Category Archives: love

The Antierra Manifesto, Blog post #9

(Tiegli’s story, part 2)

[begin blog post #9]

“And the honour?” I refrain from asking about the evil juice – no time.  I find out later however that the “evil juice” is a concoction made from dried and powdered chakr (pronounced shoak) root – an indigenous herb that grows profusely at the edge of the desert, readily available and cheap – that is mixed with the blood of one’s kill after a killing orgy.  The drink is usually shared with several males.  It is a bonding which, they believe, makes them invulnerable and immortal, despite all evidence to the contrary, I might add.   

Tiegli continues with her story:

“Returning from fight or hunt alive, telling of dangers and wounds received, and saying “I do this again!”  Showing off skins,  part of animals and people too; dead bodies; captive slaves and scars on body – all good for male pride.”

“Is any woman ever recognized for her endurance or courage or the money she brings her owners?”

“That be outrage.  If man ever praise woman for deed he be disgrace and treat like female.  If not rich to buy out, he castrate and flog like woman in arena.  Or he given for special fun to bad, vicious fighters in compound for trainer fun and kill.  How you not know? Everybody know this.”

She tucks her body against mine and I feel her desire for sexual comforts which I give her freely.  She will die having known a moment of gentleness and companionship and will know that she is more than an animal.  I wish I could kill her as she rests against me but that is not what she would want.  She needs to return to her arena and maybe discover the additional courage to yell when she makes her kill.  Maybe she will scream that she is just as human as the men who came to watch her die, or to kill her.  Maybe she will upset a tiny bit of the status quo, enough for me to find the match I need to light the fire I came here to light.  Yes, what this place needs is a cleansing fire; nothing less will do.

I say, more to her mind than ear: “Tomorrow you must scream at them that you are human.  You must yell your own taunts over your kill.  Strike hard and die with courage and make them see your pride.  I am not really Spirit of the Desert Beast.  Just let those superstitious males believe that for now.  I am, indeed, from the stars, that I remember now.  I am here to share your pain for it is known from far away.  I am here to find out everything there is to know about this world.  This means I will die just like you, probably soon.  I will return to my world and find ways to help your people.  And I will return again as a fighter.  I will speak to the women and give them new ideas – dangerous, illegal, bold ideas.  They will have to decide whether to listen to me and trust I’m speaking truth or remain in their condition.  Would you like to see me again when I return home?”

“Hah…”  She hesitates then whispers hoarsely, “You speak strange; like sex slaves train concubine.  Good speak, many words you have.  You say I allowed to decide for me?”

“Yes, you are allowed to decide.  Tomorrow they may kill your body but you will find out that you are still very much alive – more than you’ve ever been.  When your people come for you and if you want to see me again, ask them to direct you to a world called Altaria.  It’s a very difficult world to reach, hidden in folds of space from prying evil eyes like Albaral.  But you can find it if you remember some basic words from me.

“Tell them you are the friend of Antierra from T’Sing Tarleyn.  If they do not understand, tell them you are the friend of Al’Tara whom you met on Malefactus.  They will contact people from my world and will be able to send you there.  Using my name as code-word for access you will be allowed to enter.  There you can wait for me if you wish.  Or you can learn what you want to, then leave and go anywhere you want.  Anywhere.

“Remember to keep your name, Tiegli.  You will not look as you do now and no one will recognize you, not even me.  So I shall ask for you by name – and it will be a famous name for everyone will know who you are and where you are from; how you lived and how you died.  You will be loved there.  All my friends will be your friends and they will show you many wonders.  That is my gift to you, Tiegli.”

“Your words, sweet; touch like lover – I had one, I know ; she  killed maybe one, two year? I never have again.  Much losing pain.  Almost killed too, I so tired from losing pain that time.  I know you be as say.  I die bravely, oh yes sure.  I die most happy, tomorrow.  I go to your world and wait for you, yes?  But you come back here, I no promise come with you.  I not crazy woman like you.  Can I go from you, die, no promise I return and your people they still keep me, not kill me?”

“Yes.”  I manage to whisper with the lump in my throat and full, free tears flowing.  “There are no conditions bearing upon you when you live on my world except you learn new things and accept that you will be happy.  You can live there free, happy, as long as you wish.  Then you can go anywhere you wish, choice is always yours alone.  No one kills on my world.  No one dies.”

She nudges against me, her small face tucked between my breasts.  I feel the moisture of her tears.  “Your world is beautiful place, Antierra.”

“No more so than yours can be – and will be in time.  All worlds have, within themselves the power of choice to be ugly or beautiful.  It is the intelligent, sentient and self-aware life on those worlds that determines which choice they will make.  For you see, as women are slaves of men on your world, so is every world a slave of its ISSA life forms.”

