|05-20-2005, 06:12 AM||#1|
Blue Crack Supplier
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: completely out of touch
Local Time: 01:43 AM
The Promises we make pt 11
*Disclaimer: ~ Though inspired in part by real people; none of the stuff in the story really happened or is intended to represent reality in anyway. It’s just a daydream. Some of the names of places represented are true names but the people and much of the landscape has been taken artistic liberties with; not meant to represent any place or person with any degree of accuracy.__________________
The Promises we make pt 11
Bono sat in his rented S.U.V. staring out into the glaring desert, feeling more alone and isolated than he could ever remember feeling before. He drew in a deep, steadying breath and slipped the keys out of the ignition as he climbed out of the vehicle into the stifling heat.
It had been a long week. He’d had to hire a private investigator to find Angel, after he’d flown into Phoenix and realized that all he knew about where she grew up were anecdotal stories in which she mentioned names which he could not readily recall.
He’d been in Northern Arizona before, but he doubted he would ever be less than awestruck at its beauty. Strange, that such a desolate and lifeless place as a desert could be so beautiful. He slid his cowboy hat on, grateful for the sun it deflected off his skin. He listened to the crunch of the dry earth beneath his feet as he started walking northward.
Maybe he should’ve turned back. At least he knew there was a building back that way, and another human being, with a telephone. He had no clue how far he’d have to walk along the interstate before he came to Chinle, or until he saw another car.
He cursed himself for not making sure the battery was charged in his cell, even if he wasn’t sure it would’ve worked out here anyway. He also cursed himself for being daft enough to wear black clothes in the desert. Not that he’d been planning on his rental overheating and leaving him stranded.
He considered taking off the black button down shirt, but thought better of it. Better to keep his skin covered. He paused to look around and say a prayer, and it didn’t take long for that prayer to start sounding like a song. A song about isolation, loneliness. Not a theme he was unfamiliar with.
He sung softly to himself as he walked, trying to make the time move faster. It wasn’t really a song, at least not yet. It was just a melodic pattern and a few words, a theme. He made it up as he went along, taking certain parts and repeating them if he liked them, changing them a bit, and discarding others as utter rubbish which he blamed on being hot and dehydrated.
He was as out of place here as possible; everything was exactly the opposite of his home. He was used to sea air, rain and fog and green growing things everywhere when he would venture out of the city. Here there was no moisture in the air even, no sea birds calling, and very little green indeed. The differences of the places made him think about things that Angel had said to him.
They were very different people indeed. As different as the places they called home. He wondered if she had felt this out of place in Ireland. She had never said so. Not directly, at least. There had been little things, coming back to him now, which might have told him how she felt, if he had only recognized them.
He lost himself in his thoughts, paying little attention to his situation, simply putting one foot in front of the other while he worked out the specifics of the lyrics. The tribal police car was practically right behind him before he ever noticed it at all.
It rolled up alongside him slowing to a stop, the passenger side window rolling down and the officer leaning over to peer out at him.
“Yah-ta-hey.” He greeted him politely in Navajo. “Having a bad day.” Bono wasn’t sure from the way the man said it whether he meant it as a question or an observation. He chuckled a bit, thinking it an understatement, either way.
“I guess you could say that.” He told the man, leaning his hands on the rolled down window, relieved to see a friendly face.
“Is that your truck back there?” The officer asked, pointing back in the direction from which he had come. “You know, you really should have stayed there. It’s not safe to try and walk it in this heat.” He continued and Bono nodded his head.
“I wasn’t certain anybody would be by anytime soon.” He explained.
“Still stand a better chance with it for shelter, in the long run. Get in, I’ll take you back to Window Rock so you can call it in to the rental company, get you another.” The man instructed, moving a stack of paperwork out of the seat.
“How far are we from Chinle?” Bono asked as he sank into the seat, grateful to be off his feet finally. He took off his hat and ran a hand through his sweat-soaked hair.
“Not far, but Chinle’s not going to have the resources Window Rock does.” The officer warned. “I’m Jim Yuma, by the way.” He introduced himself finally, and Bono shook his hand.
“Bono.” He replied, and the deputy simply nodded as if there was nothing odd about a person only using one name or an international celebrity walking along alone in the desert. “I was on my way to Chinle to meet someone who lives there.”
