Aphrodite whispers in my ear,
"Oh honey, it's time for you to let him go."
Nadira leaned against the vending machine, staring up at the bright celing lights. Her head throbbed and she winced, flinching away from the glare. She turned around sharply, punching the number in, and inserted two quarters. Nothing happened and she kicked the machine furiously. I knew that wasn't enough money. She sighed, pressing the 'eject change' button, but no luck.
"You alright?" A tall, skinny boy with wavy black bangs and cautious eyes stared at her. Nadira shot him her best glare and tried not to yawn.
"Obviously not. This piece of crap machine just ate my change. Just what I needed." The boy dug in his pocket and handed her a dollar. Nadira waved it away. "No, keep it. I didn't really want anything. My mom just wanted me out of the room while my sister did her chemo." The boy's eyes softened.
"Please take it, then. It's the least I can do." Nadira snatched it after a second.
"What I really want is to sleep. It's like 11 at night and I can't see an end time." She fed the money into the machine and punched in her number. "I'm so tired." The chocolate cookies fell to the bottom and Nadira pulled them out. "Why are you here?"
"My grandmother has breast cancer."
"I'm sorry." The boy shrugged. Nadira cinched the bag and ripped it open, handing the boy a cookie. He took one. "I'm Nadira."
"I'm H...enry." Nadira smirked.
"You don't know what your name is?" The boy shook his head quickly, clearly embarassed.
"No, I've just been going by Henry recently. I've almost been forgetting to introduce myself like that." He hesitated. "Why can't you sleep?"
"Nightmares," Nadira mumbled. "And I'm too worried about my sister." Henry reached out and touched her shoulder, releasing every tense muscle.
"A good night's sleep is the most important thing you can do for yourself right now. You really should try to get one. Here, there's a chair." Henry led Nadira over to a chair in the corner of the room. "Listen to me. If you don't take care of yourself, that won't help your sister. You are no less important than her, okay?" Henry touched her face and instantly, Nadira's eyes closed.
"W-wait," she murmured. "Please, tell me your real name." Henry straightened and smiled.
"They call me Hypnos."
And then he vanished, and Nadira fell alseep. Maybe it was the other way around.
I was driving in my semi truck and daydreamed and prayed about somethings that I had to deal with in life. I was in a remote part of Montana on I-90 headed towards Wyoming and it was early morning with the sun just waking up and some light frost was still visible on the ground. On my right side and front windshield you look at the window and see the Big Horn mountain range that were covered with snow at the tops and the wide rolling valley that led to them. On my left side was the Crow Indian reservation,which was pretty flat in contrast to the other side.Where I was traveling it was pretty barren and not a house in sight. I had passed a large city in my journey south since coming off the I- 90/94 split and a few smaller ones and also cleared "the chicken coupes" as we call them or state scales, I was rolling right along about 70mph or so.
This stretch of hiway is a lot of rolling hills with bends and twists to keep a driver fairly alert and engaged with the business of driving, I had driven it often on my way from Spokane to Chicago. Montana usually has a slight breeze blowing, not as bad as Wyoming of course, but on this day it was unusually breezy. Big puffy white clouds amoung a brilliant blue sky made the ride really enjoyable. I was coming around one of the bends in the road and I saw someone walking along side in the shoulder all by himself. There was not a broke down car or truck in sight that he might have been coming from, very strange. He was lightly dressed for this type of weather which I imagined had to be near 20 degrees and held a "truck stop" coffee cup in his hand that held at least 20 ounces of coffee. So I checked my mirrors to make sure I could stop safely and stopped to pick him up.
Once he was safely inside my truck I asked him, "What in the world are you doing out there, where are you coming from?" The man who was a caucasian had a light black beard, blue eyes and an average build about 5'8" or so said, " I am coming from a minig town and going to another one in search of a better joy." I kinda believed him at the time and he asked me where I was going and I said, "Downtown Chicago to deliver this load, how far do you need to go? The man said, "not far the first town over the border in Wyoming would be good." and I said, "I can take you to a bigger town or Sheridan if you want?" He said, "That would be great."
As we rode along looking at the beautiful scenery we talked and talked. We asked about each other's families and stuff like that and I felt I could share some of the things that I had been daydreaming and praying about earlier. These things were about an impending life changing move I was about to make and he listened very intently and seemed concerned also. He asked if I new the Lord and I said that I had just come to know him about a year ago and that is why I was praying about this move if I should do it or not. The man said some things and as he said them it reminded me of some sciptures that I had read earlier. We continued to talk about this move and I felt an inner peace about it that I had not felt earlier. In retrospect,I think this man helped me to fell this way in some way.
