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Careless Child by Karlene Kubat
I would I were a careless child, Still dwelling in my highland cave, Or roaming through the dusky wild, Or bounding o’er the dark blue wave; . . . .Byron
The boat was rolling, reminding her of the smoothness of New Zealand’s enormous Interislander, Aratere, with its six decks, two of them for cars and cargo. Along with its sumptuous
pleasures, she recalled the mesmerizing rumble, a gentle lullaby of sound easing passengers between the picture perfect little fishing cove of Picton on the north end of South Island and blustery and blowing, hill-tucked Wellington on the south end of North Island. The ferry she was on now, the Coho, was actually
traveling from Port Angeles, Washington to the Inner Harbour of Victoria on Vancouver Island in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The trip took nearly two hours, during which time she
tried but failed to escape heavy thoughts, her weary eyes
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 2 transfixed on rough water and drizzling skies. For a time she
attempted to think of the in-betweeness of ferries, not even to think of it but to reside in that place, in that arrested time where one forgot what they were: commercial vessels bearing lives from point to point in routine, leisurely, or regretted passages. In that captive pause they collaborated as aloof and
graceful engines of escape, gliding over the timeless waters. She mused that she could actually chart some of her life by the routes of ferries, having so frequently crossed various placid and stormy waters of the miraculously hydrated planet. The misty cyan-blue hills over by Sooke Harbour rose and fell on the horizon as the port edged up into the sky then dropped back into the choppy Juan de Fuca Strait. The steady
roll hinted of malaise, assisted by an anxiety which she hoped to dispel at her familiar and unfailing destination. Was she far enough away yet? No, she would never get far Deliverance
enough away, unable to run from what was inside.
was only from immediate disintegration not from the underlying cause. right? Why can’t I get it right? Why can’t I ever get it
Finally she had found something which made her fall into Then its
a stillness without the echo of self-accusation.
continuance reached a startling impasse -- so untenable she had to run simply to free herself from the fear of having but having not. “You liar. Liar!” echoed her impulsive and regretted cry, She remembered the
a flimsy accusation that a child might make.
endearing bronze hand reaching out, hesitating a moment then dropping back in a tight fist. you go, Kate. “It doesn’t matter how far away
One day you’ll look up and there I’ll be,” his
message later pursued her, the memory easily flaying her heart. It was perpetual misery to think of her accusation, her confused conduct. It didn’t fit the moment that had engendered
it at all, should really have been aimed at her own self-
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 3 deception. The boat rolled sharply and she clenched her teeth Just a short bit more and you’ll be in
in a wave of nausea.
your room, your lovely walnut-paneled room, wrapping its comforting old history around another wrecked endeavor. on. Hang on. The long, long plane ride from down under on exceptionally proficient Air New Zealand had imprisoned her with recurring and unwanted memories, causing a relentless ache mimicking that of a broken bone. Unpacking and repacking lightly in her Seattle Hang
apartment, she had swiftly driven from Seattle onto the Peninsula, headed for the Port Angeles ferry with her body all rigid tension behind the wheel. She could have reached Victoria
via the passenger-only jet boat from the downtown wharf; driving over to the Port Angeles dock simply made her work at something. Finally disembarking the Coho, she took a taxi to the grand old Tudor guest house sprawling over its solid promontory -- a Victoria landmark which had become a restful home away from home. Nowadays home was any extended time in one place. The
pleasant and accommodating owner welcomed her as a familiar patron and no more, respecting her wish for privacy. Here, she
sometimes encountered the same people in the same generously appointed rooms, most of which, from various angles and levels of the three stories, had a view of Juan de Fuca Strait and the snowy Olympic Mountain Range across the restless waters in Washington. The ground floor walnut-wainscoted room, in which
she took refuge, faced out on the strait and the cloud-shrouded Olympic Range in full and spectacular panorama. It was a
familiar place in which she sometimes managed to heal herself sufficiently for another foray, after covering a bruising war or failing at a private existence; the personal encounters were always afforded minimal time, just enough time for a ruinous or eagerly desired end.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 4 Lan wouldn’t follow her to Seattle, and certainly never find her in Victoria. When he wrote that, he must have meant
that she would look up and find him foremost in her thoughts, needed sorely enough for her to give up whatever defined her. He didn’t realize what she could withstand. Her attenuated
frame and painfully sensitive mind were surprisingly resilient, could be very tough, a toughness that had formed like the thickening scar of a repeated abrasion. Sweltering flack
jackets and loud explosions and tumid, fly-covered, ripped-apart bodies had given her mettle when there was nothing else left but stubborn spirit. That toughening process had actually started She would come through this but she was
at a very early age.
tired to the bone, couldn’t remember and didn’t care what day it was. The tiredness itself was familiar. When one constantly
moved around the world, days went forward and backward; hours shifted into timeless periods of waiting, of merely lying down or standing up and then hurtling forward by sheer force of will. For two days she didn’t leave her room, offering a few platitudes when a gangly and equally taciturn British girl came in to make the bed and restock the refrigerator. She arose late
and sat with her arms propped on the table by the window, staring out at the distant snowy peaks across the changing shades of water. With an old pair of binoculars left lying on
the table for guests, the high snow fields yielded mysterious crevasses, the clean slopes dazzling in brief late winter sun or hidden in blue moon shadow or peeking through morning sea fog. She stared and stared as if a definitive answer would emerge from the stippled water or the cunning mountains or perhaps even the floating gray clouds. “I collect clouds, nothing else but
clouds,” she had told Lan, standing on the sheep-grazed, cloudbacked South Island plain. “Then ya can have all of this: Aotearoa, the land of the
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 5 long white cloud.” “I’ve heard the other expression: the land of the wrong white crowd,” she said, and knew she had ruined the moment, ruined the most generous offering perhaps another more pliable nature could have hoped to obtain. white cloud. But The land of the long
How lyrical and tantalizing the expression, and
how exhilarating she found the amazing land itself. After her regrettable comment there had been a moment of uncomfortable silence. He looked at her with those inscrutable,
very extraordinary Maori-tinged eyes holding something she didn’t want. She thought it was pity. Don’t pity me, Lan. He
I’ve had quite a life, and still a ways to go, if I make it.
seemed to know himself so well; an enviable condition beyond her experience. She had never fit comfortably anywhere, outside, This discomfiture was The moment she
always outside and belonging to nothing. the catalyst for all her constant motion.
settled anywhere for any length of time the anxiety, the restless sleep and threatening dreams fell over her like a smothering blanket. That unimaginable place in the South Pacific had held her like no other, held her for a perfect moment, as he had held her. There was a man who wouldn’t stand for any of her glibly
spouted rationalizations, who mocked her excuses and cut her off in the middle of a facile explanation which had become her practiced method of avoiding commitment. was his incisive charge. “Listen to yourself,”
No other had ever suggested it.
She had gone to New Zealand to cover the America’s Cup races. For her that sort of reportage doubled as a vacation.
The idea of escaping the carnage of the world for a few short weeks had lifted her spirits and enhanced the woefully neglected carefree side of her nature. Katharine Gordon had, in a sudden
spate of self-indulgence, allowed herself the liberty of light-
giving it a friendly village-like atmosphere for a city of nearly a million souls. knew that eventually they would tell her she was too smart. Learning to As a child of five she had already been conditioned to recognize her father’s brutal smile as the precursor of a hard slap. That recently less frequent transition could be a When this rare condition accompanied her pleasure to observe. some with manicured emerald slopes holding remnants of a thousand-year old occupation. too habitually independent. once From that experience she had constructed a marvelous avoidance which involved a brief span of superficial friendliness and a comparatively hasty exit. there were also many she didn’t escape. too unneedful to ever be thought of as a companion for more than a short season. Any longer and they might feel a strong desire to mistreat her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Indeed many areas of the city were like unique villages. Auckland glimmered in the sun nestled between the blue-green waters of its two harbors. without the tall buildings. mistrust had come much earlier. from their point of view. simply to put her in her place. even harshly. It had happened. She it was a mistake. from hers. and sprawling over or beneath some fifty volcanic cinder cones. severely. Out of sight was out of mind Learning that in his bitter world of blame and self-absorption. blundering into his path. Her first view of Auckland with its bustling harbor reminded her a bit of San Francisco. for Auckland had almost none very tall. it was usually an imposition. Waitemata and Manukau. adage saved her many a beating but.6 heartedness. deceptively serene but startling malachite eyes and the ironic smile playing into a smirk of amusement. restored from Victorian times and retaining their flavor in trendy upscale shops and restaurants. A few indications of these Maori fortified villages known as pa . too competent. certain men were bound to fall in love with her. Ultimately.
” she said.ah well.7 remained as sacred sites -. giving the city a special panache that welcomed Katharine with the promise of a buoyant and rejuvenating stay. “Not ever in the Hauraki Gulf.a vivid counterpoint to the grand modern Skytower reaching into the clouds and offering a splendid view of near and far islands. “Ya will never get it back. for she had forgotten that she came in to buy a souvenir baseball cap. an indelible stare which left her usual sharp wit stillborn in her throat: gold-ringed black eyes half teasing and amused. in the America’s Cup Village. not without Kiwi sailors. She felt a sharp sting of irritation as she swung through the glass doors and walked along Quay Street West. and blithely announced to the clerk in a teasing voice.. she had walked into the New Zealand sailing team’s signature store of apparel and gifts. The hundreds of sailboat masts seen everywhere added an airy. heading over to the outdoor tables of a restaurant and bar called The Loaded Hog. different. “I’ve come for America’s Cup.” Katharine turned around and found herself looking into the rarest of dark eyes. as if an argument would be a delight. and still feeling cheerfully on holiday.” came the swift and.. unrevealing of anything beyond a superficial interest. Before the surprised clerk could mouth the same sentiment as the one which came resoundingly over her shoulder. “I think we will get our Cup back. yet with a strange fierceness resembling anger and. a resonant male voice behind her said. Not long after arriving in this North Island sea town.” The accent of her voice had of course made it clear that she was an American. accented reply. to her. she was cockily certain. sporty conviviality.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... as if she had been lightly struck. allowing a cursory smile as she made her exit.eventually. Yet it was something altogether Her smile faded. .
and she removed the cream linen jacket that hung unbuttoned over her pale green silk blouse. as it was just down the street from the wharf where most of the sailing syndicates were located. friendly place with all of those New Zealand accents flying back and forth across her table. She rested her folded hands a bit rigidly in the lap of her tan linen slacks and stared toward the waiter at another table. She was supposed to meet a news photographer at two o’clock. the entire city of Auckland could be described as a lot of sailing folk. half in the shadow of a spreading umbrella and seated beside an attractive. she had his attention and she said. for it was known as the City of Sails and one in ten Aucklanders owned a boat. The day was steamy warm. He leaned on one hand. Katharine Gordon was always as punctual as she was punctilious in her work relationships. the neck of the shirt open over a thorax well acquainted with the sun’s searing coloration. laying it over the empty chair at her table. with what she was beginning to hear as an American accent. staring at her with his chin in his palm and his elbow resting beside a tall beer while the other arm was flung across the back of the young woman’s chair.8 It was a noisy. She turned around and saw the same very tan face and angular body. “Is it?” she said softly and smiled to herself. His white shirt sleeves were fastidiously rolled. and under the present circumstances she was more than a little annoyed. dark-haired young woman. She sat sipping her beer. Although. “Please bring me a large Guinness. Finally.” came the arresting voice she had just escaped.” “Good on ya. which she had . shaking her head in wonder and looking at her watch. Probably a lot of sailing folk.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . occasionally glancing at her leather-strapped wristwatch and feeling the eyes. and he was quite late.
He smiled at her. Her head at that precise moment began a furious throbbing. . when it was handed to her by a tall frame ducking under the umbrella. After years of necessary travel. What could possibly be so interesting about me? especially with a lovely woman like that seated nearby. an incredibly generous.” while talking a mile a minute about having just come off a flash chase boat that would be used in the races. she was well accustomed to the extreme adoration or hatred Americans could generate. introducing himself and then remembering to introduce Katharine. Perhaps this curious Kiwi finds Americans intriguing. Apparently he was the owner of a large sheep and She heard herself described as a cattle ranch on South Island.” she said. She was about to retrieve her jacket.the sound rang in her ears. headache. gleaming smile that she could not begin to reciprocate in her now flagging state. and knew that her voice could not be heard it was so soft and far beneath the ubiquitous chatter driving against her ears. which Taylor had made no attempt to pick up. She felt the heat in her face. who occasionally glanced at her as her name came up. knocking her jacket to the cement and offering a lame “Sorry I’m late. Lachlan Manutane. In the next several minutes Katharine had to suffer in silence while her loose-tongued colleague chatted chummily with Lachlan Manutane. slid into the other chair. and The man hesitated a moment. and Taylor stuck out his hand. she wondered. “Thank you. there were the relentless eyes again. As she was taking her last swallow the photographer. She looked away She felt the beginnings of a She looked up. Cash Taylor. The air was muggy. She heard the name for the first time: Muh-nay-ta-neh -. Taylor glanced at the man and at her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . across the green water. boring into her back.9 been unable to make herself meet a second time.
.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Wait for me here. can you snag a taxi? I said I’d have some tucker with the mates on the boat.. It’s Perhaps he very mistakenly thought he was doing my head. laying out money for their bill and looking a bit forlornly off down the street.” “This is my sister. a taxi.. I wouldn’t want to interrupt your.” Manutane quickly explained as he stepped back to his table and offered her name to his sister: “Katharine Gordon. Rani. Rani. afternoon.” Taylor said.but thank you. “Yes. pleased with his newly acquired verbiage and glancing at his watch. switching vowels around then biting them off or stretching them almost beyond comprehension and boxing the ears of eloquence.” she was at last forced to say. standing up. I think I need to get back to my room. too miserable even to protest Cash Taylor’s vaunting manner and outrageous liberty in describing the way she handled her profession. or .” What might have been Katharine’s customary reluctance. “Gee.. “No worries.” Lachlan Manutane said in a voice that was the sound of his countrymen and yet a little impatient and capricious to her. “Oh. Just parked around the corner. and then tuned the rest out. Kate. her a service. feeling a little faint and looking at Taylor. dropping her head into her hands.your It was nice meeting you. while I get Miss Gordon to her hotel. Yet when this man spoke like that and looked at her so directly it did things to her stomach which had nothing to do with her steadily worsening headache.10 sort of globetrotting Wonder-Woman reporter in town for the races.. “I’m sorry. no..sometimes the barometric pressure does that. She just managed an apologetic smile to his serious young female companion still seated at the next table and said. I’ll drop ya.” she said.
” Your photographer mate has no manners.” he said.” “No. “Need some help.South Island.” room.something cool on my head.” “I’m sorry..don’t. muttering in a ragged voice when he returned. “I.thank you. closed the covering her eyes. was overcome with pained urgency as she got into his Range Rover and silently rode the few blocks over to the Hyatt Regency. curtains. her room. “Ya really do have a headache. fumbling for her key..understand.why you’re here.” Then they were inside her room.. figuring it out. wrapped in a wash cloth. I don’t know you. . dry hot wind. The dark eyes assessing her condition. “It is sultry this time of the year in Auckland. closed her eyes and moaned softly with the waves of pain. I’ve “Fortuitous. He pulled off her sandals. please?” She lifted her pounding head and felt the weakness in her knees. I’ll get ya some ice. I think I’m going chair. Light and sound were becoming unbearable.. She remained silent.. better.” She didn’t move. He walked her all the way to the door of She had not looked at him once.” “A migraine.. and he was bringing ice from somewhere..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” she said and thought she would swoon or very soon vomit. “That’s what we’re doing here.11 possibly even dismissal. He took the key out of her trembling hand. “Where I live it’s better -. “Can ya hold this while I get a glass of water?” She grasped the cold bundle. “Come. Just let me go in and lie down.” “Please. then held the bundled ice gently against her forehead. a dark I have some pills. She flung herself on the bed and rolled onto her back.... She was leaning against a Otherwise.. opened the door and said. “Will ya look at me.. I think.I need to lie down. to vomit.
. No. but of course not. What room? Where? She remembered the headache.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .12 never seen eyes like yours. that anyone else had been there. She stared in awe at the . please. if it could be achieved. it was he who had brought her the two pills which so efficiently knocked her out. crying out and sweating in a dark room. I’ll Not until I see if that stuff ya come back to you soon and we’ll hunt for lady-slippers in the meadow. Green as the Hauraki Gulf. “I’ll stay with ya until ya fall asleep.” Katharine struggled up from her dream.” *** “Please.” “No. which was essentially gone. She called down for a sandwich and ate it before the television. and then leaping whales off Kaikoura and joyful porpoises choreographing their playful frolicking in the airy world above the sea surface. switching on a bedside lamp and staring around the room. mama. I won’t ever see you again. another one. but had no idea what time it was as she squinted at the digital clock..just leave me. There was no sign Perhaps she had imagined him.. please don’t leave me. Katie-bird. Suppose they’ll help. watching a tourism station which was touting lovely. mama. Here. she always carried. swallowed is working. Pangs of hunger were at least a sign of returning lucidity.from your kit bag.” “I’m just going away for a little while. Take swallow this.” he said. An essential prescription There was no cure for a migraine but unconsciousness.” “No.” “I can’t just leave ya. exotic looking places on both islands that she wished she had time to visit: Abel Tasman National Park with giant silver ferns and black ferns and wood pigeons and tiny jewel-green beaches far below the trails. Then she remembered Lachlan Manutane and sat up.. mama. Ten o’clock.
gum was nearly indestructible and much prized. cheek bones. fierce. but nothing else must be set It was only a passing kindness. they reached maturity at the ripe old age of 1. but the strange eyes altogether amused. she decided. herself. his voice flashed across her mind. Cash They would More benignant eyes than those had once None of that mattered. with her usual methodical perseverance.13 giant kauri trees. unsummoned and unsettling. tan forehead. work.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she reminded Still. an outdoorsman’s tan. Later over a glass of chardonnay. brook no foolishness. Periodically his face. a full firm mouth and a straight Gaelic nose. she vetoed herself. The tall dark figure leaning over her with the ice.500 years. had managed to interview two of the men who would be crewing on the sleek Kiwi boat. and unreadable. I’ll try to find an address and send him a thank No I won’t. having dallied in the Skytower casino. and had also obtained rather interesting comments from their wives. weatherized hands. powerful. black waves of hair above that high. An intelligent well molded face with high you note. She had not thanked him and suddenly thought of herself as another ugly American. this time along with dinner at Gault’s on Quay -. but surprisingly gentle and ministering. remembering his face. and now it came to her that it was certainly a generous kindness. The pain had precluded any consideration of this special attention. Their extruded Magnificent at two hundred feet and with a massive girth which dwarfed the human figure. in motion. better to forget about it and get on with her Taylor had arrived late.it would be rather embarrassing to . just in time to run his shutter for the accompanying photographs. By the end of the following day Katharine. abused her. listening to their history.
or swill beer somewhere out of range. aren’t you?” She put down her fork. duchess.she complained to Cash about his haphazard attention to business. Cash? Have you lost it completely?” They “I mean.well. openfronted violet silk shirt. you So in the future when we need a You’re really going to make was often. “I... with a band in college. and the gold earring were all of a piece well familiar to her in the world in which she moved. wild and curly bleached blond hair. Cash. shoot will you please--” “All right.” The evening was again sultry and this time she was dressed for it. know your reputation precedes you.sort of unusual and a. and some of them might even go for your type: the smart lady journalist who sings rhythm and blues. do you want to meet some guys I know? have long sailboats and fat wallets.sexy. swallowing a bite of perfectly seared swordfish.. me work..” she said. I can’t keep people waiting while you lounge on someone’s sailboat. Cash was staring brazenly at her . and red high-heeled sandals. Everything he wore would most certainly have the appropriate label. Hey. gamble away the hours. in a sleeveless chiffon dress. She was never at ease with this marvelous superficialty. took another swallow of her chardonnay and studied Cash with her head turned to one side. I’ll get there. have thought this was rather like a holiday. too.14 run into Lachlan Manutane again at The Loaded Hog -. but when I do business I do business and I’m on time for my appointments. land. white with red flowers. The brash blue eyes. repulsed by it. all right. “Oh come on. You said you once sang Work a little boogie down under in Kiwi Why not rustle up some high-end Kiwis and swing low?” “High-end Kiwis? Swing low? What on earth are you talking about. lay-dee. cut loose.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... “Look. in fact.
