The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 36

Professor Russell Whitman will never touch the potholed dirt road again. He knows he is banished. He will never share a moonset with Cav again. He knows the Gara now consider him dead.

Whitman leans his smoky lips into my cheek and tells me his belongings are mine. His hot breath fills my ear. He kisses my lobe, then the side of my chin. The air feels weighty.

“What about your recordings?” I ask.

“Those are your words.”

I walk back down our dirt road carrying the heavy news. My brother will fully recover and a tribesman has died. The jungle eats the air, swallows it whole, not saving any for my open, thirsty pores.

Next to the fire, I pick up the hand-held recording device, the notebook, and a Gara doll and continue walking to the water. I place the hand-held recording device on the belly of the doll and gently nudge it out to sea. The wind greets my skin, and I split the particles with the Journey Dance. I must appease the spirits.

Cav does not join me, but he does not stop me either. I do not think he is quite ready to send his kin’s spirit away. However, he knows it must be done. It is too dangerous to allow him to return.

After my offering, I settle into Whitman’s remaining hammock. Fanning the pages of his notebook, my welcoming nostrils breathe his scent