*After Dinner Swim

AtlantisAthena did the dishes after dinner and poured herself a glass of wine. She wasn’t sure she was ready but there was no reason to delay any longer. She took a deep breath and opened the envelope. Her eyes glanced over the paragraphs explaining the test and jumped to the results.

Just as she had always believed, the people who raised her were not her biological parents. There was never a doubt that they loved her, but she always had a feeling that she was different. She questioned her mother once when she was a teen and was quickly and sternly rebuffed for asking. She never brought it up again.

When her father passed she discreetly trimmed a bit of his thumbnail and stored it in a sealed container. She did the same when her mother passed a month ago, and both were sent to a genetics lab.

The zero percent match was a bit disconcerting. She had imagined that there was some sort of relation to one of them. Perhaps she was the love-child of a relative and her parents had adopted her? Or maybe her mother had an affair and her father had raised her as his own? Her imagination had conjured up many possibilities over the years.

She was told that she was Italian and Portuguese and her black hair and olive skin made it plausible. Now she knew she was pure Greek.

“Greek? How did a full-blooded Greek come to live in Utah?” She couldn’t think of a single Greek person that she had ever met.

Athena turned to the second page. It was a list of DNA matches from the extensive database. She looked, blinked hard and looked again.

Seven siblings. All sisters. And no other matches.

This was too much. She grabbed her keys and headed to Bear Lake. It was her favorite place to think and in the warm months she swam. Spring hadn’t quite given in to summer, but she figured the cold water would clear her mind.

“For Fuck’s sake!” Athena swore, realizing that she had taken her swim bag out of her trunk in the winter and hadn’t put it back yet.

She surveyed the empty marina parking lot, quickly stripped down, strove to the small fishing dock, and dove in. The water was brisk, making her gasp as her head broke the surface. It felt delicious on her bare skin and she realized this was the first time she had swam completely naked.

She stroked effortlessly to the breakwater and pulled herself up on a rock. The full moon spread a white blanket on the dark ripples created by her body. She caught a glimpse of something shiny and realized it was on her foot. She quickly shook it but the iridescence remained. She flicked it with her hand and it didn’t move, seeminhly attached to her skin.

Frightened, she dove into the water and swam hard back to the dock. Under the fluorescent lights she saw nothing on her foot. Perhaps the whole DNA revelation had spooked her.

Home, showered, and in her jammies, she fired up her laptop and Googled “Greek Ancestry.”

The top of the search results read:
Ancient Greek DNA

The link lead to an article about Poseidon, Greek god of the sea. She laughed and scanned the words, coming to a list of his children.

Eight daughters by eight women; creatures of the sea. One that wasn’t considered his: Athena.

Things were about to get very interesting.

Written for the To Live & Write in Alameda November 2019 “Flash Lit” Challenge #1. We had three days to write a piece of fiction, non-fiction or poetry of 500 words or less to the theme “After Dinner” and post the link in our group. 


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