She went to Santa Fe to look under bridges, to save the young man's life with a shirt.
Last time she saw him, they traded clothes, in the scrubby forest in Texas. He was slender, young, with beautiful, soft, long hair. His name was Dove, and he was wearing ordinary jeans and a white teeshirt. For some reason, they thought trading clothes would be romantic. They'd have the scent of each other. They'd wear each other on the outside of their sleeves. Kundra was slender, too, except for her bust, and was happy that his clothes fit her. He went off wearing her long wrap-around skirt from India. And a dashiki, from Africa, a paler, more subtle shade of yellow with unsubtle designs in hot colors around the edges of the loose shirt with huge sleeves and a deep neck. He looked great for being in the woods.
Somehow, though, probably because she was spending so much time with another young fella, she never seemed to run into him after that. She hadn't been at her tent much, and she didn't know where his was. When she found out he'd gone off hitch hiking, she was mortified. He was still wearing her clothes, someone had told her. Because she was wearing the only set of clothing he had come with. It was southern rural Texas.
Nothing wrong with Texas, but some of the locals wouldn't take too kindly to that sort of boy who looked like a girl when they pulled up to offer a ride, letting on with whoops and hollers that they thought she was just lovely and desirable, and then, when she turned out to be…..a Boy! Lord have mercy!
She knew he had a good chance of getting killed, or at least beaten up. And she wanted to make sure he showed up where he was going, to apologize for losing him if he did, to exchange clothes again. To comfort him after the trials and tribulations of his trip. He was only 18, naïve, fluffy. Although, he was tough enough to live under a bridge. And really, Kundra was ready for whatever next adventure presented itself, whether she found him or not.
She had not lived in houses herself for a while. Of course, she did have a car, but she rationalized she could own it, and be part of the oil industry's destruction of the world, because her healing work overweighed the pollution. She had become a vagabond, too wild and free to be stuck in a building, paying for utilities, using kitchen gadgets, signing year leases. Still, she hadn't ever lived under a bridge.
It sounded fascinating when he told her about it. "There are different clans in Santa Fe, all really different. They aren't exactly like gangs. They aren't mean. And they aren't like the KKK clans 'cause we don't hate. For a while, I was in the Doris clan. Doris goes with a different guy every month. But she doesn't sleep with him. He's just her boyfriend. I think she's still a virgin. Then, the next month, she switches to the next guy in line. And everyone hangs out together."
"They guys don't get jealous?"
"Well, maybe some, but they keep it to themselves. They're always nice about it. Everyone loves everyone. No other girls in it, though, just her. She's really sweet. Really little. She smiles a Lot."
"What kind of clan are you in now?"
"It doesn't really have a name. They just call it the bridge clan. Not like the Doris clan, though. More rough and tumble. More down to earth. Kinda quiet. We stick together. We're buds. We live under a bridge, but it's not the best one. They kicked us out from under the best one a couple weeks ago."
She figured- how hard could it be to find a bridge clan? She could look under bridges, ask people about it who looked like clan people. And apparently, there were a lot of those. She'd probably see Dove wandering around the middle of the town. Or going into the dumpsters behind the health food stores. Playing music on the streets. And, Kundra didn't have anyplace else she needed to go. She just lived wherever she was. No place else she needed to live, 'cause she didn't want to live in a house any time soon. Stuffy air from heaters, allergenic fumes coming off the walls, straight lines, walls made of dead trees, and costing so much to live in that she would be tied to a stultifying life just to have the privilege of living in a box that closed off nature from her. Nature scintillated to her awakened vision. She could see trees vibrate between each other with love. Vibrate love at her. Nature was her friend. Living outdoors was easy. Maybe she could live under a bridge.
She was glad he didn't live in the Doris clan anymore. How could she compete? Doris was little. Probably thinner than Kundra. What kind of magnetism must that girl have? What rare beauty? What charm? She had never wanted to have a clan named after her until that moment, but she shook it off quickly as the most ridiculous desire she had ever had. Kundra wanted to be wearing the flowing yellow earth goddess clothes that Dove had walked off with, if she ever met Doris. Maybe she would look as almost as pretty as Doris. Maybe Doris had moved away. Maybe she had gotten fat.