Journey to Love

Chapter Fifty-five

Dr. Durden's Surprise

by Sequoyah

Edited by Cole, Peter and Scott




Monday morning I met Dr. Durden at eight for breakfast to go over my final report before it was sent to Drs. Bailey and Levey. I was sure he'd have a lot of suggestions which would keep me busy the rest of the week. Other than that, I was having dinner with him and his family Thursday night and a farewell bash with the four buddies Friday night before leaving for home Saturday.


When I met Dr. Durden for breakfast, he handed me the report and said, “Excellent job, Derek, excellent. Turn it in. I know it's three or so years away, but when you apply for medical school, please use me for a recommendation.”


“Thank you and thank you for making the summer possible. I'm sure the thought never entered your mind, but a major benefit had nothing to do with medicine. The love of my life and I have been separated since he left for Arizona. We were completely out of contact except for a letter once a week. For us at least, absence has made the heart grow fonder. So many things I discovered I loved about him I would never have noticed had we remained together constantly. Now I can hardly wait to see him and tell him.”


“Well, you have finished your work for the summer except for the panel tomorrow. I am glad you can take the rest of the week to unwind, relax and recharge for the coming year and I can think of no better place to do that than the cabin on the Oculgee. When you leave, just leave things as they are as cleaners will be paid the same for doing little as for doing much. I do look forward to seeing you Thursday night.” We stood, shook hands and parted.


Tuesday afternoon I faced a panel of twelve. There was also a sizable audience which I had not expected. As I sat across from the panel, I could not read their faces at all. The discussion and questions were general and accomplishing nothing in my estimation before the floor was opened to the audience. When he was recognized, a man from the audience asked, “Mr. Wilson, you are an African-American from a small town in Virginia, a town, I assume which has more in common with North Georgia than South Georgia. I have several questions: First, what made you decide to come to South Georgia? Second, you are a pre-med student, not even a med student; aren't you more than a little presumptuous in coming to ostensibly offer medical services where there are medical professionals? Third, how could you expect to understand the culture of South Georgia? Fourth and finally, why do you think you have anything to offer those of us who have engaged in properly training people to serve rural Georgia?”


I could almost see the steam coming from under Dr. Durden's collar. The questioner was an arrogant son of a bitch and I would have liked to have told him so, but I held my temper. As soon as he finished, I thought I could tell correctly who on the panel agreed with him -- there were one or two of them -- and who did not. “Your name, sir?”


“Sorry, I would have thought you would have known. I am Dr. Kellogg.”


“Thanks for your provocative questions, Dr. Kellogg, and I apologize for not knowing who you are. I'd like to answer the last question first. Doctor, I didn't give any thought to whether or not I had anything to offer you, your colleagues or Mercer Medical School. Frankly, I would much rather be at Dr. Durden's place on the river relaxing. However, Drs. Janice Cranston and Art Evans with whom I worked in Cuthbert thought my observations might have some value. After Dr. Durden read my reports about my experiences this summer and the reports sent to him by Drs. Cranston and Evans, he agreed. All three urged me to make myself available to you, which I am doing. What I think or thought had little to do with my being here.


“I think your third question needs answering next. I am, indeed, from a small town -- although the inhabitants would be offended by the adjective -- in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It, while in a valley, has little in common with what I understand to be North Georgia. I attend Old Commonwealth University located in Norfolk, Virginia, a coastal city. I spent last summer working in a clinic on the Navajo reservation in Arizona which was a totally different culture from the one in which I grew up. And, let me add, the culture I grew up in underwent a dramatic shift during my last high school years.


“My home until then was a two-parent, African-American home which was struggling economically. We were poor, although we lived slightly better than many of my African-American acquaintances. For reasons I'll not go into, I was forced out of my home and my brother and I were taken in by a white, gay couple. In short, sir, I have learned the hard way that you adapt as best you can and as you learn to understand and appreciate a culture that is not yours. I would add that unless Mercer intends to only train medical professionals who will spend their entire professional careers in rural Georgia, it must incorporate some training in adapting to a culture. But more is involved in what seems a short-sighted stance in my view. You must also learn to accommodate the cultures from which your students come. I have a friend who is a medical student here who grew up in New Jersey, hardly a culture similar to rural Georgia.


“Continuing to move backward, if I came to offer medical care for which I was not trained, it would be not only more than a little presumptuous, but foolhardy on the part of any medical professional who permitted it. I went to learn what I could learn by being in the trenches as it were. If the only service I was capable of offering was emptying bedpans, then that would be what I would do to see how medical care is delivered to underserved areas.


