A/N: Originally intended as stream of consciousness; however, I got a bit excited with the editing. Nonetheless, this does not detract from the messages therein. This is the first entry of a series that has no timetable for closing and contains a number of pop culture references. If you can spot any of them, congratulations.
You haven't heard this much angry Skarure since...you were last on the reservation.
"That's irrelevant. The point is he's brought shame upon all of us -"
"Not my shame; I'm not related to him -"
"I'm just gonna pretend this shit didn't happen. I'm finished-"
"I can't believe that fool brought his white bitch back to the rez."
Silverware clatters against your plate. You inhale deeply, close your eyes in frustration and pinch the bridge of your nose. This, you tried telling your father, is precisely why you hate coming upstate to "The Bullshit State," otherwise known as New York. Never a moment's peace. Always some controversy - on the rez at least.
Eli turns to you and asks, "Do you think Jake is coming back, Spencer?"
The fork stops halfway to your mouth. He's a mere five-too young to possibly grasp the severity of what his brother has done and because the tears are standing in his eyes, you lie, reluctantly, "Of course he will."
Josiah sits across from you, nose bandaged, eyes ablaze with black fire. He's reading you like a book.
"I'd have been okay with anyone else … remember that Cherokee girl? Hell, even a Catawba would've been fine and our ancestors all despised each other! But a white bitch?"
Josiah's not looked this ticked since the plane landed. "First of all, Micah, let's stop calling her a 'bitch.' Now, we all know damn well it doesn't matter that she's white. All that matters is that she's not one of us."
"And the baby?"
The Tuscarora people abide by the kinship rules of a matrilineal society. Ancient laws state that one's clan is determined by his or her mother and what's more is offspring of a non-Tuscarora woman are not Tuscarora.
You can't help yourself. Before you know it, the obvious pours out of you. "Legally, the child is not Indian. The most Jake can do is teach the baby its patrilineal history. But as far as being a registered citizen goes … an ice cube has a better chance of surviving in hell."
Harsh, but real. You know the others - Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca - are having the field day. The Tuscarora will be the laughingstock of The Six Nations by nightfall.
"Well, Spencer, I don't know why you're defending Jake when he almost killed your brother."
You want to say it so badly.
Jake isn't responsible for the broken nose and the scratches.
"Josiah will live." You nonchalantly reply.
Yes, but Josiah will not hold his peace.
"Really, though, this mess ain't got nothing to do with us. Yeah, we Tuscarora, but we ain't kin to any of those niggas. My ass is supposed to be in Paris anyway -"
"Say that again, nigga. For a minute there, you didn't sound like a white boy."
"And speaking of Paris, that's all you've talked about since you've been here. What the hell is waiting for you in Paris anyway?"
It's a concrete, cold parting of the lips and you've never dreamt of hearing it from your mother.
The flight back is uncomfortable. Still, the silence of the plane is a smooth deviation from the yelling, the swearing, and the lies of crooks your mother filleted in court.
"I give him two days."
"What about the Grand Canyon?"
"I give him an hour."
"The Arizona tour?"
"I give him eleven minutes."
You're a kid again - relaxing by the bayou with the Creoles, admiring by the fireflies passing you by. It's been three days since you bid goodbye to the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. Mother and son haven't spoken in that time. She said he "took 'nothing' out of context." He says she was "throwing shade." Father and daughter are the only ones behaving civilly.
"Spencer, our parents infringe on our plans all the time. We can always reschedule."
Oh, Cecilia wants to reschedule all right. Rescheduling ensures she has front row seats to the fireworks.
"Why is it the Tuscarora piss you off but the Ethiopians and the English don't?
Cecilia has been your friend since childhood. This, and only this, softens your heart and persuades you not to push her into the water.
"Why is it you Creoles convince yourself that your language is real instead of a bastardization of Spanish, African, French and Native American words?"
Noah looks over his shoulder. "Seriously, what's going on?"
You hated the idea of it.
From its conception, the arrangement was hideous.
But he said, "it's just Yasmine," the fullblood choreographer so graciously offering her home to us for the night.
And she claimed, "it's only Josiah," the unpredictable, prodigal halfblood she's not opposed to accommodate.
