The village looked very tiny to Celeste as they drove their Cat into the town. “Jack it’s a small community how many Eskimo’s live here do you think?” Jack thought about her question and answered, “I remember about two hundred or a little more.” She looked around the area and took note they were a very poor tribe. People came out of their homes to see who was entering their village as the big snow cat passed them by. Celeste could see they were curious about the new strangers. She kept the cat moving with snail pace through the town until she came to her address she had written down.
Jack was sweating at the brow when she looked at him. “Easy my man, this is the plan. You will not tell anyone who you are! You got that? Let me handle this because I will be damned if we traveled all this way for you and then shit happens!” Jack nodded in agreement. She looked at Jack one more time and could feel his nervous energy. “It will be okay my father, I promise.” Jack finally spoke out to her. “Nujalik I feel sad here, things have changed. I want to go back home!”
“Jack, we can’t go home. Let’s feel this scene out and then we can decide what to do. How does that sound.” Lightly she touched Jack’s face with her finger lovingly. Celeste knew his heart was breaking. “I will take care of you.” Jack believed her the minute she spoke her words, calming him down only a little bit.
As she stopped the cat and put it into an idle mode in front of a little shack, a middle age man stepped out of his home to see who had stopped at his doorway. Celeste left Wolf and Jack inside the cab when she stepped out and walked up to the man stretching her hand out in greeting.
The next thing Jack knew Celeste walked into the home while the young man closed the door. “Is that my son?” Jack thought out loud to wolf. Wolf licked his face, Jack ruffled his fur and began to pet the beast for reinsurance. Time seem to pass by slowly for Jack without seeing Nujalik. And when the door opened up again, the same young man stood at the doorstep and stared at Jack. They both locked eyes, neither one moved until Celeste came out to get Jack.
The villager’s began to gather around the big machine. Each was speaking their foreign language to each other regarding the Kodiak Bear and strangers that entered into their town. They stepped back when Celeste approached the snow cat and opened the door for Jack to come out. “Stay…Wolf.” She demanded to her companion. Jack was helped out of the cab by Celeste who held a loving hand out to her friend. He was so nervous that his heart began to skip beats.
The minute Jack almost passed by his son, he knew that Celeste didn’t spill the beans about who he was. The young man smiled at him then stretched his hand out in greeting. Jack gave the youngster a puzzled look and took hold of his hand. Both felt the charge that coursed through their blood when their hands met. The young man was dumbfounded and gave Jack a deeper look as he strengthen his hold on Jack’s hand. Celeste wanted to cry, but held on to her emotions. She too felt the connection between the two men when they touched hands.
Jack tried to recover and didn’t look into the young man’s face. The young lad released his hold on Jack and let him enter his homestead. Celeste quickly asked the young man to get the help from his tribe to take down the bear and begin the process of cleaning it up. Jack looked around at his people. They were smiling from ear to ear to know that Christmas time had come to their town. “Jack, come my love. Let them take care of this business while we take care of our task.” Celeste offered her hand to Jack knocking him out of his thoughts. “Aklaq Jr. can you please make sure we get those bear claws and hide.” Jack snapped his head to the young man’s direction, confirming his thoughts. “Yes, it will be a pleasure.” He said with a smile on his face.
Celeste was holding onto the dazed Jack’s hand when she pulled him into the cozy shack. Jack had to adjust his eye vision when he limped into the home. Sitting close to the warm fire an old woman of her clan sat in her chair staring into the flames holding a little new born baby in her arms. To him she still looked beautiful, Jack took a deep intake of breath. The old woman heard his surprise reaction and turned her lovely face to Jack.
Another lady came into the picture from the kitchen and introduce herself as Jr.’s wife. Jack’s eyes never left the older woman’s face when the young lady greeted them. Celeste could feel the electricity in the air between the two. The older woman got up from her warm chair and handed the sleeping little bundle to her daughter-in-law.
In her foreign language she spoke softly to Jack. Celeste didn’t understand what she was saying, but she recognized the shock look on Jack’s face. The lady quickly added in English. “I must be in a dream, because you stranger look like someone I knew a very long time ago?”
She walked up to Jack and pulled his hood off to get a better look at the man. Slowly she etched her fingers against his face. Touching his side of his scarred face he winced back, not in pain but to have his first love touch him after so many years. Tears began to roll down Celeste’s face because of the magical moment she was witnessing. It was completely beautiful. Now she knew how Jack felt, because she felt the same when she had seen Gary.
“My love you have returned back to me as I knew you would!” she lightly whispered to Jack. The pair stood together sharing deep emotions yet not acting upon their thoughts. The daughter-in-law watched the two. She was more concerned when her mother was speaking to the stranger as if she knew him. “Mother please, you are causing a scene here. Your memory is not what it use to be, and you are making our guest uncomfortable.”
“Don’t tell me my head is crazy girl, I know who I am looking at!” The aged woman barked out to her daughter. “Is it you…Aklaq?” The daughter in law raised her eyebrows in shock. Celeste felt the need to protect the couple from the younger woman’s sharp tongue. She gently walked up to her and cooed at the little girl in her bundle of furry blankets. “I have brought a few things to share with everyone and would love your help. Can we go outside and let these two talk alone?” Celeste asked smoothly. The woman scowled at Celeste. ” I am not taking no for answer young one! I am telling you I want your help, now!” Celeste stood firm as the two ladies looked at each other both not budging until Celeste whispered, “Please she will be safe with my friend.”
She nodded in agreement and asked her to give her a moment to get dress. She handed the babe to Celeste to hold. Celeste had only eyes for the bundle of joy she held. Precious memories flooded her soul of how beautiful it felt as a mother to produce something so mystical. Her tears fell freely as she remembered holding her two beautiful daughters in her arms for the very first time.
Jack finally took his eyes off his lady and looked at Celeste. “I have to Cowgirl…I must be honest!” She smiled at Jack and gave him a wink, confirming it was okay to tell her the truth. “Jack wait a second before you bust your bubble. I am taking the daughter outside to help me unload the cab and check on the bear.” The old woman looked at Celeste truly for the first time. “Thank you, Nujalik for bringing my man home to me. I have been waiting for a very long time for your arrival.” Celeste was devastated by the woman’s knowledge of her name that was given to her by Jack himself. Quick witted Celeste immediately spoke out gently. “I don’t recall I gave you my name mam, so how would you know who I am?” The old woman pointed at her head and said, “I have visions girl of the earth. I have seen you many times. You are a powerful force honored by light of life. I have been waiting for you child to return my man home to me. I also know, you are on your last leg of ordain tasks by Mother Earth.”
Celeste looked at Jack stunned with her mouth open wide in a O position. The three were unable to speak another word when the daughter came back out of a bedroom wearing her heavy furry clothing, and took the baby away from Celeste’s arms and began to place the little one into a papoose, as Celeste knew it to be called in Cherokee. With skill she swung the holder with babe inside unto her back and gave Celeste an unhappy look.
Celeste was not really paying attention to the girl until Jack cleared his throat. She again gave the old woman a look of confusion, then immediately gathered herself and turned on her heels leaving Jack alone with his first love.
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