Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 118

and four girls were regaling one another with favorite superheroes. So far, their story lines portrayed the earth as an environmental wasteland, a ruined shell hardly shelter to anything animal or human. After three days of stories set on an earth besieged by climate change, environmental evacuees, and barren of nature, I made a rule: No more characters or animals could die this first week. I asked if someone might imagine a living world, one that survives even our species. It was on this third day of group storytelling that Sarah jumped into the circle and told her story: “ she had offered it to a group of kids she had known but three days. It explained her self- imposed exile during lunch hours and while waiting for the bus. All I knew was that she’d brought this most important story of her life into the circle of storytellers and it could not be ignored as if she were a case to be closed. This story lived in her, would define and shape her young life. Because she had given it to us, we needed to witness and receive—and perhaps tell it back to her in the ancient tradition of tribal call and response. “Listen,” I told the group, “We’re going to talk story the “My imaginary friend is called This story lived in way they used to long ago Angel now because she’s in when people sat around at her, would define and heaven, but her real name was night in circles just like this Katie,” Sarah began. “She was shape her young life. one. That was a time when we my best friend from fourth to still listened to animals and tenth grade. She had freckles like me and brown hair and more boyfriends— trees and didn’t think ourselves so alone in this world. Now we’re going to carry out jungle sometimes five at a time—because Katie said, justice and find Katie’s killer. We’ll call him ‘I like to be confused!’ She was a real sister too to stand trial before our tribe. All right? Who and we used to say we’d be friends for life. .. .” wants to begin the story?” Sarah stopped, gave me a furtive glance and All the superheroes joined this quest. Nero the then gulped in a great breath of air like some- White Wolf asked to be a scout. Unicorn, with one drowning, about to go down. Her eyes fixed inward, her voice dropped to a monotone. her truth-saying horn, was declared judge. Another character joined the hunt: Fish, whose “Then one day last year in L.A, Katie and I translucent belly was a shining “soul mirror” were walking home from school and a red that could reveal one’s true nature. sports car came up behind us. Someone yelled, A fierce commander of this hunt was Rat, ‘Hey, Katie!’ She turned . . . and he blew her whose army of computerized comrades could head off. A bullet grazed my skull, too, and I read brain waves and call down lightning lasers blacked out. When I woke up, Katie was gone, as weapons. Rat began the questioning and dead forever.” Sarah stopped, stared down at performed the early detective work. We deter- her feet and murmured in that same terrible mined that the murderer was a man named monotone, “Cops never found her murderer, Carlos, a drug lord who used local gangs to case is closed.” deal cocaine. At a party Carlos had misinter- The kids shifted and took a deep breath, al- preted Katie’s videotaping her friends dancing though Sarah herself was barely breathing at as witnessing a big drug deal. For that, Rat all. I did not know what to do with her story; said, “This dude decides Katie’s to go down. So 118 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G ” WINTER 2019