“In Chinle?” Jim repeated, finally sounding slightly interested in something Bono had to say.
“Yeah, I have directions written down, here somewhere…” He told him, reaching around to draw the folded up square of paper out of his back pocket. “Here.” He said, unfolding it and handing it over to him. Jim looked at the paper for a moment and then nodded.
“Yeah, I know it. That’s Shadi Little-Eagles place. How do you know her?” He asked as he steered the car back onto the highway and began to move toward Chinle.
“I don’t, actually. I know her granddaughter, Angel.” Bono informed him.
“Angel Ramirez? How do you know Angel?” Jim asked, glancing over at Bono suspiciously.
“Angel Ramsey.” Bono corrected him. Either they weren’t talking about the same woman or someone was mistaken about her last name.
“Ahh, so you know Angel the fed. Makes sense. If I didn’t know who you were I’d run your license through the system and make sure you weren’t a felon looking to her harm.” Jim informed him, and once again Bono was uncertain how serious he was.
“So, she changed her last name?”
“Yeah, she wanted out of Arizona, off the rez and away from her fathers ways as well. We went to school together. She wanted to see the world on her terms, and not be just a Navajo or Hispanic or whatever else the world might see her as. I used to tease her that she even wanted to be a boy, and not a girl because she never did the things the girls did. She was right in there playing rough with the boys, and winning more often than not.” Jim informed him.
“Sounds like her.” Bono agreed with a smile.
“So how do you know her?” Jim asked again.
“She’s my … security advisor. She was working a case against someone threatening me, that’s how we met. She left the bureau to go into private security.” Bono explained. He didn’t know how to say she was his girlfriend or lover when he had to chase her halfway around the world and even then hunt her down in the middle of nowhere.
“Uh-huh.” Jim said, his eyes looking at Bono in the rear view mirror. “So you were dating.”
“Why do you say that?”
“If Angel is your security advisor she would need a damn good reason to have come home. She doesn’t take a job and leave it unattended.”
“Yeah. Yeah, we are. Or were. I don’t know.” Bono told the man with a heavy sigh. He leaned his head back against the seat and closed his weary eyes.
“Well you’re either crazy or in love pretty deep to have come all the way out here to talk to her.” Jim remarked. They both fell silent for a long time, the only noise in the car was the noise on the police radio. Even that wasn’t nearly as busy as Bono might’ve expected. Finally, he dozed a bit, fairly exhausted from his long walk in the desert sun.
“Well, we’re in Chinle.” Jim said, giving him a moment to wake before they reached the Little-Eagle residence. Bono stretched and yawned, smoothing back his shaggy hair and putting his hat back on. “You have tobacco on you?”
“Tobacco. Cigarettes?” Jim said as he steered the car just out of town and onto a dirt road.
“No, I quit.” Bono replied. Jim smiled at him and shook his head, pulling a pack of Winston’s out from under the seat.
“It’s not for you, it’s for Shadi. You need to bring it as a gift when you visit. Especially with someone as old as Shadi, she believes heavily in tradition.” He explained, tossing the cigarettes to Bono.
“Oh. Thanks, man.” He replied, tucking the pack into the pocket on the front of his shirt.
“Here we are.” The officer told him as he stopped the car out in front of a small shack made of tar paper and plywood mostly. Behind the house there was a dome shaped building made of mud and sticks. It was a sad sight, to his eyes. He looked at the rusty pick-up truck with a travel trailer hooked to it’s bumper, parked in the yard. If you could call it a yard; it was decorated only with rocks and tumbleweeds. He tried but could not imagine Angel living here.
“Thank you.” He told the deputy politely as he climbed out of the car.
“I’m gonna wait here for you to tell me things are settled. I hate to have you trying to walk back into town from out here. Especially since it will be dark in a couple of hours.” The deputy informed him, and Bono was grateful that he had thought of it. What if she wouldn’t see him? Or if she wasn’t there at all? Maybe it was all one big mistake.
He crossed the dusty yard and stepped up onto the milk crate stair in front of the door. He knocked on the door jamb because the door itself was wide open. He held his breath, unsure if he wanted to see Angel in this place or not.
