A festival night with the Apaches. Amazing and beautiful. Food was excellent. Meat roasted over an open flame. They kept basting it with something, some kinds of herbs in a liquid. Excellent though I am feeling light headed.
I realize there are some things a woman shouldn't ride. A horse is one of them. Never ride anything with a brain of its own! That didn't come out sounding right, but what the hell! Luckily, we women aren't the ones who are supposed to dance all night around the center fire! I must say, Dan is looking.....well.....more appealing some how. That certainly sounds better than earlier today!
Finally! The party is winding down and people are moving to their tents. Dan has made friends with several of the elders. Looks like they are offering him room and board for the night. But none of the women have offered me a place yet. Night's get cold here in the desert. Wonder what season it is? Damn! I wonder what year it is! Will I have to sleep out here? Everyone is leaving me. This does not look good at all. Cold and in the desert with snakes. Wait......snakes don't come out when its cold, right? That's a point in my favor.
What is this? Dan is coming my way, along with the Sam and his wife. Dan looks uncomfortable somehow but he sticks his hand out for me and says "We have reservations....strike that. Reservations - not a good word to use in regards to Apaches. We have accommodations at the Hyatt Regency." I sorely get up, my butt and thigh muscles hurt like hell. Must remember to walk not ride. "What are you talking about?" I ask. He is still holding my hand. Feels very nice. I squeeze back.
He clears his throat nervously several times and says "They think you're my wife." I can't help but smile. This might be quite an evening after all! As long as I am not the one doing the riding!
April 3rd, 2003, 12:13 PM
It's a matrilocal society so the ida of the....elderly..woman having a young husband didn't shock them. White Painted Woman had conceived in concert with a god. The Apachedidn't consider her virginal. So, Gabe and I are going to share quarters tonight.
First things first, take care of the urinating and defacating. We walk together to the community jakes. I offer her privacy; she laughs really loud. "We've been switching genders so often," Gabe says, "which part of this are either of us not familiar with?"
She's got a point. Just not an event I ever considered ought to be co-ed.
Does give me a chance to think a bit. She squeezed my hand, you know. Right about the time I told her they think we're married. Can only mean the idea doesn't repulse her. At least, I think that's what it can only mean. But, that little kiss out on the prairie certainly didn't indicate anything more, either.
This is delicate. I offend her sensibilities and I have the whole tribe on me. This is not a group of people who think well of offending woman's sensibilities. On the other hand, if she meant that squeeze, I can offend her senisbilities the other way.
You know, here I am in my 20s wanting to understand women and I didn't understand them in my 50s....or 60s.
So, we walk back to the rental wikiup, hand in hand, and damn if she doesn't squeeze my hand again. And damn if that doesn't have an effect on me.
So we get inside. The dark helps a lot. She can't see my confusion, my uncertainty, my desire. So, I think and I think and I think and I come up with something clever to say. "If you want to sleep with your clothes on, you can; but there's plenty of blankets here."
Of course, she says: "Do you want my clothes off?"
You see how thoughtful she is? Every time I want to give her an escape clause, she just slams the ball back into my court.
Okay, here we go.
"Yeah, Gabe, I'd like that. I'd like to try that kiss again, too."
She says: "It's about damn time." and I hear her rustling out of her clothes. Guess I'd better do the same or I'm gonna feel pretty silly.
April 3rd, 2003, 01:48 PM
THAT was a memorable night, I can assure you! I don't ever remember being the woman before yet I have other memories of being a woman. Most confusing! Do all men have that much stamina? I'm trying to put this all into some kind of context. I think its going to require massive amounts of psychiatric counseling when I get home!
I know it was still dark when Danny Boy (got to quit calling him that!) nudges me. I think I said "No, please, not again. I have a headache." and hear him chuckle. "The mist is back. We have to go!" he declares firmly. I go to sit up and realize I have a huge hangover. How did that happen? Was it that strange barbeque basting stuff they used on the meat or the mist changes? Maybe the combination of both. Struggling in the dark with our clothes, I am finally able with his help to get most of mine on and we rush out into the mist. And we walk into it. Nothing is happening. We walk and can still see the tents, the embers from the fires. We keep passing people coming and going from tents to the common area. We finally look at each other and say "Just fog. Regular old foggy mist." Both our shoulders slump but its cold and we head back to the warmth of the tent.
Snuggling back into the warmth under the hides and pelts, I decide Since I am already awake...might as well! He was agreeable. Really nice the way we fit together.