“You have strange words; speak strange things.  Much power.  You be the Desert Beast giving passing dream of power to dying woman.  I content.  Sleep now.”

Too tired myself to ask any more questions, I let her sleep cradled between my thighs and breasts.  But I cannot sleep.  I feel her rhythmic breathing and the beating of her strong heart.  I try to imagine her in a different environment.  This wreck of a woman is no older than I, yet looks to be fifty.  I move my hands slowly and deliberately over her body.  I feel the many scars, some badly healed from lack of medical care.  She would not have been a favourite of the medical attendants this one, so she suffered the more.

I gently massage a swollen deformity on her back, probably from a blow of that stick weapon I described earlier.  Again, I feel the urge to just break her neck and save her from her final ordeal; it would be so easy, and seemingly so compassionate.  But see, I can let her live to die and allow her to have another kind of happiness: a flicker of hope that I am as true as she wishes to believe and she has a future where she can be human. 

I start that damning circular thinking again, trying to sort out my feelings, the old and the new.  If I give in to bouts of compassion, or to the weakness of love, will I fail in my purpose?  Or is it the other way around: if I do not allow any compassion to flow through me, and if I do not allow the pain of loving, either this friend I am about to lose or that enigmatic doctor whom I insist on believing knows more than he shared with me of love for a woman, will I become spiritually dead and lose myself in this maelstrom of mindless violence?  Surely then I will have failed.

Ah, Tiegli, old child woman, how beautiful you are.  I remember what possessions meant to me and so many others on Old Earth in what now seems like a never-never time.  Yet here you are, naked, bereft of family or friends, scarred, abused, battered, ignorant of most things taken for granted elsewhere, living in pain and your entire wealth lies but in your name.  Yet it is a wealth beyond any imagined by those who have made fortunes betting on your skills, your sweat, your blood and your life.  How did your leader baptize you?  In whom, or what?  Did they use their own blood?  Was it in the name of some goddess of long ago through whom they keep in touch for a tiny bit of humanity, of sanity? Was it in the name of their unborn and dead children and equally dead dreams?  Who will teach me about that goddess?  How will I find her?  How will I bring her back to empower your lives before everything is destroyed?  ‘All in good time’ I hear my mind intoning.  And my immediate reply is, ‘How will I find “good time” on this world, in this place?’

Finally I fall into a fitful sleep troubled by a dream in which a pack of hairy red demons chase white angels whom, upon being caught, vanish as mist.  The demons gather together on a high dune with their empty hands raised and howl like wolves at the false sun that shines only darkness upon the desert.  Blood drips from their mouths and their hate consumes them.   They fall upon the red sand, writhing as if flames were devouring them from the inside.  Vultures swoop down and proceed to tear at their still twitching bodies.  Then only the dunes remain but the real sun does not rise above them – there is no morning.  Eternal darkness reigns. 

When I awake I am alone in the cage.  Soon the gates open and guards and handlers watch as we file out to relieve ourselves, wash and eat.  Tiegli the Undaunted; “The Crone” no longer exists for us, though by muted sounds from the arena we know the fighting is still taking place – and will probably until late in the day or for as long as the complement of female victims they have allocated lasts.  And we will hear the screams of delight from the packed crowd when the last gladiator falls.  But I know that these women never think of a fallen gladiator as dead.  Only if you kill yourself are you considered dead.

No gladiator is ever dead as long as another takes her place in a line-up, and  on this world that seems to stretch to the end of time itself. 

[end blog post # 9]

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When I was Nineteen

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~ ]

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.
Everything seemed cut and dried.  Art and music were fine, but could they
explain anything?  Could they tell me why I was alive or what the world was
all about?  I didn’t think so.  And ever since, I’ve lived a compromise: I
wouldn’t try to kill myself, because there was always a chance something
would happen to explain everything.”  (Songs of Earth and Power – Greg Bear)

It is the end of another year, my seventy-second year, which isn’t bad considering I’d set my “best before” termination year at fifty. It seemed reasonable at the time, what could I possibly accomplish of anything worthwhile past fifty in a society that worships (fake) youth and gobbles its world as if it is a melting chocolate ice cream?

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.” So did I, definitely, but my reasoning was much more pathetic: my lover dumped me. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but each one brought its own degree of particular inescapable hurt.  It would be many years later, having survived (dig the maudlin self pity!) the many losses, that I realized these experiences in an otherwise sated and bloated consumerist society was how I manipulated reality to grow a bigger heart.

I began to sense that my personal pain was but one of endless extensions of this world’s pain. I began to look at ways I could use that sorrowful “me” to become a part of the rest; to make sorrow my bed partner. I learned to cry in the night and though the tears were mine, gradually they were no longer for me.

