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He still lay on top of her, surprisingly heavy for his small frame. He nuzzled close to her ear and whispered, “This is the best sex you’ll ever have. Remember that.” She accepted his words as true, even though she felt a divide—a visceral, wrenching divide—opening up inside her. And there was a small question rising up from the hollow of that divide as well: How could this be so?

He lay his large head on her breast, and looking downward, she got a bit of a shock over how dark and oily his hair was and how dark overall he was against her much fairer skin. Well, he was from Chile, after all. And he was a rich mix of Indian and Spanish blood. All that had made him intriguing in her eyes when she first met him. She was from Czechoslovakia and had never met an Indian before—or even a South American for that matter. And then to top it all off: He was also a sorcerer.

In a certain way, the sex had been different. He said in a growling whisper that he was giving her power, a small spark of his power, as he moved inside her. Even if at first she hadn’t seen it that way and instead felt somewhat overpowered, perhaps that was how it was supposed to be. She wanted more than anything to be part of Carlos’s group, and if that was what it took, so be it.

She met him through her husband, Mark, who was a filmmaker hoping to make a movie about Carlos. Her marriage had been arranged by her aunt only a few weeks after she arrived in the states. She was grateful to Mark for the gift of a green card, but Carlos took her breath away.

Carlos now rolled abruptly off her body, and she felt a freeing inside of her, glimpsing as if in a vision a white wolf bolting from a snare. Everything in her body was thankful for the release, and yet she gave into an impulse to turn toward him and kiss his face over and over again. He smiled in response, then quickly sat up on the bed that had been hers alone when she first moved in. He had barely acknowledged her during those first few weeks, only patting her back now and then when they passed in the hallway or giving her a warm, steady smile when they all sat to dinner at night. She wasn’t allowed to sit with the others during lectures in the living room, though from the kitchen where it was her job to clean up after meals, she sometimes heard a few stray words. Once she even caught a full statement: “We are made of starlight,” he said. “And when we die, to the stars we will return.” This prediction intrigued her to no end. She had grown up steeped in Communist doctrine, which said that after we die we are just worm meat. What he said offered up the universe to her. It made her feel, after so much disruption in her life, that she had finally found a place of hope.

***

How was she to ever guess that decades later, when she was by all definitions an old woman, she would find herself sitting against a smooth rock in the Mojave desert, mesmerized by the glowing moon and the silver stream of stars above?  How was she to ever know that, despite her ambivalence through the years, she would nevertheless do as Carlos had foretold:  she would wrap herself up in his magical Indian blanket, the coarse red fibers still fragrant with his smell, and wait for him to take her to the stars?

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