. I had to find that cottage.
After a much-needed shower and a fresh outfit, I called to check on Lana. She had been sleeping and declined my offer to check out the island and get something to eat. It seemed odd to me that the flight would have been that hard on her, but I told her to rest, and I’d call her later.
I had the driver take me into town. I did a little shopping and found a quaint little restaurant that served the best Garides Saganaki I’d had since my return. And like any good Cretan, I chased it with the house’s finest ouzo.
I wandered in and out of a few more shops, enjoying the sights and sounds of my island. It felt like home. Home. The moment the word entered my head, a breeze whipped through my hair, and the scent of salt air filled my senses. I needed to go home.
I threw my bags into the car and told the driver to take them back to the hotel while I took a stroll down to the ocean. Though he protested, I remained firm. I needed to feel the sea lap across my feet and feel the saline winds in my hair. I needed to feel my island.
I followed a small trail down to the shore. Gentle afternoon breezes pulled at my hair and clothes. It felt as though I were being led to the shore. As if something were drawing me in. I took off my shoes and walked closer to the water. The feel of the wet sand sent vibrations throughout my body.
I stood there at the water’s edge, toes dug into the sand, wind whipping through my hair, water splashing against my legs. I held out my arms and captured the warmth of the sun in my hands, allowing it to caress my face and trace the veins in my throat. I was home.
I closed my eyes and uttered his name, “Iason.” I hoped the winds would carry it to whatever realm he might now dwell. The thought brought a tear to my eye.
As I took in the energy of Crete, memories began to come to the surface. I could see the coastline in front of me and the wheat field at my back once again. To my left was the cliff that resembled a naked woman. I studied her in my mind’s eye. The way the rocks jutted from the wall created the image of a woman’s face, hair, breasts, and legs. The late afternoon’s rays bounced from one section to another, defining the woman’s features as the sun traveled through the sky. The shadows and highlights shimmered, giving the illusion of a dancing goddess in stone.
I opened my eyes and pulled my toes from the sand. I studied the coastline going in both directions. The reflection of the sunlight told me I needed to head north, though I wasn’t sure why.
I walked along, carrying my shoes, allowing the water to lap against my ankles. The sun grew dim, filling the sky with hues of pumpkin and maroon. I marched on, not knowing what it was that I was looking for. Not until I rounded a small outcropping of stones.
As I came to the other side, I noticed a small cottage. It was brilliant white with a thatched roof. It looked so much like the ones I’d remembered from so long ago. The ones that dotted the Cretan coastline for generations. I couldn’t help but smile as I walked past it without a second thought.
My mind was wandering from one lifetime to another when I looked up. There, right in front of me, was a large cliff jutting out of the land. As I studied the edges, I came to see that which I’d been searching. A goddess in stone.
I stared in amazement, noticing that a few of her features had crumbled into the sea. However, the outline of her face was still there, searching the ocean for her lost love. I beheld her, feeling her eternal mourning. A feeling I knew well.
I turned back toward the quiet little cottage. Could it be? No, surely not. How could the home I’d once shared with my Iason still be here and in this good of condition? My rational side screamed that this was one of my hallucinations, but the quizzical side told me to keep searching.
I went to the cottage and peered through the windows. It seemed no one was home, but I had to go inside. I had to know if what I was seeing was real. I tried the door, and finding it unlocked, entered the room. It was much the same as it would have been all those years ago.
I looked at the trinkets and baubles strewn about the place, running my fingers across the mantle on the far side of the room. I could hear Iason’s laughter in my mind and the sound of happy children in the distance.
“Can I help you?” a man’s voice said from behind me.
I spun on one heel, knowing I’d been caught red-handed. As I faced the young man before me, my heart stopped. “Iason,” I whispered.
The young man stared at me, his chiseled face changing expressions from anger to confusion to defiance. I could only stand there, staring into his eyes, unable to move.
Finally, he dropped his head and let out a deep sigh. When he looked back up at me, he simply said, “Hello, Mother.”