Over the millennia, I steered clear of most of my fellow deities.
They were too…everything for me.
Too randy. Too violent. Too petty.
I adored those who would walk the Elysian Fields with me, though, especially once Apollo’s chariot descended below the horizon:
Dearest Hestia, who would take a break from her warming fires to visit me, pausing to smell the night-blooming flowers as we talked.
Nyx, her silver hair and small crescent neck tattoo glowing in the moonlight—sometimes, she’d swoop down, pick me up and fly me over the Fields with those gloriously massive black wings of hers. What fun! Both she and I couldn’t stand the sweltering Grecian summers, preferring the coolness of the night.
Wise Athena, normally preferring city life, sometimes trudged through Elysium when Mr. Hoots got it into his feathered head to chase mice through the Fields. Her armor clanged and rattled as she searched, calling for him, which made me laugh. So out of place in that peaceful place! I would have a snifter of brandy tucked under a log, just in case he happened to visit for some night hunting.
Nike, that adorable kiddo—she’d drop in to chat during one of her fly-bys as she carried important messages from her Dad throughout Olympus. My goddess, the energy flowing through that herald of victory!
And sweet, fun-loving Urania, who would stop by to point out the movement of the stars – and wax philosophical about the astrological movements of the day (how I loved surprising her with big bouquets) – but as spontaneous as she was, she often caught me off-guard with her impromptu visits.
I shook myself, dispelling the “our former lives” reverie now that the Bloomin’ Good: All Things Floral & Tea opening after-party was over and the guests had left.
What a mess.
Crumbs were all over the hardwood floor, as well on the lush Prussian-blue rug of the night sky that Nyx gifted to me. She sprinkled it with actual stardust, noting it would keep away any thieves or other invasive folks that might try to molest my shop.
How I missed dwelling in the open-air, among blooms of every color, every size and every scent. I leaned against one of the three massive, gnarled floor-to-ceiling tree trunk sculptures.
Sure, my vast apartment on the ninth floor—right down the hall from Bloomin’ Good—features a grassy dirt carpet scattered with flowers from all over the face of Gaia.
And, indeed, I took solace among them.
But it just wasn’t the same.
I looked around at the enormous shop, proud of what I accomplished despite the constraint of mortal laws. Like my apartment, I tried to “bring the outdoors in” as much as I could (sans the dirt floor, of course). For the walls, I hired a local painter named Lisander. Wanting a neutral tone as a backdrop to highlight the colorful floral art prints and tapestries (not to mention my flower arrangements), I chose Bennington Grey with white trim.
A bizarre paint name, considering it looked a medium shade of tan.
Comfort was important to me, so I made sure that there were a handful of cushy, faux-suede, barrel-backed swivel chairs situated around the shop, their fabric mimicking Head Over Heels pink and Smoke blue.
You could say I’m rather fond of Benjamin Moore colors, thanks to Lisander.
Books related to all-things-floral lined the shelves—photography, fine art (I admit to being partial to Vincent and Georgia), ikebana, horticulture, aromatherapy, floriography (what a curious way to communicate—I shook my head and smiled at the Victorians’ emotional repression), flower magic, encyclopedias, recipes for dishes made with edible blooms…
I sighed, picking up Garden Party Paper Plates (they looked like open blooms, except for the gold foil lining), some still laden with yummy nibbles. I popped one of Artemis’ Sweet Cherry Venison Canapés into my mouth. I shot the deer myself! she exclaimed. Her dragon, Sayeh, nudged her. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure she had help making these delicious canapés…
Heavy, short and round, off-white and brown onyx vases filled with fragrant Coral Sweet Peas, Blue Peonies, Bordeaux Anemones and White Jasmine rested on small tables dotting the shop floor, while larger displays were showcased behind the flower arrangement consulting counter.
The sweet smells permeated the shop from corner to corner.
I looked over at the tea bar, its gleaming white oak surface strewn with paper cups and small colorful puddles.
Too tired to finish cleaning, I plopped into one of the comfy swivel chairs.
It felt like invisible fingers pushing down on my eyelids.
I began to dream.
Glints of gold flashed before me. Something cool, with weight, was placed in my right hand. I look down. Tyche.
She pressed some lucky coins from Par Impar into my palm—straight from her private island in the Caribbean. “Place it in your cash drawer for good fortune to your business,” she whispered.
A cool liquid slid down my throat.
I was drinking a mimosa. “You’ve really outdone yourself, dear Chloris. Everything is beautiful.” Urania raised her glass to meet mine. “Your flower arrangements are stunning. I’ll be sure to place an order soon”. She handed me a small package. I opened it. My hands felt like they were moving through molasses.
Inside was a gift certificate for a spa day. Tucked beneath it was a plane ticket to Brazil and piece of paper with an address and phone number scribbled on it. She winked at me. “A rogue environmental group. Just in case you want to pop down and help get those wildfires under control…”
Hooo. Hooo. Hooo.
The bird call grew louder. “Congratulations on your opening. I crocheted these macramé plant hangers for you.” Athena handed me the most delicate, beautiful textiles I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Wow. She wasn’t the Goddess of Arts and Crafts for nothing…
“Mr. Hoots! That’s not a nest. Please accept my apologies. He loves moss.”
I hurried behind the tea bar to grab a cup of brandy for my feathered friend. That should keep him out of trouble for awhile.
“The fragrance is exquisite in here. It reminds me of the Elysian Fields. Well done, Chloris.”
I hugged my dear friend. I felt a sweet mix of both comfort and sadness. Smelling like the Elysian Fields wasn’t the same as being in the Elysian Fields.
A storm cloud suddenly appeared above us.
Then, it descended…settling in my heart.
It had the shape of anger and the weight of resentment.
Athena didn’t seem to notice the cloud – or my darkening mood.
It was bad enough that Zeus had ordered us to get jobs among mortals to bring in filthy human lucre to his divine coffers for gods-know-what (aren’t there easier ways to remind homo sapiens of why they needed us before the digital age – and why they so desperately need us now?).
He ripped away the Elysian Fields from me and annexed them for his purposes in this “new” world.
This vile, materialistic world.
For the love of Zephyrus. For the love of all that’s good. And pure. And beautiful…
I woke with a start. Blinked a few times.
Whoa. That was intense.
My dream was a weird mix of what really happened at my Bloomin’ Good opening party…and something else.
The door chimes rang. I had them programmed to play the chorus to “Life is a Flower” by Ace of Base.
Groaning, I lifted myself out of the way-too-comfortable chair.
When I opened the door, it was Francisco—Nike’s personal manservant.
“Hello, Goddess Chloris,” he bowed, mop in hand. “Lady Nike knew you’d need help cleaning up, so she sent me.”
A big smile crept across my face.
Bless that kid’s heart.
He moved aside. There were three more men behind him. Handsome. Tall. Strong.
Bearing cleaning supplies.Best. Gift. Ever.
( Many thanks to Eros for designing Bloomin’ Good’s logo! )
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