Unlike Greg Bear’s heroine in “Songs of Earth and Power” however, I did not hang around for the chance that something would happen to explain everything. I used my awareness as a key to that explanation. Since I am my awareness, my own mind, I would be the key that would open the door and allow the “something that would explain everything” to come into my life and claim me as its lover. Once more, I fell in love, this time with a very dangerous character, an actual terrorist, someone for whom there would be no secrets, the ultimate WikiLeaks.

If I desired to know, all I needed was ask and he took me upon secret paths, through mined fields, under electrified fences of razor wire, into secure, severely guarded places where explanations were taking place.  He made me listen in and I discovered that official secrets were constantly being made up with all seriousness.

The first time I saw this, I wanted to laugh out loud. Only my dangerous lover’s hand over my mouth saved me. We would leave those places, return to city traffic, lights, pedestrians, noises, smells and facades of endless body accomodations, find our own and talk through nights that became ever shorter.

“There is nothing new under the sun” he’d quote from Eclesiastes.

“But I still don’t understand” I protested. “How can there be secrets, then? How do we not know everything?”

“I will not lie to you. The truth is, there are no secrets. You’re a victim of gross mis-direction, all of the time. That is the System, how it controls you, makes you fear; makes you hope. Then it dashes your hopes, deliberately, and starts the whole thing all over again. Each time you are left drained, like losing a lover, and while you are in this heart-mind weakened state you are taken by something else, on the rebound. You don’t want to let go of that last thread of hope and the next lie weaves itself into your dying hope and pulls more out of you. This goes on until you die. Nothing is ever explained because there is nothing to explain – that’s the realization that made you want to laugh when in the vault of secrets: there are no secrets, just manufactured lies.”

“So, if I choose knowledge, what should I do?”

“Use your key. Use you. You are your own source of all the knowledge that exists; all you need do is free your mind. Trust your imagination and go along for the ride.”

“How will I know where I am going?”

“You won’t; you can’t. If you did, that would be another false path, another lie. Where is the freedom in following an already existing path? Obviously it wouldn’t be yours and if you can see it, someone designed it as a trap for you, to seduce you once again upon a way that isn’t yours and will prove disempowering and end in loss, again.”

“Why do the great teachers ask us to follow them? Their teachings?”

“Because they are lovers, not great teachers and their teachings are powerless to change anything.  Because they want you for themselves and have no intention of ever giving you anything of themselves.  Because they are liars.”

“So, no great teachers, and I know everything?”

“Yes, potentially. You need to trust yourself; believe in yourself. You need to realize you were meant to walk this path alone. In fact, there is no path, just endless choices, the best ones seemingly impossible but remember this: nothing is impossible.”

“What happens now?”

“Now I will leave you because you no longer need me. You are equipped to live your life as a self-empowered being. You not only possess the key to all knowledge, you are that key. Much of that knowledge does not pertain to this, your reality, so you must learn to choose wisely, what you keep in your pockets, in your pack, and what you leave behind for the time being.”

“I am scared to be so alone!”

“Fear is the mind killer. I will not fear, I will face my fear… do you remember that? You learned it because you already knew you would need it. Now is the time. You walk alone, you never look back, you never doubt yourself.  Goodbye, lover.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rethinking our Cosmology: more on Lucifer

Is it Time to rethink our Cosmology?  More on Lucifer
     [voice from the Other Side  ~burning woman~]
 
Seen on a bumper sticker:  “Eve was Framed”
 
Indeed.  And on that note I want to leave you with a thought I’ve broached before, if only to demonstrate that “history” can be re-written – and always is.
 
In “researching” the timeless files for my work on the *Stacked Worlds I’ve uncovered some interesting history available to us mostly through deductive reasoning.  The following is but a glimpse into what I have seen from my travels across space and time… and beyond!
 
How to begin such a tale?  In the beginning (only it wasn’t the beginning, of course, just a beginning which was subsequently, for political reasons dubbed the “only” beginning) when this universe was just coming together there already existed mighty entities who had the ability to cross the great energetic barriers erected between the various universes, for even though a universe can be nested within another, it wouldn’t do for the energies of one to intrude upon another and either crush it out of existence, suck it dry or overload it — and vice-versa.  So there are set “boundaries” that universes may not, or cannot, cross.
 
But these mighty beings could cross.  As in all things, these beings were possessed of both good and evil natures, to use a common terminology.  But they liked to think of themselves as perfect, so whatever they did, they called good.  And who would gainsay them?
 
I jump now into this universe at a later time.  The beings I refer to, of course, are the Time Lords.  I have alluded to these before.  They “invented” time as a means of control over their share of creation.  Anyway, there was a group of Time Lords who made the area we observe from Earth as the constellation Orion their home worlds.  I shall refer to that particular group as the Jehovian Gods.  Even in their early days they were warlike and dreadful to their neighbours.  These Jehovians were, and note, male and “white” in how they perceived themselves.  (This information is crucial to understand what happened subsequently on Earth.)
 
