Aphrodite

April 25, 2011
She was Aphrodite, to me.
Though even to outsiders, she was ethereal. Eyes followed her wherever she went because she floated, and she glowed. She was kind, intelligent, talented, beautiful, and effortlessly sensual. Human was too mortal a term for all that Aphrodite was.
And I loved her.
It was inevitable. Strangers were enamored by her, and so I, closest, was near obsessed. I wanted her, and I wanted to be her. Her hair and her dazzling smile, those eyes that were bluer than anything I’d ever seen, her walk and her quiet talk were all simply magical to me. Aphrodite shimmered, and I was enthralled.
And Aphrodite loved me.
Behind it all, though, like a modern Marilyn, she was tragic. Look closely and you’d realize her smiles were a bit sad, her eyes a little haunted. Aphrodite medicated with boys, boys for whom she cared little. Those boys cared for her, however, and came back again and again to use her, then proceed to pretend they had never before met when she would pass them in public.
Some nights, we would cry and cry and speak of the future. We had to focus on the future. The past and the present were far too cruel.
On a balmy morning in May, we parted ways. Promising to keep in touch, we hugged, I kissed Aphrodite on the cheek, and I walked away.
Phone calls, emails, video chats, and the occasional visit were scattered within the next few months. I married a man she barely knew save my descriptions, and she was there to celebrate as my maid of honor. Again, with an embrace and a kiss and promises, I said goodbye to Aphrodite.
I received the call the day following Christmas. Sitting at the kitchen table, my feet propped up and my hand on my growing abdomen, I listened to the police officer explain what Aphrodite had done. She was fine, assured the officer. The hospital had admitted her to the psychiatric ward, but she would be released once they had somewhere safe for her to go. She had given them my name. Was I willing to come for her?
He needn’t have asked. I gathered a few things, booked a flight, and went after Aphrodite. When I found her, she was sitting in a conference room, head tipped down, a sorrow in her eyes so strong that it cut me to my core. I threw my arms around her and we clung to each other, weeping. She was alive, and that all that mattered to me. The rest could be fixed.
On that day, as we walked arm in arm out of the hospital, I realized her mortality. Her humanness and vulnerability, her imperfection. She was not a goddess to be worshipped, not someone to be viewed as flawless and celestial. She was human. Absolutely beautiful, but absolutely beautifully human.
For on the day that I lost Aphrodite, I gained Caroline.





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