Tommy - The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl? - Chapter 96


Tommy
The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?

A Novel By Teddie S.

Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 96
What happened? The sacred place.

After the clan meeting in Window Rock, where Tahoma Etsitty was installed as the rightful Chief of the Azee'tsoh dine'é (The Big Medicine People clan), we’d spent the night at my Aunt Ginny’s house. Amy and I had spent the night in a hogan with amenities, like electric lights and a wood floor. That night, since it was the monsoon season, there had been a couple of thunderstorms roll through, Amy didn’t notice the second one. And that may have been because of what had happened during the first storm. She’d received a LONG foot massage.

We were back home on Monday morning, and Amy was back in her classes. Since she had received the results of her nurse’s license test and her Ohio Registered Nurse’s license, she was meeting with Dr. Etsitty and someone from the New Mexico Board of Nursing on Wednesday afternoon. When she finally got home from the meeting, she was depressed and wanted to go for a walk, so we went to the Rio Grande River to walk along the river. I’d asked her what was wrong, and her reply brought me to a dead stop.

Amy’s answer to my question of, “What’s wrong?”, was “I want to go back to Ohio.”

After my mind had stopped spinning, I asked, “What did you just say?”

“I want to go back to Ohio.”

“What the hell happened? Was your presentation bad?”

“No, it went great. It’s what happened in Dr. Etsitty's office.”

“We need to sit someplace.”

I looked around and saw a picnic area not too far away. I took Amy’s hand and guided her to a picnic table. I had her sit on one side of a table, and I sat across from her. She looked at me, gave me a weak smile, and said, “This reminds me of something that happened a few years ago when we had our fight.”

“Me too.”, I replied. “Now tell me what’s going on?”

Amy took a deep breath, and I knew that she was trying to hold back tears as she told me the story, “Everything at the meeting started out great. Dr. Etsitty was there, and even Dean Milford was there. And the three of us talked like old friends while we waited for the woman from the New Mexico Board of Nursing to show up.

“There was a knock on the door, and Dr. Etsitty told them to come in. Sara, Dr. Etsitty's secretary, opened the door and showed a woman in. A Mrs. Richardson. There was something about her that I didn’t like from the moment that I saw her.

“I’d given my test results and Ohio license to Sara, to copy, she handed me the originals and the copies and then left.

“Dr. Etsitty introduced everyone. Then it got a little ugly. Without another word, the woman looked at me, and in a nasty way said, ‘Young lady, I hear that you think that you don’t have to take the New Mexico nursing test just because you passed the Ohio test.’

“I told her that I didn’t think that, that I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to take it over, but that I would if I needed to.

“Both Dr. Etsitty and Dean Milford tried to tell Mrs. Richardson about my academics. They even showed her the transcript of my grades and my letters of recommendation. As Mrs. Richardson looked them over, you could hear a ‘Hmm’ or a ‘Huh’ out of her every once in a while.

“When she finished, she looked at me, and again in a nasty way said, ‘Just because you graduated Summa Cum Laude doesn’t mean that you’ll be a good nurse.’

“Both Dean Milford and Dr. Etsitty stood up for me, saying that they had verified everything including my clinicals. The woman looked over everything again, stood up, and said, ‘I’m going to recommend that Mrs. Young takes the New Mexico test.’

“Then she just left.

“Dean Milford, Dr. Etsitty, and I just sat there and looked at each other for a minute. Then I stood up, and said, ‘I’ve had it. I don’t need to be treated like this. I’m done.’

“As I went to walk out of her office, Dr. Etsitty said, ‘Amy, please don’t make any rash decisions. Let the Dean, and I see what we can do. Please.’

“Then I said, ‘It may be too late. I was willing to take the New Mexico test if I had to. But, no more. I worked hard to receive the grades I did. But being attacked that way is just too much.’

“I walked out of Dr. Etsitty office, went to a restroom, sat in a stall, and cried my eyes out. Then I came home.”

I got up, walked to the other side of the picnic table, sat next to Amy, and held her while she cried some more. She finally composed herself, and said, “I’m sorry.”

