Dream catcher, save me from the darkness in my soul. Dream catcher, let me see the future I don’t know. Help me hold on tight and don’t let go.Caeland Garner
It was a breezy March late Friday afternoon in Red Bluff, a small modest town in California. The Sun was threatening to set and the candleberry trees were swaying to send off the lighter hours of the day. Walking down the street on his way home from school was 18-year old Evan, who was still reeling from the recent news he had received earlier in the day. Flashbacks of that letter came to mind.
“Dear Evan Reyes
On behalf of California State College, we are delighted to announce your admission to the Philosophy and Religious studies degree program…”
It all happened so fast. Evan had so little faith in himself for so long until the opportunity arrived. He was soon going to make a leap he wasn’t expecting to make so quickly; moving out, using up his savings, adapt to the student lifestyle. The thought of it was almost too overwhelming. But he knew one thing that quelled his consternation. It was all part of his mission of satisfying a curiosity that chased him for years.
Mulling it over seemed to not force the sensation of the news to feel any more real. His anxiety levels were about to reach an all-time high, which was something that changes usually aroused, and this had, as of late, affected his relationship with many aspects of his life.
Evan turned the corner to meet his street head-on and noticed something unusual popping out from the profile of his house. Balloons and hushed commotion and hoopla. He might have noticed some heads moving too.
A few steps forward and his suspicion was confirmed as he reached his front gate.
It must have been an intermingling crowd of 10, made up of neighbors, family, and acquaintances. All wearing faces of contrived diversion, stopped in their tracks to greet the young man walking into the front yard. Evan’s mother stepped up.
“We couldn’t be happier for you, Evan! Finally, you’re going to college.”
It was a homemade college admission celebration, the news had spread like wildfire it seemed, and Evan didn’t know whether to feel intimidated or esteemed in a sense.
Then, Evan’s father’s raised voice followed, which Evan couldn’t locate at first. It turned out his father was at the far right end of the front yard cooking up sausages on a barbecue grill for the guests waiting.
“We come bearing gifts, hijo!”
This was said while he turned his head to the table stacked with wrapped gifts. What an occasion, indeed.
Everyone seemed to play along with the occasion, raising their glasses to Evan or resuming conversations as their heavy grins were wearing off. However, there was something that did catch Evan’s eye, apart from the crowd, sitting on the front deck steps and inviting him over with a simpering and curious smile. It was his godmother Minda. A fifty-something-year-old woman with streaks of grey hair and harboring a distinct native American beauty.
Evan remembered that Minda was hardly around in his life except for those bright moments and milestones in the Reyes family. A part of Evan knew she was an important figure in his family but at the same time, it was as if he hardly knew her, like he just accepted her as what he was told by his parents while growing up.
There, Minda was hiding something in a canvas bag that Evan began to be quizzical about.
The boy made his way over, greeted Minda with a fond hug, and noticed how awkwardly quiet the whole reception was. Something nudged his memory just then; the comprehension that she actually was a quiet and mysterious woman, for all the 18 years that he had known her and it was certainly unnerving.
He dropped his backpack on the floor as he sat himself down on the same step next to her. The gathering around them seemed to not care where he was or what he was doing, despite being the VIP of the evening. Nevertheless, it didn’t matter to him anymore as soon as Minda opened her mouth and her faint gentle voice said:
“My god-son. I knew I would meet you again. It was this day. To guide you to the next chapter of your life.”
As she was uttering these words, she pulled a grey paper bag from the canvas bag and handed it over to Evan.
“You..you knew I was going to college?” Evan replied with diluted insecurity in his voice, to which Minda paid no attention and even sounded like was shushing. She gestured with such a calm demeanor to take out what was contained in the paper bag. It looked like she never had to rush for anything in life.
With immediate effect, Evan pulled out what looked like a sophisticated dream catcher. It looked highly labored, woven with a precision he had seen nowhere else.
“Wow, Minda! A dream catcher! Thanks, this is just…I can’t explain it, but it’s a really thoughtful gift.”
Lost for words, he gets interrupted by Minda.
“My god-son. No, not a dream catcher. This represents a spider, it protects you. It was built on the summit of Mount Shasta, so it is a very special one and one that you must never lose. You need this. For this new chapter to come. “
“I mean…” with a nervous chortle “what is it for then if it is not a dream catcher?”
This time, Minda did shush with her index finger. “You will know in due time”. At which point, she got up and left. No more was said.
For a good two straight minutes or so, Evan was left contemplating on that step. What did she mean by “new chapter”?
The breezed picked up as he thought of that question, paired with the welcoming barbecue aroma. He inspected the gift anew and shook off that whole dramatic meaning conferred to it in such a short span of time. It was just another one of those mythical tales that Minda liked to recount, it was normal in her culture, he thought. But even that considered, he concluded that he was unsure of which clan she belonged to, so there was no way to know what her real culture and belief system was. And the answer to this is what interested him, for his mission…
Evan tried to look for her but it was not long until he found out she was gone. It was like her only purpose was to deliver the gift and nothing else. Mysterious; another oddity to add to Evan’s list but all this curiosity was making him hungry enough to catch his own serving of barbecue food.
The last night of the chapter
Hours later, after the gifts were opened and the guests were sent home, the Reyes family found themselves stuffed and tired out on the couch in front of the TV. Evan, fidgety, couldn’t help but turn to them.
“Mom, dad, Minda dropped by, didn’t say much but all she wanted was for me to take this dream catcher thing as her gift. I wish I could say that she sent her regards…”
“Ah no, we know she loves us and thinks of us, don’t worry” responded his dad.
Evan shifted in his seat, feeling as though he hadn’t communicated anything important yet.
“Yeah but, there is something else. I just can’t figure her out, and before I say anything else, can you guys tell me more about my godmother Minda?”
Evan’s mother participated this time, playing with her auburn curls. “Honey, there is not much more to say except what you have known since you were a kid. She is a lovely woman we cherish very much. She brings you presents, doesn’t she? That should tell you a lot about her.”
“I know mom, but surely you can tell me about how you met her, her background and such?”
“It’s a long story, but she came into our lives at such an important time, before you were born, and we are ever so thankful for her. Everything else, you already know” Evan’s mother said with an overt withdrawn smile, eyes glued to the TV channel.
Evan rolled his eyes. “That doesn’t tell me anything, mom.”
“We’re tired Evan, it’s been a long day of preparing this day for you, please just acknowledge this for now and I’ll play out the details another time, yes?” Each word in that thick accent of hers articulated as if she was begging him to stop.
After conceding a moment of thoughtful silence, Evan finally uttered “I am 18 and I do deserve to know soon.” raising his bushy eyebrows before excusing himself to return to his bedroom.
Acknowledging a long day of news processing, Evan threw himself on the bed, reached for his pillow, and got lost in thought. Reflections revolved around that dream catcher and its sudden significance, and its connection to Minda, or better said, Minda’s real connection to his family.
He lent over and took the dream catcher out of its bag, spending a few moments to really appreciate it. There was a special glisten about it, looking closely. It was wild to think that it had been given birth on Mount Shasta, of all places. He yet had a lot to discover from this thoughtful gift, but for the time being, he put it away, safe in its paper bag, moments before he drifted away in a peaceful sleep.
Then… a glow.