“Finally, what made me decide to come to South Georgia? I started doing a dual major in chemistry and biology and had two excellent advisers, one in each subject. Through a friend of the biology professor, I got to go to Arizona last year. The two advisors were so pleased with how that had worked out, one of them who knew Dr. Durden contacted him about my working in rural Georgia, which I found to be about as different from where I was in Arizona as another country would be. In short, this was where I was offered an opportunity.”


“Thank you, Mr. Wilson,” Professor Grossman, the moderator said. “Other questions?”


Another man from the audience stood and said, “Mr. Wilson, Justin Shaw. I understand last year while in Arizona you played a major role in bringing down a kiddie porn ring and this year in Cuthbert you were involved in the arrest of a number of rapists and a protection racket jerk and also apparently had some role in the resignation of the sheriff. Have you ever thought of giving up medicine and taking up the superhero business?”


After the laughter had subsided, I said, “Mr. Shaw, last year I came very close to being murdered before there were any arrests. This year I was whipped bloody, would have been raped and probably murdered had it not been for three very brave people, two of whom were eighty-plus-year-old southern ladies. If you don't mind, I'll stick to medicine and leave the cape work to someone better able to pull it off.” That pretty much ended the session except for those who wanted to talk less formally. An hour later I was finally able to escape.


It was only 11:30 when I got back to the cabin, but it was already in the upper nineties. I parked the car, stripped as I went through the house, crossed the deck and jumped into the river. The power plant was letting out water, so the river was again deeper than usual and the current quite swift. I knew I needed to start getting in shape because I had been cleared to rejoin the dive team. I swam laps against the current for over half an hour before I had enough and climbed out and lay on a lounge. I was asleep in a moment.


There was another cabin on the river a mile up river from Dr. Durden's and to get to it, the owners drove past my cabin. There was no-one there before I went to Cuthbert, but they were spending time there now so I wasn't surprised when the sound of a car woke me—almost. I must have gone to back to sleep in a few seconds because I was dreaming I heard Jayden's voice saying, “Beloved Boy, you’d better be dreaming of me.”


Mostly still asleep, I muttered, “I am and it's a wonderful dream, but I'd much, much rather have my beloved here in the flesh.” As I finished speaking I felt a kiss on my neck, turned over and found myself looking into the eyes I loved so much. “Are you real, Jayden?”


“Does this feel real?” He asked as he covered my mouth with his, his tongue demanding entrance, his arms holding me close.


I was wide-awake, standing, my arms wrapped around the love of my life, our mouths locked in a passionate kiss in half a second. Since I was already undressed, we both worked at getting Jayden's clothes off. As soon as he was undressed, I tossed the lounge cushion on the floor and lay on it. After a few more minutes of passionate kisses, I was ready to taste Jayden's cock and he had the same idea about mine. We had been separated for eleven weeks and kissing passionately for several minutes, so shortly after our mouths had closed over cocks we both exploded. We were both damn good at swallowing each other’s cum, but we could not handle the loads deposited in our mouths. We did have tongues and soon had each other cleaned up.


I looked into Jayden's eyes and melted. I loved this man so much and had dreamed of our being back in our place, but here, a week early, we were in this wonderful place in each other’s arms. We started with playful kisses which quickly became passionate ones. Jayden broke a kiss, looked into my eyes and whispered, “Derek, I want your beautiful cock inside me.”


I smiled and slid a finger up and down his ass crack, lightly touching him in his most private place. He reached out, got his shorts and took a packet of Gun Oil from his pocket and handed it to me. I tore it open and lubed him and slipped a lubed finger inside his hot, tight love channel. I moved my finger around until I found the hard pleasure knob and massaged it slowly, gently.


 There are positions for making love which give more physical pleasure to one or both partners than the missionary position, but I wanted to see my beloved's face, wanted to look into his eyes as I made love to him. Jayden squeezed lube from the packet over my cock. He locked his legs around me, pulling my body to his as he guided my lubed and precum-streaming cock into himself. Slowly I began thrusting into my Navajo.


Even having erupted a very short time ago, I couldn't hold off long. Finally, I knew there was no way I could delay my climax much longer and I began slow, deep thrusts into my love. When I exploded, my body was gripped by deep spasms as I pumped my seed into Jayden. Immediately I went over the edge a second time and I saw stars and fireworks, then nothing. In the intensity of a twin climax, I had blacked out for two or three minutes. Jayden had erupted a second time as well. We then lay in each other’s arms for several lovely minutes before Jayden said, “I think a clean-up is in order.”


