Waking up in the mist is disconcerting as all get out. First, you wake up when you're pretty sure you were just killed except, maybe not, because your here. Then there's this over-sized little girl sitting there crying and you head is in her lap but her sobs are so harsh that she can't see that you're awake. So, you do something clever to get her attention. "Excuse, me, do you know the way to the ladies room?" and she's ready to kill you.
Damn, sometimes, this is fun.
Get up, stretch, and can tell all the pieces are there where they are supposed to be.
So, I take Gabe's hand and lead the way.
It's a villa on a hillside in the country. It's summer, hot. The dresses we wear are modest to the extreme covering everything but hands and face. No veils so that rules out the middle east.
Some women approach, calling for one of us.
"Suor Maria Celeste". We're standing outside the gates of the villa so the appellation is formal. As we move to re-enter, the women shorten the appellation: Celeste, Mother Abbess want's to see you.
I can feel the strength in Gabe, now Celeste, as she gathers herself to answer the summons.
"Don't forget the fruit our beloved Father brought." I say but for some reason my tone is sarcastic, hurtful. Why am I treating Gabe this way?
April 5th, 2003, 10:20 PM
We were led to the Mother Abbess’s office and the older nun held the younger girl back, insisting she would stay with her while I was inside. I opened the door and walked in, shutting the door behind me. I walk up to the petite nun and say fluently in Italian “You wish to see me.” WHAT? I had never spoken Italian before and I was clearly thinking in English. I must talk to Dan about this. She looks at me weirdly and I quickly adjust my attitude and say respectfully “Mother, you wish to see me?” She smiles softly. “Yes Celeste. Tomorrow are your final vows and we need to discuss your decision.” I sit and listen. I ask nothing but whenever I am questioned, I answer simply “Yes, Mother.” or “No, Mother”, or “Thank you, Mother.” Then she tells me to spend the night in prayer and reflection. I’ve never prayed that I can recall and reflected little. Why bother?
After a light dinner, the younger girl grabs my hand and pulls me to where ever we’re going. Strange girl. Sometimes she speaks succinctly and other times makes no sense at all. I wonder if Dan is trapped inside? She pulled me up two flights of stairs to the attic space and to a small room on the outside. Very spartan! Just two small beds, a very tiny fireplace and a petite table with a candle between the two beds. The younger girl lights the candle and says “Read me Father’s letters again.” and pulls open the one drawer. She hands me a stack of letters, lovingly handled. I open them, seeing the Italian script and understand perfectly. I prop on my bed, pillow behind me and the younger girl slips next to me, excitedly looking at the letters. I begin to read.
Incredible! We are Galileo’s daughters, Virginia and Livia. If I read too quickly, Livia makes me slow. By the time I finish all the letters to Dan/Livia, I understand our situation perfectly. The mother of these two sisters died and with no proper way to care for them, their Father had sent them to the convent, making Virginia and the order responsible for Livia’s care and attention.
April 5th, 2003, 10:26 PM
Our time went well there. Nearly three weeks with Livia. Twice a day on my knees and hands scrubbing tile flooring like the others. Callouses on my knees! No one is dismissed from any chore unless old or infirmed. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, cleaning the animals stalls and providing fresh hay and water, leading them to pasture and home again. Slowly, gentle hour by hour we live, with no sight of the mist. I am called repeated to prayers, I reflect instead. I think I have something figured out about the mist if only I could tell Dan. Three weeks without being able to communicate with him and I feel more alone than any time in my life!
With all this reflection time, some things become clear to me. In this last mist, I went neither right or left. I simply sat holding him. Yet the mist moved us back to 1622. So I guess turning one way or the other, and pacing off steps means nothing. Perhaps coincedence. And I also become aware that there is a very subtle difference in the appearance of The Mist than from any other fog, or mist or low hanging clouds. It has a slight luminescence to it. God I miss Dan and wish I could discuss these things with him...or her.
