Playing with Fate…
Zeus had been pondering the problem of Pandora for weeks; why wouldn’t that silly girl just open the damn jar and prove him right! The girl was exemplifying the trustworthiness of womankind and Zeus knew better; women couldn’t be trusted. Even his darling Hera, as much as he hated to admit it would look out for herself first. And curious; she wrote the tablets on curiosity, always pushing for answers.
Hera was right about one thing though, what was called for was a bit of motivation on Pandora’s part; yes just the right incentive to prompt her into action. But what was that he wondered. In truth he didn’t know.
He sat tapping his fingers on the ornate arm rest of his mighty throne, lost in thought and oblivious to all around him. He had sent Dionysus, his light-hearted son who favored wine and forever frolicking with his friends the Satyrs to try and tempt Pandora with a bit of extra-marital activities, but alas, that failed. Dionysus was totally enchanted by the lovely and delightful Pandora but the woman was totally devoted to Epimetheus and would not be tempted. It seemed she had no Achilles heel that would provide the opening that Zeus needed.
Zeus banged his hand loudly on the arm rest and thunder rumbled across Olympus. Far below the people ran for cover, seeking shelter from what would surely be a fearful storm. Zeus laughed and tossed a few lightning bolts around too, just to provide further amusement. Finally Hera came to him to see what was bothering her wayward husband this time.
And wayward he was indeed. Just this morning she had caught him trying to get Heracles, his bastard son by a mere mortal woman, to suckle at her breast in an attempt to nourish the infant. She had thrust the child away, causing her breast milk to spill into the heaven’s creating the Milky Way. Served him right she decided as she watched as he scrambled to protect his progeny.
Zeus was a rascal and a philanderer, immoral and depraved but may the Gods help her, she loved him. She often watched from on high as he chased various women to spread his seed amongst the mortal and Gods alike. Hera didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count the numerous offspring of his infidelities. But she loved him still, her heart refusing to let go of him.
Pandora was vexing him greatly. Secretly, Hera was proud of the young woman who steadfastly refused to be tempted into opening the jar that she had been told NOT to open. But each day Zeus became more and more obsessed with the problem and Hera feared that they must find a solution soon, least he destroy all humankind.
Yes, they must soon find a solution…
Cassie enjoyed her meal that Georgio and his parents had brought her. As she tasted various bites of this and that she asked questions and complimented Eleni on the beautiful marriage of flavor of the dishes.
Georgio sat back and relaxed finally, watching the interaction between his mother and Cassie; he saw his father watching as well. His papi caught his eye and nodded approvingly. Georgio returned the nod and grinned broadly.
Cassie and his mother were getting along really well and Georgio let out a huge sigh of relief. Belinda and his mother had gotten along, but they were never close. Belinda had never quite fit in with the loud and noisy Gorman family. She had been a very quiet person and while passionate and outspoken about her causes she felt like a fish out of water with the Gorman’s. She went about her life in a calm manner, about as different from Georgio’s family as someone could be.
Cassie on the other hand was a person in motion, literally and figuratively. She was curious and inquisitive, always looking for answers. The sparkle in her eyes illustrated her love of life and made being around her so much fun. The one thing he had learned from her was that she seldom pulled her punches though; if she thought it she usually said it. She was however very sensitive to others and at least used some thought and tact before saying too much.
He loved and admired her passionate nature and couldn’t wait to discover the other side of Cassie, as a lover and a partner. That day could not come soon enough for him.
“Georgie?” He realized his mother had spoken to him and looked up to see all three of them watching him.
“Yes, I’m sorry; just uh, wool-gathering I guess. What did I miss?”
“You didn’t hear Cassie’s news?” his mom said, looking dismayed.
“I – I no, I didn’t. Cassie, please, what is your news?”
She grinned at him in sympathy, as if she had been reading his thoughts. “I just told your parents that I am being released on Monday Georgio.” She watched him as her words sank in.
“WHAT? When did you find out?” he asked as he jumped to his feet and then leant down to kiss her. He didn’t care if his parents were in the room, he was ecstatic. “You’re going home? Cassie darling, that is wonderful!”
