Resigned to the fact that she was going to have to put another ad in the paper or do the job herself, Sawny went to work on the kitchen area. She ‘found’ the back door. It was buried under chunks of roof, and half off its hinges. Sawny set to work clearing the door, throwing pieces of roof and other debris through the hole above her head. She finally cleared the area and pulled the door out into the open. There was actually a stone step under all that mess. It brought a smile to her face as she looked around at the progress she had accomplished this morning. Wood and shingles everywhere, but at least it was a beginning.
After a drink of water and an apple, Sawny started to sort rubbish into a burn or trash pile. She didn’t want to have to haul off or bury any more than absolutely necessary. Sawny’s trash pile was getting pretty big. She saved parts that she thought went to the stove off to one side.
Inspecting the door, she realized it was in better shape than she thought. Sawny decided to try and re-hang it. She got the hinges all cleaned up and remounted. Next was cleaning up the frame. She pulled bits of greenery away from the frame and swept the dirt out. With the hinges on the frame, she was ready for the door. Concentrating on lifting the door, Sawny was trying not to fall over and still line up the hinges. It was heavy.
“Need some help?” Ian asked as he reached over her and grabbed the door.
Sawny screeched, let go of the door and sat down on the ground. Ian caught the door and set it on the hinges as she regained her composure.
“That is twice in one day you have scared the hell out of me!” she shouted. “Damn! I thought you had left.”
“I did,” he said. “Do you want me to leave again?” he asked. Tapping in the hinge pins, he turned and offered her a hand up.
“No, I just didn’t expect you back,” Sawny said as she stood up. “After this morning, I figured I had pretty well messed things up. You didn’t say good-bye, so…” Sawny didn’t finish the sentence when she saw the smile break across his face. He started walking around the cabin and down towards his truck. Sawny followed him.
“I figured you needed some time to yourself this morning, after our little chat,” he
said over his shoulder. “We got started off on the wrong foot, so I went to town to get some supplies.”
Sawny looked around him and there in the truck was lumber, paint, various brown paper sacks of all sorts, and plastic sacks from the grocery store. She was astounded. “You shouldn’t have bought all this. We never even agreed on wages or even if I was hiring you,” she said. Sawny looked up at him and he was smiling again.
“I didn’t buy it, you did. I charged the lumber and stuff to your accounts,” Ian said.
Sawny felt herself going red in the face again. “I…uh… How did you know I had accounts set up?”
Ian smiled. The look on his face said it all. It reminded Sawny once more of just how small the town was.
“Well, if you did all this, I guess we ought to consider you hired,” she said holding out her hand. Ian shook it again with that pulse-stopping grip.
“If you grab the food, I’ll start hauling the other stuff up,” Ian said grabbing a bunch of lumber. Sawny grabbed the bags and headed up the hill. She felt like such a fool. He hadn’t left in anger this morning. He had gone off to get supplies. He knew he was hired. It was just her that was a little slow. What was she getting herself into?
As they reached the cabin, and put the stuff down, Sawny stopped him on the porch. “I have a few questions. Things I want straight before we go any farther,” she said. He nodded, waiting for her to continue.
“First, how much do you expect to be paid?” she asked.
“Well, My brother pays me $11.50 an hour when I do carpentry work for the ranch. I figure it’s a fair price,” he said. The look on Sawny’s face as he said that bespoke pure panic. He took a second to make it look like he was rethinking things. “But for you, how does $9.00 sound?” he asked.
Her mind racing she finally managed to say, “Alright, if you think it’s fair,” she said. Her heart was pounding so hard she was afraid it would shake right out of her chest. She’d have to watch her money if this took too long.
Ian stuck out his hand and said, “Deal!”
Sawny once again lost the circulation in her fingers to his grip. She’d have to watch out for that grip.
He started back down the hill and then turned. “Anything else?”
“Yes,” she said. “How on earth did you manage to pull up here twice without me hearing your truck? I heard it when you left, and it doesn’t add up.”