Morning prayers arrive and as I am on my knees “reflecting” a sudden twisting pain hits my lower abdomen and I moan loudly and bend over. I can feel every single nun staring at me. Swiftly, one of them come to my aide and go with me to my room, grabbing a basket of clean rags as we go by the supply closet. Why? Yep, bound to happen! My first time experiencing the onset of menses! How do women do this? Thanks Mist for leaving us here for three weeks! I curl up on my bed in a fetal position. How do women do this?
Livia rushes in and crawls into bed with me, holding me tightly. Then for the first time in my life, I seriously prayed! No, not for the end of menses but something far more important to me.
April 6th, 2003, 08:41 AM
Reasoning is the hardest thing to do there is. It's easy to get up and see the world. To notice the morning birds flit from branch to branch, to clean their wings, to eject waste at random intervals. To watch the same bird for twenty minutes because it is so quick and unpredictable. You have to concentrate just to stay with it.
Trying to get back to what I was thinking after I break away from watching the bird is the tough part.
Virginia is organized. She gets things done. Makes sure I'm dressed which is never easy because a stray piece of lint will grab my attention and I'll forget I was supposed to be getting dressed and want to tell Virginia about my discovery.
She's the only one who pays attention. The others all nod and smile but they don't stop and listen.
I like prayer time. Everybody is just like me. No one talks. They all just kneel there. I bet they are watching the smoke curl off that end candle just like I do. It swirls in the most clever ways. I can never predict where it is going to go next.
Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes, I'll start to say something simple like "good morning, Virginia, I love you." and I'll get "good morning" out and then some fool fly will pass between us and I have to watch to see where it goes and when it flies out of view, then I finish "Virginia, I love you" My sister is the only one who waits. I love her terribly.
I want to ask her about Gabe, if she knows where he is? I want to ask her if we know Danny? I want to ask her these things but I have no idea why.
But, look at my hand. Do you see these creases? This one starts all the way at the bottom and goes all the way to the base of my middle finger. Here's one at the side that cuts across my hand then curves up to the space between index and middle finger. Here's one that starts in the space between index finger and thumb and just drifts across my hand, descending just a little before it gets to the opposite side.
Do you suppose Gabe has these creases?
Maybe Viriginia will read to me tongiht. Our father writes beautiful letters. They don't say anything but Viriginia acts like they do and she smiles when she reads them so I know she likes them. And her voice is beautiful to listen to. It helps me put my curiosity away long enough to fall to sleep.
April 6th, 2003, 09:57 AM
Four months in a convent, how did it happen? I actually got to meet Galileo when he came to visit us in August.
But summer was actually enjoyable, and I know I will miss it but autumn is almost as good. As Gabe, I never had these opportunities of dealing with cows or sheep or goats or chickens. But they each have a personality unique to themselves and give us far more than we give them! I never thought about spending time in a vegetable garden, nurturing the plants. But I actually look forward into getting out of the buildings and feeling the warm dirt on my hands. Been in plenty of muck but never noticed dirt before. The way it smells or feels when its rich with compost and fertile, or how its fragrance changes after a summer shower. So damned beautiful!
I’ve even had to work in the orchard. Never had an orange straight from the tree before, still warmed by the sun and sweet - so sweet that your tongue wants every drop of juice available. And, cucumbers straight from the vine. I usually manage to eat one of two before I get the basket to the kitchen. I’ve been caught so many times, and each time I was sent for penance. Imagine that, penance for eating a cucumber. But here, it is all about sacrifice for each other.
Livia is doing well here. She seems happy most of the time, frustrated at others. I am more convinced than ever that Dan is trapped inside. Livia, you must understand, is mentally ill. She can’t always manage to get her point across. It must be driving the real Dan nuts! For someone as elequant as he is, to be unable to communicate....well, there isn’t anything I can do until the mist decides it is time. Time for what I don’t know.
Today, we all worked on the hillside, gathering grapes. The convent makes its own wine from the large white grapes, and barters a little in the neighboring villages for some other supplies it needs. I can’t help myself, I have to keep popping a grape in my mouth. But Mother Abbess has seen me twice and shook her head at me. I know I will have even more penance when she can spare me from grape harvesting. I keep looking up the hillside at Livia, making sure she is there. She is dancing to some unknown music, chancing butterflies, and picking dandelions. God, please I want the real Dan or Dannie back. Please?