“No honey.”, I said. “I’m so sorry that someone can be so mean to you. But it’s not like you to give up so quickly.

“So you want to go back to Ohio?”

“I don’t know. It would be so easy to walk away from this whole thing.”

“But that’s not you.”

“I know. But …”

I stood up, offered Amy my hand, and said, “Let’s walk.”

We started walking the trail. And Amy held onto my arm the whole time that we walked. We’d gone about a mile when we saw a bench. We stopped at the bench and sat. We’d been sitting watching the water for about ten minutes, when Amy said, “Honey, is that an Eagle?”

“Where?”, I asked.

As she pointed, she said, “Sitting in that tree.”

I looked at where she was pointing, and a large bird was sitting towards the top of an old dead tree on the far side of the river. And I said, “I think it is.”

“It’s just sitting there looking at us.”

“I know.”

We sat there looking at the Eagle and it looking at us. A short time later we saw a second Eagle circle overhead while looking at us. Then it landed in the same tree not far from the first Eagle.

Amy said, “Can’t be?”

“Can’t be what?”, I asked.

“The two Eagles from home.”

“I seriously doubt it. That’s over twelve-hundred miles from here.”

“You’re right. It was just some wishful thinking.”

“I know. Our friends at home could always make us feel better. Maybe these two can also sense that we needed them.”

“You never know.”

The two Eagles took off, circled us twice, and flew north, upriver. We watched them until they were out of sight.

“You know.”, Amy said. “Just seeing them makes me feel a little better.”

“That’s good.”, I said. “Want to do the drive-in for dinner?”

“Let’s go to Old Town.”

“La Placita Dining Rooms?”

“Uh huh. I want one of their Sangria's.”

When we were back home after dinner, there was a message on the answering machine. It was from Dr. Etsitty, and all it said was, ‘Amy this is Vickie. Please call me.’

“I don’t know if I’m ready to talk to her.”, Amy said.

“Then, wait until you are.”, I replied.

“I’d love to sit by a fire. I wish we had a fire pit.”

“We could dig one.”

“The university would really love that. Not.”

Amy went to take a shower, and I went to check the mail. And we had a letter from our financial advisor. I opened it, and it was interesting. When Amy came back downstairs, I said, “We got a letter from our finical advisor.”

“Oh?”, Amy said.

“He says that it looks like we can fund two scholarships next year.”

“I like that.”

“Me too.”

Just then the phone rang. I looked at Amy, and she looked at me. And I asked, “Going to answer it?”

“You answer it.”, Amy replied.

I picked up the phone, and said, “Hello.” … “Oh hi, Vickie.” … “Yes, she told me everything.” … “Well, we took a long walk and had a long talk. But I don’t know what she’s going to do.” … “Well, she’s had two Sangria's, so don’t ask her to sign anything.”

I looked at Amy, held the phone out to her, and said, “Honey, it’s Vickie for you.”

Amy looked at me, reluctantly took the phone, and said, “Hi Vickie.” … “I guess I’m okay.” … “I don’t know. I was attacked, and I don’t need that. I could so easily go back to Ohio right now, and I’d be welcomed with open arms.” … “Yes, I know she was completely out of line.” … “I haven’t made up my mind yet.” … “Vickie, we love it out here. We love most of the people that we’ve met. But being treated the way I was for no apparent reason spoils the whole experience.” … “Vickie, I’m going to have to sleep on it.” … “I promise that I’ll sit down with you and the dean before I make a final decision.” … “Good night.”

“She wants you to stay. Doesn’t she?”, I asked.

“Badly.”, Amy replied.

“Honey, I’ll stand with you no matter what you decide.”

“I know you will, sweetheart. I know you will.”

We stayed up late, and as we were getting ready for bed, Amy said, “I loved seeing the Eagles today. It made me feel good inside.”

“I know.”, I replied. “I was surprised to see them.”

“I guess they found us.”

“I guess they did.”