Nearer the water there was a gentle breeze. And this time you pay the bill.S. placed her thinstrapped red leather purse over her shoulder and sauntered out of the restaurant. is the last time I’ll be dining with you. *** Helmsman Ian Smith was a skilled and experienced man of the sea. As the late afternoon progressed. stood up. Cash. staring out at the sloshing opaque green waters. Her inclusive rather than exclusive manner was especially . that you’re on time for the morning shoot with the U. The equator was up north. Upon their first encounter Katharine felt that she had possibly found a heavy-weather friend. Okay?” She finished her chardonnay. and quite adept at dealing with the constant stream of people surrounding their competitive lives. herself. She remained standing for a while. The Americans would be hard-pressed to wrest their Cup from the savvy crew Katharine had been getting to know. a smooth deftness at handling social obligations. a highly respected sailor familiar with every shiver of water and shifting wind in the mercurial Hauraki Gulf. Ian’s wife Margaret was very skilled behind the helm herself. and swinging are two different things in my book. down. in just that mood of alienation and gratitude she decided to turn up. her first impression was augmented by Margaret’s demonstrated perspicacity. grinders. and she wanted to douse him with her full water glass. a cool and level head with a genuine interest in others and a much appreciated sense of humor.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . private gathering while sojourning in a strange place.15 breasts. she reminded Strolling along slowly she came to a bench and sat The wife of the Kiwi crew’s helmsman had invited her to a It felt good to be invited to a barbecue the following evening. Singing I think this You work a lot Please see better when you’re wearing ear muffs and a parka. “I’m afraid my type finds your type off the chart.
focusing on her tan shorts and blue shirt and the enviably long tan legs. The Kiwis were rousingly competitive when it came to the race against the Americans.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . everything else.” “Oh.” We’re all used to that. a veiled loneliness for friendship never very intentionally addressed. do. was partially ringed with a thick stand of golden-trunked bamboo. Katharine. so lush. Please tell me what I can It I’d like to make myself useful. I’m flattered that you’ve come early. “Oh. The large back yard was a veritable jungle of broad-leaved plants and spidery clusters of flowers in various colorful hues.” Katharine laughed. it is a bit sultry.since I’ve had the nerve to arrive early.16 endearing to Katharine’s lonely heart. Guess I’m a cold-blooded Northwestern American.” “Yeah. and the rest of the perimeter pungent eucalyptus trees.” Margaret assured her.. Ya could arrange some silver on that table at the end of the deck while I answer the phone. suppose.” “Really.” The caterers will do most . Katharine followed the trim young woman.” “Just call me Kate and I’ll respond to all directives. I Margaret fluffed her feathery hair with quick fingers. “No such thing as rudely early around here.. “Am I rudely early?” Katharine had asked as she came up the walk of the Smith’s large white bungalow-style house. this is lovely. it was perched on a cinder cone hill in a suburb of Auckland. and pointed to the brick walk leading around to the back of the sprawling house. “I travel light and this chiffon thing is cool. This sultry weather really takes me down. “Although I might have put ya to work if ya hadn’t worn such a lovely dress. but this did not preclude a generous friendliness toward Katharine.
and we were lucky enough to have . a lot of us have been lucky and we’re heaps proud of our country. what a traffic jam looks like. alcoholism.. and I hope you never find out.you must have had a wonderful childhood with all of this incredible variation in nature to play in. same as everywhere else.” Margaret said. You Kiwis really have no idea Everything was moving just fine.” “At least you don’t yet have a population problem. but things aren’t always spot on around here. our narrow little roads get pretty jammed sometimes.” “But you.” “Well.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I still have to add that every life and every place has its own sort of strife. any traffic jam.or I guess you’d say car parks. “Yeah. I took a shuttle in from the airport and heard homecoming passengers complaining about the traffic jam on the motorway. We’re a part of this troubled world.. unemployment. “All that being true.and the sailing. Margaret returned with tall frosty glasses of iced tea. Margaret. Seattle has one of the most congested freeways in the nation.17 Katharine said with cheerful laughter.. in this beautiful country so far away from the threat and strife of the troubled world?” Katharine asked..” “Yeah. “What must it be like to grow up in this beautiful life.. My brother and I learned to sail when we were still practically little anklebiters. I didn’t see It looked like clear sailing to me. We have our wonky Family politicians and plenty of other troubles. but you have to travel a long way for the diversity you apparently have condensed in these two lovely islands. Sometimes the freeways are just giant parking lots.. problems. My country has great beauty. and they sat down in lawn chairs on the patio and visited in the few minutes left to them before the others arrived.
creating interesting abstract shadows among the lacy. Within an hour the spacious back yard had been transformed into a cheering section for the Vulcan’s Fire crew and the entire syndicate. “What about you. discursively chatting in journalese with a sports writer for the New Zealand Herald. “I didn’t have a conventional one. didn’t like talking about herself. It had taken her years to realize what was happening to her and to learn to cope with it.had a grandmother who took very good care of me when she finally took charge. I was a worthless child. a guilt which could actually change her chemistry. take-charge body already in motion.” Margaret said. I’ve only seen videos of your parks on television but they’re a mouthwatering temptation. and the lights strung through the trees winked on.” a They were well into .” Katharine said. Jennifer says you’re being paged. not always successfully. webbed floral bracts and spiky plants.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . your family? What did ya do?” Margaret asked. The end result was always a consuming guilt. Katharine sat on a bench under arching sprays of vivid pink bougainvillea.” “It seems to me that you could hike around North and South Island all of your life and never run out of spectacular places.” Katharine sipped her iced tea with intentional evasiveness and thankfully noticed that people were starting to arrive. something cloudy and vague that would involve puffery somewhere else to counteract an obscure wrongdoing which could never or must never be revealed. Phillip. She Ultimately. her history. but I got high marks at school. it was like pointing the finger at a self which had done something shameful. Darkness slid across the sky.. “We’ll talk more later. the conflicting aspects of reportage. Yes.18 a family that liked to tramp all over the place. leaning forward and touching Katharine’s arm. “Excuse me. with her lively..
..” “Yes. Still smiling. I’ve known him just that long.totally lost my manners. With her back against the cooling verdure and the stars coming out she felt almost comfortable.headaches.” “I’m careful.but ya were drinking Guinness.. laughing voices. state that I. even when I give my wife the pager I can’t escape. It’s why I’ve come north.. to see him win. for he truly seemed to be enjoying their talk. surprised me. Manutane..” “I’m sorry. right. “My friends always.” came a voice springing out of the recent past. Katharine sat staring at the crowd of buzzing. almost a part of something solid and ongoing and admirable.. Mr. smell of eucalyptus was delicious. He rose and left to answer his call. “What are you doing here?” The “I might ask the same question.” “Will ya please sit down. it cures one thing and causes another.” the sports writer said in a regretful voice..did I say it right?” “I understood how ya were the other day.. now that we’ve met again I’ll make amends I was in such a miserable Thank you so much for for not thanking you the other day..19 voice sang out from the dim shadows... your kindness.” After Katharine had sat back down...yes. “Oh!” Katharine cried out as she jumped to her feet and turned around. “Ah.” Lachlan Manutane said.. Lachlan Manutane Ya looked more relaxed before ya Ya did say it Do ya go by Kate?” .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Ian and I were schoolmates. right but I’d rather hear Lan. saw me.” “Ah. You really Well.didn’t mean to sound so.” “You’ve no glass in your hand. the words just audible over the band warming up at the foot of the garden. “Even in this bosky darkness I can tell you’ve no headache tonight.
Another white shirt. It must have been the intimacy resulting from the headache. Careful.” “When I’m thoroughly interested in something..someone. and hopeful of keeping her Too close to this man and she seemed to forget distance.. Before his hand dropped.” she said.. then reached toward her and lifted her chin until he had her averted eyes fixed on his.” She turned toward him for the first time and stared into his face. taking in his apparel.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She was now far from relaxed.” “Oh. very casual remark. glint. a stranger. the dark eyes holding the small sparkling lights that hung above in the trees. She couldn’t look away. vulnerability in a shared experience evoking a certain affinity. A cooling breeze brushed against her flushed face..20 casually settled beside her. Something had ignited inside of her. Her wary head quickly dropped. She reminded herself that he had watched her as the anodyne carried her from pain into sleep. “What does it cure?” “What?” “Alcohol. Katharine. surprised that he would touch her like that. things. of a friendly encounter and yours are two entirely different things.. her head had stiffened and trembled. staring off at the band. His wristwatch flashed a gold She watched his allusive lips curve over even white . raising his hand to thrust his fingers through a lock of hair blown into his eyes. He moved closer. I suppose. it doesn’t translate as casual. He smiled. glowing in the darkness. “Am I causing nerves.not a and her heart began to speed up..or boredom?” “What?” she said. but this time jeans and deck shoes without socks. snapping up straight. nerves. placing his empty glass below the bench. his idea “That’s.
laughing. Kate. “Oh for heaven’s sake! I think so. She’ll tell ya I’m direct... but I’m working. Come and rescue me.” You’re a stroppy little wahine.I’m not really who..” She tossed her head with a flash of anger at his accuracy. too. Rani.so direct... around for one thing. Margaret.. “Why should I fool around with inane banter to get where we already are? Ask Margaret. and felt a wash of relief.” “I’ve recognized ya.” A pretty young girl with a bouncing black braid and wearing shorts and a halter came hurrying up.. “I’m trying to find out. There are plenty of bodies Sometimes more is wanted.” he said.” “Now you’re insulting me.21 teeth. Katharine realized it was Lachlan’s sister.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..familiar.. Ya promised..I’m just. it occurs to me that you might only be interested in one thing. but I’m just here in New Zealand on business. “What? It’s just that you. “There ya are. but you’re so. Kate? Bloody sure I’m behaving myself. If only she What knew more people here.. “I think. Why had this man fastened on her? had she done to incur such intense focus? She almost spoke aloud: What have I done to make you act like this? He leaned in close to her face and said. Sorry to be so. . and then swallowed slowly as she tried to think how to get away without showing any emotion. “Since you don’t know me from Eve. It may not look like it at the moment. “Why’re ya so skittish. Come and dance with us. us you’d dance. Lan.I’m sorry.. and said.” I thought I’d heard them all.. without showing anything at all.. her eyes searching through the crowd for Margaret.” “And I’m more?” she said with flippant sarcasm.” she began.and I really--” “And ya don’t know me.” Ya promised Come on.
. her eager voice almost desperate.” Rani backed up slowly.free. Rani. enjoying her baffled reaction with a thoroughly self-indulgent rush of laughter... and then I saw ya talking to Phillip. Lachlan threw back his head.” “Are ya married?” “No.22 “Haere atu. and. Once again they were quite alone. How are you?” Katharine swiftly chimed in.just told her to rack off.” he said. “You spoke Maori to Rani...” “I don’t understand why you’ve fastened on me. Nice to see you again. “Hello. You’re acting bloody rude. sorry because she was not at all in control of herself.why you’ve decided to--” “What. “It’s an expression ya haven’t heard.” Lachlan said with a low cool voice. “Box of birds.” “How did you happen to find me hidden away here.” “I was trying to spare ya that. I was once.. she’s doing just great. until she vanished into the somewhat removed but noisily chattering crowd. Even when she turned to walk away. Rani. waited until ya were free..” Rani answered. being the polite fellow that I am. shaking her head and looking very disturbed..ya have no self-esteem?” . and Katharine was sorry she had chosen such an isolated place to enjoy the garden. anyway?” “I was watching ya earlier. “What?” Katharine responded with surprise.” “I’m not. she could be seen looking over her shoulder from time to time. “It means But she won’t be doing just great if she doesn’t take her little backside out of here right now.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Then you’re free to do what ya want.
Yes.” “You’ve seen nothing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I mean I’ve never.” “Pounamu?” “Greenstone.. He pulled her in against his chest and pointed overhead into the myriad .... I don’t take well to being ordered around. “What?” “It’s an old Scottish expression of my mother’s...” Here...Lan.. Ya have pounamu eyes and you’re no nonsense. please understand that I’m a very independent person. “Yeah.means good fortune.” “The day my work is finished is the day I leave.23 “Yes. It’s very beautiful.and pride in my country.” They walked over into the shadows beside the trunks of bamboo and looked up at the star-filled sky..” Katharine said. “I didn’t intend to look for ya again until after the races. Cross?” He laughed softly then stood up and said.but ya will... there is something I’d like to ask you. Sonsy. “Come away from these lights.” Please excuse me.” “Was I ordering ya around? expressing my pleasure. almost caving her knees. true nephrite. when your work was finished.. something you’d like to ask me?” “You really are quite amazing. many kinds. all with names. I do.. lucky.” “I’ve admired it in the shops..” “Ya don’t like my country?” “It must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. I was only Is there But here ya are.. He put his hand on “Where is the Southern her shoulder. fortuitous.enough to get by.the little I’ve seen of it. and she felt an electric pulse shooting through her in that touched spot.” “Lachlan.jade.” “Good. dropping her head back to study the sky.
yes.” He spun her around and stared down into her startled eyes. She could feel her entire body trembling out of It frightened her. wanted that drink. part of a ceremony. and remembered that nosetouching was a Maori greeting. looking at her and then catching . intended that her hands push him away. sent her floating up into the realm of the Southern Cross.. beyond even fear. She was far beyond any slight anticipation or the barely imagined. “Hongi. or worse..” How wonderful. With eyes The gently increasing force of his pliant mouth.” she said in a whispery voice. It was he who drew back.. sliding over her parched lips. but. “The sharing of life breath. “A Maori gesture. manuhiri. “Follow my hand.” she heard him say softly. wanted to do about it. then the delicate propriety vanished in unrestrained indulgence. the shadowed well at his throat. Can ya see it? Wonderful. beyond the ridiculous.. His faint scent of Scotch and citrus made her suddenly crave a swallow of her favorite old iced Scotch with its twist of lemon. warm and whiskey-tinged. She thought she was resisting that overconfident mouth.oh. she had thought. the angle of his chin. She was working and in the wrong place for anything like this. Nothing worked but the desire to go on and on cradled in that powerful surge of commingled longing.. but her hands didn’t work.” For a few wavering seconds. she was looking at his tilted face.. his refined Scottish nose.24 stars. control. closed. but there was nothing she could do about it. I’ve seen the Southern Cross.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .four lovely stars on your flag. he perhaps gave her the chance to refuse his embrace. she still saw the curl of smile. At last She really “I don’t. then drew her slowly in until their noses just touched. Instead. Right there.
” “Oh.” “Don’t.” He laughed and said.thank you. please talk to my friend He’s “I’m So much for good manners. Now I’ll have here while I toast Vulcan’s Fire and its soon-to-be-triumphant helmsman.when your work is finished. Embarrassed. Ya are going to come sailing with me.I don’t think so..” “I rather enjoy teasing ya..” “Excuse me. have ya really drunk nothing?” “I don’t remember. also means thanks... though... “You’re drunk on something. . please. just a visitor. and just in time before I lose my head..and I do thank ya. “Margie.I don’t understand. she held on to steady herself. making a toast.good.” “And that’s what I am.... but had never been kissed with an effect that folded her body as though she had been shot.strange little manuhiri. She had withstood being shot at.” The expression This is “I only said it was quite all right.” Margaret sat down. winking at Katharine who blushed thoroughly and was glad for the welcome darkness.25 her teetering self.. That’s confusing.a manuhiri?” “Just a visitor.. Lan.” “There.” “What is a. laughing and pointing through the ginger leaves at Rani who was dancing flamboyantly with one of the grinders. so sorry to interrupt... yeah. Will ya let me take ya sailing?” “I’m sorry. “I hope you’re This must be quite a different scene from enjoying yourself.” Margaret said. ya see? to insist. coming up to them.” “There you go again. She turned back to Katharine and said.... “Bloody-hell. ka pai.” “Ah. but Ian is looking for ya. Kate. there ya are..” Lachlan said.drinking anything.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
one he ruled all right. When she fell in love with Rang. Rang Manutane. him. tell me to shut up.and. her father threatened to disown her. “It seems to me that you’ve met Lan before this party.” Katharine said. he would probably tell ya himself. the heiress of heaps of sheep Her brusque hulk of a father. quick to explain her short encounter If with Lachlan and her headache. “Yeah. mind ya. but because her father had wanted her to marry the son of adjoining lands and combine their stations. She was an only child.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a handsome laborer on the station. They’re beastly I hear. as they say. His father was Maori.a very different sort of person. I feel as if I’ve known you all of my life.” “No.he was named after his He’s a very old friend.. but I’ll tell ya a few things that I know.. and cattle lands on South Island.. and his mother is a Scot. Mary McGregor. Lucky me. Donald McGregor. I’m prying.you are so wonderfully normal. one of maternal great-grandfather. bloody nearly made it into a kingdom. Even his given name. not especially because he was Maori. “Oh.” There was a moment of silence.. I can see that you’re quite curious about I would not gossip behind his back. wanting very much to know more but disinclined to pry. Ian’s best friends.” Katharine said. I’ve I just get the flimsy little ones that can be knocked down with an aspirin. I’m sorry.26 your normal work.. of course. given time. Margaret.” “What a choice compliment.. and even before Margaret spoke Katharine knew she was thinking of Lachlan Manutane.” “Yes. He actually came to admire Rang Manutane -. never had one.” “Lachlan is. her father had .the man was a genius with animals -. pulls no punches. He’s very direct. he is. But you. although I’ve never thought of any of my work as very normal.
holdings into a very profitable business.” “No. older than she appears.a very shrewd businessman. but I’ve never heard her Lan was educated at Oxford. I think she’s ill. I believe..their private language... except for a few interests in which he indulges.. much more.... but quite spoiled.. whom he certainly adores.. or businesses. so does his mother who learned the language to honor his father. But it wouldn’t have He’s simple in his tastes. .. Lan treats her like a child. Rani understands Maori.speaks fluent Maori. that is white.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . In the end he left Mary the entire station. and Maori cultures. Rani is no blood kin. and they ran the place together. generous to the Vulcan’s Fire Syndicate. I’ve heard mother and son converse in Maori.. daughter--” “Oh.spurns most excess. She’s Maori and adopted.for whom he really cared.owns a restaurant here.has turned his speak much... Mary’s ten-year-old daughter drowned in a flood while on horseback.. Her She had married Rang. yes. and Rani was a foundling child. but his wise father soon straightened him out. Mary wanted a girl..anyway a recluse. and there’s a Thoroughbred stud farm down west of Lake Taupo that belongs to him.. He’ll always be Ian’s friend.. I really think she stays in that childish mode because she gets so much attention that way. Maori always have good He’s been quite positions on his places and in his businesses. mattered. He has always gone back and forth between Pakeha.. lovely Rani..” “So Lachlan Manutane is a prominent sheep rancher?” “Oh. a She’s Lan. good girl essentially.27 no other heir.twenty-two. As a boy he went through a rather wild period. and leans toward the teachings of his father.. He tries to be a big brother to Rani and do what is best for her because it’s the wish of his mother.couldn’t have children after She’s terribly spoiled.
quite a moving story.. that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. “Oh. I hope ya aren’t going to write it.I’ve seen him do it. even though. I’m beginning to stray into a place that is none of my business.” “Good lord. But. although they seem to have little in common.” It really pains “Oh. he was married..he drank a lot for a while.absolutely breathtaking..” Katharine laughed. of course. Margaret. they’re not blood related. I really doubt he’ll ever There are any number of women who’d fall at his feet. but it isn’t “Oh.. “I imagine Lachlan would be considered quite a catch for some worthy girl. but he’d step over them -. so sad.” “I’ll say. He was never quite the same -. and I’m sure he’d consider that incestuous...before they even catch on to what’s happening.” “It certainly broke his.. So now ya have a bit of personal history to take home . She had suddenly thought of the opening line of Pride and Prejudice and was smiling over that: IT IS a truth universally acknowledged. He likes to do his own choosing..28 His father was fishing at sea with friends when their boat capsized a few years ago in one of those sudden wicked storms. the daughter of a Maori chief. deftly and politely. no. exactly my professional cup of tea. and then he just suddenly straightened up and went on with empire building. She died of a rare form of leukemia.really almost a magazine piece in itself.to the most beautiful and clever girl ya could ever imagine. my heart to hear that.” Katharine said.” “How interesting this all is.the saddest story. with ya.... He was never found. find anyone like that again. as I say. There are those who thought he might marry Rani.” “I could..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
and I’ve still seen almost nothing of it.” Margaret said. tragic information which she had just acquired only made her want to run faster -. standing up. “Oh. places on the tourist channel. he required some more in-depth exchanges from time to time. make sure the caterers don’t accidentally walk off with my silver. information. Her head was awash with new She wondered what Lachlan had expected from that ruinous kiss. “I’d better go check on a few things. sandflies.” “Just one quite rare little poisonous spider: katipo. this kind of nature.29 “I’m really falling in love with this land.” Katharine stood up. and even more unsettling to her: why she had so ardently succumbed when she knew he likely preferred brief encounters on his way to wherever he was headed.her proclivity for empathic sympathy would make her quite vulnerable. Ya really can’t think of leaving without a good dose of the beauty that exists here. and you don’t even have anything here that bites. and. I’m so sorry but I have to leave. The She had enough misery resulting from her own history.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and my head feels . Perhaps I wish I had time. No thank you. “I did see those incredible They just made me want to run I’m crazy about nature. Margaret. I’d take ya to some lovely places. Certainly.. shook out the airy skirt of her dress. and walked along with Margaret. let me introduce ya to a few more of the others. She suddenly realized that if Margaret now asked her friends for a helpful tour guide.. Lachlan would step forward and assume that role simply for his own entertainment. Come. certain it was time to change the subject. away and explore. of course. She took ahold of Margaret’s arm before they reached the others and said. we’ll find someone to show ya New Zealand. I have some early business to attend. perhaps he thought she could presently fill that need.mix it in with theirs.” Katharine said. Margaret.
” “Look..this time you kissed the wrong one.I’m......damn you!” Katharine shouted at the dead phone.can’t risk another headache.. Green Eyes. Kate.. it’s three o’clock. I mean. Us.not at all. I’ll call a Thank you so much for inviting me. gold-covered . “And I hope ya won’t leave until you’ve There’s a phone in the hall.and a lot pissed-off. I enjoyed our talk..” “What? Who? Oh. taxi.” “No. We’ll toast the properly seen New Zealand. but I’m a little pissed -.” *** Very early in the morning. She must’ve told ya I don’t kiss every woman I Lan. God. and a smallish. a sealed envelope.” Margaret frowned. What did Margie say to ya at that piss-up? meet.. And I’ll look forward to getting together.” “Incredible.” “I’ll have someone drive ya back. we’ll just forget about the casual remark right now because I’m too drunk to argue. “Yes? Hello?” “Kate.. By the time she recovered from her outrage Good enough to stop tossing and turning it was nearly time to get up.I’m sorry but I’m no good at casual relationships when I’m working..” “Well.that’s drunk to you -. night.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lachlan.. because I’m bloodyhell not through with ya. The late breakfast she ordered in her room came with a red hibiscus flower.30 a little punk.. I hope we can spend more time together before I leave. I’ll wait until you’re quite finished with your work.. pounamu eyes. winners. As for the rest. please don’t bother anyone. Katharine’s phone rang and once again it took a few seconds to remember where she was. ya could have let me drive ya back.” “Sorry.damn you..
typing away and sending back stories to the magazine which held the contract for all of her New Zealand work. I’ll see you after the races. Kate. her hand dangling over the side grasping the note as she stared into space. never have called and spoken as I did. It seemed that no one could talk or think of The races had begun. She stuck her hands into the pockets of her bath robe and walked slowly around the table which held these items. she was talking. I should I can’t blame Ian for continually filling my glass. she In a while she lifted the ribbon Nestled inside couldn’t rise from her chair. The object in the box is called Totoeka. The smooth. and is a rare form of the stuff your eyes are made of. Still. talking to all sorts of people in and around and involved with the races. remembering precisely how she had celebrated her first view of the Southern Cross.” *** When Katharine wasn’t sitting in her room with her laptop. like a mongoose circling a cobra. cool feel of it vibrated in her hand.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Oh. Thinking of it even now. Green Eyes. carved in an oblong convex shape to accent the gorgeous vermilion streak curling diagonally through its green field like a rushing red river. a very beautiful and mysterious piece of jade. “you know you can’t keep this. Lan She sat with her arms resting on the chair. I would have sworn that you would not do what you did last night: Leave without saying good-bye. was a large pendant. Finally she snatched the envelope The note read: Katharine up in two fingers and broke its seal. because I was the foolish chap swallowing. and pulled off the lid of the square gold box. and the Kiwis and Americans anything else.31 gift box.” she said to the moist green eyes in the mirror. and she slipped the black cord over her head and walked to the mirror. Please forgive my conduct. .
and come . I’ll have a ticket sent over to your hotel.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but his idea of punctuality was more laid back than she had ever seen it.” Margaret said with a congenial flutter of her hand as she spun off toward the syndicate offices. the win was decided at the starting gun. They were taking over the entire Fortuna Restaurant quarters. When they ran into each other on the crowded wharf.32 were battling it out in well-matched and finely tuned vessels. The smooth starting-point jockeying of the Kiwi helmsman and his crew in their top-of-the-line. articles tailored to captivate the magazine’s carefully researched readership. where she could bite her nails in seclusion. work well. There was no lack of material for her deftly written stories. and she intended to put in an appearance there. and he was pushing her good nature and high spirits to the edge with his frequent tardiness. They made it look as easy as an aerobatic bird on the wing. and she knew it could not be. big twentyseven meter Vulcan’s Fire was consistently perfect to the second. The Americans had invited Katharine to a smaller gathering. Watching them fly through the mercurial course out on the green Hauraki Gulf. “You’re invited. and rewatching later on television each night. barring strange and unforeseen accidents and exceptional boat design. Whoever maneuvered into the most favorable position at the start more frequently emerged the winner. Margaret had just enough time to tell Katharine that there would be a large celebration at the Skytower if the Kiwis won. too. and Ian Smith was a master at getting it right. quite an accommodating space which normally offered a huge and varied buffet but would be turned into a spacious party hall complete with orchestra. she concluded that. Her only problem was keeping Cash Taylor He did perform his in line for the various shoots she arranged.
if someone had to beat them. was another rerun in which a beaming Ian Smith raised high America’s .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . whatever the outcome. position reigned. She waved and turned away He had with her briefcase laptop attached to her other hand. This time was different. Margaret’s friendly inclusion topped a list of other invitations which Katharine intended to forego. She saw Lachlan Manutane only a couple of times from a distance. She had It was only the introduction to an assignation that would shortly end with herself in misery. inadvertently pondering small details and the intense directness of his gaze.33 late to the Kiwi event. acing the American’s out of the favored side of good wind and sealing their fate. certain she would not be missed. Before her. in another war zone. It was not an unfamiliar pattern. she had watched Vulcan’s Fire come about as if in a pas de deux choreography and slide between the Committee Boat and the Americans and over the starting line with only feet to spare. Still. sorry for the Americans but. as different as the man himself. except previously the misery had been short-lived or nonexistent. The initial jolt of excitement at seeing him left her foolishly adrift in confusing territory. once with Rani and some other couples she didn’t know and a second time talking briefly in passing to Cash Taylor and then looking over in her direction. the last time. She desired to know much more about him. She would soon be back Standing on various brinks of disaster swiftly banished disabling imbroglios of the self. With patriotic anguish. glad that it was the deserving Kiwis. at once more thrilling than offensive. *** The race was over. For She stared at her television screen. regret at what might have been was better than suffering over the demise of a deeper attachment. What to do about the exquisite jade pendant? decided it must be given back. made no attempt to approach her.