April 6th, 2003, 11:34 AM
It was so strange! I woke up in the night in Viriginia's arms. It felt so right! Like god was answering our prayers, well Viriginia's prayers, I never seem to make it through a whole prayer. But, it was strange. She was holding me tight and all of a sudden I was thinking of clouds, wanting to find clouds, wanting to be in clouds.
Then, somebody walked down the corridor with a candle; what were they doing up in the middle of night? I don't know but I got to thinking about it and I lost my train of thought.
Today, I have this unsatisfied urge, like I need to urinate but I already did and besides this urge is in my head, not down below. I need to do something.
The sun comes down in streams, did you know that? Perfectly straight streams. Virigina told me once that there's no such thing as a straight line in nature which was pretty silly for her to say because the convent table has four perfectly straight lines. She was probably teasing me. people do that, you know. But, with the cloud cover today, you can see the sun streaming down and those are the straightest lines I've ever seen. Pretty, too!
Virginia is looking for me. Think I'll just stand here and let her find me.
Mist, like morning fog, coming down the hill. Where is Virginia?
She called me; why doesn't she find me?
That mist looks familiar which is pretty silly, isn't it? All mists look the same so all mists look familiar.
Here comes Viriginia. She's running awfully hard. I wonder what's gone wrong?
She arrives and takes my hand just as the mist begins to swirl around us.
April 6th, 2003, 01:05 PM
“PUSH!” said the older woman in Yiddish. “PUSH, it’s almost here.” she said again. All I could think about was the ripping pain. Forcing my squinted eyes open, I see the most surreal sight yet. The women crowded around me are walking skeletons, with horribly stark faces, and the stench is worst than anything I have ever smelled. Bodies rotting from the inside out, with the Star of David boldly sewn over their hearts! Another pain hits me and the woman says again “PUSH” and I do. I feel something pass from me and the relief is exhausting.
One of the women get right in my face and growls “You should let that Nazi seed die, bitch!” I snap and reach up and grab her throat, pulling her foul face even closer. “If you ever come near my baby or me again, I will kill you.” In harsh places, harsh things have to be dealt with harshly! The foul woman is pushed back by the other women and I desperately search their faces looking for Dannie. I don’t see her. So either she’s in another barracks, or Dan is in a men’s barracks.
I collapse back onto the hard wooden bunk and wrap my coat around me tightly against the unbearable cold. I can see through the harsh night light fading in from search lights, that they are cleaning the baby up and swaddling it. Not an experience I ever expected to have! As soon as they hand me the baby, I immediately unwrap it. Good, five fingers each hand, five toes each foot, and between the legs - it’s a boy, the equipment is there. He looks beautiful and healthy. A miracle in such hell. Overwhelmingly, I feel the love and bond between this mother and her child, knowing that she will do whatever it takes to secure the boy's survival.
I pull him tightly to me and his tiny mouth roots for a breast to suckle. The old woman who delivered him pushes a bent tin cup into my hand and says “Drink half the wine but we must save the rest for the Rabbi to offer during his Bris ceremony.” I gulp the wine, not even asking how they achieved a cup of wine in this place.
April 6th, 2003, 01:26 PM
The mist is so unfair. One minute I am a young lady, strong and healthy and the next minute my head is in a vice that slides slowly from crown to neck to shoulders to hips till my feet are clear. Think someone was trying to strangle me there.
Whole bunch of gunk in my eyes but some kind soul....WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SLAPPING MY BUTT STUFF?....got me coughing good. Didn't realize I'd been holding my breath. Wonder why?
I can see.
I don't like what I can see.
There are images, lots of images but no detail. I'm cold as hell, shivering, and I feel they got the thinnest of cloths to wrap around me. I seem to be healthy enough. For some reason I can't see my body at all. Can feel. Can move my arms and legs.
Ah, ****, mist, what have you done this time?
