Persephone danced. With outstretched arms she embraced the sun, her tawny skin alive with the season’s color kissed upon her; beaded moisture played along her flesh and among the lighted beams became alive like dazzling diamonds. Breezy fingers sent shivers up her spine and she laughed as she welcomed the soft-tipped traces as they felt their way up her arm to her shoulder then along her graceful neck and to her chin. Her laughter turned to a pleasant hiss as Summer’s lips touched hers in a sultry, forbidden kiss.
“You must stay with me, Persephone, as I would miss you as I miss the warmth of this season’s day.”
“I cannot.” She was immediately sorry for her sudden and tactless answer. She took a breath and gave an apologetic smile before continuing. “I wish for nothing more, my sweet, but a promise and a pledge must be honored, whatever the toll.”
“It is not only I that misses you – you know your mother wants you here, where you belong, her own flesh and blood.”
“I feel her desperation while I am gone – it allows me no pleasure, and yet I am expected to provide it.”
“You have pleasure here, you love the sunshine and…” Summer turned a shade of pale pink, a blush that highlighted her youthful face “…you have pleasure in Summer.” Persephone stopped. She glanced upon the girl who dared express rash dreams as bold desires, even as autumn threatened near, yet unseen.
“You are a most precious friend and confidant – our days together will provide encouragement and inspiration enough to get me through my long dark sojourn. But know this…” she grasped the girl’s shoulders, her eyes intense and promise sure… “I will always return to you in the spring.”
Persephone took Summer’s warm hands in hers and they twirled in dancing circles upon a fading green. Their lively show of carefree gaiety mimicked the limbs of beckoning trees and together they swayed on nature’s stage. A circling eagle took up the cry from far above and Persephone paused. Summer came to an abrupt halt. As daylight waned and warmth passed into cooling dusk, where crimson fire melded to a midnight velvet; the hours equal light and dark – Persephone knelt upon the earth and placed her hands upon the soil, her eyes closed, head bowed. A single tear slid down her cheek.
Quietly, Summer offered her friend a Sunflower bloom. “Please take this – to remember me by – I’m feeling weak as if already without you, and yet you are not gone.” Feeling faint, Summer laid her head upon Persephone’s lap, her hand brief upon her lips to retrieve a kiss, and then touched to Persephone’s tear-stained cheek. The girl’s hand was frosty cold and Persephone shivered.
A golden mantle fell from all around, swirling, teasing, hiding green and calling forth with upraised voice; and the last summer day burdened by its dying wish and in a labored breath spoke of cooler winds and crystal laden air – a brief warning of the things to come – yet trying to hide the treachery and deceit with golden promises and a fleeting warm caress. The Sunflower withered, blackened by the frost and Persephone laid it upon the deadened earth. With a whispered good –bye, she faded into the night, giving in to autumn and its golden splendor, her heart and soul once again called home to Hades.