The Twin From the East
When you're young, you'll do
anything to discover truth. Reckless, driven, you wonder whether it was all
destined to occur of if it was something inside of you that had to get out,
find what needed to be found, as if the entire affair had been prewritten,
predestined, or even preordained. But for identical twins it's always a little
more difficult to see if it was entirly you or your brother or both working in
concert with some cosmic umbilical cord still attached pulling strings. Perhaps
its importance reveals the answer? And if it is fulfilling a prophecy then most
likely these things are out of your control. History will decide this one though
because of what has happened.
What made Thomas think it
might have all been a fluke was that he had absolutely no inclination of what
was to befall him when he met his twin Joshua at the airport in Winnipeg. He
didn't really know what was going on with Josh other than he was busy at odd
jobs and writing a book about something to do with Indians. His job in Hong
Kong was taking so much of his time that he barely knew what was happening with
any of his family. He knew his brother could take of himself so as long as he
said he was all right he didn't worry about him. It was also, in their unspoken
twin language, a sign of respect not to pry or worry. To show concern or worry
was bad form. It was just their way. They had always done their own thing,
never not doing what they wanted for the sake of the other, maybe because it
was less crowded that way. Even telephone calls were rare, usually occurring
when one of them had a dream. Recently Josh had called him in Tokyo during a
business trip and the first thing he said was ‘What happened last night?' And
it had been a bad evening.
Tokyo was crowded and on the
weekends it was if everyone tried their hardest to pack as much living as they
could in two days. Sprint drinking and Kareoke left what expatriates called platform
pizzas wherever there was space at Shinjuku train station, some men passed out
as if on a crucifix, arms outstretched yet completely untouched despite being
the busiest train station in the world. That night Thomas had gone out with
some of his Japanese friends from work for a birthday party and heated sake had
been consumed with round after round of beer with sushi and noodles and
lobster. He didn't miss his train but he had fallen asleep and ended up at the
end of the line. Harrassed and dead tired and with no money he had been forced
to sleep on the street near the statio until the train started, maybe more
humiliating than painful. Premonitions and dreams were a type of gateway to see
each other, like a theater in the mind activated at night. Josh was
particularly responsive to these kind of dreams though Thomas had had his share
of hard times after five years in Asia.
He flew out of Hong Kong the
day after a birthday party for a Scottish friend, staying up all night at his
regular Irish bar dressed in his kilt, and hadn't left enough time to change so
he crossed the Pacific Ocean with air-conditioning blasting his bare legs and
headbobbing from a nasty hangover, the happy reek of Scotch everyone around
him. Didn't matter, he needed a break. Anything to get out of the
claustrophobia of Hong Kong.
Since he had left Canada five years ago, Josh had
become interested in Native American culture. He never asked for much so when
he had asked Thomas to come to his final Sundance, he couldn't say no. Manitoba
countryside in late June was just the balm he needed to get Asia out of his
It was a few months before George W
Bush finished his second term in office when he arrived in Winnipeg. While he waited for his
baggage, a tall Indian with braided hair and moccassins approached him, looking
as if he knew Thomas from somewhere.
"Can I help you with something?" The Indian bowed his head
and then spoke softly. He could probably smell the booze.
"I believe it is you who can
help me," said the stranger. Respectful. Stopped his crankiness in its tracks,
"What are you doing in
Manitoba?" Voice smoky.
brother lives here." He took off his sunglasses and squinted at him against the
sun glaring through the windows. "Actually he studies with an Indian Elder."
Taking a step back, he bowed his head low and put his hands together as if in
it Grandfather Cardinal he apprentices with?"
"Yes, that's his name. You
know of him?"
"He's my father." The Indian
shook his hand and smiled. "So it is true. Rainbow Thunderbird does
have a twin brother. You are his twin yes?" Thomas nodded when he heard his
brother's Indian spirit name. Mr. Cardinal's son took out a tobacco pouch, held
a pinch of tobacco in front of him, uttered some words that could be Cree as a
prayer, and then handed Thomas the tobacco.
the Hopi prophecies are being fulfilled," he said, looking into his eyes as if
searching for a glimpse of something. "Where have you come from?"
just flew in from Hong Kong."
East," he said. "And you're wearing a red kilt."
going to the Sundance in Selkirk?"
this year. It's tough to do you know. Took me six years to graduate." He put
both his hands on his chest. "It is an honor to meet you." He gave Thomas a
small bow and walked away with an unhurried swagger.