Friday, October 30, 2009

Character of the Week: Nutmeg!

Welcome to Come In Character, Nutmeg. Please tell us about yourself...

Hello, everyone! My name is Nutmeg Cross. I was born seventeen years ago in the piney woods of southern Mississippi, where my father, Thomas, runs a vision quest camp for troubled teenagers.

Nutmeg is an usual name, I know. My folks named me that because, well, they were hippies, see, and apparently, nutmeg can be a rather toxic hallucinogen. My dad never admitted whether he and my mom used it or not... guess it can be really dangerous. But Mom liked the name, so there you go.

My family and friends just call me Meg. Less weird, I guess.

Anyway, my mom left when I was just a toddler, so my dad had to raise me on his own – which I don’t think was terribly easy for him. Over the years, he never talked about my mom. Eventually, he met and married a nice woman named Billie Appleton, and five years ago, they had a kid – my half-brother Jonathan. After a while, I realized that I didn’t really fit in the family snapshot. In fact, Dad and I have never gotten along. I always found it strange that he took so much time helping out other people’s kids, but never seemed to notice that I needed some help, too. For one thing, I don’t think I’ve ever quite accepted my mother’s disappearance – and my father’s unwillingness to figure it out.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved growing up in the country, learning about Native American traditions (like red roads and teepee councils and medicine wheels), and meeting the people that came to my father’s land. I felt at home in nature, and I was happy to be home-schooled up until my high school years. But, still, something was always missing for me. So, several months ago, I hit the road – in search of my real mother. Maybe I was too young to set out on my own, but I was sick of waiting for answers.

Along the way, I met Indigo Cypress – an amazing, resourceful, full-blooded Cherokee with a talent for tracking, living off the land, and surviving in the wilderness. When we met out west, he was living on a reservation with his siblings – and he was ready to hit the road, too.

I’m so grateful that we met. It was lonely, scary, and fairly dangerous traveling by myself – and Indy and I get along so well. He doesn’t even mind helping me find my mother, going from clue to clue – no matter how disheartening the search seems at times. Guess you could say he’s my first love - and my own personal dreamcatcher.

So, that's my story – in a nutshell, so to speak.

Well, what about you? How far would you go to find someone?

72 comments:

Christine H said...

Hello, Nutmeg! I just have to tell you, when I was a little girl we had a cat named Nutmeg. She was very special, and lived eighteen years - until I was out of college and living on my own.

Actually, we had two cats from the same litter. My mom named them Nutmeg and Cinnamon. But Cinnamon drowned in April, trying to walk across our pond. He thought it was still frozen, but it wasn't.

A sad story. But anyway, Nutmeg is a special name for me. She was a long-haired white cat with ginger patches, and exceptionally loving.

Faldur said...

How far would I go?

To the ends of the earth, or into its bowels, despite the suffocating darkness and the weight of all that stone above me.

I cannot bear to think of any of my countrymen trapped underground in a living death.

Especially not Marenya.

Kalila said...

Hi, Meg. You have an interesting story. I'm glad you found another human who can assist you on your journey, but by falling in love, you allow make yourself vulnerable. How can you be sure he won't now lead you astray? And how do you know your mother wants to be found?

Ricky said...

That's pretty negative of you, Kalila.

Kalila said...

I'm just urging her to be realistic, Ricky.

Ricky said...

Well, okay.

Meg, Kalila does have a point. Some people don't want to be found. But if I thought someone I cared about wanted me to find them, I'd keep looking until I died.

Kalila said...

Oh, Ricky. You're always so human and petty-dramatic!

Nevin said...

I think it's rather romantic, Kalila.

Meg, I think you're wonderful, and so lucky to have found love after such an unfortunate upbringing!

Nutmeg Cross said...

Hi, Christine! Aw, that is a sad story. Poor Cinnamon. I can appreciate his fate, though. A similar thing happened to me once. There's a creek on my dad's land, and once I tried to cross it in a rainstorm, not realizing how strong the current had become. Almost drowned myself.

