As if drawn by a magnet, Levi spent the morning before his wedding walking the perimeter of the temple pyramid, gathering courage and peace for the day to come. He considered the stories that played out across the stelas. He already had a rough translation in mind for most of the carvings and could piece together the rest with context clues.
Once he had a bit of time—probably post-honeymoon—he planned to sit down with his four books of Codexis and really hash out the deeper meanings. Moving to Guatemala would actually give him the chance to absorb the energy of his surroundings as he translated. There was something to be said for looking at the stelas side-by-side rather than a picture at a time.
He still couldn’t shake the notion that there was a Biblical connection. Nicholas always wanted to shove aside any references to the spiritual realm as the Mayan’s worshiping the sun. But Levi had read too much of the text to dismiss a reference to God, if such a being existed.
Levi wasn’t sure what he believed. He just knew that he’d evaluated religions all over the world through his study of linguistics and there were too many similarities between all of them to discount a connection. If the ancient Mayans were isolated pagans, as some people liked to believe, how did they know so much?
He ran his fingers along the ridges and valleys of the carvings as if he could find a deeper understanding by using a tactile method of reading, like brail to a blind person. He even closed his eyes as he walked.
Something made him stop on one particular stela and he gazed at the carving with keener interest. He could see why some people assumed the Mayans worshiped of the sun. This carving almost looked like an exploding sun with rays of light radiating outward from the center.
Maybe not a sun. Maybe a star. An exploding star? Could happen. People saw meteor showers and comets all the time. Why not an exploding star?
Moving on he found another stela that depicted people in agony, faces deformed with remorse or fear. Another stela showed a man in bondage, arms tied behind his back. Many of the stela showed great wars and sufferings. One stela seemed to represent prosperity with grains and fruits. Some stela showed earthquakes, storms, crumbled buildings, cities on fire.
He didn’t want to look anymore.
Levi slumped to the ground and sat with his back against the wall of the temple pyramid feeling a peace and happiness just from being in this place.
Just a few weeks ago he’d been working as a professor in a classroom filled with more people than lived in the whole village where he was about to take up permanent residence.
There were no cell phones here, no electricity, no microwave ovens. He had a generator, which he would keep using as a way of charging his electronic devices, his only means of data collection while here. He would have a satellite phone for emergencies and to contact his family.
Family. What did that even mean anymore? His own mother and father would not be attending his wedding. Maybe he should postpone the wedding until a later date so his parents could be here, or until he and Tiani could go there to the States.
Then his mind’s eye conjured up her beautiful face and her sweet countenance when no one else was around to see her let down her stoic façade. The face she only allowed him to see. The face he had fallen in love with.
In a few short hours that incredible woman would be his wife. No way was he postponing the chance to finally kiss her and touch her, not even in a sexual way, just to be able to hold her hand, wrap his arms around her, and yes, okay, he’d admit it, he wanted her in a very sexual way. A soft smile played across his lips and he leaned his head back against the limestone to his back, closing his eyes and imagining what that would be like.
“There you are.” A soft voice woke Levi from his daydreaming. Nicholas. The man who looked identical to him. The man who had stood by his side every day of his life since the moment they were conceived.
Conception. What a concept. Levi wondered if nine months from tonight he’d be holding his first child. He wasn’t sure how fast these things worked but he knew Tiani wouldn’t be on the pill like Becky was when she married Nicholas. He had no other form of protection with him in the middle of the jungle, nor did he really want any. If a baby was meant to become part of his life, then he would welcome the addition.
“Were you napping?” Nicholas asked, lowering himself to the ground by Levi’s side.
“Nah, just thinking, pondering how my life’s about to change.”
“Are you okay with this?” his brother asked. “You don’t have to marry her if you don’t want to. No one’s forcing you.”
Levi scoffed. “Heck yeah, I want to marry her. That feisty little minx captured my heart the first time she got in my face and yelled at me. She had me wrapped around her little finger on day one.”
Nicholas chuckled. “Yes, she did.”
“I was just thinking how I might be a father nine months from now,” Levi said.
“How do you feel about that?” Nicholas asked.
“I think I’d like being a dad.” Levi stopped when his throat caught. “Sure wish our dad was going to be here.”
“We didn’t exactly give them a heads-up in advance,” Nicholas reminded them.
“I know.” Levi nudged his twin’s shoulder. “At least I told them in advance.”
“That was not my fault.” Nicholas held up his hands in surrender. They both chuckled and settled into a companionable silence. “Hey, have you thought about what you were going to wear tonight?”
“Well, I’ve got the clean clothes in my bag or the ones I’m wearing. I guess I’ll change into my clean clothes. Probably should go take a bath first, huh?”
“Definitely.” Nicholas stood and reached a hand down to help Levi off the ground.
“Any last-minute advice for your completely inexperienced little brother?” Levi asked, brushing off his backside from where he’d sat on the jungle floor.
“Just have fun, man. Shoot, I was just as inexperienced as you,” Nicholas said.
“At least you’d kissed Becky prior to marrying her,” Levi said. “How do you approach intimacy with someone who has never had any formal education?”
“How do you know she’s never had any education? Maybe her mom sat her down and gave her every detail she needs to know to prepare for her wedding night. Maybe she’ll know more than you do. This is a completely different culture. They may not have high schools and universities, like we do, but they’re smart. Very smart.”
“True.” Levi sighed. They started toward the tunnel. “I’m getting nervous over nothing, aren’t I?”
“Not over nothing,” Nicholas said. “These are the same fears every groom has the morning before his wedding. Of course, who am I to say? I didn’t even know I was getting married the morning of my wedding.” Nicholas chuckle snorted.
“You’re such a geek.” Levi laughed at his twin.
“Takes one to know one.” Nicholas wrapped his arm around Levi’s shoulders and pulled him in the direction of the tunnel. “Come on, let’s get you ready for the best night of your life.”