The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?
A Novel By Teddie S.
Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.
Sunrise, Taos, and looking good.
We’d met two people, a Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrother, at the bonfire last night. They are members of the Ojibwe Tribe. And they are in town for the dance competition in Taos. They’re judges. They are also researching people with two spirits, and someone in Taos had told them about me. I wonder who told them that? And Amy and I are meeting them for breakfast.
This morning as we were hiking up the cliff trail, I was dressed in a long fancy skirt, a fancy blouse, and my Concho belt. My hair was straight with a fancy headband. I wore a pair of the silver feather earrings and my Concho choker. And, no moccasins this time, but hiking boots.
Amy was Amy. Shorts, a cute blouse, her hair in a ponytail, and hiking boots. She did wear the other pair of silver feather earrings, and one of the beaded chokers.
As we got to the top of the cliff, the colors of the Sunrise were just coming over the horizon. We walked up behind Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrother, who had beaten us up here, and I said, “Pretty. Isn’t it?”
Mr. Fairbrother must have jumped two feet and almost dropped his camera. Mrs. Fairbrother turned, and said, “Yes. It’s beautiful.” … “Oh! Good morning Kai.”
“Good morning Mrs. Fairbrother. Mr. Fairbrother.”
“Where’s your friend Ajie?”
I looked at Amy, and said, “Right here.”
“Oh! She ... She had dark hair last night?”
“Yes. There are times that she likes to look like a native.”
“I see. But I thought she was like you, a member of the Diné.”
I looked at Amy, and said, “She has gotten a nice tan while we’ve been here and maybe with the darker hair, she looks like a native girl.”
“That could be it.”
“Amy is well accepted by the Navajo people. She’s an honorary member of my grandmother's clan. And at times likes to dress like a member of the Nation.”
Just then it hit me, and I loudly said, “Shh! Listen. Hear that?”
Everyone within earshot stopped talking, until someone said, “I don’t hear anything.”
“Exactly. We usually hear coyotes calling this time of the morning. And there’s only one thing that will quiet them.”
“Wolves! Someone needs to shoot them.”
I turned, glared at the person, and said, “What! Why would you say that?”
“They’ll attack us.”
“No, they won’t. There are very few recorded cases of wolf attacks on humans. Wolves are misunderstood. We need them. We need all the animals. Killing them will accomplish nothing except to throw the natural balance of things out of kilter.”
“If you say so.”
“Not only do I say so. But the naturalists do. If it wasn’t for them the coyotes and other animals would overpopulate and cause other problems.”
Then I heard Amy say, “Kai, look over there.”
I turned and looked at where she was pointing, and I saw a group of eight wolves moving through the rocks west of us. I pointed, and I said, “See. There’s the wolves, and they won’t bother us.”
Everyone looked, and I heard various comments. We watched them until they were out of site. Then I said, “You’ve had a rare treat. We don’t see wolves around here that often. But it’s wonderful when we do. They are part of nature and our native culture. And if you have a dog at home, it’s related to the wolf.”
We finished watching the Sun come up, then I said to Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrother, “Are we ready for breakfast.”
“I think we are.”, Mrs. Fairbrother said.
"Kai.”, Mr. Fairbrother said. “You appear to be someone that will stand up for what you believe in.”
“Mr. Fairbrother.”, Amy said. “She has stood up for a friend at home in front of some academic types that didn’t have their facts straight. And to one of the Chiefs out here. And has been told by another Chief that she’s a force to be reckoned with.”
“I can see that.”
I thought, 'Maybe Mr. Fairbrother just needs to get to know people first.'
We were the last ones to walk down the cliff trail. As we walked, Mrs. Fairbrother said, “Now where were we before the Sunrise and the wolves interrupted us?”
“I think we were talking about Amy.”, I said.
“Yes. Your friend Amy. You said that she’s an honorary member of your grandmother's clan and liked to look like a native. And here she stands a blue-eyed blond.”
“One correction. Yes, Amy is my friend. She’s my best friend. She’s my wife.”
“Wife! … But you’re a girl.”
I smiled, and I let Amy ask her favorite question, “Is she a girl?”
I saw the Fairbrothers look at each other. Then back at me, and then Mr. Fairbrother said, “Ah. We think she is. Isn’t she?”
I smiled and shook my head no.
“You are kidding us. Aren’t you?”
“No, we're not.”, Amy said. “Ask her aunt and uncle.”
“You speak of her so easily as a girl.”