Still, I think it's cute that your cats were named after spices - now, I understand where "Ginger" came from. *winks*

And I'm happy that you had Cinnamon for so long. There were plenty of wild animals on my dad's land, and some were frequent visitors - like squirrels and foxes and feral cats - but I've never had a pet of my own. If only.

Nutmeg Cross said...

I'm happy to hear that, Faldur. It's good to know that there are others who would go to great lengths for their loved ones. Marenya is lucky to have you for a friend... I can only hope she would do the same for you.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Hi, Kalila. I'm glad you find my story interesting, but I must admit I'm a little saddened by your perspective. Although you think it's realistic to avoid love, I have to agree with Ricky. It seems pretty negative to me.

I'm happier now that Indy is in my life - I trust him, and trust is something I value very much. My journey - my life - is better with him in it. And as for love, well, I guess it's hard for us humans to avoid. And I'm okay with that.

You might think I'm crazy, but I have complete faith that he won't lead me astray. As for my mother, though, you're probably right. I don't think she wants to be found... but I'm not doing this for her. I'm doing this for me.

Kalila said...

So what do you hope to gain by finding your mother, Meg?

(See, Ricky? I'm not being negative. This is a sincere request for information.)

Nutmeg Cross said...

Ricky, I should add that I didn't think what you said was melodramatic at all... I think it's very noble, the willingness to sacrifice yourself for someone you love. I often wonder how many humans are capable of that these days...

And thanks, Nevin, for your kindness. I think it's romantic, too, and I do feel blessed to have found such a love.

Indigo Cypress said...

I feel blessed, too, Meg.

Daryl Harper said...

I think I'm gonna be sick.

Amy Thompson said...

Oh Meg, what a beautiful, heartbreaking story. My father and I never got along either, and I ran way from home as fast as I could the day I turned 18. But, that's an ugly story.

Finding your true soul mate is the greatest joy on earth. I hope Indigo feels the same about you.

I would go anywhere, do anything I guess to find my love. When Robert and I were together, and Cal would disappear on a run for weeks at a time, he'd search all Cal's knowh haunts, regardless of the warnings and danger. Being in love with Cal, even back then, I followed Robert everywhere in the search, and was glad Robert was so dedicated at it.

Years later, after Robert died, and Cal and I had been married, I would search alone whenever Cal vanished for even one day.

After our divorce, and his release from prison, he again got tangled up in a dangerous endeavor - luckily this time for the feds - and when his FBI handlers couldn't find him, it was obviously up to me. That was the most scary search.

But even though I know we would never be together again, I still love him, and will to my dying day, no matter what he's done or where his journey leads him.

I hope your love for Indigo is like that. As for your mother leaving, I'm sure she had a good reason. You'll understand when you find her.

So, what are these clues you speak of, and how do you follow them? And how do you support yourself out on the road as young as you are?

Samantha Harper said...

Daryl, you're such a buzzkill sometimes.

Daryl Harper said...

I'm just kidding, Sam. Sheesh.

Calvin Mertz said...

Your journey sounds awesome, Meg. Wish I could join you on your search - I'm pretty good at finding people because I'm an expert at getting lost.

Poor Kalila, too bad you can't experience love. It is the only thing worth living for! Well, that and a good adventure. But hey, the adventure is meaningless without a love to keep you going.

Amy nearly killed herself to get me to admit my love for her. I didn't just rescue her, I also rescued myself. Had she died, I would have killed myself to be with her.

Even though she divorce me, and refused to visit me at all while I was in prison those six years, the thought of her out there somewhere, getting on with her life, kept me sane. I can endure anything as long as she's safe and happy.

Have you had any situations that test your love for Indigo, or his for you? And when you find your mother, what do you hope will happen after?

Nutmeg Cross said...

Sam and Daryl, you guys are weird. *laughs*

Oh, Kalila, I haven't forgotten you! I appreciate your curiosity, however judgmental it might seem at times. *winks*

I guess the short answer to your question is... I don't know what I hope to gain by finding my mom. I just know that something is missing inside me - her love perhaps, or just an understanding of why she left, why she felt she couldn't hack it as a mother.

