Monday, June 20, 2016

Mother's Touch, Excerpt, Part 1

Chester Nez,
last of the Navajo Code Talkers
The Navajo blood that runs through my veins is very small. That’s how Grandpa Bear described it. He said, in his voice like music running over sandpaper, “Your blood is small, but it is strong and powerful, sand in a windstorm.”

I always laughed at this, a high trembling sound, mimicking a tiny cactus thrush. He would fix me with those black snake’s eyes which, any other time, would be milky white from age.

“Little Cactus Bird,” he would call me, “you have so little strength of your own. You are a riverbed; your power is in the floods you hold. Hide away, Little Bird, in your cactus. No one else will save you.”

Around this time, my mother would come out, half Caucasian with dusky skin and hair of obsidian. She would call me away from her father, a drunk in her eyes.

“You listen’n to th’ crazy talk ag’in? LunaMae, I told you…”

I always tuned her out. She didn’t want to hear about my blessing in the symbolic wording of my only living grandparent. She packed me up in a fifteen year old Towncar and drove away. A couple months later, we’d come back as if nothing happened.

I believed that time did not pass for Grandpa Bear when we were gone. He just froze until we came back.

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