Tommy - The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl? - Chapter 46


Tommy
The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?

A Novel By Teddie S.

Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 46
A home away from home?

On the first Thursday of August early in the morning, just like the first time we went to New Mexico, Amy and I were on a plane heading back there. Amy’s parents had picked up my parents, Amy, and I, in their van and taken us to the airport. We said a long so long. Promised to be safe and to take care of ourselves. And we told them that we’d see them in a few weeks. Amy and I slept all the way to Dallas and then endured our one-hour layover.

After we left Dallas, Amy started talking about the last Friday of her clinicals. And she finally said, “The director of the E.R., the nursing director, and Patty had a meeting with me last Friday.”

“Oh?”, I said.

“Yeah. They told me that I was born to be an E.R. nurse. The way I did things, learned things, took things in stride, had good ideas, took charge, made constructive comments, and took constructive criticism.”

“They said that I had a spot in their E.R. once I graduated from school and had my license. And they’d heard that I wanted to do my masters and that they were impressed by that.

“Afterwards, Patty told me that she was happy that I’d done my clinicals there. That it made some major points with important people, and that I added a lot to the staff.”

I just pulled her closer, and whispered, “Amylin. You are beyond special.”

As we were on the final approach to Albuquerque, Amy said, “Oh. Did I tell you, that they put me in for a full ride scholarship for my masters?”

I looked at her, and she was grinning. So, I said, “You brat. You kept that from me from last Friday until now.”

“Uh huh.”

“You just wait, little girl.”

In Albuquerque, as we walked off the plane, we saw my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Paul. We greeted each other, and I asked where grandma was. Aunt Ruth said, “She didn’t come.”

“Is she all right?”, Amy asked.

“She’s fine. She just didn’t want to look at cars.”

“I have a guy, here in Albuquerque, that works at a car dealership.”, my Uncle Paul said. “And he told me that he has some nice, low mileage, used cars for you to look at. I took a look at them, and I picked three that I think you might like.”

“Thanks, Uncle Paul.”, I said. “First, do they have seat belts?”

“I think so, but I didn’t check. Why?”

“When I was twelve I was in a bad accident. And if I hadn’t been wearing a seat belt I probably wouldn’t be here. All of our cars back home have them.”

“The car we’re driving today has them and so does the jeep.”

“So does grandma's.”

“I guess we’ll have to check.”

“Now, how much time do you have?”

“All afternoon.”

“Great.”, I said. “Then lets run over to the dealership.”

“Sounds good.”

Shortly we were pulling into a very nice Chevrolet dealership. There were some new cars on the lot and a like number of used cars. My Uncle Paul introduced me to his friend, the sales manager, and we looked at the cars.

All three of the cars that Uncle Paul had picked out were very clean late model Chevies. I looked them over very carefully. Only one didn’t have seat belts, and the dealership guy said that they could add them for us. I noticed that the engines in all the cars had been cleaned. That’s sometimes done to hide problems. We took each one for a ride, then I checked under the hood for problems and found nothing. All of them ran good, and surprisingly for out here, they were all low mileage unless the odometer had been set back. But I don’t think so.

Amy and I both liked a red 1961 Chevrolet Impala, two-door, hardtop. And it had seatbelts. It was an automatic, which was good for Amy. It had relatively new tires. The air-conditioner worked. And the interior was in great shape.

We talked with my uncle, and he said to offer five-hundred under what they wanted. Which I did. We bickered a little bit, and the guy took two-hundred less then what they wanted for the car. So we went with the guy into the showroom. As we walked in, I saw it, and said, “Oh my God!”

“What’s wrong Tom?”, my uncle asked.

“Nothing. But there’s the twin to my red and white ‘57 Chevy Bel Air ragtop.”

The sales manager from the dealership said, “You have one of those?”

“Yeah. Back home. It’s has a Chevy 283-cubic-inch fuel-injected V8 engine and a 4-speed manual transmission.”

“That one is a little different than this one?”

“Different?”

“Yeah. Go and take a look.”

I walked over, and it was different. Since the top was down, I checked out the interior, and it was the same as mine except for the shifter, which was a 5-speed on the floor. So, the transmission had been replaced. The hood was also open, so I looked in and talk about a lot of chrome under the hood. The air cleaner, the valve covers, and even the oil filter cover was chrome.

The guy from the dealership walked over, and said, “The engine was a stock 283 like yours, but it’s been modified. And with the 5-speed it really screams.”

