I’ve been hiding from my family since Nyx’s party. I’m still so ashamed of myself for getting all intoxicated and making a mockery of myself. Why, I’m sure the whole family’s been laughing about it behind my back. I wouldn’t blame them. So I sit here in my office and pretend to be too busy to deal with the outside world. Truth is, I’m fighting this horrible depression. It always happens this time of year.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that my sweet little baby, Persephone, has to be in the underworld during this time. Honestly, I’m glad she has a special someone in her life, even if it is Hades. Being alone during this time has always been hard for me. I watch all my brethren preparing for the big winter celebrations. Giving gifts and decorating the landscape. All I want to do is hide until spring comes round again.
I’m sure my baby brother is quite upset with me for not keeping on top of my duties, but rumors around the OA says he might be losing his mind. Babies, I’ve known that boy for eons. He lost his mind a long time ago. If it wasn’t for Hera, Zeus would be head-banging in a padded cell.
I’ve been going over a few of the files on my desk. There are several very large piles, but most are just trivial things that can be handled over the phone. I’ve got a few here from Ares; I better make those my top priority. There’s a couple from Dinlas, might want to keep them handy. But it’s the one here that doesn’t say who it’s from that’s sparked my attention. FOR DEMETER’S EYES ONLY. I better keep that one close at hand.
As I peruse the folders on my desk, there’s a knock on my door. I’m a little shocked as I had told my new receptionist that I was not to be bothered for any reason. “Enter!” I yelled in an excessively agitated tone.
The door swung open slowly and a very handsome head popped in. “Lady Demeter? Can an old friend come in?”
I stood from my desk and gazed at the face coming through the door. “Why, yes you can. Aristaeus, is that really you?”
Aristaeus was a beautiful young god who looked after my bees. I’d taught him all about agriculture and herbalism. I had shown him how to make mead out of honey and other medicinal uses for it. He had been given the gift of prophecy—and his hot bod—from his daddy, Apollo.
“My lands, I haven’t seen your face in over a thousand years. Get over here and give me a hug.” For the first time since autumn began, I felt a glimmer of happiness inside me. But it wasn’t to last long.
Aristaeus gave me a deep hug, then pulled away and looked me in my eyes. I could sense that he was about to tell me something that I wasn’t going to like. “Lady Demeter, I’m afraid I come with ill tidings.” He handed me a letter that carried the scent of a time long ago.
I felt the instant chill in the air. The look in his eyes told me it wasn’t another party invitation. It was from “him”. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew.
“My lady,” he continued, “I’ve been asked to hand-deliver this to you. I apologize for waiting until your receptionist left to use the facilities, but I’ve tried several times today to see you. Each time, I was sent away without her even trying to relay my request.”
“I’m sorry, Aristaeus, but I’d made it clear that she’d lose her job if she let anyone in. I’ve been so busy lately, that I just needed to make sure I had no interruptions.”
He looked at me with his head cocked to the side. I forgot that he also had the ability to tell when someone was lying. “Lady Demeter, though I did not read the letter, know that you are not alone in this world. I do hope you’ll see fit to have your receptionist allow me to see you in the future.” I’m sure the blush I felt run across my face was enough to light up the room.
“My sweet Aristaeus, had I known you’d been here, I’d have made an exception. I didn’t even know you were back at the OA?”
“Technically, I’m not. I’ve been working hard to find ways of saving the world’s bee population. It gets harder and harder as the years wear on. However, when I was asked to bring you this letter, I wasted no time.”
There was something about the look in his eye that told me that there was more to the story, but it was better I didn’t ask. He reached out to hug me once more when my receptionist burst through the door. “STOP!!! Lady Demeter, I am so sorry that this Cretan got in. I’ve told him more than once today that you were not to be disturbed.”
“Lily, it’s fine. Had I known he was here, I’d have had you let him in. You’re not in trouble and I appreciate your hard work.” I could see that she was both scared and confused. “This is Aristaeus, he’s an old friend. And anytime he stops by, from now on, he’s to be allowed in.”
He kissed me on my cheek. “Thank you, Lady Demeter. I am humbled by your kindness. I must take my leave, but I have one more thing to tell you before I go. You are only as alone as you allow yourself to be. When you let go of the past, you’ll finally be able to envision your future.”
I looked deep into his eyes one last time and could see them smile at me. I, once again, felt the blush run across my face. He nodded his head at Lily as he left my office.
I reassured Lily that her job was safe and that I wasn’t upset about the intrusion. I told her that she could have the rest of the day off, but please check the thermostat on her way out as it seemed it had gotten a lot warmer in that room.
Once I knew I was alone again, I sat down at my desk and looked at the letter in my hand. The envelope was made from a fine parchment that had yellowed with age. It had been sealed in wax, so I knew no one else had read it beforehand.
As I broke the seal, a warm breeze seemed to emit from the pocket as I pulled out the letter. It carried with it the smell of salt and barley. I knew it was from “him”. I began to shake as I unfolded it and read the words out loud.
I heard your cries at Nyx’s party. I wanted to attend, but knowing you would be there kept me away. I saw you at the cabin. Oh, the memories that came flooding back to me as I watched you from the window. Seems you’d had quite a bit to drink that night. I remember a time when you could party with the best of them. Not the goddess you once were, are you?
I heard your cries for forgiveness. You want me to forgive you for all the hurtful things you said? Do you remember how you lashed out at me when I told you about Hades and Persephone? I do like it was only yesterday.
I remember you flinging me into the biggest tree on the island. I remember you screaming at me in a rage I didn’t know you had in you. I remember being told that I was nothing more than a plaything and I’d better remember my place. What were your words again? Oh yes, ‘I am an Olympian and you are nothing more than a winged windstorm’. I’ll never forget that day.
No, Demeter, I won’t forgive you. I can’t forgive you. I wonder what your precious little family would think if they knew what you were really like. You might come off all sweet and cheery, but I know the real you. I know the mean and malicious goddess you are on the inside. Why do you think Persephone would rather be with Hades?
It actually does my heart good in knowing that you hurt on the inside, too. I’ve spent eons relishing the knowledge that the world blamed your depression on the fields dying when Persephone left. You and I both know the truth. You wanted to see just how hot I could get, well, you got it.
I can’t say that I still hate you because I don’t. I just don’t love you anymore. I have no feelings for you whatsoever. I’ve been over you for a long time, Goddess, and that’s never going to change.
I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking. However, they were no longer shaking from fear and regret. Now they were shaking from anger. How dare he bring my family into this! Yes, his words cut me to the bone, but as I said 3000 years before, I am an Olympian and that little pissant isn’t worth my time.
I wonder what my sweet little nephews, Ares and Dinlas, would think of the implications of this note? Seems to this attorney that I’ve a written confession from the perpetrator of the famine that happened after Persephone went to the Underworld.
I sat at my desk for a few minutes, trying to gain my composure. I’d already sent Lily home, but I needed my nephew’s advice. I grabbed my phone and tried to call Ares. Of course, it went to his voicemail as usual.
“Ares, this is Auntie Dem. I need your input on a little something that’s just come to my attention. Please call me when you get this. I might have a job for you.”
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