A Special Place--Part Fifty-one--Mary Kathryn
Every three days I got a general e-mail from Michael, written to the whole Fellowship. He was having a grand time. He wrote about his talks with the Abbot, working, playing and the services. He also said he was learning much about prayer which he was anxious to share with all the Fellowship. In the personal letters, he told me how happy he was, how excited about the future and never once mentioned what I wanted to hear about--his decision about the priesthood. I had once written to ask him about it, but thought better of it and deleted the question before I sent the e-mail. I guess Michael's not talking about the priesthood was ok because I didn't say very much about what I had observed about clergy wives. I mean, they were just like any other bunch of people. Some were great and one at least was an asshole.
I had always thought Bill was the most outgoing person I knew--well, Jacob equaled him--but I had never seen him as alive as he was the second week, during third and fourth grade camp, except maybe on the basketball court. The kids--boys and girls--worshipped him and he was truly amazing as he worked with them. He became a kid himself, but at the same time was very much the adult among his campers. His cabin was teamed with mine and we often did things together so I got a chance to really know him.
It was also obvious to me that Linda's and his relationship was growing in depth every single day. They often took a walk together after supper and while the whole camp was engaged in a common activity which did not require that all counselors be present. Linda had told me they had discovered a glade with a brook some distance from the camp and the camp trails. "It's a great place to talk and make love--no, not yet," she had quickly added.
Thursday afternoon, the central staff had arranged to take the campers into town for a movie which fit the camp theme. Counselors were told they had the afternoon off, but any who would volunteer to help shepherd the group were more than welcome. Linda and Bill had said at lunch they were torn two ways. They wanted the afternoon to themselves, but felt they needed to help out. "Look, has the central staff ever given us any real slack?" I asked. "If they wanted us all to go, we would have been told to go. If they have some hidden agenda concerning who is and who is not responsible, then I don't accept it. We have all done a good job and they have to know that. I'm going simply because I have nothing else I'd rather do. I think you two are crazy if you don't stay here."
When it was time to leave, Bill and Linda marched their campers into the staging area and Bill asked, "You'll keep a special eye out for my boys?"
"Promise. You two enjoy the glade," I added with a grin.
Bill gave me that smile that sends Linda into seventh heaven and said, "You better believe it," as he and Linda, holding hands, walked away. As the bus pulled out of the camp area, I saw Bill and Linda walking toward the glade. Bill had a blanket over his arm and the two were walking without looking where they were going since they were gazing into each other's eyes.
The movie was nothing special, but the kids enjoyed it while I daydreamed through it all. I was imagining that Michael and I, instead of Bill and Linda, were in a forest glade beside a brook.
As we were loading a bus to get back, I heard one of Bill's campers say, "I know Bill will be proud of us. We were the best-behaved cabin." He was right.
A Special Place--Part Fifty-one--Linda
While the bus was loading, Bill had gone to his cabin for a blanket and as the bus pulled out, we walked down the trail toward the glade. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and it was good to be alive--even better to be alive with my man walking beside me, holding my hand and giving me a gentle, soft kiss from time to time.
We left the trail and walked through the woods. There was life all around us. I could hear small animals scampering away, there were birds overhead and in the distance I heard the pounding of a woodpecker. As we approached the glade, Bill suddenly stopped and placed his hand over my mouth, then pointed. A doe and her fawn were standing in the center of the glade. We watched them for several minutes, then the wind changed and they caught our scent and bolted into the forest.
We walked into the glade where there was a bright spot of sun and Bill spread the blanket on the ground, dropped to it and pulled me to himself. The day we discovered the glade Bill had said, "One day I'm going to make love to you--all of you, heart, mind, body and soul--here". We had talked about having sex almost from the time we got together. Bill had made it very clear that he was not inexperienced in that department, but had also said it had always just been fucking. "There was never any real love involved," he had told me. "Don't get me wrong, I liked it and I miss it, but that's not what I am about with you." And he had meant that.
We had been together for a while before I told Bill I had also had sex before. Last year I was with a guy for a month or two and we had sex twice. "Believe me, Bill, it was nothing special."
Bill and I had many really hot make-out sessions since we got together and there were many times I was ready to go all the way. It had always been Bill who had backed off. Sometimes I was pissed when he did. He had me so hot I was ready to go gangbusters and he would back off. I even asked him once if there was something wrong with me. He had said, "No, Baby, that's the problem. Everything is right with you and our first time together has to be right too.
I knew the time would come and I had gotten myself on birth control several weeks ago. At least any time was the right time so far as I was concerned. I told Bill that and he had said, "Thanks, Baby". Well, we were alone in the spot Bill had picked, but we just sat talking--well, actually, it was very strange for me because I sat listening while Bill talked. He told me all sorts of funny things that had happened with "my boys", and how much he enjoyed being with them. "They are young and innocent and so full of life. I can just forget everything except enjoying being alive when I am with them."
"Well, I like that," I said and pounded him on his hard arm.
"You know what I mean," he laughed as he kissed me. "I never forget about you, day or night." His kiss led to another and then more and more. We were lying side by side, our legs intertwined, as our love-making became more intense. Bill reached out and took off my shirt, unhooked my bra and started kissing my breasts. As he looked into my eyes, his hand covered a breast as he said, "Linda, I love you, girl. I really truly love you. You know that, don't you?"
I answered by covering his mouth with mine as I unbuttoned his shirt. I have a thing about men's bare chests and a special thing about Bill's. It is hard, well-defined and smooth. His nipples are beautiful brown circles which are enough to make me want to eat him alive. When his shirt was off, I pulled his body atop mine and our bare chests met. I swear a bolt of electricity shot though my body as I felt his nipples against my breasts. My hands found the snap on his shorts and I unsnapped them and reached inside. My hand found what I was seeking. Bill's man's tool was wet and, as I grasped it, he groaned as he raised his hips and I slid his shorts from his long, strong legs.