The Jehovians do not need females to procreate for them.  For the most part they can “bring forth” (create!) their own offspring as they choose.  To put it bluntly, they can clone themselves over and over.  Thus are the great Divine Families multiplied to rule over their manifold conquered worlds.  It is also a trait of these male Gods, and note, that each ruling divinity likes to be seen as if it were the only Divinity extant in the cosmos.  This perception provides much political and psychological benefits among the conquered and (lesser) created.  So thus they insist their history be written.
 
What the Jehovians require for themselves of “man power” they either create or enslave neighbouring worlds where suitable exploitable life exists.  But they cannot escape the fact that creation is based on duality and they do need female companionship as sex slaves, concubines and for the rulers, as consorts. 
 
Long ago, but never lost in the mists of time, in their imperialistic wars of conquest, they came upon a group of very bright stars inhabited by “angels” — female beings who were, when seen from a physical perspective, black in coloration.  These females had no concept of war or defense and many of their worlds were quickly overrun by the Jehovians in search of spoils and pleasure.  Along with billions of these black angels they captured their leader who was named “Lucifer” which means “Morning Star.”  She was forcefully joined to the then ruling Jehovian Divinity to become his female slave and consort.  Lucifer was the personification of female perfection and considered of great prize.  Her beauty, intelligence and gentleness attracted competing Jehovian Divinities from other worlds.  Her presence engendered much jealousy among the great Jehovian houses for which she was blamed.  Civil wars were fought over her for which she was also blamed.  (You can trace this pattern down to the Helen of Troy story)
 
Lucifer pondered the state of affairs in “Heaven” and after much talk (telepathic conversation) with her enslaved sisters, she decided to confront the God and ask that she and her people be released from their bondage and be given their worlds back.  As is to be expected her pleas fell on ever-deaf ears.  The God was not about to let himself be swayed by a slave.  His final reply to her was this:  “If you can defeat me in war, you can go free.”  It was an inane statement but Lucifer considered it.  There were some odds in her favour, namely that a number of the “Sons of God” of the lesser members of the Jehovian group had fallen in love with the beautiful angels and let it be known that if it came to a war they would side with the angels. 
 
Desperate times call for desperate measures.  There was “war” in Heaven, only it was a war of nerves.  Lucifer declared universal satyagraha or peaceful non-cooperation towards the conquering Jehovians.  The angels refused to serve the Gods and Lucifer was no longer seen to adorn at the left hand of God when he mounted his throne.  She refused summon after summon.  On the conquered angel worlds the same thing happened.  There was widespread non-cooperation.  The angels took whatever punishment was meted to them and waited for many long, dark years. 
 
The situation in Heaven became untenable, pointless, even idiotic.  Neither side would give in.  So the great Heavenly Advisor Michael proposed that the angels with Lucifer as their leader be exiled, along with all Jehovians who had sided with them.  They would not be allowed to return to their home worlds but would be “dumped” upon a small solar system that was still unformed.  All the angelic slaves of Heaven as well as all those who could be found on other worlds were rounded up and forcefully taken to the new solar system and an energy shield was placed upon it, effectively cutting it off from the rest of the galaxy and universe.  From Sol as we called it the angels could see the far-off stars twinkling in space but they could not return to them, at least not as long as the Orion Jehovian Time Lords ruled or they themselves developed the means to defeat the energy shield.
 
Lucifer called her people together along with the faithful Sons and pointed to the chaos of Sol.  If we must live here she said, and we must, then let us make this place into a veritable paradise for ourselves and all the life we are going to bring forth here.  Let us make this our home.  And so it came to pass.  The creative works of Lucifer are the seven days of creation as depicted briefly in the first chapter of Genesis, the Bible.
 
Lucifer chose the planet Tiamat as her home world.  Tiamat was a large water world, a “super earth” that possessed much potential for new life.  However there were spies among Lucifer’s people, among the Sons, and these sent reports of all that was taking place within Sol.  The jealous Jehovians decided to destroy Tiamat by sending another planet now known as Nibiru-Marduk to “attack” Lucifer’s world.  It took two attacks over a period of 3600 Earth years but Tiamat was successfully destroyed as the ancient Sumerian writings attest.  It was split approximately in half, one half shattered and became the asteroid belt (the hammered bracelet) and the other became Earth.  And so it came to pass that Lucifer indeed was “cast to Earth” as it is written.   But even then she would be persecuted and endlessly demonized.  Her people would be called demons.  Earthian females and black skinned peoples would be oppressed, enslaved, repressed and killed without due process over the millennia.  For you see, one of the Jehovian Divinities was allotted Sol as his ruling domain.  Part of the plan was to prevent Lucifer from re-creating in Sol the kind of worlds she once ruled before the Jehovian onslaught.  The other was simply pillaging and raping, a process that continues to this day.
 
