Jade Cutting in Liniment Bottle DSC_3540
Episode 9. Somewhere Like Never Before
Her nephew had pulled up a chair by the window and was staring at the little arrangement there as if into a crystal ball.
"That's where I'd like to go," he said, as she put her hand on his shoulder and kissed him on the top of his head.
"And where is that?" she said.
She was a smallish woman and he a biggish man. He was in the full bloom of early maturity and she with nothing of it left but the sweet smell of the rose. Or so it seemed to her.
"I don't know," he said. "I know, but I don't know."
"Well," she said. "Let's see if we can puzzle it out."
"It's a puzzle for sure," said her nephew, whose real name was Arthur but who would not hear that name when it was said to him.
"Okay. Let's say you're Sonny Boy a while yet. Even though you know you're done with being that."
"Okay." He nodded, as a flower on a fragile stem might in a gathering wind.
"Don't worry. Just look here, where there's so much to see. Let's start at the top. That's a jade cutting. Others I have planted in dirt. This one grows in only water. See how the roots reach down? Like drinking straws. And yet it's not a lotus, not a water lily, it's a plant that normally grows in the ground. So for a jade, this is somewhere like never before."
"Right. That's right!"
"Then there's the bottle. Sonny Boy, someone, a hundred years or so ago, they took and threw that bottle in the sea. Never mind that it still had some liniment in it. Cork and all, they pitched it in. We can't know why. And then it lay there at the bottom of the sea. People were born and lived their lives and passed on while it lay there. And the tides came and went and the cork held and the liniment stayed till the day that I found it. So now it's here in the future, somewhere like never before, and instead of a liniment bottle it's become a vase."
"That's like magic!"
"It is magic."
"That's right. And that's where I would like to go. Somewhere like magic takes you. Somewhere like ... like just like that. Like plant me in the water, throw me in the sea. Like that. Like somewhere like never before."
She got him on the phone, the lawyer who had loved her once and might again, and she said, "Deuteronomy, I need your help again."
"What's wrong? Don't tell me he don't like his job. I pulled a lot of strings to get him that."
"He likes it fine, Deut, and he's doin' fine. He gets back home all covered in that concrete dust and a smile on his face like you wouldn't believe."
"So what's the problem?"
"Not a problem. It's an opportunity. He's come a long way. He can go all the way. He can be somebody new.”
“He's somebody already. You said yourself, he just needs to remember.”
“I changed my mind. It may have been my brother that he killed, but it was his father. And it was rough seas, and he was getting beat on, and after all they both went overboard. It wasn't his fault he was the only one they could rescue. I changed my mind. He's got a future now. He doesn't need that past.”
“Well, Allison, you never were afraid to change your mind. Unless it came to me. So what can I do for you now?”
“I want to take him somewhere that he's never been. Somewhere so far and different that it's like he's in another world. And I need you to help me arrange it. And I need you to pay. And if you agree, then I'm willing to let you accompany me. Us.”
“Alison, you break all records, known and unknown, with your generosity. Okay, say I'm fool enough to play along, where would you like to go?”
“Nepal? How about Cuba? Sunny beaches, tropical drinks, my favorite cigars. Make it Cuba and we're on our way tomorrow.”
“No. Nepal. Deut, everybody goes to Cuba. That wouldn't be different enough. No, it's got to be Nepal. I was reading about it in one of my old National Geographics, and that's where it's got to be. That's where we've got to go. It's spiritual there, and that's what he needs.”
“Don't you argue with me, Deuteronomy. I'm giving you a chance you don't deserve.”
“Okay, Alison, listen. I'm going to have a stiff drink and take a walk down by the harbour. If I don't jump in and end this misery of being your custom doormat, I'll call you back.
He had her name at last. Jovina. And her contact information too. The woman he had come to stay with when he left his shed, who said she was Aunt Alison, had found that out for him. Was doing everything for him. Was going to take him somewhere he had never been and never would imagine being.
He wrote, "I am so sad they played a joke on you. I don't know much. Some thing is wrong with me. But I would like to meet you anyway. But not just now. I'm going on a trip. I am a little sad about that too because I really want to meet. But I am glad because I'm going to get planted in the water. Maybe you will be glad too and wait for me. I'm sending this on paper since I'm scared to meet too soon. But here is my phone number. Maybe we can text while I am there. Yours truly, Sonny Boy (for now)"
9 April 2019
Prospect, Nova Scotia
Keywords:antique, bottle, canada, cutting, jade, jar, liniment, nova, plant, prospect, roots, scotia, sill, stand, water, window