“That’s because I feel her feminine spirit, and it makes it easy. When Tom is here, I feel his male spirit.”
“Kai, you are the first person with two spirits that we’ve met that can look so good as your non-birth sex.”
“Thank you.”, I said. “I dress and present as who I feel my spirit is at the time. Out here, with my ancestors, I feel my female spirit is very strong, so I’m Kai.”
“So you’re not from around here?”
“No. We don’t live too far from you. And my hair is as blond as Amy's, and my eyes are almost as blue as hers.”
“We saw the blue eyes, but we figured that there was some white blood in both of you.”
“I’m one-quarter Navajo. And three-quarters white.”
“And you’re a boy. And you can look like a beautiful girl.”
“Thank you again.”
“We thought that you were going to be one of the few girls that has two spirits. But I think what you have is also rare. And very interesting.”
As we walked into the hotel, Amy said, “Let me show you something.”
Amy directed us to the picture next to the registration desk and asked Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrother if they knew who the girl in the picture was. They said they didn’t. But I caught Mrs. Fairbrother curiously looking at me, then she said, “That’s Kai. Isn’t it?”
Amy smiled, and said, “Yes.”
Mr. Fairbrother looked at me, and said, “Kai, how? Why?”
Amy explained about the resort doing a new brochure and looking for a native girl. Someone saw Kai, and they talked her into doing it, and that some of the pictures turned out so good that they had chosen one and hung it in the lobby.
We sat, had an excellent breakfast, and a long talk. Amy and I gave them the short version of my history. And we answered all of their questions. We told them that we had to make a quick trip to Taos and that we hoped to see them at the barbecue this evening.
Mr. Fairbrother smiled, and said, “I wouldn’t miss that for anything.”
“Neither would we.”, Amy said.
“Are you going to the dance competition tomorrow in Taos?”, Mrs. Fairbrother asked.
“Yes.”, I replied. “It will be our first, and we have a friend that will be dancing.”
“I’d better not ask who. I might be tempted to give them a high score.”
With a big smile, I said, “I don’t think that they’ll need any help.”
“I just feel that they will do very well on their own.”
“No help from the spirits?”
“I can’t say what the spirits will do.”
“No one can.”
Then Mr. Fairbrother said, “One last thing Kai. Would you be willing to sign a modeling release for the pictures we took?”
“Sure.”, I replied. “But why?”
“We are about ready to publish an article about the people with two spirits. And after what we’ve learned about you, we’d like to include you and your picture in the article. We also have a lot of information, and may write a book.”
“Just so you know, and it’s not for publication, my real name isn’t Kai Nez.”
“It was the name given to me out here. It’s my name on my certificate of membership in the Navajo Nation.”
“I think as far as we’re concerned, you are Kai Nez.”
Mr. Fairbrother handed me a release. I filled it out using my aunt and uncle’s address and as I signed it, I said, “I would love to see a copy of the article and maybe even a copy of the book if you publish one.”
“Consider it done.”, Mrs. Fairweather said.
It was late morning when Amy and I left the resort and headed to Taos to see Mr. Yazzie. As we were driving, Amy said, “Mr. Fairbrother sure loosened up this morning.”
“Yes.”, I said. “It was like he needs to get to know people.”
“The looks on their faces when they found out you weren’t a girl was priceless.”
“I know. I think that’s when Mr. Fairbrother loosened up.”
“You’re right. But you know, I wonder why they are so interested in the two spirit people.”
We arrived in Taos around eleven and parked close to Mr. Yazzie’s shop. And as we walked into the shop, he looked up from his workbench, smiled, and said, “There are my two favorite customers.”
“But Mr. Yazzie.”, I said. “We haven’t bought that much from you.”
“That doesn’t matter. You’re still my favorite customers. I know that you had your appraisal done. Were you happy with it?”
“Yes. But now I’m even more afraid to wear the silver.”
“Don’t be. Just be sure to take care of it.”
“Oh, we will.”
“What can I do for you?”
As we both took the stones out and set them on the counter, I said, “Naainish said to bring these to you and have you set them in a necklace for each of us.”
Mr. Yazzie picked up the stones and looked at them. Then he looked at us and asked, “Where did you get these?”
Amy and I looked at each other and didn’t say anything.
Mr. Yazzie then said, “You were at the rock outcropping in the mountains. Weren’t you?”
“Yes, sir.”, I said.
“Do you know what these stones are?”
