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

Mama handed me a book with my name etched on the front cover.  The cover was willow bark, not unlike the hat she had placed back on her head. “It’s all here, your life until now.” 

I took the book heavy in my hands from the wood cover, no doubt.

I opened it randomly to the middle, and read how I’d tripped over the log that Ethan had jumped over.  A couple of pages later, I read about Lucy kissing Ethan in front of me and how I’d gone up, pulled him out of her arms, and kissed him too. The remembering was painful. I scanned down the page to where she’d led us to the bed and he’d kicked me over the edge. I looked at the page more closely. It even had my last thought from that day:  “Why am I still here?”  

I flipped all the way to the back of the book. Empty.  I went through the pages until I found the last written thing.  He thought the book was heavy from the wood cover and started reading.

I set it down and knelt before it. The writing was scratching itself across the page. He placed the book on the ground, knelt and turned to the last written page.

“Mama… what?”  The book scratched out what I’d said.

Even as she knelt beside me, a hand on my shoulder, I knew what was going to happen. It was etched in front of my eyes. The book wrote, she closed the cover as she closed the cover.

“This book is for remembering where you came from, son. They have driven people crazy, because they want to know where they are going. But it only writes this minute-by-minute stuff.  So don’t look forward, only look back.  Looking back is what helps us discover how to be where we are now.  You have much growing and learning to do.”

Tears rushed down my face though I tried to hold them back. “I’m not sure I can handle all this.  I’m full of questions now. Why did Jeb feel so perfect and connected to me? Why did Sunder wait until now to get me? Why did mama run away the first time and die the second?  What happened to Pops?  Where is my sister? What is this place called? And why am I so f’ing special?”  

Mama patted my shoulder and the tears stopped. She laid her cloak upon my shoulders, a blanket of peace under it, she wore a grey shift and a medallion of wire wrapping red and blue gems.  It looked like something I’d made.  

She smiled, holding it up. “This is not something you made, though I’m so happy your Mama taught you this skill. This has been handed down from my Mama, and her Mama before her.”        

Then her voice wavered.  “Soon it will be yours.”


Mama pulled me onto the sofa, and we cuddled in the warmth and softness of the furniture.  “I’ll tell you the story child. It’s a long one, and shared in homes all over the world, usually at the birth of a new child.  Since you are here, you are, in essence, birthed to us this day.”  

She took a deep breath.  “In Ireland, ages and ages ago, there was a woman who watched over all. She cared for all. If anything needed to be decided, the townspeople would go to her.  She was called the Mother of the Glenn, and life was peaceful in her presence.  

Her husband was the Father of the Meadow, and her children called each other Sister and Brother, though they had names that only the family knew.  This family and others prospered, until war came, and others wanted her powers, her nature, her very essence.” She reached for a small leather-bound book. It had been etched with the name Orla Ní Dhubhghaill on top. Below that it had the name “Mama Glenn” sewn in. 

“Over time, we found each other. We created our own families, our own lives.  Our names changed. Our lives did, too, and we ended up in a place in this world where it was safe to reside.  Mother of the Glenn became Mama Glenn; it was easier to say. I am the last, but I am not the only one.  I am the one in this neck of the woods, but I am not long for this world, and Fathers, who writes the histories and tells the tales, wrote that you would be important, so we bade Sister goodbye.” She placed the small leather book on my knee.


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