Bill rolled to one side and I saw all my man's hard body beside me. He pulled my face to his and placed his lips against mine in a passionate kiss as his hands unbuttoned my shorts and took them from my body. We lay side by side, admiring the beauty and wonder of the one we loved. As I looked deeply into his eyes, I saw a question. My own eyes gave him his answer, "Yes". Bill's hand moved down my body, leaving a trail of tender touches until it found the soft hair surrounding my womanhood. He then touched lightly that spot which gives a woman great pleasure. As my hands explored his hard body, my lips covered his. When he touched that special place, I sucked his tongue deep into my mouth and took his manhood into my hand and an orgasm shot through my being.
Bill's love-making was ever so gentle and tender, his eyes telling me of his love, not lust. Unlike the boy with whom I had sex last year, Bill was in no rush. He was not all over me, but caressing my body, rubbing his face against mine, loving me. Again, I looked into his eyes and saw a question and, again, my answer was "Yes". Bill entered me slowly, gently, lovingly. As his manhood entered me, it filled an emptiness I had not known was there. I felt complete, loved, joyous. Having entered me fully, Bill was very still. I, too, lay still, enjoying the fullness I had not felt before. When he began, slowly, to move I thought I would pass out as wave after wave of pleasure and love filled my body. Another orgasm consumed me as Bill's thrusts became long and deep. He was moaning, "Linda, I love you, God I love you. I love your body, being united with you." His breathing was becoming heavy and his thrusting faster when, suddenly, his body shook and I felt his seed pouring into me. His pulsing sent another orgasm coursing through my body as I crushed his lips against mine. Careful not to put his full weight on me, he collapsed atop my body, his manhood still inside. His breathing gradually returned to normal and he started kissing me tenderly as I felt his now-limp manhood slip from me.
We again lay side by side, our legs interlocked, our arms about each other. Finally, he withdrew an arm and raised himself on an elbow and looked into my eyes. His were aglow, and he had that special "light up Linda's world" smile on his face. "Linda, you have made me so happy. I, now, for the first time, know what real making love is like and it is a thousand times more than I dreamed."
"Bill, I love you so much and you have shown me what it is to make love and to be made love to. And, yes, it is a thousand times more than I had dreamed it would be, and I have dreamed of it often!" I laughed and then kissed my lover, the love of my life.
We lay, naked, in the sunlight, silent, each just enjoying the presence of the other and the feel of our two bodies touching. As we lay silent, the doe and her fawn ventured in the glade, looked at us and turned and walked away. "She came to give us her blessing," I said to Bill who looked at me and smiled.
Well, we were two nearly-eighteen-year-olds in love, so what might have been predicted, happened: we made love again. There was no rush and everything we did leading up to Bill entering me a second time was beautiful and loving.
Too soon it was time to go. We had spent all afternoon in the glade and I could have stayed forever. When I said that to Bill, he smiled and said, "Lin, there are other places and other times. This was just the beginning of our making love." We dressed and, holding hands, walked out of the glade. When we were at its edge, we turned and looked back. The sun was still lingering on the spot where we had been united and consummated our love.
When we got back to camp, the kids had not returned and there was no-one else in evidence. Bill looked at me with an evil grin on his face, grabbed my hand and raced toward the bathhouse. When we reached it, he pulled me into the men's showers with him and we had a wonderful time washing each other's body. When we heard the bus come into the camp, we grabbed towels, quickly dried and dressed, and raced to the area where the kids were piling off the bus. When Mary Kathryn walked up to us, she smiled and said, "I think I detect a glow about you two I haven't seen before".
"Might well be," Bill said.
Later, as we were walking to the cabins after the day was over, Mary Kathryn said, "Well?"
I knew there was no use playing games with Mary Kathryn, but all I said was, "Mary Kathryn, never, never, ever do anything that would not make your first time with Michael special. It is magic, pure magic." Mary Kathryn smiled and said nothing.
Saturday, Bill left for basketball camp and I knew I would miss him. We hadn't had an opportunity to make love--I mean beyond some heavy making out when we could escape the campers and staff--but, as he got in his car, he said, "Love you, Lin, see you next weekend. I'll leave basketball camp as soon as I can Saturday and pick you and Mary Kathryn up. I don't have to be back in basketball camp until Sunday night.
It didn't turn out that way since his camp's director had arranged a couple games between camps for the weekend so all I got was a phone call. Dad came to pick up Mary Kathryn and me.
After a week with middle school girls, we were both convinced that was where we should be headed. Middle schoolers have so much trouble being adults and children at the same time that they are always interesting.
By the way, Mary Kathryn had met more clergy wives and was finally convinced she could handle being one since, as she said, all it took was being yourself.
We got home late Sunday afternoon and had decided we would volunteer to work with the day camp at St. Mary's while we were waiting for Michael and Bill to get back.
Bill got back the following Saturday and we spent a good part of Saturday night at the falls. Our first time had been special, but so was our second time in that special place. Sunday, after church, Bill and I invited Mary Kathryn to go to Lexington with us to hang out at the mall, have dinner and take in a movie. Afterwards, she stayed over with me and we went to St. Mary's as usual Monday morning. Bill came by and was immediately roped into helping with the day camp. Needless to say, he headed for the third and fourth graders group.
A Special Place--Part Fifty-one--Michael
I was in my last week at the Abbey. I had really missed Mary Kathryn, but I had also really enjoyed my stay. I had loved working, playing and, yes, praying with the monks. My talks with the Abbot had covered just about every topic under the sun except one. We had not talked about my becoming a priest. It just hadn't seemed important for some reason.