“Yes, meteorites from the sacred place in the mountains. You two found it. Didn’t you?”
Before either Amy or I could say anything, a voice behind us said, “Yes, uncle, they did.”
We turned and looked, and it was Naainish.
“That is good.”, Mr. Yazzie said.
“Yes. It is good. Make them each a necklace, uncle.”
I smiled at Naainish and asked, “Naainish, are you following us?”
“No, Kai Nez. I was in town and saw you walk into my uncle’s shop. So I decided to join you.”
“There you go using my full name again.”
“Out of respect.”
“Okay, Naainish Yazzie.”
“All right, Kai. I’ll only use your first name.”
“Thank you, Naainish.”
“Kai.”, Mr. Yazzie said. “I could have these for you tomorrow. But the shop will be closed. I’m going to have a booth at the dance competition.”
“We’ll be at the dance competition.”
“Good. You can pick them up then.”
“We’ll do that. But let me pay you now. What do we owe you?”
“Mr. Yazzie! What do we owe you?”
“Hmm. You will have time and materials into making those necklaces. Please let me pay you?”
“No Kai. These will be my gift to the two of you.”
“Kai.”, Naainish said. “Don’t argue with him. When his mind is made up, he won’t change it,”
“Mr. Yazzie. What am I going to do with you.”
He just smiled.
“Would you let me take you to lunch?”
“Kai, I’m sorry, but I can’t leave the shop.”
“I give up.”
“Where are you going?”, Naainish asked.
“We found the La Cueva Cafe. So we’re going there.”
“May I join you?”
“Of course. But only if you let me buy. You bought last time.”
“When we met with you, the Chief, and the people from the Tribal Council at the remote hogan.”
“Oh. That time.”
“Yes. Now, don’t be like your uncle.”
“Okay. I’ll let you buy.”
We said so long to Mr. Yazzie and took Naainish to lunch.
As we were eating, I asked Naainish, “Why are those two stones meteorites?”
“I don’t know why.”, Naainish said, as he pulled a necklace out from his shirt and showed us his stone. “All I know is that they will give you more insight into yourself. And over time you will become more sure of yourself. But will also remain humble.”
“Why was I able to take a stone?”, Ajie ask.
“Ajie. You are special in your own way, and the spirits know that. And like with Kai, you will learn more about yourself, and become more sure of yourself.”
“And the stone can do that?”
“Not the stone, but the spirit of the stone.”
“I know where meteorites come from.”, I said. “But how did so many get to that place?”
“Kai, I have no idea.”, Naainish said. “The only thing that I know is that something happened in that area many Moons ago.”
After a nice lunch, we said so long to Naainish and headed back to the resort. On the way back we decided to spend the rest of the day just relaxing. Tonight will be our last barbecue, at least on this trip.
When we were back at the resort and walked into my aunt and uncle’s house, we found my aunt in the kitchen. She was sitting at the table and looked worried. Amy asked, “Aunt Ruth, what’s wrong.”
“It’s grandma.”, Aunt Ruth said.
“What’s wrong with her?”, I asked.
“I’m not sure anything is. But she says she doesn’t feel good, and she won’t let me call the doctor for her.”
I looked at Amy, and said, “I think we need to make a house call.”
“Way ahead of you, love.”, Amy said. “Let's go. I assume that she’s in her apartment?”
“Yes, she should be.”, Aunt Ruth said. And as she handed us a key, Aunt Ruth added, “Here’s the spare key just in case she’s laying down.”
Amy and I walked over to the hotel, and to grandma’s apartment. I knocked on the door and waited. Then I knocked again a little louder. Still no answer. Amy grabbed the key from me, opened the door, and called out, “Grandma.”
No answer. Then I called out, “Grandma.”
Still no answer. We walked into the apartment and started looking around. We checked her room. No grandma. We checked the bathroom. No grandma. We checked the spare bedroom. And still no grandma. Finally, I said, “She’s not here.”
“What was your first clue?”, Amy quipped.
“I wonder where she is?”
“Right here, girls.”, we heard grandma say. “What are you doing here?”
Amy and I turned and looked at her. She was standing in the door, and I said, “We just stopped by to see you.”
“No, you didn’t. Ruthie’s worried about me, and she sent you over to check on me. That’s why you have the spare key.”
“Grandma, yes Aunt Ruth is worried about you. But she didn't send us over. We came over on our own to see you.”
“And, admit it, you're worried about me?”