“Easy,” I smiled, stood and grasped Jayden's hand and pulled him to his feet and raced to the edge of the deck and jumped in, still holding his hand.


“Wow, this is wonderful. Pity you didn't have this all summer. Of course, there's more water flowing past us every minute than I ever saw after I landed in Flagstaff.” We played and swam for over an hour, spending a lot of time holding each other and kissing.


“Babe, I love having you here a week early, but it seems like a dream and I'll wake up any minute.”


“I don't know about you, Derek Edward Wilson, but I have had some lovely wet dreams, and not even the best comes close to the last hour or so.”


“So how did you get here and why so early?”


“A speaker for a major medical conference being held in Las Vegas was water skiing last week on Lake Mead and hit a submerged log or something and was broken up pretty badly. The organizers made a frantic call to Kathryn begging her to take his place. She had been their first choice anyway, but she didn't want to spend all the time necessary to travel there and back. She told them that again and that she couldn't leave the clinic uncovered for the week it would require. They called back later the same day to tell her they had arranged for Dr. James Patterson, whom she knew and trusted, to cover the clinic. A helicopter would pick her up at the clinic and take her to Page where a private jet would fly her to Vegas. She agreed so long as I could make the trip as well. 'May as well save you some money and I'm sure Derek wouldn’t be unhappy having you arrive early.'


“When I got to Vegas, I called Dr. Levey to find out how to contact you and he gave me Dr. Durden's number. I called him and he said he'd handle everything. 'After the way he handled a panel, it's the least I can do, plus he played Superhero in Cuthbert. Know your flight number into Atlanta?' I gave it to him and told him I wouldn’t be in until after midnight. He suggested I spend the night in a hotel and he’d have someone pick me up and bring me here. Dr. Durden said he’d stocked the pantry and we needn't come into town unless we wanted to. So here I am.”


“So when did Dr. Durden stock the pantry?”


“His wife did. She told him you were swimming and she didn’t want to disturb you.”


“I still can’t believe you’re here and I’m not going to wake up and find it’s all a dream. Maybe if you made love to me, you could convince me you were real,” I grinned. He did and I was convinced.


We again jumped into the river and this time swam laps for half an hour. It was clear that while I had worked over the past weeks, I had not worked at keeping in shape. I hadn't completely gone to pot, but I certainly was not ready for the dive team. We did have a good place to remedy that as swimming against the current in the river was a lot more exercise than swimming in a quiet pool.


While I had let myself go a bit over the summer, Jayden had not. I knew he, in the manner of Navajo men, often greeted the sun by running and chanting as he ran. His running style was smooth and graceful. He didn't run for speed, but endurance. I am not sure how far he could run, but it was much further than I could when we started the week, but as the week progressed and he taught me how to run, my running seemed increasingly effortless and as it did, more and more refreshing rather than tiring.


Dr. Durden had stocked the cupboard and fridge well and between us we fixed delicious meals and enjoyed them sitting on the deck. I guess the good doctor had some idea of what we would spend a lot of time doing as the food available indicated he thought a high protein diet was advisable. Beautiful steaks led the list of red meat available to us.


We spent much of our time together talking about our summer. Much of what we talked about we had written in letters, but as we shared it again, we remembered little things we had not put in the letters. I asked Jayden about his second quest since his letters said little more than that he had done one.


When I asked, he smiled and said, “Well, it was like the first, only different. Part of the difference was I had been studying—I can't come up with a better word, but don't think books, reading, that kind of studying—with an elder. I guess the best way to describe how he passed on wisdom is that it was like what you were doing—watching, listening, doing. Since I had been with him, I understood more about meeting the Old Ones and responding to them.


“Anyway, one morning my second week in the Pueblo when I went to the elder, he was holding a horse. There was a bedroll and two leather canteens on his back and a blanket to serve as a saddle. The elder called me by the Navajo name he had given me and asked, 'See the hawk?' He pointed to a speck in the blue sky. I nodded. 'He is your spirit guide. Follow him.'