Usually, Amy and I are up together around six, but on Thursday morning I was up before she was. She didn’t come downstairs until almost seven-thirty, and then she only had her robe on. Which is unusual, she’s usually dressed when she comes downstairs. I looked at her, and asked, “What’s up?”

“Oh, nothing.”, she replied.

“You're not dressed,”

“I know. Do you think your aunt would put us up tonight?”

“Probably. Why?”

“I need to be near the spirits of the fire.”

“Oh.”

“I had a dream last night about sitting at the bonfire with you.”

“This is new.”

“I guess. But I want to meditate with Kai.”

“Okay. We’ll run up right after your afternoon class.”

“No. Let’s go this morning.”

“What about your classes?”

“Right now I don’t care.”

“This really isn’t like you.”

“I know, but I’ve never been attacked like this before.”

“Don’t do this to yourself.”

“Honey, don’t worry. You being here is very important to me. Knowing that we now have feathered friends here helps. And meditating at the bonfire tonight will be a big help.”

“But missing class isn’t like you. I don’t think that you’ve ever missed a class.”

“Don’t worry. By Monday I’ll either be back in class, or we’ll be on the way back to Ohio.”

“You’re not kidding. Are you?”

“No, honey, I’m not.”

“Well then, let's make breakfast, pack, and head for the resort.”

“Thank you for understanding.”

“Honey, I understand because I love you.”

She walked over to me, put her arms around my neck, and kissed me. A long, deep, kiss.

Just before Noon, we were pulling into the resort, and up to my aunt and uncle’s house. I tried the door, and it was locked, so I used my key to unlock it. And we carried our things back to our room.

When we came back out into the kitchen, my aunt and uncle were walking into the house. Aunt Ruth said, “Hi Kids. What a nice surprise,”

“Hi, Aunt Ruth. Uncle Paul.”, I said. “We decided to come up a day early. Hope you don’t mind.”

“No. We love having you kids.”

My aunt then questioningly looked at Amy, then asked, “Amy. Honey, what’s wrong?”

“We may be going back to Ohio.”, Amy replied.

“What! Why?”

Amy then told my aunt and uncle what had happened. And my aunt said, “That’s uncalled for! Honey, I hope that you can work it out.”

“So do I.”, Amy said. “But I don’t know.”

“Who is this woman?”

“She is Mrs. Richardson, and she is a member of the New Mexico Board of Nursing.”

“So they control the licensing of nurses.”

“Yes. I was more than willing to take the New Mexico test if I had to, but the way she came across just really set me off. I had problems controlling my temper.”

“Honey. You relax while you’re here. Use the pools. Get a massage. Take a hike.”

“Thanks, Aunt Ruth.”, Amy said. “That’s why we came up here. I needed to clear my head. And I know that I can do that here.”

Looking at me, Amy asked, “Oh! Honey, did we bring the bathing suits?”

“Yes.”, I replied. “I packed them. I packed our girl suits.”

“So, it’ll be Kai and Ajie?”

“Isn’t it always Kai and Ajie here?”

“Yes.”

“Do you two want me to make an appointment for massages?”

“That would be wonderful, Aunt Ruth.”, Amy said,

“Is Amber still here?”, I asked.

“Yes.”, Aunt Ruth said.

“Could you see if she’s available?”

“Sure, honey.”

A short time later Ajie and I were soaking in one of the hot spring pools. Ajie said, “This just feels so good.”

“I know. I can’t wait for the massage.”

An hour later Ajie and I were walking back to my aunt and uncle’s house. When we walked in, my aunt asked, “Well, how was the massage?”

“Just what the doctor ordered.”, Ajie said.

“I’m glad. I’m going to make a Southwestern casserole for dinner and have cinnamon crisps with a fruit salad for dessert.”

“Oh, yum!”, I said.

“Why don’t you two just relax and I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.”

Ajie and I went back to our room, changed out of our swimsuits, and figured that we’d relax on the bed for a little while then help Aunt Ruth with dinner. The next thing I remember was Uncle Paul knocking on the door and saying, “Hey you two. Dinner in ten minutes.”