Well, before you know it we arrived in Sheridan at a truck stop and I was letting him off and asked him if he wanted to have breakfast with me and he said, "no I have other business to attend to." I parked the truck and he opened the his door and got out before I could get ut of the truck and he was gone, literally disappeared. I walked around my truck and trailer and inspected it and went inside the store, poked my head into the little cafe they had, and around the outside of the truck stop too, not a trace. How could someone disappear like that so fast that I could not see him walk away? So I got back into my truck and skipped the breakfast, not really hungry anyway and had a lot of miles yet to cover. As I drove I was reminded of this scripture, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13:2). That has only happened to me once in all of the thirty some years I have been driving but I am positive that that man was an angel sent by God to help me with my problems and prayers.
Every day when Lola had to walk to work, there was the same old beggar on Minerva Street, sitting with her back against a garage door, rattling a battered tin with only a few coins on the bottom.
“A dollar, just a dollar please! May the gods bless you.”
People thought she was crazy. Whenever they came close to her, they’d walk to the opposite sidewalk, quickly striding down the block, head bowed down.
Sometimes she’d cackle, “Selfish mortals! Not even willing to give a poor old lady a dollar!”
Lola’s church had told the church goers, one Sunday, to be kind to the poor and needy. So on Monday, instead of crossing to the other side on Minerva Street, Lola decided to give not one, but two dollars to the beggar.
“A dollar, just a dollar please!” The old woman begged, rattling her can as Lola drew nearer. She was wrapped in a thin, old cotton blanket, her worn clothes stained with who-knows-what. Lola dropped her two crisp dollar bills into the can.
“Thank you, my dear. May the gods bless you.” The old woman, looked up, smiling. Amidst the tanned, wrinkled skin that was covered with sunspots, there were two startlingly grey eyes, sharp enough to pierce a heart.
“My dear, for your kindness, I must tell you something. Sit down, please.”
When Lola was about to say no, suddenly, she saw a clean, white blanket that she had definitely not seen before. There was something definitely strange, not strange as in crazy, but something peculiar, something different, about this woman.
Lola dropped to her knees, sitting legs crossed on the white mat.
The old beggar took a long breathe, and sighed. “For a long, long time, I have sat here, begging for just a dollar. And not once has anyone given me a dollar.”
“How have you survived, if you only have a couple of coins.” Lola asked, suspicious.
“My dear, I have not gotten close to finishing my story. Listen.” The old woman chuckled, her gray eyes sparkling.
“And every one of you have turned your nose up at me. I am just a crazy, old hag to you, not worth your time or your money. I will die alone, hungry, and penniless. I have no use to anyone.”
“That’s not true,” Lola protested.
“It is, my dear. Don’t lie. I’ve seen you before. I’ve seen all of you cross the street, away from me.”
“I have been alive for a long, long time. I have been around since mortals did not have technology. I have been around when the grass was greener and the skies bluer. I have been around when food could only be hunted or grown. I have been around when mortals would help a poor old lady they saw on the street.”
“Okay then.” Lola was getting impatient. Her boss would be sure to fire her if she didn’t arrive at work any time soon.
“Oh dear. You are already getting bored.” The old woman said, sadly, coughing a little.
“Oh, no. Please continue.”
“From the start, you mortals have been impatient. Greedy. Prometheus wanted to steal fire for the mortals. Pandora could not resist opening the box. Orpheus looked back at his wife when told not to. And look where that got them? Prometheus was forever bound to rocks with thick chafing ropes, forced to endure an eagle eating his liver every day. Pandora caused every mortal to suffer all the negative emotions that could have been avoided. Orpheus could have lived happily ever after with his beloved wife, but no, he lived the rest of his life strumming his lyre and making everything in his way cry, before slowly fading away into nothing himself.”
“None of those stories are true. They are just all myths.” Lola said.
“To you, the Greeks’ myths are just stories. But have you ever thought about why they came up with stories? To me, Greek myths are the stories of humanity’s strengths and flaws.
Such a pity. You mortals have been telling and writing the stories about your flaws for so long, yet compared to the Greeks who lived thousands of years earlier, you are no better than them.” The old woman sighed, her thin frame sagging.
