A Goddess Revealed

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Aphrodite danced. The power flowed through her, transformed her, and she danced. She balanced on one hand, legs far apart in an inverted splits, and came back down on her feet feeling the audience's response. She leapt into the air in a spin, returned lightly to her feet, and followed through with an old-fashioned bump and grind. Oh, it was glorious, just to be Aphrodite. The crowd worshiped her, and she loved them for it. They gave her the power, and she danced for them, seeing herself through their adoring eyes.

Too soon, the music came to an end. Aphrodite stood, naked, sweating, facing the crowd. The applause was thunderous and heartfelt, and standing regal and tall before the cheering throng, her short white hair fairly sparked with the power of it.

With a smile, she blew them all a kiss. Silence fell as each and every one present felt it land upon their lips. And Aphrodite turned and left the stage.

Clarice was waiting. "Damn, Aphrodite! That was amazing! Where did you learn those moves?"

Aphrodite smiled her mysterious smile. "There was a gymnast in the audience tonight," she said. "I figured I'd show her something inspiring."

"A gymnast!" Clarice laughed. "Get out! How the heck would you know someone's a gymnast?"

Aphrodite shrugged. "I'm a Goddess," she said. "When I look at someone - really look at them, you know? I know everything about them."

Clarice shook her head. "That's crazy talk, Aphrodite. It always has been, but ... but now I think I may be starting to believe you. Who are we talking about?"

"Table six, on the west side. She's a cheerleader for Stanford, and she's here with her boyfriend."

Clarice got up and went to the peephole to look out at the crowd. Sure enough, there was a pretty brunette at table six.

"She's about to get up and order a drink," said Aphrodite, quietly, from across the room. And Clarice watched as the brunette got up and went to the bar.

"How ..." Clarice broke off as she felt rather than saw Aphrodite standing behind her.

"Now she's going to drag her guy out of here and they're going to have wild sweet sex in the back of his SUV," Aphrodite said.

Clarice watched, and damned if she didn't, within two minutes, finish her drink and drag her grinning date out of the club by his tie.

Clarice turned around. "Holy ..."

Aphrodite nodded. "Yep," she said. "Holy. The genuine article."

Clarice blinked, shook her head. "You can't possibly be..."

Aphrodite smiled again. "Look back out the peephole, Clarice. See the guy at table four? The one sitting and dreaming as he stares into his drink? He misses a woman who used to love him, and he's about to raise her a toast, pretending she's across the table from him."

Clarice watched as the guy at table four gave a crooked shy grin and raised a glass to the memory sitting across the table from him.

Aphrodite went on, "His name is Mark, and he's a real sweetie. Loyal to a fault, has never cheated on anybody, and wouldn't hurt anybody ever, but doesn't stick up for himself very much. He'd be good for you, really. Next to him, table five, there's a guy sulking. Bolo tie, tight western shirt, brown mustache."

Clarice looked up sharply. "He just sat down there, and I've got the peephole. How did you..."

"I'm a Goddess, remember?" said Aphrodite. "Same way I knew Mark, and Heather the gymnast, and her boyfriend. Anyway, Christopher down there - that's his name - is about to order three drinks and sit there trying to look like he has friends. But he's going to drink them all himself."

Clarice watched, and damned if he didn't order three drinks and pull two extra chairs up to his table. He tossed his coat over one of the other chair backs, and started sipping at the first drink. She turned around, her eyes wide. "Okay, you've got something going but I don't... I mean, if you're still around, after all these thousands of years, what are you doing here? Where are the temples? Where are the priestesses and the ..." Clarice stopped.

"I'm here for you, Clarice," Aphrodite said. "I'm here because you need me."

"What the hell do you know about me?" Clarice said.

"Everything," Aphrodite replied. "And I love you."

"You can really help me?" Clarice said.

Aphrodite shrugged. "What happened will always be a part of you, Clarice. But you can learn to trust again. You can wake up and know that you are loved and that your love can transform the world. You can be at peace with yourself. I can give you that."

Clarice turned around ready to lash out, to drive away someone causing her pain ... but Aphrodite's lambent eyes captured her, arrested her, made her believe. She faced an incarnate, revealed Goddess for almost a full minute before the tears came. Aphrodite stepped forward to enfold Clarice in Her arms, heal her and give her the power to love again.


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