“I’m not sure I remember the last time I had someone try to come back for another session, only an hour after leaving. Did you have some sort of emergency?”
Her question made my lips curl up into a smile. I didn’t lie down this time. I didn’t need to. There was no need to let her delve into the recesses of my mind. Here I was, freely offering what I had discovered to her. Rather, what I could disclose to a human that wasn’t aware of my true identity.
“You could say I had what you might call a breakthrough. Is that the right term?” Sometimes certain idioms eluded me or would get jumbled. I had spent my time in New Mexico immersed in pop culture, taking in as much as I could. It helped with blending in, and it kept me entertained during the time I knew I had to be as inconspicuous as possible. Was I worried someone would find me? Possibly. I believe it was more that I felt content to remain in one place and didn’t want to cause a ruckus that would end with me having to leave again.
There were no angry spouses or desperate humans that I’d invited to my bed in New Mexico. It was a safe place to figure out how to blend in better. Before, I’d done the bare minimum. I hadn’t cared enough to try beyond taking a profession and interacting with only the mortals that I had to. This was different. I had grown attached to the humans that were helping me in my faux human life. I wanted to keep them. For the past few centuries, mortals had little worth to me beyond bed warming and entertainment, so it was shocking how much I cared for them.
“You say you had a breakthrough? Please, elaborate.”
“I chose to keep things from you during our last session, and I still cannot disclose everything. However, I can say that I know who it was that I have been needing to see. I know how deep my feelings went for people that I have lost, and I have learned what parts of myself I had kept closed off. While I was home, I ruined many people’s relationships, even some of mine.”
I paused for a moment, gathering my thoughts and licking my lips as I watched her reaction. It gave nothing away, but I hadn’t really expected it to. “I know what has changed. I saw what was not within my grasp with…them, and I chose to use excuses, calling them coping mechanisms. Drinking myself to numbness and waking amidst rooms full of tangled bodies was perhaps not the best way to cope with things, but it was quite enjoyable for a time. Now I know I cannot fight it any longer. I must return home. The answers I seek cannot be found anywhere else. Going home means making amends, and I am prepared to do that. Whether it be by humiliating means or good deeds, I know it must be done. I am hoping to avoid the former, though.”
“So, you’ll be leaving then?” Her face still betrayed nothing. I merely nodded, confirming that I would be moving away. “How about we talk about some of the coping mechanisms you’ve found since you got here? You seem to be doing far better than when I first saw you. What have you been doing to keep from falling into those bad habits? I just want you to be sure to keep to those. That going home won’t undo all the hard work that you’ve done since leaving and cleaning up,” she quickly explained.
A soft chuckle escaped as I thought about how much this felt like goodbye. But it didn’t have to be. I didn’t want it to be. We would have to figure out the logistics of continuing sessions since the time difference would be incredible. Still, she was someone that I felt comfortable with, connected to, and it’d be worth taking the unreasonable times for myself.
“Besides the movies, books, and TV shows littering my home? Food? I have rather enjoyed learning about new foods, trying them, and searching them out. There is a pureness, a warm comfort, that comes from the love you can feel in someone’s cooking.” That was the only sort of cooking I sought. I only enjoyed food when I could feel the love and passion of the person making it in every bite.
That was how much of our session went. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be a full session, but that was what it became. I reminisced over what I had enjoyed during my time there, and she pulled more details from me little by little. When we both rose, walking to the door, I had to stop and turn to her. “I could never be as honest with another as I have been with you. I know that there will be times ahead that I require such a person in my life. Would it be possible to continue our sessions virtually?”
It would be easier to adhere to a schedule that suited her, and I was sure to tell her as such. We parted with an agreement to discuss the possibility and the logistics of such a thing working. But perhaps she didn’t want to give up on me either, our bond. It had taken so long for me to open up to her. It seemed foolish just to cast all that time aside and begin anew. At least she was considering it for the time being.
Boxes littered my house in a demented sort of maze that kept me teetering on edge. The furniture would remain, but my belongings and that of my humans would be shipped to Olympus City. I couldn’t go without them. Throughout the packing process, new contracts were made and negotiated. Neither was tied to the area and perhaps it was their loneliness that drew me to them. They were searching for a place to belong, and I was looking for a place to grow, to belong in a way that I hadn’t tried to before.
I would do my best to never take them for granted. If my abilities were working, I could have used them to do all that I needed done, but Micah and Tori made quick work of it. They had everything packed in a day. It would take them a few more days to get their own lives situated. I decided to wait for them, and even send them ahead so everything would be ready when I returned. I would take the long road, knowing that there would be two supportive faces when I got home. It was comforting that I would have someone to lean on if things didn’t go according to plan. They rarely did, after all.
Besides, I had to find them a place to reside and decide if I wanted to use my floor of the God Complex or not. I could use it temporarily until I figured some things out, like where I really wanted to be…and with whom. I pushed those unhelpful thoughts aside and wandered through the house, finding Tori in my bedroom directing Micah, my driver, and other lifesaver. He was carrying boxes through the rooms and grabbing things out of her reach. Their camaraderie made me smile, glad the people I had chosen to have in my life got along well, even if they did bicker like siblings most days.
I watched them for a few moments before leaving the room, intending to return to my arranging their new homes. “Dita?” Tori’s unsure voice had me turning, confusion written on my face. But as my eyes landed on what she held in her hands, shame and horror filled me.
“No! We shall never speak of this or those other things,” I hissed as I rushed to take the offending object from her hands. I shoved it to the bottom of the open box beside Tori. There were other offending items in there that I gave her a censoring glare over. “We never speak of these things. It is unbecoming.”
Perhaps being around humans and accepting that I could alter my ways was a good thing, but some habits still died hard. No matter what, my status as a goddess wouldn’t change, and I had always believed in certain appearances being upheld. Apparently, that had yet to change. It took all my self-control not to run or storm out of the room, barely able to maintain a normal pace as I heard their words as soon as I’d passed through the doorway.
“Why is she so upset? It’s just Battlestar Galactica and some video games.”
“Shut up! It’s some weird thing she has. I don’t know, but if anyone asks, they’re ours. The boss lady has never seen them. Got it? Micah!” Her loud hiss at him made my lips quiver, my urge to laugh barely stifled. It was at that moment I knew I had made the right decision to take them with me. I just had to get my abilities under control, fix all my broken relationships, and make sure my patients were all still healthy. Going home was about to be the most difficult thing I had done in centuries. I hated that my first thought on the heels of that realization was, I really need a drink.