“Why do you refer to us as mortals? I mean, you’re a person, too. You’re not any different from us.” Lola pointed out. Maybe the woman was crazy.
The old woman chuckled. “My dear, that was the first in a long, long time that someone has seen me as a person. But to everyone else, I am not them. I am no person, no mortal. I am not human.”
“But why are you telling me all of this?” Lola asked.
Lola turned to look at the old woman. The shriveled face was the same, but she could see another face flickering within. One of a young, handsome woman’s, with smooth olive skin, yet with the same piercing eyes.
“I am telling you to remind you of what you could be. Now my time is up. You must go.”
Lola got up, confused as ever. After taking a few steps, she turned around.
“Wait. Who are you?”
The old woman smiled, grey eyes sparkling.
“My dear, I am Athena.”
i wrote this last night at like 11, so it needs a lot of work:)
No god of mine
I met Zeus on a subway bus headed for Jersey. He was wearing ratty clothes, and sipping on a coffee from a vending machine. Others couldn’t see him, just thought he was a homeless bum, but he didn’t carry himself like one, I would know. In the world we live in there are mortal men and self-made gods. In his other hand was a magazine, I couldn’t see the title, but it made him laugh. There was no one else in the car with us.
“Apologies, miss. I simply couldn’t help it. You see, there is this line in the book which resonated with me quite humorously.” Yep. Not an uneducated bum, as people seem to see. He took another sip, not meeting my eyes, but wrapped up in the reality within his hands. “They say Zeus, the king of gods, knew no morals when it came to matrimony, and I can’t help but disagree.”
“It seems that way from the stories.” I muttered out without thinking. There the god before me looked up, almost startled that I had said anything at all, then he laughed again, this time without mirth. He wasn’t mad, it seemed to me, I certainly would have felt the change in temperature as is so often accompanied by his mood swings. But I could see in his stormy blue eyes, he felt a distant kind of pain. One I could relate to, I think.
“Yes, so it does.” He sounded like he wanted to end the conversation there, but the fates wanted otherwise. “Whatever may these things say, always are they far from truth.”
He said it as a proverb more than an opinion, and I couldn’t help but agree. I don’t know much about Zeus the Olympian, but rather Zeus the Titan Killer. Before I could ask anything, the god across from me shook his head.
“I see it in your eyes. You know who I am. It would be trivial to make it like you don’t, young mortal.”
“Then you wanted to talk to me. Why?” Zeus merely looked at me, I could see from the sagged skin underneath his eyes, and light bruising on his temples he was dreading his next words, tied by an unseen force to continue this conversation.
“Want is a funny thing, isn’t it, young mortal? You did not want to enter this particular car at this particular time, yet you did, out of either duty or boredom, I know not.”
“Is that where this conversation is leading, you not wanting to be so... free with your affections?” The god barked a laugh, even less enthusiastic as before. He merely shook his head.
“That is the only thing I did want. I admit it.” He might have seen my look of disgust, but said nothing to indicate it. Seems he was used to the judgement others gave him. “I did not want to marry her. She wanted something I could not give. I tried to change, but I could not. It is my fate to be commander of storms, unprecedented and ever-changing to simply be as fickle as mortals and their alliegences.”
“Is that what you gods hide behind then? Fate and unchanging character?”
“Young mortal... the difference between us is simply this: I am bound by my mistakes, you are not.”
“Why? Because I’m anonymous? Because no one knows who I am?”
“It is because you are not permanent. Not here in this world.” For a while it was quiet, the truth of his words filling the space between us. It was almost unwelcome when his voice rose again. ” I do wonder about death, mortal. I wonder how meaningful my eons of existence would be should it end now, but it will not.”
“To us men, women, children born without the gift of life, that end stirs in us both excitement and dread. To us it is reality.”
“One I do not share with you, then.” He took another sip of his coffee, or perhaps it was some form of ambrosia. “I almost envy it.” Anger welled within me at his caullousness.
“You’re wrong, y’know. About our choices. They do persist. Even if it is for a moment, they do matter. To our famlies, to our friends, to our enemies.”
“That is what I envy, young mortal. You live with consequence, I know nothing of the concept. You live with lessons, learning, and changing. You live with freedom unknown to me. I envy it, young mortal. For all the choices I have ever made, none of them ever mattered. But you young mortal, every single one does. They shape you like potters shape clay, they change you like the seasons change colors. I know nothing of this. How pitiful.”
