Jo looked up from her menu and smiled shyly when Mary entered Beth’s Cafe on Aurora, near Seattle’s Green Lake.
“Nice decor,” Mary said, looking at the crayon drawings which covered the walls, “Do you come here often?”
“The best waffles in town,” said Jo, “Comfort food.”
After the waitperson took their order, Jo got right to the point.
“I hate to bother you, but I think you might be able to help me… deal with some things I’ve been going through,” said Jo.
“No, that’s in the past,” Jo began, “It’s the dream I had last night. You’ve been in a few of them, actually. It isn’t you, exactly. You, or the ‘not you’, is a priestess, or goddess of some sort, in an elaborate ceremony, on a great stage on a hill, leading a throng of people in some kind of ceremony.”
“Tell me, as best you can remember, the details of what you saw on the stage.”
“Owls. You were flanked by owls. You were naked, pregnant, and you were about to give birth, I don’t know how I know that—you know how dreams are. The owls seemed to be midwives. The crowd was chanting… ‘Inanna, Inanna,’ and then I was suddenly on stage with you and then the baby's head was crowning, and then I saw a man, clothed in black, leap from the crowd and charge at you. I ran at him and pulled the cloak from his face—it the man who had broken in and attacked me, the man I killed.”
“What happened in the dream then?” asked Mary.
“I woke up. It was still dark. I was terrified. Mary, will I ever be able to get over that? I’m a killer. Why were you in my dream about him?”
“That dream is about more than the assassin. The reason I was in it is that I had a similar dream, last spring. It was the beginning of my ‘quest’ or whatever you want to call the strange trip I have been on, although the man in the cloak is something new,” said Mary, “We can talk about that in depth later. Tell me, how are you doing otherwise? Is your job working out? That place where you’re staying, is it OK?”
“The job is alright, the people there are decent. The shelter is what it is. A lot of unhappy people. I’m ready to move on. I should be able to move out by the end of the year.”
“Listen. Sean and I have an extra apartment. We took a lease on it when we were under attack by the same people who hired that man. That threat is over, but we’ve still got the lease until next August. Would you like to move in? You’ll have your own bedroom, living room, and kitchen. There is also a study, but right now that is being used for storage. Sean inherited some things from his Grandmother, he is storing them there for the time being. It will take a while before we can deal with them, but they won’t be in your way. We could use some help when the baby comes—shopping, answering mail, nothing major. We’d make it worth your while. I'd like to have you around, you might have some more interesting dreams.”
“I… I don’t know what to say,” said Jo. “I guess I’ve always tried to be self-sufficient. I wouldn’t want to get in your way. What would Sean say?”
“I’ll text him and find out. We can help each other out with this arrangement. You can get established on your own again and I need all the friends I can get. My life in the last couple of years has been kind of strange but it will get better. I know it will,” said Mary. “Here come the waffles. Don’t waffle on your answer.”
“Mm. I let you know after I’ve eaten.”
Mary texted Sean. As they ate, Jo looked at Mary carefully.
CL> seattle> personals> missed connections>
Nov 18 Dancing Queen- m4w- (Capitol Hill)[x]
Oh, Carol! I've thought a lot about you in the past two weeks. We danced the night away, then held our own private recital at my place afterward. I miss you. Your piercing blue eyes, your beautiful smile, I've gone back to the ballroom several times since that glorious night but you never returned… All I think about is your touch; your lips, the way you move, the way you moved me. I wish that I could find you. Just want to know that you're OK! Marcel.
Marcel DuPage re-read his Craigslist post: it was the same post he put up every day since the night he spent with the mysterious dancer, a woman that he only knew as ‘Carol.’
He had received no responses.
Sean read the text from Mary. Sean had never quite understood what is was about Jo that had caught Mary’s attention. Jo was likable but it seemed, to Sean at least, to be somewhat callow. She reminded him of the kind of woman that his half-brother Billy would ‘date’ in college. ‘Another ‘Kleenex’ was Billy’s description of his ‘throwaway’ affairs. Sean was surprised at the sudden surge of disgust he felt, realizing that he was projecting Billy’s attitudes onto a person he hardly knew. Sean had experienced his own one night stands. Now they seemed like a bad dream. He shook his head, as if that could dislodge his thoughts, then he replied to Mary’s text:
Sounds good, she can move in next week.
“Sean says OK,” said Mary, as she read his text.
“I wouldn’t want to make things difficult for you,” said Jo, “I guess I haven’t had the best of luck with men, I just don’t know what kind of a person Sean is. I’ve been burned before. I’m afraid that my problems I’ve had with men might be something wrong with me. I let men push me around.”
“Sean and I have a different kind of relationship. It is too complicated to explain now, but I think you’ll understand when you get to know us better.” Mary said. “He always has told me the truth, and he has never said to me ‘You can’t’ or ‘You should’. I can’t ask for any more than that—from anyone. That said, I understand your concern. He is, after all, a man.”