This weeks Sunday Scribblings prompt:
Have you had a mentor in your life? Would you like one? For what? Have you been one? How? Everyone could use a little more help in their lives, can you see where you could be a mentor now?
I met a rasta man nine years ago. I spent three hours with him. My husband told me where to find him. He runs a shop in Sacramento. It is open for business twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I found him.
I asked him to turn my natty hair into dreaded hair. Three hours later, he did so. I walked out with my temples slightly throbbing and with a sense of dizziness. My hair was sticking up in all directions; it was such a wild do. I felt like pinhead. I loved it. I thanked and praised him.
He gave me so much more.
Jay didn't say too much to me. I sat, a bit nervous, in his barber chair and felt every strand of separation. He carved small squares into my scalp, pulled and twisted. The aroma was pungent. Slightly sappy, salty, pure. I never asked what he was using. I imagined awapuhi, hemp seed, olive, beeswax. Trees.
I was alone in the shop with him the entire time. He wondered what I had been wondering. I told him travel. There were no babies then. Aaron and I were recently contemplating some sort of flight. A place that we hadn't seen before, maybe it didn't exist, but we held onto an idea for a simple life, villages and islands and a quaint home with lots of land. I told Brother Jay about our anticipation for discovering a passage. A voyage. He said that I had fears. He was right. He told me not to dwell on an exact route; he told me to "go". He never gave me a sense of where, but he spoke of his time in Vietnam, of his property on an island, of his wife, freedom, Africa. He mentioned Fiji. I was beside myself, how did he know?
He said that there was no need to search for a passageway, that I was already on the journey. He told me to keep going. He was working on creating intensely tight locks. I felt dazzled. He never stopped to show me a reflection in a mirror. He worked slowly. He spoke with confidence. With ease. He said that if I kept going I would get there.
He gave me so much more.
I didn't walk away from Brother Jay with a plan. I slipped away from his shop with a lighter head and a shear sense of contentment. Confidence. I whispered to myself, "I'm already there."
Aaron had a visit with Jay the day prior. I never asked my husband what they spoke of.
The following week we were 'let go' at our jobs (we worked for the same company then). They never used the word "fired". They, simply, regarded our hair as "unprofessional". There was no use arguing, so we walked away together. This was our first month in our new apartment together. I was pregnant two months later. We were poor. A bit scared. I thought about Jay. I visited his shop a couple of times, during those days, just to look at beads. He didn't say much to me, he just looked at me. He bore the most telling gaze. And I knew, that the journey had already begun. That we were ready for our flight. That the squares had paved an undeniable path. That we would go.
His wakeful eyes, his thinning hair, his endless locks. His clever sense, witty and sound. The man with the yellow van and the discount prices is a guru.
He helped us to slip from the cracks and allowed us to let go. I wonder if he knew that we would never come back.