Excerpt from Ojibwa Women

The throbbing of my phantom right leg pulled me out of a fitful sleep, into the reality of a new day. I struggle to pry glued eyelids open, grey eyes filled with sleep, dulled by an unbearable ache, drink in my surroundings; drink in the sunlight pouring through blue lace curtains.

Thebrightness mixes with a nearby robin’s trill, with horns honking impatiently, gunned engines growling, distant laughter, loud angry voices, and soaks into my fogged mind, replacing a familiar haunting nightmare.

I turn my head, stare at the clock on the table beside our bed, and it
stares back at me, its black second hand ticks, ticks, ticks its way around the
white face.

Seven-thirty registers in through the mist, and I sigh with relief because I don’t have to go to work until tonight. The length of the day stretches out before me, the way a ribbon of asphalt stretches over the prairie, without seeming to have an end. I want nothing more than to lie in my cocoon, wrapped between sleep and being awake, but the pain sharpens, nags at me like a toothache.

My left hand fumbles around the top of the bedside table, but I fail to find my pills. The hurt from missing flesh pulls groans from my belly, drags me further into the day. I ease out from under the sleeping girl, trying my best not to wake

She mumbles soft, too low for me to hear, and rolls over on her back. My eyes rest on the high cheekbones, partially hidden by long messy hair, darker, shinier
than a raven’s wing, softer than a summer mist. My breath catches in my throat,
holds at the sight of rising copper coloured breasts.

My mind remembers last night’s magic, my body responds to the memory. For a moment, the need to return to her, to posses the wonder of her, is greater than the pain, but only for a moment.

 I struggle to a sitting position, begin yanking drawers out one at a time, rummage through them. When I fail to find what I need, what I hunger for, the panic deepens.

Frantic shaking hands shove blankets aside, and a bare foot lands on a soft deep carpet. Hands fumble, slide the plastic sheath of my metal leg over the soft padding protecting the stub, fasten it into place, and pull me upright.

The pain spikes, drawing animal like cries from me. I moan, “Sweet
Jesus, have mercy,” through clenched teeth with every stumbling step I take
across the bedroom floor, through the living room to the kitchen cupboards. It
grips me tight as I fling doors open, pull drawers out, and empty them onto the
blue tiles, but there is no help in sight, no bottle with little white pills,
no hope of relief from the agony burning through me.

For a moment it strikes me as funny how much something that doesn’t
exist; something that hasn’t existed for two years now, can still make me cry,
well maybe not funny, ha, ha, but certainly funny in an ironic way.

I pull out the final drawer, ready to dump it onto the mess when I remember that I didn’t fill my last prescription because of my fear of becoming addicted, of losing myself to oblivion and becoming one of those blank-eyed, wretches willing to do anything for a fix.

A gust of sticky wind filled with un-burnt gasoline, with the stench of rotting refuse, with last night’s garlic, rolls through the partially open window, rustling the curtains, drawing my eyes towards the radiator in the corner, and brings a memory to the surface.

I smile through the hurting that fills me, shuffle over to the corner, and pry the board of my secret stash away. There it is, waiting for me, looking at me, begging me to pick it up. The pouch crinkles in my hands when I open it, and I breathe deep of the fragrant weed; precious, beautiful Mary Jane to the rescue.

I stumble back to bed, cuddle up in the still warm blankets, prop myself up on the sweat stained pillow, roll my joint, light it with the first match, and inhale, inhale deep so deep, and hold the smoke in me.

The razor-edge dulls, and now I can think of other things. I should get up and write. For now at least, my muse eludes me. Perhaps when the last puff is taken, when the last tendril of smoke is inhaled she’ll return. I turn to look at the girl beside me for inspiration, gaze into wide-open dark eyes, eyes full of innocence, eyes full of …

The smile on the beautiful angel face spreads; brightens her eyes, warms her face; warms my heart. “Is it bad?” she whispers, moves closer, slides her left arm under me, and reaches with her right for the joint. Two deep puffs taken, held, let out through parted lips, and another puff taken, held, slowly exhaled, soft contented sighs fill the air around us.

Without saying a word, she hands Mary Jane back, cuddles close, begins to kiss my chest, blows soft on the hair around my nipples. Her exploring hand brings gasps from me, gasps that soon turn to moans of pleasure.

I have enough presence of mind to extinguish the glowing tip before dropping the joint onto the floor, and as I surrender to her, surrender to the moment, I wonder how I deserve this goddess, knowing I don’t, knowing I never really will.

 With naked, sweaty flesh glued to naked sweaty flesh, with limb’s intimately intertwined, steeped deep in love’s euphoric afterglow, my mind drifts back, back, and I relive the night we met.


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