Today we went past the old Apache Motel, now torn down. I felt a strong draw to go there and made Rick turn around and go back.
There we were, the pad of the floor of our old room there still evident in the empty lot. The minute I stepped on to it, all the old emotions came flooding back.
Sobbing, remembering. Here is where we slept. Here is where the bathroom was. Here is the very spot where I first began writing Kokopelli—the very spot. Then the memories of hardship and love, despair and comfort and all the tears they deserved. It was here that I realized that I was ready to become a teacher, that I had somehow acquired wisdom and some kind of confidence. It was here that we deepened our love, worked together to make life better. It was here that we experienced elementals literally walking through our space, where I--for the first and only time--controlled my psychokinetic abilities, where I practiced gratitude and creativity and holding on to hope despite the dark circumstances. There was much sadness in this place--my little kitty Lofty was killed there on New Years Eve 1996 and we met Tammy and Rooster--friends who later proved to be our salvation, and Frank the musician who had played with Willie Nelson, but crawled into a bottle when his ten-year-old son was killed. We all had our pain.
The night we left this place was the night of the Phoenix UFOs--March 13, 1997. I never saw them. I was busy packing and crying and worrying, then drinking tequila with my last few dollars, having no idea where we would go or what we would do.
Then today, crying and remembering and standing there in the setting sun, comes a woman. A woman that I immediately felt was familiar, though I had never met her before. And she approached me, and we laughed and cried and I told her my story, and she told me that she lived just “there” at the corner of the property and she tried to apologize to me for not cleaning it up, but I shushed her and told her my story with this spot, this place. And together we cried and hugged and I told her things that I think gave her hope. She has lived in this camp on this spot for ten years. Ten years! I could tell she had some kind of mental illness—delusions or confusion, but not bad. Maybe slight schizophrenia, maybe just the disorientation that comes from being lost and forgotten and depressed for years, but for the majority of our conversation, we made complete sense to one another. There was a lovely light in her eyes, a light that circumstances had tried unsuccessfully to extinguish. I believe in her and I told her so.
And while Rick and I are not rich, we are better off than we were there on the ‘Vard. And I know that something good is coming for my spirit friend, Leesa. She deserves better than she has been afforded. I deserved better than to experience homelessness. In fact, I can’t think of anyone who deserves to be forgotten, neglected, dismissed as useless. Leesa has talent and insight that nobody else can give the world. Why do we let people—especially women—become invisible and unvalued?
|The emotions came, unbidden, to the surface quickly.|
|Greeting the woman I soon learned was named Leesa. I felt somehow we needed each other.|
|Rick captured this sunset there at the ruins of what used to be the Apache Motel.|