My last memory of her is pretty sad. I was little - maybe no more than two. I was outside our tiny cabin, in the woods of southern Mississippi, playing in a sandbox that my dad built for me. I remember Mom walking over to me. Her eyes were red - she'd been crying. She kissed me, whispered something, and walked down our long drive, disappearing into the woods. That was the last time I ever saw her... and now, I can't remember what she looks like. Course, Dad says I look a lot like her, which might explain why he despises me so much.

Thomas Cross said...

I don't despise you, Meg. I could never despise you. You're my daughter, and I'll always love you. If you think otherwise, then I've failed you, and for that, I'll always be sorry.

As for your mother, it's just too painful to remember her... I've moved past it. Why can't you?

Nutmeg Cross said...

No, Dad, you haven't moved past it. If you had, you wouldn't have resented me so much...

Thomas Cross said...

Oh, Meg, I don't resent you. I'll admit I haven't been the easiest father, but that's not your fault.

Please come home. Billie and I are worried about you. And Jonathan misses you terribly.

Nutmeg Cross said...

I'm not ready to come home yet. I don't expect you to understand, Dad, but I have to do this. It's my path on the red road - not yours - as you're always fond of saying. I have to stalk the petty tyrants of my past to accept my present. Isn't that what you teach all the kids that do your vision quests? Why isn't that good enough advice for your own daughter?

Thomas Cross said...

Because it's dangerous out there, Meg. You're too young... and too vulnerable... to be on this journey alone.

Nutmeg Cross said...

I'm not alone. I have Indy.

So, leave me be, Dad. I'll come home when I find what I'm looking for... whatever that might be.

Thomas Cross said...

You're a stubborn girl, Meg, but I love you. Guess it's nice to know you got something from your old man.

I can see there's no convincing you to come back, so I'll just keep looking for you... and hoping you're safe.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Thanks, Dad. Tell Billie and Jonathan hello for me.

Wait a second. What do you mean, you'll "keep looking" for me?

Where are you?

Nutmeg Cross said...

Dad?

Nutmeg Cross said...

Sorry, Amy. My dad's interruption upset me a bit. Anyway, I'm back!

Thank you for sharing your own heartbreaking tale... you've certainly been through a lot more than me, and I can only hope that, after all you've suffered (in your childhood as well as your marriages), you'll be able to find some peace... and perhaps a soul mate of your own - someone worthy of your self-sacrifice, loyalty, and determination. I believe that Indigo and I are meant to be together - and you're right... it is the greatest joy on earth.

Perhaps my mother did have a good reason for leaving... perhaps I'll never know. I'll just have to see what tomorrow brings.

As for the actual journey, well, it's not easy at times. Although Indy and I both started out with a little money of our own - and pooled our resources - we have to stop sometimes and take tiny jobs to survive. Luckily, we've learned to spend very little, sleep in the oddest of places (like empty barns), and live off the land whenever possible. It helps that he's a good tracker... and a tamer of animals. Although I grew up a vegetarian - and was pretty sick the first few times I tried to eat meat - I've learned to eat it in moderation. Got to keep up my energy on the road.

And to follow my mom, basically, we have to rely on a nebulous trail of letters, old addresses, and neighbors' clues. My mother's cryptic past has led me from Mississippi to New Orleans, to Los Angeles, to Chicago... who knows where I'll end up?

Alexander said...

I love Mississippi. Charles and I spent some time there a few years ago. (Around Starkville. I think there's a college there.)

As for your question, I personally wouldn't go searching for most people. Life is too short (for those with a normal lifespan) to spend it seeking someone who doesn't want to be found.

So what if when you find your mother she doesn't have the answers you seek?

Stefan said...

I've been tracking someone through two continents and 150 years. So I'd go pretty far to find them I'd say.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Hi, Cal!

Thanks for the offer to help me on my search - if that was indeed an offer. How does being an expert on getting lost help you find people? You mean, 'cause you know how and where they might be hiding?

Yes, love and adventure seem to be all I need at the moment. I would go to the ends of the earth to help someone I love - I'm not sure I would kill myself if Indy died, though. Mostly because I don't believe in an afterlife. But I respect your undying affection for Amy. I can imagine love lasting beyond a relationship's end - and wishing the best for someone you're no longer with. Love never dies, right?