Kate?” Margaret asked with a surprised scrutiny of Katharine when she spotted her standing by a thick yucca spreading above a large jardiniere. full. “The Auld Mug seems to like it here. as she habitually found herself doing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Evening wear which artfully molded itself over her slender curving body very appealingly and without vulgarity.I .and then standing half hidden near a potted palm. Katharine thought the Auld Mug was rather generous of itself. ferreting for tidbits of useful information -.” Katharine held a “Good lord. would imagine a New York model. having once been smashed at its current residence by a protester wielding a sledgehammer.34 Cup. untouched glass in her hand. The dress and a pair of black patent leather heels and her small black peau de soie clutch purse were all she intended to appear in and carry at the celebration. *** “Is that really you. Just those things She would and a modest pair of opalescent pearls in her ears. she saw that the dark party dress made her softly streaked blond hair cast a gleaming contrast when she let it flow down almost touching her shoulders. Katharine fingered through her closet. ya look like. spaghetti-strapped bodice. Looking in her mirror.. It was black with an almost demure. instead of her usual style of French roll.. Indeed. after-five ambience. a straight but filmy short skirt below a plain.” “I’m an observer. taking it all in in her comforting role of observing journalist.” he was boasting. I was hoping for unobtrusiveness. probably end up discreetly chatting here and there. slipping out an airy crepe evening dress she had splurged on in a trendy shop in the upscale inner suburb of Parnell.she was always in the market for clever and definitive one-liners -.
” Here in “This bested American is so happy for you all. tilted “I don’t lifting the glass almost a necessity. at least. She was consumed with a desire to run.” “They were no slouches. that very assertive accented male voice made She did lift it.” “Wait. of “Have ya had anything to eat..” this splendid land and feeling full of good will. “Please don’t drink that. Guess I’ll run off and tend to Spotcha. “You coward.oh. her earnest voice carried a sincerity trailing no hint of the false blandishments heard in some other quarters. Kate? “I’m afraid I ate at the other place. course. She was wearing a tropics-inspired pale blue dress that matched the color of her happily crinkled eyes.” “Well.35 “Well. but they’re pretty good sports. and laughed with all the fervor of her triumphant mood.” “I was at an American wake. love. The food is good. standing firm and watching the tall form in navy blazer. want ya getting a headache. “Isn’t it grand? Ian is several meters off the ground. That’s certain.” she whispered to herself.” Katharine begged. some other more needy folks.. you’ll nivver bring it off with that hair and costume. run in any direction that held a door through which she could escape.a lot of long faces.” Margaret said.” She had not meant to drink even a sip from her flute of champagne.” he said with a grin that she immediately thought of as difficult to work against. Now. and he looks as surprised as I did. I see Lan headed our way. white shirt. . but Margaret had already vanished.” More determined than ever. and gray slacks stride forward... “Where have ya been? I was looking for ya earlier.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
. I know you meant well. I want to . But I can’t do this.. freeing her hair from the cord without explaining the Maori word.36 it and drank half. “Will ya give it to me..while I. but I’m royally insulted. He looked at it a moment and then at her while he quickly slipped the cord over her head.I have the pendant in my purse. the smile stalled. While ya were running off at the mouth with false assumptions. I’m Do ya really think I’d let some wally photographer spot a woman for me. I was wondering just how ya ever imagined ya could read my mind.” She reached into her purse... either. Nevertheless. ya look wonderful.. it was a soft word beginning with an f sound and spoken mostly to himself. but impatient now.... I. “And please don’t insult me with bad manners...whakaturi. not at all.more than Ya look--” “Lan. for Christ’s sake? Pardon my language. things to you and you’ve mistaken me for. “And I’m not in the mood for a long story.. wonderful. let me be.and then I think you should leave me alone. Maybe Cash said Really...” He tossed back his head as if to rid himself of sudden irritation.. lovely pendant. Thank you so much for your kindness. I’m going to hand it to you. I’m sorry we have to stand here like this while I tell you. and I want you to take it. what she had said. Look. “There..” he said in a low voice. not who ya seem to think I am. She hated Please just Gold-ringed eyes like tannin-black forest pools pulled her into their depths.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . paused a moment then drank the other half.I don’t do this. “That spoke volumes.I’m not who you think I am. I can’t do this. First of all. I can’t accept the lovely.” His curled mouth reminded her far too much of that Southern Cross moment.please just take it and say no more. lifted out the pendant and laid it in the palm of his hand...
angry that he so readily grasped her predicament. He said nothing and made no move to console her.now wait a minute.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and we’ve done all the celebrating here either of us needs to do. . “Your place?” “I have a house on the harbor in Herne Bay. My luggage is packed in my room and ready to leave with me in the morning. “I said. Outside the Hyatt Regency. and she stared at his hand there. You’re late. I’ve been very compliantly waiting an Let’s get out of here.this misunderstanding.. was he who would put them there. afraid of what she herself would do. Very soon I probably will have a headache. happened when she became afraid. let’s get out of here.” He took her arm. The unrelenting intensity of Lachlan Manutane encircled her as forcefully as if she were already locked in a room with him.” “That’ll make it easy. as if they were both combating something else. but the worry was that this time she would be the one to attempt throwing away the key. angry for abetting a delusion. I will let you take me back to my hotel. he told her to stay put while he retrieved her luggage and checked her out. She flew into a It jittery tantrum. “All right.. stay when I’m in Auckland. only holding her arm as if she might escape and moving along the sidewalk until they reached his Range Rover.” touch astonished her because of what it did to her body... because I’ve really had enough of this.” “What?” she asked in astonishment.37 be alone with ya. even while she was saying. his voice even sounding commiserating. She could clearly see the end of this. His It’s where I We’ll haul it over to my place. “What kind of shape is your duffle in?” “My.” It was what She tossed her hair back in angry frustration. eternity for that.
and look at him the way he was looking at her. I have a sloop just over in Westhaven Harbour.. will ya stay put. palmy garden and she was climbing the steps. Her body aroused. handsomely carved front door.. and amidst fine old pieces of gleaming oak furniture. Maybe we’ll go sailing tomorrow. It’s comfortable.” she muttered and was silent. knelt on the carpet before her and laughed with his head cocked back and the cords of his throat tight.” and let ya go..or Do ya like to fish?” “I. She folded her arms diffidently and said. the next day. I’ll cart ya back here Please just give us a chance. she looked straight ahead while Lachlan drove them out to the harbor and up to his Herne Bay house. promise. “This is where you stay when you’re in Auckland?” she said. We’ll sort it out. she found herself standing on a blood-red Turkish carpet running up close to walnut-wainscoted walls. She thought if he stayed kneeling there she would kneel down. passing through an elegant but dimly lit foyer. then hesitating as Lachlan stood aside and nodded for her to precede him through the dark.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Certain she had lost her mind. Ya need to know . a breathtakingly beautiful white Victorian house overlooking the bay. Once inside. I If ya don’t like the outcome.38 “Please. Kate. she sat huddled in her seat while the bellhop stowed her bags.I do fish.. “Right. slightly amazed. too. A few halting steps over the stones of a fragrant. and begrudging him the architectural beauty of an old treasure very well restored. kneel down or fling herself down. “Don’t you have to hurry home and dip cows or punch sheep or something?” He set down her luggage. her mind in retreat. I like it. “What a wonderful sense of humor ya have.
and she stepped back.. highly amused.. if you’ll tell me why ya kissed me back the way ya did at Ian’s. Do ya know what that means? I fancy ya want with me? ya. I nearly had ya where we stood. still with vestiges of a smile and trembling all over. “I’ve come this far. Just sex?” “That too.Kate. reaching out for her.because I never say it.” she said and smiled for the first time as her fingers clasped the pendant hanging against her breast. but for your sake I’ll try. do ya realize ya can do anything You’ve done a hell of a lot already.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” .” she said.” I’ll tell ya any number of things.” He stood. “Before you touch me..” “I’d like to think ya wore it for me. irresistible in it. He lifted her easily in his arms.” “I couldn’t even climb them.. Make it clear to me. “Ya really are choice..” “I haven’t been bought with jade. “When ya smile at me like that I’m not sure I’ll make it all the way upstairs either.” he said. fairly soon. Ya do know you’re But I think I’ve got to take it off ya Katharine. Green Eyes. “What was that word you said. It means something more when I say it.” “And not by the way ya were kissed?” “That too.” “I was overcome by the Southern Cross.. tell me why I’m here. with an accommodating smile.for this?” “Whakaturi?” “Yes. “We’re going upstairs.” Again he threw back his head and laughed.39 that when I work I work hard and when I play I play the same. What does it mean?” His expression was at once sly and amused.” “With playthings in little black dresses. “It means love token.
because you see I don’t want to want you. which faced out on the harbor. and set her gently on his bed. then his mouth exploring her.” her whispery voice confirmed. and when it’s over we’ll be able to talk.roses. afraid half wild herself. have you. dove-gray duvet and said.” she called out in a last desperate attempt at rationality. I can’t talk now.. a stunned Katharine was in the .40 “My clothes. she was half Who was this man? Who was this orchestrated wildness. because it only means more pain. but for me it’s another eventual misery. “I’m in very bad shape here. and if you only had a little compassion you’d--” “Be quiet. the thing which surprised her. laying claim to her body until she couldn’t hold still. pounamu eyes. recording every unfamiliar place until she wondered if he expected her to beg. That was But I can’t My brain isn’t working at He rather deftly parted from his own clothes. wait. all this waiting is another kind of pain. talk now. all. but his hands went over her flesh like those of a blind man.. There followed a sort of beautifully Such fierce wildness.Jesus.” “But very soon mine won’t be either.” “Attar of roses.. my suitcases. and. She sank down into the soft. He climbed the stairs to the master bedroom.” He didn’t hurry after he had removed her dress.. “Ya won’t be needing them tonight.. I don’t want to For you it’s nothing at all. person doing this to her? A man. and her dress came off quickly in his adroit fingers. and finally pinning her hands above her head while a piercing hard thrust slid into the very wet center of her just as she was about to open her mouth and beg and before she even realized what was happening. “I like your perfume.. First his hands.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .oh. and that can be very hard on the system.
41 act of discovering.” she said. burning up in stimulated excitement so fulfilling all practiced restraint vanished.” he said. Then he was outside her and coming against her belly with her hand pressed down on him. exacted responses utterly surprising to her. she thought. In a couple of days it’ll be nearly perfect. By climax. couldn’t open her mouth. And then amazingly enough he said. and coming like the expert that he was. His mouth gently touched the lids of her closed eyes. His freely offered self. “We’ll get better. “I was always hoping that someday you’d come along.” And in a couple of weeks it will all be over. . her masterfully tended body rocking in waves of incredible sensation. all that uninhibited satisfaction. Aiming for lightness but lost in the airy unreal. and yet thoughtful. couldn’t tell him that she wanted more. “What?” “If I was on the pill?” “Are ya?” “Yes. given so naturally. she responded.” “I like that better. She couldn’t think anymore or question anymore. nearly delirious. She was dazed. along with spontaneous cries at feelings she could hardly withstand.” “Why is that?” “Because I’m so cautious that even when I’m celibate I’m on the pill. “You could’ve asked me. all that earthshaking sensual play. care with his sperm.” he said. absolutely consumed with giving her deep pleasure. couldn’t answer. if not risk-free. wanted to do it all over again.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she was out of control. slowly returning. “Okay?” he said with his mouth in her hair.” “Nice try. kissing her lips one at a time. All that unleashed hunger.
had felt his muscular strength irrupting in her willing self.” Very soon they were too lost in the way they were handling Yeah? . don’t ya?” “A little. Green Eyes.yes.. she tried to hold herself still. Looking at their pairing. God..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .help me. not like this.” “This what ya want? Yeah? Tell me. Maybe the hills on my place in the heat of Christ. I want to see your eyes. his intelligent hands working so adroitly. please. Green. spring..” “A little. The feeling was so wonderful she thought she could drift off to sleep like that. Good?” “Yes. Lan. waiting as the tall case clock across the room swung its pendulum. moaning and arching her body in sudden quick spasms..not this close. He lay with the back of her body tight against him. knowing precisely how to make her rise into the air... help me.42 He held onto her. physical need yanking her into wakefulness with her breath coming so quickly she was dizzy as she cried out. until she turned to him thoroughly aroused again. but she was with him. Green Eyes. I’ve never seen eyes that color.. not green like this.I want. “Ya like this.oh. his deftly arousing touch turning her into his.. pulling her up against him and driving himself right back into her... it was no use. so that she gasped with a craving all new to her and closed her eyes. ya are sexy. “Open your eyes.right here with ya. his mouth caressing the nape of her neck while his hands stroked down the front of her.. “I want.” “I’m with ya.oh. A little? Do ya like this a little?” he asked....yes. God.. tried to think of sinking into nullity.” Oh.. “Oh. the tawny skin dark against her sun-deprived flesh.” Sleepy hot green.
around her and he took hold of her hair. Erotic feelings and sensations which drove her to near hysteria were heretofore unknown to her. and she hung onto him because she was so weak from expended energy and from him. and the incredible view facing out on the silvergreen bay. decided to take a shower. she looked into the oak-edged mirror and saw a rather pale face with large. and her partner never seemed to care very much about what was happening to her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Leaning on the counter. Somehow the full pleasure of it never arrived. to utter any more words. and she had to pee. she felt the She weighted tiredness of her body with a strange erotic throb. perhaps of South Island range country. She muttered something unintelligible even to herself and felt his mouth opening over hers. what they were making happen to each other. When she had relieved herself. Her feet slipped down on a broad and creamy She wandered off. only unmistakable involuntary cries paired with a physical satisfaction she would never have believed possible. in itself a sensual luxury. He lathered her and himself with a black bar of aromatic soap and they rinsed off. Her body was damp.43 each other. Her previous encounters with men had always been of minimal effect or unsatisfactory or both. moist green eyes that seemed almost startled. sheepskin carpet. The She looked around the room and saw a vintage oak dresser and desk. bed was damp. but she was so exhausted she could barely sit up. gently pulling her head back to find her mouth. including her dysfunctional marriage. Then he had her pressed up They both came very against the tiles and was inside of her. The next time she opened her eyes was some time in the morning. a large bucolic painting. quickly. No sooner had she turned on the water His arms came than she found she was sharing it with Lan. only looking . through a carved-oak door which just happened to lead into the bathroom.
In a dreamy state of fatigue she turned to open the door..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “It. the smile it induced lingering on her face. I still wonder why you followed me out of the store that day. “I like the way ya said that. I want ya to sleep..... Kate. “Hold it.” “What makes you think you know so much?” He smiled and said.the way ya lost yourself in it. You. “The innocence.but ya enjoyed this. “Ya haven’t had sex in a while. pleasure ya had in them. she lay staring at the ceiling in a half daze. The way ya I followed ya into the noticed things.. touched things. picking her up. while he leaned on an elbow and studied her. slipping backwards into his arms.. completely and totally rooted.” she said.caring makes it good.. and he said.like it was something all new to ya... “Why did you..” “Ya think I was buying souvenirs? store.” She opened her eyes and faced his continuing scrutiny straight on. I’d been watching ya for some time.you cared how I felt..” When he had dried her and himself off with huge navy towels. smiling as if it was still in your possession.it was. You’re I think it’s back to bed.” he said.” “You--” “Yeah. and I don’t think ya enjoyed it much when ya did. “What? Are you made of steel? I’m so tired that--” “I’ll let ya sleep.. All brand new. A kind of slow .44 at each other occasionally with very few words spoken.” Her eyes closed as she relived the incredible pleasure of really being with someone. I could almost feel the Ya would pick something up and think about it and then put it down and hold your hand on it..” “Do “And I think that’s where I get worn out. you have any coffee in this place?” “The coffee is after bed. the surprise.
strangely beautiful.” “Yeah..” “Guess how I got that way..” “Am I falling asleep yet?” “No. but I’m no fool..but. anyway.” “Is it so bloody rotten for you?” “Not always.helps make ya who ya are... the soles of my feet..too bloody cynical.” “Ah.” “And I think you have me mixed up with yourself..why me?” “Haven’t I been telling ya why? complicated Enzed crowd..” “You think these are such untainted eyes? they’ve seen? Do you know what Not all the time. Those green eyes shot sparks through totally somewhere else.. I tend to be an optimist I’m a journalist. I can see you’re not going back to sleep.. You’re not a part of any It’s obvious ya have an open mind.” .” “Haven’t you ever noticed anyone else doing that?” “Not the way ya did it.we wouldn’t last. I think ya want more loving.. I’m discovering that you’re very smart--I rather suspected it after Taylor’s grudging praise--and you’re funny.. and I report on this rotten world. way.untouched by the history here.. And who ya are is the person I find very attractive.” “You’re awfully good at this.so fair.. a writer of obscene truths. Lan. not all perfection.45 contemplation and consideration I found bloody irresistible. don’t say that..” “No. I live in a different world. And as we go along.” “Yeah. rather like sixty volts.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . You’re fresh. I think so. I mean with a sense of humor that is absolutely necessary in this bloody rotten world.. going back to. one I’m We...” “All right. I wanted your hands on me that Ya turned toward me once and looked right through me.maybe even necessary. so let’s do this instead.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 46 He ran his hand down the length of her body, stroking between her thighs until she quivered with need, then rolled atop her and drove himself into her until her legs clasped around him and she tore her fingers through his hair, her exhausted body trembling uncontrollably while she cried out for more. Finally, they lay on their backs simply breathing for several minutes, until she turned on her side and said, “I’ve been wondering what that is you have around your neck. shower with it on. Does it represent a fish hook?” You even
He stared at her a long moment without answering, then his fingers slid across his chest and cradled the pendant in his hand without looking at it. He gazed quietly into space.
“Yeah...it’s...a very finely carved, stylized fish hook...bone.” She wanted to take it in her hand and examine it, but something in his manner forestalled a closer inspection. “It looks very beautiful. I’ve seen them in the stores.”
“This was never in a store.” “Your wife gave it to you,” she said with a quick intuitiveness. He lay in silence, his eyes continuing to stare up at the turning ceiling fan. “I never had any such relationship with my husband, or any other man. You’re lucky, very lucky to have had it.”
He sat up, slipped the thong over his head, wrapped the cord around his fingers, then opened the drawer of a stand beside his bed and dropped the pendant gently inside. “Please don’t do that because of anything I’ve said.” “I should have done it before I had ya...since I... been with me so long I didn’t think of it.” “I wish I hadn’t said anything. I feel sad for you...I’m It’s
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 47 sorry, I shouldn’t say so...but very sad. I wish that you could
have been happy for a long time...that it never happened to you.” Her nervous fingers smoothed over the sheet. He picked up her restless hand and kissed the palm. “Ya are choice, Green Eyes. choice. Come here. I didn’t really know how
Let’s go to sleep.”
In a few hours she awoke and found herself held close against Lan, who was breathing softly in her ear. her face toward him. She turned
He opened his almond-shaped black eyes and
blinked at her with a slow smile. “Say something to me in Maori.” “Something to me in Maori,” he muttered. “No, come on, humor me. Maori?”
He shook the sleep out of his head and stared at her. “Why? You’re not a speaker and ya won’t understand
me...but...you’ll probably hear plenty of it from me anyway.” “Yes, you’ve said things to me before.” “Tourist words,” he said in a grainy sleep voice. “Pounamu eyes?” “All right...couldn’t help myself.” “I’ve listened to the language on the radio. beautiful lilt to it. it from you. Rather like Hawaiian. It has a
I’d like to hear
Please, will you speak to me?” The black,
Lan raised up on one arm and leaned over her.
gold-ringed eyes seemed even more black when he began to think in Maori. His smooth Maori-Scots face looked daggers at her,
and she was beginning to wish she had kept her mouth shut. “Noku ka pakeke, katahi ano toku hinengaro ka huri ki te ao Maori i tipo aki ai ahau. “Lovely. What did you say?”
