I hereby confess to a long-standing aversion to the specifics of religious texts of all manner and make and creed. I hereby confess. It has been 18 months since my last confession, I must admit. I must admit and I will take notes and I will make witness to that which I perceive and conceive to be the ultimate, penultimate or third to the penultimate sacrfiicial lamb.
I like lamb, Rainbow says. Rainbow is a flippant gypsy, a hippie’s grandchick living in a blanket tent, a yurt, among the coyotes and meth dealers in the way back beyond El Rito, where every little trailer house has a meth lab. I have a golden lab, myself, a golden lab and a monkey, who came to me through monkey rescue, a facility that collects, captures and rehabilitates monkeys who have been led down the garden path, who have been stimulated beyond their monkey mind’s capacity.
Rainbow is Rainbow’s name, not a name she blended for herself while tripping on ecstasy and dropping out of the BFA program at her little private college. Rainbow’s parents are Lisa and Don, and they did tune in and drop out and then drop back in again like they all did, and they did, and they did, and I thank you. This is an anthropological fact, a history of American family life from the very beginning. Handed down in old journals, in trunks and satchels, some thin faded handwriting sitting in a trunk in an attic until one day it is not.
I fold my clothes neatly and pack them in a trunk that will be stored belowdeck. The journey will take almost twelve months. Not that I knew that, not really. Just to take my trousseau, the pillow cases, the napkins, the tablecloths, the little fine handkerchiefs. And by the time we got there, I admit I was a bit ruined. That is what happened. Too long at sea. Looking out at the waves, rolling, diving, the heads of seals or were they sea women, mer-maids, bobbing along with us sometimes for days at a time. I heard them calling, half seal, half woman, and I wanted to jump in. I’ve written my family, whether they will ever get it or not I do not know, to tell them.
After the ship docked in Newfoundland, I was to join my husband to be, and we were to build and farm and bear children. And I knew long before we landed that I would not be there, just a trunk with linens and a note to Mr. Joseph Nugent, the man I’d contracted to marry. Thanks for the passage, mate, I said, and I tipped my hat to him as I slipped past, dressed as a boy, and off into my future on the high seas, the low life, the adventures only afforded those with the right appendages. I’d had my lessons, well and good, in the hold, in the corners when noone was looking, and I knew just how it might be done.
Good idea, teaching women to read. Glad someone thought of it. When we first set sail, I knew nothing but needlepoint and looking down, biting on my lips to make them red and appealing. Needlepoint’s got nothing on sailor’s knots, though, and I took to that as needlework with a purpose. To make a rope that would take me either to freedom, or the gallows. All the same to me, by then.
A ship is a small thing on a big ocean. Even the largest of vessels cannot but take on water, and the pitching is something that cannot be easily described. I’ve held tight to ropes that swung me high and crashed me down in rains so heavy that I could see nothing but water, the pitching sea, the occasional blast and blind attack of lightning, thunder and wind so hard I was practically deaf with it. Holding on, like a monkey, desperate, small and light, until suddenly it seemed, the storm had passed and we found ourselves, on deck, below, anywhere and everywhere, soaked and covered with bruises. Alive and free. That’s what did it for me. Alive and free, like any free man, taking the air deep into my lungs. Decided then and there, I am no sacrificial lamb. And that is my confession, in this year of our lord 1853, March 18, as the spring winds begin to blow.