I am on my ancestral land. I recognized it in my bones and in my soul yesterday, as the taxi careened over a pot-holed road that brought me to my long-dead grandfather’s village. Relatives I didn’t know existed invited me into their home — and I KNEW them. Our shared genes vibrated in recognition. Our hearts rejoiced in reunion. An undercurrent of joy reverberated through the valley as we exchanged comfortable awkward words and began to know one another on this, here and now, plane.
When I woke today, my hosts were up and about their chores. I stepped out quietly and walked to the cemetery. Misha (my fourth-cousin-hostess’s husband) had taken me there yesterday (while she pulled together a feast, pretending it was no trouble at all), but I wanted to visit alone. I yearned to BE there.
Half the tombstones in the yard are marked with familiar names, for they appear in the nine-generation family tree my uncle prepared. Many of the dates are recent-ish, but I sought the older graves and found my great-grandmother’s marker. Perhaps the remains of earlier ancestors lie deeper, or nearby. I want to hear them. I want to feel them. I want to know their stories.
Leaning against the base of my great-grandmother’s monument, I gazed into the distance, wondering if my lifelong fancy for hills, mountains, and streams originates in my DNA, if some genetic code, passed from mothers to sons to daughters, dwells in me.
Movement disrupted my contemplation. A woman walked toward the church. I saw a flame burning in her chest, blinked, decided the sun must have been reflecting from a medallion, and turned, to avoid staring.
Most of the villagers gave me wide berth, though I knew they were curious about me, a rare visitor from the States. This woman walked directly to me. She nodded and, as I greeted her, lowered herself to sit beside me, so that our shoulders touched.
“Finally, you have answered the call,” she said.
I don’t like to be touched by strangers and tried to move away, but I was stuck, as if bolted to her. Normally, such a sensation would have led to panic, but I felt strangely calm.
“Your mother pulled our thread to the new land, as was required, but she believes the ties have been severed. They cannot be!”
The woman turned toward me. She placed two fingers at the base of my skull, two between me eyes. The world tilted. I felt myself falling and spinning. I was filled with light, then with darkness. The voices of multitudes reverberated in my head. “Щедротами,” they chanted, over and over.
Then, stillness. Silence. Me, collapsed in the old woman’s arms.
“The ancestors bless you with bounties.” She lay me on the ground in heap, and rose.
“Babusiu! Tell me one last thing,” I said. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Anastasia, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
- Word Count of 500. (SUGGESTED)
- Take your favorite quote from a movie and use it as inspiration for your entry this week. If you want more direction, make it the last sentence in your piece. (REQUIRED)
I welcome comments and feedback.
I love these words that Professor Dumbledore says to Harry Potter at the end of The Deathly Hallows. I changed the names to make it work in my story above.
“Professor! Tell me one last thing. Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”