“A...didn’t think about the Maori world of my childhood until I became an adult.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 48 “Oh, Lan, is that so? me the way you change. language. head?” “And in your head, Green Eyes? Ya strange woman.” Please tell me more. It fascinates
I love to see you thinking in that Oh, how does it work in your
How does it work?
He stared at her while a slow, appreciative smile altered his serious mouth and crept over his transformed face. It was a
Maori smile, she thought, one that she could feel as from another frame of reference. The singularity of language, the
rare forms of communication began to overwhelm her as she stared off, frowning in contemplation. Then she felt his fingers
smoothing the serious furrow in her brow, followed by delicate, carefully made kisses over her face and throat until she, too, was smiling. “Taku manawa, taku tau,” he said in a soft voice. “Which means?” “I’ll tell ya some other day...maybe.” His voice, his manner had returned to the other part of him she sought to know, just now a titillating, unbridled humor. “Now either sleep or more fucking or we get up and go sailing. Which is it?” *** She was sitting in the breakfast nook, holding her yellow mug with two hands and staring dreamily out at the waters of the harbor. Her body felt light, perhaps slightly bruised but not
unpleasantly affected, as if she had been rolled over and over by warm waves and tumbled onto a beach. “What kind of shoes do ya have with ya?” Lan asked. boots? I suppose not.” “Any
“You mean like hiking boots?” she asked, turning her languid green eyes on him and making him smile as he reached out to touch her sleep-flushed cheek. “I don’t carry hiking boots
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 49 with me unless I expect to go hiking.” “Ya sure’s hell didn’t plan on staying long in Enzed, did ya? No one with any sense comes here without tramping boots.
We’ll have to buy ya some.” “I thought we were going sailing.” “We are. the top. We’ll sail over to Rangitoto Island and tramp to Choice view. Good exercise.”
It’s rough lava.
“My God, I’ve just had plenty of exercise.” “Well, this tramping bit will get ya in better shape for the kind ya just had, Green Eyes. head out.” “You certainly are a bossy bloke,” she said, staring at him sitting there in his Windsor chair, wearing tan bush shorts and an open-necked blue shirt and smiling as if he owned the world. He laughed. not at all. “I don’t mean to be. I don’t want to boss ya, Finish your coffee and let’s
I’m just the leader here because it’s my country.
When I come to your country, ya can tell me what to do.” “Have you seen much of America?” “A fair amount. Ya have a lot of nice wild there, but it’s I like it better here.” *** Lan drove with an impatient self-assurance, one hand on the wheel the other doing other things, tuning the radio or touching the bare leg below her shorts to point out something. They
crazy...too many people.
drove out Jervois Road to the Herne Bay shopping center. She squinted down the street at some English words too far away to read and said, “What does that sign say?” “He putu, he hu, we nga whakamaunga waewae katoa e hokona ana i konei,” he translated into Maori and winked at her. “Now you’re getting back at me.” “What’s the matter, do ya need glasses?” “Is that what you said?”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 50 “No, I said boots, shoes, and all other footwear sold here. Do ya need glasses, perhaps?” “No, I need lessons in Maori.” “When was the last time ya had your eyes checked?” “When was the last time you spoke Maori to an American woman with no boots?” “My god, I’m going to have a royal smash-up here if ya go on like that,” he said, laughing so hard that it was fortunate they were just pulling into a parking space. In the store she said, “I like these. They’re cute.” She
smacked together the toes of the boots she had just tried on. “Cute doesn’t cut it. These are better. Give them a try,”
Lan said, handing her a heavier pair of dark leather boots. “You will have your way, won’t you?” “I’m thinking of your feet, Green Eyes. cute, and ya ought to keep them that way. They’re what is
Please try these.”
“I would but I’m afraid they’ll sink your boat.” “Oh, Christ, I can just see what sort of day we have ahead of us.” At the register a slight disagreement occurred as to who would pay for the heavier boots which had been decided upon. “Expensive,” she said. “I’m buying,” he quickly replied. “Certainly not. I’m wearing so I’m paying.” “It’s not your fault
“I’m paying,” he said with finality.
you’re getting the kind of boots ya expect to sink my boat.” *** They drove back to his place for two ice chests, one filled with sweating green bottles of Steinlager beer, from an ample supply in the refrigerator, and a hunk of Stilton with a loaf of uncut bread. oranges. Lan tossed in a broad-bladed knife and two
The other ice chest held bait and was for any fish
then tossed her the lines and jumped on deck.” She turned and looked off at the other boats. her feet moving a little forward up the dock with the memories still .. I like the sound she makes close-hauled and It’s an moving fast. pretty as an antique jewel box. cleat down that fucking line. When Katharine first saw his boat Waiata Reka riding in its slip at Westhaven Harbour. she exclaimed. and how he used to swear at her: “Goddammit. “Beautiful. “Changed my mind. My captain I don’t knocked me in the water when I didn’t move fast enough. want to sail. Lan. old boat.” “And evasive as hell.. Richard.that is.. Which is it?” “I’m a Northwesterner. Lachlan.51 that might be caught on the way to and from Rangitoto..” “What does Waiata Reka mean?” “Sweet Song.” “And not a cow puncher.” “You’re a sort of poet.” She was standing there thinking about her former husband.. ten and a half meters.” He had uncleated the three lines from the bow and portside cleats that bound them to the slip cleats. I wonder why that is.the water splashing against the bow. thirty-five feet of history loaded with new gadgets to keep ya from drowning. huh?” “I imagine you do that very well too. I don’t want to sail. I’ve had the captain’s orders that go along with the sport. Do I have to knock you off this damn fucking boat again to get your attention?” She jumped back onto the dock.so my editors believe.” “In sailing it works this way: ya either know how to sail or ya don’t.” “Yeah..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Do ya know anything about sailing?” “A little. Katharine.
“All right. he did it all himself. Bloody-hell. that’s all.” she agreed. or I wouldn’t have this assignment. she stared about her at a very shipshape sloop.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . The perfectly flush lay and rich vertical grain of the shining teak deck. allowing her to reveal her own capabilities. this boat. Please get back on the boat. “All right.. give a damn. Sweet Green Eyes. but. standing up. coming up behind her and turning her around in his arms. “What son of a bitch treated ya like that?” “My husband. of course. gleaming cabinets. and she grabbed a shroud. I can handle I just have to move a little faster. and down in the galley. don’t care whether or not ya know how to sail. Someone must come and care for this boat most tenderly when he was away. the glinting bright winches and turnbuckles. He said no more to her.” “I think I do know how to sail.” While the auxiliary took them out of port.” she said..” “The bloody fool dumped ya off your own boat? what a wanker.52 burning away in her insides. Show me your stuff or take a nap. They were out and ready for sail. . solid and firmly set over well-joined.sometimes it was so demoralizing that I--” “We’ll see. moving slowly toward him along the tilted deck and then dropping into the cockpit.about all that. The boat yawed slightly.. I Sometimes I sound a little gruff. Right?” I don’t We’re here to enjoy ourselves. He recleated a line fast and jumped onto the dock. “Would ya like to take the wheel while I hoist canvas?” he asked with careful politeness. but it’s just the way I am.. “Sorry. unless. we’re going sailing to have fun. I can’t believe it. polished bronze hardware.
The water rushing against the bow was music. “You have such magical names in this land. When she looked again toward the mast. She stretched out on her stomach opposite the cockpit on the seat above the well and said between her fingers. “Will I have to teach ya how to ride a horse?” he asked as he changed places with her.. staring out toward Rangitoto.something very important that I won’t have to teach ya. snapping the jib shackles to the forestay and raising the luffing jib. her eyes went from the telltales to a quick glance at his hands and back to the telltales. Waiata Reka. and the mainsail was climbing into the sky. “She’s all yours. swelling and lapping with hunger.53 Bent on holding Waiata Reka steady into the wind.” he said.. She was laughing and there were joyful tears in her eyes when he reached her side.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” he called. Determined not to let the boat fall off as he deftly worked at shaking out the mainsail along the boom. Glorious to watch the big sailcloth suck at the wind.” She turned the wheel and the sails swelled and bit into the mast. sweet song. “So now we know. he had freed the main halyard tail. Her heart began to speed up as she watched him in the bow. sliding his thumb across her wet cheek and kissing her laughing mouth. and her heart lunged like that as the boat heeled and strained. They beat into the wind for a while. then he brought the .” “There are horses around here. nearly leaping into the sky with windpower.” was all she would give out.” She was silent. “Okay. “I haven’t seen any horses around here. she looked up at the whipping telltales on the shrouds. but the ones I’m thinking of are in Canterbury.
E whakaaro ana ahau he patai hohore tena. talk to me in a language I can’t understand. I get it off my chest that way without going round the bend.54 bow to leeward and slackened sail as the wind fell abeam of them.” he said. that’s all.” things behind another’s back without permission.” he said. “Better put on a hat and some of this. Kate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She’s a real straight arrow and doesn’t like to say Didn’t “When will Ya know some things.” “Should I tell you whenever you use an Enzed expression that I’ve never heard.” “I’ll just watch for a while. and the sails jostled Thrilled. “Okay. she told you. “Ah. ya talk to me?” “When will you talk to me?” “There’s probably a heap I don’t have to say. Please don’t get yourself in high dudgeon. mysterious Kate. handing her a baseball cap and a tube of sunscreen. I just said it was absurd. or just keep quiet and try to figure it out contextually with my high intelligence?” . Ya have some problems. lifting the hat from her hand and pulling it down over her shaded eyes.” “Yeah. The boat lurched into a soft glide. You’re rather untrusting. she looked on. You’re still rooted. and his eyes were again in that phase of watching and studying that made her more than a little nervous as she stared back at him. “Oh. I’m going to bait a I understand.” “Damn it. tells your women--” “God. hook and do some fishing. in stillness as a pod of dolphins played off the bow.” “This is something she does for you. Kate. Water reflections danced off his face beneath his cap. Do ya want to fish?” I feel very lazy. feeling the heat and finally donning her sunglasses. Margaret do a lot of my talking for me? “Oh. Get some rest.
his arm casting out over the waves. I like ya that way. and she saw that he concentrated thoroughly on what he was doing. “Sure ya don’t want to do this?” “I’d rather watch you.” “Yeah? It’s all in the way ya hold your mouth. He made a smooth long cast. as if he were alone. easing herself down on the teak deck. That unselfconscious aspect of him was reassurance both exemplary and fascinating to her. then laughed softly and shook his head.there’s one for ya: independent. the line he used was light and delicate enough for a fair and artful play with smaller nimble fish. cocking his head. doing. you’re a hard case -.55 He was walking away and he turned around. greatly enhanced by a rhythmic cadence of wind in the attenuated sails and lyrical swashes of water on the hull. put his foot up on the taffrail and glanced back at her. pull off his sunglasses and reach into the chiller for bait. His tan fingers moved with a quick and familiar dexterity. puffs of breeze tugging at his hair. but.” You look like you know what you’re She continued to stare after him until the scene was fixed as a sharp but slightly removed impression. I’ve been pretty well I think I’ll know what ya schooled in the language department. The spinning rod he used looked powerful enough to pull in some hefty sport fish. . “Green Eyes. aren’t getting. A perfect blue dome of Canaletto sky. but then all the mysterious dark life in him jolting the perception into a vivid reality of here and now. the intense dazzle of light reflecting off the green sea. on the other hand. She watched until her eyes burned and she grew soporific and almost dizzy. stared at her thoughtfully for a moment. a film or a dream.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” She watched him toss his hat down. I’ll simply try and explain as we go along.
” He pulled her against him and pushed her dripping hair out of her eyes.” “I was using my mere to club a big kahawai I just caught. When she hit the water she was thoroughly awake and sputtering.. What in bloody-hell are ya doing?” Lan shouted at her. She looked up at him and began to laugh. Jesus. Granted they’re well fed sharks. “This is certainly proving to be a very unusual day. He kissed . and dreamed something dark and foreboding. Her father? Some ominous form chasing her through endless rooms in a strange building and out a small confining window into the sky. A noise opened her eyes.I thought you were going to hit me. screamed and leapt up and over the side of the boat. There are sharks around here. You’ll dry out. He was throwing a rope ladder over the side.. She She saw a dark figure standing nearby with a raised club.” she choked out. “I thought you were someone who. but I don’t like ya in this water. “Kate! For Christ sake. all wet. Look at ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Come out of there. come here ya silly wahine. “Now you’ve turned your clothes into swimming togs. things up like this?” Do ya always stir She couldn’t stop laughing and hung onto him with water dripping down her forehead and into her open mouth..” She was struggling forward. then she fell into a deep sleep.56 The sloshing boat and the heat gradually lulled her to sleep. A couple more times she looked up and saw Lan casting his line out over the realm of unknown fishes. Someone was after her. and he reached for her. where she tried flapping her arms to stay above the ground and fly away.. What “I woke up and saw you with that club. were ya thinking?” “I was having a bad dream and--” “It’s okay. and I.
and she felt his warm solid body hard against her. while the boat gently swayed and water sloshed indifferently against the hull. and ya are very much that. sweet ipo. talking and come here.” She stretched. “Get your little arse over here wahine before I come all over my boat. After a while he said. sweet crazy little ipo.” He pulled her damp hot body down on the tight bunk. “I have to go topside before things get out of hand. He was crouched on the edge of the bunk. Ipo.” . I want ya.” He carried her below and removed her wet clothes. peeling them away from her cool damp skin.please come here. his taut-skinned. heat-flushed naked body leaning over her. Deep in the throes of the second kiss her bare feet left the deck and she was up against him in his arms.. Just when I’m getting over the shock. and she drew herself back away from him. oh. feeling drowsy and sated. feeling so at peace that she drifted into sleep almost at once.” “What if I were to start calling you strange names. amazed at his ferocious expression of hunger and need. and she twined around him as they tore into each other in the utter joy of wildly impassioned oblivion. “Bloody amazing. I come below and discover a bare-skinned woman sleeping with her golden-haired self sprawled across my bunk. I want ya.57 her wet mouth. I want ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’ll Stop lay your clothes out on the deck to dry. “My god. Kate. “Stay here. then his own clothes came off in a wild rush.. Some time later she opened her eyes to the touch of his hand on her cheek. Jesus. you randy devil?” “I just called ya a woman. ya open your dreamy eyes and I want to dive into those green pools and swim right down to the bottom of ya.” He pulled on his shorts.
and felt them crash into the roof of the cabin. He laughed and lifted her onto his lap. her body swaying.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ya wild little wahina.” She was beginning to moan softly. She stared up into his eyes. Seized with a desire to touch and touch. Nothing of her escaped those tracking black eyes. somehow get deep inside that dark enigma and reach the place that made her into a sensual being full of heretofore unknown joy. Then his hands were on her waist.58 She sat up slowly. then almost at once her lazy heart lurched forward colliding with her ribs. her arms extended forward with her hands anchored on his shoulders as her heart raced and her breath came in quick jagging gasps.” Turning herself half around. As she quickly sucked in air a startled high note of satisfaction like a short wail issued from her mouth. They were almost together then as he coaxed her into a tight . not an invasion but a coupling that gave such excruciating pleasure the sweet pain of it knocked her head back. “Is this what ya wanted?” She would have said rhetorical if she could have thought clearly. don’t hit your head. could have then said anything clearly. she put her hands behind his neck and straddled him with her knees pressed into the cover of the bunk. her gaze captured and held by points of light glittering in diminishing hues of hot darkness. “Hey. covering her mouth to suppress a halfgrinning yawn. lifting her up and bringing her down on him. It had begun with her eyes roving over curves and angles of sun-warmed. “Careful. she curled her body against him. don’t hurt yourself. to somehow. walnut-gold flesh and poignantly wind-mussed hair. Her throat gave out a garbled breathless acknowledgment as she threw her arms into the air. then her clearing head considered the words of his poetic voice.
He held her. also with forked tails.oh God. streamlined ocean-going trout with .” she said..” It’s in the chilly “Where “Are ya hungry? Do ya want to eat first or “Good on ya. “Ah! My God.” They lay back with two hands locked together beside their heads. bin..” was issued with a slight gasp.” she cried out. oh. The kahawai was about twenty inches long.with me... “Okay?” “Uh-huh.” he finally muttered into her left ear. “We’re anchored off Rangitoto. a silvery-green-topped. helping her to move as she writhed and twisted against him and then with him completely until at last his hands held her firm and still and she couldn’t move at all but only feel his pleasure rising with her own and spreading all through their bodies. pointed-nosed fish with a V-shaped tail and nicely attenuated at both ends. Don’t hit your... The tarakihi were rounder. kissing and stroking one another in lazy oblivion.” she said. “No. Easy. Careful. collapsing against him. gutted..” She lifted the lid and studied the fish..look out!” “Oh. tramp?” “I want to eat like a starving tramp. Jesus..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . beaked noses and large sad eyes. dark-banded raised foreheads. “Oh.also two tarakihi. Yeah. “At home. “Nice. stroking her back. I sometimes fish for steelhead. ya remembered its name. beautiful silvery fish with dark backs.” His fingers clasped her waist.. Jesus Christ.. With me. are my clothes?” When she was dressed she came topside and said. lovely fish.. wait.59 weave of heated rhythm.lovely. “Where is the kahawai? I want to see it.yes.
“What is ipo?” “Ipo is sweetheart or lover. “Ya have a very good ear. “Mau tenei arani.a tattoo on the buttocks..” “What is it?” “A heitiki.I noticed your tattoo when we were. but very appropriate for my Maori half -.60 tremendous fight.” His eyes held hers until she began to blush so deeply she could feel the coloration spreading over her face.” “I see.a. staring up He peeled an orange and handed it to her. did ya? Something that occurred in my wilder days. a stylized ancestor. a tiki. They ate in silence.” she said in a soft voice.” she repeated.... offering her another Steinie. “You said your Maori half. “I find it choice.” “Ya did.” “I’m certain ya do. swilling Steinlagers. which she declined.. They sat on the deck..” he said. I always put them back.” “Mau tenei arani. big mana.” “I doubt it.. power.” “All the more reason to blush. He glanced at her for the certainty of her refusal and then drank from the bottle himself.. She watched him slice the grainy bread and edge off wedges of cheese then hand an open sandwich to her. a common practice.fertility. really quite wonderful that ya can blush with such innocence after what we’ve done to each other. at the island.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” he said.” She repeated it several more times while he smiled at her. Do you ever think of yourself as two opposing halves?” she asked with a carefully gentled .” “What?” “I said this orange is for ya. and. “I.
. had a few scraps. even though there were almost no Maori on the Canterbury plains. “Tell me about this place. lot of wood steps. “Rangitoto blasted out of the sea only six hundred years ago and last erupted about two hundred and fifty years ago.have been fairly well accepted among my Maori friends.” She halted a moment to gaze off at the dark greenery. It means ‘the days of Tamatekapua’s bleeding.everything. Wouldn’t change anything..61 voice. They’ve seen it before. but I speak the language well enough.. I don’t think of it much anymore. booted up and headed over the very rough black lava trail. What’s that small-leaved one?” The last part is easy boardwalk and a . “I’m what is known as hawhe kaehe in Maori.” she said as they jogged forward.and far too busy.” “The Arawa canoe?” “It’s rather a long story. They secured the dinghy.” “The name is short for Nga Rangi-iotongia-a-Tama-te-kapua. He rowed them to shore in the dinghy with their boot ties knotted and the boots strung around their necks. a half-caste. but the Maori came here in waves of canoes.” “Where are those clodhoppers I’m supposed to put on to protect my cute little feet?” she asked.. It’s two hundred and sixty meters high and it’ll take about an hour to reach the top. thanks to my father.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I went through a period of being bothered by it. The Arawa canoe arrived in the Bay of Plenty in the That’s where the Arawa Maori settled.. The chief of the fourteenth century. The Scots aren’t much of a problem. I’m comfortable with myself. “the name.. “These trees and shrubbery grow right out of the lava. not for me.’ Arawa canoe was wounded here.
Christmas time. “Motutapu is mostly grassland. and honey collectors get lingering red flowers.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . grazed by cattle and sheep.still a few Bees love them.. didn’t have the heart to tell me.” “Oh.. Enzed. Finally.” They crunched on over the lava in silence. Another young couple came along. stomping along until they reached the top and broke out into a marvelous and windy view of the neighboring island Motutapu across the causeway and Auckland on the distant horizon.. and he said. I went to live with my grandmother. “Kate Green Eyes. and medicine to us. a rather all-purpose plant that you might know as the tea tree -.. they were starting up the boardwalks and steps. The I didn’t know that. Ya had some on your toast this morning. They sat looking at each other. anything.” “I have no family. talk to me. your childhood. glanced around and left.a slightly different species from Australia. but I never saw her again. stopping now and then to look back through the tunnel of leaves or outward when a sea view was available.your family. their honey here. and she I waited and waited. the early settler’s tea substitute. promised me she would come back for me. I know it. good stuff.. last words from my mother were a promise that we would pick . tea tree oil and soap and shampoo.” “None?” “None that I know of. five. She I couldn’t blame her for that.62 “Manuka.. Very What’s that other gorgeous tree I see everywhere?” This island has the largest forest of it in “Pohutukawa. They returned in about half an hour and sat on a bench gazing out to sea.” Lan said as they walked the loop around the crater’s rim. Always blooms at chrissy. My mother left my father when I was He was cruel. She was killed in an automobile accident with her lover.
” “Yeah.. I’d intended a musical career. grandmother discovered that my father was beating me she took me away. idealistic. It lasted a little over a year. My grandmother sometimes spoke French.63 flowers together in the meadow of a woods beyond our farmhouse..little did I know. was one of the saddest days of my life. When my I sometimes dream that my mother and I are there.. a deceitfully friendly.very lovely. possibly even worse than my father. I was eight. until I had my ears knocked back getting shot at. lady-slippers. and developed some humility. her Wild Flower. said he was only venting his rage at my mother. do. but I was a little too cerebral and. end of story.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . greedy. That was when I became a journalist.” Surprised at having said so much.decided to make my contribution to the world by exposing its evil underbelly -. cut-throat advertising executive. She saved my life. They’re a small wild orchid. iris and white and yellow narcissus. and She sent she called me her Fleur des Champs. Cut loose from everything. and that’s what I I accidentally married Oh.. There. I found it very easy to go into dangerous places. I’m beginning to see. florist. I guess. It just became a habit. .. not quite. you “Then I went to Stanford where I became a quillet-tongued wise-ass. me to a very good school where I excelled.. End of story. Richard one cold winter sojourn in New York. I loved my grandmother. took me into her When she died it heart and filled me with sweet old aphorisms. hunting wild things. she was beginning to regret it. She tried to tell me the beating was really She nothing personal because she was afraid it would ruin me. I’m good at writing. And then?” I always had to. see. She was a Greenhouses in the winter filled with heavenly blue I roamed her woods. He was the one who made my judgment of another’s character highly suspect.
