I lie awake at night with the windows open, listening to the crickets chirp, to the leaves rustle, to the ghosts of my ancestors whisper in my ear, the ancestors who left the shores of Scotland chased by the woman whose hand and tongue abused them, ghosts who arrived on a foreign shore that was neither emerald nor argyle, carrying the weight of persecution. Homeless and afraid.

Their spirits speak to me, the brave souls that set out to find their Ithaca, the men and women who took a leap of faith, not wishing to face Scylla and Charybidis but not willing to subsist on lotus until they were entiely altered and defenseless. I hear them tell me to stop eating the crispy, mildy bittersweet fruit. I hear them tell me to set off into the unknown, to save myself from an assured demise. But they do know what I know. They do not know the purifying nature of the lotus fruit, how it can cleanse the body of waste, how it can flush out the free radicals that devour the soul.

I lie awake at night because I want to hear the ghosts speak to me. I want to speak to them. I want to tell them of my James, of the man who saved me from persecution, of the man who loved me, the only man who ever loved me. I want to tell them that I have finally found a home, a place where I am valued and safe.

I lie awake at night and speak to the ghosts because they let me speak...freely, uninhibitedly. They do not care that my mountain twang is occasionally evident, that I like to walk barefoot through the tall grass that speaks of being kissed gently by its lover, that I sometimes sip the fire that was the livelihood of my great-grandfather. They think nothing of my love for the banjo, my appreciation for a hand-stitched piece quilt...They like to hear me sing the gospel songs my grandmother placed upon my heart while trying to chase away fears of my father's hand and my mother's tongue. 

I lie awake at night, next to the man who saved me from a life of abject poverty, from blind ignorance, from abuse and starvation, from my mountain culture. And I tell the ghosts how fortunate I am to eat the lotus that has made me a rich, intelligent, cultured woman who has more shoes than she can count, more than she has ever worn.

I tell them I am home now because if I keep saying it over and over again someday I will believe it.

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