“My name is Persephone,” she said.
“Like the Greek goddess?”
“Exactly like.” She smiled, finger stirring her drink.
Guess my face must’ve communicated disbelief.
“Uh huh,” she said. “Watch.”
She spread her hands and flowers started growing right out of the polished bar top. Peonies, I think. They grew, blossomed and died again; all in the span of less than a minute. The petals wilted and fell onto the bar.
I’ve seen some interesting slight-of-hand before, but never live flowers from a chunk of dead (and varnished!) wooden bar.
She grinned wide. “Can’t figure out the trick, right?”
I brushed the leafy debris into my hand, examining it, sifting through the brown wilted flower stems and the delicate remains of petals.
“Stumped,” I said. “Never seen anything like that one.”
“Don’t worry about it, there is no gimmick. This round is on me.” She signaled the bartender.
I decided to take that advice, at least pending more information to work with.
“So um, Persephone. What brings a nice goddess like you to a bar like this?”
She laughed. (Graciously, I thought. She was being kind, with a line like that.) “Mostly, just enjoying the Spring.”
“Spring. Isn’t that your, um, thing—if I remember right?”
“Yes it is! Spring, vegetation, fertility, other stuff.” She smiled. “Demeter is Fall, harvest and grains; she’s my mum.”
I can’t really describe the rest of the evening. It was—well sorry—magical. At some point I stopped doubting any of part of her story. She produced flowering plants from unlikely places, several times. We drank, traded jokes and just enjoyed the evening together.
We ended up outside the bar, for fresh air, sitting together on a bus stop bench. As we chatted the tree behind us flowered and petals fell all around us continuously. A gentle, feather-soft vegetative rain, drifting in errant breezes. Part of Persephone’s magic, plants really seemed to “like” her. So did I. Smitten, I just have to tell you.
“So what’s next?” I asked, vaguely hoping for some excuse to continue the evening.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” She touched my arm with her fingertips, suddenly looking a little sad. “I’m waiting for my ride.”
Crushing, so long hope!
“He’s coming now. It was so lovely meeting you, Dan, thank you for the wonderful time.”
I smiled weakly, trying to quickly re-arrange my features into my “Be Brave” face.
Around the corner thundered four huge horses—jet black, breathing flames. Pulling a wicked-looking chariot driven by a tall, muscled Adonis in a toga with a heavy black beard.
“My husband, Hades.” Persephone kissed my cheek and turned to face the chariot. Hades gathered her up in one arm and lifted her bodily aboard. He spared me but a single glance, then cracked his reins and the gods and horses and chariot were gone.
I suppose the entire evening could have been alcohol-induced fantasy. But her tree is still blooming.
(title might need diddling; it’s a spoiler)
Inspired by today’s Picture It & Write image.