The heavy weight in my chest, and the trepidation knotting my stomach, disappeared as the calming embrace of the sea wrapped around me. It was the calming embrace of what I could only think of as my mother. It had been the source of my creation, my beginning, and I was drawn to it as part of my new start. My birth had been in those waters. Why shouldn’t my rebirth have the same beginning?
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.
How do you explain color to the blind? How do you tell a fish how it is to walk? If you were not there, if you did not experience the love they had for one another, then I could never explain it to you. It was an energy that filled the room. It was something that comforted and devoured you. And many times, I fell to tears after they left because I could no longer remember if I had ever felt that love for myself.
While I bristled at his words, he had hit the nail on the head. This little secluded memorial was a far distance from anyone or anything. It allowed me to cry and grieve and lose control without fear of endangering mortals. The ice statue inside was in his image. The mortal man I had loved. Love. Still love. I stood my ground and looked back at my childhood friend, one who had grown so callous, so cunning, so sly.
I shared how the party was like most gatherings until the chanting started and the mirrors glowed. Fresh memories flooded my mind, and I told them about him. The one I loved, or she loved, I didn’t know. I explained the passion between us and how it made me feel.
I seethe at my reflection, my chest rising and falling in sharp, ragged movements. I grind my teeth together, knowing full well the voices are getting to me, and I’m only making it worse. I am in control. I am in control. I utter my supposedly soothing chant, trying to ignore the cackling it invokes from my unseen tormentors.
I should be terrified that the man will use the gun that is currently shoved in my back to kill me. I’m not. A still calmness flows over me and time seems to stand still. I don’t know how, but I know exactly what to do.
Lily breezes past the little desk in the corner of the flat, the random scattering of paperwork lifting as she does. She’s such an untidy person. So opposite to me. I think that’s what made us work so well together. As she steps past the tiny sofa, I notice her toenails are bright red. It’s not a colour I’m used to on her. I find it alluring. There’s so much I want to say, but so little I can.
She points to the pillows next to me, and I grind my teeth to keep from snapping at my mother for setting me up. Clio’s face goes red when she sees me, and her gulp is audible even as she takes the seat beside me. Her back is stick straight, every inch of her body on edge. Her voice is frosty. “What is it you’d like me to do, Aphrodite?”
Fire coiled in my belly, burning me. It wasn’t the all-consuming rage that came before a battle, the frenzy of my father. No, this was darker, deeper, patient, and plotting. This…this came from my mother. Most would think it more dangerous to cross my father. After all, who does not fear war? But no. You never, ever, cross my mother. She was a scourge and would wipe the world clean to satisfy her insatiable need.
I wanted her to give herself to me willingly, to love me. Did I feel guilty then? Yes, and no. I was a very different god in the old days. I was arrogant and angry a lot of the time. I was no longer that god. As time drifted by, I became more open-minded about life. As I watched from the shadows of the Underworld, I began to enjoy the changing world above me.
“PheePhee, I understand that more than you know, the need to run, to travel, to see the wild, to be the wild again. You missed so much while you were away. You need to take the time to see it all again, to truly appreciate this world you are walking in again.”
I know this is it. The moment. He’s giving me one last chance. One chance to tell him what he needs to hear, the words he deserves. The feeling grows inside me, but the words refuse to tumble from my lips. If I don’t say anything, he’ll leave. He’ll be done with me. He’s not a man to give second chances.