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Wandering Souls-14

November 3, 2013

Morning and Dewey, sitting on the side of the bed, the smell of the man in the brown car coat’s cigarette in his nose, smoked his own cigarettes, one after the other.  It was an hour before he was up scrabbling and hopping around his room, getting into his trousers and shirt; getting properly perched up on his cane and standing at the door, waiting for his courage to arrive, the courage to open it and begin the long hike down the hallway to her door.

“Excuse me, Miss Hansen?”
“May I speak to you for a moment?”
“About what?”
“About your mother.”
“What about my mother?”  Her voice carried the flat hard tones of the Midwest and seemed odd coming from her fine featured, dragon-eyed countenance.
“I know how this must sound.   Please, just a moment.  I have a message from your mother.”
“From Mrs. Hansen?  How do you know her.”
“Not.  Not from Mrs. Hansen.  From Noi Lum.  Your mother, stolen by pirates in the South China Sea in 1975.”
She looked at him hard for what seemed like forever, brown eyes hard and shining like brown stones.  The she opened the door wider, nodded toward a little dinette set and said, “Sit down.”  Dewey started to say ‘I’m all right,’ but she cut him off saying ‘sit down’ again and he did so.
She pulled a chair to the opposite side of the table from Dewey.  She leaned forward onto her elbows, put her face close to his and said, “Where is she?  I was told she was dead.”
“She is.”
As he spoke these words he could see Miss Hansen change, harden before him like cooling steel; the molten light showing only in her hot eyes, their gaze pounding into Dewey’s making him blink.  She straightened in her seat, seemed to grow slightly larger and when she spoke her voice was more quiet than

before, low and cold and sharp slicing across the table at him.  “Listen Mr….”
“Dewey.  Just call me Dewey.”
“Fuck you and your name.  What kind of bullshit is this?”
“No, no…”
“What are you?  From the Psychic Network?”
“Think you can come con the little refugee girl?  What do you want?  I don’t have any money or do you just like fucking around with peoples’ heads.  Is that your trip asshole?”
“Your mother…”
She was up then, the girl and jumping across the small dining area to the smaller kitchen, turning back with a French chef’s knife, brandishing it.
“Motherfucker” she screamed.  “Out, out now!”
The knowledge he was finding didn’t come from his brain, but from his belly, traveling up his spine, the passage making his skin ripple like a horse’s fighting flies and his hair stand straight.  Though the lady said nothing her scent and presence echoed through his body like a field of corn-colored flowers turning, in an eye blink, into butterflies swirling up past his ears and he stood, walked toward the girl and her blade, looking

into those hard, hard eyes, coming up to the blade until it touched his chest and then another step, onto the blade, pressing the bitter point against, then through his shirt and skin so that his blood sprang chill across his ribs, the stain of it leaching through the cotton cloth and spread across his shirt front just as Anita’s eyes spread, watching the growing crimson blossom.
“She went into the water,” he said to Anita.  “She wanted quiet and she went into the water after it.  Away from them, you, but no, that’s not right.  She wasn’t leaping away from them, from life.  She was leaping toward you, her child.”
“You shut up, just shut the fuck up!”
Dewey said, “She knew.”
He looked at Anita in wonder.  “How did she know?  She was so young, so pretty but she knew.”
“You!” she cried and then sat, her legs folding under her, down to the floor sagging against the kitchen counter, grabbing at Dewey, pulling him down with her, the released knife falling from her hands, out of his flesh to clatter across the linoleum.
“Jesus,” Dewey said to the weeping girl, “your mother was so smart.  No, not smart.  It was more than that. Wise.  She knew in the bones.  There was only one way left to be with you.

She knew that and she wasn’t afraid.  She didn’t go into the water out of fear, terror.  She went for love, her love for you.  She followed that and it led her to you.”
The girl’s hands struck Dewey, weakly, i a frightened tattoo against his face and he caught them, held them and looked into her wet face.  “She’s here.  All the time.  All your life she’s been here with you.  She’s not been able to tell you before.  She wanted to, but she wasn’t able.”
“She had to wait for me.  That’s it.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know much, I’m just beginning to learn, but this is what I’m for, why I’m here.  To tell you, to understand about telling you and to learn more.”
He gave her hands a tug.  “Your mother wants to speak to you but you won’t listen.  Your mind is closed.  She says don’t be sad anymore.  Don’t be sad and listen and she’ll speak to you.”
“She died because of me.”
“No,” Dewey said, no.”  She died for you.  She was happy.  The only way she could live was to die for you.  She was glad, as if she was able to give you birth twice.”
“She suffered so much when they took her.”
“That business on the boat, it meant nothing.  Only physical, It meant nothing.  Unpleasant, an irritation, but really nothing.  She didn’t suffer, no really.  She had you and she was, no, not happy, joyous.   She gave you life twice.  She’s so happy.  She is glorious.”
“She walks in a radiance, a…I don’t know.  Rose and salmon and violet and gold.  Silver too.  It billows and grows around her.  It rises and falls like the sea.”
“A light?”
“Yes, but not like the light here.  It’s different.  It’s alive.  It lives and touches and heals.  It grows from your mother and it’s love, so much love it has taken life itself.  I never dreamed…”
“She told you this?”
“Yes.  She told me.  She’s telling me now.”
Anita looked around the room.  “She’s here?”
“Yes she’s here.  She always has been.”
The girl stood then, erect and looking out into the room life a wife haunting the widow’s walk, looking across the room as if scanning a distant horizon and she said, “Mother?  Mere?

Please…” and she started then, jumped a bit, then stood wide-eyed, panting and Dewey said, “What?”
“I smelled the sea.”
“That was her,” Dewey said.


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