“Circe? What are you up to?”
Startled by the intrusion, my eyes shot wide open, only to be blinded by one brilliant golden light. Feeling a bit dazed and confused, I wondered why someone would interrupt a sorceress in the middle of the most soothing sleep she had had in months. Yet the best I could do was ask, “Huh?” The word came out on a barely audible groan.
By then, I was rubbing my eyes so deeply that I could see stars with them closed. With a discernible sigh, the person sitting in the seat next to me let out a loud, “Mmmmmmm…” He, or she, made some comfort-seeking adjustments. It seemed like I was disturbing them. However, I couldn’t care less. I needed that moment with myself. But then, I hadn’t fully re-entered the world. Maybe they were just a dream.
With my thumbs on my cheekbones and the first two fingers of both hands on my temples and forehead, I dug deep. I kneaded and squeezed as much of my face as possible. I had no idea the amount of tension stored in my head. Without thinking about it, both hands were creating circles over my cheeks as well as up and down my neck and throat before taking hold of my shoulders and giving them a gripping squeeze.
“Oh, my word. This feels so good,” I moaned.
“Circe, is everything alright?” a husky voice asked from behind me.
With my chin practically resting on my chest, I ignored whoever it was, if it was anybody. It was an imaginary voice that woke me up in the first place, and that self-massage was doing it for me. Who knew scratching my scalp could feel so incredible?! All the tingling was electrifying as I imagined little sparks shooting from the top of my head. It seemed the stars I was seeing needed to be released.
Enjoying the most spacious stretch I had ever experienced, I slowly lowered one ear to the opposite shoulder, feeling the kinks release with each breath. It wasn’t long before I exclaimed with undeniable pleasure, “This is officially my new daily ritual!”
As if they had a mind of their own, my arms and legs began to slowly hatch from the egg shape they had formed overnight before launching in all directions. Waking up was more than coming back to life after a few hours of sleep. It was an opportunity for renewal, a chance to see things through fresh eyes. I knew this yet never embraced it until this moment as my body, without hesitation, welcomed the start of something new.
What happened next wasn’t all that funny. Well, it wasn’t until it was. I couldn’t stop laughing after a while, or even help myself. In one fell swoop, all four limbs reached for the sensations that my head and neck felt and were simultaneously halted by what appeared to be something solid on three sides of me, with the fourth being blocked by an unexpected cheek of someone sitting to my right.
Just before dawn yesterday morning, the call we all had been waiting for rang loud and clear. “That’s a wrap,” boomed Alessandro. While the words were music to my ears, that fervent, irritant of a man and his megaphone stiffened every muscle in my body just as fingernails on a chalkboard do. Every time he used it, all I could think about was shoving it where the sun did not shine. Just know, I never acted on that feeling, but there were a couple of close calls. That time I let it slide, knowing I would never have to hear that thing or voice again!
I was done and ready to go home. I only went there for a short vacation and ended up living on a Mediterranean beach for months. The truth was, I could leave whenever I wanted to, yet my heart trapped me there. I realized I’d shared my annoyance with some of the nonsense going on around the set a while ago. I believe I even made a reference to delusional humans at the time. I admit I’m mildly ashamed of myself for making such a comment. Then again, it was a genuine sentiment, just out of line.
The fact of the matter was when one spent as much time working alongside people as I had while being there, almost twenty hours a day, you saw a different side of them. In all fairness, those mortals got to me, but in a good way! I would go out on a limb and say they touched my soul. That was if I had one.
For the last week, several of them had been joining in on the planning of something they called a wrap party. I guess that is a kind of celebration that happens every time the cameras stop rolling, and a movie is ready to go into post-production. We had something worth saluting. We were finally done filming that never-ending remake of Odysseus!
However, we decided that the party was going to be a lot more than just a simple get-together, marking the end of an exhausting and time-consuming project. A group of us put our heads together and decided to turn it into a Day of the Dead/Halloween party. Trust me. I needed a night of festivities. The mere thought of it made me bubble like a cauldron with excitement! Filling the role of Circe and Penelope was nothing compared to being the sugar skull sorceress for that party!