“Angel!” He heard a woman’s voice call. The rest of her words were in a soft, unfamiliar language. Bono’s heart seemed to jump up into his throat. “Belagana.” She added. He heard footsteps approaching through the little house and then he saw her appear in the tiny kitchen which was just beyond the door.
She had never looked as beautiful to him as she did, then and there. His body flooded with relief at this realization and he smiled at her. How could he help but smile at her? After the week of worry he’d suffered for her, to see her alive and looking well. Even if this place seemed empty of anything but centuries of sorrow, Angel was still the woman he had fallen in love with.
“Bono!” She gasped, her dark eyes growing wide. She glanced over at her grandmother, who was out of his line of sight, nervously. “What are you doing here?” She asked.
“At the moment I’m conducting an experiment to see how long an Irishman has to stand in the Arizona desert sun before he turns to ash.” He replied with a laugh.
“Oh! Right, come in.” She said, stepping away from the door and gesturing for him to enter.
“Hold on one minute, all right?” He asked, and after she’d nodded her agreement, Bono took a few steps back and waved to Jim Yuma who nodded back and then drove off.
“Did you have a police escort?” Angel asked in disbelief, and Bono laughed out loud.
“Sort of. Not exactly.” He told her as he stepped into the kitchen, relieved to be out of the sun. Angel turned to face the elderly woman who sat in an old rocking chair by the living room window.
“Uh, Abuela, this is Bono. A friend of mine.” Angel introduced them awkwardly. Bono smiled politely and pulled the pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket.
“It’s good to meet you.” He told her, holding the pack out for her to take. She smiled broadly at him and took it with a trembling hand. She turned to Angel and said something to her in Navajo that made Angel smile.
“What?” Bono asked when she didn’t immediately volunteer the translation.
“She said that you are like the other half of me. I am Navajo but want to be a belagana and you are a belagana who wants to be a Navajo.” She told him.
“Belagana. That means white?” He asked.
“More or less. It’s more derogatory. It’s a term reserved for outsiders, especially white ones.” Angel informed him. “She has a lot of old fashioned beliefs.” She added, making sure he wasn’t stung by being called a bad name by this ancient, wrinkled little woman. He smiled and nodded his understanding.
“I’ve been called much worse.” He told Angel with a wink. Angel turned to her grandmother and spoke to her in her more comfortable Navajo tongue, excusing herself and her guest from the woman’s presence so they could speak privately.
Much to his chagrin, that meant stepping outside.
“Why did you come here?” She asked him as she led the way across the yard and opened the door to the little camper trailer. He gestured for her to go in ahead of him and followed her.
“I came here to see you. To see that you were all right, and to talk to you.” He told her, wanting to reach out to her, to take her in his arms and kiss her and have her tell him she loved him. That she wanted to be with him.
“You could’ve done that in an e-mail. I go into Window Rock to the college to check it every other day.” She told him, sitting down on one side of the little booth, putting the table between them. He slipped into the seat on the other side of the table and reached across, taking her hands in his own.
“I needed to see you. Face to face. Angel, why did you leave like that?” He asked her, his blue eyes peeking out from over the tops of his sunglasses at her. She smiled weakly and looked away.
“I didn’t like who I was becoming. I had to leave, or go crazy.” She told him.
“I don’t understand why you didn’t tell me any of this. Why didn’t you let me try and help you get through what was happening? That’s kind of the point of a lover, isn’t it?” He asked, reaching out and running his knuckles gently along her jawline. Angel stared out the window at her grandmothers house for a long moment before turning to him.
“Let’s get out of here. I need to get out of here for awhile.” She said, standing and leaving the trailer quickly. Bono jumped up and followed close behind as if afraid she was going to disappear again. She ducked her head into the house and said something before turning back and pulling some keys out of her pocket.
“Will she be ok all alone?” Bono asked as they climbed into the truck.
“My mother is here.” She told him, and he could hardly imagine there being enough room in the house for three people. “She’s in the Hogan.” She explained, gesturing to the traditional Navajo hut in the back.
“So where are we going?” He asked.