Some interesting anecdotes: 
 
–As already mentioned, misogyny is common on planet Earth yet cannot be logically explained.
 
–Black skinned peoples are “naturally” seen as less human than lighter skinned ones and have been used as slave labour for millennia.  Though some things have changed on the surface the pattern remains and will in all likelihood re-assert itself in the future, if indeed the truly black races have any future. 
 
Throughout the planet ancient peoples have worshiped a Black Goddess or Black Madonna.
 
The (then and perhaps still) oldest human skeleton ever found was in Africa.  It was a female skeleton and they called her “Lucy” (short form of Lucifer).  Is it safe to assume this “Lucy” was black?
 
In the Biblical book called “Song of Song” – a love song attributed to Solomon – the woman says: “Dark am I yet lovely, [] dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. [Tents were woven from black goats’ hair]  “Do not stare at me because I am dark.”

(Question: why would people “stare” at her because she is black if there were no stigma attached to her skin colour?)
 
And now ponder this:  Over the thousands of years that Earthians have existed on Earth and evolved so-so, they have been unable to change their behaviour even when it is abundantly clear that such behaviour is anti-life, counter-productive if not utterly insane.  Are Earthians mentally defective in some irredeemable way?  Not at all.  There’s a much simpler explanation for their insanity.  As is stated in ancient books, and particularly in Jewish literature (and more than hinted at in the Bible) Earthians are given a “soul” at conception.  This is the gift of the ruling Jehovian God to every Earthian.  This soul is an implant that overrides the natural programming of mind-body and replaces it with Jehovian patterns.  Thus is “man” ever and anon created “in the image of God” and helpless to correct his “sinful” nature.  Thus can the ruling Deity make promise after promise of salvation and redemption from a “corrupt” human nature for those who are “chosen” according to the will of the Deity.  But although all are chosen at conception not all willy-nilly follow the divine patterning.  Some remember a time before Eden; before “Adam and Eve” — before the coming of the Jehovian male Deity; a time of fullness, peace, simplicity and comfort.  A time when there was no fear of man or animals; when there was no predator and no prey; when there was no death on this world; when all, human and animals, lived in harmony. Some do remember the Lemurian age before it too was destroyed.
 
Would we end war, oppression, greed, moral corruption, racial hatred and fear on planet Earth?  Would we substitute compassion and love for the evils we continue to cling to as if there was no choice?  Perhaps now as never before we have the chance to re-think our cosmology, our Earthian heritage and the crucial “Why?” reasoning behind the blind trust we repeatedly put in our rulers and deities despite all evidence that they are our worst predators. 
 
“Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the evil principle and at another as all that can be conceived of noble and godlike. To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest honour that can befall a sensitive being; to be base and vicious, as many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition more abject than that of the blind mole or harmless worm. For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even why there were laws and governments; but when I heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased and I turned away with disgust and loathing.” (Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley)

*Stacked Worlds is an Altarian theory on how and why certain universal or cosmic patterns, usually of the negative kind, keep repeating even after it would seem all their energies have been drained. ‘Stacked Worlds’ is  the theory I used behind the futuristic, dystopian sci-fi novel, “The Antierra Manifesto” which may yet see the light of day. 

I Choose to be a Teacher

[a short story by Sha’Tara]