The sound of children playing wake me early and I know it was all a dream. I am really Gabriel back in my refugee sanctuary in Cameroon. I pull on my clothes, not noticing the differences in my own body. I am so assured of who I am. I rush out to the sounds and stop, watching, analyzing. Beautiful dark healthy children playing! I feel strong arms circle my waist and Dan whispers "Are you thinking about Cameroon?" I just nod. I wonder if my Aussie friend Morgan got to the sanctuary in time with the mercenaries to fend off the Nigerians. I know in my soul, somehow, that he did! Afterall, he helped me initially to setup the camp and locate people to help. He sent me money once a year to help on expenses. He got there. But will I ever get back?
April 3rd, 2003, 02:21 PM
My arms around her, holding from behind is more romantic that I ever would have believed. This is one of those Robinson Crusoe stories, this couple stranded with a primitive, idyllic society, living their life of love and frivolity, no cares, no worries. Yeah, right!
Take for example the guy who has ridden his horse near to the death to arrive in the camp right about now. Take for example the screaming orders being sent around the camp. Take for example the women gathering children and running for the end of the camp. Take for example, Sam running by me, urging me to follow, yelling words I translate as foreigners, aliens, and a few words I haven't heard since the streets of Phoenix a half century ago.
Now, the good news. The mist is back and it's not the morning fog on the river. It's our mist and I gently pull Gabe backwards, careful steps of my own so she has room to walk backwards, doesn't have to look. She still feels like all the woman a man could ever ask for but my attention now is more on stepping slowly back, not drawing attention to ourselves, finding the mist. The firecracker snap of a musket sounds convincing me the time for stealth is gone. I grab Gabe's right hand. "Here we go!" and pull her into the mist, running now, and the Sonoran desert fades from view. The mist surrounds us so we slow to a walk.
"We follow your plan, Gabe" and we turn left.
April 3rd, 2003, 03:07 PM
This was our mist for sure. It quickly blanketed sounds and sights. The shimmering began again and I looked at Dan. I could see him but something else inside. Strange! I saw him look at me. I could see my own shimmering as well. "The Apaches have my watch, Dan. Do you have yours?" I saw him roll his eyes closed for a split second and I glance down. He was barely dressed and obviously hadn't put his watch on before coming outside the tent. We were going to have to wing this.
If the theory was correct, we went back in time by turning right the previous two times in the mist. The longer the time inside, the larger the time displacement. So we had turned left. We should be moving forward in time. How to know how long was a crap shoot at this point. First time in the mist, we guess was five minutes. Second time in the mist, we guess was 20 minutes. So if this hair-brain theory is correct, we need to stay 25 minutes to get back to our own time. But it was hard to tell time inside a cocoon. Nothing to gauge against. We couldn't really tell how fast we were walking with nothing to gauge against, except our own pulse rates. But they were up simply from the stress of knowing what we were trying to accomplish. But Dan...Danielle was key to the mist. It had to be his...her decision when to make a turn or stop. We walked and walked. Damn it was hard to gauge passage of time when your in a thick white cloud!
Finally I saw Dan (yes he was still a man on the outside) nod and I followed his lead. We stopped! And the mist suddenly lifted and pulled away from us very slowly.
Someone ran smack into me and apologized in a foreign language. Familiar but....At that moment I saw the row of newspaper machines next to us, in front of a cafe. I stopped dead in my tracks. USA Today was one of the papers and the headlines read Pope John Paul IX dies. I glanced up and saw my own reflection in the cafe windows. I am shocked! I look at Dan and OH MY GOD, he is one too! We are both very old men, both dressed in Cardinal ceremonial robes and we are just outside the entrance to the St Peter's Square in Rome. People are staring at us and showing us respect, snapping off pictures with small camera like objects. We take in our surroundings within seconds, the huge network of air traffic immediately overheard in small flying car-like objects.
This is so wrong on so many levels! We make our decision without a spoken word. We turn and as best as two old men can run, we haul ass back to the mist. It tries to outrun us. I don't know which of us spoke it but one of us said loudly "Please, don't do this to us!" And the mist stopped and engulfed us. As the thick white cocoon closed around us, I heard Dan's deep voice ask "Did you get a date off that newspaper?" I hear myself answer weakly "No, my eyes are bad and I couldn't see the fine print, only headlines."
