When Skye saw Virgo Mike loping down the path wearing clothes, she figured he must be going into town. Maybe someone scored some money.
He handed her a tiny spiral notebook and pencil. Redwood needles stuck out of his long hair. He smelled of b.o. and woodsmoke.
“Going for supplies,” he said. “Want anything?”
After months of brown rice, wild berries, and discarded vegetables from behind the market, Skye craved chocolate, a cold glass of milk, a hamburger. At the end of Virgo Mike’s list of staples, she read, “Good Squaws”.
So, that was it, then. Skye wasn’t cosmic enough. She’d gotten too hung up. A few nights ago he’d left her alone. She’d asked him where he’d been.
She handed the list back, nonchalant. “Looks good to me,” she said.
Skye had first seen Virgo Mike back east in the Cambridge Common. His face was lit up with cosmic bliss, his eyes radiated everything she wanted to know. Then she saw him in Golden Gate Park — or maybe it was another dude with long brown hair and big trippy brown eyes, smiling like the Buddha. But when she finally got to the commune in Mendocino and saw his celestial smile, she knew it was fate. They zipped their sleeping bags together inside a circle of new-growth redwoods.
No new squaws followed Virgo Mike back from town, but that night there were fresh onions and stew meat in the communal pot. And after dinner, Mike ground up the few hits of acid he’d scored, mixed them up in water, and passed the jug around the fire. Skye took a few good pulls.
Before the sun went down, she left the fire and went back to their campsite. Her sleeping bag lay rumpled and alone on the ground, unzipped. She pulled on her Indian print dress, slung the rolled up bag over her shoulder, and followed the path down to the river.
On the way she passed a tipi. No one was there except a mother dog lying outside in the dirt. Six little puppies, their eyes still closed, whined and crawled, searching blindly for a nipple to suck. Skye had to turn away.
On the bank of the river, Skye cleared a spot, balled her dress into a pillow and lay back, watching the sky darken and the stars blink. She waited to be reduced to quivering protoplasm and feel the cosmic oneness of the universe. To transcend her ego and her petty needs.
Instead the moon that rose over the tops of the redwoods was not the moon in the seventh house. It was the moon she’d watched from the back seat of her family’s 53 Plymouth, the moon that followed her car home. Skye was the little girl who sang, “I see the moon and the moon sees me,” and then “Moon River” at her high school graduation. Skye was the girl who would go to college and marry a nice man and have a nice family. Skye was not a good squaw.
Jeanne Holtzman is an aging hippie, writer and women’s health care practitioner, not necessarily in that order. Her work has appeared or is upcoming in various print and online journals including Every Day Fiction, Night Train, Dogzplot, Drunk and Lonely Men, Swink, flashquake, Salome, Camroc Press Review and Hobart. You may reach Jeanne at J.firstname.lastname@example.org.