“Mines completely stock.”

“Keep it that way. In the long run, it will be worth more.”

“Thanks, I’ll do that.”

We sat down, filled out the paperwork, and I wrote him a check. He looked at the check, looked at me, and said, “This is for the full amount.”

“Yes, sir.”

“That’s a little unusual.”

“Is it a problem?”

“Not really. But I’ll have to have the owner okay it.”

“That’s fine. The phone number of the bank is printed on the check. If you want to call them.”

The sales manager got up and walked out of his office. My uncle looked at me and said, “You wrote him a check for the full amount?”

“Yes.”

I know Uncle Paul wanted to ask me how, so I said, “I’ll tell you about it later. I also have some traveler's checks that I’d like to cash so that Amy and I have some money.”

“We can do that at my bank in Santa Fe after we leave here.”

“Sounds good.”

The sales manager was back fairly quickly, and said, “We called your bank, and they said that the check was good. So you’re good to go.

After we’d signed the papers, I called my insurance guy at home to add this car to my policy. He was a little concerned about us buying the car in New Mexico. He put us on hold and was quickly back. He told us it wasn’t a problem. The guy at the dealership said he’d get the title transferred to us and the car registered with new plates, and that he should have everything by the end of next week. Then he gave us a bill of sale and a temporary license to put on the car.

As we started driving towards the resort, Amy asked, “How much do you think Kai is going to be here?”

“As much as she can. Why?”

“Are you planning on wearing your wig?”

“Of course. Why?”

“We could dye your hair black, like we did that first time out here, and maybe your eyebrows or at least keep them darker than they are. Then you wouldn’t have to wear that hot wig.”

“But we’re here for only two weeks.”

“It’s August, and it’ll be hot.”

“Let's do it.”

We stopped at Uncle Paul’s bank in Santa Fe and cashed some of our traveler's checks. And I asked him where a good drug store was and we followed him there. My aunt and uncle went on to the resort, and Amy ran into the drug store, and a very short time later, we were again on our way to the resort.

As we drove, Amy said, “So that you know. I bought permanent dye this time.”

“Why permanent?”, I asked.

“It’s a better dye, and it will look better and last longer.”

“You’re the boss.”

“You’d better believe it.”

I glanced at Amy, she was grinning, and I asked, “Now who’s being bad?”

“Me.”

A short time later we were pulling into the resort. Amy said, “I’m always surprised at to how pretty it is here.”

“I know.”, I said. “It’s like it’s different every time we’re here.”

We parked at my aunt and uncle’s house, walked up to the door, and knocked. A minute later my aunt opened the door, and said, “Kids. I always want you to think of our house as your house. So you don't need to knock. Just come in.”

Grandma was standing behind my Aunt Ruth at the door, and she said, “Ruthie, get out of the way. I need to hug my favorite grandchildren.”

Well, hugs and kisses we got.

Finally, I was able to say, “Grandma you haven’t changed one bit.”

“Just gotten older.”, grandma replied.

“No. You’ll never age.”

“Are you trying to butter up this old lady.”

“Nope. Just being truthful.”

“Where’s Kai?”

“She’s here grandma. And you’ll get to see her later.”

“I’d better. And when?”

“Maybe Friday at the barbecue.”

“Not sooner?”

“You never know.”, I said with a little smile.

Aunt Ruth said, “Mom, tomorrow is Friday. Cant’ you wait?”

“No.”, grandma replied.

We moved all of our things into one of the spare bedrooms which had it own full bath. We unpacked and put everything away.

Then Amy asked, “Are you ready?”

“Ready for what?”

“Ready to go from having blond hair to having black hair?”

Without hesitation, I said, “Yes.”

A while later we walked out of the bathroom with my hair now black.

Amy looked at me, smiled, and said, “You know for our traveling. If you wanted to, you could dress like a native guy and just put your hair in a braid.”

“Hmm. That may not be a bad idea.”

“In fact. We could run over to Mrs. Benallie’s shop for some guy clothes, and if Mrs. Hatathli isn’t busy, she could do a nice guy’s braid for you or make suggestions for something else.”

“But I was planning on being Kai Friday night.”

“What if you showed up as Tom in a fancy native male dress?”

“No. Kai needs to be here at the resort.”

She smiled, and said, “I know.”