“Not worried.”, Amy said. “But we wanted to be sure that you were all right. Where were you?”
“I went for a walk around the resort.”
“That’s good for you.”
We sat with grandma, she got us something cold to drink, and we spent about half-an-hour talking to her. One thing I asked her was, “Grandma, what do you know about the Fairbrothers and their interest in people with two spirits?”
“They always come this time of year because of the dance competition and stay here. I know that they’ve always been interested in the people with two spirits. And they’ve talked to Naainish. But why the interest? I have no idea.”
Then as we were getting ready to leave, grandma asked, “When are you kids leaving?”
“We haven’t talked about it. But maybe Monday.”, I replied.
Amy quietly said, “Never.”
“You’d really like to stay. Wouldn’t you, honey?”, grandma asked.
“I think we’d both like that.”, I replied.
“Maybe someday you will.”
“I don’t know why I’m asking this.”, grandma said. “But you two are coming to the barbecue tonight. Aren’t you?”
“You’re right, grandma. There’s no reason to ask. We’ll be there.”
We got some big hugs from grandma as we were leaving, and after she’d closed the door and we were walking down the hall, Ajie asked, “Did you feel anything?”
“Feel anything?”, I asked.
“Like with your dad and Mary?”
“Oh. No. As far as I could tell she’s fine.”
We went back to my aunt’s house, told her that we found grandma and that she appeared to be okay, and that she’d just come back from a walk. Aunt Ruth was glad to hear that.
Amy and I then went to our room, put on our swimsuits, grabbed our robes, and headed for the thermal springs. We spent a good half an hour just soaking in the warm waters. Then we headed back to my aunt and uncle’s house to get ready for the barbecue.
When we got to the house, the door was locked, so I used our key to open it. With the door being locked we knew no one was home, so we went in and I re-locked the door. As we walked into the kitchen, there was a note on the table, and it said that my aunt and uncle had things to do before the barbecue and they’d see us there. And that my aunt had our Biil dresses cleaned and that they were hanging in our closet.
We walked back to our room, looked in the closet, and our two Biil dresses looked like they were new. Amy looked at the two dresses, and said, “These look so good. I hope we can keep them clean for tomorrow.”
“We could just wear long skirts and blouses tonight.”, I said.
“That would be a first.”
“Yeah. We’ll just have to be careful.”
As Amy stripped out of her swimsuit, she had a sly smile on her face, when she asked, “Lover, want to join me in the shower?”
She didn’t have to ask me twice.
A while later, like almost an hour later, I was looking at the two Bill dresses again. Amy asked, “Something wrong?”
“No.”, I replied. “I’m just trying to decide which one to wear.”
“Love, there’s no choice. You should wear the white one.”
“Honey, that white dress just makes you glow. Your coloring just looks so good when you’re wearing it.”
“You’re the boss.”
“You know it.”
I was going to snap her with my wet bath towel but thought better of it.
We both put on our underwear. I slipped into the special panties and a bra. Then added my forms.
We dried our hair, I was going with the straight look again, and Amy was going to wear the wig. Amy put the wig cap on, pushed all her blond hair under it, and then slipped the wig on over the wig cap. She bobby pinned it in place, then put it into a single braid. I added the butterfly barrette at the top of her braid for her, and she added the leather wrap with turquoise and feathers at the bottom like my aunt had done. It looked sharp.
When she finished, she looked at me, and asked, “Would you let me try something?”
“What?”, I asked.
“Let me try to put your hair into two braids like your aunt did?”
“Sure. Why not.”
Amy did almost exactly what Aunt Ruth had done, except that each braid didn’t have colored leather strips braided into it. But each braid had a fancy barrette at the top and a different leather wrap at the ends. The braids laid over my shoulders. When Amy finished, I said, “You need to teach me how to braid hair.”
I added the fancy leather headband with the two feathers that hung down the back of my head.
Amy became Ajie as she slipped into the red Biil dress, and then put on her moccasins. I put on the white Biil dress and then the wrap moccasins.
Then came the jewelry. Both of us wore our Concho belts. I added the squash blossom necklace. Ajie added the beaded choker, and I added the Concho bone choker. We both added rings and bracelets. Then we added the matching silver feather earrings.
We looked at each other. I smiled, and said, “Ajie, you look wonderful.”
“Kai. Love.”, Ajie said. “You look like an Indian princess.”
Ajie and I headed out the door and towards the barbecue.
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