When I awoke in the morning light. The woman was awake and looking into my eyes…I looked back into her eyes and felt the sweetness of that sharing, it had been so long. I breathed in the smells of the place; the smoke of the fire, the smell of the woman, the skins which lay on top of us, the left-over shells of the rock fish and a faint hint of urine. All the scents felt good to me. It felt good to be alive and touching another person. I listened to the sound of yoshi crashing over and over again against the land. I imagined the water caressing the land. I lay there enjoying the moment looking into her eyes until she looked away and stood up.
She walked over to the stack of small twigs and used them to quickly revive the fire. I felt the urgent need to pee so I stood up and looked around. The woman pointed at the pot she had used already. So I guessed she meant we should share the one pot. Lifting the lid a strong odor of the woman’s old piss came wafting out. I held my breath and knelt down, to make my penis close to the pot as I pissed. The woman, let me know that I needed take the pot outside to empty it.
Outside, there was a heavy mist, I could feel the moisture against my skin. The air was still, but their were many sounds. The mist made the sounds I heard in the distance a mystery. I recognized the constant roaring sound of the water that the woman called yoshi and I was eager to see it. There was also a screeching of a birds and a kind of strange barking sound. I looked around for the animals creating the sounds but could only see the old abandoned huts of the village. So I walked around a little, peering into some of the huts and finding them all abandoned long ago. Some were collapsing and all were untended except the one in which the woman lived. That smell in the air, it must be the endless waters that my father spoke of. I breathed deeply, drinking in the thick air, not wanting to go back into the hut which seemed confining after my long journey sleeping in the open air.
As I listened to the roar of the water I felt an urge to see what it was making such a noise. I walked toward the sound, until I came to the edge of a very tall cliff. Looking down through the mist I saw the rocky edge of the waters and watched as wave after wave smashed against the rocks throwing white water high into the air. It was as though the water was angry with the earth. I stood and watched, amazed at how the waves lifted themselves and how they turned white as the water came crashing back down. It was like the waves I had watched on bad bear lake, only so much bigger. I imagined it was a huge creature which lifted itself up, reaching out and then falling back down again and again.
In that moment I thought of sawat who had followed me here. I wondered where she was now, perhaps watching me from the edge of the mist. Then I remembered the woman and the hut. She would be waiting for me wondering what was taking me so long. It was a novel feeling, to have someone waiting for me again.
After returning to the woman’s hut I replaced the piss pot and watched as she prepared herself by putting on her coverings. Her clothes were made of a very soft thin hide and fit close to her body. They were skillfully made and held together with stitches of very thin string. Before walking out into the mist we each picked up a leather pouch, I following the woman. I walked behind her and admired how she walked, her feet were bare, her toes reached out for certain places in the path, knowingly. There was a confidence in her walk and a sway in her body which made me sigh.
She led me down a steep path which ended just where the river flowed into a wide marshy area, thick with reeds. Then I followed her along a path close to the base of the cliff which soon opened up onto a large sandy beach.
I could see and hear the waves up close now. They threw themselves onto the sand, flowing way up onto the sandy beach and then flowing way back down. Sometimes I thought the waves would come up and wash us away, but they always stopped short of touching us or they tickled our feet lightly as we walked along the beach. The sun broke through the mist as we walked, and the warmth felt good against my skin. The woman stopped and pointed out over the water.
This is yoshi…. everything begins and ends with yoshi.
…..There are times when the thoughts of things past flow through me like a river.
….the days I spent here with my husbands,
…and as a child ……with my parents,
….I played here with my friends; the boy with the spotted face and the boy with a laugh like a hawk.
…So much of my life is here on this beach.
….The memories pull on me sometimes and I wonder if I should join them there.
…. in the shadows.
We walked side by side, close to each other. I remembered feeling the same heaviness of life, when I was alone for so long. I felt the opposite now that I had found her and I hoped that my presence would lift the heaviness from her.