. because I was right about everything I thought when I first saw ya.. “Now.until now. “Sit down a minute.” he said. one of the best days I’ve ever--” He had hauled her against him and buried his face in her salty hair. recognized ya the exact moment I saw ya wandering down the street. yeah..” “I’m.” she said in a low voice.. as folks in the southern United States like to say. looking at her. clever funny Green Eyes. “Well. I bloody well knew it would turn into this. smiling.I guess I opted for a nice memory. was hoping for more. ready to head downhill... Jesus.. Kate?” “I..” “A nice memory.you see. more than you ever wanted to know about Katharine Gordon.I’m being conservative.the kind of wonderful that hurts. She sat back down and looked at him with her head cocked to the side and the wind blowing her hair across her wide pained eyes. I’d have sworn it was more than that. I don’t quite know how it works. Why are ya here. A part of me thought ya might be fun for a few days..and. “I wish you hadn’t done this.. know you think it’s been a crazy mixed-up day.” she said. He leaned away and looked at her long and hard in silence.. and that’s the part I’m talking about. “I simply want to know ya.” I “I “Fun when you come to Auckland.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and touching ya and looking at ya and listening to ya. guess I can’t argue with that.64 He sat in silence. having ya..but a part of me felt something else.” she said. Very soon you’ll be shut of all this.. because I’ve discovered I like being with ya. but found herself being led back.” She sprang off the bench....wonderful. “That’s good. . but to me it’s been.
Recalling parts of my past is like a spurt of bad chemistry. then went into the living room which he called the lounge. The day isn’t over yet.” “Is that what I am? Well. he asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner. Fluffy eggs with a bit of cheese. Maybe you’ll catch some fish on the way back.65 Something just clicks and there ya are. I’ve had articles in here on occasion. and ya can’t go back to whatever the hell it was ya were doing before.” “Don’t be afraid. both in somber thought. sliced tomatoes. “Hmm. and they walked down the hill. wearing fresh tan slacks and a blue silk shirt. feeling rather unsociable and wanting to simply wander through his house and peer at the books in his library.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and looked up to find him studying her with his hand folded under his chin and his elbow resting against his other hand as he leaned back in his maroon leather wing chair.” She flashed him the first grin of the evening and said.” she said. didn’t you?” “Not at all.” “Moody. I’m just sorry you’re in this sooky state. They returned home late. “Explain please. tea. Katharine. I had a wonderful . and you’ll never be the same. it’ll go away. “I’m sorry. don’t ya?” Nothing more was said of what had transpired. sat on a lovely old striped Victorian chaise lounge. browsing idly through an array of magazines. and toast served on blue and white china. which went into the freezer. hardly touching but ranging deep inside of each other.” “You’re scaring me. Ya like to fish. After showering. and she declined. They cleaned up the kitchen and washed the dishes together. after she had turned down the fish. somewhat subdued in mood. you wanted to go out to dinner. He scrambled six eggs.
“I’m besotted with ya. Ya know how I feel. that’s how I feel. Kate.” “Then I feel sorry for ya. please. easier for ya than taking a chance . You’re a little coward Is that it? And the sky might fall.that’s how I feel.” “You can hurt someone without touching them. earth might cave in. just chatter on about walking away? smashing something.. but--” “But I might. Your clever hands. Have I?” “No. how can ya do that and then I’m sorry but I feel like I’ve got a temper Ya refuse to accept it. The way you do things. ya must. and I’m trying to figure out how to do that. yourself so completely. “Nothing. yeah. I’ll always the way. I was a lazy lout. I’ll always remember that. out of my head and can’t think of anything else. know ya do. remember this day. but I’m not going anywhere until I have ya with me. death you’ll get away from me. eyes and--” “Stop it.. I suppose. When I get home I’ll be able to close my Please stop it. and the In what do ya place your trust. that’s how I feel.66 day. Scared to I should be working. I My God. his brow furrowed and his eyes staring hard with what she thought must be a kind of amazement at what he was going to say. Not you.” Tell me how you feel. but I’ll never lay any pain on ya.. He looked at her a long moment with incredulity.” “Ya have.. unwilling to take a chance. that’s how I feel.” “Tell me. started to speak and then continued looking in silence. Don’t worry. What I don’t think ya realize is that ya feel the same. When ya make love with me ya give Oh Jesus.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .but I loved watching you fish along I can close my eyes and see you. Kate?” Running around the world nearly getting shot is.
She had walked away so that he wouldn’t see how badly she was shaking. He was grinning and his expression had “Lovesickness?” she said with a startled and frightened voice.what? Way-waya?” “Recently I’ve become What is it? Whatever it is I can’t stand much “It’s.yes.” he said. What is that? more of--” “Wewehe. loved you.. Your mind.the way you moved and held your head and looked at me and laughed with me and told me things. but he caught her and held her and let the tears fall on his shirt.. sharing moments with you. She stood up quickly and walked to the window.your Everything you did was like being hit hard.. “How could that be when I always. I just sat there in pain and.. and. oh such pain. Today... Tell me..” she said. wiping her eyes with his .. you’re--” She turned around rapidly and said. “Poor little Green Eyes....” changed completely.. coming up behind her. “Tell me it will go away. “The truth.” he said softly. “Kate. God.” he explained.. such.oh. Tell me something.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . very familiar with it. hands....rather unstable. the way we make love. or tell me it won’t go away....the raw truth. I was getting sick. looking at him with her sad moist eyes and seeing reflected back such obvious misery she had to look away.” he said.” she cried out and tried to flee with her hands over her face...yes. looking out on lights around the harbor...everything about you..” “Tried to tell me what?” “I guess that I’m. “At least tell me the truth.lovesickness..oh.such pain..67 on a close human relationship.” “I tried to tell you in the beginning.
” she repeated. He slid his mouth over her lips as she quivered with desire. kissing him back until he took hold of her. staring into his suddenly intense face. My heart. “Tangihanga. rubbing his chin over the top of her head. only rising for brief visits to the bathroom. *** Their lovemaking had been so furious and all-consuming that when morning came neither wanted to get up. “You said you would tell me some day.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . luxuriating in the certainty of the terrible heat to come. They stayed in bed most of the day. and he threw back his head. making her cry out.” He turned her face up. leaned over and looked into her eyes. and to the kitchen to stave off hunger pangs. She ran her tongue over his firm nipple. even more arousing now. . She looked down into his burning Then eyes and saw them glazed with a vulnerable satisfaction. feeding her from his careful hand.” “Taku manawa. then thrust into her. “Taku manawa. sliding her down and fitting her against him.68 thumb. She lay with her head on his shoulder. In the early evening he brought her a glass of chardonnay and a single slice of bread with salami. Soon he lifted her writhing body atop him and watched her pleasure them both. taku tau. taku tau.” “Are you making fun of me?” He didn’t answer. She’s having a good cry. my love. Their first movements. merely picked her up and carried her once again up the stairs to his bedroom. staring idly out at the harbor. were slow and languid. lost in a swaying rapture with her head back. “What was that you said in Maori?” “What?” he asked.
a slight frown of impatient annoyance.the little idiot. and then ya close . with their bodies drenched in sweat..just replaced my old Cessna with a new one. We’re flying out of here tomorrow. Kate. panting softly. to make a pun.” “When I was twenty-two I was very serious. When it abated. ridiculously so. “You’ve had enough. Overfucked and brain-dead?” What kind of a pilot do ya want? “I’m a very nervous passenger. too.” “I can just imagine it. much older than I am now. She saw his face change very subtly. lassie. drawing up her knees and curling against him.” “All right. nearly deranged with the pleasure shooting and spiraling all through her body and brain until she was limp and senseless. Green Eyes. if those pikers get in anyone’s way there’ll be hell to pay..that will take some time. “When they finally do arrive.. A Turbo Skylane four-seater.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . He laughed and said.” he said.. Cor blimey. “She took a commercial planeload of her mates down to Christchurch and is bussing them over to the station to mess about in idle nonsense -.” she said. if they ever get there. ya little glutton. she threw her arm over her head and lay back. I’m up for it. “Nothing to worry about. “You know when you do that I only want more. I’m rooted. her parted legs quivering. pulling her head back by a silky hank of hair and opening her mouth with a deep kiss. Nice plane. I’m fairly interested in living.” “Where is Rani?” Katharine asked.69 he rolled them over and made her come very quickly with a ferocity that startled and thrilled her.” he said laughing. It was only the beginning of a relentless give-and-take energy which made her cry out over and over.
and shoulderharness seatbelts. Kate Green Eyes. depended on the air speed and altitude. touched her arm and said. they had to travel only about 600 miles. Oxygen for each passenger.500 rpms several times. at Lan. then checked the oil and fuel. He gave her a reassuring smile. tinted windows. Staring dreamily through the window and out into the blue horizon.500 feet and eighty-eight percent power it could travel 594 knots in a little over three hours. and at a speed of over 180 miles per hour they would arrive in a little over three hours. then they rolled down the runway and powered into the sky. “You’re off to Waikikamukau. At the moment she was too suspended in the narcotic of love to care. wall-to-wall carpeting.000 feet. while she sat pondering how she had come to be making this journey and wondering what would happen next.” “Why kick a moo cow?” she said. and gave forth more of the She glanced . he revved the engine up to 1. Lan loaded in their luggage. range.” *** They had taken a taxi south out of town and over to the air strip where his plane was parked. As the crow flies. he told her. It had a single piston engine of 235 The horsepower and could fly at an altitude of 20. but at 12. Katharine saw that the small plane was indeed sparkling new and looked like a very capable and compact form of private transportation. She looked down upon this exquisite surprise of clouddappled land pinned between the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Ocean.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . like a multifaceted brooch set with colored gems of all the earthy hues. she was shaken from her transfixed state when the plane bucked in an unruly current of air.70 your green eyes and give me a rest. When they were cleared for take-off. which he had already ordered topped off.
realized that she felt sad. and Lan spoke little of his earlier days. disturbed ya?” “No. I rather suspect a lot of it When my father was lost at sea she never Her devotion was very strong and thorough.” she said. She looked away and His wife had not entered her For thoughts since the incident with the fish hook pendant. really recovered.” She was silent. “Exactly. and slipped back into silence. He looked at her carefully and said. All she knew about Canterbury was that it was wild sheep and cattle country with hills and snow-capped mountains rising above a broad flat valley. Lan. stems from depression. not quite a mile. his past was a strange unknown place to her.” She tried to imagine how it would be.71 soft giggling laughter which he found so enchanting. “No worries. Collywobbles? Not going to spew breakfast are ya?” “Not if I can help it. this had been a selfish time of falling in love. A term for the very back of beyond. Once again the plane was going through some turbulence in the mercurial and wild currents of air whipping across New Zealand. nothing. Katharine. very like her in that respect.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Except for Margaret’s brief history. Did I say something that . too many variables to consider.” “My mother is not very well.” he said. and she suddenly felt a little nudge of fear. “How far will we have to drive when we land?” “Hmm.” “You’ve gone very silent. I’m congenerous. but it was simply impossible. She was trying to remain calm and show how unconcerned she was but her stomach was not cooperating. “Tell me about your mother. thinking that he must be implying that his devotion to his dead wife remained strong. The runway is on our station.
72 “I only wanted ya to know that I’m faithful. Kate. lifting her hand to his mouth. show me around while I’m there. After a while she dozed off. a hug. “Have any desire for a sandwich?” he asked. even come with me to Christchurch.” “Yes.” he said. .. “I was thinking about your mother. Kate said.” and reached for the bag with their ham sandwiches in it. Whenever I’m at I like them. a drive in the Maybe I could get your mother to causes serious depression. I’ve often chatted with shut-ins. she neatly folded the wrappers and put them back in the bag while he smiled at her tidiness. These were called the Southern Alps. the loss of loved ones A visit. tell.” “Sorry. that isn’t what I meant.. country does wonders for them. When they had finished. That’s the sort of person you are. When my grandmother died I was so lonely for the company of an elder that I started visiting retirement homes. but altogether rather flat. them small things.” “Nothing to be sorry about. I do. I’m here with ya. brought Sometimes they have wonderful stories to Their loneliness and. They can be like a family.. home I try to visit with.” she said. “Yes. tussockland with a river flowing through it and gorgeous snow-capped peaks biting into the sky. but I’m more impressed with ya than ever. Does she go out?” “No.are very much so.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “I didn’t mean to. I live in the present. trying to tell ya who I am. Kate. and Lan was radioing someone on the ground.sorry. Realizing that he was hungry.. Lan. I’m so sorry. of course.. I think you must have been very much so.with older people. and was astonished to find that they were in a landing pattern. Kate.” She fell silent again. and the droning engine made her sleepy. They were coming down over dry rolling- hilled.” “God..
. weathered looking Maori stepped up. gnarled old trees. Now you’ll be rested. ya did. my sleepy Green Eyes. Lan greeted him as Rex. They drove down a gravel road and turned into a lane bordered by thick and low.. astonished. “Well.hmm.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. reeking of tobacco that she could smell on the wind coming through the open cabin. Got to concentrate here a minute and we’ll be down.” “For sheep and cattle. “from his poem Afton Water. “It is. “The name sounds like something out of Robert Burns. When the plane had taxied off the runway. after a few friendly words of introduction. Eager for more history and facts. and I’m glad...about fifteen thousand. and I was raised on Robbie Burns.acres. Katharine asked. “How many acres do you have?” “Acres?. “I’ve been thinking about doing that for nearly four hours.. an older.” he said with surprise.” she said. she saw rising before her .. Lan came around to her side of the plane. At the end of the lane.” They touched down and rolled over a long packed runway. Welcome to Green Braes. lifted her into his arms and gave her a long warm kiss.” “That’s a lot of acres. My grandfather loved that poem.acres. not as smooth as the one they took off on.73 “I can’t have slept that long. He named my mother Mary from Green Braes is named for it. the green banks upriver where our property runs around lake preserves and into rugged foothills. ya need a lot of hectares. then got behind the wheel of the Rover. and was soon handing him luggage to be transported to another Range Rover.” she said. some species of dry smallleaved holly. but sound and well maintained..” Lan waved Rex off.
” He looked at her and laughed.’ as my grandfather was fond of calling it. “That It sweeps down Many’s the time it’s been a good excuse for a corker of a scrap. The Lodge. as they rolled to a stop in the circular drive before the steps of the towering Lodge. “Is that--?” “Green Braes Lodge.a sort of castle for a feudal baron.” “I certainly feel the heat. She was slender and almost as She wore tall as Lachlan.” “I see.” An attractive woman with short ash-blond hair and a smiling face was standing on the steps.” “Jesus. snob are ya..” “Big and solid it is.Lachlan Manutane. off the mountains and as such is called a föhn. perhaps somewhere in her mid-fifties. Maori.” she said. Stone does very well out here in these extremes of heat and snow. with a burst of laughter. I love it. simply her way of honoring my father. Did you really attend Oxford?” “You’re not a “Oi did. well-cut tan slacks and a white tailored blouse beneath an olive . “My mother might greet ya in It’s Don’t worry if ya don’t understand something.. “It’s more like a. ya make me laugh. nor’wester is the bane of us high plains jokers. “That’s your--” “My home.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . having stepped off the plane into a hot wind which could hardly be ignored.Laird of Green Braes Lodge. ya cheeky brat. It reminded her of some massive structure in Edinburgh with its many slateroof peaks facing in all directions and its thick walls of heavy gray stone..” he said.74 what she thought resembled a great stone church....” he said. “Testin’ your temper. Katie Green Eyes?” “No one ever accused me of it. lassie?” Lan teased.
Mary laughed and said. “Mother this is Katharine Gordon.” Mary Manutane said. and they embraced in a very loving way. Good lord.” “She said that was a beautiful remark. smiling and waiting. wanting to hug her but uncertain. and said. She almost blushed in remembering how she had pictured the woman. “Your Scots girl likes the words. Katharine had been carefully practicing a single Maori phrase--This is a beautiful land--which she had heard another journalist repeat to a coaching Maori speaker. and Mary quickly replied. Katharine thought. Lachlan went forward to meet her. “He whenua kura tenei. my mother. immediately that Mary Manutane was not used to being warmly greeted by anyone but her son and probably Rani. That fetching burr must be a prevalent Scottish characteristic of this part of South Island. both speaking in low voices. “Mamae ana to korero. Lachlan turned around and said. and had rather expensive looking loafers on her comparatively small poised feet. boiled wool jacket. She had been practicing it over and over to get the perfect vowel sound and authenticity to the words. Mary Manutane. Unbeknownst to Lan. Haere mai.” She reached out her hand and Katharine She quickly took it. this graceful specimen of mature womanhood must be Lachlan’s mother. Katharine. putting her arms around Mary. There was a brief moment of Katharine saw restraint and then Mary hugged her back. Katharine. back. hesitated a moment and then succumbed to her inclination. and I agree.” She smiled at Mary Both Lan and Mary smiled with appreciation.” Lan said. Katharine also noticed that Mary rolled her r when she said Green Braes. and Katharine realized she had been hearing the same slight roll in Lan’s speech. “Tena koe.75 green.” Katharine hung “Welcome to Green Braes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . .
“Surely it is.” Lan said as he watched Katharine explore. stopping on the first landing while Katharine admired a large-paneled stained glass mural displaying a proud full-racked stag in a Scottish highland setting. eager to be alone with her. complete with master. running behind a massive fourposter bed of carved oak overspread with a brown and . Kate?” Lan asked. Once in the spacious bedroom. her senses were infused with the smoky spice of old fires. “Ya two can have afternoon tea if ya like. Mother didn’t want it without my father. the burgundy walls were met with oak wainscoting.76 Lan. “Surely this must be the master bedroom. Lani. beveled and leaded windows filled with blue sky and facing out on the river. the pooling velour drapes at the broad.” Lan explained. I’m fine.” she said.” “Hungry. for apparently she thought little of the two sharing a bedroom. “No. Midway. They walked into the grand foyer while Mary told them tea would not be for two more hours and that Lan’s room was all tidied up for Katharine’s visit. Of course he had. holding a heavy metal chandelier fixed with opaque glass globes shaped like flames. The ceiling was very high. and the gold-edged paintings hanging above rich blond oak. Perhaps it was Katharine’s Scottish ancestry which had so favored her in Mary’s eyes. A well lived in room much enhanced by Lan’s consuming presence. She wondered if Lan had thought of it.” Katharine was still considering Mary’s words and wondering how conservative she was in her outlook. They climbed the broad stairs with its handsome carved thistle newel posts. We had a sandwich. I can wait. She had never even thought of it until this moment.” The burr of the r in her pronunciation of girl was as much a delight as the way she had phrased the sentence. “Tea means dinner. the mellow tones of brown and burgundy.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
that if she ever accompanied him to a Maori setting she might also meet the other half for the first time.I don’t know. He grinned.” Katharine posed. Could it really be that she had been wildly intimate with this barely known man smiling at her from across the room? Could it really be that she was now standing in his extraordinary bedroom in the very uncommon house of half his ancestors? to this? How did it ever come She felt as if she had just met half of him for the Perhaps she had. was met at its edges by a shining parquet floor patterned in red and blond woods.” she said. The carpet.. dark. “Kate? Katharine. she now realized first time. flashing the white teeth of an irresistible mouth that could so easily and fiercely consume her. .. she pocketed her hands and backed up slowly toward the wall.” Lan affirmed. she remembered even more precisely who he was to her and how he was to her. and a large stone fireplace with a shining bronze fender at its opening. with the strange black eyes still so full of mysteries. Green Eyes?” As if a whirling dark cloud of misgiving were rolling toward her. glancing behind her and just avoiding a small oak desk.. At that moment.where have ya gone. this tall. There were paintings of well- sired horses poised in dressage. still smiling and watching her. almost afraid of the emotions flooding through her as she stood looking at him. “It is. “That must be nice in the winter snows.77 wine duvet.. Consequentially. “What are ya doing?” “I’m. a strange interlocked repetition of rather abstract violet-topped thistles of muted green on a field of dark umber. and portraits of hunting and sheep dogs on the walls.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . surprisingly urbane Maori-Scot male from the back of beyond. “Do ya want a shower? What do ya want?” She turned to take in all of him at last.
blowing away as if caught on the hot exterior wind of this place. Jabbing dark thoughts of how to save a shred of herself flew across her divided mind like disturbed hornets.” “Is that her wish or yours?” “What? Kate.78 Nearly all of the self-inculcated reason which had for so long facilitated her confined pre-New Zealand journey was swiftly evaporating. When she married my father She avoided them.” “For God’s sake.” “Good. expression for that in Maori. thing she wanted. and even now it can be a bit chilly.ya really do plunge right in.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ...” “Ya don’t understand. people around here were far more provincial then they are now. don’t ya?” Is there an “You almost said it’s none of my business. her so-called friends shunned her. The only thing wrong with her is that she is lonely and depressed. too?” “Kaore he wahi o tera ki a koe. she feels She prefers going bush.” . It was the same But how long could they abandon themselves to Or had he this wildness without a thought of the consequences? thought of them all along? When she spoke with a manner as direct as his.” “Didn’t I say as much?” “She needs to get out. comfortable and safe and free to roam through her own house and on her own land as she pleases.. are we having a row over my mother before we’ve even sat down on my bed?” “It isn’t good to sit on a bed..has done Here. When my mother was a young woman. she knew it would temporarily send him in another direction. “Your mother is perfectly well. then you can say it whenever I stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong. She knew what he wanted. so ever since.
He was in a rough hurry. Come here. more of us. Have we just met? Again? A little No worries. he leapt out of bed and raced across the room and into the shower with Katharine close behind him. She thought it would have been so perfect to drift slowly into sleep then.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Will ya get your clothes off.Jesus. if we shower together we’ll likely both go right down the scuttle. and hard against his slippery wet . Beds are for lying down.79 “I certainly agree. “My god.. “Get up. my frowning I need to make ya smile. so much more than she had ever known.” She kissed his throat and ran her fingers down his firmmuscled body and along his groin to play in the soft black curls.” Katharine said. white-tiled shower.. ya randy little wench.” He was beginning to laugh and then Katharine was trying to let go once again. or shall I do it? I fancy ya like nothing else. except that Lachlan Manutane was here. “Oh. Instead. It’s nearly time for tea. casting aside all the weighty speculation of an unreadable future because the here and now of freewheeling emotion was more. She could never have explained what she was doing here anyway.” *** “We have to get up. Green Eyes. then bringing himself atop her and sliding into her yet one more furious time.” “I’ll have my tea in the drawing room.” he said and then pulled her into the steaming. yeah? wahine. stretching languorously. thoroughly aroused and gathering her up. locked together as they were.please.. and she cried out and moaned softly while they flung themselves together until she bit into his shoulder to prevent a rising scream.” he muttered. “Ya are choice. Kate. Jesus..