He looked at her and laughed. “When we were kids, we’d drive up here and try to sneak up on the cabin to see the ghost. At the top of the hill, we would cut our engines and coast to the bottom, which is now your parking area. I just couldn’t resist doing it today for old time sake,” he finished.
“Okay, I can understand this morning, but why this afternoon?” Sawny asked.
“I didn’t. You were making so much noise throwing all that rubbish around, I could have driven a tank up here and you wouldn’t have heard me.” Ian smiled and headed back down the hill.
With everything up at the cabin, Sawny started to look and see exactly what Ian considered food. Spam, eggs, salad, steak, coffee, milk, bread and a few other things. It was an amazing collection. Heavy on protein and light on vegetables. Not exactly her kind of diet. She turned to find him watching her unpack the food. Some of it would have to go in the cooler sitting down in the creek.
“Planning to stay a while?” she asked.
He looked at her and nodded. “It is too far to be running back and forth every day. I have a sleeping bag in the truck and some clothes,” he answered.
“Confident you’d get the job?” she asked.
“Yes, no one else I talked to wanted it. Plus to be honest, around here a sleeping
bag in your truck isn’t a bad idea. And, I just did my laundry so it was in the truck,” Ian said.
“The only one? What is it? Is my reputation so bad after a few weeks in this county that no one wants to work for me?” Sawny asked just a tad exasperated.
“No, it’s the ghost,” Ian said looking a bit sheepish. “Too many people have seen Old man Ross and are just a bit afraid of him.”
“Alright, this is the third or fourth time you have mentioned my Uncle Joshua as a
ghost. Explain this please.” She sat down again and waited for him to answer.
“Local legend has it that the ghost is your uncle,” he started. “People see him sitting on the porch or out by the graveyard standing over one of the stones,” Ian paused as this soaked in. “He doesn’t talk to you or anything, just startles the hell out of you if you are snooping around his cabin. He must have figured you were kin, otherwise you would have seen him by now,” he paused again. “I even tried to spend the night here one time. Never made it though. Something howled and I was out of here like a shot.”
Ian finished unpacking the groceries while Sawny thought about what he had said. “My Mom remembers him being a quiet old man. He left here after his wife died. I guess it might be her grave he stands over. I haven’t seen any gravestones though.” She stood up and dusted off her shorts. “Why do you think he haunts the cabin?”
Ian looked at her and said, “Why did you come up here?”
“I needed some time to myself. I had some inheritance money, and no one else in
the family wanted to even find out what this land looked like. So I came out here,” she said quietly. Sawny didn’t think he needed to know what an ugly relationship she had just left. Or, that her family thought she was hiding from Jake.
Ian was watching her as she spoke. He could see she was holding something back.
Sawny hesitated for a moment. She swore he was looking at her like he knew Sawny was hiding something. He just waited for her to finish. “Dammit,” she thought. She took a deep breath. “When I got here, I sort of fell in love with the area and when I finally found the cabin, I decided to stay for a while.”
Ian nodded as if he understood far more than she had explained. Like he knew
her more than she did herself. “I understand,” he said quietly. “This land gets in your soul and doesn’t let go.”
Sawny just nodded.
They finished the day by clearing out the rest of the kitchen. All the bits to the stove were found except for one cover. Ian wrestled it back to where they thought it should go and hooked the stovepipe into its slot. Then they worked on the water pump. They cleared the pump and primed it with a bucket of water. After a bit of elbow grease, Ian got it pumping water. It was rusty and dirty at first and then flowed clear. It certainly beat hauling water up from the creek. A few gallons of water later, the stove was almost was usable. Sawny was covered in soot and dirt. Ian had taken off his shirt, and was dusty with webs, soot and sweat.
“You want to try and fire this thing up tonight, or just use the camp stoves and a fire?” he asked.
“Camp stoves. I’m still not sure that more of the roof won’t come down on our
heads in there,” she said looking up to where the stove pipe met the roof.
