GOLDEN TAROT OF THE RENAISSANCE / XVII: The Star

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 Ask and You Will Receive

Today of all days he had to be late for Art class. Jennifer had detained him, only to nag about their relationship.

She’d gone on and on forever about how he never touched her anymore. How he never cared about her life anymore. How he never gave her anything anymore. How he’d changed, how she’d changed. How she needed more. She’d yakked and yakked and yakked until the conversation had led to a big fight. As he’d rushed to class, he’d felt himself adrift, out to sea with no sail and no oar; unable to decide whether to stay with Jennifer or leave.

He liked Jennifer and he had been in love with her once. But now, that love wasn’t just fading, it was turning into something else, something dark and toxic; something he dared not experience, and yet, what could he do? He had never been good at breakups. His timing had always been terrible. The last time he’d put it off for so long that the girl had broken up with him instead. But he knew Jennifer would not break up with him. When he looked in her eyes, he still saw the same spark burning as brightly as at the beginning; but now there was something cloudy behind it. Was it disappointment? Anger? Despair? Or maybe just the need to hold on to what once had been? He wondered whether Jennifer saw something else in his eyes too; maybe she saw something that fueled this new opacity.

Even though he knew he was late, he paused at the door, his fingers tight around the handle and eyes closed. He took a deep breath and asked for a sign. He needed guidance, he needed something to show him which way to go.

He opened the door. As his eyes adjusted and he came out of his reverie, he thought he was looking at a Botticelli. The Birth of Venus, to be precise. She was standing in front of the class on the small podium dedicated only for the models. She was stark naked and holding a staff the professor had presumably given her. Her long hair flowed in a braid down her right shoulder.

Lo and behold, here was this goddess, this Aphrodite born of the sea, standing right in front of him; beckoning him to come closer, to take her, to ask her about her day, her life, her future, and hoping against hope that her future might include him. Kevin was dumbstruck as he closed the door behind him.

“Mr Jackson, would you care to answer the question?” the Professor’s voice brought him out of his astonishment, while the class looked up. Some people smirked.

“I, um, I didn’t hear the question. Um, could you please repeat it?” The whole class laughed, while the Venus smiled shyly. Kevin couldn’t take his eyes off her and her smile made his heart skip. He felt it touch him deep down there. Down where he shouldn’t feel anything for anyone else but Jennifer.

“The question was, is there a reason for your tardiness?”

“No sir, I was kept late by someone, is all.”

“Nothing serious, I hope?” the Professor asked raising an eyebrow.

“No sir, time just got away from me. I apologize.”

“Very well, don’t let it happen again. As I’ve already said, we have a new model working with us. Mr. Jackson, please meet Miss Summers.” The Professor pointed at the goddess. Kevin looked her right in the eye.

“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Kevin.”

The goddess met his gaze, and for just an instant he thought he saw her pupils dilate briefly. He’d always thought that was myth. It hadn’t happened with Jennifer; the spark in her eyes had been lit later on during their acquaintance.

The goddess smiled, and with a voice as soft and rolling as the dawn said, “I’m Stella.”

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