“Oh. Okay, Uncle Paul. We’ll be right there.”, I said.

Ajie and I quickly got dressed, in shorts and blouses, and we brushed our hair into ponytails. Then we went to the kitchen. The food was on the table, and we sat and ate. And the meal was excellent. As we ate, we told my aunt and uncle that we wanted to see a Sunset and then meditate at the bonfire.

After we helped clean up the dinner dishes, Ajie and I both changed into long skirts and blouses. I braided my hair into two braids with fancy wraps, so they fell over the front of my shoulders, Ajie did hers in a single braid, and she added a fancy wrap to the end of it. We both put on the braided leather headbands with the Eagle feathers. Then we added a little jewelry, just the silver feather earrings. And instead of moccasins, we wore sneakers.

Shortly before Sunset, we started walking from the house to the cliff trail and up to the cliff top. When we got there, there were a few guests. One asked us, “Do you know if the Sunsets are as really that nice out here as we’ve heard?”

“They can be.”, I replied. “But it depends on the weather further west.”

And this Sunset didn’t disappoint. There were lots of yellows, pinks, and reds.

After the Sun had set and most of the guests had headed back down the trail, Ajie and I walked over to where the little tree was. It still looked good, and like it had grown a little bit. Then Ajie and I walked back down the trail. The bonfire was burning well, but we walked past it and to my aunt and uncle’s house.

Once in our room we changed out of the sneakers and into wrap moccasins, and then picked up some additional jewelry to wear. Both of us put on our Concho belts and our squash blossom necklaces. Then we both added the beaded chokers. I then picked up one of the rugs from our bedroom and draped it over my arm.

Ajie and I then headed to the bonfire. We saw some guests standing with my uncle on the far side f the fire. Ajie and I went to our special place, I spread the rug out on the ground, and we both sat without legs in front of us.

I closed my eyes and concentrated on the spirits of the bonfire. I figured Ajie did the same. After a few minutes, I heard chanting. It wasn’t me. Was it Ajie? I don’t think so. Naainish? Maybe. I continued meditating until the chanting stopped. I opened my eyes and saw Naainish standing with my aunt and uncle. Why is he here?

Ajie and I both got up, I picked up the rug and put it over my arm. Then we walked over to where everyone was standing. As we walked up, Naainish said, “Yá’át’ééh alní'íní, Kai dóó Ajie.” (Good evening, Kai and Ajie.)

“Yá’át’ééh alní'íní, Naainish.”, I said. “Why are you here tonight?”

“I felt a problem, and I had to come. And when I got here, I felt that Ajie was troubled.”

“Naainish.”, Ajie said. “Yes, I’m troubled.”

“Let’s walk.”

I watched as Ajie and Naainish started walking away from the bonfire. My aunt said, “He just showed up and was concerned about the two of you.”

“How did he know?”, I asked.

“How does Naainish know anything?”

“Spirits?”

“Probably.”

Ajie and Naainish were gone about fifteen minutes, and when they came back, Naainish took me aside, and said, “Kai, Ajie needs your full support. She is very troubled. We’ve talked, and she understands how important this decision is.”

“I know, Naainish.”, I said. “That’s why we’re here. To allow her to be near the spirits of the thermal springs and the bonfire. Hopefully, they will help her make the correct decision.”

“Kai, that is wise. And you too need to help her make her decision.”

We walked back over to where Ajie and my aunt and uncle were. And Ajie said, “Kai. Honey, let's go back to the house.”

We walked back to the house, and Ajie led me to the patio. I started a small fire, and we sat and looked at the stars. Ajie cuddled up to me, and I held her.

I knew that it was well into Friday when we made it to bed last night. Again this morning I was up well before Ajie and talked with my aunt and uncle. There was a lot of concern from my aunt and uncle over Ajie and what she was going through.

About an hour after I had gotten up, Ajie finally walked into the kitchen. The three of us looked at her, and she said, “Good morning.”

“Good morning.”, my aunt said. “You feeling any better?”

Ajie shrugged her shoulders, and said, “Maybe a little.”

