Every day when Lola had to walk to work, there was the same old beggar on Minerva Street, sitting with her back against a garage door, rattling a battered tin with only a few coins on the bottom.
“A dollar, just a dollar please! May the gods bless you.”
People thought she was crazy. Whenever they came close to her, they’d walk to the opposite sidewalk, quickly striding down the block, head bowed down.
Sometimes she’d cackle, “Selfish mortals! Not even willing to give a poor old lady a dollar!”
Lola’s church had told the church goers, one Sunday, to be kind to the poor and needy. So on Monday, instead of crossing to the other side on Minerva Street, Lola decided to give not one, but two dollars to the beggar.
“A dollar, just a dollar please!” The old woman begged, rattling her can as Lola drew nearer. She was wrapped in a thin, old cotton blanket, her worn clothes stained with who-knows-what. Lola dropped her two crisp dollar bills into the can.
“Thank you, my dear. May the gods bless you.” The old woman, looked up, smiling. Amidst the tanned, wrinkled skin that was covered with sunspots, there were two startlingly grey eyes, sharp enough to pierce a heart.
“My dear, for your kindness, I must tell you something. Sit down, please.”
When Lola was about to say no, suddenly, she saw a clean, white blanket that she had definitely not seen before. There was something definitely strange, not strange as in crazy, but something peculiar, something different, about this woman.
Lola dropped to her knees, sitting legs crossed on the white mat.
The old beggar took a long breathe, and sighed. “For a long, long time, I have sat here, begging for just a dollar. And not once has anyone given me a dollar.”
“How have you survived, if you only have a couple of coins.” Lola asked, suspicious.
“My dear, I have not gotten close to finishing my story. Listen.” The old woman chuckled, her gray eyes sparkling.
“And every one of you have turned your nose up at me. I am just a crazy, old hag to you, not worth your time or your money. I will die alone, hungry, and penniless. I have no use to anyone.”
“That’s not true,” Lola protested.
“It is, my dear. Don’t lie. I’ve seen you before. I’ve seen all of you cross the street, away from me.”
“I have been alive for a long, long time. I have been around since mortals did not have technology. I have been around when the grass was greener and the skies bluer. I have been around when food could only be hunted or grown. I have been around when mortals would help a poor old lady they saw on the street.”
“Okay then.” Lola was getting impatient. Her boss would be sure to fire her if she didn’t arrive at work any time soon.
“Oh dear. You are already getting bored.” The old woman said, sadly, coughing a little.
“Oh, no. Please continue.”
“From the start, you mortals have been impatient. Greedy. Prometheus wanted to steal fire for the mortals. Pandora could not resist opening the box. Orpheus looked back at his wife when told not to. And look where that got them? Prometheus was forever bound to rocks with thick chafing ropes, forced to endure an eagle eating his liver every day. Pandora caused every mortal to suffer all the negative emotions that could have been avoided. Orpheus could have lived happily ever after with his beloved wife, but no, he lived the rest of his life strumming his lyre and making everything in his way cry, before slowly fading away into nothing himself.”
“None of those stories are true. They are just all myths.” Lola said.
“To you, the Greeks’ myths are just stories. But have you ever thought about why they came up with stories? To me, Greek myths are the stories of humanity’s strengths and flaws.
Such a pity. You mortals have been telling and writing the stories about your flaws for so long, yet compared to the Greeks who lived thousands of years earlier, you are no better than them.” The old woman sighed, her thin frame sagging.
“Why do you refer to us as mortals? I mean, you’re a person, too. You’re not any different from us.” Lola pointed out. Maybe the woman was crazy.
The old woman chuckled. “My dear, that was the first in a long, long time that someone has seen me as a person. But to everyone else, I am not them. I am no person, no mortal. I am not human.”
“But why are you telling me all of this?” Lola asked.
Lola turned to look at the old woman. The shriveled face was the same, but she could see another face flickering within. One of a young, handsome woman’s, with smooth olive skin, yet with the same piercing eyes.
“I am telling you to remind you of what you could be. Now my time is up. You must go.”
Lola got up, confused as ever. After taking a few steps, she turned around.
“Wait. Who are you?”
The old woman smiled, grey eyes sparkling.
“My dear, I am Athena.”
i wrote this last night at like 11, so it needs a lot of work:)