Black Eagle Dream

image Chapter 25

Nikko and little Raye had spent the day, and a good part of the evening fussing over Sonny Ray. The center of attention now sat at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee. Nikko and her young daughter were exhausted, had finally made it into bed. Dwayne and Cyrus were out back in the clearing, starting a fire. Sonny Ray had a really mean headache. The old man had wrapped his ribs, and put fresh aloe on his various scrapes and abrasions. He knew he had at least two cracked ribs. He had broken a few ribs parachuting in the Army, so he had a working knowledge of the pain. Despite all that had happened yesterday, his biggest question and concern was; who is this old man, and what did he want? Sonny Ray’s thoughts drifted back to officer Bob. He was uncertain what impelled a man like that. There had to be something more a fortiori, than ignorance. Sonny Ray pondered if it was congenital hatred, something inherited, passed on like a treasured family heirloom. Or perhaps it was a beast like signal, being sent out over the DNA highway; only detected by those with the same iniquitious ideology. He did not hate officer Bob, but Sonny Ray felt this man was very much in need of an expanded world view. And he was just the man for the job. It was now officially on his to do list. For now though he needed some answers. Wincing, he stood up slowly, trying desperately not to breathe deeply. He walked across the small kitchen. The floor creaked, singing a retort of sorts. He pushed the old screen door open, and descended the four steps. Each step caused him to groan within himself. Sonny Ray looked out into the coolness of the night. Cyrus and Dwayne sat out in the clearing, carved gently from the lush forest. The smell of cedar gently ascended upward,
the earthy wood caressing the supple curves of the night. Sonny Ray walked gingerly out into the clearing. Without a word he sunk down slowly in the chair near the fire. The flames created illusionary elastic shadows upon the canvas of the starry black lit night. The black eagle was no where to be found. Sonny Ray sat across the great divide, uncertain what he could believe or trust; of any words that might be placed into his ears.
After all, he had abandoned that belief at the age of two, when the most trusted person in his life had savagely scalded his feet and his heart. Sonny Ray stared into the heart of the flames, searching for veracity and for charge.
“Young man,” Cyrus called across the great divide. Sonny Ray was uncertain what he could believe or trust. These words afterall, came from the mouth of a stranger. Sonny Ray looked up, a pensive look that distorted the little boy living inside the walls of the protective mans eyes. Cyrus had lived long enough to know that words were not worth the paper they were written upon; if they were not honored. A picture on the other hand, could often reveal truth that required little explanation. Cyrus moved slowly, like a black man living in America that had just been pulled over by the police; hoping not to be shot down just for existing. Cyrus had a blanket around his aged shoulders. He slowly brought his hand out, and in it he held a yellowed and well worn envelope. Cyrus gazed at the young man, his fingers moving slowly with nervous anticipation, coupled by years of imagined rehearsals of this very moment in time. Cyrus reached across the great divide, and gently pulled the young man onto the ground where he stood. Sonny Ray quietly accepted the yellowed envelope, and leaned back again into his chair. He pacified the picture by handling it like a newborn baby, fearful of the universal ramifications for not respecting the past. The orange flames of the fire continued their elastic fancy dance, as Sonny Ray looked resolutely at the picture. It was a small palm sized black and white photo. Right away Sonny Ray recognized a younger version of the man who sat before him. He looked again, and saw a small boy clinging to the pant leg of the tall man with the long wavy hair. With an incipient thrust, like a calvary sword in the back of a fleeing child, it involuntarily caused Sonny Ray to bolt upright in his chair. Sweat began to gather and bead up on his forehead. His ribs hurt like hell, he could not breathe. Dwayne placed his hand placidly on Sonny Ray’s shoulder. “Easy cousin, I got you,” Despite the pain Sonny Ray exhaled deeply like he was blowing out a candle. He slowly slid the picture into the aged envelope. His emotional gauges were pegged, he was going in; uncertain if he could pull up in time, the ground coming up quick. Sonny Ray had just buried his father, gotten manhandled by some vainglorious cop, and now a complete stranger had handed him a picture with him in it. Cyrus, up to this point had said little. “I know this has to be hard on you but I need you to hear me now eh? Sonny Ray nodded, head down, unable to speak. Dwayne excused himself, leaving Cyrus and Sonny Ray; as the orange flames of fire lit up the night.
“First of all, I would like to give you my condolences on the passing of your father.” Sonny Ray nodded an acknowledgement. It was getting akward but Cyrus knew he had to push through it. “You are a man, so I will speak plainly.” Sonny Ray looked into the large man’s eyes for the first time. “Your mother and I first met in Kohala. She, like all young hawaiian girls of her time; were separated from her parents, and we’re made to attend a boarding school. There, they were stripped of their hawaiian culture, their language. I was a young student teacher at the time. Your mother and I became friends. Over the years we remained so, even after she left the big island and joined the military.” Sonny Ray winced in pain.
“I recall my mother talking about a hawaiian man she wished she had married when she was younger. I take it you are that man.” A long pause of silence ensued. “I am,” Cyrus said. “The moment I laid eyes on you I knew you were not my dad’s brother,” Sonny Ray said smoothly. There was yet another quiet moment between the two, as neither man were enjoying this small block of time.
“So, what is it you have to tell me old man?”
“As you you know, your father was not a very discreet man.” Sonny Ray cracked a short lived smile. “Your right about that, but I need you to tell me what I don’t know.” Sonny Ray locked eyes with Cyrus. “Okay.
Your mother begged me to come to Ohio to see her while your father was in England for a year. You recall that I’m sure.” Sonny Ray nodded. “Your mom had caught your father with yet another woman. So when he left to England it was not under the most favorable
circumstances. We, we ended up becoming lovers.” Sonny Ray stood up. He walked out into the clearing. The stars shone brightly in the sky. “So why are you telling me this now old man?” “Sonny Ray, I am your biological father.”
Sonny Ray walked further into the darkness. His breathing became labored. Cyrus stood up slowly. He walked into the clearing locating Sonny Ray. “I have made a couple of pallets in the hogan. Perhaps we could talk there.”
Sonny Ray and Cyrus walked a short distance to the hogan. Cyrus ducked down to gain entry into the small structure. Sonny Ray entered the doorway, but paused before stepping through the portal. The rich scent of the earth, the dirt floor of the hogan flooded his senses. It gave him an unusual feeling of calmness. The low roof, and the shape and size of the hogan gave Sonny Ray the semblance of being in an embryonic state again;
wrapped in a protective earthen womb.
The two men would talk more now.

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