Tag Archives: Persephone

Leaves of Red and Gold

The family resemblance was striking. Only the tiny lines around her eyes betray greater maturity.

“So you’re her mother?”

“I am. Don’t look so surprised.”

Months ago, I’d shared a drink and conversation with her daughter right here at this bar. Just now, I was still trying to wrap my mind around meeting the mother, without warning, sitting on the same bar stool.

“Relax. You already know we don’t bite.”

“She nibbled a bit, emotionally. I didn’t know about her husband until I was really enjoying her company, you know. My heart wasn’t broken or anything, but my little crush got crushed.”

“Well you’re safe from heartaches with me. Besides, my husband wouldn’t dream of making an appearance. Not even with a thunderbolt, I promise.”

We had recreated much the same evening as when her daughter visited; talking, laughing, and drinking. Eventually, I asked if she’d like to see “our” tree.

The tree hadn’t stopped blossoming and raining petals over the bus stop until high summer. She leaned one hand against the tree’s trunk, and colorful autumn leaves suddenly cascaded.

Demeter just laughed when she saw the sadness come over me.

“Silly mortal, loveliest of all are those which don’t endure.”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt (and a followup to a previous tale—“You Can Tell a Lot About a Person From Her Underworld.”)

You can tell a lot about a person from her underworld

“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.

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(title might need diddling; it’s a spoiler)

Inspired by today’s Picture It & Write image.

Original Image on Tumblir