Athena woke, surveying her surroundings, taking a moment to recall where she was, the legs of her mind stumbling across last night’s events. Mornings were always like this; peppered with confusion. Many times she was hung over or even still drunk, trying to gauge if she was still at some party or possibly in the bed of a strange man.
But it came to her now. She sat up, an umbrella of fear forming above her. She was in a hospital in a very comfortable room. Rather, it wasn’t so much a hospital as a spa for celebrities and the room was more than comfortable; it was plush.
She’d been at a premier last night and had passed out . She remembered falling. Wisely, they’d thought to bring her here, where she might have a few days before the media tracked her down.
And the press were experts at tracking down. She’d been in the spotlight, since she was five when her mother had found her an agent. Her career had taken off immediately, and she quickly became America’s sweetheart. Now at twenty-nine, she was still in the spotlight, but recently, the media had begun to turn on her, reporting dirty truths and untruths alike. Recently divorced for the second time, the press now picked her apart. And it was as though they had access to a personal diary.
But she kept no diary, living day to day with not much contemplation or analysis, her life a blur of movies, interviews, the occasional Broadway production, and much partying.
She shook her head. She didn’t want to be thinking about these things. Thankfully, she was rescued by a nurse entering the room only to announce that Athena was merely suffering exhaustion but that she was welcome to stay as long as she’d like. Athena nodded, then drifted back to sleep, thinking some rest wouldn’t hurt, and that she did have a break between films.
Those few days of rest turned into weeks, as she found that she didn’t want to return to the chaos of her life. This was the first time she’d really had alone time, and though her discoveries hurt, she’d begun to recognize that she needed them.
No one came to visit and she now realized that she had no true friends. She understood that she herself had been fickle, switching friends to match each next cast. It had been the same for them. Fair-weather friends who‘d enjoyed her company for as long as was convenient but then could toss her aside as easily as she could them.
She was almost thirty, with yes, a successful career but no real relationships. She was afraid of living the rest of her life this way, with no actual grasp on who she was. She’d grown up, not being her own person, putting on whatever mask the cameras wanted. Who was she? Who was her true self? She’d been molding herself into other’s ideals for so long, she’d never developed a genuine personality. She didn’t even know what she found important. She didn’t know if even her craft was important to her, or if she’d just never thought about a life without it. She was good, very good, at acting, but it had melted into her, stealing whoever she might have been. Now she grieved for that which she’d lost, or rather, never had. And a fear of returning to play the role of someone she was now certain she was never meant to be kept her inside what she’d found to be a haven.
And so, through her solitude, she one night whispered in the darkness to no one that she knew, asking if somehow she could be restored, if she might find out who she was meant to be. Every night she did this, until one night she heard a response from a still, small voice.
“You are my daughter. That is who you were made to be.”
Athena recognized the voice as if she’d been waiting to hear it all her life. It was God. The God, she’d heard of many times, in letters from fans and critics alike, letters which she’d thrown away, not wanting to be preached at, but letters that sometimes haunted her in sober times with both their conviction and their promise of purpose. Had she been seeking and not known it? Had He been seeking her? Was He answering a question she hadn’t even known she was asking? Or was He her answer?