Quiet Seeker


Quiet Seeker was shackled to Isabel in a yurt on the frozen tundra of Siberia.

At first, they were linked back to back, sharing one chain wrapped in a figure eight around each of their wrists.

Eventually, though, they wriggled around to face one another. This took some time, and might not have happened at all had they not each studied dance; Quiet Seeker in New York with the visiting sister of a well-known cellist, Isabel with the wife of a man named Jim, whom she’d met in Amherst while interviewing a scholar of medieval literature.

But because they both had a sense of and experience in intentional movement, they had a grasp on working their bodies through space together, although they had to talk through it in order to visualize the place and direction of the other’s body. Isabel had mastered an esoteric technique in chain-bending that was part of the training of mystic Christian soldiers of the Crusades, specifically a small group of Jesuits from Catalonia.

Thankful for her perfect recall, Isabel spent the better part of a week patiently recreating the technique for Quiet Seeker, who was a very good listener, but whose wrists were somewhat bulkier than those of the Christian mystics, thus slowing somewhat their progress toward release.

When at last they faced one another, each was surprised at the person they saw facing them. As they had struggled, faceless, against each other, each had formed certain images of the other.

Isabel had imagined Quiet Seeker to be older. She knew he was a large man by his wrists, but other than that, he was much darker and younger than he sounded, she thought.

Quiet Seeker was a macrobiotic chef back in Farmington before he’d taken up running guns to a back-water country in Eastern Europe that he’d frankly never heard of before. He woke up one day in Farmington too sick of brown rice and broccoli to go on, and from there had a binge of canteloupe and pizza, mixing his proteins and grains without fear, eventually leading him to progressively more reckless and surprising decisions. He’d sprouted his last, he told himself, and bought a black shirt. Then one day in a dark forest where the soups were thick and the bread was hard, he was caught by armed men with the stinking halitosis of bad dietary habits and the heavy eyebrows of absolute political certainty. He was hauled, wrapped and blinded in a Turkish rug, to the Siberian tundra, where he was shackled to the woman with the lightly accented voice that told him she spoke English as a second language.

“Where are you from?” he asked her one day after she’d steadily questioned him about his life up to the day of his abduction in the dark woods.

“Cincinnati,” she told him. He didn’t think so, not with that voice like melted butter. He pictured her as a beautiful dark-eyed woman from Belize.

Quiet Seeker was surprised to find, when at last they met face to face, that she was small, thin and fair, with a face like a bird, all eyes and nerves. He asked her again where she was from, later, after they’d found their way out of the yurt and back into a grey and sullen city. Again, she said Cincinnati, with that unlikely voice sliding like silk from her sparrow’s mouth. He stared at her for a moment. Thought about packing guns in boxes marked medical supplies. Thought about her and how she’d come to be tethered to him in Siberia. A story she’d somehow never actually told him.

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2 Responses to “Quiet Seeker”


  1. 1 Lollyloo October 19, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Oooh, lovely. My favorite bit is when they capture him with their stern eyebrows.

    I am reminded of the rich international fantasy life of our friend D, and his sparrow wife E. No macrobiotic he, though, ever!

  2. 2 Teresa October 20, 2007 at 9:03 am

    yeah, he-he. I didn’t knew either one of them when I wrote this story, but recognized her (especially) when I pulled it out of the bottomless box of short stories in the study. Thanks!


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