Love Medicine

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich Read Free Book Online

Book: Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich Read Free Book Online
Authors: Louise Erdrich
and the good. Her defeat. Her reckless victory. Her sons.
    I had to close my eyes after a while. The mix of beer and rose made my head whirl. The lights, shooting high, made the ground rock underneath me. I waved away the bottle when Lipsha touched my hand with the cold end of it.
    “Don’t want no more?”
    “Later on,” I said. “Keep talking.”
    Lipsha’s voice was a steady bridge over a deep black space of sickness I was crossing. If I ‘just kept listening I knew I’d get past all right.
    He was talking about King. His voice was slurred and dreamy.
    “I’ll admit that,” he said,
    “I’m scared of his mind. You can’t never predict when he’ll turn. Once, a long time ago, we went out hunting gophers. I let him get behind me. You know what he did? He hid in the bushes and took a potshot.”
    “Lucky. ” “That’s right. I steer clear of King. I never turn my back on him, either. ” “Don’t be scared of him,” I said. I was managing to keep a slim hold on the conversation. I could do this as long as I only moved my lips and not the rest of me.
    Sure. King never took a potshot at you.”
    “He’s scared underneath.”
    “Of what?” said Lipsha.
    But I really didn’t know. “Those vets,” I said, “are really nuts.”
    “He’s no vet,” Lipsha began. But then blackness swung too hard, tipping me. For a while I heard nothing, saw nothing, and did not even dare move my lips to speak. That didn’t matter.
    Lipsha went on talking.
    “Energy,” he said, “electromagnetic waves. It’s because of the temperature, the difference sets them off. ” He was talking about the northern lights. Although he never did well in school, Lipsha knew surprising things. He read books about computers and volcanoes and the life cycles of salamanders. Sometimes he used words I had to ask him the meaning of, and other times he didn’t make even the simplest sense.
    I loved him for being both ways. A wash of love swept me over the sickness. I sat up.
    “I am going to talk to you about something particular … …I began. My voice was serious, all of a sudden, and it scared him.
    He moved away from me, suspicious. I was going to tell him what I’d heard from hanging at the edge of the aunts’ conversations. I was going to tell him that his mother was June. Since so many others knew, it was only right that he should, too.
    “Your mother . I began.
    “I can never forgive what she done to a little child,” he said.
    “They had to rescue me out of her grip.
    I tried again.
    “I want to talk about your mother ….. Lipsha nodded, cutting me off. “I consider Grandma Kashpaw my mother, even though she just took me In I ike any old stray.”
    “She didn’t do that,” I said. “She wanted you.”
    “No,” said Lipsha. “Albertine, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
    Now I was the one who felt ignorant, confused.
    “As for my mother,” be went on, “even if she came back right now, this minute, and got down on her knees and said
    “Son, I am sorry for what I done to you,” I would not relent on her.
    I didn’t know how to rescue my intentions and go on. I thought for a while, or tried to, but sitting up and talking had been too much.
    “What if your mother never meant to?” I lay down again, lowering myself carefully into the wheat. The dew was condensing. I was cold, damp, and sick. “What if it was just a kind of mistake?” I asked.
    “It wasn’t no mistake,” said Lipsha firmly. “She would have drowned me.”
    Laying still, confused by my sickness and his certainty, I almost believed him. I thought he would hate June if he knew, and anyway it was too late. I justified my silence. I didn’t tell him.
    “What about your father?” I asked instead. “Do you wish you knew him?”
    Lipsha was quiet, considering, before he answered.
    “I wouldn’t mind.”
    Then I was falling, and he was talking again. I hung on and listened.
    “Did you ever dream you flew through the

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