We walked to the end of the beach toward a rocky outcropping. We climbed up onto the rocks carrying our leather pouches. The woman pointed out where the water crashed against the rocks. I could see they were not just rocks, but full of many living things which clung to them. The woman showed me how to walk far out onto the rock when the wave left and then run back up when a new wave came in. While doing this, the woman pointed out a patch of black shells clinging to the rocks. Then we took off their coverings and set them down on the dry rocks in the sun. We walked out into the water they let the cold water crash against us as we tried to hold ouorselves against it. As I reached down to grab some of the rock fish a big gush of cold water knocked me over, it tumbled me over and over until I ended up in the sand on the beach. I was able to stand up quickly and did my best to get the stinging water out of my eyes and nose. The woman recovered my pouch which had been torn out of my hand by the crashing wave. She stood looking at me with a smile on her face. At first I felt anger, then humiliation and finally I smiled back at her.
Your softhorn is like a shy flower…shrinking up and hiding when it is cold.
I realized that is what she was calling my penis. I looked down and saw that it was now very small and my balls were hidden completely.
I had forgotten…. my husbands’ were the same way.
We sat in the sun together, warming ourselves. We watched the waves crashing one after the other. I felt mesmerized by the waves, they never failed to arrive on time, one after the other. I watched the birds soaring overhead and then diving into the water. I saw the animal which was the source of the barking noise, a huge animal that lay on the rocks like a giant slug with short fur. Occasionally one of them would raise up their head and bark, I could see that they had a face like a wolf or a coyote.
What happened to your husbands?
The woman looked at me, as though I was a small child.
They are gone now… It has been years since I’ve felt their skin on my hands.
The woman moved next to me pressing her body against mine. She reached down and placed her hand on the my thigh. Stroking my thigh, she watched as my “softhorn” stood up straight, pointing at her. Then she wrapped her fingers around it, holding it in her hand. With her other arm she reached around my back and held me like that for a time.
I can fell the beat of your heart in your softhorn.
I felt the softness of her breasts against my back. We sat their together in the sun, on the warm rocks enjoying that feeling, until the woman let go of my softhorn.
There is time for more of this later…now it is time to gather our food.
We walked back out into the water, running and dodging the waves. We climbed onto the rock and began pulling the hard black creatures off the rocks. Then when our bags were full we walked back onto the beach.
We walked home together feeling the warm sand in our toes with each step. The woman held my hand as we walked side by side. We boiled the creatures we gathered in water, and watched as they opened up, exposing their soft flesh inside. We ate them there near the fire before the darkness came.
It seemed like we were melting together, we touched each other as we moved, looking into each others’ eyes, thinking each others’ thoughts. After eating, the mist began creeping through the cracks in the hut. I could feel the cold damp air moving in quickly.
The woman fixed tea over the fire, and we sat next to each other uncovered, skin touching skin. But then she stood up and sat on the other side of the fire still holding her tea. She sat cross-legged looking at me just how she did when I first walked through her door. I sat cross-legged, looking back at her.
What good is the dance when no one is watching? I have danced that dance too many times.It is the separation which brings life. It is your eyes on me which tells me that we both exist.
In the time of the many people, they had a picture which they called a puzzle. The puzzle was many small pieces that fit together and formed one larger picture. I have many stories from that time, each one is like a small piece of that bigger picture.
A woman lived there. A tall, straight haired woman with skin the color of a deer hide. When she walked on the hard paths of her village many men looked her way. But there was one who looked her way and then turned away when she looked at him. Of course this is the one that interested her. She knew that this was one that would not command her, this was one who would listen to her.
It was a hard place to live, and it was hard times. In our village when we want food we go out and find it, when we want a hut we make it with what surrounds us. In that place and in those times there were only a few things a person was allowed to do to get food and a place to live. The tall straight haired woman lived in a tall building made of stone and metal and glass. Her bed was a soft as the downy feathers of a bird. Water ran right into her hut when she wanted it. And food was easy for her. She could walk into many nearby places and food would be made for her while she waited.
But there was something she had to do to get all these things, she had to dance in front of many people. They would watch and cheer and clap for her, encouraging her to do more. It made her smile to have people watch her as she danced.