Someone is holding me in two hands.....holding me?....two hands?...
They're moving me now. Laying me on something warm and soft but firm. It's moving. Up and down, rythymically. Feels great. Reminds me of that night with Gabe.......
Something big and round here. Somthing nice and firm sticking up. Somebody moves my head.
Hey guys, if this is what I think it is, don't need any help. Thanks, anyway!
Yep, it is. First time I can remember one of these filling my mouth. I mean, yeah, I can remember...well, I don't remember one filling my mouth.
Oh, ****, it's sprung a leak.....hmmm...tastes pretty good...think I'll just do this for a while. Let Gabe do the thinking.
Yeah, this works.
April 6th, 2003, 02:04 PM
This is the strangest experience yet. But all the women, except for the foul one, help to hold and entertain, keeping him quiet. Can't let guards hear him cry, they would............too horrible to contemplate. And still the gray snowflakes from the ovens continue to rain down along with the natural white ones.
Roll call is the hardest. But so far we've managed. I fashioned a sling and I carry him under my breasts, close to my warmer skin. Then put on all the bulky clothes the women are sharing with me. I stay with my arms wrapped around me, hunched over. One day, the guards shove us close to the wire fence, close to the men. I whisper "Has anyone seen Dan?" These are Jews so I correct myself. "Has anyone seen Daniel?" No answers.
Eight days and still I can't locate him or her. I am beginning to panic. The only thing keeping me sane is the tiny warm body relying on me.
Eighth day, time for the Bris ceremony. Somehow in the night, several men and the Rabbi are able to sneak in and one of them kisses me, holding me, telling me how beautiful "our" son is. I look into his eyes but it is not Dan. And I don't tell him that the child was the product of Nazi rape.
I am panicking now. Where is Dan? But my attention is drawn to the Rabbi and the Bris ceremony while the stranger holds me proudly.
April 6th, 2003, 02:48 PM
Okay, so I'm not the brightest light in chandelier. It didn't take more than a day..okay, two days to figure out that this time I'm a baby and this time Gabe is really in the soup. That's Gabe's face; I will never forget Gabe's face. But, there isn't a hell of a lot I'm going to be able to do from here other than what I'm doing.
What I'm doing? Well, I think of it as an expeirment in biology. I take one of Gabe's nipples and suck for as for as long as she can stand it. Then, we count how long it takes to get through me and come out the other side. And you know what? So far my **** don't stink. Don't you wish you could say that?
Yeah, babyness is great. Yeah, right!
But then again let me tell you what makes it great. I get hungry, there's a nipple thrust in my mouth. I get wet or a little sticky, there's gentle hands cleaning me off. I spend my days lying next to warmth and all I hear is coos and chuckles and warm hands and warm clothes and I know Gabe is going through some kind of hell 'cause I can feel her cry, and hear her call for Danny and with all the real world stuff she has to deal with, there isn't a thing I do that she isn't there to watch over me.
But I can't even control myself long enough to tap out my name in Morse code, if I knew Morse code. But that would be a trip, wouldn't it? Dit dot dit dot on her breast. Cool! But I can't control my hands and I don't know Morse.
Okay, she's about to get even. Hell, she doesn't even know she has something to get even with but she's doing it anyway.
That guy has a knife and my bottom is bare. The first time this happened to me, I was probably right about the age I am now but then, mercifully, I didn't KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON AND THIS TIME I DO!
Bury head between breasts, try to turn body around, remove temptation.
Body doesn't cooperate. Stupid body! Stupid, stupid body.
Gabe turns me around, presents me to the Rabbi. Gabe, honey, sweetie, lover, you're going to pay for this. Believe it, babe. I'm going to get even.
Rabbi, I sure hope you sharpened that blade. It's bad enough it's going to happen...anybody see the msit around?.....it's bad enough you're going to do this, but if you're using a blunt instrument, I am personally going to come back and kill you with my bare hands.......and the horrifying non-funniness of that remark diverts me for a second, but only for a second, because now I feel it and all I can say is WAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!