“It is a wonder we lesser beings look to you gods then.”
“Indeed.” Zeus tossed the cup into air and it vanished. He stood, towering over me. “Young mortal, I have a request.”
“A request? Not a demand? I am shocked.” The immortal before me laughed a final laugh, this time with real joy.
“Do not call us gods.” This time, I was the one to laugh as he vanished into the storm above us. As I stared out fiddling with my chain cross across my wrist I couldn’t help but smile as the clouds began to clear.
“You’re no god of mine.”
Aphrodite flipped the pages in People magazine, popping her gum. Her eyes only broke from Ryan Gosling when a young stout woman walked in, looking around perplexed. Aprhrodite snapped at her and patted an empty seat next to her.
"Pop a squat," she said, slipping the pages.
"What are you doing in here?" the young woman said.
"The real question is what is any daughter of mine doing walking around with feet like that?"
The young woman looked down at her plain toes. "What's wrong with them?"
"Yeah. Ther's nothing wrong with my feet."
"Hmm." Aprhodite flipped pages. "Michael B. Jordan grew up good, didn't he? I had Eros get his parents together. Your brother is such a good matchmaker."
"Where have you been all my life?"
"Here and there. Have you ever been to China? The rice they make there is top notch. Hera got sloppy with how they look, but they can cook like no one's business. I've got to tell Demeter she did a good job. But in the warm months. She gets all mopey when it's cold."
"My dad killed himself after you left me with him."
"I thought he would at least live for you. Charles was such a sweet guy, but he was never wrapped too tightly. I told him I couldn't be the reason he lives, but the humans just never listen."
"I grew up in foster care. Did you even care?"
"Of course I care. Whoa, Brad and Angelina split up for five minutes and Jennifer Aniston is all over him. Someone is desperate."
"Are you even listening to me?"
"What? Of course I am, sugar! What is it you wanted again? Money or something?"
"I wanted to have closure."
"Well, there's doctors here now. You don't need a god for me to close you up, and by the way, your cousin... well, aunt? Artemis is the one to ask if you can ever get her out of those damn trees. She delivered her brother as soon as she was born-- Or maybe it was Apollo that delivered Artemis? Just pick a twin. And watch out around Artemis; she gets handsy with the ladies. She may have never been with a man, but you should see how she lights up around a woman!"
"That's not closure. I want to know why you left."
"Why I left Charles? Well, I am a married woman."
"No, why you left me. I wasn't good enough for you?"
"Well, of course you weren't! You aren't a god. Hell, I had some woman in Croatia or one of those shattered places give birth to you. Charles just knew the truth and had to tell you he. He can be one punk bitch sometimes."
"That was my father!"
"Yeah, he was my lover. They come and go like manicurists. Speaking of, you missed the pinky toe, dear. It's Ares' favorite toe. Paint like you can see my feet."
"I hate you."
"Join the club. Oh, they have a blog now! It's not messy enough for me, but you may find some use for it."
"Why are you like this?"
"Listen kid, we all take after our mothers. Word of advice, if you want little Ella to grow up to be someone, you should leave too."
"I'll never leave my baby!" the woman shouted, shooting to her feet.
"It's your life, but I'm telling you, you have a long road ahead of you if you decide to stay," Aphrodite said, blowing on her rose-gold fingernails.
The woman stormed out, and Aphrodite smiled as the door slammed shut.
Dione looked up at her. "Why do you do that to those girls?"
"Because Mother, it eliminates all doubt in their heads. They think they will be like me when they come in expecting a sweet godly woman who should be revered and think they're why I left, not their weak ass fathers. And mothers, in a couple cases. Once they leave, they plan to never be like me, which is what I want. Heather will be okay. She kept her head up through foster care, she survived an abusive marriage, and now she'll survive motherhood for that little girl."
"And what if she doesn't?"
"Believe me, I met Charles. She's got both our stubbornness. She's not going anywhere."
"And if she does?"
"Ella will have me. I'd never leave my babies behind. Even when my physical form can't be there, my kids always have me. They just need to learn to be strong themselves, and that happens when I'm not there. Isn't that right, mother?"
Dione refocused on sanding down Aphrodite's toes, not saying anything.
"Soon, I must go."
The old man across from me abruptly spoke. Both of us, he and I, stared at each other, though personally, I specifically stared at his mouth, enthralled by the round glow of his cigarette, cast an orange shade . The majority of the light, however, came from the moon's gaze above, which shone down brightly through the large glass windows. My boss sighed again, wistfully staring at the pale face amongst the star scattered sky. I remained quiet, his grand aura calling only only for my ear.