The man also had something he did for his life; he prepared food for others. He worked inside his hut on the side of the hard path. The tall woman stopped to eat his food. She spoke to him saying, “a good meal is like a good dance, it is here to enjoy for a short time and then it is gone.”
She said,”I like your dimples” He said, “I like how you walk. Ir is as though you dance when you move.”
This dancer could find out whatever she wanted to know about this cook. In those times all the people were wired together like the nerves in our bodies. She could know who his mother and father were, what he did as a child and all the bad things he had done in his life. She could even know the shape of his thoughts. But he could not know these things about her, because she lived near the brain while he lived out near a finger somewhere.
Some time went by and she stopped by his stand almost everyday… to eat…talk…look into each others eyes…and learn about each other. One day she handed him a key, it was a small piece of plastic with a code embedded in it. He knew what this meant. He knew this was a key to a room, he knew if he handed the key back to her, it was saying “no” and he might never see her again. If he kept the key it meant he agreed live in the room she had given him.
He lived inside a large open building with many other men. Each man had their own small bed but they slept on an open floor together. It was a hard place to live but he was used to it, he liked to see his friends. The dancer lived in her own large lodge, bigger than anything we have ever built here in this place. She had other rooms nearby where she kept other men to help make her more comfortable.
The cook kept the key that the tall dancer had given him. He found the room she had given him and used the key to enter. It was a large room with a soft bed and water that came inside and washed away his pee and his stools. He could stand under the warm water and it would wash his whole body. He felt happy to have so much comfort.
When the dancer came home she knocked on his door. She showed him her place which was many times bigger than the room she had given him. She showed him the place where he could cook the meals for herself and her wife and the other men who lived there.
This was a surprise to him, he had dreamed of the dancer caressing him and him caressing her. Now he did not know what his future was.
This is the start of a longer story and I will to tell it to you over many more nights but now, this is a good place to stop. Now… I need to hear more of your tales and how you have lived.
I remember listening to her so closely, I didn’t want to talk or think I just wanted to be near her listening to the sound of her voice, looking at her body and smelling her scent.
We were once a small band, where we lived in the high mountains….mother would tell us stories of the people who had passed there. She was a child when they were fathers and mothers….She only had misty pictures of them in her mind.
Mother would sometimes tell us a story about the bones of the limping man….
In those days, there were several people, they called themselves a village. Though there were so few that they all lived together in one big lodge in the winter. It was big enough for kids to run around and play games. It was built half underground and the rest was a covered with a large curved shape roof. It was tree limbs covered with hardened mud and from the outside you could not tell it was anything but part of the hillside. The smoke hole was also the entrance. And there was a ladder which they used to get in and out of the smoke hole.
Our family lived in the same lodge… when I grew up.
Some winters the snow would lay thick everywhere and they spent all their time inside the lodge. Sometimes the winter snows lasted too long. As kids they just wanted to run outside, just as they did when it was sunny. They walked in the snow outside with warm foot covers. Sometimes they would walk just on the top crust of the snow when the adults fell through. Sometimes even the kids would sink deep into the snow, if it was fresh or soft from the sun.
When the snows lasted a long time, their food began to run out. The men started chattering about how to get more food. They usually talked about hunting rabbits because rabbits stayed in the mountains in the winter snows. The deer all left to the valleys below.
One year the snows came as tall as a man stands, it was a thin summer for tree nuts and deer. They were all very hungry all the time. The men would go out and hunt rabbits but soon even the rabbits were gone. The men started talking about the fish in bad bear lake. It was the limping man who was the best fish catcher. He knew how to think like a fish, he could read the water better than anyone.
He left that morning putting on the snow-walking shoes and they all watched him as he climbed out of the lodge and walked down toward bad bear lake, leaving wide prints in the snow. But soon the winds and the clouds came and the snow fell fast. So fast that all the trees were thick with snow, and it was still morning. They all waited for the limping man to return. They waited all night and into the next day. Still the snow kept coming. Their thoughts reached out and tried to enter his mind. When the snow came he would turn around and come back. He could not catch fish in this wind and snow is what they thought.
