Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Thirty Seven

Days passed and if anything, Will and Diana seemed closer than they had ever been. She rested her head against his shoulder at breakfast, watched after him when he went into the fields, and made her way across the meadow to take him cool drinks on warm afternoons. In the evenings they played with Kitta, looking so much like any ordinary young family that it broke Amalia's heart. Sometimes Diana lay in his arms on the patio at night, counting the stars and whispering to him.

Finally Amalia could stand it no longer and cornered her in the garden. "For someone who doesn't love her husband—"

Diana laid down her knitting. "I never said I didn't love him."

"If you're still thinking of leaving him, I'm going to have to insist you tell him. Either that or I will. I love you, Diana, but I won't let you deceive my son this way."

"How do you know I haven't changed my mind?"

Amalia withdrew a piece of paper from her pocket.

Diana stared. With a swiftness that seemed impossible in light of her girth, she snatched it from her hand. "How dare you go snooping through my things? I'm not a child! You had no right!"

Amalia offered no apology. "You're lucky he didn't find it."

"Will would never—"

"Don't bet on it. I've been involved with men since before you were born, and the one thing you can count on is that sooner or later, every one of them will do something you don't expect him to do."

With an injured air, Diana folded the map to Castaño and wedged it in a pocket. "It was still wrong of you."

"Oh, for Christ's sake, I didn't do it on purpose. You left your bag open and I dropped something in it by accident when I was in there dusting." Noting the look on her face, she added, "I don't care whether you believe me or not." When Diana made no answer, she went on. "So is this your plan? To run from one man to another?"

"I love Robert."

"Love him or lust after him? He doesn't deserve to be used as your ticket out of an uncomfortable situation."

"I'm not using him. He's smart, he's different, and I like him."

"Have you ever thought about heading out on your own for awhile?"

"You mean just me? Alone?"

"Yes." Amalia sat down, looking suddenly old and tired. "I've had lots of time to think since I came here, and I wonder if it might not be the best thing. You've gotten yourself so mixed up, I don't know if you have any idea what you really want. Some time away from all of us at a job in town, perhaps, might help you sort things through."

"But if I leave, who will protect me?"

"Protect you? I’ve seen what you can do with a horse and a gun. You can protect yourself."

"No, I can't!" She gestured toward her belly. "This is what happens when a girl tries to do things without help."

"Don't be ridiculous. All on your own, they would've never caught a talented horsewoman like you. It was your friends who couldn't do for themselves, never you."

"Are you saying I did wrong by going back? I'd do it again."

"Of course you would. You're generous and loyal. The world needs more people like you."

Diana's voice rose, confused and angry. "If those are such wonderful qualities, why am I being punished?"

Amalia face softened. "You're not being punished. I know it must feel that way, but God and the universe have their own reasons for things, and we're no more capable of understanding than a horse can fly." She smoothed Diana’s hair. "We have to trust that it will all work out, and that somewhere it fits together in some wonderful way, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle."

"Are you saying things happen for reasons I'm not supposed to understand?" Diana looked up, her eyes dark with frustration. "Why should I make any decisions at all, if anything I do can be trumped by a distant God who doesn't want me to figure it out?"

"You'll do what we all do. You'll fumble around, trying to do the right thing as you understand it."

Diana shook her head. "No, Auntie. That can't be the right way. Not for me."

1 comment:

Alice Audrey said...

Silly girl. Fumbling through life is the only way.