|"Tumbleweeds and Kudzu"
Disclaimer: Melinda Metz and Jason Katims own the rights. No infringement is
Category: Unconventional Couples
Authors Note: This was a train of thought over the summer. Itís interesting, but I could never think of a direction. Anyone who wants to take up the gauntlet and try to add on Ė FEEL FREE. Iíd hate to see this story go to waste.
|From the moment I saw her, I knew she had never been in the desert
before. Maybe it was the wonder and amazement written on her pale face
or the noticeable squint of her eyes as she tried to take in the
brilliant sun reflecting off the sand. Or maybe it was just the green
aura around her that spoke of growth and shade and freshness. But no
matter, it was just something I knew, something I recognized.
She came to the Reservation at a time when I was hiding out. I was seeking solace in the dry air the same as most people look for solace in a lover or friend. Since I had abandoned my only lover and my friends were busy cleaning up the mess Iíd left behind, my comfort came from sitting in the blazing sunlight in the dessert. Perhaps, I meant it as my punishment too.
Myself, Iíve always been a desert rat. Iíve grown up surrounded by it. And since Iíve never been much farther from Roswell than Marathon, Texas, I have nothing else to compare it to. My eyes are accustomed to the glare. The pinks, purples and golds painted on the sand are merely landscape, not art. I rarely notice the heat nor the pelting sand tossed up by a steady, dessert wind. I guess if anyone could see the color of my aura, it would be brown, dry and dead just like the desert.
She arrived as the sun was on the downward slide toward the West. River Dog was mixing a toxic smelling remedy to ease the blistering burn that I had acquired from sitting too long in the punishing sun. I was waiting shirtless outside my tent. Eddie introduced her as Caroline, a Botany student from Ole Miss who had come to study on the Reservation for the summer. Mississippi, huh? I laughed to myself. Could there possibly be a place on Earth more different from Roswell than good ole, M-I-crooked letter - crooked letter - I - crooked letter - crooked letter - I - humpback - humpback Ė I? Surely she had seen more cotton than cacti. I decided to ignore her. Of course, at the time I didnít know she would be my savior from myself.
Hi. I never knew one syllable could take three seconds to spit out. It was almost as if she were singing it. Her slender white hand reached out to me, and though it hurt to move with the red stinging burns on my shoulders, I found myself reaching my rough hand to hers. Her hand was smaller than a childís and her friendly smile revealed shockingly white teeth. Her eyes bore into mine. Green, of course, to perfectly match her aura.
For a few days, she was a non-issue. Each day she went out with a field guide to collect her samples, or whatever. Each day I went out to the desert to collect my thoughts. If I had known killing a man would make me so pensive, I would have never done it. I hated thinking so much. But no matter how many times Max insisted I only did it to save his life, I still pondered it, thought about it, agonized over it obsessively.
Hi. There was that word again. About 2 1/2 seconds too long. Caroline looked at me and plopped down like the first brimming drop in a merciful rainstorm. Her big straw hat concealed her green eyes enough that I could look at her and not be so distracted. Believe it or not, Iíve read Gone With the Wind. (After Ulysses but before War and Peace.) Anyway, this girl was exactly how I pictured Melaine, the quintessential Southern Belle. Soft, beautiful and weak.
Maria, the lover I abandoned, had a red aura. I think anyone could guess that about her. She was fiery and strong. If she had a Southern accent, I would definitely picture her as Scarlet. And she would like the comparison because, ten dollars to a doughnut, she would think of Vivian Leigh, not the character in the book. In the book, I donít like Scarlet quite so much.
Caroline just sat beside me. No jabbering. No awkwardness. She just sat there staring at the harsh scene. There were cacti sporadically growing in the cracked dry land. The occasional tumbleweed blew past us. And still we sat in silence.
Itís hard to think about your sins, killing a living breathing man, when a stranger is sitting next to you. Perhaps I was afraid she could hear my thoughts. No matter the reason, we sat in silence for an hour, and I didnít think of my debts to society even once.
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