I knew that coming within 100 feet of my father for longer than a few months would be fatal. What I didn’t expect was to find love. Not the fleeting kind of love that teenagers experience when they’re trying to discover who they are and what it means to be in a relationship, but the kind of love comes along once in a lifetime. I never expected to find it here. I never expected to find it at all.
What hurts worse than losing my life now is knowing that I’ll be losing her too. Forever.
Wearing all black wasn’t really a new thing for me. I enjoyed wearing black because it made me feel sophisticated, put together, in control. It made me feel everything that I wasn’t. My hometown of New York was very unique. There were so many different people with different cultures, believes, values, ways of looking at things. And yet somehow they all seemed to get along together. For the most part.
And I would have been happy to stay in the city except that it now no longer held the most important person in my life.
I stared down at the urn I held in my hand. My mother’s ashes were inside. She was an artist, a creator, and though her mind was often dreaming up her next creation she’d had enough sense to write a will. I was named sole heir to everything she had. It wasn’t much, but it was enough.
“Do you want me to take that?”
I glanced up at a burly man who I’d hired to pack up my things. He was referring to the urn and I shook my head slowly. He must have seen the horror in my eyes because he took a step back and then another, almost tripping over the curb behind him.
An arm snaked around my back and I was pulled against a warm, hard body. I closed my eyes briefly to soak up just a little bit of his strength before pulling away. I was going to miss him too. Hunter, my best friend since we’d moved to Long Island City when I was five, kissed my forehead. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you and help you get settled?”
I pulled back and stared up into his handsome face. “I’m sure. I’ll be fine.” It wasn’t like I was going to an unknown place. No, I was going to the place where my father lived. It was my mother’s dying wish that I go to him, live there for a year, get to know my culture.
“If you change your mind you know I’m only a phone call away.” He smiled and I wished that I had tingles in my belly. My life would be so much simpler if I could just be normal. But I wasn’t normal. Not my straight black hair or my copper-colored skin paired with rust colored eyes. And certainly not my feelings for women. It was progressive here, you could find someone through various means of technology, but it never felt right. I’d never been in love and I’d never gone beyond a few kisses. And for as long as I was going to be staying in Black Creek, New Mexico I was going to be without even those. They were as far from progressive as you could get.
With one more chaste hug I said goodbye to Hunter. I knew as soon as I took my first pee break on the long highway to Black Creek that I’d be calling him.
A few days after I started my journey I finally arrived at my destination. I parked the moving van on the dirt driveway of my new home. A twenty year old trailer. Vacant. Nested between my father’s trailer and, my half sister, Skye’s trailer. I took a deep breath and stared at the urn that was buckled in the passenger seat beside me. I’d talked or sang to it most of the way. I was tired now. Ready to sleep in my own bed.
The knock on my window startled me and with a shaking hand I rolled down the window, my eyes clashing with Skye’s. Her eyes were a very dark brown, so dark they almost appeared black. Her hair was longer, much more traditional in the Native American culture than my own short cut. She smiled at me with a mixture of sympathy and relief.
“You’re finally here,” she said, pulling the door open for me.
I nodded as I slipped from the truck and touched my black flats to the ground. Moon looked me over and snorted a little.
“Did you run out of clothes on the way here?”
I glanced down at my black chino pants and my black silk blouse before meeting her merry gaze. “No. What’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing, if you’re going to some fancy bank meeting or something. Come on, let’s get you settled.”
We were headed to the front steps of my new trailer but stopped short when we saw a figure sitting on the steps.
“Hold on, Ari. Stay right here.” There was a tone of disapproval in Skye’s voice as she approached the blonde haired girl. In the middle of indigenous people she stuck out like a sore thumb. I couldn’t hear the conversation and tried to avoid staring as they two had their conversation. It sounded more like a disagreement. Skye had apparently won. The blonde girl pushed off the wooden stairs and stalked towards me. She shot me a nasty glare as she passed by. I blinked as I watched her walk away, her hands shoved deep into the pockets of her basketball shorts. She was tall, more muscled than the artsy types I was used to. And she left a trail of vanilla and brown sugar in the air.
“Sorry, Ari, don’t mind her. I’m right next door if she comes back and gives you any trouble.”
I felt my stomach twist and tumble at the thought of the blonde woman coming back to my trailer. “Does she live here? Is she native?”
“She lives here. She was taken in by Nona when she was little. Nona used to live in your trailer. It’s… it’s a sticky situation but I don’t think Cora will hurt you. She mostly stays to herself. She’s always been… you know. She’s not one of us. She was just raised by one of us.”
Cora. I had a name to go with the blonde woman. I couldn’t help but feel that Cora and I had more in common than perhaps I was comfortable with. As much as I didn’t want to be here, I did want to honor my mother’s wishes. I had 364 days to go and then Black Creek would be a distant memory and I could go find where I belonged.
That’s it! What did you think of today’s beginning? Hope you’re having a great Thursday! I’ll be nailing down an interest rate and doing the mom thing tonight while I watch my Kindergartener sing with her peers.