The rain is pouring down, the car is laden with goods from the regional market and he sees a store, turn around he tells me with excitement in his voice, and we do. He goes to the door that is locked, but as the proprietor comes to the glass, I stand in the rain, and he says come in, come in Ma, come in Man.
I wander quiet in the store as my man speaks to him, the proprietor’s hair all bound in a knitted cap, wearing a button up khaki workshirt like my grandpa used to wear. But as we wander the store, my eyes fall upon a face surrounded by wings, what is the meaning of this I ask, and that is when I see that he is a prophet, his voice speaks and I believe.
He says that 15% of the world controls all the rest of us, long ago a family gained power and they have kept it all this time, kept it from the rest of us. I am nodding my head, he is correct, they do the devil’s own work he says, and they get us to help them, do you know how? They divide us, he says, and he says, they help and encourage us to divide one another. He says, they teach us Jews against the Muslims, Muslims against the Christians, Christians against the Jews, yet we all worship the same God. They want all this petty fighting among us, it keeps us weak, it keeps them in power. He says, and they teach our men to disrespect our woman, teach our women how to tempt a man away from his family, the woman finds a weakness and takes the man away from that which he loves, it is all about dividing and that woman will destroy the man, she commits an act of evil and she will destroy the whole family. That is divorce, that is destruction. And that is how the powerful want us.
He looks to my man, and he says, do you know how to tell if a woman loves you? She will bow to you and wash your feet, she will do anything to tell you how strong her love is for you. Is it a sign of weakness that she submits to you, that she is willing to give all that she has to you? No he says, it is a sign of love, not weakness. I am standing facing my man, do you hear him I ask. He is laughing. Do you love this woman he asks, do you LOVE this woman, I look at his face his eyes are bright and shining, yes he answers, yes I do. The prophet asks, then why do you give her such a hard time? Do you know why? Because you are afraid, because you are afraid of what she can do to you, she can destroy you, is that not true? Yes he says, it is true. But look at your woman, he says, look at her now, do you see her? She LOVES you. And you have to tell yourself, do not be afraid, anymore. When I saw you two together, I saw love, I saw a love energy coming from you so strong, I knew you were good people. For over one hour we are captured by his words. I see who the prophet is, he tells his own story without shame, without concern for our judgement. He tells us our stories, without being told, like a clairvoyant, like a seer.
Later as we sit together in the rain cleared, clouded night, and he chuckles at me, and shakes his head, I do not try to be cute for his sake, but I see I have him when all I am is myself. And later when I feel my frustration rising, he looks at me, all cute and shining eyes and I see he has me when all he is, is himself.
We speak of the prophet, of the truth of his words. But also I point out the truth he spoke, the war, the hospital, the life, I say the man is clinically insane you know? But man he was right on too. Right on. His words were truth, though his mind is perhaps damaged, beyond repair. Or is he in fact a prophet? We do not know. But some of the words he spoke cut straight through.
Later when we are both sweating with the exertion of our labors in the hot sun, he working on his things, and I working too, the occasional sprinkle of ice cold water as he scrubs the deck, it feels good but I gasp as the drops hit my sun soaked back. We run over and jump in the pool, it is colder than we would like it, but compared to the heat the water feels good. He comes up behind me and throws his arms around me and then picks me up and throws me in the water, giving me time to plug my nose as I go down, I shriek with joy, and his laughter is my echo.
And then sitting side by side, as we watch 12 balloons rise into the sky, I look over at him, and I see my very best friend. I cannot imagine being anywhere else. I have said it once, I will say it all again. Sometimes when God closes a door he opens a window, and sometimes when he closes a window he throws open the double doors and rings the bells. I love you I say to him, with all my heart. Shut up, he says. No, you don’t.
I know you love me too, I say and then I turn away an ear to ear grin on my face.
The prophet has spoken.
Later as I contemplate his words, I find myself asking, how did he differ from the prophets of the ages? I find myself asking, are we serving the mentally illcorrectly? I find myself drawing an Ethiopian Angel, and looking at images of the church carved from the single block of stone. And I find that no matter what, I am caught with inspiration.