Before it was served Lan went to the sideboard and He poured some into Katharine’s It’s a uncorked an icing white wine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . who sat with them. and not even able to laugh. A Maori cook named Mattie bustled and clattered in the kitchen. and a very fresh salad with a delicate dressing unfamiliar to Katharine.80 body. There was grainy bread hot from the oven. the jade pendant hanging around her neck. goblet and said. sliding against him. It was a very lovely environment for a meal. and occasionally engaging in tittering laughter with her longtime cook and housekeeper and friend. The room faced out on a meandering river which Katharine had not even realized ran past the other side of the Lodge until she noticed it upstairs. Tea included an airy red wine. now at a lower stage. “Taste and tell me what ya think. She was dressed in a plain olive skirt and beige silk blouse. cold roast beef. *** They rapidly descended the stairs arm in arm. sometimes went back into the huge old kitchen where her low voice could be heard speaking indistinguishable words.” she cried. Lan wore gray slacks and Spanish cordovan loafers and another well-tailored. her voice amazed. and with chestnut wedge-heeled shoes on her tripping feet. The dining room was large with a fireplace on one wall. with Katharine laughing and stopping to button a missed space in Lan’s shirt while he kissed the top of her head. Sauvignon blanc from a winery I own up near Nelson. “Oh Lan. crisp white shirt. Dessert was a frothy vanilla pudding topped with slices of kiwifruit.” Katharine said. How long have you . Lan. oh.” “It’s good. to sit looking out on the pink-tinged Southern Alps in the distance and upon the blond grasses along the rough banks of the river. and Mary. “very good.
plenty of them.81 been a vintner?” “A few years. Katharine saw Mary watching them. When tea was over.” “What else is on the hoof around here..or snails or puppy dog tails. besides horses?” Katharine asked. and knew what Mary knew about them. the U. “We have not..” “I see ya two have not been talking about wine. exported to Germany where venison is eaten with relish.” Lan said.” Katharine said.” “What kind of relish?” Katharine said. “If this is where I’m supposed to launch into a discussion of sheep you’ll find the conversation wanting. “Very amusing. and ya can get a feel of hard leather and a whiff of down and dirty on the plain. they lingered at the table while Mary brought Lan up to date with the mundane happenings at Green . Green Eyes. “So you aren’t going to ride off punching cows. after all.” Lan answered. “Up at the north end of the property we have red deer. It’s working out well enough.” Mary said with a twinkle in her eye. mother. “We’ll simply ride out among ’em.S. That’s the best introduction to sheep and cattle and anything else on the hoof. that they were in love and that it was an excruciatingly fragile time of foolishness and great joy and anguish.” Lan said with the quick wit that Katharine was growing to love. We export to I think these innocent whites are becoming a bit more sophisticated. Joy because they were thoroughly sentient beings and anguish because they were also reasoning beings who occasionally caught glimpses of fleeting time and could think things out to a possibly frightening conclusion.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
“I think I prefer nature to the city. with a softening smile. unassailable. and Katharine said. although I now live in a city. Lan suggested that they go for a walk along the river.. Green Braes must involve a great deal of work and constant attention. She knew very well that within a matter of seconds. Katharine was surprised and a little embarrassed but tried to answer in a serious and thoughtful way.. It’s how one learns about an unknown place. but with all the problems of congested cities. “Oh no.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She heard them begin a . Katharine sat listening in silence until Mary apologized for boring her. requiring a very special and single-minded devotion. nature and made that a necessity. and aloof that she couldn’t look at Lan. she was deeply enough in love to punish herself and everyone around her for the loss of will that it involved.. Seattle.really very interesting to me.from time to time at least. Growing up on my grandmother’s It brought me close to flower farm was a fortunate experience. I love to listen. She felt a little mean-spirited and stared out at Habitually independent.82 Braes.” “Can ya imagine yourself living here?” Mary asked with the very same directness she had apparently passed on to her son.. Lan could make the coolly firm observation she had just delivered evaporate and fall like rain. one or both of them would certainly be disappointed..all the little details... If she was expected to gush and say how she could hardly wait to settle in. I would think it quite a challenge.” Her answer had been so absolutely tactful. as if she were a distant relative come for a visit..a blustery northwest sea town made more attractive by the beauty of its setting. knowing he wouldn’t like it. the mountains. and she went upstairs to put on her jeans and tennis shoes while he remained talking with his mother.
Are ya These old boots are bloody essential to me.. ready?” *** “Where were those trucks going. although they’re looking a bit tired after all those years. Let’s walk. and then paved roads. headed for the port of Timaru.” The wind had abated a little. but the evening was warm and the river quite refreshing. “From the 1st Duke of Wellington..and periodically oversees some repair work. keeps an eye on road erosion. usually at five in the morning. She was recalling how she had stared down at two large trucks which were loaded with sheep and stirring up dust clouds on the road below. then left her to put on his jeans and slip into a pair of old Wellingtons. they’ve held up rather well. She was standing by the bedroom window and looking out over the shadowy river and the distant fading mountains when Lan came up behind her. “Hmm. where the woolies are shipped out.. They were on a very well-worn path .” “You’ve drunk just enough of my wine to foolishly criticize my favorite boots. Our manager. He kissed the nape of her neck.early nineteenth century. and almost resented that very private way of saying anything they wanted. today because of road repair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . They got a late start When they roll out of here they’re on roads we’ve made that link up with metal country roads. until she reminded herself it was something they regularly did and none of her business. Careful what ya say.. “Are those Wellingtons from Wellington?” she asked in a teasing voice.” Lan answered. impish Green Eyes. the ones I saw when we flew in?” Katharine asked as they strolled along. mostly headed for the Middle East. “They leave every Thursday.83 conversation in Maori. that is gravel. Wheeler.
and I thought ya could try to get Mary to come with us. the lovely bellbird.” “What does that mean?” “Just what I’ve said. I become.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Ya see how I’m following your I wonder if ya could get her out. It’s so nice here.” . I appreciate your determination.” “No more?” “Please don’t press me. “Ya were happier in Auckland. I was about to say. his penetrating eyes and serious manner a sudden explicit revelation of concern.. I’ve gotten ya this far and now I’m wondering about the next obstacle. The very things that attract me to your I’ve sussed the Mary McGregor Manutane is no independent self are also the worries I have. You’re unpredictable.. advice. complicated but--” “And so are you. I have to go to Christchurch.” “No.” Katharine said.. “Kate. so ya No more tonight.. this place.. “All right. Katharine was listening for unusual bird sounds and asking Lan about one she thought she was able to distinguish.” “That I well know. that isn’t true.” “And how I love being with you.. Lan. in places. hesitation. I don’t know myself. I think. very tall blond grasses.. when he turned around and took hold of her arm and drew her against him. can try a little of your friendly persuasion on my mother.. “Well.” “I simply will.a bit complicated.or are you busy?” “Yeah. pushover. but I’m not sure ya know what you’re in for.restless.” “But God how I love having ya with me.84 through the tough and. do. I’ve barely seen Can we go riding tomorrow.” “Neither am I.uncertain when you I only know that I--” We’d better go back.
I have almost no idea anymore what it feels like to walk down the street with one or the other and share experiences. Katharine Gordon. I guess I can do it. You’re a very fetching girl.85 *** Lan went into his study to answer some e-mail. “For you. I’ll be all alone. I really have no idea where to begin there but I’ve heard it has lovely gardens and parks. and come along? schoolgirl. “Am I bothering you?” she asked. and I know nothing about the town..” Katharine said.” “It’s an easy town to get around in if ya don’t mind the river. but not for me.. but I don’t go out. go to the wrong places. but it’s not so easy in a . Katharine decided to be the same and said.” Mary said. things.” Katharine dropped her head. “always longing for a mother.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “I’ve had to go everywhere alone most of my life. her eyes swimming with moisture that was not so very difficult to summon. and she would soon be weeping in earnest for the desired effect. Lan is flying over on some busines.” “I certainly do see why Lan has taken a fancy to ya. a grandmother who left me too soon. Mary. I expect you’re here to have a little talk about something. and I’m afraid I’ll do all the wrong things.. while Katharine went in search of Mary and found her in the library reading in her favorite red leather wing chair.persuasive and Will you take pity on me I’ll probably hang onto your arm like a lost It would be so wonderful to have you show me hard to put aside. Katharine. “No. Are ya not?” If Mary had chosen to be direct..I mean. She had only to think of her life without a family for a minute. “I’m hoping you’ll come with me to Christchurch tomorrow.
” I just can’t. sorry. Are ya serious?” .because it’s such a lonely proposition.. I’m almost never a tourist. He’s in his study. I’m Katharine wrung her hands and said. and I nearly always have a photographer or a guide with me. Go tell him I’ll come. He and stood quietly with her hands crossed behind her back. you would. who was heavily into e-mail responses.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I don’t go out.” she said.” He told me Nevertheless. “What are ya grinning at now.. I’m not so selfish as to deny It was nothing against ya. She went up to Lan. please. Mary rose from her chair and stared at Katharine with a half disbelieving expression that began to look like concession.you’re the have brought ya here. I’ll show ya whatever ya want to see. or Lan would never You’re the first since. that’s one I haven’t heard. He said you would come with me because it would make I’m sorry..” Katharine went into the study looking like the Cheshire cat. that’s very different. looked up and said. “Poor Lan. know. “He’s had too much of that already. I hope ya You’re a clever girl... Lan anything like that.” “Well. first.” “Are ya not the same fearless girl who goes around the world covering wars and looking into the troubling affairs of others?” “Oh.86 strange place. ya devious imp?” “Mary will be coming with us tomorrow. Mary.. tugging at the edges of her blue cardigan. tell him how mistaken he was. I can’t Will you tell him him happy to have you there beside me. “Get off the grass. “I think ya know I would never tell Lan anything that would make him unhappy.a good girl.” she said. I’ll come. totally immersed in what I’m doing. There I’m playing the role of journalist.
” Let’s go “You certainly think highly of yourself.87 “Hmm.” “Then ya would lose the bet.” *** Katharine and Mary were on their own in this flat. very English city of Christchurch known as the city of gardens. “That’s enough of cyber space for tonight. Looking in her guidebook Katharine had a clever idea concerning the location of this restaurant. He had promised to meet them later in the day at a popular riverside restaurant called Thomas Edmonds. which she intended to broach later. ipo.” she said in a wondering voice as she stared at the computer. and hiko for lightning. “I just thought of something.” “At the moment. I am serious.. but first she suggested they go inside the towering and ornate Christ Church Cathedral. had left them in the heart of the city at Cathedral Square on Colombo Street.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . to bed. I was thinking rather highly of a greeneyed phenomenon.” Katharine answered. laughing with such conspiratorial delight that Katharine was feeling quite heady with her success. “I’d be willing to bet there’s no Maori word for this modern machine. She was thinking wistfully of having a .” “How ingenious. giving him a teasing kiss.” “What the devil did ya say to her to get her to do that?” “Every bloody thing I could think of. Green Eyes. “Roro for brain. Lan turned to her. I think. yes. It’s time for your reward. I like that expression. it was located in a former band rotunda on Cambridge Terrace. It’s rorohiko. Sort of like your brain.” “How on earth does that translate?” she asked with surprise. Lan. riding in the car of the business associate who picked them up from the airport.and.” she mused. consecrated in 1881..
When they reached the top.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . with which Mary seemed quite familiar. look at those lush roses. slipping on her sunglasses.. . everything startling and sharp. shrugging and laughing at her caution. Mary was not even winded. said. when Mary spoke up.” Katharine noted...” Come “Oh. let’s climb the stairs. “This spire actually fell into the square once during an earthquake. “There’s something about the intense light down in this southern hemisphere that’s different to me. “I’ll probably be in worse shape than you at the top.” Katharine invited. “It’s a white light that makes Oh.88 look at the splendid view and the cathedral bells in the viewing balconies of the sixty-three meter high spire.” I’m not that far gone.” “Oh. “Since we both like gardens and plants we’ll probably enjoy ourselves in that green environment..are you sure. but. “At least this is one thing that hasn’t changed. Mary. Do ya know It’s been damaged several times in them. nothing to me. I do remember the view. It has a restaurant.” “Then let’s have lunch there. When they were back on the ground they looked at the historical display. and then Katharine suggested they walk over to the Botanic Gardens beside the cool Avon River meandering through the city.” Mary I’ve never eaten there. and they stood together while Mary pointed out places of interest. Mary?” “What? Ya think I’m incapable? I ride a horse and walk A few steps are all over Green Braes.” Katharine said. The view was a wonderful way to study the layout of the city. but not about to suggest that Mary climb the 133 steps.not once. it’s a lovely place. They ambled down Gloucester Street and into the well established and very luxuriant Botanic Gardens.
I’m paying.” The Gardens Restaurant was a six-sided flat building with a sloping roof and wide viewing windows. “Those little carts carrying the visitors are called Toastracks. She was so good to me.” Mary said. That’s the way of it.” “No. “Incredible variety here. her faraway eyes roving over a tall. about every growing thing. bought me my first lovely prom dress--it was soft pink toile over pink taffeta--.” They sat by a window looking out at rare flora in every direction.” Mary set down her fork and stared out the window. nursed me through many a tummy ache and bruised knee and unrequited teen-aged crush. And everywhere. “I’m paying. dazzling in the sunlight. “Rang and I came to Christchurch on business from time to .exotic. to me at least. grandmother was French.89 So many colors. before my grandmother. sent me to school.all of these wonderful trees.” Mary’s smile faded as she stared at Katharine and said.” And a number of other unmentioned things: bouts of depression and moodiness.. girl. joining in the laughter. It served a popular smorgasbord. riding about when they ought to be walking. “I’m sorry.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Odd little motor-towed carts with green-canvassed canopies kept arriving and depositing visitors at the restaurant. “That’s very amusing. “And the people are the toast..” Mary shook her head. Katharine.” Katharine laughed.. and Katharine encouraged Mary to indulge herself.. grandmother would have loved it. “Ya have no family alive then?” “Perhaps somewhere. broad-needled fir gilded a shimmering gold in the sunlight. My maternal grandfather died long My How my She was a florist and curious Both he and my father were Scots.
Finally.I don’t think you’ve made up your mind about anything. hopeful of having her meaning go beyond her own desire.” Mary said. and I know him so well.” “Oh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “But what I did to him with my own selfish love. hard.. better than anyone.” Katharine said. It’s too soon. so very wonderful.90 time. we two. staring at Katharine. that he’s the rarest. not an easy thing. so we’ll leave it at “We’ll just “It that.. they rested on a bench while Katharine consulted her guidebook. but he wouldn’t be who he is without it.no. “Would you mind if we walked to the visitor center and . cupping flowers in their hands and sniffing sweet aromas as they went along.that mix of Scot and Maori was not an easy thing. both felt more comfortable there.” “Of course. except that.” she said observing Katharine’s discomfort..” she didn’t hesitate in adding. I miss He loves We We loved hard.” Katharine agreed.that it’s not a frivolous thing. Lan is not hurt again.” “Well. him so. or else how can life go on? Without understanding that there can only be strife. insisting upon it once again. Katharine. although we more often went to Dunedin for pleasure. they walked over paths thickly lined with collections of verdure mostly unknown to Katharine. I don’t know if I could do that... not at all. “Sometimes he’s a mystery even to me. seems to me. When Mary had paid the bill. But I hope to heaven. And Lan is like that. that’s settled in my mind at least... looking at various plantings and blooming flora. you do.. Mary. “I can see how ya feel about my son. he’s the coming together of two kinds.” “Will you go there with me sometime?” “I don’t know. leave it at that and go on with our day. really a sort of refinement which must be respected in the human condition. and he’s so wonderful.” Mary said.
” “No. “I’m supposed to be showing ya around. Mary. “Oh look. there are your snowy Southern Alps way off in the distance. I haven’t done that in years. very different from anything she had ever seen.91 caught the free bus over to the gondola that goes to the top of Mount Cavendish? I’d love to look down on Lyttelton Harbour. almost like a purely stylized storybook painting.” “Yes. We’re open room with a splendid wrap-around view.” Katharine protested. a pretty white tea service. The barren. and Katharine found the windy vistas breathtaking. high-perched restaurant they found coolness and a simplicity of design which was soothing. catching a hint of Mary’s fatigue. “You’re a good girl.” Mary said with a quick sip of tea.” Katharine said. Katharine Gordon. having quite a treat. “I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself nearly as much without you. and made the quick and restful twelve kilometer journey. Soon they were gliding up Mount At the top they walked about. Cavendish in a little gondola.” Mary said.” They caught Bus number 28.” “I hope you’ll still think so after I tell you what I have in mind for our next adventure.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . dry bronze hills swelling in rounded curves above the opaque azure waters of the harbour and the distant fingered inlets far below had a surreal quality. and it says here the view is stunning.” . and even a fresh sprig of some bright blue flower in a white vase on the shiny black table top. Inside the quiet. but the truth is it’s yourself doing the showing. A neat “Lucky we have such a clear day.” “And I’m going to treat you to tea inside at the restaurant. I wouldn’t mind.
rolled her beige linen pants leg and stuck her foot into the water.” Katharine said.92 Katharine glanced once again into her guidebook and then looked up with a mischievous smile. and ya have nylons on. giggling.” Mary said.” The punter shook his head and whistled. Mary dragged her hand through the refreshing waters and hummed from time to time. outlook. “Oh. no offense.” “Perhaps another day I’ll try it. “Really. the burbling Avon River cooled and assuaged their fatigue and lifted their spirits even higher than the previous hours. “when I’ve no sense left at all. reversing her doubtful opposition with a carefree smile which rendered her face almost girlish. Katharine. it’s the undipped one that’s clammy. “Lord. that is for tea.” . I needed that. “I want us to get into a punt at the Antigua Boatsheds and have ourselves punted all the way over to Cambridge Terrace. what if ya’d dropped your shoe into the water. Kate of doused foot. When they were almost to the restaurant.. As they were skillfully poled to their destination. Mind ya. Isn’t your foot a bit clammy?” “It’s given me a whole new “No. laughing and pointing and with Katharine occasionally singing. what a lovely idea. *** They floated along in utter delight and lethargy.” Mary said.” “What? I don’t think. Katharine pulled off one of her tan walking flats.” she said. Katharine. One foot in the Avon and nothing will ever be the same..why. and Mary began to laugh while Katharine was drying her foot with a tissue from her purse and putting her shoe back on.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and we can time it so we arrive just in time to meet Lan for dinner. Apparently punts will take you right to the Thomas Edmonds. you should have tried it.
She didn’t go up to their room right away. Glancing at Lan in trim slacks and a t-shirt which clung to . It was I like her very much. I’d want--” “I’ll be up in a little while. while Mary chatted with Lan in English about the pleasant day she had experienced. but remained in the library reading. I’ve gotten rather used to Didn’t ya think having ya there. He was looking at her with an expression she couldn’t read at all... so much fun being with Mary. “Aren’t ya tired after all that running around?” “I thought I’d just read for a while to calm down. thinking she would wait until Lan was asleep and then creep into bed and fall asleep simply thinking about the day. what good deportment was.” “Please come to bed.guess I ended up pretty excited about the whole thing. She had embarrassed him by Her arriving at the restaurant acting like a madcap child. of transforming her into a confiding friend. Then Katharine looked up and saw Lan watching them as they came toward him.” Katharine interposed. and I know ya must be tired. reveling in the camaraderie.93 They both began to laugh at this splendid title until they could hardly get out of the punt. laughter abated and her face went soft and quiet. she certainly knew when the proper conduct was necessary. Katharine. She had rapidly come to adore attentive Mary with her slightly sodden whimsy and very dry wit. Lan found her in the library and said. It was only that she had so delighted in bringing Mary out of herself. perhaps even a motherly friend. but the look was quite serious and soon she interpreted it as censure. She remained that way all through dinner and on the plane ride back to Green Braes. It wasn’t as if Katharine didn’t know Although sometimes preferring to revel in lively unconventionality. hanging onto each other in stitches.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
her voice smothered by an impatient mouth. I’m . about to thank ya properly for today. An come to my arms. “Will ya kiss me now. “Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . my Katie. no one ever. merry hae I been teethin a heckle An merry hae I been shapin a spoon! O. she whispered as his body fiercely tangled with hers. merry hae I been cloutin a kettle..Come to my arms. here’s to thee. my Katie. a’ the lang night I cuddle my kimmer. Half an hour later she crept into the bathroom and then into bed. Katharine had Ka pai. He stood looking at her a few more seconds in silence. An a’ the lang day I whistle and sing! O.94 his muscular diaphragm. she was hardly able to restrain herself.” *** It was a little after seven in the morning and at last they were going to ride out onto the Canterbury plain.. Katie. Very soon she heard a lilting voice that astonished her. An blest be the day I did it again! Katharine turned on her side and saw his eyes glinting with the moon’s blue light. An a’ the lang night as happy’s a king! . for it was the voice of Robbie Burns: O. An kissin my Katie when a’ was done! O. ipo..” “Lan.I’ve never heard anything so--” she exclaimed. “I thought you were mad at me because I was acting like a child. a’ the lang day I ca’ at my hammer. then left the room. Kate? ya strange sulky lass.” I’ll never sleep until ya do. Katie Green Eyes. and kiss me again! Drunken or sober.. staying carefully on her side and lying still.” “Ya thought wrong. closing the large heavy door behind him.
fast and strong. let’s go down to the stable and saddle up. Lan sprawled across from her in no great hurry.95 on her jeans and a t-shirt and sat over her half-finished oatmeal eager to be off. because Rex had already taken care of that necessity by the time they arrived. “I’ll give ya a leg up.” They didn’t really have to saddle up. “Ah. Really?” Come “God.” Lan said. then gave a little flick of the reins and galloped off just clearing a fresh pile of stockade poles while Lan stared after her.we have red ones and black ones and white ones and--” “Oh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” “I was raised on quarter horses. on. cowgirl. wahina.” “Get off the grass. That means we can hang out here all day and I won’t have to worry about your tired little arse. ya make me laugh. “All right. and said. cowgirl..” . the way ya slide into things. I think you’re very nearly completely smart. placed her foot in the stirrup and leapt into the saddle. Lan caught up with her on his big stallion. stop it Lan. She edged her moccasined feet gently back into the flank of a horse named Jangle. Ben. I really want to know. but Katharine had already run over to her mount. several of them.” “Well Good on ya... looking very cowboyish to her. a great breed for herding livestock.you’re a cracker on a horse. Lan?” “No. “What kind of horses do you have?” she asked. another part of your past I know nothing about.” “Would ya know if I told ya?” “Do you think I’m completely stupid. “We have quarter horses. My grandmother had I belonged to a horse club and rode in funky little shows when I was just a nipper of ten. sipping coffee and dressed in old jeans and an open-necked blue shirt and wearing scuffed boots.