“Canyon de Chelly.” She told him. “It’s more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, but that’s mostly because there aren’t as many tourists.” She laughed. “It’s only open to the public at certain times, because there’s actually a tribal community which lives there and tries to preserve the culture. It’s been touched by modern America, just like everything else, but they’ve done a much better job at preserving the land and traditions than a lot of places.”
“It’s where I go when I need to reconnect with myself. Meditate or whatever you want to call it.” She told him as she steered the truck down the dirt road. “I’ve never brought anyone along with me before, though.”
“Don’t say that yet, you don’t know what we have to do to get there.” She laughed, her dark eyes full of amusement and her black hair lifting in the breeze from the open window. She was happy she was home. Bono could see that in her, even if she couldn’t see it in herself.
After the drive to Canyon de Chelly, Angel had gotten out of the truck and approached a group of people wearing traditional dress for a ceremony or dance of some sort. Bono heard bits and pieces of the conversation from where he sat in the truck, but not enough to really understand what was transpiring. Soon enough Angel turned around and hurried back to the truck, moving quickly with broad purposeful strides.
“I think you’re going to be pleased with this.” She told him as she got back in and drove the truck and trailer over to the National Monument parking lot, which was empty now because it was after the hours in which the public was welcome to the canyon. “They’ve been conducting a Night-Sing. Tonight is the ninth and final night.”
“Really?” Bono replied, his eyes lighting up with interest. Angel smiled at him, she had known he would be curious about the musical customs.
“We won’t be taking part in it or anything.” She informed him with laughter in her voice. His curiosity and enthusiasm were some of her favorite things about him. “But we’ll be able to hear it from the butte.” She climbed out of the parked truck and retrieved a rolled up blanket from the camper before leading the way along a narrow trail, up a steep, rocky incline.
“I’m impressed.” She told him after a few minutes of walking.
“You’re not complaining.” She teased. “Or scared. Most people get pretty nervous if they aren’t used to this.”
“What is there to be afraid of? Falling? Doesn’t seem to be too terrible of a risk.”
“There’s that, but I was thinking about the rattle snakes.” She told him, her dark eyes watching him closely. She bit back a smile at the look on his face as the possibility of encountering a rattle snake entered his mind for the first time.
“Great. Where’s St Patrick when you need him?” He joked, but she could see that he was far less at ease than he had been.
“They warn you when you get too close, we’ll be just fine.” She assured him as they reached the flat top of the butte. She gestured out over the desert and highway on one side, the canyon on the other. The sun was sinking in the west, the sky burning in bright reds and oranges and purples.
There was a soft breeze blowing Angels hair out of her face and the romance of the moment was overwhelming. He reached out to her, pulling her in close and resting his forehead against hers.
“I missed you.” He told her softly, and she smiled sadly at him.
“Yeah.” She agreed. After standing together a moment longer, she turned away, spreading the blanket out on the dusty ground and sitting down. “Did you know…” She started, idly smoothing out wrinkles in the blanket with one hand. “That the Dineh Hosteen, that’s a holy man, is generally called a ‘singer’? And that they are responsible for most healing needs? They are highly respected.”
“I didn’t know that.” He told her sitting down beside her.
“I always thought you would like that. Healing through music.” She smiled at him.
“What is this ceremony tonight about?” He asked as the sounds of the chanting drifted up, echoing through the canyon and sounding otherworldly.
“It’s a night chant for a young couple who was expecting their first child. It was born stillborn.” She told him, her lips pursed into a flat line.
“I didn’t know that even still happened.” Bono told her.
“It shouldn’t. It’s one of the things I hate about this place. Yes, western medicine is made available, but even if a person takes advantage of it, most doctors don’t stay long enough to build up a relationship with the people. They don’t understand each other, and where there is no trust…” She shrugged here, obviously frustrated. “And a lot of people go to the Hosteen first.”
“So tonight, this is a funeral of sorts?”
“No. Over the course of nine days they have had many ceremonies, including the sweat lodge, offerings, singing, sandpainting… some of it is like a rite of exorcism, to chase away the evil. Along with that the Hosteen performed the ‘Blessing way’ which is pretty much like it sounds. They sing through the night for that one, one of the reasons for the name.” She told him, smiling gently.
