I had never been particularly fond of Turkey, especially not Troy, or as it was known, Gallipoli. It was within Troy that worship of Apollo as the Sun God began, and I was slowly written out of my own tales. Perhaps that was because I hadn’t been on Earth since the death of Phaeton, and the mortals assumed I had faded from existence. Or perhaps it was because Apollo helped build Troy.
So, there I was, in Ölüdeniz, only a few hours away from the land Apollo helped create. I took a deep breath. I couldn’t allow my irritation with the past make me forget the reason for my journey. That was why I despised thinking about the past. I was here to see Clymene, to make sure she was stable, that she truly did hold no negative feelings towards me anymore. I wanted to be free to live my life on Earth without the thought of her appearing forever in the back of my mind.
It made sense for Clymene to have moved here. She was an Okeanid. She loved the ocean, and the water here was nothing short of hypnotising. Each gentle wave seemed to soothe the air with a gentle breeze, the colour, a brilliant, relaxing turquoise. Not to mention, she knew my feelings about Turkey. Maybe Clymene had hoped that if she came here, she would never have to see me again.
Since arriving back on Earth, I had procured myself one of those phone devices the mortals were forever using. I had taught myself how to use Google, which was not an easy task. With the help of Google, I was able to track down any Clymenes in Turkey. That was quite simple given that Clymene no longer seemed to be a particularly popular name. I had found Clymene and her address on some social media site or another, so at least I knew Asia hadn’t lied to me.
Now I stood at the door of a huge white villa with an abundance of terraces and patios littered around the entire structure. If that was the home of Clymene, it was a rather large step up from the decrepit wooden house at the bank of the Nile. I knocked gently on the white, marble-like door, and to my surprise, it was opened almost immediately by a tall man with a stony face.
“Hello, what do you need?” the man asked in Turkey. As an immortal, I had the ability to speak in many tongues and had no problem understanding his words.
“I wish to see Clymene,” I responded in the same language.
The man rolled his eyes and stepped out of the way, gesturing for me to enter. Once inside, the man led me through the villa. It was beautiful, each wall glowing white, and expensive art and pottery littered the rooms we passed through. Clymene had good taste. I was led out onto one of the many terraces overlooking Ölüdeniz with a great sea view. Apart from a thin glass table and a set of rather comfortable-looking chairs, the terrace was empty. I looked at the man who had taken me there.
“Wait here,” he instructed before disappearing back into the villa swiftly.
As I waited, I looked out over the edge of the terrace and the beautiful view before me. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was doing the right thing. Clymene had clearly managed to get on with her life. She had found a way to live in what was obviously a very expensive villa, and she employed a staff member, probably more. Her life was accomplished and comfortable. Did she really need me to return and bring back all the pain and suffering she had endured so long ago?
I shook my head. That didn’t matter. I had to see her for my own good. It didn’t matter how it would affect her. For all I knew, she had used pharmakeia in order to pay for the house and the staff. For all I knew, she had reached this level of success by gaining power and influence, which she could use to ruin me. No, whether it would hurt her or not, I needed to see her.
“Helios,” a female voice said from behind me.
I turned and saw a woman before me. She was slim and covered in a silver dress of satin, her arms, hands, and neck glittering with jewellery. Her skin was pale and her hair long and losing its black colour. It was her eyes that made her recognisable. They were bright blue and hadn’t changed or lost their vibrancy even after thousands of years. It was Clymene. Though not the one I remembered.
I couldn’t think of anything to say, only, “Clymene.”
“You recognise me then?” Her voice hadn’t changed since we had last met.
I nodded. “By your eyes,” I said. “Have you given up immortality?” I could think of no other reason for her aging.
Clymene shook her head. “It is but an illusion. I have lived here for close to fifty years now, Helios. Do you not think the mortals would find it strange if my appearance had not changed over so long? In another twenty years, I will have to leave here for a time until all those that remember my face are gone.”
What Clymene said made sense. Few mortals believed in us immortals anymore. If Clymene hadn’t altered her appearance throughout the last fifty years and someone had noticed, she probably would have been carted off to some laboratory and experimented on. She was clever, though I’d always known that.
“And you own this house?” I asked. My mind only seemed to be able to form questions at that moment.
Clymene placed herself elegantly on one of the soft white chairs and cast her eyes to the view as she spoke. “Yes. It was gifted to me by my father years ago.” Her head turned back to me, her face cold and unreadable. “Now, enough with the small talk. Why are you here, Helios?”
Her directness caught me slightly off guard, and I had to take a moment to collect myself and think of the correct way to answer her question without offending her. “I’m sure you’ve heard that Zeus has commanded that all immortals come and live in the mortal world in order to gain relevance with the humans again. I haven’t been back on Earth since.” I paused for a moment. I hoped what I was going to say next wouldn’t trigger her.
“Since Phaeton died a horribly tragic death, and you left me with a broken heart full of grief and seven daughters to finish raising?” Clymene finished for me, her eyebrows raised expectantly. Maybe she was waiting for an apology.
“Yes, since then. After that, I heard a lot of rumours about you, Clymene. It was said that you had gone insane, or you had died, or you were desperate for revenge.”
“None of that is true!” Clymene snapped. “Yes, I was devastated after you left, but I got on with my life.” She gestured around her at the villa, proof of the life she had built for herself.
“Clymene, I’ve been to the Nile. I’ve spoken with Asia,” I said calmly, hoping that my tone would help soothe her.
Clymene’s jaw tensed for a moment as she took a deep breath. “I see. So, why are you here then, Helios, to see if it’s true? To see if I really have lost my mind over losing you? To inflate your ego?”
“No, I came to make sure you are as well as Asia claimed so that I can begin my own life here on Earth.”
The Okeanides nostrils flared as she got to her feet. “You came here to absolve yourself, then? To make sure I’m not crazy and won’t attempt to ruin your life as you ruined mine.”
“Well, don’t worry, Helios, I have no interest in ruining your life. Yes, I am still angry about the past, and yes, I still grieve for our son every day. But I am over you, and I am over my desire for revenge. I have been for a long time.” She moved to the entrance of the villa and turned to face me at the archway. “Enjoy your life on Earth, Helios, but keep away from me for the duration of your stay. I never want to see you again. You can show yourself out. You’re good at leaving.” With that, Clymene floated into the villa, disappearing from view.
My breathing was a little broken, and I noticed my shoulders shaking slightly. Was I upset? I didn’t recall ever feeling sadness before, not even after the death of Phaeton. No, this wasn’t sadness. It was more a painful emptiness. No one, male or female, had ever gotten over me. The majority had remained devastated for the rest of their lives. Clymene walking away from me was a new experience. I didn’t like it.
I took a deep breath and brushed down the blazer of my white suit, readying myself to leave Clymene’s villa, never to return and never to see her again. I was about to head for the archway when something caught my eye. It was a small gold object on the floor next to where Clymene had been sitting. I crouched and picked it up. It was a small golden ring adorned with the shape of a sun. It must have fallen off of one of her fingers when she had gestured at the villa. I held it close to my chest for a second before slipping it onto my pinkie as a reminder of Clymene. I took one last look around and made my way out of the villa to begin my life.