The Light Behind the World
Chapter 28: Gifts

Copyright© 2010 by Sea-Life

Mom outdid herself, I thought to myself, as I watched her packing the picnic hamper with the Italian themed lunch she had prepared for my meeting with Eru. My screw-top pitcher was filled today with sweetened iced tea. There was also a thermos full of minestrone di orzo, a hearty Italian barley soup. The salad had oranges in it and was called 'insalata con le arance', which is just Italian for salad with oranges, I think. This was followed by two sandwiches of grilled Italian sausage and peppers buried in a warmed Italian bread roll. Dessert was two scoops of a delicious Pomegranate ice concoction called 'granita di melograno'.

Mom was terribly concerned that the sandwiches would get too cold and the dessert would get too warm and melt before we got to the appropriate courses, so I decided to exercise a little of my ability, and left the Granita in the freezer and the sandwiches in the bread warmer, and told Mom I'd just reach through and get them as needed. She swallowed hard a couple times and said "Well, I guess that makes sense."

Eru was waiting for me today when I arrived. I did not pretend to walk up to the cabin, I simply appeared at the bottom of the porch steps carrying my basket.

"Hello Eru, how are you this fine day?" I asked as I took the two steps onto the porch.

"Very well Davey, and how are you? I must say that is quite a delightful trick, that popping in and out. Can that be taught? I'd very much like to learn that trick!" Eru said all this with a light, humorous air, but I could tell he was a little nervous. I had definitely unsettled him.

"No, it isn't something that can be taught, and if my guide and teacher has told me the truth, it is likely I am the first in many, many generations to even be capable of it."

"I look forward to meeting the man you call teacher," Eru said, as he sat in his high-backed chair.

"Such a meeting should happen I think, and soon. But let us eat lunch first. My mother has prepared a feast," and saying that, I reached into the basket and pulled out the soup container and filled two small mugs with the steaming barley soup. The smell of the sage and grilled onions in it had my stomach rumbling before I could even get the spoons on the table. There were a couple small little pieces of focaccia bread to go with the soup, and I set these out as well.

"Eru, this is 'minestrone di orzo' and the bread is called focaccia, and is meant to be dipped into the soup."

The salad was next, and we ate both with loud and enthusiastic sounds of pleasure. When it was time for the main course, I cleared away the soup mugs and salad bowls then put my hands in the basket and held them there while I reached through to my house and pulled the two sandwiches into them from the bread warmer. They were each wrapped in a warm dish towel, and sitting on a plate. I switched the bread warmer off as I quickly set the two plates in front of us.

"This is a roast pepper and sausage sandwich, be careful, its hot!"

I unwrapped mine from its cloth and took an appreciative bite. Eru was quickly following suit, and we did not spend a lot of time in conversation, though we did pause occasionally to give little bits to Pearl and Dare.

"There is dessert," I said, and this time I didn't even bother with the subterfuge of the basket, I simply popped the two granitas in the long stemmed glasses they had been scooped into from the freezer into my hands. Wisps of quickly condensing moisture swirled around the frozen glasses as I sat them down.

"This is an iced fruit dessert called 'granita di melograno', it is quite cold, so be careful if you try giving any to Pearl."

"Davey, this meal has been an unending revelation," Eru said after tasting his Granita. "I am tempted to swear undying fealty and allegiance to you, and promise to follow you to the ends of the Earth and beyond, merely for the chance to dine at your Mother's table."

I laughed of course, because Eru's manner of speaking had seemed so overly-dramatic. I could sense he was wanting to convey a little levity. Still, I already recognized him as a man who was unlikely to waste words on empty gestures.

"And when I tell you I have a life and goal ahead of me that might make me seek loyal companions, you would not be surprised, would you Eru?"

"Little has surprised me in my life, I confess. My eyes betraying me, that was a surprise. You Davey, and the way of you, that has been a surprise. But I began coming here a year ago, because I sensed that someday I would need to be here, that a path would open up for me here. So here I am."

"And here am I," I said in response.

"Some people have goals that give their life meaning and purpose, and others have none, nor do they see a need. Some, such as I, have had their purpose stripped from them, and yearn for it as a babe for its mother's arms. Having no purpose, perhaps I can find satisfaction in sharing one with you."

"Eru, before I can ask anything of you, I must introduce you to my teacher and friend."

I held my hand out to my side, and as I knew he would, Construct undid his invisibility trick and appeared before us. "Eru, please allow me to introduce you to Construct."

"I am pleased to meet you at last, Eru," Construct said.

Pearl screeched, and Eru closed his eyes and tilted his head back for a moment. When he opened them, he looked at me with confusion written across his face.

"Davey, you introduce me to someone who is not there, and yet I see him with my own eyes."

"It is a long and fascinating story, and one you must hear. But I would rather not tell it here. If you tell her you are going away for a few days, will your daughter accept it?"

"Ha! Accept it? Muri would help me pack, kiss my cheek and hold the door for me to speed me on my way. She loves me, and does her daughter's duty, but none these days are comfortable with an old soul-diver like me around."

"Can you meet us here in the morning? We will provide appropriate clothing and other items as needed. If there are items that will comfort you or Pearl, bring those. Perhaps a little food that Pearl is familiar with."

"I need little, and what I value the most are the memories I keep up here," Eru placed a finger on his temple. "I will be here two hours after sunrise. I will let Muri make me breakfast and send me off with a full stomach. It will help ease the ache in her heart."

We made our farewells, and I jumped through to Meadow. Construct arrived a split second after me. I stood watching him for a moment without saying anything. He stared back, equally quiet, before finally raising a single eyebrow at me.

"I know you are waiting for me to display some unseemly burst of emotion and excitement Davey, and I have decided that I will not do it. It is ... illogical!"

"For an ancient and immaterial artifact, you do a pretty good Spock impression Construct. We'll have to wait for the fun and games however, as I need to get home and make some preparations for tomorrow," the last thing I saw before I jumped was Construct's wide grin.

I jumped back into my room, grabbed my cell phone and took the basket down to the kitchen. There was a note from mom saying she had run to the store to pick up something for dinner. I called her cell first and let her know that her cooking had indeed won me a convert who was now dedicated to my cause and who worshiped the ground upon which she walked, or at least the kitchen within which she cooked, and that she would be meeting him tomorrow. I asked her to call Dad and see if he could get free for the lunch as well. Next on my list was Grandpa A.J.

"Grandpa, I'm going to need Cole here tomorrow, will you be able to get here in time, or should I arrange a little bounce?" There was laughter in the background, and it sounded like grandpa had put his hand over the phone at his end for a second.

"Davey, we're already in the air and over..." I heard some mumbling in the background for a moment. "Wichita, Kansas. We should be touching down at the Calaveras County airport shortly after nine tonight. Cyrus will be standing by to pick us up, and we'll be staying at the second Green Horn Creek property."

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