“It’s a balance of chasing away the evil and purifying and blessing the man and woman, healing them in mind body and spirit. Tonight they will have the Dance of the Atsálei, and the Dance of the Naakhaí.” She informed him, and they sat for a long while, watching the sunset and listening to the sounds of the ceremony in the canyon below.
“You aren’t going to come back with me, are you?” He finally asked, and she bowed her head, her eyes closed.
“Bono, you don’t need me for anything.” She told him.
“Angel, I love you, there is no greater need.” He told her, brushing her hair out of her face gently.
“Sometimes, you need more than love. I can’t live in your world, B. I was jealous, I was bored, and I was useless.” She told him, looking up into his baby blue eyes.
“You weren’t useless. You saved my life.” He told her, and she could practically see his heart breaking, her own heart already having reached that point days ago.
“And you saved my life, too. I was dead inside before I met you. I went through all the motions of life but I didn’t feel a thing. You brought me back to life, and I will always be grateful for that.” She told him. “But we aren’t made to live in each others worlds. We’re like the river and the highway. Did you ever hear of that? It was a song, awhile ago. In the 1990’s sometime, I remember. I like the analogy. The highway moves from point A to point B, a straight plotted out path. The river rolls along, moved by nature and never knowing just exactly where it will bend and turn.”
“The highway is rushing hurriedly, purpose driven, and the river simply moves along at whatever pace it wants. Frantic sometimes but often slow and easy. Occasionally, a bridge will cross over and the two will meet, or the river might overflow onto the road. They touch each other, but briefly, and then they move on again in their different ways.”
“That’s what you want?” He asked, his jaw set firm, his eyes distant. She reached out to him with one hand and guided him to face her. She kissed him on the cheek, and the scar on his chin, and finally softly on the lips.
“I don’t want it, but that’s how it is all the same.”
“You won’t even try and make it work? If you told me how you felt…”
“You what? You would’ve tried to change yourself? I love you, B. Not someone you might force yourself to be. I don’t want to see you change.” She told him, wiping a tear from her eye. She had known this would not be easy.
“So what will you do now?” He asked after a moment of staring into the desert night.
“I got a license to do bail bonds work the other day. I’m going to do that for awhile.”
“What is that? Like bounty hunting?”
“Sort of, yeah. I’ll be on my own for the most part. Get to travel a lot, do something I’m proud of by catching fugitives. I think it will suit me.” She told him as he took her hand in his own.
“Yeah. It sounds like it will. I was thinking how beautiful you were. Thinking it was this place which brought about the change in you. Now I realize what I saw was freedom. You feel free, again.” He said and she nodded and smiled at him.
“That doesn’t mean I ever loved you any less than I said I did. Or that I will ever stop.” She told him. “But if you love me, you have to let me go.”
“Yeah.” He mumbled, his eyes downcast. He understood now, but that didn’t mean he had to like it. She wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him close, her head on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry.” She told him softly.
“Me, too.” He sighed. They sat that way for a long time, holding each other in silence. Until the sun was nothing more than a faint orange glow, like a fire on the distant horizon.
“It feels like they are singing for us.” She said finally. “They are singing ‘In beauty I walk. With beauty before me, I walk. With beauty behind me, I walk. With beauty below me, I walk. With beauty above me, I walk. With beauty all around me, I walk. It is finished in beauty, It is finished in beauty, It is finished in beauty, It is finished in beauty’. It is a song of parting.”
“I like that.” He told her with a nod. Tomorrow, he would be home, and he would not know where she was. What she was doing. Their paths had crossed but now they diverged again. This was good-bye.
Next chapter we're back to Ireland and the rest of the gang, thanks for taking this little side trip with me
|05-20-2005, 09:57 AM||#4|
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: in my dreams
Local Time: 10:43 PM
SG that was beautiful. Sometimes in life when you love someone the only thing you can really do is to set them free. If they are truly meant to be with you, one day they will find their way back.
Peace be with Angel and all the women of the world like her, just trying to find their heart and their place.
|05-23-2005, 07:40 PM||#13|
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: ....where the wind calls your name...
Local Time: 01:43 AM
*reaches for the Kleenex*__________________
poor Bono... but VERY good writing, sad_girl. This brought tears to my eyes.
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