Friday, June 16, 2006

I watched Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans on HBO Wednesday night. I hadn't seen it since it had been in theaters. After watching him and the man who played his brother Uncas, I just now managed to step out of my cold shower.


Hawkeye (left) Uncas (right)

During one of my city hiatuses, I moved to Lawrence, KS around the time when the movie came out. Lawrence is home to Haskell Indian Nations University and also has a decent sized Native American population. Lawrence is night and day to Topeka since it is a University town, including Kansas University. If I had to compare it to anywhere, it is like a larger Northern Exposure kind of town with its own pulse and vibe and eccentrics were abundant.

It was Christmas Eve, and I was sitting in church before midnight mass. My mom and Jack were both involved in church duties before service, so I was alone, sitting in a pew in the middle of the cathedral. I was pensive, thoughtful, looking at the stained glass, listening to the choir sing Christmas hymns and smelling the incense and candles. I sank into my seat and watched as people filtered in and settled. Sporadic rushes of cold air that smelled like sharp ice would waft over my face, let in through the side door at the front of the church. It was during one of those temperature fluxes that I looked up and saw him enter. It was Uncas from Last of the Mohicans. No, not the real one, but a dead ringer.

Well now, that was unexpected.

My jaw dropped as the gorgeous man walked in with his extended Native American family. Mom, dad, sisters, grandmother, all made their way to the back. Though I was ashamed of staring, because my gaping might be mistaken by them as ignorance or hostility, I couldn't turn away. His loose, long, jet black hair hung down his back, framing his high cheekboned face and angular jaw. He was tall and toned, with smooth tan skin and an intense but non-threatening stare. He wore a dark blue jacket and some sort of shirt that revealed the top of his hairless chest. Indian jewelry hung around his neck. Every female with a pulse turned and looked at this exotic, gorgeous man as he gracefully walked by and stirred our primal instincts as we sat inside the House of God.

After they settled into one of the last pews, I had a sudden urge to move to the back of the church. But, that would mean forfeiting my mom and Jack's spot so I could lust over Mr. Last of the Mohicans, and well that just wasn't a very nice thing to do on Christmas Eve.


So, I spent the service craning my head back, trying to get a glimpse. Mostly, I'd meet the eyes of the same old woman who moved her head "just so" every time I turned. She seemed to be determined to block my view, as if she knew why I was turning around and wanted to save me from my lustful, sinful thoughts. I restrained from yelling at her to move her damn head so I could see the Native God.

After I took communion, I walked back to my seat and saw him in the back, their family a bronze line in the sea of white faces. When the usher directed their row to go forward, I faced the front, waiting for him to pass. I had hope that my mom knew who the family was, and therefore who HE was. She knew everyone in their church. When he was even with us, I nudged my mom.

ME: Do you know him?

MOM: (studying the Native God) No, I don't.

ME: Fuck.

MOM: (admonishing) Anne.

ME: Sorry.

MOM: (glares, then softens.) I agree he's gorgeous.

ME: (embarrassed, defensive) I didn't say anything about that.

MOM: (gives me the I'm-your mother-and-see-through-your-BS look)

ME:(fidgeting) Can you ask any of your church busy body friends if they know him?

MOM: Sure, let's discuss it later though.

ME: Okay.

I had a feeling that several daughters were having the same conversations with their mothers as he passed their rows. Most likely sans the profanity.

After the service, the family, along with Mr. Last of the Mohicans, seemed to vanish into thin air. Days following, my mom asked the appropriate church ladies about the man. They all said they remembered seeing him but didn't know who he was.

Unfortunately, I never saw him again after that night. He was like a vision that sauntered in and out of my existence, never knowing the impression he made.


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