My e-mails to the Fellowship were about what I had been doing, but mostly about what I had been thinking. The Fellowship kept me posted on what was going on with them. I was sorry to hear Millie had had an accident, but couldn't help but laugh when I read how it had happened. I was interested in the direction Paula and Jacob seemed to be headed. It sounded good. I did some worrying about Matt as I read between the lines about his roommate. Eugene had decided--encouraged by Larry--to go to band camp for two weeks after the trial was over.
I got a real kick out of Mary Kathryn's discovery that priests' wives were just like regular people. She had said Linda's and Bill's relationship had deepened greatly. Luke had written about a girl's attempt to seduce him, but then they had become great friends. All in all, things seemed well.
The Saturday before I was to leave, the Abbot sent word he wanted to see me. When I reached his office he said, "Michael, you will be leaving Monday after Mass. I will not be here. I'm leaving this afternoon to do some work with a parish in Chicago and I wanted to see you before I left. You've lived here a month and we have talked about everything except the reason you thought you came here. Have you made a decision?"
"Father, I don't think I am any closer than the day I arrived. I have learned a lot. I see theology and religion--and you know what I mean by that--much clearer but, no, I haven't made a decision. That's not quite right, I have made a decision--maybe just strengthened my decision--to strive to be a spirit man, but how? I don't know.
"Good. You have two more years of high school and four years of college before seminary should you choose to become a priest. Those should be years of exploring, wondering, thinking, living. If it is intended you should be a priest, you'll know it. I don't mean you'll see writing in the sky or anything like that. Nor, I suspect, will it be a choice like deciding whether to become a doctor or lawyer. You'll know. There's something special about you, something I don't understand and have never experienced before, but it's there and you will know. We--I--will miss you around here. I said when you came you would be a breath of fresh air and you have been. I only hope you have received as much as you have given." He stood and so did I. As I stood, he walked toward me and hugged me. I then knelt and he placed his hand on my head and blessed me. It just seemed so natural.
I woke up early Sunday morning--long before time--with a strange feeling. Something was wrong but I didn't know what. I went back to sleep and had very disturbing dreams--but when I woke up I couldn't remember them. I went to Mass and prayed that all was well with the family and the Fellowship--but all day I was haunted with a feeling of uneasiness.
After Mass Monday, Brother Gregory and Brother Anselm took me to the airport for my flight home. When I reached the hub, my flight had been cancelled because of fog and I couldn't get a flight until mid-afternoon. I phoned home and Yong Jin answered the phone. "Everything all right?" I asked, with a strange feeling it wasn't.
"Everything's under control," she said. I told her my flight had been delayed and she said someone would meet me in Jackson.
A Special Place--Part Fifty-one--Greywolf
"Transportation is quickly becoming a problem," I thought as I got ready to go pick up Luke in Jackson. Michael had been due shortly after I was to pick up Luke, but his plane had been delayed and wouldn't arrive until early evening. From my conversation with Taequo, I was sure Luke didn't need to hang around Jackson waiting for him, and all the Fellowship were scattered to the four winds. David and Margaret were both on duty and Yong Jin needed to be with Matt. Finally, I called Fr. Tom and he volunteered to pick up Michael. With that settled, I took off for Jackson.
I had been waiting a very short time before the eighteen-wheeler pulled into the parking lot. Taequo sent Luke on an errand and, in the short time we had, said, "Greywolf, we don't have time to talk but I can tell you Luke is in bad shape. I don't think he has any idea how serious it is. You know he has power?" I nodded. "There is a struggle going on to destroy that in him. Don't let it happen."
I caught sight of Luke out of the corner of my eye and said, "Here's my phone number. When you get a chance, give me a call."
"I'll call when I stop for the night." He hugged Luke and left.
Luke said nothing for a long time after we got in the car. It was going to be a long trip, I thought. Finally he said, "Greywolf, did Taequo tell you?"
"Tell me what?"
"What I did."
"No, he just said you were hurting."
"I am, but I don't think I can talk about it. That's strange because yesterday and last night I talked to Taequo and two of his friends and felt better."
"Sometimes it's easier to talk to someone we have just met than to someone we know," I said.
"I hadn't thought about that, but it's true. On my way down to Sarasota I sat beside Janet, a girl who was going to Ringling too, and I told her everything."
"Luke, when and if you are ready to talk to me I am here, otherwise, I'll ask you nothing."
Again we were both silent for a long time. I looked sideways at Luke and saw tears running down his face. "Greywolf, I have betrayed Matt. I was unfaithful." The words started tumbling out and the tears flowed freely. Luke talked without stopping until we had passed Lexington. When he became silent again, I looked at him and saw that his talking had not helped him. He was obviously miserable. Before I could say anything Luke said, "Greywolf, please keep all that between us. Maybe I will tell someone else but not now and, please, please don't tell Matt."
"It's safe with me," I said, "but I think you should talk to Matt."
"Greywolf, I am not sure I will ever be able to face Matt again, much less talk with him." I started to say something about their love and the power it had, but didn't. At that point I think Luke was unable to hear it.
When we passed my place, Matt's Jeep was in the drive. Luke was carefully not looking in the direction of our house and I said nothing.
When Luke reached his place, he spoke to Margaret and David briefly and went upstairs. "I hope you won't leave him alone tonight," I said. "He is a very sick young man--emotionally." Margaret nodded and said, "I'll check on him later. Jens and Gabrielle have taken care of things in Florida and will be back tomorrow. I had to give Matt a very strong sedative and David and Yong Jin took him home. He, too, is an emotional wreck. My heart bleeds for both of them, but right now I don't think there is anything we can do." I agreed and left for home.
Yong Jin met me at the door and started crying. "Greywolf, our baby is hurting so bad. He blames himself for everything that has happened."
