how it begins

Buffalo Man leads Lake Water Woman to story

Buffalo Man breathes over the water and smiles. There you are, he says, holding out his hand to me.

I say, I think I’m ready.

He says, Yes, I think you are.

I follow him, over a ridge and down a steep incline. The path is narrow, the sun intense. I watch my feet. He leads me to a place he knows, sheltered and forgiving. We rest there. When the sun goes we make a fire. Come, he says, I will tell you the story.

I settle into the space under his arm, my head resting on his chest, the rise and fall. We watch the fire a long time, waiting for the story to gather in him. While we are waiting, I fall asleep.

When I wake it is morning. Light floods the valley. I am alone.

This then is the story. To wake up lost and alone in a strange place, full of longing for what you have lost. This is how it begins.


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