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2013-04-05 23:34:11 GMT 2013-05-15 23:00:00 (GMT -05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) Yes (click here to learn more about ) Closed 0 0 1 direct invitation(s) have been sent by the voice seeker resulting in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far. Voice123 SmartCast is seeking 10 auditions and/or proposals for this project (approx.) Invitations sent by SmartCast have resulted in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far.
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A Novel By James Edward Smurawa
Book Two: The Land of the Trees
The Child of the Atitecos
Time moves differently in the lower hemisphere. And all that matters is the present moment. And what eventually might happen is never considered. The man who came for her took her to the North. And he taught her the language that she came to speak in such lovely prose. And all the other details were left to one who wished to fill in the gaps with what was at once both real and imagined, a story that would work to his and perhaps the others' satisfaction. Daddy had moved away from the consulate. He had supported mama and the baby. The correspondences were rich and loving and close between he and her mother, before the door was knocked upon that night, banged upon when they did not answer, and she became a disappearance orphan. Daddy eventually discovered the absence by failed responses in correspondences, he arranged the unofficial adoption, he sent the money from the bases where he was standing guard, which in the parlance of the military meant he did everything, including managing local intelligence, and becoming acquainted with the operation of local CIA operatives, and perhaps, the bureau chief.
And long after she stopped the story, the story came to its end, and she went quiet, as did he.
He held her close on the veranda, and in their passionate kisses were a marrying of causes; hers perhaps a grasping into his heart for a sense of family that never was hers, and his, a vain reaching into her heart for a deeper knowing of the human animal that hid behind his ability to reason, a wish to see the side of our humanity that lie in the shadows, that hid the secret of why people like this woman's mother went missing. And once found there, to be able to touch whatever lie within her, that resulted in the desperate tearing of human fabric that left the lifeless ragdoll of a man alive in the hut, before they walked away. And who burned with it. In their embrace was perhaps an attempt to put out the images that were stored in a camera that they each shared, that held images of both grave sites, grave markers, and all that came with the interviewing of a man who was responsible for them. In their embrace, perhaps, was an attempt to look away, and forget the triumphant grin on a man's face and the adrenaline and exhortation that came with it.
You will find their story, Senor Periodista, no? You will tell our story, David, no?
And he held her with hands that had taken pictures of the woman, her face only partly covered, undeniably woman underneath, faded jeans and tank top and Cubs cap, who had injected the drug, had burned and cut and then had poured the water before the confessional had functioned as intended, before she looked his way, and vested upon him the mantle of a changed man. In their embrace was a desperate attempt to remove from his heart these images, and to reconcile those images with the real reason of just why she was there, yesterday, conducting the business of an interview; to reconcile those images with her stories of the last night, and the marks of the arm and on the heart and on her back; to reconcile those images with the woman he met at El Bistro, the woman he met as they left the rain forest, and the woman he found at Lago de Atitlan, at the villa, the image of beautiful, passionate and incredible lover that she was to him, the woman who opened her life more fully to him as they toured Santiago, as they walked the streets of her childhood, one spent as the disappearance orphan.
They kissed with each embrace, they embraced often, and in each, the desperate attempt to take something from the other was there. Here was love. A love that contained the elements of all things human. Here was not the loving embrace of man who simply loved woman because she loved him. Here was love with simple desperation, to take from the other that which could not be given, to ardently give back to the other what each had found there. He, a secret he would not have desired. She, an atrocity, and a glimpse perhaps of selfless, strong love. And family. But there was to be no taking away from the other of what each desired, no reconciliation of beast by the victim who it had come from. There would be no reconciliation of broken family by the beauty of family which this man held claim to. Neither could give the other what they desired, neither could be reconciled by the taking of what was needed, neither could shear away from their hearts what the Country had put on it. It would, as Andriana had warned him, stay with him, as it had stayed with her when she went to the North. And only time would know whether or not his heart would cover it; the images, and the knowing.
He thought of how they would part the next day; with or without embrace, perhaps a simple goodbye Andriana, perhaps a simple goodbye David. But at some point they would part, they would walk in separate directions, he to his gate, his eyes looking in one direction only as he was capable of doing; and she, driven forward by the heart and by the hand, and looking back as her memories required her. And neither of them forgetting where they were, and what images were seen, felt, and touched, in the Land of the Trees.
But they would say goodbye.
A funny word, goodbye. Sometimes final, and sometimes merely transitory. He and Sarah had said goodbye at O'Hare those eight days earlier, and neither of them really knew what it meant. And it turned out that it was a goodbye not unlike that which would be shared when he and this woman would part in the morrow, a final closing to a life shared over forty-eight or sixty or seventy-two hours, however long they would be kept together by the same strange elements that had brought them first together. For he and Sarah, what was said between the two of them at O'Hare, neither of them could have anticipated it to be a final closing to a life known for the eight years that they had seen together.
She would be there when he got home, and however different the time since their last goodbye had affected either of them, things would be the same for her, when he got back. He would see to it. But he knew that he, and perhaps they, never could be the same.
But it was home. And the mark of home was on him, somewhere, his finger perhaps, that tied home and Sarah to his heart. A mark that, he hoped, would not allow his eyes to look back.
She walked into the Villa, but he remained there on the veranda, looking at Panajachel. Panajachel. Such a strange path taken to get there, a strange set of paths taken since, and a familiar road back home.
He wondered how it had been for the others, who left home knowing what they were leaving behind but not fully aware of what they were leaving to. He wondered if maybe Marco Polo had felt the same way. Marco Polo, the nearly mythical traveler to the East, more legend than fact, but someone who had once existed, who took strange and wondrous journeys, who had to have seen both the beauty and the darkness of the human existence, and who then came home. He wondered how it was for someone like that. If it seemed like a dream when he got back home, the journey, and what he had seen, if only by the faulty camera of his own eyes; and what awaited him when he got home. It's never what one expects to find; the trip, the journey, is different in so many strange ways, and even Marco Polo must have thought that maybe it was all just some dream, where time stood still and life opened itself up to him, to reward he or travelers like him who possessed the courage to leave home with some special insight into the real workings of life, the real nature of humankind. And maybe there was something that he too found that made a person want to forget, as the serpent’s extract would, depending upon who was giving it, and for whom it was intended, whether it was given in compassion, or whether it was administered in the passion present in the prejudice that he had witnessed and chronicled, the passion that served the mysterious motives of the Country.
Strange. And wondrous. And tomorrow night, he would go home. But for tonight, the mystery, the wonders, the strange journey, like Marco Polo, he would stay close to it, to her, until they parted in the morning.
He walked inside, where he found her, waiting on him, and they dined, they finished the bottle of wine, and he took her to their bedroom once more. And he loved her once more, in ways familiar and in ways not so, before they fell asleep.
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