I went upstairs and saw my Beloved Treasure lying on his bed in a fetal position and, even in his sleep, sobbing.
Taequo called a couple hours later and we talked at length. He asked me if Matt knew that Luke was special, that he had power. I told him about what had happened with Michael and the fact that Matt had Korean shaman ancestors as well as Lakota ones.
"Then you know that both are in great danger. Twice their power has almost led to death--twice Luke has attempted to take his life, and if he dies much of who and what Matt is dies as well. It is going to take powerful medicine to prevent their power being taken from them."
"I know. And I will do all in my power to protect them. And they have protectors, else why would you have been there to save Luke?"
"I have thought about that. I shouldn't have been. I should have taken a different route that night but, when the highway forked, I took that route and only after I was on it did I realize I hadn't intended to be. I will be in touch and if you need to contact me, give me a call." He gave me his cell phone number and we said goodbye.
The next morning I checked on Luke and Margaret said he had waked up screaming and she had given him a sedative and he was still asleep. "What are we going to do, Greywolf?"
"We are going to wait. There is little else we can do right now. Tonight we will all be home. Maybe we can make some decisions then, but I think it is really out of our hands. Does Mary Kathryn know, or what does she know?"
"All I told her was that Luke had decided to come home and was not well. I suggested she not try to see him so she went on to St. Mary's. David is off today and is going to pick up Jens and Gabrielle. We asked Fr. Tom to have Michael stay over with him last night under the pretence of their having a talk this morning. Fr. Tom will tell him, briefly, what has happened and suggest he might want to stay with Mary Kathryn at the day camp until she is ready to come home. Frankly, Greywolf, I feel in over my head."
"So do I," I replied.
A Special Place--Part Fifty-one--Luke
When I got home, the whole mess I had created piled on me again. I was hardly civil to David and Margaret and didn't even ask about Mom and Dad and why David and Margaret were at our place. I went to my room and flopped on my bed and cried until I was so exhausted I fell asleep. As soon as I was asleep, I had the same nightmare--Rich had his cock up my ass and I was screaming for him to fuck me. I screamed so loudly I woke myself up and dissolved into tears again. Once again I fell asleep and the same nightmare returned. This time my screaming was loud enough to be heard downstairs and Margaret came up and tried to comfort me, but I could not be comforted. Finally she gave me a shot and I sank into blackness--no dreams, no nightmares, nothing.
A Special Place--Part Fifty-one--Margaret
Tuesday night there was a family meeting at our place. The whole family was there except Luke and Matt. No-one wanted to leave them alone so we called on our old standbys, Chelsea and Gladys. Jens had told them briefly what had happened and asked if they could come to stay with the two. "There will be no need to do anything since neither will get out of bed. They just lie there in a fetal position and cry from time to time. Margaret will leave shots should they be needed. Luke seems to have nightmares which terrify him, but Matt just lies there." Of course they were there in minutes, Gladys at Luke's, Chelsea at Matt's bedsides.
When we had eaten--sandwiches and not much of them--Jens and Gabrielle told us what they had found out. "From what Douglas and Janet told us, we can pretty much guess what we don't know. Matt had written Luke an e-mail which Luke had only partially read, getting the impression Matt and his roommate at Sewanee had engaged in sexual activity--mutual masturbation. Luke became angry and accepted an invitation from his teacher to go to a gay night club where he had gone the week before. Luke had a fake I.D. and had gotten drunk the week before, but Saturday night he really tied one on. They went back to the teacher's apartment--the teacher is gay--and here I'm just assuming--where Luke and the teacher engaged in sex--one way or another. Luke went back to the dorm and discovered a printed copy of Matt's e-mail and realized that Matt had called a halt before he and his roommate had actually completed what the roommate started. Realizing Matt had not been unfaithful to him, but he had been unfaithful to Matt, Luke ran away and was caught just before he drowned himself. Now both are blaming themselves for what happened. I don't think there's even a question of forgiving each other because both see the other as innocent. Well, Matt may not see Luke as innocent, but sees himself as the cause of Luke's being unfaithful--which amounts to the same thing. It's one hell of a mess."
There was a lot of talk, but no-one had a clue as to what could be done. Michael finally said, "Look, it's something they are going to have to resolve. Maybe we can help, but they have to resolve it. I think anything we try to do will only backfire." I knew he was probably right, but I didn't like to hear it said.
"Margaret, how long can they go on as they are?" Yong Jin asked.
"Longer than I like to think," I responded. "But I'd say if there is no change in a day or so, then we'll have to take some action. Right now, I think we can just help when they are overcome by their demons--I mean sedation." And that was the way it was left.
There was no change in the two Wednesday. Both stayed curled up in bed, getting up only to go to the bathroom. I hoped they were at least drinking water when they went. Thursday, when I checked mid-morning, there had been no change. Matt slept, now crying in his sleep, and Luke had to be sedated to keep the nightmares away. I decided that unless there was a change Saturday morning, I was going to hospitalize them.
A Special Place--Part Fifty-one--Yong Jin
Margaret had said that if there was no change in the boys Saturday she was going to hospitalize them. Well, there was no change in Matt when I checked on him when I got up. I couldn't see how he had any tears left, but he was curled into a knot in the middle of his bed, with tears rolling down his cheeks. He was asleep, but still crying. Since I didn't know what to say, I said nothing, but thought, "Sarang Hanun Pomul, I would take your place if I could take the hurt away," and went back downstairs. Matt hadn't spoken since Monday night when Margaret had given him a shot other than to whisper, 'It's my fault, Luke, it's my fault." Luke, so far as Gabrielle knew, had not spoken at all.
