I emerge, processing, categorizing. Koso gives me nothing, only a face that I have seen all my life, hidden behind overturned emotions. He hungers to read, to hold the paper against his skin, the desire jumps in his eyes. I hand it over before his hands devour it from mine. He sits on the bed and reads, leaving me stranded with my thoughts, ignoring me for the sweet buttermilk of words. It takes him longer than I would expect to look up and away, eyes off in a distant world. I leave him to be wrapped in his thoughts, and depart wrapped in mine.
She a memory almost lost. There is a hope. I restrain my mind, shut off all the possibilities. This hope could be the death of me, of us, if left unchecked. We are not horses, we are not free or wild. Our families and nameless town and loss bind us together, to chains. There is so much unknown still. I stop in the pathway, feet still, world humming around me. The trees have gained their new leaves since last year. The rocks and dirt under my feet hardly know that I am here. Nothing has changed since we have come, nothing would change were we gone.
I lower myself to the dirt, crouching back on my heels. My knees are so close to this unfamiliar ground that I flinch. I cannot bring them any lower. For all my rebellion, I still believe. The earth is holy, and this earth is not my god. She is hundreds of miles away, resting adjacent to the dumb land where I crouch. I lay my palm against the hard dirt.
Ilene, I believe that you have forsaken us, but we love you like children. Our mother will not come home, she is too drunk on her own life to care for her babies. I cannot feel you against my bare skin.
I stand back up and dust the dirt off on my pants. I am alone, godless.
I am not the only one, though. Koso, with his shining white hair, and Arezzo the writer of letters, they have been left. My mother has been forgotten, even though she believes that she will be saved. We are alone. Alone.
My feet move me to town and to my people. We are alone, there is purpose.