Sigourney was relieved when she turned a corner and lost sight of the guards. Sukhang approached a small door in the wall. It was opened by a monk who smiled and invited them to enter a colorful courtyard lined with potted plants. Half-a-dozen doorways covered by cloth flaps led to the monks’ living quarters. Sukhang pulled back one of the coverings, and Sigourney followed him into a smoky sitting room with a metal stove in one corner. Heat radiated from wood burning in a hole at the stove’s base.
“You sit there.” Sukhang pointed to a wooden lounging chair covered by thin padding. He pushed his hat back and scratched his head near his right temple, as if trying to decide what to do next. It was her first chance to see him clearly. She guessed from his leathery skin that he was middle aged. His face was round, his nose flat. Not a handsome face, but a kind one. His black eyes shone with an intensity that gave him an eager look. He was so much shorter than Sigourney, she had to resist the impulse to rest her elbow on his shoulder.
She sat down where he directed. “What do we do now?”
“Wait for Karmapa. Go to him. It is great honor.” Sukhang took an old tea pot, swirled it to check for water and shoved it on the stove.
“Can you tell me about him, Sukhang? Why is he so important?”
“Karmapa complete cycle of births and reach Nirvana, but he come back and help others. Karmapa like Dalai Lama. His spirit move from person to person. This Karmapa’s spirit found when he seven years old.”
Monks entered the room from time-to-time, and each smiled warmly at Sigourney as they prepared more tea and left. She marveled at how serene they looked, despite the Chinese soldiers outside their door and the harsh climate in which they lived. She needed to find such serenity in her own life. It was something she would work on when she got home. Home. The word brought images of Debbie to mind. Sigourney had expected to see her daughter in three more days. She still could if she left the manuscript with the Karmapa. All the more reason to do so, she thought.
The chair wasn’t particularly comfortable, but she found the exhausting day taking its toll, and her eyes closed.
Sigourney became aware of something nudging her shoulder. When she opened her eyes, she discovered Suhang shaking her.
Sigourney's Quest - Excerpt
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