by Hope Melinda

I met Ebony 12 years ago. I was 23, bored and hadn't found a good shop to buy my favorite "things" from since I had moved back to the Bay Area a year before. It was a good day to go shopping and a friend had told me about Ancient Ways. I was skeptical because I didn't think I'd find a shop that felt as comfortable as my old shop in Southern California, Eye of the Cat. I walked in, cruised around and ended up in front of a jewerly case. I was looking down into the case admiring a fine piece of craftsmanship when a tall thin figure in black stepped up to the other side and asked, "And what can I do for YOU today, darlin'?" I looked up and saw a face that was new, yet very familiar. It was Ebony. (I never called him by Charles). From there, a conversation began that lasted for many years.

Ebony never really spoke too much about his magical practices as matter of teaching me directly. He never challenged my level of knowledge. We recognized each other from the start and even though he was older and more practically trained he never held it over me, nor did he gloat.

Occasionally he'd come over to my warehouse and we'd play music. He'd play some really "bitchin'" witchy guitar and I'd keep the beat on my drums. We had fun raising the dead and playing them a tune. It was always fun remembering through music. Over the years we shared both gently and fiercely. We got way too high, fell apart in tears, drove around talking about everything and nothing and lit up the universe in each other's presence.

When I heard he passed I waited a year and a half to let it pass through me. When it did, the sorrow was a full ripe ball of grief that came out all at once. One deep, soulful howl that cannot ever be repeated broke my stillness and my silence. I was finally able to cry as I let go of the disbelief that he was just "off somewhere" and I'd get a phone call anyday..."Hey Darlin'! It's meee.......Eboneee! Say, what are you doing? I'd really like to get together later and play some music...."

Sometimes when I'm feeling sorry for myself I wish he was sitting next to me on the porch, so that we could have a laugh about humanity. It still feels like a hole somewhere inside me, knowing that I won't turn a corner and see him grinning at me the way he did in that body (I used to tease him about dressing him up in Egyptian garb with my eyes). As he did before, I know, he will come to visit with me as I someday will go to visit with him.

I cannot express beyond these words what he meant to me, as a friend, a teacher, a student, a brother.

Ebony, peace and freedom from the stupid apparatus and bureaucracy of details meant to delay or block the delivery of love and healing, you know I love you.

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