17 Getting to know Salali

The rest of the afternoon was much like most Sundays . When it started getting dark everyone was getting ready to leave. He Jin pulled Salali aside to a little girl talk.

" so what do you think of my little Aisling?" She asks right away.

" I think she is quite amazing how she takes care of everyone's needs without ever having anyone say a word. Her intuition is really on point. Oh and I love how the house is decorated. Every room has an elemental feel. My room feels like Earth . What is your room like?" She is excited to find out more.

" wow my little one really has made an impression on you. My room is nothing like the others. It's has always been the commanders room so she has never changed it. The only thing she added was she made me an alter for my Buddha and incense . She placed it on a low lying table under the widow. You know she told me that there is a secret hiding place in every room. Though I have never found ours. She says that it has a secret stash of something special to the commander. He won't tell me either he says I have to find it on my own. " He Jin giggles

" you know Aisling invited me for a girl talk when she washes her hair. Would you like to join us?" Salali looks at her friend wondering what she really thinks of her niece.

" I would love to she must like you to invite you for a chat when she washes her hair. You know she does it the same way as her great great grandmother and great grandmother. You are in for a treat. Do you know what it is she wants to talk to you about?" He Jin gives her a side glance knowing Aisling she only ever has anyone around when she washes her hair is when she needs to talk.

"I asked her to tell me about Onacona. In my excitement to spend time with you I didn't think. I'm sorry." Salali looks regretfully at her friend . She forgot that Aisling didn't want anyone to know .

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" it's ok I know he is the medicine man from there. I know when she is in danger or is in need of guidance she can see him at times. The commander told me about a time when she was seven she almost drowned she said an old Indian man pulled her to safety. After that she would wave at the overgrown area and talk to someone every time she would walk past. It wasn't until about 5 years ago that she started being uncomfortable with the area. This side of the family even though they think she is a little strange pretty much leave her alone. It's her grandfathers side that is the problem they feel she is practicing witchcraft and may be possessed. You know she has both a witch and a medicine man blood in her from her grandmothers side. That's why she is the only Hawkins-Wilson . She took her Irish grandfathers name with her grandmother sir name many often forget that she is actually a Huffman. Her full name is Aisling Daisy Hawkins Wilson Huffman. Aisling is the name of her witch grandmother , Daisy is her Cherokee grandmother and the others you know. Oh that reminds me her grandma Daisy had the same last name as you. " He Jin looks at her in surprise she never thought about that till just now.

" I will ask the council to look into it to see which tribe area she may come from. " Salali looks at her watch .

" well I'm off to chat with Aisling . " she turns and runs up the stairs to the balcony. Excited for her talk.

Aisling is already on the balcony her hair hanging over the rail of the balcony. She has it parted in sections combing it from scalp to end straight down . the piece that is not being combed in a hair clip to keep it from tangled. She hears Salali approach.

" oh you made it . I was afraid you thought I was crazy after all. " she motions her to sit.

" I'm sorry I was visiting with your aunt. " she takes a seat. Watching her combing her hair . It's length is quit impressive.

"Why do you do your hair this way?" She can't resist the urge to touch her hair. It's so soft not corse like hers.

" I remember my great grandmother would flip her hair over the rail and comb it . Letting it dry in the air so that it would not get a moldy smell. She would wash her hair and rinse it in lavender or rose water. I used to love watching her . So I decided to do the same with my hair .so I have never really cut it . Just trimmed to keep it healthy and growing. I don't normally wash it when people are around because everyone thinks I should cut it . " she looks towards the woods just before flipping her hair over the banister to let the wind blow it a little more dry before combing it again.

"So tell me more about your family Salali. I'm very interested in getting to know more?" Aisling changed the subject.

" well we grew up within the Cherokee nation. As you know Astila and I come from a line of medicine men and women. Astila had decided he wanted to learn more about the world outside of our traditions so he decided to study medicine and joined the army to pay for it. That's where he met your uncle. During one of his trips home he brought your aunt and uncle with him. Your aunt and I became fast friends. You know I envy you in many ways. You have such diverse traditions and family . Where we have only the Cherokee way. I want to know where you learn all of the things you know.?" Watching Aisling switch to another section of hair.

" my mom is still living our father died a few years ago . He was sick for a long time. Uncle is my fathers brother. He has no one but us. Astila is the last son on my fathers line. We hope he will find someone he loves and marries soon." Smiling at Aisling hoping she understands what she is hinting at.

" what about you do you like anyone back home." Aisling asks Salali

" nope no one . I want to be a medicine woman before getting married and having children. I'm not ready to give up studying with uncle yet. " seeing that Aisling hair is not only dry but braided on each side of her head hanging down her back. Looking at her watch she realized they had been talking for over three hours about some heavy things as well as some just chit chat. Not once did they talk about the old medicine man. Nor were there any awkward silences. They build each other good night and head to bed . Salali decides that tomorrow she is going to tell Astila and Inola to look in their rooms for a secret hiding place . She really wants to unravel the secrets of this place and people.

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