“Anee?”
No answer.
“Aneeta!”
“Yes ma…”
“What are you doing up there, sleeping?”
“Finishing the boys’ room ma.”
“Leave that, come down. I need you to go to the Bellamy’s and get me fresh produce. We’ll have payin’ guests tonight.”
A pretty young woman of about fifteen, with thick auburn hair adorned with a couple of ribbons, comes down. Her heavy footsteps indicate how reluctant she is to obey her mother.
“Mom, can’t you send Petee?”
“Pete’s in the lower meadow with your pa, he’s working. What’s wrong with you?”
“I hate the Bellamy’s mom. Joram is always shoving his hands into my dress, feeling me. I hate him. I hate what he does. And he smells like something dead.”
“Well, look who’s so high ‘n mighty now! You’re a woman now an’ Joram, he’s grown into a fine young man and he fancies you! Do you have any idea how much land the Bellamy’s own, or lease?”
“That’s not the point, mom. I don’t like him and I don’t want him. I hate it when he touches me and breathes on me.”
“That may be girl, but it’s time you learned some facts of life. How do you think I fed you and your oldest brother when your pa was in the Lord’s wars?”
“They did that to you?”
“Well, Mr. Bellamy did. He was a fine looking young man then, exempt from the war, and for convenience sake I was called the widow Lacey. I was still beautiful then too.”
“You’re still beautiful, ma! But that’s not right, what they do, is it? I read in a book at the butcher’s last week that it’s wrong. The book was on the corner table and I was waiting for my cut. It was called a “digest” and had many stories in it. This one was by a woman. She wrote that we shouldn’t be “sexually molested” she called it, and we should be able to vote.”
“You read that did you? I warned your pa not to teach you to read, that it would only cause us all trouble, and here we go. You read what other people think. Can’t you think for yourself? Joram Bellamy is sweet on you and he makes sure you always get the freshest produce, and he gives you more than we pay for. Last Fall they sold us their best pig, no extra charge. Don’t you understand anything?”
She points to her breasts: “It’s time you realized the value of these in a man’s world, Anee. And the lower part of you as well. We have a certain value and there is an exchange. It’s been that way forever, don’t you go questioning it and upsetting things for us. The Bellamy’s are much richer than us; they’re our neighbours and it’s you and I that keep things good between us. Your pa doesn’t question my loyalty to him, but he well knows how I kept our small farm and fed my children during those years he was gone. I started to talk about it once, long ago. He put his hand over my mouth, then took it off and kissed me, long and sweetly, and he thanked me. That is the kind of man your pa is.”
“I know pa is good, ma. But this is about me. I don’t want to settle with Joram. I don’t like him at all and certainly not that way.”
“He’s young, what, seventeen? He’ll grow up, mature, be more like his dad.”
“Well that settles it then: I don’t like his dad either. He’s done it to me too, you know. And he smells bad too!”
“Yeah, I know how he smells. But some of it is the smell of success and money. We’re lucky some of that smell has rubbed off on us, girl. Don’t be so particular. One would think you were born in the Lord’s castle with a silver spoon in your hand.”
“You don’t care do you! I want an education and I want to become a teacher, see? I can’t have a man if I’m to be a school teacher.”
“Oh, a teacher is it? Listen to the professor. Miss Radick has a lot of years in her yet, there won’t be any need for a new teacher in these parts for many years, girl.”
“I don’t mean around here, mom. I mean to go and teach in the coal mining country. They can’t get, or keep, teachers up there. I’ll be needed, for sure.”
“The coal country? God help us! You’ve taken leave of your senses, girl. Half the people there don’t even attend services. Men are drunkards and beat their wives. The children are half naked and starving most of the time. And the dirt, it’s in everything there. What an idea Anee.”
“I read about that too, ma. They need teachers like myself, girls with farming and gardening experience. I can teach them to grow food and I can explain about basic hygiene.”
“What are you talking about! Who is Basic Hy-Gene? Is that somebody you met at the butcher’s also?”
“Ma, hygiene means cleanliness. Basic means plain. Plain cleanliness. It’s not just the job, ma, it’s something I’ve known for sometime that I want to do. I need to do it. It’s a calling, see? Like a vocation? Do you understand that?”
The mother stopped, turned to face her daughter – they were the same height and their eyes met. There were tears in her mother’s face. Then she reached for her daughter and embraced her.
“Oh Anee! Of course I understand that part. I was there too, and I turned away to marry your pa. He was so good to me, and I knew I would be forever safe with him. But I was afraid also; afraid to learn how to read n’ do numbers; afraid it would change everythin’ for me. I hid from my calling in my family. I wanted security, not adventure.
I suffered a long time over my choice and now it’s come back to me in you. I suppose that’s fair enough; that God would give me you so you could go and do what I chose not to.
I will go with you to Bellamy’s and if Joram is there I will explain your choice to him. It doesn’t matter what he says, you will be a teacher, Anee. Your pa will be so proud, I can’t wait to see his face when you tell him.”

They both put on their long grey coats and boots to ward off the damp air and residual dew of a sunless day and walked silently, hand in hand, to their rich neighbour’s farm. A keen observer would have noticed there was a certain lightness to their steps.

“La Danseuse”

*You’ve read it in English as “An Unending Story” and now I offer it in the original French. I know that some of you will probably appreciate it more in this format. *

UNE HISTOIRE D’AMOUR À L’INFINI
                  [de Sha’Tara]

Ecoutez-moi bien, je vais vous raconter une histoire à l’infini. Cest une histoire d’amour, bien sûr, mais c’est beacoup plus. C’est une histoire de vie sans fin.

Je l’ai vue un soir dans un cabaret. Elle dansait éperdument, apparament sans aucun souci. Je me suis assis aussi proche que possible du plancher de danse et, comme tous les autres homme dans cet établissement, je me suis laissé ensorceler par ses mouvements.

