The next morning when we gathered to hear about Solange's adventures trying to meet with the wolves, Earl appeared to be very upset. He explained why after Coral and I had barely sat down to the table. Trevor was already there.
"Solange not only met with the wolves but now she wants to go live with them!"
"Why not?" asked Solange. "What are you so afraid of, Grandpa?"
"She wants to go live with the wolves?" asked Coral, "I see nothing wrong with that . I went to live with different tribes of Indians existing in the hereafter just as they did when they roamed the plains. They had bison, wolves, horses."
'Why did you do that, Coral?" I asked. This sister was surprising me more every day.
"To learn," said Coral. "I also went to live among some black tribes that have recreated the way they lived in Africa right here in North America. Blacks who die in the ghettos like it. Other whites besides me go there. They are always inviting whites to see how blacks like to live so they will understand them better. They have all the animals they were accustomed to seeing in Africa in their hereafters-- lions, tigers, elephants. You are not really seeing life in the wilds unless you see the tribes of people who have lived with animals indigent to their territory peacefully for centuries. If you go live with the wolves, Solange, you will probably see Indians living among them, native to this country. They will help look after her," she said to Earl, "If she really intends to live with the wolves."
"I have not really explored all these hereafters," said Earl. "I have not been here long enough. Although it figures there would be large populations of blacks and Indians since so many have been been exterminated here in North America."
"I don't know what people do when they can't kill someone all over again they fear," Trevor broke in. "Right now I am craving a cigarette so bad, but I don't suppose anyone smokes here. It seems quite pointless, so I suppose I will just have to deal with my craving. What do whites do here when they can't wage war? That would seem rather redundant."
Solange who had not been saying anything started laughing. "I just stopped to think," she said, "of what it is like to go somewhere after you have been killed. Nobody can kill me all over again, right?"
"Not unless you reincarnate," said Earl glumly. "And that takes some doing I understand."
"Oh, I am not ready to reincarnate by a long ways," said Solange. "I want to go find all those hereafters she is talking about. I know what earth is all about. I want to live in peace with all the spirits for at least a hundred years. I am sick of teens killing teens."
"Solange met with the wolves," said Earl. "One came up and Solange got off her horse and went over to him. They had a parley. She wasn't afraid of him. She is almost foolishly brave," said Earl as though he ought be proud of her if she didn't make him so nervous. "She is way ahead of me in her development," he said as though reading my mind. "I don't know where she has been living, somewhere foreign to me, but I stayed on my horse. She would not. Now she really wants to put on her back pack and go follow the wolves."
Solange laughed gleefully. "I frightened my parents, too, when I was very young with my nerve, so they tried to put hobbles on me. If you hobble a wild spirit too closely, beware, she will find some way to escape you, even through death."
"Foolish, foolish," said Earl. "How foolish of you to die of an overdose. Seems like such a waste."
"I saw so many wasted kids die. What about them?" asked Solange. "I was no better than they. We were just hunting for an exciting way to live and we could not find it. So we shot at each other, playing at war in the ghettos, and shed real blood. And some came here. I need to go find my compatriots. They are in those hereafters. I hope the wise spirits are teaching them better ways to spend their time. I need to go and learn. Things are moving too slow for me here, so if you don't mind, Grandpa, I packed my things last night, I am going to leave now."
"Will you come back and visit me?" said Earl, as though he was exercising all the control he was capable of not to try to stop her.
"Maybe," said Solange. "Depends on what I find out there."
She picked up her back pack and I saw then she was dressed for hiking.
Just like that she walked to the door and was gone.
"She was something, wasn't she?" said Trevor. "Oh my God, what if my daughter has to find herself like Solange did? What if I could not have been able to guide her? I probably would have failed her as little as I was thinking. All I wanted was a high paying job doing as little as possible. I was lucky if Mark, my boss, wanted to fly somewhere once a week. He had too much plane on his hands for a guy like him. He actually hated to fly in in a smaller plane. He would keep saying he did not think they were safe, but he liked showing off his private plane and personal pilot. It cost him his life, too."
"Solange will be all right out there," said Coral to Earl. "The wolves will lead her to the Indian tribes if they think she needs people. She is ready to go. She is moving faster than you older people. She needs action."
"I am probably way too slow for you, Coral," I said. "I haven't gotten back up to speed at all, even for me."
"You ran clear out of oomph," laughed Coral, "before you could bring yourself to leave the good earth. You did well to hang in there to old age. I was the reckless one, like Solange. I was destined for an early death."
"And what does a middle aged idiot do when he finds himself expired long before he could die sensibly in bed?"said Trevor.
"Well, there are the battle fields where millions of soldiers have died. Pilots have crashed their planes, been shot down. You can find help there if you need it after you have crashed and burned."
"I wasn't even in battle, although I suppose you could say I lost my battle for continued life. Oh my God, I really did--" he stopped abruptly and burst into loud weeping. "I really did die. I am sorry. It's so hard to realize that life has changed forever for me. I have no idea what I can do now even to find peace."