On the Road to Betrothal

Prose, including snippets (mini-memoirs).
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goldenmyst
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On the Road to Betrothal

Post by goldenmyst » May 27th, 2019, 12:46 pm

On the Road to Betrothal

They follow the ragged brow of the Hopi reservation to the ancient Pueblo of Walpi perched on its wrinkle. Atop the mesa, they sit in a room with a sandy floor with the other tourists. The timbers shake in the wind-driven sand of April. The Native guide, with his long hair, could be the snake dancer she saw in a picture. His face is worn as the ancient buildings he protects. When their turn comes they follow the crumbling buildings which once were homes.

They enter a dwelling where a coal heater sits and pottery is displayed by a Hopi woman. Her smile is starched like that of an ambassador at a formal dinner for a foreign delegation.

Marsha buys a piece of her art and carries it back to John. She says, “When we are old and grey we can raffle this off at the bingo parlor. It should fetch a pretty penny so that you can buy me a promise ring or even an engagement ring if the spirit moves you.”

John spots an eatery housed in a prefab building. They pull off the road and enter the joint. The inside is shadowy from the dust clouded light which peeks through the windows. But there is a steely shine on the metal tables and chairs which feels ghostly. They take their seats under the low ceiling with the prospect of food. The menu describes an America they left behind.

The people who sit next to their table can only be described as a couple with the woman doing a two-step of words to woo the man. Marsha and John eavesdrop on their conversation like cold war spies seeking the secret to detente.

The Hopi woman says, “You know I love the hot dogs at this place.”

The man says, “Uh huh.”

The woman answers, “This place has the best hamburgers for miles around. Have you tried them here?”

The man says, “Well yes, they are tasty.”

She replies, “But the French fries here are out of this world. And the ketchup is always fresh. That is why I come here.”

The guy says, “The mustard ain’t bad either. Goes good with the burgers.”

She replies, “They put way too much grease on them at the diner down the road. Many a night I got heartburn from them. One night I ran out of Antacid. My belly ached all evening.”

Finally, the dude opens up and joins her dance of words. He asks her, “Do you ever eat Indian food?”

She replies, “What do you mean?”

He says “Amaranth cereal, blue corn pancakes smothered in honey, or pine nut tea? You won’t get a tummy ache from them.”

She replies, “You know, I have a tomato patch out back. I can make you a salad fresh from the earth.”

He replies, “Now, you’re talking my language. Let’s split this joint. Between your tomatoes and my blue corn flapjacks we can make a real meal.”

Their newly minted alliance leads them out the door and into the windy realm of love. Marsha tells John, “That couple reminds me of you and me back in the day. You were so shy.”

John replies, “You are the reason behind my talkative season. My shell was never to close again after I met you.”

They descend onto a plateau into storms of

orange dust. The sky is yellow with the clouds of wind-driven soil. To their surprise, they find a dinosaur footprint site. They park and are greeted by a smiling Navajo woman in a white dress. There is a table display of Indian jewelry. The young woman leads them across the sandy rocks and points to the brontosaurus prints embedded in the stone. The tracks are marked with signs telling what beast they were left by. Their tour guide doesn’t speak a word of English apparently as she just smiles and points to the footprints. They take advantage of the language barrier. Marsha says, “Honey, all these years have passed and you haven’t even given me a promise ring.”

“I’ll do you right before we leave this place.”

The curator woman of this place leads them to the table arrayed in abalone shell earrings and turquoise rings which suit John’s purpose. John points to a ring and the price is no obstacle in matters of love. He pays and holds Marsha’s hand while placing the ring on her finger.

“You know this is the best part of the trip for me. Even the Grand Canyon won’t top it. Maybe in our golden years, it will be an antique so we can hock it to get me a wedding band. But since we’ve come all this way, why not splurge and get me those pretty earrings too?”

“Done,” John says.

John kisses Marsha and they get in the car only to see the Indian woman wave goodbye in the rearview mirror. The Navajo maiden watches them with a smile which says she knows something special happened and that she was part of it.

They make their descent into the Grand Canyon. Marsha says, “John, we’ll never pass this way again. Give me a hug worthy of the backdrop.” John steps up to the plate and holds her close. Marsha says, “Now give me a grand canyon kiss like I am the embodiment of the gaping maw below for you to fall into me.”

Only a distant thunderstorm accompanies them with lightning bolts too far away to bring them harm. Even the thunder is silent in its remote corner of the spired chasm. The Vishnu temple watches over them as they turn on hiking boots whose traction protects them from slipping over the edge so close they can see the precipice. All around is space too wide to comprehend. But with the care of dance school graduates, they adjust their roundabouts. The Bright Angel trail is a balcony over an amphitheater, billions of years in the making.

Her pose spurs his boot heels into a twist of passion no ordinary ballroom can inspire. But his eyes miss the pebbles upon which his feet roll. She finds herself dangling in his arms with her feet still on the trail whose rock is below her but near the precipice of eternity. Too stunned to scream her breathless shock leaves her eyes closed consigned to the inevitable. His boots slip like a ballet dancer on a freshly mopped floor. She grapples his arms like a drowning woman.

He pulls her into his chest. With the coordination of a trained wrestler, he falls back onto his derriere landing her in a straddle on top of him. She says, “Let me catch my breath then I’ll say something intelligible.”

He replies, “Let’s go home where the worst we face is gators and moccasins.”

Marsha lies across John and says. “The view from the levee is my kind of scenic.”

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sasha
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Re: On the Road to Betrothal

Post by sasha » May 29th, 2019, 10:57 am

Just thinking of places like that makes my palms sweat. I once spent 10 minutes working up the courage to get back onto the ladder I'd climbed to shovel snow off my roof....
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I'm not an outlier. I just haven't found my distribution yet.

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goldenmyst
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Re: On the Road to Betrothal

Post by goldenmyst » May 31st, 2019, 1:13 am

Climbing ladders can be a challenge to one's tolerance of heights. I haven't done it in over a decade. Thanks for sharing my friend. :)

John

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sasha
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Re: On the Road to Betrothal

Post by sasha » May 31st, 2019, 12:02 pm

Strange how inconsistent that fear can be. Precipices make my flesh crawl, but whenever I fly I always request a window seat.
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I'm not an outlier. I just haven't found my distribution yet.

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goldenmyst
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Re: On the Road to Betrothal

Post by goldenmyst » June 1st, 2019, 1:30 pm

Same with me my friend. I constantly gaze out the window on a plane. But being on top of the outdoor deck of our state capitol here in Louisiana gives me the heebee geebies.

John

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