As soon as that announcement happened, an uproar of applause and hollering ricocheted off the rocks and equipment. I honestly believed it was heard around the island. If no one knew of our existence before, they did after that.
When I heard the news, I bolted in the direction of the makeup department, like a ray from my wand. It seemed everyone else did, too. Before I knew it, there was a crowd of us vying for time in front of the mirror. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with it and suggested a group of us take turns doing one another’s face and hair.
The air was not only full of contagious giggling and chatter about the fun times we had had on set, but it lit up our faces and helped us forget we may never see one another again. The longer we shared in that frivolity, the more time stood still for us. There was no worry or sadness, just a sacred and pleasurable moment of celebration.
We wanted for nothing. The production coordinator and manager made sure of that. We had the most exquisite wines to drink. Why wouldn’t we when we were surrounded by some of the most incredible vineyards and wineries? That summer was the perfect growing season for grapes. They provided us with incredible varieties like Carignano, Bovale, Malvasia, Vermentino, and more. But I only needed one sip of the Cannonau to become a raving fan. That dry red wine had turned into the official house wine of my ranchito back home.
What a shame. Amber can’t have any until baby ‘Dan’ arrives.
It was a heartwarming afternoon and evening of dancing, laughter, toasting, and eating. We played until long after the sun went down before deciding to drive our tipsy selves to the top of a rocky loma overlooking the ocean.
We sat under the stars with a barely there silvery sliver of a moon, smiling at our enjoyment. I closed my eyes to take in the sounds of the sea, which were considerably different when listening from above. They were symphonic in nature, as water from one angle gently washed and rippled back and forth against the lower sands and pebbles while waves around the bend pounded and crashed against rocks. Joining this concert were the seagulls and other birds that I couldn’t see. It was a night to remember.
“Circe. What are you doing after this?” asked an alluring and inviting voice from the far side of our blazing fire pit.
“Who wants to know?” I flirted back.
“We all do,” was the response that danced back through the flickering flames. “You showed up without anyone knowing who you were or what you were about. And then, you changed everything about the movie set. While it may have appeared as if none of us noticed you at first or were ignorant of the massive changes happening once you jumped in, the truth is everyone enjoying this night with you caught on, including me.”
Fortunately, my senses weren’t completely disabled by all the wine I had appreciated throughout the day. This guy was up to something, but what?
Thank goddess my acting skills were still fresh. So, I played coy and tapped into my best reticent act ever. I flipped my hands and shrugged my shoulders to let everyone that could see me know I was clueless about the point of the question. “What do you want? An apology?” I asked.
“Not at all. I believe I speak for everyone sitting here when I say,” the voice boldly exclaimed, “we were amazed by what we saw and want to know more. We want powers like you!”
I was rattled by what I had just heard. Every cell in my body was prepared to act with a vengeance, but I refused to sink into Circe default mode. Without question, I was ready to turn every one of these mortals into an animal, specifically a jackass. Yet, something inside me interrupted the strong desire to go rogue on them.
What was that? What’s with the reservation? Am I losing my flair, my je ne sais quoi? If these mortals were privately enjoying my power all this time, why not give them the best show yet?
Instead of acting on that instinct, I nervously shouted, “Busted!” I let out a big burst of laughter, which was accompanied by a chorus of cackles, howls, and clapping from all around the fire. If I didn’t know better, I would have said they all were feeling a bit anxious about what I might do after their collective request.
With only a small window of time before people had to start leaving for the airport, we cranked up the music in several of the nearby cars and had fun picking and packing up things for the trip home.
Even though my powers were no longer a secret, these guys still assumed I was flying home on a plane. What a funny and interesting thought. I played along and jumped into a van with seven of my cast mates. We said goodbye to the beautiful island of Sardinia, our home away from home.