The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 34

daughter causes jerks and spasms, for she is already trying to dance herself. Tonight, Deti is dancing like the burnt-faced visitors: unorganized, chaotic, clumsily. Women are smiling at him and he is making strange movements with his nose. I am embarrassed.

I watch his quick movements, I watch his sweaty smile, and then I watch a woman hand him a tiny glass of brownish liquid. Deti gulps it down without hesitation and his nose continues to dance upon his face. He heads toward the shadowy sand, his hand fumbling in his pocket, and he takes out a red and white pack of cigarettes, pulling one out and placing the skinny white smoker in his mouth. Suddenly, Deti’s legs crumble beneath him.

My brother is flat on the sand and I cannot move. I am scared stuck.

The Waiting Spirit climbs off my back and takes my hand, pulling me to Deti. We each grab an arm and drag his limp body across the sand and into the canoe. The Waiting Spirit paddles us home as I cradle Deti’s head on my lap and sing tearful pleadings. Deti’s skin is turning the color of a morning sea. I beg the Spirits not to take him away. I offer them anything else, but please, do not take my brother. I will not know how to be this new kind of Gara without him.

Whitman and Cav are talking their typical fireside chat when I reach the beach. They both stand up, Whitman leaping up with urgency and Cav unfolding with deliberate patience. Recognition flashes across Whitman’s eyes. He lifts Deti up and heaves his floppy body over his shoulder. Cav begins the preparations for a Revival Dance and demands help from Whitman.

“No, Cav. He needs a hospital.”