“It isn’t that bad, and it was only one rafter that fell.” he laughed. There had been a small avalanche of debris cascading around him when they went to lift the pipe back into it’s spot. One chunk had been a small broken rafter.
“Well, it was your shoulder it fell on. Lets make sure the roof is back in place first.” she finished.
His shoulder had soot marks where the rafter had fallen on him, but that was the only proof that anything had happened. Sawny tried not to watch him as he moved so gracefully for someone so tall. The memories of Jake and how he enticed her kept floating up. Ugh… what a mess that episode in her life was. No, she was not going to think about him.
Ian turned to say something when Sawny knew she had to get outside. “I’m going to go get washed up! Be right back!” she shouted. Sawny shot out of there, grabbed her wash kit and headed for the stream. “That man sees too much!” she thought and here she was feeling like a spooked rabbit. “Damn! Was she really that transparent?”
Washing up, Sawny thought about why she really had come out here. Jake. No matter how she tried to change it, the reason was Jake. Jake was beautiful. Small, compact Cajun, intelligent; but with a mean streak Sawny never understood. She felt like a princess when she was around him. She had brought him home to meet the folks and made dream plans about the future. They exploded in her face one night, and to this day, Sawny had no idea of what set him off. They had argued over supper, but there was something else on his mind and it boiled over into a fight. The next thing Sawny knew, the police and the paramedics were there as well as Pop. Jake went off in the police car while she went to the hospital.
Sawny’s nose and the bruises healed, but her heart was trashed. Sawny moved home. Mom and the family moved all of her stuff out of the apartment she had shared with Jake. Life was all cotton wrapped. She couldn’t concentrate on her work and home was stifling, but she couldn’t get up the energy to leave.
Then Pop got sick. Some viral infection that attacked his lungs. It was all over so
quickly that Sawny barely made it to say good-bye. Mom needed her, so she stayed even though Sawny wanted to run away from all the pain. When the dust settled, and they had found the paperwork Pop had left, Sawny had something to do that made her feel alive. She gave notice at work and sat down to sort out the family business.
It was amazing. Sawny didn’t realize that Pop was such an astute businessman. Nurseryman, gardening and all that didn’t seem like work to Pop. However, what he did left Mom and the family well off. No need to worry about the future. Mom could live off the interest alone for years. Sawny’s brothers took over the business. When Sawny found the deed to the land things changed. She knew what she wanted. Escape.
Sawny figured it was time to get her life back. Only this time she didn’t have plans on how to accomplish that. There were lots of ideas, but nothing certain except leaving home. This land gave her an excuse to get out of the house. Sawny came out to Colorado to look over the land and if necessary, sell it off. She’d use the profits to travel or set up life far away from New Orleans and all she had left behind. That all changed when Sawny found Uncle Joshua’s land and the cabin.
“Hey! Sawny! You drowned? Or do you want to eat?” Ian’s voice drifted down to
where she was along with the smell of cooking steaks.
She grabbed her things and shouted, “I’ll be right up!” Oh man, her wool gathering had lasted far longer than she thought. “Here’s hoping I keep the rest of my life to myself,” she said to no one in particular.
Ian had pulled the table outside along with two of the better chairs. Steaks, salad
and bread was on the table. Sawny just hoped it was edible. No way he could cook too! “Smells good. I’m hungry enough to eat my boots!” she said.
Ian grinned. “I hope it tastes better than that. Otherwise, my mom is going to be mad that her efforts with me didn’t take.”
Sawny sat down and grabbed her fork. “Let’s see,” she said with a grin. So far, so good. No foul ups and she might not stick her foot in it before they finished supper. It was heavenly. Then again, how could anyone ruin steaks and salad? Sawny just left it alone.
During dinner they chatted about the cabin and what needed done. Ian figured they could get the framework for the roof up on the kitchen and finish that up tomorrow. Then he was going to tackle the chimney in the main room. He had found a vent handle and figured it was just full of junk. Sawny admitted she wouldn’t have even known what to look for when it came to the fireplace.