” “There are ten sheep for every Kiwi in New Zealand. “This is to keep your brains from frying. watching him frown and immediately regretting it. who was wearing a rather handsome oiled leather hat. need .where Green Braes got its name. reached into his saddle bag and pulled out a rolled felt hat.96 Lan. dismounting once when Katharine intended to adjust her stirrups but then let Lan do it for her. while. then leaned over and arranged it on Katharine’s head. surveying the sheep-dotted landscape.” They were up on a slight rise.” she said. please.” “What if I get thirsty?” “For me or water?” “Either.” “I’ve heard the other expression: the land of the wrong white crowd. “I collect clouds.” They rode on. and Katharine said. just follow me. the land of the long white cloud.” “We’ll dismount by the river and take care of both requirements. They stood in the warm wind on a slight rise and looked at the clouds rolling in great billows along the Southern Alps.. cowgirl. “nothing else but clouds. “I’ve never seen so many sheep.” “Then ya can have all of this: Aoteoroa. looked hard at her and said..” “But are you?” “Don’t get me thinking about it. We’re going up into the Let’s ride for a I promise ya where we’re going the water is foothills and along the river where ya can see some real green. regretting how she had ruined the moment. “Why do ya do that?” “What? I don’t know.” she said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . He pushed his hat back. I just need to have my space. “Come on. safe.
” They tied their horses’ reins in branches and walked to a level opening where they could reach the river’s low bank.” “I’m not afraid of you. Lan. It was why she had spoken in Now she was cringing at that frenetic and dismissive manner.” They were climbing slightly with Lan ahead. “Ya don’t have to be afraid of me. ya are. The roaring water. “I’m thirsty. They remounted and rode side by side in silence until he said.” come and go. and it must be so obvious. the tender rich bright grasses had all charged her senses with a restless hunger. He was right to make her hear her own A disconnected. . and an entirely different subject overtaken her. drastic change. that of change.I don’t know. frothing in a rushing white foam with the grasses greening up all around them.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the wind and clouds. babbling words. The promise of New not even true and completely off the point. then lay on their bellies. Zealand clouds had been left to evaporate like the clouds themselves.do what I want. going to hurt ya.” “Yeah? Until ya want me a little too much.” “Yeah. Lan. myself and I don’t really need much else.... I’ve always maintained my freedom to I’ve made a sort of life for I don’t need--” Listen to yourself.97 to have. her own words. needed very much.” I’m not “I’m happy with you. “What in bloody-hell are ya doing? She was silent. following the river until it was squeezed between raised green banks. straying explanation that was She did need. Katharine. “Then get down. I scare ya bloody bad because I want ya..” He turned around in his saddle and looked at her. drinking.
.” “For what?” “I want to. I want... What I have to say is.” she cried.” “Lan.. She curled against him and lifted his hand to her cheek. but I.” He pulled her backwards across his knees and held the nape of her neck while he opened her jeans and slid his hand to her crotch. “I can’t right now. gently working his fingers against her while she moaned softly with closed eyes.” “Better?” His adept fingers eased smoothly inside of her. “Yes.I want. “This is as good a place as any.” He squatted at the edge of the blanket.I have to talk to ya.” She knew he understood that she wanted only to be in this arousing moment with him.” He took off his hat and threw it down..” he said.” she said. a fear of leaving herself... “Give me back your beautiful eyes. until a tremor of fear made her look away.” “Ya like that?” She opened her eyes and stared elatedly into eyes of covert blackness.yeah. Lan. “Lan. you hypnotize. “Look at me. with an unsmiling mouth and eyes lost in the shadow of his hat but looking away from her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Oh. but he startled her with his words.” “I never want to deny ya anything. a long speculation in his troubled dark eyes.. unable to escape the steady jet gaze... . God. The fear was rising in her... She put her arm around his waist and said. of falling helplessly through space.98 “It’s so quiet and pure and clean here. sooky green. He went to his horse and returned with a blanket. running his fingers through his hair and looking at her with an unreadable question. it’s so beautiful here. wiping the dripping water from her mouth with the back of her hand. “Please. throwing it on the ground.
what I have to say has my guts in a knot and the rest of me useless. I realized how very right I was about ya. I doubt ya know yourself..when Ani..I want to have ya. I’d like to. “Let me finish.” “Why? Why don’t you have her with you?” Jesus.. wanting him more than any other professed or contingent need. He zipped her jeans and lifted her still excited body up to a sitting position... this is.... Lan?” she asked with a new fear sweeping over her.. giving in to the truth which he spoke for both of them. “My ipo...do ya even know how much ya are? Exactly what I want...” “But she would have wanted you to--” ... confused and suddenly frightened again.who Katharine Gordon really is.I have a child.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “What. “When I saw how ya were with my mother yesterday.died. she lives with my. drunk for quite a while. “That was practice for this: Apparently.but....” I mean.. “God. my Green Eyes.. Ya want me and ya want my mother and you’re so bloody scared of that. please.” “That’s nice.my late “Ya can’t meet her. wife’s parents. I have. I love ya. a daughter. except.” She reached for him.I was twenty-five and drunk most of the time.. Kate. He tamaiti taku.. I want to meet her. her head twisting helplessly against his shirt in spasms of pleasure.” “Lan..I’ve never seen anyone so afraid of loving.” he said. he watched her come.99 With a serious mouth. even enough to override the ruinous fear.” “What?” she said. “Wait.and God. kissing her and pushing her hair away from her eyes.. then folded his arms and stared at her. I turned into a.
100 “Please. with his fist coiled at his side in a sudden heat of frustration. I don’t even remember how I accomplished I regretted it so much I guess I had her. can’t stand hearing that because of your past. The child isn’t hers. I’m telling ya now. I would never have opened my mouth. “What? You liar!” I’ve never lied to ya.wait!” She had jumped up with her heart flying out of her chest. it was the thing that sobered me up. Mistrust. really necessary. dead I had no idea. Rani had She was sixteen. in-laws for anything she needs.. Ya want me I think you’d like to see me . don’t. Ya see. a child herself. but I was afraid Rani might ruin us.. How can I believe anything? “Life isn’t perfect.” She was remembering how he sat with his arm over Rani’s chair at The Loaded Hog when first they met... Rani doesn’t care Rani acts like such a reckless child. always wanted.we gave the baby I pay my to my in-laws to raise and sent Rani away to school.. “You can lie by omission. telling It wasn’t ya everything. She was a wild little bird. about her.. I.. and to me she I was haurangi.she fancied me. I don’t know why. “Liar. he jumped up.. I regretted it the next morning.. Nothing is perfect.. too. and that’s what you’ve done.” “But I don’t. I couldn’t take care of it.whose?” “One night I came home off-my-face drunk. that... flawless and I’ve disappointed ya. drunk. was just my little sister.you. Please.crawled into my bed naked. But Rani got pregnant.. suspicion made easy by past experience was “How do I know anything anymore? You!” I know ya already corroding her thought.waited.I didn’t.Kate. I visit her. It came later. You and Rani. Kate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and didn’t want the baby.. Kate. She came into my room and.... and because of my guilt I treat her like a child.. waited until I was.” Seeing her distraught state.
Jesus. “Mary? here. Katharine? What in heaven’s name is wrong Mary.. She rode fast and hard. I can’t be Please let me stay in your I’ll get a cool flannel for your head. There was Rani newly arrived with a busload of mates who were laughing and joking and exploring the grounds of the Lodge.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . room. near me. but Jangles had an excellent sense of direction and knew exactly where to go. Please understand. please let me stay in your room. ya love me. “No. Please. alone. oh no. tugging at her fruit-stained apron.” She turned and ran. He’s told ya. my Green Eyes. getting a headache. Mary!” “What is it.” Mary brought Kate a washcloth with lumps of ice gathered inside and held it on her head. I just couldn’t stand it. my head is beginning to ache. Kate. Come let’s get ya into He’ll get to me. Mary.and In my bed ya do. I want ya. packed her things into her suitcase and took it into Mary’s room. jumping on Jangles and whacking his rump. I told him it was water He loves ya so. Please. twice certain she had lost her way.” “No..” “I’ll put ya in one of the guest rooms.” “Of course ya can stay in my room. “Oh no. don’t let him near me. know what love is.” Please don’t let him I’m under the bridge. “Please come here. Please come with ya?” Mary cried. She hastened to her room.” she called. Do ya know that? Please. Then Mary stared at Katharine’s face and said. I couldn’t stand it. . but he had to do it.101 as a symbol of some perfect circle that doesn’t exist -. The sight of Rani made Katharine sick. I told him not to. Come along. Oh God. I’m not perfect but I I found ya and I love ya. bringing her rather swiftly to the stables.we all join hands and sing hallelujah. He will. bed.
little self run wild. “I’m sorry. paleface. to straighten her out. “Lie quietly. “Rani!” Lan hollered... Very soon Katharine heard loud voices outside the door.” “I let her carefree When Rang died I was so lost I didn’t try There’s plenty of blame to go around Katharine ran her hands across her face and moaned.” Katharine begged.” “Rani.102 “I spoiled Rani. She awoke and looked at the clock. of here. Just try to sleep. She was laughing with triumphant delight. that someone was in the room. dragging Rani out of the . “Leave me alone.” he demanded. She cringed and pulled the covers up to her throat. Now.” Lan called.” “Get out!” Katharine shouted.” she cried. but Mary was nowhere in sight. and then put her head under the pillow. I spoiled her badly. my selfish fault.” Please. It was ten in the evening. stirrer. her eyes pained by the light. So much of it was my fault. her spiteful young face gloating. “Katharine. I shouldn’t be talking. “I just wanted to tell ya what I really think of ya. “Mary?” Rani turned on the light and moved toward her. “Go away. me two?” Katharine asked. please get out of here.” She had taken two pills and finally they knocked her out.ya phony American bitch. could you get “I have pills in my little blue bag. He really loves me and he knows it. “Get the hell out I’ve had enough of ya. She started to sit up and saw “He’ll never marry ya. Not you.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ya emotionally retarded little Out. entering the room. Try to sleep. Not you.” Mary said. Mary and Lan speaking in Maori and English back and forth. here.” I’ll pull the curtains and bring the pills.
When Mary came into the room. if only I can last until Thursday. tramp over at Milford. It was a soothing gesture. but Sliding in and out of agony. “Oh God. incapable of judging anything. In the morning she found Mary gone.” Katharine agreed. The disclosed incident with Rani had jolted her out of paradise and back to reality. Lan. Then Lan tapped on the E noho ra. Please remember that I love ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . stroking the hair away from her eyes. sent Rani and her friends packing. how?” I’ve got to get out of here right away. She wanted only to have her arms around She hated herself.103 room. poor little Katharine. it came to her how that might be accomplished if she could last until Thursday morning.” Mary said. few days and maybe you’ll feel better by that time. one pitiful mess. “I’ve told Lan to leave ya alone until ya calm down. door and called to her. thinking how well this would fit in with her own plans. good-bye. like a coddled sick child.” Her eyes filled with tears. Katharine was shaking badly and had momentarily decided she was in a madhouse. I’ll see ya soon. and she shook her head with anger and frustration. Oh God. girl. until she remembered yesterday. not There was a him. and she thought. but she knew it . so very motherly she felt a small comfort. Green Eyes. herself for her inability to resolve anything. “I love ya.” “Yes. I’m a fearful mess. He They had planned to go on a And tomorrow he’s flying up to He’ll be back in a Nelson to check on business at the winery. huge lump in her throat. anyway. Katharine apologized for her histrionics and said she was feeling a little better. Mary?” “Yes. “Will you sleep here tonight. If only Mary would come and hold her hand and talk foolishness to her the way her grandmother had done when she was sick or afraid.
quite the wrong thing to say. Then Mary might suppose she had At four o’clock she slipped out of bed. Katharine had planned carefully. Oh. That was My head is off today. You can’t go on castigating yourself. “Even I didn’t realize how much Rani fancied Lan. Mary. using Lan’s bathroom. I thought she was more I like a worshipful sister.. You had your own problems. Mary. should have seen it. the pain shooting all through her as she relived their hungrily indulgent showers. She crept Slipping a few wrapped oatmeal cookies into her .this lovely place. the real problem was herself. too.been far more careful. downstairs. I’m sorry. Mary. “Let’s talk of something else now. attempting to commiserate with Katharine.” Probably his fine Ani “No. I’m sure you’re right.” At last Thursday arrived. She had placed the note in an unobtrusive but well-used place in the kitchen. looking up to her big brother.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . where Mary wouldn’t immediately find it. I realize now there were problems all over this place. along with her briefcase laptop. She had written Mary a thankful and loving and apologetic note... dressed. although a taciturn person not given to personal revelations. again opened up with a special softness. or I’d have put a stop to that soon enough.” Katharine put down her fork and said.. the real problem went far beyond Rani. They talked over tea and in the evenings spent together in the lounge after their meal. smiling She sadly as she looked at Mary who was softly snoring. laying out her clothes the night before and putting her packed suitcase downstairs at the back of the foyer coat closet.104 wasn’t the real problem.” “If only his Ani hadn’t died. and decided that it would be a sufficient good-bye for Lan. the fear of losing herself in Lan. since they aren’t blood related and it was too easy. gone riding. would have kept everything on an even keel.
from the Maori word Te Maru. grimacing bitterly and frequently clenching her teeth. She went up to one of the drivers and said. her clandestine and ignominious departure from Green Braes in a sheep lorry. Right. in her present condition.” “No problem. “meaning the place of shelter.” he suggested. the Southerner. which.” she said. and the several hours long.” “I’ll keep this.105 purse. Mr. if that’s a problem. I can’t take any of those.500 people. bouncing. Down at the stockades and sheds the large trucks were warming up their engines for the haul to Timaru. When the kindly driver left her off at the train station. I’ll leaving in a few minutes. blowsy driver looked her up and down in her fine linen slacks and jacket and laughed. Manutane pays for all the petrol around Climb up then. Quite a I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.” was a busy port city of 27. “I need to get to Timaru. still numb with pain. Katharine discovered that a train. Miss. We’ll be They’re needed here. can you give me a lift?” The hulking. it was said to have a very nice beach and a statue of Robbie Burns. difference from the way she had arrived. “There are plenty of four-wheel drives around here. Timaru. gear-grinding drive to Timaru. hanging onto the laptop. where she could get off and rent a car.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . And so it was. pay you. . lurching. I’ll stow these. had some coffee and departed on the Southerner for the Scottish town of Dunedin. *** In her guidebook. here. she bought a ticket then walked about the town. left Timaru each morning at 10:35 going south through Dunedin. she preferred not to look upon. she taunted herself. “No. she retrieved her things from the closet and went out the door.
Rang. Queenstown was high and cooler. which she found was Celtic for Edinburgh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . In Dunedin. cutting west near Milton and heading for Queenstown. She slid down upon the . On and on through green flat sheep country and over one-lane bridges and broad rivers. she showered. she rented a white. and she decided to drive until she was exhausted. she thought. It was heavy stone. she decided to leave. Too many memories. with buildings studding the hills and tumbling down to the esplanade at the edge of expansive and serene Lake Wakatipu. drive across one of the passes on the map and head up the West Coast. she could catch the big interislander ferry to Wellington on North Island. It occurred to her that piling new experiences atop the present pain would help to deaden it. keep driving until she reached Auckland and fly out of there. She immediately came across another statue of the ubiquitous Robert Burns. Strewing her things around the room.106 On the train she had plenty of time to think of what she would do next. and the place is full of her folk. student-filled old university town and headed south. From Dunedin she could aim for Queenstown. right-hand-drive Honda and had to keep reminding herself to drive on the left side of the road. and there discovered an innocent bruise from Lan’s lovemaking. simply look at things and keep on driving. maybe even some of my folk. and began to feel ill. I’ve never been here but I Mary came here with her lover. She stayed in a comfortable bed and breakfast with a balcony that overlooked the sky-reflecting lake. Way up north. and she was going to be She drove quickly through the sick with longing for Lachlan. on and on with tears streaming down her face. Upon looking around at this lovely Scottish town. which had seen greater days of glory but had a certain Midlothian charm and splendid beaches. have all of these memories. old and fine.
At last she regained her sense of direction. oh. and suddenly there was the message from Green Braes: “Please come back to me. have three of them or four? wear and tear on recovery. Lan. and another. standing outside and wondering for a moment how to get back to her room. Vodka. but no more hungry. a deceptive little ache that promised to bloom fully later. my Green Eyes. She had been all over the world and hardly ever got lost. She had experienced this condition before. she then began to pace. but had never been quite this drunk alone. In late morning. . she woke up sweating but with only a slight headache. A list of her e-mail was displayed. The drinks were strong. Finally. the warm water pouring over her. Katharine. I’ll never see you again. Please. She ordered another drink. oh. she sat down at a blond wood table in a tiny cream-walled bistro which was supposed to remind one of Morocco. Ordering a drink. looking from time to time out at the lake. They were all in flagrantly amorous twos. will I?” She fell into a disturbed sleep. leaning on her hand for a while and discreetly watching the convivial diners. she nibbled around the edges of a generous plate of rice with chunks of meat and vegetables. Did she Vodka was the best.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” New Zealand. she dressed and went out. she sat cross-legged on her bed with her laptop screen glowing before her. We’ll resolve this Please don’t leave Please come back. walking down uncluttered streets and peering into small restaurants until she grew tired. Having reached the end of endurance. She paid her bill and left. together. she lay back and said aloud. “Lan. less Swallowing several aspirin.107 tile floor and sat with her head on her knees. Drying herself off in a slow daze. Lan. forking food into their smiling mouths and sipping wine -perhaps some of it was Lan’s wine. my love. In the middle of the night.
She ordered a drink and sat in the broad bow in a sumptuous. It was named Aratere. *** She had decided to skip Milford Sound.” she cried. staring at the spiky dark flax growing on the cliffs. too piercingly beautiful. No finicky little fly would bite into this poisonous body. had a movie theater. she would be inclined to jump off a bridge without a bungy cord. Once she parked the car. but the sun shined at the beach town of Hokitika. If she encountered many more couples holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes.108 “Oh God. totoeka jade pendant and held it in her hand -. a place for lovers. slumping forward in tears. violet-padded chair as the ferry plunged through the misty waters with hardly a tremor. She stayed near Westport before crossing the That night she took out her mountains on her way to Picton. At Picton she bought a ticket for the 10:30 sailing and got into the long line that wound through the town. long sparkling beaches. oh God. Maori for “quick path. it even She took the elevator up to the plush bar.cool. It rained half way up the West Coast. the red river flowing through the green like blood gushing from her heart. The rainy West Coast had offered a few sunny spots. Staring at it she tried to will herself to fall asleep or fall into a trance or fall into some insensitive state.” just Nothing like her tame Seattle ferries. She never acquired a single sandfly bite. what she needed. the white tassels dipping in the wind. Really nice. spanking past golden islands like a proud swan. scrambled down to the beach and ran barefoot on the gray sand until she couldn’t breathe.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . where all the splendid jade was made into jewelry. finally driving aboard the huge interislander ferry which plied the waters to Wellington. She stood gasping. she told herself. anything but consciousness. In three and a half hours windy Wellington .
she took a shower. and looked the opposite direction from two staring men seated at a nearby table. giving the driver the name of a restaurant on Queens Wharf called Shed 5. then dressed in a white suit and pumps and called a taxi. breath. and almost fainted. she sat on her bed in her silk slip. She drove by the famous executive office building of the parliamentary complex known as the Beehive. Waves were crashing over the motorway in a howling gale that was apparently the norm for Wellington. she dreaded returning to her car. were some kind of game. A journalist she knew had raved about the It was far more than her appetite food there. and thick slices of Parmesan cheese bread. She had no desire to drive herself to dinner. So this was where the writer.109 came sliding into view. . attractive? Back in her room. and he was right. palms. New Zealand had stifled Public places reveled in the land’s exotic nikau Off to the sophisticated cities of Europe she had sailed. She held her As if it Did bone-aching misery make one more Why was she doing this? It was no game. her. Pounamu Eyes. and she had to turn on her wipers. rested. Katherine Mansfield had spent the teenaged years of her short life. her heart racing. could accommodate: fresh bluenose bass. Paradise was far too provincial. the room going black. So tranquil had she been rendered by the lulling ferry and her Scotch. which was just what it resembled.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . If it was going to continue this way. checking her e-mail. After checking into the Novotel Wellington. pesto mashed potatoes served home style. why didn’t she just turn the car around? The message from Green Braes read: I am yours and always “You belong to me. a large bowl of crisp salad. She felt the top of her head growing cold. a little woozy from the wine. She swallowed generous amounts of wine.
She wanted to Even to think of fishing made her want to There was a large old racing yacht floating around the lake. Katharine crashed in a lakeside motel in Taupo. The Barbary. Once there. popular place. the largest lake in all of New Zealand. it had once belonged to the rogue actor Errol Flynn. rolling from side to side.” She lay back on her bed. It was 375 meters above sea level. ipo.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and the lake itself a high. clear. formed by one of the largest volcanic upheavals the world has ever seen. rainbow trout that all originated in California’s Russian River. built in 1926. especially for those living in 186 A. . disappointed? Or was that really the reason she was She couldn’t get away the next morning and lay in bed with a headache. The lake teamed with famously large and gleaming.110 will be. and the thinness of the air. together. disappointed because there was no trout on the menu. very clean for so much tourism. Was it too late? Had she already disappeared into Lan? *** It took her seven hours to drive to Lake Taupo in the middle of North Island. Eyes. crying softly and sliding her empty hands over the moist center of her body. had drunk too much at a restaurant. and she felt the crispness of the snowy peaks that partially surrounded the lake. iridescent-silver trout. very large lake. she was more than half way Remember how I hold you. with tidy modern dwellings in Taupo at the lake’s northeast edge. cry.D. to Auckland. dark green forests. and was touted to offer a popular tourist cruise. Kate Green She drove over sweeping empty landscapes and miles Lake Taupo was a of carefully manicured. Remember how we are No one else will ever have you like that. There was She no message on her computer that night or the morning after. cold. stop and fish there.
but she was smiling proudly with her two excellent fish.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . as if to say.above the noise of the boat motor -. Returning that evening at an appointed hour. She She couldn’t remember their names or very much of what they had said.” the two couples said. only the laughter and the heart-rending accents and the very welcome camaraderie of their rosy smiling faces. She caught two large trout far too easily and stared off at the mountains as they plowed home with the wind in their faces while she shouted to the guide -. I don’t need your love or any part of your mixed up life and I’m having a wonderful time in your country without you. On a sudden impulse she decided to send the photograph to Green Braes. and everyone was thoroughly and happily soused by the end of the evening. her moist green eyes sad and larger looking than ever in her drawn face. As soon as she had dropped it into the . See. and catching your lovely fish to boot. herself was quite soused. “Good on ya. one in a light soy and green onion sauce. laughing and joining in. the other a delicately spicy red sauce which did not detract from the flavor of the fresh fish. so fine that she invited people over to her table to share the large meal. She was quite surprised.” she said aloud from her bed. She hired a Maori fishing guide and he took her out on the lake to a spot guaranteed to produce trout. They insisted on buying the drinks. although not quite as happy. When her picture was developed the trout looked wonderful but she did not.111 “I will go fishing. she found the proprietors had done two expert and tasty presentations of the fish. He photographed her with the fish then left her at a restaurant which he assured her would prepare her trout very nicely. for she appeared thin as a reed.vivid descriptions of rambunctious steelhead trout fishing.