The limping man never did return. The kids all kept waiting for him, wondering if they might see him as the snow melted and the sun felt warm. They were all so thin and hungry that winter, they chewed on their deer-hide covers at night. Another one, they called white hair went out to bad bear lake and brought some fish back, but he never saw the limping man.
When the snow turned to patches, they all went out to look for the limping man but no one could find him. Then on a day when they were gathering mint leaves for tea by the big meadow, mother walked over to a tree at the edge of the meadow and saw some bones lying at the base of the tree. When they all looked closer they found things which belonged to the limping man. His winter coverings, his snow walking shoes and the necklace the limping man used to wear. That is when they all knew that it was the limping man who must have died there.
They gathered near that spot where the limping man died. They built a large fire there at the edge of the meadow. Long into the night they told stories of the limping man from what they could remember. They all slept there, near where he died, for one night. They never touched or moved his bones, his clothes or his necklace. Whenever they returned to pick the mint leaves they would visit his bones underneath the tree at the edge of the meadow.
When I was a child we would also visit that spot and there were still a few bones left there.
The way the woman looked at me as I told that story made me want to do my best. I thought hard about what was true and I didn’t try to fill in parts that were half-forgotten. Once I was finished she stared directly into my eyes from across the fire and I wondered what she thought. But she did not say anything. She stood up to gather more wood for the fire, then sat down again across from me with her legs folded openly.
We have a story about the crow with the broken wing.
Many years ago before those people who are alive today can remember and some time before that. A crow came into our village. His wing was broken and he could not fly. He was very tired and starved, very close to death. I young girl took pity on him and began to feed him and brought him inside with her. The crow regained his strength and began to walk proudly again as crows often do. But still his wing remained broken and dragged along on the ground beside him.
The young girl brought this crow with her wherever she went, and soon he began to speak like a person. He would say only certain words and sentences over and over. The crow’s words were a mystery to everyone they were not something anyone knew of or spoke of before. Usually children repeat what their parents say, until they have learned so many things that they can make their words sound new and fresh, even though we all say the same thing over and over again.
The first words the crow with the broken wing began to say were, “Draw me a picture without any form”. The people in the village began to take notice of this crow and the girl who carried him. His words sounded so mysterious that some thought it was a higher power speaking to them.
By the time the Man had finished his story the Woman had placed her hand on his thigh. He wanted more. They let the fire die down and they slept together that night, their skin touching skin underneath her large bear-skin, feeling the softness of the sand and the deer-hide below them. The Woman wrapped her arm around the Man as they lay together, him with his back to her. He felt her breasts and the coarse hair between her legs pressing against his back. She stroked his softhorn with her hand, as he let her lead the way. He felt spasms of pleasure quickly and easily, the Woman admired her work as she felt his warm liquid on her hand. The two laid together savoring the moment until sleep came over them both.
The Man woke early that morning, the Woman’s arm still wrapped around his chest. Carefully he slide out from under her arm, she let him go, in a dreamy state of awareness. Looking at the sleeping woman he admired her face. He felt the dried liquid on his stomach, it clung to the hair below his navel. Looking at her hand he remembered how it felt, holding him tightly and squeezing, with a touch that seemed to know. Then there was that moment of letting go and letting the ecstasy flow through his body. He always thought it felt like a small glimpse of death.
He continued to look at the Woman’s face and watch her breasts moved up and down with her breath, it occurred to him that she looked to be about the same age as his mother when she had died.
The Man started the fire that morning and boiled the Rockfish. The Woman smiled to see him. They exchanged no words but touched each other softly, both still uncovered, little bumps appearing on the Woman’s skin from the cold air. After crouching to fill the pee pot, she sat close to the Man for his warmth. Soon she began to speak.
We call this place Cliff Village….