They also talked about Uncle Joshua and how he brought his bride out here. The family didn’t know a lot more than that sadly. They did know she died one winter, and then he moved back to live with his family. That was it until the cabin and land turned up in Pop’s papers.
Ian knew more than Sawny did. He told her what he knew. Joshua Ross was known as a giant of a man who would help any neighbor. Didn’t matter if it was chasing cattle through the snow or helping build a barn. His wife, Elene was small and dark and always right there to help as well. There weren’t any children. That explained why Sawny’s parents ended up with the land.
Yawning, Sawny excused herself and headed off to bed. She didn’t even think about where he would sleep. Her head hit the pillow and that was it.
Ian sat on the porch trying to decide what he had gotten himself into. No one in town wanted to work up here. Most were afraid of the ghost. The rest thought that Sawny Hawke was crazy. A small fireball of a woman with long reddish brown hair saying she was going to fix that cabin and live up there. She was from the South and didn’t have a clue to what winter could be like. Hell, they all figured if the ghost didn’t drive her out, the first snow storm would. He’d thought the same until he saw her posting that ad on the grocery bulletin board. She intrigued him. His baby brother was bigger than she was. Must have needed a book to sit on to drive that beat up old truck of hers.
Watching her load up supplies his mom asked him what he was thinking. As he put the groceries in his mom’s truck, he surprised himself when he said he was thinking about working for her. His mom laughed. “I knew you were getting bored out at the ranch. Not to mention all the noise.”
“Yeah mom. I need some quiet,” he said not looking at what he was doing.
“Hey! Watch it son,” she said as he almost dropped the milk. “You better go introduce yourself. No one else in town is going to help her. They all want her to sell the land and leave. She’s a stranger.”
Ian didn’t do it that day. He waited till the ad came out in the paper. That was when he grabbed his tools, laundry and headed to town. As he left, his mom and brothers watched him go knowing he’d be back when he had gotten that redhead out of his system. She smiled as he disappeared in a cloud of dust. He wasn’t the first son of hers to go chasing a fine looking woman.
Ian sighed as he laid down in the meadow on his bag. He was thinking about today and wondering what had hurt this woman enough to make her leave home and family, and come all the way out here. Oh well, he’d either find out or he wouldn’t. There was a roof to fix in the morning, and he was mentally listing other things to do. Ian was asleep before he finished his list.
Sawny woke to the sound of the saw rasping across wood. It was barely light. Confused, she took a minute to remember that Ian was up here. She grabbed her jeans this time. She was determined to keep things on an even keel, and men didn’t fit into her plans for a long time.
She walked out to see the kitchen roof almost framed. Ian was up the wall nailing
in a rafter. “When did you start working? Right after dinner?” she asked.
“No, about 5am. I woke up early. There is some bread, cheese and coffee over on
the table. Coffee might be cold,” he said talking around the nails in his mouth.
“I’ll make myself some tea thank you. No wonder you ran out of things to do at that ranch!” she smiled as she walked away. Cobwebs still clung to her brain. Her watch said 6:30am. Damn. Too early for this girl! She curled up on the chair and ate some bread while the water boiled. At least it was a better start than yesterday.
After breakfast, she gave Ian a hand with the work. The roof went up over the kitchen faster than she could imagine. They cut a new window and framed it so that there would be more light. After lunch, they tackled the stone chimney. Ian was up on the roof and Sawny was inside to ‘catch’ the junk. Ian had shown her the rod that worked the vent. She had figured it was just a cup hook and never would have guessed it’s true purpose. Ian hollered and she twisted the vent catch, and then jumped back. She didn’t want a soot bath. She got one anyway, as all sorts of junk tumbled out. Twigs, dead things, nests, dirt and soot and a metal box. Sawny grabbed it and headed outside to see what it was.
Ian found her on the grass trying to open the box. “Here, let me see if I can open it,” he asked as he held out his hand.
