Thursday, November 18, 2010

George Clooney and the Unseen. Part One.

I found him late one afternoon when I went to dig some burdock roots to add to the supper pot. He had been foraging also, but by the time I came upon him, he was sitting disconsolately on a tree stump, chewing a stalk of something inedible. I motioned for him to follow me, and that is how it came to be that George Clooney lived with me, with us - the Unseen Tribe, for one season of the river.
    The Unseen Tribe consists of three hundred and eighty-four people. We have a sister tribe, the Unnoticed Ones. At last count, they consisted of four hundred and five people. Their settlement is even deeper in the tangle of jungle that is our world. We meet only rarely, but we share the ability to hide ourselves from others - it has always been so.

I presented George Clooney to my family and friends. They did not question my decision to be seen by one of the faded people. It was obvious that he needed help: he was in a disheveled state - clothes torn, hair awry. We hastened to give him a drink of chestnut honey and herbs. He would join us for the evening meal that night, and on many nights to follow. My father gave him some rough linen trousers to wear. They were the legacy of a misguided missionary and were many years old, but freshly washed in river water and laid on fragrant bushes to dry. Somehow it didn't seem likely that George Clooney would wear the customary leather codpiece, as sported by the men of our tribe. We had tried to make the missionary man wear one and he had been most adamant that it would be unseemly for a faded person to be seen thus attired.

Because George Clooney was new to us, he had to sleep outdoors for a few nights, to give his dreams a chance to meet ours. We supplied him with soft leaves and vines.
After a few days, my father said that George Clooney should move into my woven hut with me. He was still in a slightly confused state. He couldn't seem to remember how he had come to be with us and what he was supposed to do next. We conversed with signs, sounds and little drawings scratched into the dust with sticks. As usual with a stranger, it was much easier for us to understand him than the other way around. When truth dawned on him eventually - when he realized that all he had to do was be quiet within and he would understand, we all laughed with relief. George Clooney became very talkative.
    He tried to explain the concept of "fame" to us. Primarily, he seemed put out that we had never heard of him or ever seen his likeness. This caused him great distress and his anguish made the children cry. I took him aside and gently tried to explain that in our tribe, stories only live once. You live your story until you die. Others know your story, but may never tell it. When you and your generation die, your story ends forevermore. His way of living a story over and over was akin to torment for us.        
    George Clooney shook his head and made a little whirling motion with his finger next to his temple. The children saw this and laughed. They followed him to the river where they all went for a swim and played mud games until dusk.
Written by Lily Turner, March 2010.


Chris said...

Part 2 soon please!

Jan said...

looking forward to more. :)