The Woman paused there and stood up to add sticks to the fire, poking at it a bit. As she stood over him the Man could see “the Goddess” flowing out of her and into him. He observed the curve of her body and the texture of her skin. The dark hair between her legs made him melt with longing. His softhorn began to grow as the “Goddess” flowed into him. She sat back down next to him holding it in her hand as she pressed her lips against his cheek. She smiled at his awkwardness.
My husbands all grew hair on their faces. It is nice to feel a smooth cheek with my lips.
He looked down at the fire as he remembered how she had stroked him in the dark. This morning it was just a light squeeze and a kiss.
I will search for wood this morning?
wood is needed. Even on the warmest days, the mornings are cool.
Vanessa said this place was like living inside a river. The mist is always blowing off the water. Our huts are like little boats floating on the river of mist.
The Man prepared to go outside. He wrapped himself in deerskin and pushed his way under the door flap and out into the heavy mist and blowing wind. The land looked so much different than it did yesterday. The trail was hidden in the mist, all he could see was a few steps in front of him. He listened to the sound of the waves and the barking of the seals. The wind made a whistling noise as it blew through the grasses. It made a different sound as it blew across each hut. He realized that this was no accident. Each hut had a kind of large whistle attached to it, creating a single long note as the wind blew through it. He covered himself from the wind and walked beyond the border of the village and into the nearest trees. He picked up what sticks he saw and began to build a small pile.
As he worked he heard the crackling of a twig next to him. Startled, he turned around to look. There… close enough to touch him stood Sawat. He stood frozen… staring as he could feel his blood pounding in his ears. She lifted her hand and slowly placed it on the Man’s shoulder. Underneath the smell of her fur-cover he could smell her body, it reminded him of the Woman’s smell, only stronger. He felt his softhorn stretching out as she looked into his eyes and he breathed in her odor. She looked down at him, he stood in awe at the power in her body. She could easily break his neck…but he did not feel threatened. Instead he saw longing in her eyes. He could see her face was hairless, her mouth and lips large and her nose flat. On her head, her hair stood out wildly and it was bright orange like the dirt he had seen on his journey to this place.
The two stood staring into each others eyes, Sawat with her hand on the Man’s shoulder. The Man opened his mouth to speak.
She looked curiously at him tilting her head as if to ask a question.
We have always called you Sawat.
She wrapped her arms around him in a powerful embrace. Feeling her muscles pulling him close to her, he felt his face being press against her chest. He felt the softness of her small breasts under her bearskin. There was stiff self-consciousness in her movement as though this was something she had thought about a lot, but rarely practiced. Then quickly she let go, turned and disappeared into the mist.
The Man hardly noticed the path as he returned to the hut carrying the wood he had found. His thoughts were on Sawat, remembering how he had dreamed of them sitting together floating on a raft.
The Woman noticed the distant look in his eyes when he returned.
I have heard of the bear/woman…
It was always said that she lives in the high mountains…
She has the voice of a crying baby.
He was startled by her words it was as though she knew his thoughts.
Sawat was out there…
She wrapped her arms around me.
I heard her footsteps in the night. She must have followed you here.
It was Sawat who led me to you.
The two sat silently for a time.
There are still many strange things left over from the Old Land. Mostly they are ghosts now. It is hard to tell where the dreams stop. In the Old Land there were no dreams, only solid things.
When I was a small girl I used to ask my mother why Vanessa left the Old Land and brought us all to this place. Everytime I asked her, she told a different story. I would say, “but that is not the same story as last time.”. She would just say, “but it is the same story, you are just not old enough to understand yet. Someday you will understand.”
Vanessa always said that in the Old Land they did not see in the same way we do. When they looked at a thing, they did not see the dreams which surround it and make it a part of the Story. Instead they saw only the tiniest parts which are put together. Always they were looking for smaller and smaller parts. They believed that if they could find the very smallest part, then they could write the Story themselves. Like I young man who is driven to win a race or throw a spear the farthest, they were driven to capture the Story and write it themselves….
It is natural to laugh at our younger selves.