When my hair was dry, Amy put it into a nice braid. And to surprise grandma, I became Kai. The usual underwear, breast forms, a fancy long skirt, and one of the fancy blouses. I slipped into a pair of moccasins, but not the fancy wrap moccasins. For jewelry, I replaced my studs with a pair of the silver feather earrings, put the beaded choker around my neck, and finally, I added the Concho belt.

Just as I finished dressing, there was a soft knock on the door, and we heard my aunt said, “Kids. Can I come in?”

“Sure Aunt Ruth.”, I replied.

My aunt opened the door and walked in. She looked at me, smiled, and said, “My! Kai. Honey, don’t you look nice.”

“Thanks, Aunt Ruth. And I don’t even have any makeup on.”

“Honey, you don’t need it.”

I smiled, and said, “Thanks.”

As she showed us some keys, my aunt said, “Kids. I have some keys for you. This key is for the house. This key is for the gas pump at the maintenance building. We’ve told Francisco that you’re here. And I know that you like to lock up your jewelry, so this key is for the safe.”

I took the keys, and asked, “Safe? Where is it?”

My aunt smiled, and said, “You haven’t found it yet?”

“No.”

“See the rug by the bed?”

“Yes. There’s one on both sides.”

“The rug on the bathroom side.”

“Yes.”

“Fold it back.”

I walked over there, knelt down, folded the rug back, and saw something that looked like a pull ring. My aunt said, “Pull on the ring and open the trap door.”

I did as she said, the trap door opened, and we saw the door to the safe. And my aunt handed me the key, and said, “This key will open the safe.”

I took the key and opened the safe. It had a lift out basket in it that would hold a lot more than our jewelry. I asked, “Why the floor safe?”

“The people who built this house worried about getting robbed, and there’s one of these in each bedroom, and each has a different key. And the keys are high-security keys and can’t be copied.”

I looked at the keys and said, “I’ve read about these.”

I then looked up at my aunt, and said, “Thanks, Aunt Ruth. But we really don’t need the gas key.”

“Honey. You’re family. So please use it.”

“Okay, Aunt Ruth.”

As she went to walk out the door, my aunt said, “Dinner will be ready in half an hour.”

“Well be there.”

Amy brought over all the jewelry, and we put everything except for her Concho belt, her beaded choker, and a pair of the silver feather earrings in the safe, and we locked it. Then she said, “Kai, go do your makeup. And don’t forget to darken your eyebrows just a little. And I’ll get changed.”

When I came back out of the bathroom, Amy was dressed almost like I was. The long fancy skirt, a fancy blouse, moccasins, the Concho belt, beaded choker, and the feather earrings.

We walked into the country kitchen, and my grandmother saw us, and said, “Kai. Ajie. You two look fantastic.”

“Thanks, grandma.”, we said almost in unison.

As we were eating, my uncle asked, “So, Kai what did you think of the safe?”

“That was interesting, Uncle Paul. Especially the high-security key.”

“This house is built on a concrete slab, and the safes are set in concrete. The keys we have to get through the safe dealer, and they have to be specially cut by the lock manufacturer. We do have copies put away.”

“That’s a good idea to have copies. I lose keys.”

Uncle Paul frowned at me, and said, “You’d better not.”

I grinned, and said, “I won’t.”

After dinner, we helped Aunt Ruth clean up, and of course, she didn’t want us to. But Amy told her, “If this is also our house, while we’re here, we are going to help keep it clean.”

While we were cleaning up, grandma asked, “Going to the bonfire tonight?”

“Yes. But we’re going up on the cliff first.”, I replied.

“You should see a good Sunset.”, Uncle Paul said. “We’re supposed to have rain later, and it’ll be here sometime after midnight.”

I looked at Amy, and in a whisper said, “Oh goodie. Thunderstorms.”

Amy frowned at me, and said, “Stop being bad.”

“Someone doesn’t like thunderstorms?”, grandma asked.

I just pointed at Amy.

A short time before Sunset Amy, or Ajie, and I hiked up the cliff trail. There were resort guests already up there, and a few others walked up with us. Off to the west, we saw the storms building. Amy and I talked about them and how they can affect the Sunsets.

As we stood there, as we always have, we were looked at. It was probably because of the way were dressed. Two preteen girls were taking more than a casual interest in us. They were whispering back and forth. Their mother finally caught them, looked to see what they were looking at, and smiled at us. The girls kept looking at us, and finally one said to her mother, “Mommy, those two girls, their dresses are so pretty.”