I went downstairs and took the cup of coffee Greywolf handed me. His eyes asked a question and I just shook my head. We sat in silence then Greywolf looked up as if he had heard something, got up and walked to the front door. I heard him speak some words in what I was sure was Lakota and when he came back into the kitchen, he was accompanied by an ancient Indian. Without being told, I know it was Red Hawk, the medicine man who had helped Greywolf overcome being abused. No wonder he looked ancient. He had to be over a hundred, I was sure. Greywolf handed him a cup of coffee and he sat down.
I don't know what I expected--movie Indian language I guess, but after Greywolf introduced us, he spoke beautiful, if amusing at times, English with the lilt of a Lakota. "The gray wolf came to me in a vision Monday," he said, "and told me to come".
"How did you find us?" I asked.
He laughed, "The gray wolf told me. Well, actually, he told me to go to the library and use the internet. Not many Patanka St. Michael Greywolfs so it was easy. Getting here was the problem. I am a warrior 'most all the time, but this Indian is not getting on a plane. So tell me, Greywolf, why am I here?"
Greywolf told him the situation and of his conversation with Taequo. When he finished, Red Hawk said, "So we have two medicine men who don't know it..."
"Not sure about that," Greywolf interrupted and told him about Michael.
"...who have power and were led to use it, but not understand it. They are linked and, when separated, the no-good spirits can get at them. Greywolf, you never have given me an easy task. This is going to be tough. Mrs. Greywolf, you might whip up some bacon and eggs 'cause I'm going to need to eat," he laughed.
Eat he did. And after a few more cups of coffee, he said, "Well, I guess I need to earn my keep. The gray wolf told me there was a sacred place here."
"I know," Greywolf said. I looked at him in surprise and he merely shrugged.
"I'll need a sweat lodge there this evening. There's another young man around here somewhere who has received power from Matt. Now that's a strange kid, Mrs. Greywolf..."
"Yong Jin, please," I said.
"Korean, right?" he asked. I nodded. "Thought so. Shaman family?" I nodded again. "That's what the gray wolf told me, but I didn't believe him. He likes to play tricks on this old Indian sometimes. That's why Matt can give power to others--the Korean shaman side, I mean. Greywolf, he's to help you build the sweat lodge--the other one I mean, Michael. Yong Jin, call that doctor and tell her I'm here and no drugs for Luke today. Also, we're going to need one hell of a supper about 10:00 tonight. Right now I'm going to take a nap. Can't sleep on a damn bus." With those words, he went into the living room and curled up on the floor and was asleep in thirty seconds or less. It was then that I noticed a large pack he had left by the front door.
"It's going to be a long day," Greywolf said, "but it will be a great one."
Greywolf called Michael and told him they had a job to do, kissed me and walked out the door. As he left, I thought to myself, "I wonder if living with Patanka St. Michael Greywolf will ever get dull?" then shook my head because I knew it wouldn't, even when we were as old as Red Hawk.
A Special Place--Part Fifty-one--Michael
I was still asleep when Greywolf called. Mom yelled upstairs the phone was for me. "Holy shit, who's calling me before God and I got up? It was as bad as being at the Abbey. That early morning business," I thought, "was about the only thing I had really disliked--well, there was washing the pots and pans in the kitchen too." I picked up the phone, dropped it and, when I had retrieved it, said, "Hello".
"Michael, what are you doing in bed? The lark is on the wing, day is at hand," I heard Greywolf say.
"Greywolf, you commune with the frigging larks, I'm communing with my bed."
Greywolf laughed and then sounded very serious when he said, "Michael, you and I have a job to do today, an important one. Can you come over in, say, an hour?"
"Of course I can, Greywolf," I answered, wondering what this important job could be, "if it's important. What's so important?"
"Think I'll wait and let someone else explain. Sharpen up a hatchet and bring it. See you in an hour."
I was still half asleep and almost turned over and went back to dreamland but, just before I did, dragged myself out of bed, went downstairs and told Mom and Dad what Greywolf had said.
It was Dad's turn to do breakfast and it was about finished, but he added more bacon to the skillet and broke three or four more eggs since I would be eating. As he worked at getting breakfast ready, Mom was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. I grabbed a cup and joined her. "Why are you up so early?"
"It's Greywolf. He said we had an important job to do today, but wouldn't say what it was. Said someone else would tell me later. Don't you know what is going on?"
"No. I called a few minutes before he did to check on Matt and Luke. Greywolf said both were the same--he had talked to Jens who is really beside himself--but that the boys weren't going to the hospital today and asked me to come by after work to discuss what was going on. He was pretty mysterious about it."
We ate and Mom and Dad left for work. I showered--still hadn't shaved and had a good start on a beard, of course it was so blond it didn't show up very well, but Mary Kathryn loved it--and got dressed. I went to the workshop and checked the hatchet. As always it was already sharpened. Dad was not really rigid about most things, but taking care of tools wasn't one of them. His tools were always where they were supposed to be and in good shape.
I decided to run to the Greywolfs' since I wasn't getting much running in, but thought better of it when I looked at the hatchet, but I did walk.
When I opened the door and walked in, there was an old--and I mean old--Indian lying on the living room floor. As soon as I stepped inside he sat up, wide awake, and said, "Good morning, Michael, glad you could come". I knew Greywolf might have told him something about me, but how did he know my name? How did he know who I was? As if in answer, he said, "Oh, I know a lot about you Michael. The gray wolf told me. I'm Red Hawk."
We walked into the kitchen and Greywolf said, "Red Hawk, this is..."
"I know. Michael. I sent for him you know." He sat down at the table and said, "Yong Jin, I'll have another cup of coffee". Yong Jin prepared fresh coffee and Greywolf, Red Hawk and I sat at the table, silent, until the coffee was made and we each had a cup.
"Michael, you know you share in Luke's and Matt's power, don't you?" I had a feeling there was something which connected me to Luke and Matt more than just being brothers, and at times I had a sense of something strange about myself, but I never thought much about it.
