Please, please, please, Gods, forgive me for what I did last night.
This morning, I ran back to my apartment, showered, changed, and went out for a hangover IV. The cure nearly made me late for a meeting. I told Akah Kara that I needed to attend a religious ritual. It is so embarrassing to think that I didn’t observe the proper sexual etiquette for an unmarried woman that I couldn’t bear tell lim that I needed a purification.
Kartreytin’s priestesses bathed and re-sanctified my hair in the goddess’s small offshoot of the main Temple of Yilrega that the Ịgzarhjenya built in Galasu just after the Occupation. I paid my respects to the god in the public part of ler temple once the purification had finished. My mother and several aunts have all taken initiation into the mysteries, so they can see the icon in the inner sanctum. I joined the non-initiates along the outer wall. The small offering spaces have crisp, new images of the god in them, just like the ones in the rebuilt temple in Menarka.
Neither has as much character or history as the small temple down the street from my family in Kobsarka. The women in my family used to leave my sister and me in the outer chamber while they went to secret rituals in the inner one, and the two of us would usually end up climbing trees outside with a few boys.
I’ve never wanted to worship Yilrega intensely, but I go when the temple is convenient to me or with family. I worship Anumga and Sayimga, as befits an Ịgzarhjenya politician. Neither of them has temples in Galasu, so I have been visiting the ones to Likhera and to Gyisfen, which the new monarchy has placed beside the temple to Enahari near the palace.
Today, one of the priests painted geometric designs on my forehead. From inside the secret chambers, I heard chants in a language I don’t know. While on the Skyrail, I realized that the next time I visit the Dream Garden — if that coworker is there — le is so hot — I need to wear one of the gyena caps preemptively so the sex is not an issue.
Salus, what are you thinking? How could sex not be problematic with a Shiji woman?
Dad vidded me as soon as I arrived home, and I talked to lim for a good hour. I told lim that I went to a Dream Garden, and le asked me about my boss and my job. Le’s still in Īpa, not Kobsarka, so le doesn’t know what the family has decided to do during the rain dances this year. My sister has replaced me in most family functions, and I’m happy that le’ll have an opportunity to shine. Father talked for some time about the diplomatic envoy and ler role as the cultural translator, and le apologized for not visiting me in Galasu when le was here last week. I reminded lim that I didn’t arrive until the 49th.
After that call, I vidded home and talked to my mother and grandmother, along with my aunt Kseita and ler husband Kesa. Grandmother wants me to register at the Narahji Community Center as soon as possible so they can send me notices, and I have no other way to legally obtain the naksbetru that I need for shrine offerings. It’s a controlled substance in Shija.
Mother pointed out the geometric pattern on my forehead, which is admittedly very visible due to my light skin, unlike practically everyone in the Canyons. The point of the designs is their subtlety. Le asked if I had plans to join the mystery cult, and I said no.
The embarrassing situation with a coworker is not a divine sign. A mystery cult? I could never do something like that right now because I have just moved, and they require too much time and dedication. Besides, Grandmother and I discussed it during our private meeting. Le has other plans for me. Since I am no longer mourning, le wants me to meet someone at the family’s satellite home soon, provided we can both schedule it.
Grandmother transferred me to the line in ler matriarchal office, a clever, wide room filled with furniture, books, and old-fashioned technology. Le mentioned networking with the Kohjenya, one of the groups from the Late Occupation. My grandmother knows an Iturji Kohjenakri, and my parents dislike them all. It seems antiquated to ally with them, but my grandmother says that they will be important when I run for public service. They favor our family. It is 1865, not 1825, so I don’t know what that means. Any help counts.
Finally, I watched a lecture on politics, but I couldn’t concentrate. I’m reproducing the scattershot lists that I made.
- shaking windows
- emergency landings
- chants in my ears
- dying gods
- resurrected gods
- getting caught in Shiji summer storms
- loss of items
- (How does this relate to the impermanence of life as outlined by Akah Saleisi?)
- my boss’s sadness
- old men
- writing alone
- holographic journeys
- reconciliation with those I hate
- reunion with what I have lost
- tonight’s conversation with Suka
- professional competence
- immersion in love’s madness
- attainment of Akah Kara’s trust
- running through cold fountains
- success in love and war
- income-based resource allocation form
- realization of the meaning of life
- donation of hair to the Temple of Kartreytin
- respite from routine tears
- relaxation with friends in a bath house—must make local friends
- sojourn on Riverside Street
Suka told me via messaging that Dream Gardens have led to all kinds of horrible stories on the fora.
Akah Kara told me that authorities found a woman in one of the garden nooks by a fountain, ler head smashed in and blood and brains pooling into the water. Le hadn’t noticed ler skull being bashed in. Ler facial expression was lax and loose. The police arrested a former lover.