And now, the conclusion from last week’s cut scene.
Brian’s eyes didn’t move, nor did he flinch. Nathan was fairly certain that Brian’s 6’1” stature and typical SoCal demeanor meant he didn’t back down, but he was also fairly certain this didn’t happen to him too often. Brian’s next words, however much he had dialed up the intensity between them, were serious.
“So do you sacrifice animals?”
Sharon grabbed her purse while Nathan responded. “No, my tradition is against it. While I understand the mystical importance of sacrifice, I find most people today put more value in objects than living beings: the better sacrifices are something that you would care to lose. I’m also not going to ask anyone else to do something I’m not willing to do myself, and since an animal wouldn’t understand…”
Sharon was pushing at Brian, since she was on the inside of the booth. Brian finally looked at her, and Nathan drank down the remainder of his sake. “What?”
“I would like to use the restroom if you don’t mind; you boys play nice while I’m gone.” Sharon got up after Brian did; Nathan was pouring another shot of sake for himself.
Brian spoke first. “I’m sorry if I’m being an ass.”
“Don’t worry; I like my guys with spunk.” Nathan cracked a half-smile.
Brian chuckled again. “So, what exactly does it mean, being a Shaman?”
“What does it mean being a Catholic? Not trying to be obtuse, but… What you’re asking for is a context that isn’t easy to explain. When someone says they’re Catholic people have certain preconceived and hard to explain notions that go along with that. I can’t bundle up and give you those same preconceived notions for Shamanism. At its most basic it means that at some point, when I am ready, whatever Divine force that set the Universe in motion will send me people that need guidance, and I will have to do my best to guide them in whatever way I can, eventually, the people who listen to me will constitute a community of their own. It means a life of spiritual service, same as being a priest, or a community leader.”
Brian took another sip. “So why do it?”
Nathan shrugged. “I don’t have an answer for that. I wanted my life to have meaning, and this was the meaning I found. I embrace it, and everything that comes with it.” Brian nodded.
Sharon returned from the bathroom shortly after the food had arrived. The two had been sitting in relative silence. Brian had broken off conversation to answer a text, and Nathan was trying to surreptitiously stare at Brian’s physique. “What’d I miss?”
Brian turned to her. “What? Oh… nothing, food just got here. Danny was texting me to see what we were doing. They bought two twelve-packs of Corona and have pulled out the beer pong table.”
“Oh no, last time we went Danny puked in my car while we were taking him home. I am not going anywhere near that beer-pong table.”
“Chill, I told him I’d ask you what we were doing anyways.”
Sharon hmphed as the waiter came back with the masago. Brian looked at it, then up at Nathan. “Is that…?”
“Yup. It’s kinda like caviar, only a lot less expensive, and slightly less flavorful. It tastes a lot like egg yolk and salt, with a different texture. I’m actually really bad at explaining this.”
Brian smiled, “You can explain a religion that I imagine is rather rare to people that know nothing about it, but food is out of the question?”
Nathan smiled back, one side larger than the other, crinkling that eye as he answered “Yup,” just before popping the piece of sushi in his mouth.