The look on Telamakhe's face as she lay next to Peisistratos was the most relaxed and happy it had been since childhood. She almost tangibly glowed in the starlight. A single ray of moonlight filtered through the leaves of a laurel bush. Sparks of gold seemed to braid their way down the beam and gently wash over Telemakhe's features.

"Telemakhe, what are you doing here?" asked the grey-eyed deity, Athena.

Telemakhe felt strangely light when she sat up and tried to focus on the being before her. She felt more than awake and yet everything about her had a bright white and gold haze around it. "I don't know," said Telemakhe trying to gather her thoughts which seemed to be swirling around her head in ways they had never done before, "Maybe I do know, I'm not certain."

"Have you received news of your mother?" prodded Athena.

"Yes, I have," said Telemakhe.

"So how has it been, getting away from home?"

Telemakhe sat for a few moments until she felt she could construct a coherent sentence. Rubbing her eyes and shaking her head didn't seem to help where a quiet moment did. "I love Dad heaps, but it has been a relief to get away from both he and the suitors. I always had the impression from him that life is automatically and even necessarily a Greek tragedy. I find I can make of life whatever I choose and it doesn't have to be tragic."

"What if the suitors are squandering your household stores, threatening your father and planning to kill you?"

"Look I know things are tough," said Telemakhe, "But I don't have to anticipate a bad outcome. I'll do the best I can under the circumstances. Right now I'm just happy to have been in the arms of a really nice guy. In not too long I will probably be enjoying another yummy meal prepared by Menelaus' cook staff."

Athena laughed, then became serious. "You need to return home. The suitors are getting desperate and are planning to ambush you. Wait too long and they will plot to take over Ithaka without you. Here is what you do: sail in by night, land on the east side of the island and make your way to Eumaios the swineherd's home. Stay a day with him and then send him to tell your father you are all right. The rest we'll start sorting out when you get there. Do you understand?"

"Yes," said Telemakhe, "I believe I do."

"I will see to it that you remember my instructions when you awake," said Athena.

"You mean, I'm not awake?"

Telemakhe moaned in her sleep and rolled over. Peisistratos gave her a reassuring hug while repositioning himself close to her body.

Jiggety Jog.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps