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Vision Quest

Vision Quest

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Published by W. C. Griffin
The story of a native man who has found happiness, and tragedy.
The story of a native man who has found happiness, and tragedy.

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Published by: W. C. Griffin on Feb 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/19/2010

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/----- Vision Quest -----\ ---- By W. C. Griffin ---\- @April 26th, 2005 -/Take it from me, life sucks. Oh sure, there's good times. I mean look around you: couples everywhere having their first kiss, children rolling in the grass, the happy playful yelp of a puppy. Yes, there are good times, but what about the bad ones? Where do they come from? They come from the good times. What, don't you agree? Here, let me tell you my story, it was three years ago...The sun set quickly, seemingly eager for the festivities to begin. It was the night of my sixteenth birthday, the day I was to pick my bride. There wasloud music, and loads of food. The torches were all lit around the villages central fire. The air was filled with the voices of many happy people. As the last ray winked out over the horizon, fathers voice bellowed across the crowd. He satwith his headdress proudly resting upon his brow, his dark figure reflecting theglow of the central fire.Everyone stopped to watch as my father rose from his bamboo throne."Today is my son's day! Today, he celebrates his ascension to manhood. Today, he chooses his wife!" His voice echoed over the crowd, but was quickly drowned out by the hoots of excitement. My father held his hand out to me, and I came to stand beside the throne. Suddenly the hoots rose in volume. Father allowedthis to continue for a few moments before raising his hand. Slowly the noises of excitement dwindled to quiet, and my father continued."Before my son names his bride, I invite you all to partake of this magnificent feast! Drink and dance and sing!" With this last, my father threw his arms in the air, and the crowd dispersed to socialize.That night became a blur of fun and excitement. I remember very little of that night, but what little I do remember, I will tell. When people first started mingling, I attempted to find the girl who had caught my eye weeks earlier.I found instead a beauty named Ashanta. She had long flowing hair, large luminous eyes, a musical laugh. She was beautiful, true, not what I had thought of as the ideal woman but still she was beautiful. The rest of the night I spent lost in the bliss which emanated from her soul. There was nothing left in the world but her.As the moon began its descent from the heavens, my father called me forth and with great ceremony asked me to name my bride. There was no real doubt inmy mind, Ashanta was the one. As soon as I said it though, the Medicine Man glared at me and turned away. Suddenly I wasn't so sure. But it was done, the village people danced and cheered. I had named my bride, and together we would lead the tribe to happiness and prosperity.A year and one day later, we were married to the rising of the sun. Thejourney of the year had been a happy one, and there were no misgivings. But still, as the Medicine Man married them, there seemed a great sorrow behind his eyes. But the day went on, and all were happy. Everyone danced and laughed, the godsblessed is with beautiful weather, a bountiful harvest, and a baby within the coming year.My son was born on a beautiful spring day. It was the happiest day of mylove. At his naming ceremony I named him Bundapa, the Teller of Prophecies, bringer of Wisdom. This was when things turned around, when all the happy times tur
 
ned bad.I came home from the hunt on an early summer day. It had been a poor hunt, and most of the hunters returned empty handed. Ashanta greeted me at the cookfire, deeply immersed in her cooking. Bundapa wasn't with her, so I went into the hut to chech on him. He wasn't lying on the skins where I expected to find him. When asked, Ashanta simply pointed toward the river. I was confused, and I admit, a little scared, so I ran in the direction she had pointed. When I stopped,the river flowed swiftly by, gurgling at my feet. But the river was not what I saw. Caught in the grass at the river bank were the skins my son had been swaddled in. Quickly, I retrieved them, and beneath them I found the true horror. My son lay face down in the water, his body was limp. Cold. Tears flooded my eyes andI fell to my knees, my sons lifeless body cradled in my quivering arms. I don'tknow how long I knelt there, but I stayed until I no longer had tears left to cry.My sons arms hung loosely over my own as I staggered through the villagetoward my hut. The hut of the village chief. Sitting outside his own hut, the Medicine Man cast his bones, but I hardly noticed. When I finally reached my hutAshanta waited inside with bowls of soup waiting to be eaten. She looked numb. Itried to speak, but found I had no voice. I tried again, and a barely audible voice came forth."What did you do?"Ashanta did not respond, she just bowed her head. Anger flooded my veinsmomentarily relieving my grief, and I beat her. She had killed my son. She hadstolen my life. She had taken my soul. Everything that mattered to me, she had taken.When finally, my anger cleared, she lay at my feet sobbing. Her blood covered my fists, the walls, the floor. I hardly felt any remorse, but, for some strange reason, I still loved her. Tears came anew at the realization of what I'ddone. Leaving the hut, I sought out the Medicine Man. Ashanta's cuts and bruises would need to be tended to. Her soul would need to be cleansed of the evil which had caused this.It turned out the Medicine Man was already heading for my hut. Without asking any questions, he told me to wait at his hut while he tended to Ashanta.It was too late for Bundapa, he said. So I waited. At my feet were the bones theMedicine Man had cast earlier. There, a small mouse skull was penetrated by another small bone. The other bones were scattered about all in pairs, and all crossed. I didn't know it then, but this was a really bad omen, and I wish I had known.The Medicine Man cared for Ashanta for what might have been several weeks, but I hardly noticed the time pass by. I was numb, and I hurt. I had no ideawhat life would hold for me now. When finally, the Medicine Man reported that Ashanta was well enough to have visitors, my spirit lifted. I would finally be able to see the woman that I loved. Certainly I was unhappy, and a part of me didn't want to see her again, but that was not the way of my people.She lay on our bed waiting for our arrival. Both her arm, and her leg were wrapped in skins and braced by branches. She was bruised all oved, and when she gave us a weak smile I could see that she was missing some teeth. My gut wrenched at the damage I had done, and I vomited. I forced myself to look at her again, but vomited some more. I couldn't look at her. I had to leave, so I excusedmyself. When the Medicine Man returned, he explained that much damage had been done, and the damage to her soul was deep, but in 3 days time, she would look better.

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