It was time. Fall had come, the skies had darkened, and the harvest time was upon the mortals. It was time to go home. Summer had ended and it was time I returned to the halls of the Underworld. These days used to be so joyful. I would feel the changes creeping up on me, and I would be unable to hide my smile, the nights would grow longer and the days shorter as my hair darkened, losing its sun-touched brilliance, my skin paled to draw in the grey, sunless realm of the Underworld. How those days used to bring out the wonder and joy. I would throw myself into the planning and happiness that I would be with my beloved.
Momma Demeter hated this time; I know she did, I hated it for her. I would leave her and the beautiful realm of our family, and it tore her apart every day. I know the repercussions the mortals felt as the crops withered and died if they didn’t harvest them in time. But for me, my heart would burst in joy to see Hades and the Underworld again.
Decades stretched into millenia, and we became more strained, Hades and I. We felt the chasm of our distance grow between us and our marriage became words only, another business venture.
I read stories. I am not a fool; I know about the ways people stray and take others to their beds. But I knew we would be different. Eventually, the pain became too much for us and rumors swirled around him and I. Hades dove into his work, hidden in the shadows even when mortals only whispered his name in old stories and legends. I hid away, an echo of who I used to be, just going through the motions as scholars and wise people tried to retell my story. They perverted and twisted it to their own agenda. Making the words a dark fear to keep children by their parents sides, horrors to keep young girls in line and not be stolen away in the dark by “some evil man”. By then, the pain was too much for me to even care what they said about me anymore. Even with all that, even the stories spread I remained faithful to him. Even when others whispered in his ear; I was not, my heart was true.
This year, things are different. After so many decades hiding, Daddy called us all out to take our roles again. Sometimes, those scholars only remember my mother; they don’t remember the king of the gods is my father, too. So I pulled myself from my pit of sadness. I am going to do what he asked, perhaps I will help others learn and grow where I could not get over the hurdles of my own life.
I opened the office in the Olympus Administration building. But now it’s time to set up the office below as well. We may barely speak, and my heart has broken into so many shards that I never know if it will be put back together. But I am still Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. And I still hold my rule here. I will still be what I have grown to be.
Even the entrance to the Underworld had changed. The caves had been replaced by a structured temple, the opening welcoming those in to the hot springs and spa below. My mind wandered as I placed one foot in front of the other, descending down into the darkness. Gone were the stalactites and stalagmites of deep caves; a spiral staircase had been placed in its stead. I could feel my heart flutter with anticipation, memories of the years past coming forth as I made my descent, fingers trailing along the railing. In my mind’s eye, I saw happy reunions, meetings filled with smiles, running the last few steps into his embrace, the darkness clinging to him like a cloak of mystery. My feet flew down the stairs as the joy of the past welled up inside me, happiness filling my heart with those thoughts that it was all those years ago and my beloved awaited me below. That I was running to my happiness and not slogging into sadness. I felt the pang of pain as I knew those meetings would change in my memories.
As the stairs continued to spin, the air became cooler, less moist as I went deeper. Music welcoming the guests to the hot springs began to reach me. My ears picked up the tones of false happiness in the notes of the lyre. The stairs became a ramp and the ramp ended in a long approach. Each step I took on the marbled floor echoed into my ears, cool stone beneath my feet. I, too late, remembered the shoes I had left sitting at the end of my bed within my apartment. Pale skin against the black flowing gown I had donned in preparation for my return as queen, I could feel the weight of my crown settle on my head as I fully returned as Persephone, the bringer of death. Kore the maiden was above; here, I was the queen. With a deep breath, I turned the corner in the darkened hallway, trepidation slowing my steps that had been driven by the memories of joyous reunions. I stopped for a moment, staring at the empty hall, torn between sadness that Hades once again wasn’t here to greet me, and a relief that I wouldn’t have to witness his face, and the sadness and anger my presence brings to him. I wasn’t lying when my siblings and cousins asked, all I wanted was his happiness. Am I a naive girl still? Maybe. But Goddesses have dreams and wishes just like mortals do.
The doorway to the new office is almost perfect. For too long melancholy has sunk into my soul. The black marble and stone walls had been replaced by a beautiful teal crafted marble entryway. It shone against the black. I had picked it specifically for contrast, a soft gentle color to welcome the souls that searched for a new life or a new direction now that they found themselves in the Underworld. Transitonem shone in a brilliant silver sign, our motto elegantly etched into the glass double doors: Transition Life coaching for the living and recently living. Just one last thing was needed. I felt the smile cross my lips as I used the powers I had so long neglected, and colorful spring vines grew along the opening. The flowers’ bright colors at sharp contrast to the black marble surrounding the entryway.
Clapping my hands with excitement, I jumped happily, the childlike smile overtaking my mood and washing away the sadness I had dwelled in for so long. I pushed the door open to the waiting room. Everything about this was exactly what I had looked for and what I myself was missing. The brightness surrounded the room, soothing colors and lighting to accentuate but not blind the onlooker. I couldn’t control the glee bubbling up inside me as I moved around the room making last minute adjustments and tweaks to the plants, furniture and layout, until I felt it was perfect and ready for the first customer.
If all went well, I could open in a few days.