“Ahhhh,” I took the greatest inhale I possibly could, considering the ridiculous altitudes I reached. The Alps is a majesty of the natural world, an unrefined wonder. Funny, I thought the ambient, chilling air would freeze my body immediately. As a man from the tropics, I never could handle the cold. Or rather, I never had to. The sun’s embrace is all I’ve ever known.
Standing at this peak is tranquil, aside from the sliding of skis on the snow, as people descend the mountain. Some even stared at me as I took in the atmosphere, even though I was prepared to plummet down the slope. I just needed a few more moments, in order to ingrain the serenity within me, to brand this moment into my skull. Just another moment.
I tilted my head towards the sun, and the air began to simmer. The massive fireball seemed to grow larger and brighter, as if it was going to collide with the mountain. I guess he couldn’t resist ruining the moment.
“I came here to get away from the heat, you know,” I said without turning my body away from the horizon.
“And you know the cold is not a place you should be,” a warm, stern voice spoke behind me.
“You really need to stop worrying about me, Father,” I turned to the man behind me. My father, clad in his patented red blazer, and matching slacks. How long until he realizes how out of place he is on the mountaintop? “and you need to reevaluate what you wear up here. Mortals do get hypothermia.”
“You’re certainly not your grandfather; he loves being flashy.”
“I can’t tell if that pun was intentional. Then again, if it was, Zeus would’ve smote you for that.”
“Hmph,” Father grunted.
“So what brings you to the Alps in the middle of December? You already visited me in the dead of July, and we both know Zeus wants you to have nothing to do with me.”
“You haven’t seen your mother for a couple months.”
“And it’s the best decision I’ve made in my life. It’s...invigorating to be out of the walls of that mansion, and I mean it truly.”
Father’s face contorted into a frown of disappointment, “It’s about time that you—”
“Go visit her? Why? She wouldn’t even notice if I was there. The sun’s reflection off the tons of gold bars you’ve given her have made her blind.”
“I only gave her what she wan—”
“But you, a god, above all understand that we can’t be trusted with our impulses. Us mortals are greedy and selfish.”
“And what you’re doing is it?” Father began to grow angry, but I no longer cared about angering the gods.
“I don’t recall denying my own selfish tendencies, did I?”
And at that moment, I silenced a god. Father’s mouth hung open, his answer caught within his lungs. Either I will receive a medal or ignite in a ball of fire.
“Struggling for an answer? You’re jumbled with emotions.”
“No, just contemplating how I should kill you for your insolence: set you ablaze, push you off the mountainside, perhaps allow Zeus to finish you off himself.”
“We both know you don’t want me to die. I am the only child you visit, anyways. Which leads me to another question, what is it about us that fascinates you so much?”
“You,” Father hesitated, thinking his words carefully, “are the only son of mine with that gift. And I wasn’t the one who gave it to you.”
The gift. Father left me speechless. My mother always told me that my gift was another one of Father’s bounties, so that I may not be deceived by other mortals. A god’s deception, however, is beyond my capabilities.
“What? My power…is not your doing?”
“That is why I’ve kept an eye on you all these years. I’ve been trying to track the magic’s source.”
I already knew Father did not visit me out of love. A god can deceive me, yes, but they can sometimes be sloppy with their words.
“I need you to go see your mother,” Father continued, “she is not how she was before, and it’s not because I spoil her. There is something greater at work, and I will leave it up to you to put that gift to good use. I must leave now, before Zeus delivers my head on a platter.”
“I will see you before the end of the month. Good bye, Gayle.”
He called me by name as he shot himself into the sun. Father never calls me by name, and I have never called him Apollo. I decided it would be better to think about this at the bottom of the slope, where oxygen can get to my brain much more easily.