She laughed, her eyes sparking merrily. “I just found out a couple of hours ago. I wanted to tell you in person, so I didn’t call. Monday morning I will be leaving this place. I’ll be going to stay with my parents,” she said, almost apologetically.
A brief moment of disappointment flitted across his face, but he hid it quickly. He knew that was how it needed to be for awhile, until she could comfortably and easily get around. And, it would possibly be a good obstacle to keep them apart, physically for a bit longer. He hated to admit that, but he knew it was true.
“That will be good for you. Your house has stairs Cassie and that would be too much for you to deal with for awhile. It won’t be forever,” he added as he saw a bit of sadness in her eyes because she realized as he did that it would keep them apart a bit longer. Still, they would have private time together and neither one could wait for that.
“Yes, such a good thing to be with family,” Eleni added. “And get some home cooking! My goodness you are practically wasted away to nothing here in this hospital!”
“El – Mama, I hate to tell you this but this is pretty natural for me. I’m one of those annoying people who just never gain any weight. But I’m sure going to enjoy better food, that’s for sure. And I hope lot’s more Greek cuisine!” she added.
“Of course my dear. I teach you how to cook Greek, real Greek food! You have to cook for my Yios!”
“Oh, I would love that Mama! It would make me very happy to learn.” She reached across the table top and laid her hand on top of Eleni’s, giving her hand a warm squeeze.
It brought tears to Eleni’s eyes; such a dear girl and she obviously made Georgio so happy. Yes, this was perfect for her yios! Suddenly she remembered the shawl she had brought to give to Cassie and reached for the bag that was sitting next to her on the floor. She handed the bag to Cassie with a smile and said, “For you!”
Cassie accepted the bag and looked at Georgio quizzically, as if to say, “For me?” and he nodded, a warm smile on his face. She opened the bag and took out a beautiful lace shawl. As she held it up she realized it wasn’t exactly lace, it was tatted, an old fashioned way of making lace. This was old, she could tell and she was over-whelmed by this beautiful gift.
“I love it. Thank you so much, but are you sure you want me to have it? I – I can tell that it is very old and I think it is tatted. It must have some type of significance to you.”
“Yes, it does and you have a very good eye Cassie. My mother made it; she loved to tat and she never sat idle, without her tatting in her lap. We all, the women in this family have shawls that she made; this one is for you.” She was sincere as she spoke and Cassie caught tears in her eyes.
This was significant; this woman was welcoming her into this family and Cassie felt awed by her generosity and caring. Cass felt a huge lump rise in her throat and swallowed a couple of times in an effort to push it back down so she could speak. Tears sprang to her eyes and finally found their way down her cheeks. She wiped them away with a fingertip and smiled at Eleni and Ronald who were both watching her. Georgio was holding her hand and lightly ran his thumb over the soft skin of her palm in an effort to help her compose her thoughts.
“I, um, I can’t tell you how much this means to me, to be given the special gift. I promise that I will cherish it and always hold it dear to me Mama. I don’t believe I’ve ever received something so special and personal from someone. Thank you.”
Eleni smiled through her own tears and kissed Cassie on the cheek again before standing. “Ronnie, I think it’s time we left these two to talk of private things. Georgie, you call your Mama soon okay? And bring Cassie to dinner very soon!”
Cassie and Georgio sat quietly as his parents left and the door closed. Georgio leaned back in his chair and held out his hand to Cassie. She came to him and he gently pulled her down onto his lap and held her close. For a few minutes they just held one another, each afraid to break the spell of the evening and the happiness and joy that they felt. Finally Georgio kissed her, a long and tender kiss full of passion and promises of the future. Cassie returned the kiss, giving herself to the moment and man she loved.
Monday dawned slowly, as far as Cassie was concerned anyway. She was ready to go by six, dressed and packed even though her parents weren’t due until nine. Georgio had a surgery scheduled that morning, but he called her to talk to her for a few minutes before he went in.
“Hi darling. Are you excited?” he asked.
