"I can't do it" never yet accomplished anything: "I will try" has accomplished wonders.
-- George P. Burnham
When Despina and Mickey return to Ye Olde Watering Hole, strangers occupy Brad's table, and Paul Peter is back in his accustomed spot against the far wall. Seeing no other vacancy, Despina and Mickey head over to join him. As is his custom, the sheriff sits with his back to the wall, Despina beside him. He resumes his introduction to the area's major personalities begun on the drive back.
Not long after they arrive, the Indian tall enough to play pro basketball re-enteres. Despina stares at him intently. Feeling Mickey's gaze upon her, she quickly flicks her eyes back to him momentarily.
"There's one of the 'dynamic duo' now... legendary magnates for females wherever they go..." Mickey lifts his cap, smoothes his hair, and replaces his cap.
As the sheriff watches Despina's reactions intently, his frown telegraphs to her how used he is to this instant attraction, but also how disconcerted he is.
His entire life, he's probably seen them earn their reputations as 'legendary magnets for females' wherever he goes. He probably expected more from me after my reaction to Tex.
"Who is he?" she asks as she feels her ear tips burn at being so thoroughly understood.
"All night long, you've been assuming that the most unlikely people were him,"” Mickey says, tapping his nose, “and now, when he finally DOES show up, you don't recognize him."
"He's my BOSS?" Her eyes widen. "Quick, tell me all his obnoxious habits." She reaches over, touches her fingertips to the sheriff's hand as it rests around the water glass, then rapidly looks down to avoid his flashing eyes.
I've made him angry.
Swallowing rapidly twice, the sheriff tries to rise to the occasion. "Well, he's always 'on call' to solve problems, so he's pretty busy."
"But surely that's because of a tribal responsibility, true of all leaders, not a real failing. Can't you think of something more, well, personal?" she begs.
"He's a rotten hunter."
"Hunter? That's all? I don't need someone to be a good hunter! This is terrible! That's the worst you can think of? Whatever am I going to do?" Frowning, she clinches her teeth, blowing out a puff of air in frustration.
Leaning back calmly, the sheriff inquires, "About what?"
Straightening her shoulders, Despina states firmly, "I can't work for this man."
The sheriff meets her eyes squarely, firming his lips. "What nonsense. I didn't tell you anything bad enough to make you decide that!"
"You don't understand. I was already half in love with the man who wrote to me, just from the sensitive, caring things he put in his letters. His tremendous intelligence showed through his eloquent words. And now, just LOOK at him! That kind of beauty ought to be illegal. With his first touch, I was TOAST!"
Calm gone, Mickey snaps to attention. "Touch? When did he TOUCH you?"
"During the 'range war', before Paul Peter so rudely interrupted."
Forcing his shoulders into a more relaxed pose, Mickey observes, "If you were 'toast', I think I approve of his actions." He leans back. "I can't believe this. He never comes to town. He vowed..." The sheriff puts his upper lip between his teeth, then slowly releases it.
Leaning forward intently, Despina demands, "What? A vow? What kind of a vow?"
"That's not my story to tell." His eyes soften as he examines her. "Don't take it so hard. You're really overreacting. You won't see that much of him." A sad, knowing smile touches the corners of his lips.
Despina’s nostrils flare. "Are you trying to tell me the connection I feel to him is a figment of my imagination?" Her eyes fire palpable waves of indignation his way.
"Yes. Of course it is.” His tone is soft, reasonable. “You're building this up all out of proportion. You can't fall in love with a guy through his letters, for Pete's sake!" he ends with exasperation.
Rattled, Despina cries overly loudly, "Oh, how do you know about Pete?” She grows huffy. “Are you psychic? I didn't even tell my MOTHER about him!"
Mickey puts his hand out in a conciliatory motion. "Shhhuuush. You're involving too many people in this. Nobody named Pete has a connection to you that I know anything about. That's just an expression..." Rolling his eyes, he pauses, then gets back on track. "What attracted you to the letters?" he asks, leaning forward, piercing her with his azure gaze.
Drawing in a noisy breath, Despina calms. Her eyes roll toward the top of her head as she analyzes her reactions. "Well, at first, when they were in English,..."
With the tone of a sheriff drilling a witness, he asks, "Cu wrote to you in English?"
Bridling at having her veracity questioned, she replies, "Why does that sound so incredible to you? You act as if you don't believe it."
"Cu's vow..." The sheriff cuts off abruptly. He regards her quietly, then continues, "Cu's letters were in English?"
"The first few were. Then he said I would have to promise to use only Spanish, not English. That letter was in Spanish, as were all the rest that followed."
"Didn't you notice a difference?" He temples his hands before his face.
"Sure. English and Spanish are related, but not identical..."
"The hand-writing?" he prods.
Her eyes widen, "Not all from him?"
"Just the English ones weren't..." smugly, he drops his voice.
Despina licks her lips nervously. "The ones I started to fall in love with. What do I do now?" She slumps defeatedly.
"You teach,” Mickey states firmly. “You owe it to him to go to work Monday morning. He can't replace you now. School's already started for the older kids. Those youngsters need to be in school, too."
Despina’s cheek twitches. "Then he's not bilingual?"
Mickey firms his lips. "That's not a topic I care to tackle."
Despina exhales audibly. "You sure make that vow sound mysterious."
The Indian, who had been standing in the doorway scanning each part of the dark room in minute detail, has spotted her and been working his way toward her through the press of people stopping him to chat.
None of them are White, she notes silently.
Suddenly, he looms impossibly large before her.
"Es tiempo. Vamos a ir a la reservación, con su permiso."
He almost looks jealous.
Last updated 3/9/10 Changed passive to active: Brad's table is occupied by strangers becomes strangers occupy Brad’s table. Described Cu a bit more with the Indian tall enough to play pro basketball. 1/27/10 added more “tells”. 12/27/08 Removed Uh.and "Oh 12/26/08 - changed “the tips of her fingers” to her fingertips; 12/3/08 - Removed Well; removed even though to end of sentence; removed with embarrassment; 8/19/06. (...'dynamic duo'...; ... ear tips burn with embarrassment...; doorway scanning (remove comma); ...finally DOES show up,...; She reaches over, touches the tips of her fingers to the sheriff's hand as it rests around the water glass, then rapidly looks down to avoid his flashing eyes. ; jealous, even though he's the one who's "taking me home", so to speak.) -- 9/13/04 -- Updated URL's; ...being so (remove extra space).... --9/12/04.)
Word Count: 1073
Friday, September 21st, 2001 2:50 pm (pandemo)