Vanessa saw that when thoughts of people became broken down into smaller and smaller parts. The dream is all around them yet they can not see it. She called this, having the eyes of a fly. It is the Goddess who gives birth to the dreams and suckles them like they are her own child. Vanessa sought a place where the Goddess could be honored and worshiped and the Story could be reborn. That is why she brought her husbands and all of her followers, here to the Cliff Village…
But that was so long ago it is but a distant echo in a dark cave.
The Man’s thoughts were still on Sawat and her embrace. But as they sat, the Man slowly realized the Woman did speak of Sawat. She was hinting Sawat’s origins had something to do with the Old Land and the worship of the Goddess.
The two slept together that night with their arms around each other.
As time passed the two lived together in their hut. Theirs bodies and minds blended. They both learned the ways to caress the other’s body which felt so good. They fell into a pattern of bringing each other a spasm of pleasure.
In the morning they would sit by the fire with their tea, content just being together. Later the Man would go collect wood and the Woman would walk down to the beach, just to watch the waves moving back and forth. Later they would collect Rock-Fish together. Sometimes the Man would bring back a rabbit or a fish he was able to spear. Before sunset they would bathe together in the river. Then around the the fire they would tell stories at night. And they would sleep together entwined under the large bear-hide.
The Man became comfortable in his new home, he began to play his whistle again and to draw his pictures. He thought his music had changed with this new place. The Woman said his notes had a sad lonesome sound to them. But he thought they were much brighter. He drew pictures of Yoshi and of the Woman.
The two would sometimes sit on the rocks watching the sea together…talking.
I’ve spent my life watching Yoshi. She is like the Goddess. The way she bears so much life, the way she endures so much. She is always there to embrace us…. with her sounds… the barking of the seals, the shouts of the birds, the whisper of the wind,… and always the waves behind all the other sounds.
I’ve had three husbands in my life. All three are now shadows which I still see in my dreams. We played as children on this beach digging and building villages out of sand. Small sticks were people talking to each other. Mounds of sand were lodges. Our villages in the sand were huge, filled with many people…but in life we were the last ones. It was our job to bring the Story to an end.
There was the one we call Bright Eyes with the big crooked smile, the one we called Seal Face because he could bark like a seal and he looked a little like one, and the one we called Weeps because he cried so easily.
In our village each person had many names. One name was the village name, that was the name everyone used to talk about a person. The village name changed over time when a person changed. Another name was the name their birth mother gave them, it is the name that came to her in dreams as she grew the baby inside her, that name never changed. When a man became a husband he was given a name by his new mother. A girl was given a name by the village mothers after her first bleeding. It was the village name which everyone used when they spoke. My village name was Cloudy Moon.
The two walked side by side, their arms brushing against each other, along the beach and up the bank of the river. They followed the river until the banks turned to stones. Carefully they stepped on the river stones at the water’s edge. Here in the sun the water flowed clear over the rocks. They stood at the edge of a deep pool and slowly eased themselves in the water, bracing themselves against the cold. The Man rubbed the Woman all over with a soft rabbit skin cloth. He lingered on her sensuous crevices and curves, and she enjoyed it. Their skin was covered with the many tiny bumps and it wasn’t long before they began to shiver. After a bath they always returned quickly to the hut and built a warm fire.
Sister used to say that Sawat was always there in our thoughts…This was when we lived alone together in our lodge. It was hard to get enough food for the long winters. We were both always very thin by the time the snow melted. When she was a girl, we played games together. I can still remember the way she would smile and laugh when we joked together.
Sometimes those dreams come to me at night as though we are still playing together and Mother is still watching over us while she works with her hands.
Sometimes I forget where I’m living, whether I’m here with you or there with her.
I think of all my family…they are all in the shadows now. And I think it is Sawat who speaks to them still. Sawat’s eyes are their eyes watching me wander here alone in this land….
