another hour searching for old t-posts, which she’d found several, way in the back of the hay shed. She’d driven into town yesterday and picked up a roll of wire from the hardware store. Whatever possessed her to think she could do this so quickly and by herself? Rafael’s smug smile popped into her head. Right, she remembered. She’d wanted to show him.
“Of course I’ve repaired fencing. Sure I’ve cut down trees, and I’ve even shot a water buffalo once. No, I don’t need any of your help. What the hell was I thinking?” she said out loud.
She’d left the house this morning, determined and proud of herself for getting on with the business that needed doing, of pushing her wedding screw-up and subsequent firing to the back of her mind. She’d done some cleaning and fed the horse. Of course she could do this. That determination was leaving her quicker than abstinence leaving a virgin.
The one bright spot in all of this was that she was outdoors. Oh, how she’d missed being here, out in the open. And she had it all to herself, too. She stopped and took a minute to take in the beauty that surrounded her, all that made this part of the country so special; the gently rolling hills, sometimes green, sometimes the color of straw, depending on their yearly allotment of rain.
She looked off toward the horizon, taking in the blue and white sky, transforming the blue of the sky into a lake, the white puffy clouds, the mountains surrounding it. The more vaporous clouds became the steam rising off the blue lake. Her imagination at work.
She’d taught her great-grandfather to see her cloud pictures and he’d stop his work, sit down next to her and make up stories to fit with her pictures, usually about lost horses trying to find their way home. She missed him. Life was so simple then. She wondered what he’d think of his little Carter now.
Back to work, she told herself and looked down at the beginning of hole number three, a t-post driver in her hand, pounding away. Her shoulders, arms, and triceps were burning, and starting to tire. What happened to being in shape?
She heard the sound of a truck and turned to look. It was Rafael.
Anybody but him, Lord, anybody but him
, she thought, taking another quick glance over her shoulder. He was parked close to her. She turned her back to him and kept right on working.
“Need some help?” he shouted, during a break in her pounding. She stopped, turning around to face him. He was leaning against his truck, not even trying to help.
“No,” she said.
He laughed like he knew differently.
“Saw you working from the road. Thought I’d see if you wanted help,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want to keep you from your work. I can do this. Plus you’re a busy man,” she said.
“Not that busy. And it’s bothersome watching you over here killing yourself,” he said, from his propped-up position on the hood of his truck. Mr. Casual himself, leaning back, arms crossed at his chest, watching her.
“I’m not killing myself. I’m almost done. I have three more to go, and then I can string the wire between them.”
“What are you going to do about putting that gate up?” he asked, pointing to it as it lay on the ground.
“I don’t know just yet. I’ve been considering several different options,” she said.
“Uh-huh,” he said, like he didn’t believe her.
“Just for curiosity sake, what would you do with it?” she asked, with one final pound. She was done with post number three.
He sidled up to her, and smoothly grabbed the fourth post, and the t-post driver from her hands. “I’ll let you figure it out,” he said, walking away from her. “Where do you want this one? About here?” he asked, standing about six feet from the post she had just completed.
“Sure, but I can do it,” she said.
He ignored her and started driving. Did she say he was fine? And talk about driving. If he could drive other things the way he was driving that t-post… She took