You can read the backstory on The Book of the Wounded Healers in The Book of The Wounded Healers/(a study in perception)/Frame and Chapter 1 – The First Communication, and it may help understanding the story’s universe a bit.
Read previous chapters:
- Frame and Chapter 1 – The First Communication
- Chapter 2 – First Meeting
- Chapter 3 – How Do We Choose? How Are We Chosen?
- Chapter 4 – Hello?
- Chapter 5 – The Russians Have Landed
- Chapter 6 – Places You’ve Never Been
(a study in perception)
Chapter 7 – Locals Versus Tourists
A year before I dated her, I literally picked Robin Cashen up in a curl. I wasn’t particularly strong. She was particularly tiny.
I told the girl I was dating that I’d be dating Robin in less than a year’s time. Sarah, the girl I was dating, and I weren’t having problems. I just knew I’d date Robin in a year’s time.
Robin was tiny with a moon-pie face and a nice but slightly stocky body, long blond hair and a burden of great confusion which I didn’t understand at first.
After a dinner with her parents, I understood. Her father was a strong man who had no confidence in anything but his hands. As a result, during the day he worked at a job he hated and at night he drank and flexed Budweiser-enhanced muscles. Her mother, a sweet lady who looked like Robin with a mustache, did much the same.
Funny how we could find each other, huh?
Late one Christmas Eve, dressed in a choir robe because I was singing at the eight o’clock and again at the midnight service, I came by Robin’s house to wish her family Merry Christmas.
It had been a long day and I was tired. Too tired to remember all the lessons I’d learned in my own family’s house. We all sat in the living room, Mr. and Mrs. Cashen on a couch by the wall, me in a recliner fully reclined and with my shoes off, and Robin on the floor by my side. Mr. Cashen looked at the too expensive gifts he placed under the too-expensive tree, emptied his bottle then got another, emptied his bottle then got another. When he sat, a declawed Siamese cat kept loosing a battle with his hand. Mrs. Cashen sipped a wine which she bought by the drum for $1.99, giggled and leaned over towards me, her bathrobe slightly ajar.
Robin got nervous and I was too tired to understand why. “I think you should go, Ben, don’t you? Isn’t it time to get back to church?” She practically shouted the word “church” at her mother although she was talking to me.
“Yeah, I suppose. Everybody’s tired here and I probably should go.”
Mr. Cashen handed me a beer. “No, don’t go, Ben. Party’s starting.”
I laughed. “Come on. Mrs. Cashen’s drunk and you’re on your way. I’m too tired and can’t even find my shoes. No thanks. I’ve got to take off.”
I felt more than saw Robin tense and felt more than saw Mrs. Cashen suddenly sober as wine-induced color quickly left her face.
I put on my shoes and my jacket over my robe. Mr. Cashen put on his jacket, laughed, opened the door, and followed me outside.
Like a fool, I held the door for him so he could follow me outside.
He grabbed my arm and spun me around. His eyes couldn’t even focus on me when he spoke but his grip made me wince. “Listen, Ben, I like you a lot, but don’t ever say those things about me and my family again. Do you hear me, Ben? Do you hear what I’m saying to you?”
Yes, I heard. But I didn’t understand. I hadn’t meant to insult. In my exhaustion, in the late late night of that long ago Christmas Eve, I had committed the Spirit Blaspheming sin of speaking the truth. Pure truth, without morality or ethical content.
And Robin’s father threatened to beat me up because I spoke the truth, once, in her house.
When we take away all that is not, all we are left with is what that is.
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