Cassie could hear the sounds on the hospital in the background; someone speaking over an intercom and others talking around him. It was a sound she was getting very familiar with and she was perfectly okay with that. It was comforting to her to hear those sounds because it meant that Georgio was working and that someone else would get better because of that.
“Yes, I am so excited. I can’t wait to get out of here, you know? To just be at home, well, mom and dad’s but still home to me.”
“I know Cassie. And I can’t wait to see you tonight. Are you sure your parents don’t mind that I’m coming over this evening?” He didn’t want to seem too pushy but he needed to see her. He felt a tap on his should and one of his surgical nurses said, “Dr. Gorman, we’re ready.”
Cassie heard her words and said, “Hey, you need to go, I know. I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
“Yes, you will. I’ll call you this afternoon Cassie. Bye…”
Cass smiled and pushed the ‘end’ key on her phone. She sat back in the chair and put her feet up; there was nothing to do now but wait, impatiently.
Cassie looked out the car window on the short trip to her parent’s house, the house she had grown up in. They passed Sarah’s old house on the way, a block away and Cassie saw that the pin oaks were still holding on their leaves. Sarah and Cassie both loved the old pin oak trees; they were always the last to lose their leaves with it often being past Christmas before they were completely shed of their colorful cloaks. Sarah and Cass would rake those leaves up into huge piles and then dive in, scattering them to the four winds, laughing until they were practically senseless.
At her parents’ house she had three steps to climb to get into the house and it was really easy. Cassie couldn’t help but to be a bit relieved about that. Her parents house was a large rambling 1930’s bungalow that just felt like home to her. She waited while her dad unlocked the front door and she smiled as she heard Max, her Shih Tzu who was barking excitedly. But what was that she wondered? Was there another dog in there too?
The door opened and Max rushed straight to her and she bent over and picked him up, scratching him behind his ears and smelling his fur; he’d had a bath just for this occasion. She heard a low growl and looked down to see a black and white Shih Tzu at her feet, acting none too pleased.
She knelt down and put Max on the floor and said, “Well hi there! Who are you?”
Her mom scooped the other dog up and said, “This is Cinder, short for Cinderella. Max seemed lonely so I thought he needed a companion.”
Cassie’s dad snorted and held back a laugh with a cough. “Read that as, she is worried about when Max goes home because she has come to like having the little guy around. So, she got HIM a companion!”
Cassie held out her hand so that Cinder could sniff it and talked soothingly to her. “Hi there Cinder, aren’t you the pretty girl? I’ll bet you are the little princess around here aren’t you?”
Cinder cocked her head to one side and decided that Cassie might not be too bad; after all she did recognize and acknowledge that she was a princess. She gave Cassie’s hand a brief lick of acceptance and then struggled to get down on the floor with Max.
They both ran to the couch and hopped up on it, curling up together in a familiar manner and were soon asleep. Cassie’s dad muttered, “That’s all they ever do, sleep and eat and”
“ED!” Cassie’s mom said, stopping him before he finished the last word of a sentence she heard way too often. “They’re just dogs, they do those things but we don’t need to hear about it all the time!”
Cass smiled at the familiarity of it all and pulled her coat off. Ed Banks took it and hung it up in the closet along with his and Alice’s’ as well. Cassie sat down on the couch and both dogs looked up at her since she had disturbed their slumber. She sat on the opposite end from them and Max immediately got up and moved next to her. She started stroking his back and he sighed and snuggled closer to her. Cinder had raised her head and stared at her friend who had left her. Cassie smiled at her and patted the couch next to Max, who was already snoring. Cinder debated for a moment and finally curiosity won out; that and a need for the warmth provided by Max’s body. Soon, she was settled next to him and snoring as well.
As Cassie’s mom brought her a cup of coffee and a piece of one of Cassie’s favorite coffee cakes and she looked around her and smiled, content.
It was good to be home!
Copyright 2010 by Cynthia Hope Hodge
All rights reserved. You may not reproduce, or retransmit by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any other means without permission by the author.