Sawny handed up the box. “Do you think this is why he kept hanging around?” she asked, curious to see what was in the box.
Ian fiddled with the latch and then pried it open with his knife. The box groaned as it opened. Inside were some papers, a few old photographs a book and a locket. Sawny wiped her hands on her jeans and began to look through the stuff.
“Oh… look. This must be Joshua and Elene,” she said. The pictures showed a tiny woman in a huge hooped dress and a man in uniform. She barely came to his chest buttons. Elene looked like so many of the photos of women taken then. Stiff, formal and afraid to breathe. Yet her eyes seemed to sparkle. Joshua on the other hand looked like he would walk right out of the picture. “Oh wow.” Sawny said softly. Ian looked at the stuff over her shoulder.
Then she went through the rest of the stuff. Deeds, bills of sale, promissory notes, maps. Sawny lifted the book out. Dusting it off, she read the words “my diary” just barely visible on the cover. Opening it she saw that it was Elene’s diary. The tiny spidery writing was hard to read. She closed it for later inspection. Then she looked at the locket.
“It’s the same as in the photo.” Ian pointed out. She looked, and nodded in agreement. The locket showed clearly against Elene’s dark dress. “How sad all these bits were,” Sawny thought. She took the box and went down to the truck. It was the only place she had that was safe from animals or weather. She walked back up wondering why Joshua had stuffed it in the chimney in the first place. One more mystery to solve.
The cabin progressed so fast that Sawny was astonished. She had figured it would take two months to finish. Here it was just three weeks since Ian had driven up, and they were done. Ian’s brothers had brought up a tractor with a blade to scrape the road and driveway. Clearing ground out back, they had found a small graveyard. Elene’s grave along with three smaller ones. No names, just dates. Sawny figured that they were children that didn’t live very long. Ian and Sawny planned to put a fence around the area.
The cabin was beautiful. They had painted the inside of the kitchen white. New windows cut added light and airiness. The stairs were firm and fixed, as was the guardrail to the loft. Varnish on the rest of the cabin walls cut down the dust and added a beautiful gleam to the rooms. Now all that was needed were furnishings and supplies.
Ian had planned to head into the city with her that morning, but at the last minute
declined. Said he had something he wanted to check on. Disappointed, Sawny headed out with list in hand. At least by now she knew all the back roads and didn’t get lost too easily. “Big city, here I come!” she thought. It was the first time she had been farther than town since she arrived.
She had planned to take them out to a fancy dinner. That was squashed by Ian’s sudden change in plans. She wondered if there really was a project, or did Ian just need some time alone. He wasn’t much of a talker. She did most of that, even when she didn’t mean to. Ian had a talent for making people open up and talk. She had seen it happen more than once in town when they had gone in for supplies. It was like his own private magic. It had caused her to slip a couple of times when she hadn’t planned on it. Damn that was irritating. The highway exit loomed and demanded her attention. It was only fifty miles north, but still new highway to her.
Ian waited until the dust settled and then started on his project. He had rescued the bed frame from the pile Sawny had dropped it in a month ago. He cleaned it up a bit more and polished the wood. He had asked a friend who was into old furniture how to repair an old fashioned rope framed bed. The wood frame was pegged together and then rope lashed across the bottom to form the support for the mattress. Ian wanted to surprise Sawny with the bed.
He also hoped that she wouldn’t take it the wrong way. In talking, he had found out that there had been a rotten relationship that had left her as skittish as a foal. He also knew that she wasn’t happy that she had let that slip. Said she wasn’t ready for a man in her life. That had come out one night by accident and she had literally run off to the stream for an hour. Wouldn’t say anything when she came back, which made Ian a little more cautious. He had even stopped taking off his shirt around her unless there was no other way around it. Sawny would get flustered and clam up tight. It was difficult, as he felt attracted to her. Ian knew now, that that was what his mom had seen in his eyes that day. He hadn’t planned it, but he was falling in love with Sawny. Ian knew he needed to go as slow as you would with a horse that had never seen a saddle. The anger he felt towards this unknown man that had hurt Sawny worked in his favor. The ropes on the frame were tight. He left to pick up the feather bed his mom had out at the ranch.