“Last summer getting to my quest spot was easy. I just let the horse have his head. This year required that I remain alert. At times I had to get off and scout ahead to find a way. I had expected to reach my destination before dark the first day, but the day was ending and I knew I had not. The hawk disappeared and the only thing I knew to do was camp for the night. I hobbled the horse, took a swallow of water, unrolled the bedroll and was soon asleep. After a dreamless night, I awoke before sunrise. All I had was water and not a lot of that, so I drank a swallow and ran to greet the sun. When I came back, the hawk was sitting atop a scrub oak, watching me with golden eyes. I took another swallow of water, threw the blanket on the horse's back, got the two canteens and bedroll on the horse and mounted. The hawk flew from the bush and I started following him again.


“Midday, the hawk had flown into a very narrow crevice in the rock. The crevice was, maybe, four feet wide with walls over a hundred feet above my head. The horse had balked at entering, so I had dismounted and led/dragged him in. A short distance into the crevice, I realized I did not need a guide as I could not have turned around if I wanted. The walls were so high and uneven I couldn't see the sky when I looked up. The crevice was at least a quarter mile long and the going was slow. Finally I could see the end. The tunnel opened into a long box canyon, maybe a quarter mile wide at its widest point. When I emerged from the crevice, I took a swallow of water and gave the horse some. I heard the hawk scream and saw him circling above us. Clearly, I had not reached my destination.


“Mid-afternoon, I must have dozed because the horse stopped and I was facing an unbroken wall of rock. The hawk circled above us, screaming, and finally landed on a bush half way up the canyon wall where he sat, screaming and flapping his wings. I was sure the horse would remain in the canyon as there was a tiny spring and more grazing than we had seen, so I refilled the canteens, took them, the bedroll and blanket and looked around. The hawk was hopping into the air, screaming and landing back on the bush. It finally dawned on me that he was indicating I should join him or at least climb up to where he was. He had wings and could fly. I did not. I was not a rock climber and had no equipment. Nonetheless, I started looking for a way up the wall. It wasn't easy and took me at least an hour to reach the ledge where the hawk had been sitting. The hawk hopped into a hole in the rock which, because of the ledge, could not be seen from the canyon floor and which I had not noticed when I reached the ledge.


“The hole was not large enough for me to stand and I could barely enter it crouched over. Nonetheless, in an uncomfortable crouch, I entered. Not only was I crouched over, but was carrying the bedroll, water and blanket in my arms in front of me. A few minutes after I entered, I realized that not only could I not see a light at the end of the tunnel but, in fact, I could not see the end of the tunnel. 'This is not going to be fun,' I thought as I shuffled along, my back already aching. Five minutes into the tunnel I realized that another couple turns and light would not be coming from the entrance and, sure enough, I was soon shuffling along in blackness. I supposed it was a half hour later that I saw the first glimmer of light from the end of the tunnel. I emerged into a small, circular depression with low walls. It was lush with vegetation for a place in the desert. It was, perhaps, a quarter of a mile across and when I climbed so I could see over its low wall, I found it was atop a high mesa.


“The hawk was circling above me, higher and higher, until he disappeared in the clear, blue sky. This was where I was supposed to be. I spent an hour exploring and discovered a small spring with rather large pool of crystal-clear, cool water near the wall across from the entrance. Certainly not large enough or deep enough for swimming, but large enough to bathe in, which I did. Refreshed, I found a place shaded from the sun and spread my bedroll. Before bathing, I had drunk my fill of the clear water and while I was hungry, I had fasted enough recently to where that was not a problem.


“I sat and looked around me. The bowl had abundant water, certainly abundant for the desert, so the plant life was lush for a place in the middle of an arid land. Because of the abundant plant life, there was a rich variety of animal life. I seemed to be in a world isolated from the desert, a world vibrant with life. My world was on a high mesa, surrounded by a low wall. Because of the wall, the shadows of evening were slow in coming. I got up and walked to the west wall and sat atop it, watching a spectacular sunset. When the sun had sunk below the horizon, I walked to the east wall and sat, waiting for moonrise.


“The moon gradually climbed above the horizon, a full moon. In the clean air of the desert, it illumined the landscape as no moon in the polluted skies of the cities and indeed, much of the countryside could. Somewhere a coyote howled and an owl's lonely call echoed. All was peaceful and beautiful. I wondered where you were and what you were doing. I wondered if we both were looking at the moon and I felt close to you, the presence of you. I had no desire to go to sleep, but I did return to my bedroll and as I had done during the day, I watched what was going on around me. The day was over and the day creatures were snug in their lairs, sleeping as the night creatures came from theirs.


