Really all our souls belong to each other.  That’s the purpose of eye contact.  It’s only when you try to own them there are problems.  There’s reality and an idea.  The idea connects to reality, and reality connects to the idea.  It’s just that sometimes we speak of one in terms of the other depending on the point we’re trying to get across.  Everyone erudite.  Call it common sense—whatever.  We know the effects of a direct gaze and a smile.  We know the truth and speak it from time to time.  All of us arm-chair philosophers.  All of us sometimes put in the role of making a pep talk.  Being wise even though we still allow ourselves to act as fools.  We know both the reality and the idea.  At first just good imitators because that’s all we’re capable of, but then we learn of what we imitate, and that still doesn’t stop us.  Some of our mistakes made blindly.  Some with our full awareness, but our nature yearning to make the contradiction.  And that’s why we tell stories as a metaphor.  That’s why we create morals.  To help us remember that we will forget.  And so when I say this old Indian—Franklin Meeks his name—held his eyes downcast in his greetings to people I don’t have to tell you how he knew the immediate judgment this brought.  He knew how he looked.  He knew the reality and the idea.  The reality and idea of our souls.  And his reverence was also a rebellion.  A reverence for something we don’t know how to use, and a rebellion against how it is used.

And maybe it was the same.  The same crossroads where I waited.  Hearing David Threnody’s voice for the first time as a train passed by.  Maybe David Threnody came to that same crossroads looking for Franklin Meeks.  After he heard the story about an old man that was a healer, and not only that—he accepted pawned gifts as trade for his services.  That or whiskey.  David didn’t have money for a doctor, but maybe it was also something else, some other reason he went to this man.  Maybe it was how he heard the story.  After all, how you hear a story is as important as the story itself, and we don’t come to the story—the story comes to us.  How you hear it is where it leads you, and maybe David needed to be led there.  To that river bottom—the American Bottom—to a crossroads again—not in an afternoon leading to a sunset, but in a dawn that leads to a sunrise.  Maybe he had to see for himself.  That Indian’s downcast eyes.  To come to terms with his own reality and idea of his soul.   Bethany was down with a fever, and Franklin Meeks was known to make a fever break.  And he was burning.  David too was burning.  He was burning in that hallucination of what’s real and what’s not—worried—worried about his pregnant wife whose eyes had that look too sick for it, that showing of either reverence or rebellion.  They weren’t seeking perfection.   In her fever they cared little for the right or wrong ways to do a thing.  They just mirrored a supplication.  A supplication to be well…

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