“Let me get you some breakfast?”

“That’s okay, Aunt Ruth. I know where everything is.”

“Okay, honey.”

Ajie put together a light breakfast, sat, and ate. As she ate, she looked at me, and asked, “Is there any possible way that we could visit the sacred place in the mountains?”

“Maybe.”, I replied. “If it’ll let us find it.”

“I think it will.”

“You do?”

“Yes. I had a dream about it last night.”

I looked at Uncle Paul, and asked, “Could we go up there, Uncle Paul?”

“Yes.”, Uncle Paul said. “I need to go up there and check the cabin. The owner is coming in next week. So I could drive you up there, and while I check on everything, you two could go to the special place.”

“When could we go?”, Ajie asked.

“When do you want to go?”

“Now?”

“I guess we can.”

“Are you sure Uncle Paul?”

“Sure. I’ll get a couple of rifles together, and you get your hiking things together.”

“Thank you, Uncle Paul.”, Ajie said.

“No problem, Ajie.”

Ajie and I went to our room and changed into our hiking clothes. Ajie left the single braid in her hair and put on the Eagle feather headband. I still had my two braids in, and without knowing why, I also put on the other Eagle feather headband. We walked back into the kitchen, and my uncle had three rifles for us. I walked out to our car and retrieved the backpack with the canteens in it, and filled the canteens.

Aunt Ruth had put together lunches for us to take with us and she also had some backpacking snacks for us to take with us.

We took the resort’s four-wheel-drive truck, and the three of us headed towards the mountains. A while later we were driving up the road towards the fire tower and the cabin. We turned into the drive for the cabin, and Ajie said, “I love this place.”

We parked the truck, Uncle Paul unlocked the front door, and we went into the cabin to use the bathroom. By the time Ajie and I finished in the bathroom, Uncle Paul had a few windows open. Ajie and I went back out to the truck, took two of the rifles and the backpack out of the truck. Ajie checked one of the rifles and then slung it over her shoulder. I checked out another rifle, slipped on the backpack, and slung the rifle over my shoulder.

I told Uncle Paul, “We’ll see you in a couple of hours, Uncle Paul.”

“You have a compass with you. Don’t you.”, he asked.

As I slapped my shorts pocket, I said, “Of course.”

“Good. Remember that three shots close together means you need help.”

“Yes, I remember that.”

“Be careful.”

“We will.”, Ajie said.

Ajie and I then headed up the path from the back of the cabin and turned right where it met the main trail. We knew that the cross trail that we wanted was about a mile down this trail. And we also knew that if the sacred place wanted us to find it again, that we’d find the first marker tree.

When we reached the cross trail, we looked for the signal tree with the branch bent down and found it. We walked to the tree and looked down and saw the arrow carved in the tree.

Amy said, “I think it wants us to find it.”

“I think you’re right.”, I replied.

We followed the cross trail until Ajie spotted the next marker tree.

Ajie looked at me and smiled. And we followed the trail it indicated. This trail started to come back to me, and it was like I didn’t need to follow the marker trees.

Like before the visible trail started to fade, but the marker trees were still there. After one turn we saw the rock face. When we reached the rock face, the arrow was there, and the hole where we’d retrieved the meteorites, for our necklaces, was empty. We followed the rock face in the direction that the arrow pointed until we reached the arrow that pointed up. Then we followed the steep path up through the rocks until we reached the ledge and followed the trail to the right.

We reached the rock alcove that contained the rock with symbols carved on it. We sat together on the flat area in front of the stone. I took Ajie’s right hand in my left hand. And I started a chant.

When I finished the chant, we looked at each other, and I knew Ajie had made a decision. But I wasn’t going to ask her what it was. I was going to wait for her to tell me.

We got up and started working our way back down off the rocks. When we were back down on the ground, Ajie asked for some water and a snack bar. I took the backpack off, and took two canteens and two snack bars out of it, and handed one of each to her. We stood there drank some water and ate the snack bars.

When we reached the spot where the first arrow was carved in the rock, we saw something …

~o~O~o~

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