“You see, the term ‘God’s Hostage’ is a loose translation of the name of a hidden temple in the jungles of
We were on the outskirts of
We parked in an almost empty parking lot next to an old Nash Rambler sporting an “Oklahoma Is OK” license plate with the “vanity tag” number of “BEEHAPPY.” I suspected the owner had an apiary. This part of
Luck was with us, and now here we were, sweaty but successful, sitting respectfully at the edge of her tombstone. It was hot, but there was a breeze and mosquitoes had not yet appeared.
It seemed somehow awkward to speak of the dead, and I knew I would burst into tears if we spoke of my grandmother, the special plates she had for my brother and me – mine was of Jean Millet’s (1814-1875) “The Gleaners,” my brother’s plate was adorned with a replica of a painting of Christ.
“I don’t think my dad really thinks he’s “God’s Hostage.” Or, if he does, it’s a matter of interpretation,” he said. He was wearing a black t-shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots. His ink-dark hair, dark eyes, and harsh features were tensed into what anyone else would call a scowl. I knew it to be intense concentration, mixed with sadness.
“I hate to argue with you Stanton, but that’s what he said to me. I was there, dear,” I said, drawing out my vowels for emphasis. Unfortunately, the result was not emphatic but priggish. I glanced quickly at
“Dad talked all the time about the Pha That Luang,” he said. “It was the most famous Buddhist temple in
I looked down at my grandmother’s grave. It was uncanny. I could almost sense her presence. In the distance I heard a dog bark, leaves rustle in the breeze.
“I don’t want to rub salt in the wound, but your dad said very clearly that he was God’s Hostage, and that’s why he put aluminum foil in the motel windows and why he lived at there for 8 years, leaving only when absolutely necessary,” I said.
“God’s Hostage,” intoned
“Don’t you get it at all?” he asked.
I looked back at him, surprised at the vehemence of his voice.
“Well, to tell the truth, no.” I did not like where this was going.
“God’s Hostage is not my dad. It is the name of the hidden temple. And – if my investigations mean anything at all, it’s also the name of the tiny, infinitely precious jade statue of the Green Tara. Legend has it that the jade is exceedingly rare, and when the light hits it a certain way, the green shifts and exudes a pink glow,” he said.
The light in the wide
I concentrated on the setting sun. I wondered if I would be able to recognize the gold flash if and when it happened.
“Are you sure? Could it be referring to something else?” I asked.
“I’m certain of it. This statue is a figurine. It is only about 8 inches tall, but supposedly it has very intricate carvings in addition to the strange properties of the stone, which make it magically change colors at certain times. Supposedly, the statue of
As Stanton proceeded to explain to me how and why he believed his dad was not insane at all, but under a very real curse for having smuggled precious antiquities from Laos, I found myself wondering if it could be true.
“It is my opinion that Dad’s been frantic because he lost the figurine,”
That finally jolted me back into the conversation.
“What? He lost “God’s Hostage”? I thought you were saying that he is God’s Hostage,” I said.
“Yes and yes,” said
The cemetery was very quiet, except for the breeze and the sound of a car leaving the parking lot. I put my hand on
It suddenly made sense. Someone was after
The electricity between us could not be denied. Even here, even now, when topics of monumental gravity were being discussed, the chemistry wrought strange alchemical magic through our pores and our skin. I wanted to press his hips against mine and feel the violent arousal make my heart beat and my body burn.
“Are you with me on this?” he asked. I nodded wordlessly. I turned my face toward his and suddenly I felt his hard lips press against mine. Tears came to my eyes.
Whoever knew that
“I knew I could trust you,” he said. He paused and looked at the sunset.
Things were seeming very unrighteous somehow, here in
“Where was your parent’s house at that time?” I asked. “Did they live in
“No. Mom had moved back to Yahweh Springs,” he said. “We lived in a big country farmhouse. There was a barn, a boathouse, and a two-story house. It was a great place to live.”
“We should go to Yahweh Springs tomorrow, don’t you think?” I asked.
He held me tight to his chest, his thick, muscular arms smooth and hard. The sun was making its final descent for the night over the horizon. I followed
“Golden child,” he said. “I adore you.”
As we kissed, tears slid down my cheeks. The granite of my grandmother’s tombstone flashed pink and gold in harmony with the light that promised to guide us to the knowledge we so desperately sought.
It would be a glorious journey. Of that, I was absolutely certain.