The Kiss of Life - by Rudolfo Anaya

Each of us can help the other, and oftentimes it is a simple reaching out and touching another's hand. The healer touched her forehead to mine, and that touching of the foreheads was a sharing that allowed the light within to tear away the curtain of despair. "The simple touch" Jalamanta said in a soft whisper," is the most healing act. It tells us that we are willing to share the energy of our soul with another. As helpful as science may be, one human touching another, one soul sharing its light with another, can restore the soul." Iago stood. "In the city, science is god. All these things you say cast doubt on the rules of the central authority. You have not changed, Jalamanta. I say, be careful. Do not question so much. It can only lead to trouble. Good night." he said and rose to leave.

"Oh , Iago, why are you so tormented?" Fatimah said, and reached for him, even as she suspected the secret that tore at him. But he drew away and disappeared into the darkness. They heard him hobbling down the trail, complaining as he went.

"He is only one among us who makes money," Santos said, and also stood to depart, "but it cannot buy him happiness."

"If only he would share his torment with us," Jalamanta said.

"Perhaps it is so deep he can't," Santos suggested, looking at him. He knew of the jealousy Iago bore Jalamanta.

"The soul is never so shrouded with veils that it can't return to the clarity of light," Jalamanta replied.

Santos shrugged. "I believe you, but no one knows the soul of Iago. The people here along the river understand what you say. We have lived close to the desert since we were forced out of the city. We have listened to others who brought news from the desert. But we are few in number. Iago's right, those in power will not like what you say. The authorities have a chief inquisitor who questions those who deviate from their dogma. The inquisitor has come to rule our lives. People are dragged in and questioned without cause. Many have disappeared."

"It is so in many places of the world," Fatimah said.

"I must speak the truth I carry within." Jalamanta answered

"Ay, that's what I'm afraid of," Santos said. He parted from them, pausing to touch his forehead to Jalamanta's and Fatimah's in a gesture of friendship. Then he too disappeared into the night.

"I must speak out," Jalamanta said when he and Fatimah sat alone in the cool breeze that wafted up from the river. "The healing of the soul is not only for me, it should not be a guarded secret. It is for everyone. The greater good lies in the community of souls."

"The light of your soul is the light of my soul," Fatimah said, drawing close to him. "I, too, was covered with veils of despair. First you were exiled, then our son was taken from me. But in my dreams the light of your soul shone on mine. I am afraid for you."

"It is the role of the inquisitor to instill fear in our lives. But we can put fear aside."

"And in its place our love will grow," Fatimah said.

She touched her forehead to his.

From Jalamanta: Message from the Desert by Rudolfo Anaya. Published by Warner Books. Reprinted with permission from the author and Susan Bergholz.

from Tribes Issue 7

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