Comme elle était belle, je vous l’assure. Quand elle passait ses grands yeux bleus-verts sur moi, je voyais une forêt vierge et un grand océan qui s’étandait à l’infini comme le désir de mon coeur. Elle dansait avec une camarade, et finalement, seule. 

C’est alors que je prends mon courage et je m’invite à danser avec elle.

Elle m’accepte, et tout change: nous devenons amoureux. On vit ensemble après seulement un mois, et on ne peut s’imaginer vivre séparément. Tous les weekends, on va danser, elle aime tellement ça, la danse. “Je me sens si libre quand je danse.” Elle continue, naturellement, à attirer les hommes et elle danse librement avec ceux qui lui demande permission.

Suis-je jaloux? Certainement, c’est naturel, mais pas nécessaire. Après tout, elle m’aime. Elle n’a qu’à me le chuchoter dans l’oreille et je n’ai aucune raison de la douter. Elle est si bonne pour moi, et quand on marche tous les deux le soir, sous les lumières de notre ville, on est heureux, complètement.

Et puis le désastre: le cancer au genoux droit. Il faut qu’on lui enlève presque toute la jambe. Pour quelque temps, elle pleure. Puis elle accepte. “Je ne peux plus danser, je vais chanter,” elle me dit. Alors elle chante, dans notre apartement, dans la rue même, et puis elle fait du karaoke dans les cabarets. Et on s’aime, peut-être plus que jamais auparavant. Je l’adore cette fille, cette femme si incroyable.

Mais le cancer ne s’arrête pas. Elle perd un sein. Elle est dévastée pendant quelque temps et il n’y a plus de chansons. Mais un soir, elle me donne un de ses sourires  d’auparavant et demande que je la pousse dans sa chaise roulante dans la rue en      allant à notre restaurant favori. Alors que je pousse elle jase et fait des commentaires sur les couleurs, sur les sons, sur les craquements du trottoire qui font sauter la chaise roulante. Elle rit, et je trouve le courage de rire avec elle et pour ce moment la terreur du cancer nous laisse en paix. Elle mange comme un oiseau en ces jours. Elle maigrit toujours…

Finalement, le coup de grâce: cancer dans la gorge et elle perd sa voix et doit rester à l’hôpital.

Ce sont les derniers jours, j’en suis certain. Elle lève la main faiblement et j’approche mon oreille de sa bouche. Elle soupire et me chuchotte ceci: “Écoute-moi bien, mon cher Paul. Je te quitte mais je ne regrette bien. Je suis désolée, mais c’est seulement pour quelque temps. Pour nous, ce n’est pas finit. Écoute, tu n’e resteras pas seul.” 

Promets-moi que tu retourneras à notre cabaret. Là, attends encore la danseuse. Demande-lui si tu peux danser avec elle et quand elle sourit et te dis ‘oui’ danse, danse avec elle come un fou! Car tu vois, c’est moi qui sera là, dans son corps et dans son coeur. Je reviendrai, ne t’en fais pas, je ne te laisse que pour un moment.’ 

Et comme ça, elle est partie.

Vous voulez savoir comment elle finit, cette histoire? Vous voyez, je la croiyais complètement quand elle m’a dit qu’elle reviendrait. Je suis retourné à notre cabaret. Je me suis assis tout près du plancher de danse. J’ai pris une bière ou deux en attendant, jour après jour. Environ deux semaines d’attente et la danseuse est venue. 

Et tout a recommencé. 

An Unending Story

[short story by Sha’Tara – translated from my original French story]

Listen carefully to what I have to say, I’m going to tell you an infinite story. It’s a love story, of course, but it is much more. It is a story of a life that does not end.

I saw her one night in a cabaret. She was dancing, utterly absorbed in her moves and apparently without any other concern. I sat as close as possible to the dance floor and like all the other men in the place, I allowed myself to be bewitched by her undulating body.

Beautiful she was, I assure you. When she passed her blue-green eyes over me I saw the green of a virgin forest; an open blue ocean that stretched to infinity. Just like the desire in my heart. She danced with a girl friend, then alone.

That’s when I gather up my courage and invite myself to dance with her.

She accepts and everything changes: we become lovers. After only a month, we move in together and we can no longer imagine living apart. Every weekend we go dancing, she loves it so much, the dancing. “I feel totally free when I dance.” Naturally she continues to attract many men and she freely dances with any of them who ask her permission.

Am I jealous? Certainly, that’s natural, but not necessary. After all, she loves me. She only needs to whisper it in my ear and I have no reason to doubt her feelings. She is so good for me, and when we walk together in the street at night, under the city lights, we are happy, utterly.

Then total disaster: cancer strikes her in the right knee. Her leg has to be amputated above the knee. For a while she cries. Then she accepts. “If I can’t dance, I will sing,” she says to me. So she begins to sing, first in our apartment, then even on the street, then she does karaoke in the pubs and cabarets. And we love each other perhaps even more than previously. I adore this incredible girl, this woman sharing her life with me.