You knew better. They'll never be "just Yasmine" or "only Josiah" to each other again; she's still the same bitter ex whom his mother still adores- and she doesn't have to say it because it's practically tattooed on her forehead.
And he may be the co-leader of their now defunct dance troupe, but he's still the same guy who dogged her. His boys said, "We gave you a pass for fucking up with those other bitches, but this is Yasmine. God, please forgive him but he knows not what he's done."
You consented because it was late - and you were tired, and not particularly up for any further arguments. Nevermind the glaring fact that Yasmine could have slit both your throats in the night or that this had I Know What You Did Last Summer - or worse, something out of a Lifetime movie - written all over it.
It came as no surprise the following day that you should assume the role of chauffeur to the incarnation the disgraced 'Dear John himself '- battered and bruised, love and left.
Red lipstick on his zipper, his own red ink used to inscribe the requital.
Karma. If I wake up and you're still beside me, that little injury will feel like child's play.
Yet the entire family should not suffer on account of the one's guilty conscience.
"We suspect Josiah's bipolar."
Standing in his doorway later that night you can't take it any longer.
He's aimlessly surfing the channels which, ironically, only amplifies his dejection.
Got a French bitch, no friendship
And she giving my dick a French kiss
Qu'on voit danser
(Ball so hard)
Let's get faded
Le Meurice for like six days
That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me.
Now you're rubbing your temples in frustration.
"You've got the blues, brother."
He doesn't look at you, only spits, "What?"
"You have been moping for days crying the blues. You can't get away from France - the Creoles are two vowels away from speaking the language fluently; French references are all over your t.v.! And you, my dear, are whipped, you are sprung and you are making our lives miserable."
"Yasmine is making our lives miserable."
"Nooooo...sweetheart," You shake your head and plop into the nearest chair. "We did not lay down and choreograph with Yasmine." Midway poking your finger at his chest, irony strikes and, though you don't mean to, a chuckle escapes. "Boyyyy, she got you good."
"No, I got her good. You think she scratched me up like this this because I was itching?"
This is not a conversation one should have with a big brother. You sigh. "Mom would love an explanation for this complimentary nasal fracture. I told you it was a shit proposition. A man can't break a woman's heart and end up unscathed. I was trying to save you."
"From yourself. The flesh is weak."
"Well, my spirit was willing."
"Well, I hope it's ready to pull a 'Ricky Ricardo' when we play host for your girlfriend and her family...in five days."
Josiah's eyes are obsidian. 'Luster' is a foreign concept. He faces you, leaning on one elbow and exhales, "Look, Spencer, Deidre and I are dating not going to the fucking altar!"
"You can't help who you fall in-"
"I'm not in love, Spencer."
"Don't I know it?"
"I'm not telling her a damn thing. What she doesn't know won't hurt her."
"Who the hell fed you that lie? We always know when something is wrong, whether we go to the altar with you men or not!"
"Jake has lost his goddamn mind. Out of all the Native women in New York, he just has to step out. We went through hell and back for just because we're part black, part white! Do you know what kids are gonna do to a mutt with a white mother if and when Jake crawls back for a visit? I couldn't do that I could do that to a child. "
It's like he's speaking to you as though you've forgotten. And at this point, you're tired of hearing the pessimism, even though there's no escaping it. The ticking of the clock bangs like a drum inside your ears.
Forgiveness will have to come later. Pointing downstairs, you say, "Tell them nothing, especially daddy. I'm still thinking in Skarure and I cannot bear to hear you lectured to in Amharic. Snap out of it."
"Spencer, wait. Say I do tell Deidre. She'll get over-I mean, she'll forgive me...won't she?
You stop on a dime, not even bothering to turn around. He says he's not in love, but his voice has cracked and he is desperate. Vulnerable. Whipped. Sprung. Lying, poorly, to his sister. The playa is older and he just doesn't have "it" anymore. The playa can try and be "hard" - and he's far from a "soft" - but he yearns for a stable relationship.
Josiah thinks he has it all figured out. He believes his "exoticism," his finances, his prospects will, for the umpteenth time, see him through the storm. He's usually right. You doubt the thought even crosses his mind that these pluses might not matter with this woman.
"I can't speak for her, Josiah. I'm sorry."
You close the door upon exit, hoping he one day understands it is this transparency which has always been the flaw in his foolproof system.