The drive out to Kykotsmovi from Flagstaff took longer than than the flight to Flagstaff. As they drove out to the center of the Hopi Government, Pahana stared out the window of the rental car as mile after mile of desert went by in a seemingly ever changing hills and arroyos. From time to time, a trail would shoot off towards the horizon. In the distance, the occasional glint of the high desert sun off of a vehicle or home would remind him that people still lived here. The only reassurance he felt was Symon’s hand resting on his knee.
Just short of one hundred miles, the trip took almost two and half hours due to the condition of the road and its sinuous nature. As the finally approached Kykotsmovi, something caused him to look forward. Three mesas rose against the increasing elevation and he felt something deep inside him to start to urge him on but there was also something telling him to leave.
Arriving at Hopi Cultural Center, Symon and Pahana checked into their separate rooms. Symon didn’t want any more problems for Pahana than just his return to his birth home. As they checked in, the front desk clerk looked them over intently but was also quite welcoming. She got Symon checked in first and then studied Pahana as she checked him in.
“Pahana Davidson is it?” she probed with an intensity that made Pahana uncomfortable.
“Actually, no. Davidson is my adopted family name. I am Pahana Shelton.” was his hesitant reply.
The front desk clerk stopped typing and put both of her hands flat on the table.
“Did you say Pahana Shelton?” she gasped.
“Yes. Is there a problem?” Pahana said as he took a step back from the counter nervously.
“Pahana.” was all she whispered under her breath as she looked at his ID. She blushed deeply and finished his check in.
Pahana got his room key and went back out to the car to get his luggage for the few days they would be on the Hopi Reservation. It wasn’t as hot as he expected but he had done enough research to know that long pants and shirts were suggested while in the Three Mesas. As they got settled into their rooms, he giggled at the realization there was a door between their rooms.
He was just about to knock on the door when the phone in his room rang. The loud jarring r-r-r-r-ring of the bell pulled his thoughts back to reality. He thought about ignoring it but the noise was so irritating that he answered it.
“Mr. Shelton?” the clerk’s quiet voice came down the line.
“Yes, this is.” Pahana said with a hint of irritation.
“You have a guest at the front desk.”
Pahana blankly said, “Uhm…thank you. I’ll be right there.” and hung up the phone.
Who would be at the front desk? Pahana paused for a moment and quickly came to the conclusion that Symon must be playing a trick on him. I’ll get Symon for this. He knows I’m nervous enough already and now he tries something like this?
As he walked down the hall towards the front desk, he found himself thinking, “It’s already been a long day, and you want to…” and that thought derailed as he turned the corner to see Symon talking to someone he obviously thought was him.
The guy he was talking to was clearly confused and looked up to see Pahana coming into the room and for a fleeting second had a look of confusion on his face which quickly turned to relief. As Pahana approached, he heard the man say his name was Ahote.
Symon turned around and saw Pahana walking towards them and did a double take back to Ahote. As he did, his jaw dropped.
“I…uh…I am so sorry …. A-hey-te.” Symon said, mispronouncing his name.
Ahote ignored him and walked towards Pahana. “You were aptly named brother. So aptly named!” For a brief moment, Pahana was confused then he remembered the front desk clerk. He turned to her and she smiled a demure but mischievous smile.
Pahana gave her an uncertain smile, but a smile none the less. With Pahana’s smile, she quickly disappeared into the back office leaving them alone.
Ahote spoke first and he grabbed Pahana in a bear hug, “My brother! Where have you been?”
“Uhm, I… Michigan. My boyfriend Symon is a spirit talker and knew there was something missing in my heart. He found that I am Hopi and arranged for me to come here.”
Ahote wiped his eyes, “I have always kept an eye open for your name. After our parents gave you up for adoption, no one for a generation has been given the name Pahana. Pahana means lost white brother. You were not lost but misplaced living with the white man.” Ahote’s voice grew thick with emotion as he continued, “Many of us here on Second Mesa have wondered if you would ever return home.”
Pahana noticed the badge on Ahote’s belt and found himself staring at it trying to read what it was.
Ahote composed himself, “My apologies little brother. I am Deputy Ahote Shelton of the Hopi Nation. The front desk clerk is your little sister, Hehewuti which means warrior mother spirit but most people call her Shelly. My name, Ahote, means restless one. She sensed something out of place and asked that we run a cursory check on you both since you had given a different name than that which was on your ID. She was shaking so hard on the phone, I could hear it. She recognized your true name. I verified it was you and took off to get here as soon as I could.”
Shelly appeared from the back office to announce that their rooms, should they choose to stay would be ‘on the house.’
Ahote smiled and said “My brother, you are welcome in my house. If Symon is why you are here and you are with him, then he is welcome in my home as well.”
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