"I never really thought about it a whole lot," I said.
"Michael, you know what Matt and Luke did for you. The circle has moved and now it is time for you to help heal them. They are in as much danger as you were, but it's not physical--well, there may be physical results, but it's not physical. Luke would have drowned had his protector not sent someone, but his drowning would have been more than physical. Do you have any idea of what I mean?"
"Yes," I replied because I did. I didn't know how, but I did.
"Matt once told you you were a spirit man and you are. You are a real spirit warrior and we have a great battle on our hands. I think maybe we can win, but it's going to be a rough weekend so let's get started. Yong Jin, we will be fasting the rest of the day," he said and got up and walked toward the door headed, I knew, straight to the falls. Both he and Greywolf picked up shovels lying by the front walk and Greywolf handed me a pitchfork. As he handed it to me, I asked, "Could I please just know what the hell is going on? I'm in the dark."
"Not as in the dark as you think," Red Hawk replied. "You'll know when it is time. There is a time for everything." After that, I kept my mouth shut and we three walked to the falls. When we reached the falls, Red Hawk nodded several times and said, "Yes, this is the place the gray wolf showed me. Now I will pick the spot. Chanting under his breath, he walked around the beach surrounding the falls for several minutes. This whole process got stranger and stranger. Finally he stopped, marked a spot on the ground with his shovel and nodded to Greywolf. He then walked several feet to the east of the spot he had marked and made another mark. "We have found the place. Now it is time to pray by working. The spirits and protectors can't do everything." I was ready to go to work, doing I didn't know what, when Red Hawk sat down and Greywolf and I joined him.
"Michael, we are holding an inipi--a sweat lodge ceremony--here tonight," Red Hawk said. I had once heard Greywolf describe the inipi, but at the time it was just something Indians did and I hadn't paid that much attention to what he had said. Now Red Hawk explained the ceremony in detail.
When he finished, I asked, "This is for Matt and Luke?"
"No, it's for me, you and Greywolf. Matt and Luke are not ready."
"But who's going to be the gate keeper and the fire keeper?" I asked.
"I'm not sure, but he will be sent," Red Hawk responded. "Now let's get the lodge ready. Greywolf will take care of the fire pit, I'll construct the lodge and, while I dig the pit for the stones, you are to cut willows. We need eight straight willow saplings at least twelve feet long and another dozen or so eight to twelve feet long. Search for them along the river."
I walked along the river bank, finding willows of the size Red Hawk had specified. When I had eight long ones, I dragged them back to the falls. When I got back, Red Hawk had dug a pit where he had made the first mark and Greywolf had dug a pit at the second mark. Both men had gathered wood and started a fire in the pit Greywolf had dug and were bringing stones and putting them beside the fire pit. When I returned with the second load of willows, Red Hawk had arranged the eight I had brought previously in a circle and was tying them together to form a dome. He took the ones I was carrying and I helped him tie them to the ribs of the dome, holding it all together. More wood had been added to the fire and it was rapidly becoming a bed of red hot coals. Greywolf appeared, just as we had completed the framework of the dome, carrying several tarps. He and Red Hawk quickly attached them to the framework. When I looked inside I saw that the only light visible was that from the opening where I was standing, where the flap was turned back.
"I guess that's it," Red Hawk said, "except to add more fuel to the fire". He and Greywolf quickly added more wood to the pit.
"Time to break for lunch," I said.
"We're fasting," Red Hawk said. "Remember?"
"We're fasting?" I asked. Red Hawk smiled and nodded.
"Time to attend to the two boys," he said. "Greywolf, will you tend the fire until the fire keeper arrives?"
Greywolf nodded and Red Hawk motioned to me and we walked to the Greywolfs' place. When we arrived, Yong Jin was in the kitchen. "Yong Jin, I need your kitchen," he said. Yong Jin nodded and left. Red Hawk put a pot of water on the stove and, when it was boiling, took several bundles from his pack and placed some from each of them into the boiling water. "Matt and Luke need to be nourished. They haven't eaten in almost a week." When the pot was boiling again, Red Hawk handed me another package and said, "Add this, stir well and, when it has boiled again, take it off the stove, put half of it in a bowl and bring it up". He then went upstairs.
Shortly after he was gone, I smelled the scent of burning cedar and sweet grass and heard, very faintly, Red Hawk chanting. I did as Red Hawk had told me and took the steaming bowl upstairs. When I opened the door to Matt's room, it was filled with smoke from a bowl of smoldering sweet grass and cedar. Matt was lying on his back, naked, as if he was sleeping peacefully in the middle of his bed. Red Hawk was chanting and waving the wing of a large bird over him, fanning the smoke over his body. Since I hadn't been told to do anything other than bring the bowl up, I just stood holding it. I remembered how hot it had been, but it wasn't burning me. I guess the thick bowl prevented that. I stood, holding the bowl for what seemed like an hour and I know it was at least half an hour. Red Hawk finally stopped chanting, leaned over and blew into Matt's face three times. As he did, Matt slowly opened his eyes. Red Hawk motioned to me and I took the bowl to him. He put his arm under Matt's neck and lifted him into a sitting position. He placed the bowl to Matt's lips and said, "Drink!". Matt started drinking the liquid and might have stopped, but Red Hawk held the bowl to his lips and had his arm firmly around Matt's neck. To tell the truth, Matt had two choices: he could drink or he could have his naked lap filled with hot liquid. He drank.
The bowl was empty when Red Hawk took it from Matt's lips. When he took his arm from around Matt, Matt started to lie down. "Sit up!" Red Hawk said in a voice that allowed no options. Matt sat. Red Hawk indicated Matt's desk chair and I brought it to him. He placed it by the bed and sat down. He sat, watching Matt, for several minutes and then said, "Ok, you now have something to start you back on the road to being a human being. Go to the bathroom and take a shower. No hot water and no soap, just cold water." When Matt made no move to get up, Red Hawk said, "Do it now!" Matt obeyed.
