Most people grow up listening to the stories of their mothers being in labor and their fathers frantically driving to the hospital. My story, however, begins at the foot of an olive tree with my father tripping over me. He likes to say that for a tiny thing wrapped in a thin blanket, I screamed with all the force of a thousand soldiers. I know now that I was probably left to die, unwanted for whatever reason by my birth parents, but my father would never say that.
My father would also never say that I was a pain in the butt growing up (he preferred words like “adventurous” and “strong-willed”). Nor would he mention the strange things that have happened with me. Like the time I ran out in the middle of a storm and was hit with a bolt of lightning. I was trapped as energy surged through me like a snake slithering through my veins. When the electricity reached my fingertips, it sparked, creating a tiny lightning bolt that flickered as I held it.
And then there was my gift of weaving. No one ever taught me how to weave, but my father would provide me with simple thread and I would transform them into elaborate tapestries, vivid war scenes in reds and greens. It was the profits we made from my art that kept us afloat when our olive plantation experienced a horrible drought one summer.
Strange happenings aside, I loved my life. My father was a simple man, but he was kind, and he didn’t deserve to die. Honestly, I’m not sure if I deserve to live either. I would’ve slept through the fire too if it hadn’t been for the owl pecking relentlessly at my window. It was the first time I’d ever seen an owl and he was beautiful with his sleek bronze feathers and piercing dark eyes. I climbed through my window, obeying the only thought clear in my mind: follow the owl. It wasn’t until we were a safe distance from the house that I looked back and registered the flames.
I haven’t looked back since, because I know the answers to my life are in front of me, if only I could catch them.
My name is Athena. This is my story.
© Jade M. Wong 2016
Today’s word prompt immediately made me think of Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War, and this story just tumbled out. Athena references abound!
July 25th’s Word: kinaadman (n.) knowledge, wisdom