Now I am no longer alone…
Sister died one day It was after a long winter, we were both very thin, the snow had melted and the deer had returned. We were stalking a large buck, Sister walked the deer toward me as I waited… wearing a deer head made from a deer skin. I waited silently for Sister to lead the large buck toward me. I waited and waited but the deer never came. When I called for Sister there was no answer. My heart jumped and I ran wild calling and looking for Sister. I found her laying in the water of the creek. The cold clear water of the melting snow was running across her body. She was beautiful there, wearing her soft deer-hide. Her skin so young underneath the water and her long dark hair flowing in the current. I turned her over to look at her face.
The Man paused here. His eyes held tears and his voice became broken.
There was a dream on her face. Her eyes stared past me and she did not move or breathe. For a moment I tried to wake her but saw that she was already with the shadows. I pulled her from the water and sat with her for a long time. I didn’t want to think about anything else. I slept there with her through the night, looking at her, touching her. In the morning I carried her to a large tree which she liked to sit under. I sat there with her, us both leaning against the tree. I took off her necklace and her buckskin and carried those back with me to our lodge. I knew the animals would find her there and her flesh would become part of theirs. I did not return until only her bones were left.
The two sat silently staring into the flames. The shadows shifted a bit before the Woman spoke.
My first husband was the little boy we called Bright Eyes. We explored each other with our hands discovering those sensitive parts and softly stroking them. It was so new to both of us. I remember the expression on his face the first time I made him squirt. It was so easy with him. ….These are things which are like spirits, they came and went so quickly, I wonder if they really happened.
All three of the boys I played with as a child became my husbands but Bright Eyes was my first. I gave him the name Soft Squeal because of his moan when I would stroke his softhorn.
The four of us lived in a large hut which my husbands together built. Soft Squeal always said that somewhere there must be other people still living. There were just so many people in the Old Land that some must still be alive. They probably lived differently then we do, but they lived somewhere out there.
Sometimes Soft Squeal would go on long journeys by himself. He was always searching for the other people he thought still lived somewhere. When he left he would always leave for seven days and return on the eighth.
After his return he would tell us stories of what he had seen. We were eager to hear these stories. It seemed he was always finding signs of people living in some place. Sometimes he found bones and the houses where they lived, but never did he see a living person.
Before he left on one journey, the two of us had been arguing. It was a time of preparation for the Rain Calling ceremony. We always had a large gathering and a feast at the time when the day and night were equal. I told him that we all needed to spend time preparing for the Ceremony. He was angry…. he said we were all a dying tribe… we should give up such ceremonies because we were the only young ones left… everyone else was so old.
For those seven days I worked with my other two husbands to prepare for the Rain Calling. We worked with heavy hearts because we saw that what Soft Squeal said was true. All the other mothers were past their time of bleeding and their husbands were losing their strength.
Soft Squeal never returned on the eighth day. He never returned on any day. The Rain Calling became a calling for Soft Squeal to return… every time we did the Rain Calling I thought of Soft Squeal…but he never returned.
The Man and the Woman said nothing more all night. They sat with their arms around each others’ naked bodies and slept together under the heavy bear-skin.
There were many nights under the bear-skin with their own skin touching. The Man rubbing the Woman’s hairy patch until his fingers felt the smooth liquid of her soft membrane. She arched her back and pushed, crying out with pleasure. He began to imagine a kind of power running through his body and into his fingertips allowing her to feel the waves of tingling pleasure. With time their touching became more ordinary but the hunger kept returning again and again.
It had been a long time since the Man had thought of the Giant Woman. One night as he drifted to sleep he imagined a Giant Woman standing over him with legs spread, he looked up and saw her face looking down at him with an expression of power. Her face seemed to join with the formidable hair of her crotch and her hanging breasts in a single picture. He was at her mercy and her half smile said she enjoyed it. He looked at her powerful legs, how her dark skin gleamed. He wondered at the patterns of hair which grew on her legs. His thoughts lingered with this vision. In his half-dream state she became the Goddess; she was the Woman, Sawat, his sister, his mother, all the women he had ever known and more. Laying there powerless underneath her was all he wanted in this life. She kneeled over him and slowly lowered her crotch, covering his face. He drifted to sleep enjoying the feeling.