Indigo and I have been in some tough situations - but mostly due to external forces... like the time we had to run from a drug dealer on the south side of Chicago.

And I don't know what I'll do if and when I find my mother. Haven't thought that far ahead. Perhaps I should.

Calvin Mertz said...

Running from drug dealers huh?

*rubs hands together*

I don't know any in Chicago - I'm a west coast boy - but I'm sure it wouldn't take me long to find out who bothered you. And be sure it never happens again. And yes, I'm good at finding people because I know exactly what it takes to purposely get completely "lost".

Stefan: Are you tracking this person for for love of them, or revenge?

All this talk of road trips and the thrill of the hunt makes my soul restless!!!

Amy Thompson said...

Stop it Cal, before you frighten the poor kid. Besides, you have your own mission to accomplish and you've been distracted from it long enough. Just get it over with already.

Sorry Meg, he can be hard to take when he gets excited.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Hi, Alexander. Yes, Mississippi is a seriously underrated place. I'm glad you and Charles appreciated it for a time. Bet a vampire and werewolf could easily disappear there for a while.

I guess it makes sense what you say... about life being too short to search for someone who might not want to be found. But I have to try - I'll be unhappy if I don't - and honestly, this journey has become so much more than just a search for my mother. It's not the destination that even matters... it's what I learn along the way - about her, yes, but mostly about me. So, I don't consider it a waste of time - even if I never find her. Even seeing where she's been and who she met after she left us has given me a lot of insight about her. I don't think it's good to rely on any one person for answers... Sometimes, the point is just to ask the question.

How's that for a pearl of wisdom? If only I were always this rational.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Hi, Stefan. Nice to meet you. Sounds like you have a lot of determination - perhaps even more than me!

Wow. 150 years? Two continents? Yep, that's some serious determination.

I'm assuming it's Charles you're tracking... and that it's not for love, but for revenge.

But I could be wrong.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Oh, Cal. It's a long story - and I certainly wouldn't want you to get hurt in the process of trying to avenge me. Needless to say, we survived.

I never knew what I was missing before I hit the road. So I can understand why such talk might thrill you!

Oh, and Amy, don't worry. It takes a lot to frighten me.

Christine H said...

Nutmeg ~ I never thought about the Cinnamon/Nutmeg/Ginger connection. How funny!

I just called her Ginger because she has reddish hair, and I actually have known a couple of women with that name, and thought it was both pretty and unusual.

Lord Synedd said...

I wait for people to find me. They usually do, sooner or later.

Unless I don't want to be found.

Ginger said...

Nutmeg,

I've always wondered what exactly a dreamcatcher is? I mean, why do you catch dreams? And from where?

Marenya said...

I hope you find your mother, Nutmeg. You must miss her terribly.

I don't think I would have the courage or skill to go looking for someone else, but I would seek help from someone who could find them for me. I would give them anything I had to get my loved one back.

Although I don't have much.

Laura Martone said...

Teehee, Christine. That's funny! Like Meg, I just thought you liked the sound of spices and herbs... I know I do. I knew a sweet girl named Cinnamon when I was younger, and I always thought it fit her well. My grandmother's name is Rosemary - and I've always dreamed of naming a child Parsley, but that might be too cruel.

Chrsitine H said...

Now, Rosemary is a very traditional English name.

Parsley - not so much. LOL! Sounds like a horse or a goat to me!

My friends named their two daughters Jasmine and Sage.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Hi, Christine! Thanks for the explanation. Ginger is indeed a lovely name.

Christine H said...

P.S. I suppose Parsley is better than Chives or Bayleaf.

Christine H said...

Or Garlic.

At least you wouldn't have to worry about vampires!

Ginger said...

Thank you, Nutmeg! My brother used to tease me that I had a dog's name. "Here, Ginger! C'mon girl!"

He used to say that when I was walking home from school with my friends.

How embarrassing!

Laura Martone said...