But the cancer doesn’t stop. They take away her left breast. She is devastated for some time and there is no more singing. But one night she gives me one of her old smiles and asks that I push her in her wheelchair down the street to our favourite restaurant. As I push her along she talks freely of little things and comments on the colours, the sounds and the shaking of the wheelchair as it bumps over the cracks in the sidewalk. She laughs and I find the courage to laugh with her and for the moment the terror of the cancer leaves us be. Still she eats very little and loses more weight…

Finally, the death blow. The cancer manifests in her throat and she loses her voice. She has to stay in the hospital.

It’s the last day, of that I’m sure. She feebly raises her hand and I bring my ear to her mouth. She gives a sigh and whispers these words: listen to me well, my dear Paul. I am abandoning you and I regret it terribly. I am grieved to cause you so much pain, but it’s only for a short time. For us, this is not the end. Listen, you will not remain single (alone).

Promise me that you will return to our cabaret. There, wait once again for the dancer. Ask her if you may dance with her and when she smiles and says, ‘yes’ dance, dance with her like a fool! For you see, that will be me there, in her body and in her heart. I am returning, do not worry about that. I’m leaving you but for a moment.

Just like that, she was gone.

You want to know how it ends, this story? Well you see, I believed in her implicitly when she told me she would be coming back to me. I went back to our cabaret. I sat as close as possible to the dance floor. I had a beer or two and I waited, day after day. About two weeks of waiting and the dancer came.

It all began again.

A Very Long Walk

[a short story by Sha’Tara]

It was another cool, crisp and clear late Autumn afternoon, the kind Krista loved to go walking in. She followed the riding trail down to the edge of the Maskua river as it meandered through the low lying lands of this agricultural community. As she walked she noticed the oaks and maples had less leaves on them and the colours were reluctantly fading. Denuded tops allowed lopsided windows into a pale, clear, blue sky.

Many thoughts flowed through her mind. She knew she had it good as her home-based business only required a few hours a day to keep going and she enjoyed it. The two children, Toby, now thirteen, was in Middle school and Trina was finishing her high school. Both children were quiet as a rule and caused her little problems. Both were somewhat introverted and had few close friends, something she did not mind at all.

Her thoughts turned to her husband Dan on his last year of duty in Afghanistan. One short moment of trepidation, then she reasserted herself. He would be coming back, of that she was certain. She had vowed to herself never to dwell on the possibility that he could become a casualty of war. ‘Not in my reality’ she said often with total conviction. ‘Do you still love him?’ a small, nasty little inner voice taunted. ‘With all my heart and soul’ she replied truthfully. Krista, though still very attractive and not without admirers and opportunities, was the completely faithful partner. She would never stray.

She carefully skirted the muddy pools that remained in the trail all winter in the shadier spots and kept walking. She heard crows cawing but not using the excited voices when discovering a sleepy great horned owl or a red-tailed hawk. She heard ducks and geese on the river but could not sight the stream yet. There was much brush where she passed and one more little rise before she could see the meandering river reflecting the blue sky from shore to shore.

She saw a page from a note book crumpled and stuck in some blackberry brambles. She thought of reaching for it but decided against it. ‘Whatever is written on there, none of my business,’ she said to herself and kept walking. You could say she was observant but not overly curious.

She saw something else in another tangle, a grey and blue baseball cap. ‘That’s a team cap from Trina’s high school! Must have flown off a rider’s head or been brushed off by a low-lying branch and the owner chose not to come back for it. Oh well… her or his loss. Maybe they’ll come back for it later.’

She had topped the rise then and saw the river. She stopped to admire it – her favourite place in the entire walk. She had had many a good mother to daughter talk with Trina on this spot. The current was sluggish now and reflections of dark spruce and bare poplars cast mesmerizing shadows in the waters of the far bank. She moved her head slowly to the movements of the inverted tree dance trying to find a tune in her head to go with it.

Something unusual brought her to look closer to her side of the river. There was a piece of cloth floating down there, of blue and white coloration. It looked like it was caught on a branch. This time her curiosity was aroused and she worked her way to the edge of the water for a better look.

That’s when she realized she wasn’t looking at a piece of cloth but at the body of a drowned person. She saw long hair floating off from the submerged head and a white hand bobbing in and out from the surface. She gave a gasp, but instead of screaming as she wanted to do, she plunged into the stream and waded in the freezing water that came to her breasts by the time she reached the body of a young woman.

She tugged and pulled and finally untangled the body and dragged it to the shore, turning it over to look into its face…

“Oh God, Trina! What have you done? I told you he wasn’t worth it! You promised me it was over.”