(Last week: Brazil struggles with his past demons—Chartan asks him to be his best man.)
Brazil kept his arm straight out in front of him, his fingers squeezing the door knob that wasn’t there. “Yes,” he responded to Chartan .
Chartan hugged him.
After the hug ended the two men entered the small motel room. Chartan sat on the bed while Brazil took the only chair—their knees almost touched.
“So I’ve gone from breakfast at noon to a marriage proposal at five—that’s the speed of love, I guess,” said Chartan.
“In combat there’s the quick and the dead,” said Brazil. I don’t know much about love. I’m glad you do.”
Chartan smiled. “ I’ve lost all those voices that kept my cautious. Not going to slow down at this point. “
“When is the date?”
“Nothing set. It will happen. Soon.”
Chartan walked up the flight of wood steps that led to the second floor of Gina’s apartment, each step sending creaks echoing through the damp evening air.
If nothing else, this a noisy ascent into the emotional unknown. I want to marry Gina. I want to be a friend to Skyler. I have no idea where I should be tomorrow. And it’s crazy that I have only been to Gina’s place once before. Do I really know her? Does it matter?
He knocked twice, careful not to be too loud. The door opened slowly.
“Chartan, no doubt,” said the man with shoulder length, dark hair.
Chartan knew this must be Gina’s nameless guru.
“Yes, and you are Gina’s friend, correct?”
“Friend is a good word for me. I hope to be your friend as well.”
Chartan sensed the man was comfortable with who he was and what he was saying.
“Come in,” said the man.
Chartan entered the small room highlighted by a plush reddish Persian rug with four large white cushions on it.
“Is Gina here?”
“In spirit, yes. Physically, she is walking back from the grocery store.”
Chartan could no longer hold back the question. “What is your name?”
“Is it important to you?”
“It’s important to my frame of reference.”
“I have been nameless for seven years. In a prior life I was Bellish.”
“How is that spelled?”
“Chartan, you concern yourself with that which does not matter. Better to understand why I am nameless.”
“You’re right. I lost my focus and, to be precise, that is why I am here.”
“To tell Gina that you do not want to marry her at this point in time?”
“Is that what you think?”
“It’s what I know,” said the nameless man with a smile.
Gina stopped at the bottom of the wooden outdoor steps that led to her second floor apartment. On the landing by her front door were Chartan and her mystic—that’s what she called him in her thoughts.
“It’s always better to descend than climb,” said the mystic.
The stairs moaned loudly under the weight of the two men. Gina stepped back to give them room .
Chartan had never seen the mystic and the Gina together. Would they embrace, or employ some kind of signal to demonstrate their closeness. Instead, when they were on the last step, the mystic stepped to the side away from Gina, putting Chartan closer to her.
“Hi, how are you?” Chartan sensed his question did not fit the moment, that a platitude would have been more fitting, but his mind was strangely void of directive thoughts. He did, however, give her a long smile without any concern for what she might do. This is a start– be myself.
Gina returned the smile equally, but then she turned her head away from Chartan who followed her gaze. The mystic was 20 feet away at the edge of the parking lot—he’d become a shadow in the dim light.
Chartan silently applauded the man’s genius. Without saying a word, he had commanded their attention. Somehow, he was saying to them that he had a higher, purer purpose than whatever they might say to each other, at least that is what Chartan was thinking.
Maybe there is too much thinking on my part. I need to let it be.
The next spoken words came from Gina and had she not said them, Chartan believed his life might have turned out differently.
“I love you, not him—he has sadly become full of mystic bullshit. I’d rather have someone ask how I am than to discover the meaning of life at the edge of a parking lot.”
(Continued next Sunday)