Rosemary might be a very traditional English name, but my grandma was born in Paris. LOL!

Yes, Parsley would make a great name for a horse! Oh, and I think Jasmine and Sage are lovely names.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Somehow, Lord Synedd, that makes sense to me. You don't strike me as someone who would go after someone else... unless it truly served a purpose.

Incidentally, why wouldn't you want to be found? Do you like to be along in your lair?

Nutmeg Cross said...

Ginger - That's a shame that your brother teased you as a child. Not very nice of him. But then, your name isn't nearly as strange as mine. And I can only imagine what would've happened had I not been home-schooled.

As for dreamcatchers... traditionally, they usually consist of a hoop covered with string, yarn, or horsehair mesh (like a spider web - with a hole in the middle) - and decorated with feathers and beads. Many different Indian tribes believe in them, and they can range in size. I've seen large ones that hang on the wall and small ones that fit in a pocket. But the point is generally always the same: Good dreams and visions will be caught in the owner's web, while bad ones will pass through the hole and leave the owner alone.

Does that make sense?

Nutmeg Cross said...

Oops. I just realized I made a mistake. I meant to ask Lord Synedd if he liked to be "alone" in his lair.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Thanks, Marenya. I hope I find her, too. I do miss her a great deal, but mostly in theory... she left when I was so young.

I don't know if it's courage - or skill - that drives me. Perhaps it's just stubbornness, as my father suspects. Thank goodness for Indigo - he's the talented one.

Indigo Cypress said...

Oh, I don't know about that. You might not be able to track animals, but you have talents of your own.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Thanks, Indy! What would I do without you?

Ginger said...

Yes, it does. Thank you for the explanation.

I think I might need one of those for my room.

Lord Synedd said...

Sadly, my dear, I am an exile, banished from my own country by one who both fears and envies me because my abilities are so obviously superior to his own.

But I am not distressed; the time will come when I will return and take my rightful place.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Yes, Ginger, they're especially effective when we sleep. Do get one for your room!

I carry one with me on my journey. But as I said, Indy is a dreamcatcher for me, too. He helps me to embrace my good dreams and let go of the bad ones...

Nutmeg Cross said...

Hmmm... I wish you the best then, Lord Synedd.

Devi Marconi said...

Hi, Meg. Your story sounds so fascinating, and I wish you the best on your journey.

I have a dreamcatcher, too. I'm not sure that it works for everyone, but believing it in is a must.

Nutmeg Cross said...

Yes, Devi, belief is key.

Ginger said...

Like Santa Claus?

Nutmeg Cross said...

Uh, well, that's not quite the kind of belief I was talking about.

As I've stated before, I'm not a believer in God... and I've never really bought into the whole Tooth Fairy/Santa Claus/Easter Bunny thing. Fun for kids, though.

What I mean, I suppose, is not a belief in a Great Spirit per se - but belief in the power of your dreams - good and bad - and faith in yourself to harness the good ones and release the bad. The dreamcatcher is ultimately just a totem - a symbol to make that happen.

Jonathan Cross said...

What are you saying, Meggy? Santa's not real?

I thought he just kept skipping our house.

Nutmeg Cross said...

No, silly. I already told you... it's just a nice story for kids. If, that is, parents make it seem real. Which ours don't.

If Santa were real, you would be the first kid he'd visit. :-)

Jonathan Cross said...

I miss you. Sniff.

Nutmeg Cross said...

I miss you, too, sweetie, but I'll be back soon enough.

Jonathan Cross said...

Promise?

Nutmeg Cross said...

I promise.

Christine H said...

Nutmeg,
Thank you so much for being our Character of the Week.
Who is your choice for our featured character next Friday?

Nutmeg Cross said...

Hi, Christine. Thanks for letting me share my story.

As for next week's featured character, I'd really like to learn more about Alexander's life. His journey seems so incredible.

P.S. Oh, and for the record, Garlic wouldn't be such a bad name to have. Eventually, it would catch on. Just like April did - after all, it must have been weird for the first person to be named after a month, but now most of us don't even question it.

Christine H said...

True, Nutmeg!!!

Thanks again!!!