"My sister and I, we were both protectors of the young." He chuckled, "Though she, the huntress of the night sought only to protect young girls, and turned them only into cruel huntresses"
Turning somber once more, the old man spoke again, his sunny face darkening, "Though I was no better, possibly worse." He sighed again, and the night silently whispered a breath of hardship, as the sun toned down, becoming a chill that spread to all, the pain of a god.
The old man looked up from his lap of grief, speaking in a sad tone that resonated through the room, causing the plants in the corner to shift back slightly, “You know, I was called the averter of evil, and protector of the herds. But under my power millions died. It was only when Hades, my uncle and god of the underworld, brought me down to the land below the land to see the misery that I brought to much of the world, did my immaturity disappear. Too late now I suppose, the world has turned corners once again and now, even my prophetic eyes are blind. Blind, but sometimes images once again appear in my mind. Just like when I was young and brash, bringing only curses to torment the fate of mortals.”
Again he sighed, turning a forlorn and regretful face towards me, “John, don’t follow a path where you are blind to what you do. I still regret over all I have done, even though there is nothing that even my power can do.”
“Ah, I got off topic. I apologize.”
I shook my head side to side. I didn’t mind listening to the man as learning held the utmost importance in my eyes, and Apollo, the old man in front of me, took me in at a young age from an orphanage, thus making all the words he spoke as something to value.
“Anyway, I need to leave as the gods are investigating situations far out in space. You must stay here and look after the company. Moreover, boy, Gaea is in trouble. Make sure to protect the land when we are gone, and do all you can to stop the damage to her.”
I nodded, Apollo in the past often awoke to the moans of Gaea as humanity polluted Earth. The old man stood up from his chair.
“Boy, I’m going now. Make sure to take of yourself on top of everything.”
Startled, I asked, “Right now you must go?”
He nodded, “Yes, the other gods await for my mighty presence,” and he shone pridefully, as the beard disappeared, and a golden youth appeared, strapped in leather armour along with quiver of silver arrows slung across his shoulders. Pressing a button under the table the glass windows grandiosely opened, and a side wall fell down to reveal a bronze, flaming chariot, covered in Apollo’s favorite laurels. Picking a laurel of the chariot, Apollo placed it on my head.
“This represents the handing over of this company, a company of Apollo. Do well, my boy.”
As my head shook down, and up in promise, the chariot roared as Apollo leapt on, and then flew up to the sky, where other figures could only be discerned if one knew what existed. And then together, they joined the starry sky, and I stood at the edge of the window, pondering about the future, and hoping for his soon return.
Okay so i'll be the first to admit what a crap person i am. Ever since the gods came down from heavan and my girlfriend died, i've turned to drinking and totally rejected everyone whos tried to help me. I didn't want help i just wanted to let go. Not to say that life is meaningless just it didn't hold as much meaning to me as alcohol or partying. I was numb and i was good with the feeling, that is until my parents and ex in-laws kidnapped me and dropped me off at my very first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
So i'm sure you can imagine the surprise on my face when i walk in and see Dionsyus himself acting as the counsler. "You have got to be kidding me..." The words leave my mouth before i can even began to stop them. A few head turns later and Dionysus is approaching me.
"Welcome we always love a new face," He says walking over to me giving me a giant hug. In case you are wondering what Dionsyus looks like imagine a senior Frat boy, now age him a few years and give him a beard but dont change any of the physique. Thats what he looks like, how do i know him you might ask? Lets just say if your acquaintance asks you to go to a party with them say no, my liver was crying for weeks.
He ushers me into a seat and the meeting continues as one normally would, me still being in complete shock that the Dionysus is the leading AA counselor.
"And thats all for today the quote i leave with you today is this 'Every addiction, no matter what it is, is the result of trying to escape from something by going in the direction of a need that is currently not being met. In order to move past our addiction, we have to figure out what we are trying to use our adduction to get away from and what need we are trying to use our addiction to meet"- Teal Swan." he says and a certian emotion crossed over me. One that i've felt before but it hits around ten times harder now. Guilt; the guilt that i've been throwing my life away while others try and help me.
Hell if Dionysus, the god of literal indugance, can pull himself up by his boot straps and help make the world a better place then so can i. And honestly i think that might make him one of the greatest AA counselers of all.