Sawny spent the night in the city. She had shopped late and went to a movie after
eating a wonderful dinner. Civilization… Bookstores, movies, people, shops. All so nice after being out in the back of beyond for a couple of months. The hotel shower was almost more pleasure than she could stand. Hot water! She needed to talk to Ian about solar power and a real bathhouse. That and about a thousand other things she seen.
Her truck was loaded with furniture and other things for the house. She made arrangements with her mom to send some of her things out from storage. She might not stay at the cabin all winter, but she was never going back to New Orleans except to visit. She fell asleep with the TV on.
Sawny crested the hill and saw Ian standing on the porch. She waved and then headed down to where they parked. As she got out, she didn’t see him. Oh well, she thought as she grabbed a load and headed up the hill.
He wasn’t there when she got to the porch either. “Hello!” No answer. “Ian! I’m back!” Still no answer. She walked into the cabin wondering where he had gotten to when the chills ran down her arms. The realization hit her like a ton of bricks. It wasn’t Ian she had waved to, it was Uncle Joshua.
Ian found her sitting on the hood of her truck. She must have just gotten there, as the truck wasn’t unloaded. As he got closer, she sprang off the hood and hugged him tight.
“Hello! What did I deserve to merit this?” he asked. She realized what she had done and dropped out of the hug as fast as it had happened. She was going all red in the face.
“Sorry, but I was so glad to see you and I am still a little freaked. I had a visitor,” she said.
Ian looked around and was puzzled until she started to explain about her arrival home. He just stood there and listened. “I don’t think he meant to scare or hurt you. You have been here for over a month. Why would he show up now?” Ian asked calmly.
“I don’t know. I have been trying to figure that out myself. I just couldn’t go back in until you showed up. In fact, I thought he was you,” Sawny said.
Ian mulled over his thoughts but didn’t voice the fact that he had noticed a small
resemblance to him and Joshua. Nor the fact that both Sawny and Elene were almost the exact same height. When he looked at those photos that day, he had that deja-vu feeling wash over him.
Sawny was asking him where he had been, and he explained that he had gone for a walk. He picked up the basket he had dropped when he was hugged and showed her the early berries he had found. She smiled.
They grabbed up stuff from the truck and headed up the hill. No ghost, just the cabin in the warm evening light. When everything was up the hill and piled in the middle of the cabin, it was like Yule. All these things to see and admire. Sawny wanted to know what it was that had kept him at the cabin. Ian stood to show her. He took her hand and led her up the stairs. “Now, don’t take this the wrong way. It isn’t what it seems,” he barely finished as she came round him and saw the bed.
It was beautiful. The wood had burnished a deep mahogany color. The feather bed fit like it had been made for it. Ian’s mom had also sent some bedding and a quilt in blues and lavenders to cover it. Sawny just stood there with her mouth open. She understood his caution when he had spoke downstairs and marveled at his understanding of her. Tears floated down her checks. “Oh thank you Ian,” she said as she hugged him for the second time that day. Ian returned the hug cautiously. The hug was more thanks than words would ever be.
“You’re welcome Sawny,” he said as they parted. Every inch of his skin throbbed as he headed down the stairs and out into the cool air. Calm down he thought to himself. Rush this and you’ll never get another chance. He stood on the porch as she came out.
“That was a beautiful gift. I never knew that bed was so lovely, let alone usable. Thank you again,” she said. Sawny reached upwards to kiss him and she couldn’t reach. Ian bent down to her. The kiss was just a brushing of the lips, but the electric spark that passed between them was like lightning. Sawny recovered first and went inside. By the time Ian dared breath, the cabin was dark.
He wandered down by the stream stripping off his clothes and plunged in. The water wasn’t cold enough by far. If he didn’t know better, he would have sworn he glowed in the dark.