While he was gone, Red Hawk opened the windows and allowed the smoke to escape but, of course, the room was still filled with the scent of burning sweet grass and cedar. Matt returned, wet and shivering. "Get a towel," Red Hawk said to me. When I brought one, he dried Matt, rubbing his body vigorously. When he finished he said, "Get dressed". Matt still had not spoken a word, but he got dressed. "Come downstairs with us," Red Hawk commanded. Matt followed us down the stairs. When we reached the kitchen, Yong Jin was there and Red Hawk said to her, "We're fasting, he's eating. Feed him. Matt, you can go where you please except you are not to see Luke until 10:00 tonight when we have dinner, and you are not to speak to him until I say you can." Matt nodded. Red Hawk turned to me and said, "Bring the pot. We have another man to tend to."
At the Larsens', Red Hawk just walked in the way any member of the family would do, nodded to Gabrielle who had been staying home with Luke, and gave her the pot with instructions to heat it to boiling and pour it into a bowl. "Michael will come for it when it is needed," and, with those words, he went upstairs straight to Luke's room.
Luke lay on his bed, curled into a fetal position. Occasionally he would cry out, but I didn't understand what he was saying. Red Hawk started chanting as he placed the bowl he had used before on Luke's bedside table and lit braided sweet grass and strips of cedar. As the smoke began to rise from the bowl, he used the bird's wing to fan it over Luke's body. Gradually Luke uncurled, turned to lay on his back and looked as Matt had when I had gone into his room. Red Hawk continued chanting and waving the smoke over Luke, I am sure, much longer than he had over Matt, but finally he gave me a signal and I went downstairs for the bowl. He did exactly the same thing for Luke as he had done for Matt, and got the same results. After telling Gabrielle to feed Luke, and after saying the same thing to Luke as he had said to Matt, we left.
I started to not ask him what he had done, but I wanted to know. Red Hawk laughed, "Well, I guess I could make up some mumbo jumbo but it's fairly simple. "The chanting and incense were to calm the boys' spirits. Kind of like a Lakota tranquilizer, but more spirit than drug. The liquid had some herbs to make sure their stomachs wouldn't object to food after being empty so long, and a kind of Lakota energy bar soup. They are very weak, but that food will keep a healthy man going for a very long time. There's also a little something to make them hungry so they will eat even if their emotions tell them not to."
"But neither of them spoke, and you told them they weren't to speak to each other until you said they could. Why's that?"
"Because they don't want to and don't need to. Right now their words would only wound--themselves and each other. Let's check on the sweat lodge."
Greywolf was tending the fire which, now, was a huge bed of hot coals. The rocks could not be seen since they were now buried under the coals. Red Hawk answered the unasked question on Greywolf's face, "The boys are up and their mothers are feeding them. They are ok for the time being. Everything looks ready. The fire tender should be arriving soon."
The words were hardly out of his mouth when an Indian walked out of the cane brake. He was dressed as an Indian, unlike Red Hawk who was wearing a pair of very old jeans and an ancient checked shirt. "Taequo, I knew it would be you who showed up. The gray wolf told me."
"You old son of a bitch," Taequo said as he hugged Red Hawk. "I was looking forward to a good long weekend of fun and instead I had to hop a plane. You Lakota sure know how to ruin a fellow's playtime."
"Someone should have ruined some of your playtime years ago so you're having to pay now," Red Hawk laughed. It was obvious the two were old friends and loved each other very much. I never thought you could call someone a son of a bitch and show deep, deep respect, but Taequo had just demonstrated that it could be done.
Taequo turned to me and said, "Michael, I'm Taequo. I pulled your brother's ass from the brink of destruction but, apparently, didn't complete the job. I am glad to meet you. Understand you just got back from a month with a bunch of monks and walked into this mess. Well, I guess you white folks are just going to have to learn that being a medicine man means you no longer belong to yourself. Hope that wild woman understands because she may as well get used to it."
I was wondering how Taequo knew who I was--my name and, it seemed, everything about me. Red Hawk said, "Luke told him much of what he knows, but I told him what the gray wolf told me." The old Indian was a mind reader? "No, I just listen when I am told something," he answered again, even as the thought formed in my mind.
I finally had had enough and said, "Ok, I've gone along with all this and I have seen results, but can I have some answers. For starters, who is this Greywolf guy who has been telling you things. I mean, has Greywolf been talking to you?"
Taequo laughed and said, "Not a person named Greywolf, but the gray wolf. It's Patanka's and Red Hawk's protector. Probably an ancestor or it may be a spirit gray wolf. Doesn't matter."
"He came to me in a dream--well, not really a dream, it was a vision, and told me I was needed here and told me the situation pretty much. He also told me about you and your connection with Matt and Luke. You'll never have the power they have, but you have much--very much--and anyone with power can use it for good or bad. There are bad spirits who try to make you doubt your power, use it wrongly or, perhaps worse, deny it and not use it at all. Your brothers may think only they are involved in their present trial, but much more is at stake. Twice the bad spirits have almost destroyed Luke knowing that, if they can, they will also destroy Matt and make your power so weak as to be useless. Yes, much is at stake here. My heart rejoices that you are here, Taequo, my brother," Red Hawk said, and embraced Taequo again. "It will be a good sweat. Let's swim."