“I was, so far as I knew, still wide awake when a figure came toward me and sat facing me, saying nothing. I sat in silence as did he. Finally, he said, 'Wash.' I went to the pond and washed in the cool water. When I came back he called me by my Navajo name and said, 'What is your greatest regret?'


“I thought for a long time -- I knew neither he nor I was in a hurry -- before I answered. 'My greatest regret is assuming responsibility for that over which I had no control.'


“He spoke again, 'What is your greatest joy?'


“I didn't need time to think about that. 'My greatest joy is having the love of Derek Wilson.'


“He spoke yet a third time, asking, 'What is your greatest desire?'


“I started to answer off the top of my head, 'To love and be loved by Derek Wilson,' but before I spoke, I realized that was not a desire since it was already a reality. I thought for a long time before I answered. Finally I said, 'My greatest desire is that Derek’s and my love will bring love to others.'


'He said again, 'Wash' and I did.


“When I came out of the pool, he was no longer present and I was growing very sleepy but, before I lay down, he reappeared and said 'Come.' He led me across the desert and as we walked, he spoke to me of the secrets of the Navajo and how I was one of the keepers of the secrets. He revealed many things to me. From time to time we came to water -- a trickle down a rock face, a tiny pool in a bowl worn in the rock by the wind and many others. Each time we came to water, he said, 'Drink. Wash.’ When we got back, I could tell by the stars dawn was near. 'Sleep,' he said and I did.


“I woke when the sun was at the zenith, went to the pool, drank and washed my face. I again sat, watching. A mother coyote came with two pups. While the pups played, she sat and watched me. Finally, she got up, turned and walked away. I felt as though she had somehow shared my life and I hers. As the day wore on, I saw other animals, but none seemed to notice me as she had.


“I again watched the sunset and moonrise and when I went back to my bedroll, a second figure greeted me. 'Yours is a great spirit,' he said and called me by my Navajo name. 'You are a two-spirited one and you have found a two-spirited mate who is also a great spirit. Never fail to honor the spirit of the other.' We then sat in silence as the moon climbed into the sky. Finally he spoke. 'What is your greatest fear?'


“I was shocked as I realized that not long ago I had many fears, but now none came to mind quickly. I thought of the fears that had been mine when I met the Old Ones last year and few remained. As I sat and thought, I suddenly had a great sinking feeling. What if Derek discovered he really didn't want me, if being separated let him see that? 'My greatest fear is that Derek will discover he doesn't love me.’


“'Why do you fear? You have been told your mate is a two-spirited spirit giant. How can you fear?’


“'Because I am not assured my mate is Derek.'


“And why would that matter?'


“'Because my heart belongs to Derek. No other man can bring me the happiness he does, gives me life as he does.'


“He laughed and said, 'Come.'


“As I had done the night before, we walked the desert while he talked of what being a keeper of secrets meant. He did tell me that you, Beloved, had also been chosen, not to be a keeper of the secrets, but as my companion with whom I would share my life.


“We got back shortly before dawn and after he left me, I slept, waking just before the sun crested the horizon. I greeted it, standing and chanting from atop the basin wall. Afterward, I bathed in the pond, filled my canteens, and drank because I knew I was returning to the Pueblo. When my bedroll was ready, the hawk appeared, landed on my shoulder and screamed. I was shocked when he screamed a name that I knew instantly was now my new Navajo name. When he screamed a second time, it was another Navajo name, your Navajo name, our secret names. He then took wing, digging his talons into my shoulder as he launched himself into the air. He was flying, I knew, opposite the tunnel through which we had entered the basin; nonetheless I followed.


“He led the way to a passage through the wall, wide enough for two men to walk abreast and only twenty or thirty feet long. When I stepped through, the horse was grazing in a broad canyon I had never seen before. I mounted and the hawk led the way. While the trip to the basin had taken two days, four hours after leaving the basin I saw the Pueblo.


“Again, my time and Pueblo time did not agree. I was told I had been gone seven days. I would have sworn I was away for only four and a half.”


Jayden and I talked at length about what the possible meaning of his encounter with the Twins—and he was convinced that's who the two were—was for us, but as mysterious as it all was, it did not tell us of our future.****


****The first human born in the Fourth World is Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé who, in turn, gives birth to the Hero Twins called Naayééʼ Neizghání and Tóbájíshchíní. The twins have many adventures in which they helped to rid the world of various monsters. Multiple batches of modern humans were created a number of times in the Fourth World and the Diyin Dineʼé gave them ceremonies which are still practiced today. [Wikipedia]




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