Railroad tracks running off into water a willow tree beside it.

 

The deep chuckle was near my ear, “yes… but you couldn’t get here otherwise.” His lips grazed the edge of my ear, and I could feel my skin and body react in a way I hadn’t had in a long time.

Rolling over so I could stare into those eyes, I saw the grin on his face and felt his hand land in my crotch.  “Just like your cousin Jeb, you’ll fit fine with him.”

“What if I don’t want to fit in fine, where’d you bring me?”

“I brought you home Eoghan.”  I’d never heard anyone say my name that way, it rolled off his tongue like fabric being pulled off the cylinder.

“Have you lost your mind? You took me from my home, where are we?”  I tried to sit up, but his other feather hand held my chest down.  “I demand to know where you brought me!”

Her laughter was like a million chimes blowing in a windstorm.  I lay back down, feeling tears dripping down my cheeks.  Pleasure in my groin as I felt his hand cupping me, fear in my chest
ecause I didn’t know where I was and now soothed by the wind chimes of a woman’s laughter.

“Sunder, let the poor boy go.  Next time ask, he might let you in without the forcing. Bring the young man to Mama’s lap.”

Those feather hands, roamed over my skin, he was straddling my body, pulling me up off the earth.  Pointed me toward the woman, my eyes could barely make out her body.  Her face was old and wrinkled and windblown, she smiled without moving her lips, as though the smile was always there.  From where I stood she could be as old as the world itself.  She sat under the roots of some old tree or something, but then she removed the willow stemmed hat that had been covering her tremendous white locks of hair.  They rolled down her shoulders and rested at her feet.

“Come to Mama…” She smiled and I saw a mouthful of teeth.

I smiled and before I knew it, I was sitting on her lap.  I’m not a child, I’m 25 and I’m sitting here like a ten year old getting ready for my picture on Santa’s lap.  Her soft, wrinkled fingers slid over my hair, “Tell Mama Glenn your name.”

“I’m Owen Love, ma’am.”

She laughed… “Well, sister always had a sense of humor.  Was Love your pa’s name too?”

I started to nod my head and then shook, “He was Jack Balsam, but he liked to just be called Fathers.”

Mama was nodding her head, “they tried, oh they did try.”  She turned to me, “did you have a sister, son?”

“I did… sister left when she graduated high, no when she was twelve.  I always asked mama where she’d gone, but she said she moved on.  I never thought of it really.  I just went about school and life as normal.  Well, if you call keeping the house after my parents died and moving my lovers in normal.”

Mama smiled, placing her hand on my knee. “It is normal, your mind tried to make your family.  You just didn’t have all the information to be successful.  Did your lovers leave?”  She seemed honestly interested in knowing.

“Yes, they went off with each other, they got married and she’s expecting her first child.  I was plotting out a way to kill them today…” my hand flew to cover my mouth.  “I didn’t mean to say that out loud.”

“It is fine child, we all have hate in our hearts, especially when we feel abandoned.  In fact, I’m surprised you hadn’t acted on it yet.  I’ve rescued far more crazed than you.”

My eyes glistened, I’d felt so at peace in this moment.

“Sunder get me the book, and get fathers, sister and Jeb too.  In fact, announce that he’s come home, I’m certain others will want to welcome him home.  But get the book first.”

The strength in her left arm was amazing as she held me on her thigh like she herself were the tree the hat had come from, but I could see the weakness in her world worn eyes.

“Would you like me to get down, I’m heavy, I know this.  I must be hurting you.”

“No, no need, I’m more firm than you’d ever imagine.”

She held her other hand out for the book that Sunder had brought, he left a kiss on my cheek.  “Welcome home, brother.”  And he was gone.  Out the door, I could hear his words echo outside.  “He’s home, Eoghan Mac Carthaigh… he’s come back, he’s here.  Come one, come all, witness the child.”

“Ma’am… what’s… my name is Owen Love… And why is everyone, who is everyone… I’m very confused.”

“It is a long story, Eoghan, you are more than the name you think.  You are even older than you think.  And the reason you despised the lovers, was that you were more inside than they’d ever deserve.  You my child, are named Eoghan Mac Carthaigh, your mother, sister to Sunder, named you a Anglicized, bastardized version of your true name.  You are Eoghan, son of Carthaigh, which means Love.  Oh, I do miss your mother.”  Her eyes glistened and they always seemed to threaten a stream of tears, but I only saw them water and quickly dry.

“I am more? How much more?”

“Hundreds son, we don’t age the same.  You are from the old lands.  I know it is a lot to take in.  Your mother and fathers for that matter, took you away, at the time sisters were being slaughtered and it had been foretold that you were a special child.  So, they took it upon themselves to leave.  They took your sister too, you had not even been born yet.  You’d only been growing in the belly, been a thought.”

“But, wait.. How can I be hundreds if I was born with them, twenty-five years ago?”

She chuckled that wind chime goodness once more.  “She birthed you in this house, then took you to the new world and to the home to where you reside.  It may be that you changed homes, changed lifestyle.”

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