I thought to myself, "I hope to hell Red Hawk doesn't drive the way he makes turns without signaling!" He looked at me, winked, stripped and dived into the water. We all quickly followed suit and I was surprised how refreshing the swim was. Red Hawk, Taequo and Greywolf were acting as if they didn't have a care in the world--strange. At least it was strange until I realized I felt the same way. By the way, don't ever try to duck an old Indian medicine man. I thought I was in good shape, but when we were horsing around, I tried to duck him and he immediately put me ass over head into the water and held me there until I came up spluttering. When I did, he laughed a deep, roaring belly laugh. "Indians one, white man zero," he shouted and laughed again.
After we had swum for a good long time, we got out of the water and sat in the late afternoon sun. "Ok, now here's what we're going to do," Red Hawk said. "Tonight, Greywolf, Michael and I will do a sweat while Taequo is fire and door keeper. When we finish the sweat, we eat. Tomorrow morning, we greet the sun, swim and get dressed for church."
"Get dressed for church?" I asked, not believing what I was hearing. "After all this Lakota stuff, we're going to church?"
"You got a problem with church, Michael?" Red Hawk asked.
"Well, no, of course not, but I mean you are a Lakota medicine man."
"I'm also an ex-drunk, a father, grandfather, great-grandfather and maybe a great-great-grandfather. I also happen to have been a damn good Episcopalian since I was a week old or so. Even tried being a monk for a year, but I do love women. Of course, I had to pick one that didn't understand why I should share myself so there were a lot of disappointed, beautiful women when I was young--like sixty or so." He then laughed that great belly laugh. "Anyway, tonight is to purify the three of us and to pray for our own healing as well as for the healing of Luke and Matt. Tomorrow church. We need all the help we can get."
"You're assuming Luke and Matt will go," I said.
"They'll go," Taequo said. His voice left little doubt. "That's a worry you can put out of your mind."
"They'll get fed well tomorrow and fast Monday. Monday night we will do a sweat with them. Greywolf will be fire and door keeper and you, Michael, will do the ceremony. I will be occupied otherwise I fear. Taequo, you will still be here? Taequo nodded. "Good, I think I'm going to need help during the sweat. Michael, I'll teach you the ceremony between now and then. Also, you'll need to bring Mary Kathryn with you because a sweat really does need a woman. Tonight Yong Jin will do the woman's part."
"Problem," Greywolf said. "Yong Jin is on her moon."
Once again I felt like a stranger in a strange land and even more so when Red hawk asked me, "How about Mary Kathryn? Is she on her moon?"
"How the hell would I know. I don't know anything about being on the moon!"
"The kid has a temper," Red Hawk laughed. "On her moon--you know, having her period."
"And just how the hell would I know that?" I was still hot under the collar.
"Sorry, I guess I assumed you two were playing around. If you were, you'd know, especially if she was supposed to be and was not," Red Hawk laughed again. "Check that out for us and let us know. I'll need to instruct her about what to do. "Well," he said, looking at the sky, "we have two hours by the sun before we begin. Taequo, you need to meet Matt and Yong Jin, then Luke and his parents. Greywolf, you need to talk to the Larsens and Andrews. Michael, check on your wild woman. If she's not on her moon, come back in an hour and a half. If she is, maybe Luke's mom can do it, but I rather not. She might be too involved in what's going on with Luke. Yong Jin has enough shaman in her background to put such concerns out of her mind. I'm going to take a nap." Red Hawk immediately stretched out on the sandy beach, still naked, and was asleep before his head hit the sand.
Taequo went to the Greywolfs' and Greywolf and I headed for the Larsens'. Greywolf stayed downstairs talking with Jens and Gabrielle. As I passed Luke's room, I saw he was stretched out on his bed, looking at the ceiling. I did not disturb him, but went to Mary Kathryn's room. She was sitting on her bed, reading, when I walked in. I walked over, sat beside her and gave her a real kiss. Before things got out of hand, and I knew they could and would quickly--after all, we had been separated a month and now had a mess to deal with--I asked, "Mary Kathryn, are you on your moon?" half expecting her to look at me like I was crazy.
"No, why do you ask? Afraid I had gotten pregnant while you were gone?"
I was taken aback a bit and stammered, "No, I hadn't even thought about that. And, frankly, I didn't expect you to know what I was talking about."
"Well, I'm not, but what difference does it make?" I explained to her there was a part that a woman should play in a sweat lodge ceremony, but could not if she were on her moon and Yong Jin was. "Red Hawk planned to have you do it when we do a sweat for Luke and Matt, but said you could do both. We'll go in an hour or so and he'll give you instructions. Meanwhile..." I was ready for some serious making out but Mary Kathryn said, "I know that having sex before a ceremony is a big no-no. I read that somewhere. I'm not sure if that means heavy making out as well, but I think we need to be on the safe side." I couldn't believe it! Wild Woman was calling a halt before anything got started AND she wasn't making a fuss about our first Saturday night after I got back being involved with something I think very much like priesthood. "Tell me all you know about a sweat." I did and she was listening very intently.
When it was time to go, Mary Kathryn and I went to the falls. As we walked out of the cane brake, Red Hawk sat up instantly--he had put on his shirt and jeans sometime--and patted the sand beside him, indicating we should sit down. He explained the sweat ceremony to Mary Kathryn--including parts I had missed--and what her part would be. "You will open the lodge because you are woman and hold a position of honor. Only a woman can truly represent White Buffalo Calf Maiden, the strongest of the spirit guides." I had never seem Mary Kathryn so serious, so solemn, as she was as she listened to Red Hawk.
By the time Red Hawk had finished talking to Mary Kathryn, the sun was down and twilight was upon the falls. As if they knew when Mary Kathryn was ready, Greywolf and Taequo appeared out of the cane brake. While Mary Kathryn prepared the tobacco for the opening of the lodge, the four of us washed in the river. Only Taequo dressed after we came out. Mary Kathryn had the tobacco ready to open the sweat lodge.