In the cabin, Sawny’s thoughts weren’t much different. She lay on the soft sheets
of the feather bed wondering what on earth she was doing. She wasn’t ready for this. It was too soon, and she hardly knew this man. Sawny fell asleep going over reason after reason that this was not the right time, place or person to open her heart to so soon.
She woke up feeling like someone was watching her. She got up and looked over the edge of the loft and there was no one in sight. In fact, it was too quiet. “No!” she thought as she ran down the stairs and out to where Ian had been sleeping. No bag. no clothes, no tools. Sawny ran down towards the trucks, his truck was gone too. Damn. It was a long walk back up the hill.
“First I don’t want him, and now that he is gone, I want him! What is wrong with
me?” she said to the empty cabin. She sat down at the table and saw the note. It read:
Things got a little warm last night. I am going to town for a few days. I’ll be back Thursday or Friday.
Today was Tuesday, and her belongings were due in this morning. Well, rather than mope all day, Sawny decided to head into town. It took her an hour to straighten and put away the stuff that she had bought in the city. After that, she shut the doors and off she went.
It was busy today. Shoppers everywhere and her stuff hadn’t arrived yet. She left a map with the feedlot man who handled the storage lot. He promised to bring the stuff up to her when it arrived. Sawny walked back to her truck. She was disappointed. The idea of having her books and things around her would give her a feeling of normalcy. Maybe even get her mind off Ian, but now she’d have to wait.
At the store she got a few things and then headed back up the mountain. It was almost dark when she got there. No one on the porch, and no lights on in the cabin. Lugging her stuff up the hill she thought how quiet it was. Maybe she ought to get a dog. She missed Ian.
The days crawled by. It was Thursday at last. Sawny wondered if Ian would really show up. The cabin was as tidy as it could get. She had picked flowers for the table and had even found a skirt that looked all right. “Going to have to get a generator,” she thought. Lanterns and candles are nice, but a little electricity would go a long way.
She got the stove going and only smoked herself out once. The bread didn’t look too bad, and she trimmed off the burnt bit. She had made a casserole, so it wouldn’t look like she had cooked with Ian in mind. She waited.
Finally, she gave up and ate. Maybe it was a good thing that Ian hadn’t shown up.
Sawny wasn’t the best cook. She cleared the table and put things away.
Sawny had brought the box of Joshua’s stuff back into the cabin when it was
finished. She decided to look at that diary. The writing was so tiny. She read:
I have fallen in love with a giant of a man. He says that he will take me away from Maman and life in the city. I don’t know……. It is so scary to think of life without the city. This West of his sounds so wild, so primitive. How will we live?
Sawny flipped the pages.
We are living in this petite cabin in the middle of no where. It is so beautiful and
quiet. Today we helped a family move into a new cabin. The old one had burned. Joshua helped build the new one. I helped with the boys. Their maman is heavy with another bebe. They played in the creek. So much mud! The new cabin is so small, for such a big family. All those boys. I long for a bebe, but it seems that is not to be. I cannot carry them long enough. The maman will call me when it is time for her new bebe. At least I can help her and cuddle a new life once in a while.
Another entry was smudged, as if tears had blotted the page.
I am ill once more. There are days when I think I will live in this bed forever. I have lost another bebe. Joshua put our daughter next to the boys. Betty, the maman of all those boys in the next valley has come to help. She cooks and takes care of me while I hear the small voices playing outside. I am so weak. She and I talk of things only women think of. I asked her if I die to make sure that Joshua is not alone. Her sister looks at him with love in her eyes. I know this, and it doesn’t upset me. I do not know how to tell him this. It is something though that I need to do.
Sawny put the diary down. How sad it must have been to see all the life around her and no children of her own. Then again, she had the love of Joshua, which came out in page after page of the diary. Elene loved him enough to try and make sure he wasn’t alone if she should die. How beautiful, as well as sad. It was late, and she headed for bed.