At night I look up at the stars. First, I look for Orion; his belt has three stars, and I wonder if any of my distant ancestors ever stared at the night sky, swatting away mosquitoes and wondering who the hell is Orion? Well, of course, there was!
Leo, I don’t believe I am at the end of life; because, except for a few relatives who died young due to hunger, poverty or plague, my family on both sides — except papi— is known for its longevity.
(My Papi died of a heart attack at 63. The two of us were walking down a street in the Bronx when he fell to the ground and died in my arms.)
I don’t have heart disease; that is for sure.
Of course, people die for many reasons. If heart disease doesn’t kill you, Cancer will, or a runaway bus. All I know is we don’t know when or why our time is up. But then that wasn’t the important question anyway.
Who was she — that ancient ancestor of mine, who stared up at Orion? How overwhelmed by the grandeur must she have been that she created a story to explain the magic of lights in the heavens?
Around the campfires she told and retold her stories — yes, stories as in the plural because no decent storyteller stops at just one — anyhow, she told her stories until everyone believed they were true. It is certain her inheritors safeguarded the stories of mighty Orion; because, they were the heritage and birthright of all who listened.
Tumbling through the eons Orion arrived here, a little less glossy than he was — reduced from a god to a myth, but he made it and not too many others could say that. Perhaps as a kindness, Orion brought with him my unknown, unnamed ancestress, whose stories touched billions of people, making him famous on their journeys through time. I’m proud of her.
I wonder what her name was? What she looked like; how she lived and died? Occasionally, when I was younger I used to wonder if her truth is any less than Einstein’s? But now that I am older and wiser, I know Einstein still has a little catching up to do.