TROUT   [ 3 ] 

....But I Called Him Papa

      I knew her for twenty years after the death of her Uncle.  Her Mana was as strong and deliberate as the backbone of a great blue whale.
     I met her for the first time at the hospital in Seattle, where she admitted later that she did not remember meeting me.  I could not forget her poise and strength in the face of the death of a loved one. I could never forget her cherry colored eyes. 
   It was a dry wintry day when her Uncle died.  He had been fading for weeks, and everyone, including myself was expecting his passing to come soon. The private room was filled beyond regulation with flowers, candies, and fruit baskets... family and close friends. I being of the latter. His body, unable to move excepting his eyes which slowly roamed the room, thick with love that  blanketed the air like a warm fog. 
    His name was Siaki, but I called him Papa.  He asked everyone he liked, (which was truly everyone), to call him by that endearing name. We met three years before, at which time I was drawn to him as if by some magical force. 
   In the past twenty three years, I have talked with hundreds of others who also knew him, some better, and some not as well as I,  and they all describe his attraction in the same paranormal sort of way. 
   Mana, just like that of his niece. The one with the cherry eyes that I will never...  that i can't ever forget! 
    Papa's  niece and I have become good friends over the years. At first we would just want to get together to relive memories of Papa, and slowly over the years we began to build our own experiences without my old friend, her Uncle. 
   We would share stories told for the umpteenth time, always saying, "remember the time..., or How bout the way he'd..." and so on. 
    One such story, told infinitly more than others,  took place at the hospital on the day he died. We were all there.  Papa's niece had just returned from a couple hours of sleep in the waiting room on the second floor.  She walked in, weaving through other healthier bodies to get to the bedside of her  Uncle. 
   They stared at each other for 15 minutes, she with her cherry eyes, and he with something else in his. Something happy, something glorious, something all-encompassing. 
   Finally, Papa started to move his right arm. The room was silent in an instant. It slowly raised as if being controlled by some antiquated motor stuck in first gear. Papa extended his index finger as if pointing, his eyes became saucers of suprize as if witnessing something of the grandest proportion.  Then his arm moved horizontally in the direction of his niece, he whispered "YOU", and touched her on the breastbone just below the neck. 
    A bright yellow and blue spark quietly exploded in the contact, and Papa died. 
    Now, Papa's niece has the eyes as wide as saucers.  She has the spark... she has the Mana. 

Lemanatele Mark Kneubuhl  
   © 1997