“In ancient legends, the goddess Aphrodite appears to mortals in the form of whatever they find most attractive, whether it is male, female, both, or neither. What form do they take for you?”

Describe the color of their skin in words other than color, describe the smell of their skin, or the way they move.

This prompt was dropped into my Writing Group this morning. I saw it before I had to take the kids to school, before I did some grocery shopping, before some laundry. So I’ve had a ridiculous amount of time to put thought into it. Here’s what’s been rolling around in my head.

I’m expecting the Greek Goddess of love the way you see her depicted in movies. Tall, lithe, blonde, and draped in white. So I’m a little shocked, to say the least, when there’s a rather average looking male in front of me instead. He’s wearing jeans, a clean white shirt, Converse, and an odd half smile. His skin is the color of wheat toast, making me think of summers on a beach. “Who are you?” I ask.

“Aphrodite,” he answers. His deep melodic voice practically begs to be used for singing.

“I thought Aphrodite was a woman.”

“I can be. Would you like me to be? I represent beauty, in whatever forms that takes.” He spins himself in a circle, kicking up dirt. When he stops spinning, his form has changed. His features are more delicate, his hair is longer. His skin is a shade darker, now more like the melted caramel you drizzle on a latte. The outfit remains the same, but is filled out a little more with his sudden curves. “Is this better?” Again, the voice resonates like it should be part of a solo on a world stage. But it’s higher, feminine.

Something about it shocks me. Not just that this Goddess is capable of such rapid change, but at the parts that stay the same. The melody to the voice, the casual style, the confidence in the thrown back shoulders and easy smile.

“These are the things you find attractive,” Aphrodite says as if reading my thoughts. “The rest is just decoration.” She winks at me. “Now, what did you summon me for?”

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