The next morning, there was no discussion allowed. They were going to drive me to the place of my birth. No discussion because I was not allowed to decline. The trip was a bit over two hours. After getting their car, we began the drive into the Arizonan outback.
I wasn’t sure how I really felt about having anyone with me. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to go there, the place where I just magically popped into being, a desert wayside of no importance except to me. But my dreams, my failures, the synchronous event of buying Sam Shepard’s book, whatever I was to do, I had to start from the beginning.
We chatted for the first hour. But, they sensed my tension the closer we got. I sat the last hour quiet in the back seat. As we pulled up to the spot, I saw a familiar truck parked off the road. A man of the “first people” stepped out as I pulled myself from the car’s back seat.
“Took you long enough. It’s goddamned hot out here,” and Ray extended his hand.
I took it and shook. “Didn’t know you were pining for me.”
“Someone’s got to look out for you.”
I introduce Ray to Beth and Sissy. I wasn’t sure what Ray’s reaction would be to their status. We’d never discussed things like that. Ray, a good person, took it in stride and offered them a cold drink from his cooler.
I left them to walk through the brush. Intense heat rained down on me as memories dripped through my mind. It was familiar yet different now. The energy, the “vibration” had changed. Oliver’sappearance? I had no idea. But the place didn’t call as it had in the past. Now, I felt the power but not the draw. It was as if I was a moth and felt the heat of the flame but repelled by the light. Ray cracked pistachio nuts in his teeth behind me. I could hear him spitting the shells on the ground.
“Different, ain’t it,” he said walking up behind.
“You feel it, too.”
“Yep. Soon as Oliver popped out, the whole area took on a new hue. You know me, even without psychedelics, I see the auras of a place. This one’s changed.”
“Yeah. I need to leave.”
“Bad choice coming back?”
“No. Needed closure. Now I need to move on.”
We all drove to Ray’s house and had some lunch. Ray makes the best tamales and always has some stashed away for guests. After lunch, Beth and Sissy drove home. I thanked them for everything and told them I would write.
“If you do, we’ll read it. If you don’t, know we’re thinking of ya’,” Beth said with a smile.
“Find your purpose. Then you’ll find happiness.” And with that, Sissy gave me a peck on the cheek and a hug.
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