“I know honey, they are. Now stop starring.”

We walked over to them, and I said, “It’s all right. We get this all the time.”

One of the girls asked, “Are you Indians?”

“I’m a native. A Navajo.”

“You’re very pretty.”

“Thank you. So are you.”

“Your friend is dressed like you are, but she doesn’t have black hair like you do?”

“She’s not a native. She just likes the clothes.”

Amy added, “They’re nice and also cool.”

“In listening to you two talk.”, their mother said. “It appears that you know about the Sunsets out here.”

“We’ve been here a few times. My aunt and uncle manage the resort, and we come out to visit them. And we love to come up here and watch the Sunsets. We also come up really early in the morning to watch the Sunrise and listen to the coyotes and wolves.”

The one girl said, “There … There are coyotes and wolves out here?”

“Yes, there are. We’ve never seen the coyotes, only heard them. And we’ve heard and seen the wolves only once.”

“Don’t they bother you.”

“No. They try to avoid people.”

“Oh.”

“The Navajo word for wolf is mai-coh, And we believe that the wolf has the power to help cure the ill by restoring harmony to them.”

“Really?”

“Yes. See you learned something.”

The Sun was starting to set, and the colors were coming out, so I pointed to the west and said, “Watch the Sunset. The colors can be wonderful.”

The colors were pretty, and it was a magnificent Southwestern Sunset. As we started walking back off of the cliff, we walked with the parents of the two girls as the girls ran ahead. We saw that the bonfire was lit. And I said, “You might want to come to the bonfire there’s usually some native musicians and singers there.”

“You do know about this place.”, the mother said. “Don’t you?”

“Yes. We love it. That’s why we keep coming back.

“If you’re going to be here Friday night. They also have a great Southwestern barbecue. And there are usually some dancers along with the musicians and singers.”

“We’re here till Saturday. So we may just be there.”

The girls ran back to us, and one of her daughters said, “Mommy, can we get skirts like she’s wearing?”

“I don’t know honey. We’re going to Santa Fe tomorrow, and we’ll see what we can find.”

“If you go there, some of the tourist places sell things that aren’t made here. But I can tell you where we bought our things. And everything that the lady sells is made by locals, and the prices are reasonable. It’s where all the locals shop. And it’s easy to find, and it’s just north of Santa Fe.”

“Thank you. Can you tell us how to get there?”

I told the lady and her husband how to find Mrs. Benallie’s store.

At the bonfire were the usual people, my aunt and uncle, my grandmother, a drummer, a flutist, and a singer. And I saw Naainish before he saw us, and I walked up behind him and said, “Yá'át'ééh, Naainish. Nizhonigó íiná aadóó hozhónahasdlíí” (Hello, Naainish. It is good, and all is harmony around us.)

Looking surprised, Naainish turned around, then smiled, and said, “Kai. Ajie. Yá'át'ééh. Nizhonigó íiná aadóó hozhónahasdlíí.”

“Naainish, it is good to see you again.”

“What a surprise. I didn’t know you were here.”

“We just arrived today.”

“Are you here for long.”

“A couple of weeks, but we’re going to explore the area.”

“That will be good. You have learned a little of our language?”

“My mother has been working with us. We still have more to learn.”

“That is good. The more you know of your people, the more you will understand yourself.”

“I understand that Chief Todachine has passed.”

“Yes.”

“We miss him.”

“We all miss him.”

I nodded in agreement, then asked, “Has a new Chief been chosen yet?”

“Yes. And if you are at the barbecue tomorrow, he will be there, and you can meet him.”

“We may be there. We haven’t made our plans yet, so I don’t know when we’re leaving and coming back.”

“If you are here. That would be good.”

“We’ll see.”

I felt good at the bonfire. I could feel the spirit of the fire. I didn’t feel the need to meditate, so Ajie and I just visited with everyone. The word got around that I was a Navajo, and we ended up talking to a lot of people.

It had been a long day, so we left the bonfire early, and walked back to my aunt and uncle’s house. We took a shower, yes together, but we behaved ourselves.

We crawled into bed and were soon asleep. But not for long. It was about midnight when I felt Amy grab me and cuddle close. I hadn’t heard anything, but she had. A couple of minutes later we both heard another clap of thunder, and she hugged me tighter. The storm didn’t last long, and we were soon back to sleep.

~o~O~o~

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