But the shimmering starts immediately and I hear his comforting laugh and then the chuckle in his statement "We have to fine tune this theory of yours Gabe! Did that headline read II or IX?".
April 3rd, 2003, 03:50 PM
Understand why Gabe pulled us back in quickly. Thought we looked pretty good in cardinal. Wonder what I would have looked like in white?
A right turn and a few steps and the shimmering starts again. Kind of sad that. I enjoyed that 20 year old body.Time to get back to normal though, what passes for normal in this insanity. The woman in Gabe is tucked safely back inside. That's a damn shame, too! She is one hell of a woman!
And, yeah, just what I need, I'm back in touch with my feminine side. I'm pretty sure that I can get us back to Cameroon but things seem.....different. Wonder what the mist cooked up this time? Time to find out. "Let's go, Gabe"
His grip is strong and sure as it always was but stronger, surer, more full of life. He is moving rapidly, wondering I'm sure what is going on out there, what we'll have to do to fix it.
I don't have the strong sure steps I had before. I can move with purpose but there is a bounce missing, an extra half breath required. If he starts running this time, I think I'll just let him run.
Look at that man! No gray, no wrinkles around the eyes, just health and vigor pouring off him like...like Bruce Willis in Die Hard -The First of Fifty.
And then there is me. I look like...hell! No, I look like.....do you remember Anne Bancroft? The Graduate? Don't know if I look that good but I think that's what I look like.
April 3rd, 2003, 08:22 PM
Damn I feel great! Haven't felt this good in 30 years! No aches no pains. I look at Dan..........now Danielle again and see her. Really see her. The mist is even slower leaving us this time. Suddenly, though the mist seems stifling, suffocating, stinging to my lungs. I feel my chest heaving for air and look at Danielle. She is suffering like me. I can hear shouts and yelling. Suddenly people are crowding around us, pushing and shoving. Everyone is coughing but still yelling.
I try to concentrate on what is happening around us. Still gulping air. It is beginning to thin. The mist hasn't done this to us before. What is differen? The crowd of people push and surge forward, carrying us along with them. I almost lost her in the surge and reach. I am trying to stop the flowing ebb of this group of people! Pushing and shoving enough I get close enough to grab Danielle. She is so frail looking now, still coughing from the mist. I wrap my arm around her and pull her tight, keeping her close. It would be easier to flow with the crowd and push forward when they do.
But once I have Danielle firmly next to me, my thoughts turn off her and onto what the crowd is yelling. I know this. I have seen it before. Not from this perspective however. DAMN! DAMN THE MIST! THIS IS INSANE! Yeah, I know this place. I know this crowd. I know what is happening. I hated these people. I hated their lack of loyalty to their country and their troops! I scream at the guy next to me and ask "What's the date?" He looks at me like I am crazy. I ask him again and then the next person and the next. Finally a young woman answers me "May 4th." I knew it. I know I have to get us out of this crowd! I know the purpose the mist has for us. It all makes sense now. And we are finally at the right place at the right time to make a difference!
I pushed Danielle towards the edge, moving her and myself. I think she knows too! I see the recognition on her face! We make eye contact, just like we had in Rome and without any words, we know we have to get out of the crowd before it's too late. She's helping now. Together we are pushing our way to the edge. Just in case we can get back to the real mist, we're going to need a watch. We have overshot our real time by 30+ years! We can't wing it and get back to Cameroon! We have to have a way to accurately judge the passage of time.
Just as we are nearing the edge of the students, out of pure frustration and out of revenge, I let go of Danielle and my fists are clenching. I knock the hell out of one guy, then the one next to him and the next one in stomach. I nearly trip over someone else who has been pushed down by the crowd and again out of frustration I kick at the student. "NO GABE! DON'T!" I can hear Danielle calling at me and pulling on my arm. I reach down and snatch the expensive watch off the fallen student. Hell, he can afford it. The Old Man probably paid under the table money to get him out of the draft, he can afford a new watch for the little creep!
I can tell now, Danielle knows where we are. She's pulling on me and calling to me. Finally I pay attention and the two of us start running away from the crowd but then I stop and look back at the surging students. I scream to her "Danielle, we can change the outcome. There is still time!" She looks at me and asks "You mean stop the firing by the National Guard?" "NO!" I answer angrily "Let 'em shoot. I mean we know what will happen in Vietnam. We're here to change things. The mist is putting us places where we can change the outcome for the better. She shakes her head emphatically no. My anger comes out at her and I yell at her. I can feel the veins in my neck and forehead pounding. "WE KNOW WE CAN CHANGE THINGS! WE WERE BOTH THERE. WE COULD SAVE OUR FRIENDS!" She's pulling on my arm again and shaking her head no, even more emphatically. I snatch my arm away from her.
Both of us snap around at the sounds of the guns firing, both hitting the ground for protection. I look over at her and see blood spreading across the back of her shirt. I no longer care about the friends I have already lost once - in honor on the battlefield. There is only one friend I have to save and that's Dan...Danielle. I quickly get over her and check her for the wound. DAMN! This is bad, really f*****g bad!"
Thank the powers of the mist or the universe or whatever caused me to be in peak condition at this moment. I scoop her up and I see the mist. At least I hope its the mist and not the tear gas! Either way I have to run for it. The students are screaming and scattering and the mist is retreating quickly. I can hear every beat of my heart and every thought is screaming to the universe to let me just save this one friend. Just this one, GOD! Please. I'm almost to the mist when the Ohio National Guardsmen come from nowhere trying to push us back to the student gathering. "F**K you!" I scream and push back. Not a smart thing to do! I take the butt of his rifle upside the head. But somehow I push around him and run for the mist. Only a few more feet.
Over all the noise, all the turmoil, I hear her saying something to me and focus in. I can't look at her. I've done this too many times and lost too many friends. I can't look but I listen. She says weakly "Gabe, the mist isn't for us to change things......." And the mist consumes us.
April 3rd, 2003, 11:00 PM
The mist consumed us for sure. I don't even know if it will work. It might even kill her but I have the strangest feeling the mist is supposed to help her...him. As soon as my senses are totally blinded, I sit and hold her, rocking gently. I keep my eyes closed. Don't want to know what's happening. If it's good, she'll talk to me. If not, she won't. Then I'll......I'll......don't know what I will do actually.
The cooling sensation of the mist swirling is soothing and comforting. I lose track of all time. Two minutes or two hours, I don't care as long as it cures her. I feel a hand stroke my face, and I open my eyes. It's Dan again. He's about 40, sexy as hell and most importantly, HEALTHY again! I reach out and take his hand and mine is small once again and I smile up at him. Don't have a clue what I look like and I don't care! But he is smiling.
We step out of the mist and are standing on the most beautiful white sand beach I have ever seen! No one in sight in either direction, though a cabana home is located slightly above us under the swaying palms. Pristine conditions and water so clear, you can see details off the shells lying on the sand bed. And he kisses me.
April 4th, 2003, 06:10 AM
This role reversal is getting almost normal. And Gabe is beginning to feel as if she belongs in my arms, forever. She holds me close and I can feel the shudder, the aftermath of Kent State, and having to carry me into the mist. What a man she was!
I pull back to look in her eyes and express my gratitude and I am blessed with another DAMNED ADJUSTMENT!
Her hair is almost entirely grey, just a few spits of brown remaining. There are wrinkles around her eyes, wrinkles on cheeks and neck, wrinkled skin exposed at the neck line.
Her hands are withered and wrinkled.
Those Kelly McGillis breasts - from Witness if you need reminding - still have the form but some of the stuffing has been removed. The firm tight little butt is less firm.
Her chin is enflamed where the stubble of beard I haven't shaved has sandpapered her skin.
Her eyes are filled with tears.
She is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.
And I want to make love to her, gently, with all my heart but am suddenly concerned.
Should have known better. This is Gabe after all.
April 4th, 2003, 10:51 AM
Okay, it had to happen some time. Tears! The woman always has tears after a stressful event is over. He is looking at me too closely. Do I have 3 eyes and 4 ears? I have a bad feeling about this!
Well to hell with it and with him! I was perfectly happy on my moutain in Cameroon with MY kids. Didn't ask for him, actually it was her (right?), that was dropped on me out of some eerie freaking mist. I push him away and say the silliest thing in the world. One of those "women's there-is-NO-right answer-for-this-question"! "Do I look worse than before?"
As soon as that question popped out, I cringed. Having been a man I hated those no-right-answer questions. We men all know what I am talking about:
"Does this make my butt look bigger?"
"Which one dress makes me look dumpier?"
But I see the look on his face, almost laughing, almost not. So I cover up my insecurities with the BIG one. The big honest truth. "Dan. I forgot to look at the watch while we were in the midst. I don't have a clue how long." And it happens again - TEARS! Damn this. I must be hormonal.