She was like a foreign There It bird flying over the land. her fear and mistrust. Kate?” Where are ya. but the dense Maori history here was quite fascinating to investigate. and bubbling mud ponds. She had wanted to visit a marae. Too much pungent sulfur and too many tourists for her. because she had failed to forgive Lan. and that she ought to get on in a hurry. It was a physical and a spiritual act which she thought of as a profoundly beautiful ceremony. but she felt unclean. Katharine checked into a small. unfit to be welcomed or so tenderly treated. and called Margaret. The place reeked of hot springs. a thermal reserve filled with famous geysers. One quick immersion in one of these would cure her of everything. Perhaps some day she would return with enough humility and understanding of herself to deserve a marae welcome. spectacular aquamarine pools. either.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she was in Rotorua. After having sent her photograph she felt an ill wind nipping at her heels. She stayed one night in Rotorua and in the morning drove the three hours to Auckland. and she was the person who had failed. searching for a place to land. obscure hotel.112 mailbox she regretted her foolishness. Driving eighty-two kilometers the next day. a very unlikely place in which to be found. for it was cloaked in a terrible lie and only drew her back to Green Braes. failed in her smallness. was no place to land. It seemed to her that he was the symbol of what must be accomplished. the open area in front of the Maori meeting house. “Good lord. I’m so happy to hear your voice. the welcoming and acceptance of a guest. the Maori spot tourists seemed to love most on North Island. . wasn’t all a matter of forgiveness. and she did walk through Te Whakarewarewa. but perhaps another excuse to run.
. I just never thought.but I suppose you won’t. a long. I think you’re making a terrible mistake. I’m so sorry we never got to spend much time together.. Margaret. up. problems. wouldn’t be me calling. and I don’t know what the problems are. bloody-hell. That would destroy us And you see I’ve always run like mad from.. romantic for someone who’s always out there in the world’s bad parts. independence. can’t.” “I don’t really understand this.. but when ya love each other they can be worked out. Kate. Maybe I’ll be back some day... both.” “Kate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . long way. friend. and no good to anyone this way.” What a long way it is. not that ya aren’t. what Oh God. because I’m leaving New Zealand almost at once.but I should have known..I think I could totally disappear into Lachlan Manutane. because ya really are quite a girl.. friend...” I just wanted to thank you for being a I’ve got to go. please call him.. Margaret.” Can’t.. respects who ya are.. Really sorry. but Lan is my I can’t believe it myself.. ya found each other. I mean.. What I do now is at least familiar to me. I’ll go to pieces if I don’t hang .” “Kate.the annihilation of my miserable self before I even straighten myself out.I hope.. Kate.because it Can you understand? I’m far too much of a stranger to myself already.or if you come to Seattle. can’t..too much of an idealist.I mean. Margaret.and there are other assumes too much importance. I know I shouldn’t say anything to ya but I’ve got to...... please.113 “I’d rather not say.. Isn’t that rather amazing? You’re bloody Perhaps you’re too.the..from whatever And. I don’t know what this is all about. Please. I’m sorry.. He’s going out of his mind. I know he respects your Don’t ya care enough to--” “Oh God. Lan knows who ya are..oh. “I can’t.
. to soothe herself with a trite and meaningless cliché that came into her head as she was standing in her tacky little room.anything. You know I love you.114 “Wait. Kate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . you look so sad with your two handsome fish. Lan. She She didn’t even want to contemplate what her life might have been like if she had stayed at Green Braes.” Please come back. and the familiarity of an undefined and chaotic way of life had been allowed to rule. I treasure it. She could not envision it. My final word to ya. It tells me something very important about you. and if that is so then you love me.” “Good-bye. Lan must have received the picture very quickly because there was a message on her e-mail the next morning that nearly finished her off. continuing to believe she must go out and do something about it. She tried to assume a stoic posture. my friend. Thank you for sending the picture. is that Lan cares for ya Please think as I’ve never seen him care for anyone in years. there I’ll be.” We are one . of that on your long flight home. One day you’ll look up and It’s Think of your childhood. or call. “Good-bye. Margaret. She knew there was something missing in her frame of reference. Think deeply. “Green Eyes.. “It just wasn’t in the cards. beautiful country. Say good-bye and cheers to Ian. why you can’t forgive and why you run so hard. Katharine.” She had confirmed her plane reservations and called a It was a sad way to leave such a taxi for the morning. just keep in touch. matter how far away you go. my ipo.” Katharine hung up and bawled in a loud rush of grief. continuing to feel small and unworthy. Kate. spirit. even though she couldn’t Doubt recall a single memory of Lan without nearly passing out. It tells me that It doesn’t you’ve suffered. had never felt so alone. E-mail me or write me.
had told her. would always be tainted. was as congenital as an arm or a leg. she walked around the verdant city distractedly peering into sleeping wet gardens. to engage in any form of self-evaluation. standing in the rain in Beacon Hill Park and listening to the peacocks’ mournful cries. This isn’t working out. she would fall into a vacuous stare and wonder what she had been looking at. The next day she returned to Seattle with something more engulfing and monumental in mind: work. seeing instead a tall sail unfurling over aquamarine water and feeling a sudden heat on her skin. never mind trying to correct anything. shivering in the sea mists and looking at stucco English cottages and quaint old wooden houses which reminded her of New Zealand. Her nerves told her it was straight overhead. There was an ache that came into her wrists and ankles. like . this heavy sickness being dragged around in her body until she could hardly withstand the weight. because when she went far enough back to dig at the root of the problem there was her father telling her she must be beaten because she was the child of her mother. The condition Her intellect told her this predetermined fate assigned by an enraged parent was ridiculous. exacting work requiring full concentration. a bittersweet misery that at times almost sent her to her knees. Occasionally.115 II It was cold early spring in Victoria. Victoria had been an interlude equivalent to a state of shock. and now here it was. The interlude was over and she had refused to think of anything. she said. When at last she could leave her room. but had made not the slightest change in a single uncertainty.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . only the thought of an easy assignment. What was it? Once Lan A Maori word she could make herself remember but She had gone to New Zealand with not without hearing his voice.
This time she was so far gone that. she could listen with an ear and mind that she hoped would retain a controlled compassion. and there are others a lot . No matter what Why expect a positive Of course. would attempt a viable encapsulation and dispersion of a long and legitimate history of pain.116 a dark cloud pregnant with doom. soft and hopeful. she didn’t distract herself with unassociated fear. at first with outrageous arrogance and then by lying. in a sense. That fragile part of her was all That part of her was what wished You never receptive. strived to act as if it existed. Beneath this self-deception. In this resumed role of journalist. just as she had lied by slight implication to Lan about her happy post-father childhood. We all get on in the best way we can. was working. she needed to go further. By the time she was eight. asserting that everything was wonderful. the damage thrived. because it was counterproductive. a part of outcome if you were congenitally no good? her always wanted to believe in good. only of work. and her mind must stay focused on inflamed Palestinians and Israelis in a very dangerous place. and existed in ample enough amounts to make existence worthwhile. the rules of conduct were familiar. her well-meaning but parochial grandmother could have done nothing to erase this emotional conviction. Unlike a lot of pols with agendas. Katharine took care of her permanent affliction in the best way she could. In a world gone deaf this one pair of ears would listen carefully. She went all the way to Jerusalem on a rigorous Now she The only remedy was to keep moving and think assignment which she had postponed until this moment. got rid of that or you’d be dead. you did you were going to be beaten. for small pleasures and attempted good for others. Katharine felt herself fairly well-equipped for the job. even in herself. probably very quickly and by your own hand.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
Today the sky was an ethereal. started. three centuries longer if one considered the Byzantine Roman Emperor Constantine. the walled city.” The hotel’s namesake. had captured this once humble and now sacred spot from the Jebusites some three thousand years ago. Standing on her veranda on the fourth floor of the King David Hotel in the rosy-gold setting sun.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . everything was light and shadow here. translucent blue hazed with gold above the dense texture of the Old City. blood-fed land of dissension and death. it was quite a difficult achievement. Although architectural modernity of the most avant-garde stripe existed here. How ironic that the name Jerusalem meant “foundation of peace. When not curtained with winter drizzle. she tried to imagine what it would feel like to be the dispossessed. she reminded herself.7 miles of gated wall which the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent built between 1536 and 1541. Sprawling out before her was a collection of ancient buildings representing far more than ornate and long-lived periods of architecture. her own misery would be readily superceded by a large collective misery which daily accelerated.117 worse off was the oft-repeated bromide of her self-sacrificing grandmother. the ever-changing. in this exotic That was the place from which Katharine always place of red desert supporting rich treasures of antiquity. for they were powerful symbols of peoples and cultures and spiritual dreams. her room faced the Old City. King David. The Romans alone had been here over three hundred years. In this starkly beautiful. 2. It was seventeen to fifty feet high and in places ten . ambitious proprietors coming and going from every corner of the Middle Eastern map. Here. Three thousand years of strife and struggle with swiftly time-threaded moments of peace and hope.
An extravagant self-indulgence to soothe her troubled brain. all existing beneath the pervasive spectre of spilled blood. the stamp would prevent one from entering an Arab country when reportage required that entry. a Jacuzzi. a compact disc stereo system. and the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif with its most sacred Wailing Wall dating from the first century. She stood very still. She had a guide lined up to visit Palestinian camps and planned to do her own photography when permitted.for an American all distances here were very short. gave one long sigh as the light faded.a separate living room. always it hovered over flawed man’s magnificent achievements. She could set up her laptop and work from a convenient desk when she returned each day. the greatest distance was a deep psychological pathology with no end in sight. then stepped back inside her commodious suite. There were regular Israeli-imposed curfews in this tit for tat world of monstrous acts. She dressed in an olive sweater and skirt and slid her foot . Muslims and Jews. so close together and yet by historical paths and human nature so very far apart. Off to the west in the Old City was the Places sacred to Christians and Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Inside its southeastern part were the gray-domed Al-Aqsa Mosque. If she returned each day. VCR. and fax. and despite careful scheduling nothing was ever certain. the gleaming Dome of the Rock. Great care had always to be taken. The room was a bastion of comfort. although she hardly ever worked in such luxury -.118 feet thick. Her squinting eyes could hardly take in a fraction of the encrustations of history and meaning. but instead requested a special entry document for that purpose.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She well knew the red-tape imbroglios that were the norm. Otherwise. One did not even allow an Israeli stamp on one’s passport. a handsome bedroom. the troubling logistics of even negotiating very short distances -.
begun in 1987. isn’t it?” Katharine said. Here were touches of Assyrian. a violent Palestinian response to suppression and devalued existence. she tried to focus on its sumptuous intimations of antiquity. holding the other shoe in her hand. her own coddling cave in which to work absent of any memory at all. and was now held in his powerful sway. had once again offered her a bedroom. Katharine. the square. She had thought of Lan. she finished her preparations for dinner and went downstairs to meet a friend who lived in an Art Deco apartment not far away. Hittite. summoning up the entire memory. “You’re thinner. suddenly remembering Green Braes and descending the stairs beside Lan. “There you are. the room. smiling at her old schoolmate as she heard once again that familiar Israeli . stopping to button his shirt as those dark eyes engulfed her reason. but she had declined.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She would shake off the “A shaking off. Striding briskly over the shining floors and through the splendid public halls of the King David. Judith Stein was a teacher at Hebrew University on Mount Scopus north of the Mount of Olives in the northeastern part of Jerusalem. her own headquarters. wanting her own sanctum. and the friend. Judith Stein. she ordered a Manhattan neat and waited for her friend.119 into her chestnut wedge-heeled shoe. Once seated at her table in the La Regence Grill. memories over dinner.” it was what the word intifada meant. But the memories would not leave her.” Judith said as Katharine stood up to receive and give a hug. scrollsided cream columns and the high ceilings cross-beamed with colorful and interesting motifs.” “Thin is good. in the lovely old 30s neighborhood of Rehavia. her body at once more his than her own. Her heart pounded as if he were about to enter Taking several deep breaths. She had stayed there on her last visit. She sat motionless. and Phoenician cultures.
” As if to amend her physical condition. “The logistics of doing that could really be dangerous. “Everyone is equally One of sick of and horrified at the current state of affairs. Judith.” Judith said. “Ideally. Judith ate They both commented that the food was fresh and delicious as they sipped their citrine wine and discoursed at greater length on a reacquainting range of mundane matters. her smallish body wrapped in a pale blue cashmere sweater and matching slacks.” Katharine emptied her wine glass and said. But it’s so good to see you again. you will see that they think it does. We can have a little nip of something with coffee and talk in private. If you manage to talk to the far right. Katharine ate chicken croquettes and sauce with wild rice and a mixed green salad. “Not too thin.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I wish it all belonged to us.” Judith finally said.” “Where do you stand in those shades of feeling.” Once seated on Katharine’s comfortable sofa and nursing small glasses of brandy. the sticking points is the control of this extraordinary capital city of over six hundred thousand souls which is so important to all of us. leaned back and said. For . but it doesn’t.” “There is every shade of sentiment here from rabid hatred of each other to a desire for co-existing states and an aloof. There’s a sort of complimentary bar there. “Come up to my rooms. Judith?” Judith. they resumed their discussion of what everyone called “the situation. They refuse to consider the plight of the Palestinians. commerce-exchanging peace. although she was not able to finish her meal. “So you are going to visit Palestinians. white fish with the same wild rice and salad.120 voice. while they slowly spooned into a fruited mousse dessert.
. intelligent and longsuffering and apparently caring.. too.. to kill.prisoners. started. no They make themselves into respect for even their own lives.. even with my bare hands..” “Katharine.you have taken their land. an outsider. ignorance. And I grieve. But backed into such an inescapable corner. you’ve shut them in pens.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . it seems elementary.. their dreams have vanished.rationalization. Yes. and so many have died. something to be proud of in that sense..all the more amazing that.what a sorrow..” “But human bombs--” “They don’t have tanks or gunships... hubris. You Israelis are so remarkable. a willful interpretation of God’s written word and anger.” “Meanwhile.. want to kill us?” “For me.a frustration at the level of mad rage.. Their homes. land.” “Because they’re under severe stress. their dignity assaulted.a hopeless place. It’s a history of their own suffering...this beautiful place here.I’m sorry to say very much like concentration camps. it’s inexcusable that innocent youth are inveigled into those wretched tactics. their villages.” “We have tried to resolve this.121 them there is no plight but their own. You’ve made a Why do Arabs I love this city. They kill innocents... their houses gone. oh.. would fight.. yours is not a popular view..” “They want only to fight. human bombs. You’ve given them curfews and treated them like bad children or worse. Don’t get me They have no regard for life..” . until I died..hunger for a place they believe nearest to God.their land gone.” “Do you ever grieve for Palestinians?” “I’ve been too busy grieving for Israelis. It might have been paradise.. I believe I.
slice right through the horrors of the extremists and move without stopping to a place of co-existence.” but you don’t live here. because neither side is going away. or my country’s representatives? Both sides are mired in rage. “I hope I’m not. a Palestinian state the same would come to be true. As soon as the well-oiled machinery of a state was With properly in place. And who were the Lehi and Irgun armies and the Palmach strike force in those early days? They. Now we’ve said our say. . sides have to ride through all of this killing. Somehow reason must come into play.” rising out of the Zionist Labor movement.you seem to think you can just come here and tell us what to do. even to fight amongst themselves. They just aren’t going away. too. brutal mistreatment and vilification... it anymore. Now let’s talk of something else.” Judith stood up. “The populace doesn’t want to fight when it isn’t necessary. the leaders are involved in all sorts of conflicting agendas. or you’ll never have peace. “So you know something of our history. Our survival. those radical wings were swallowed up. Judith?” “The Haganah? The beginning of the Israeli Defense Forces. You’re not a Jew. I feel deeply for both sides. Judith. wanted only to fight. I’m sure you’ve had preachment enough. “They wanted only to fight. think I don’t feel for you. and It’s exactly what you need. with a legacy of Don’t preach to me.” “You have no idea.” I can’t do “And I’ve had this discussion too many times.122 “What was the Haganah.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Judith flung her hair back with an angry grimace.” “How do you know?” Judith asked with irritation. Only wrong-thinking leaders with self-serving interests and backed by extremists want that. Don’t Both “Please sit down. Innocents don’t have to go on suffering and dying on either side.” “Me? Do you mean me.
seen that the killing must stop and how to stop it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Palestinians and Israelis are too often misrepresented by fanatical. but that is what must occur. This is their country.and yes. That’s the only solution. and to them it looks quite the reverse. too. my country has proved that. and gardens and land. a third impartial party to come in here and tell you what to do. I’ve been reading comprehensive reports on the actions of both sides.” “And you think your American president can do that? all the public posturing. too.” “I do. but Nothing must stop it. and it only leads backwards. state isn’t a leader but a structure. once again standing with her agitated Surely you see it. to laugh and sing and eat and dream. it hasn’t happened yet. A society only lives freely and comfortably when reason is allowed to supercede the horrors of wild emotion. The A Palestinians need an autonomous state with a sound structure. and the more I read and observe the more I realize that you need a persevering mediator.123 some honest and some far from it. the right to come and go freely. and if it’s well in place it will survive the sudden loss of any leader. but I don’t think so. . the trouble is something always stops it.” “You know. warring autocrats. I’ve found that the With Palestinians hate us for being partial to Israelis -.” “They seem to want it all. our government and certainly many of our citizens have been -and then I’ve observed that many Israelis are furious with us for favoring a Palestinian state. The history of Some strong third party must Oh. A number of well-intentioned Israelis have seen this. it’s been tried many times. “I know you fear that. Innocent Palestinian people are being They have a right to houses That cannot continue. it’s interesting. mediate a lasting peace.” Judith said.” Judith chided. oppressed.
Judith sat down. Judith. You have a good mind and I do respect that. But it comes and goes. “Psychology is definitely your metier.. Katharine had stood and touched Judith’s shoulder. Please. life.... so I did. it’s one of the reasons I tolerate your audacity.respect your opinion.” Judith said with a sardonic laugh.try to tell the truth. I haven’t much of a private life.. If enough people are shown.however unpopular. Judith.. Katharine?” “Oh. “Hmm. for anyone in a position to publicize the futility of constant bloodshed. circumstance that is unconscionable for any compassionate human being.” “Aren’t reporters supposed to be unbiased?” “I try to be. “What about you.” I think You “You were such an exceptional student. think your country has committed no atrocities?” “How I wish it were the case.your private life?” “Oh. but you have me doing it again. marry as soon as I find a suitable husband..124 fingers sliding through her dark blond hair. “We were talking about the problem here..” You wanted to continue and You’re my friend. and her gray eyes blazing with a certain indignant anger. “You’re a guest in Israel and I’m trying to be polite..” “I intend to . yes..ah. it’s a conviction. Katharine. shaking her head as she sat down. And you’re here because it has gone perhaps?” Currently.” “Do you have a private life.” Katharine said. Now we’ll talk of something else. “Please don’t be angry.” And it’s more than opinion. but it has nothing to do with my conviction. leaning forward with her face in her hand and her elbow resting on her knee.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’m far better at my work than I am at a private This is a Sooner or later I would have come back here.” “You weren’t so bad yourself.
you’re listening to enough sad stories in your practice. Judith.” Do you want to talk about “When you aren’t teaching. let me know if you need a sympathetic ear while you’re here.” “I don’t know about that. Well.” “The nightmare is. for supper in a few days. I have a very good friend who is really just that.. “If you could see your face..” Judith stood up with finality.” It’s in my nature. I “But I’ll listen if you want me to.” “Yes?” Judith said with an incisive encouragement. You don’t need another one from me. I have a few things to do before I sleep for the morning rush. is it not? But your eyes are enviable.. shrugging.... it? I think you need to. Lovers consume you. Please be careful. *** Katharine walked a rather sullen Judith to the . I don’t think of futility.those sad green eyes. Katharine. Envy is expressed as green.” “So you’re going to be evasive.or I wouldn’t be in this profession. too. I’m a listener.. You can’t find one? You can’t be looking very You have so much to offer... “Maybe it’s the way to go.” “Thanks for coming and for sharing thoughts with me. for the people living there.. “Just..” I will have you over Going “And I thank you for the good meal. I’m sure.more a friend than a lover.” “And to do that I have to do a lot of listening.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” Katharine answered... “Guess I’d better get back to my place. to those camps seems to me like a nightmare.. my friend.125 “What? hard. usually know when it’s needed.rather futile. They.” door. It could be that I’m far too particular.opinion.except when this sad. I’ll check in with you from time to time..in the same way that you need to go about reporting on the state of things.
for it was late March and nearing the end of Ramadan. in front of the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. a lovely old refurbished hotel slightly north and west of the Old City. a boiled egg along with coffee. her that absolutely nothing was negotiable today. smoking. Orient House. so many little intrigues that melted away with disappointment and physical decline. Self-purification Katharine went down early to the tempting miscellaneous breakfast buffet provided by the hotel. resulting in two deaths. involving dawn to dusk fasting. Ahmed. The fragile white almond blossoms which Katharine had once seen in February would have blown away. for the Muslim population. sex. but the season of rain had tapered off. She badly needed mitigating exercise. he told There had once there interpret for her. so many determined lives. she walked over to the Old City. and currently had no wish to visit the hotel’s fitness room. Many roads were closed. no food. This was the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. the now subdued marketplace. a roll.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . overhung and winding passageways which held centuries of echoing footfalls. He would have arranged a visit to one of the camps. now often rife with soldiers. Setting off with an umbrella borrowed from the hotel.126 In the morning it was raining. She was to meet her contact. disheartening news made Katharine nervous and irritable. A large date palm was dripping in the slow drizzle as she passed through the ancient Jaffa Gate and then down through the souk. . narrow. drink. Forces had placed the camps under twenty-four hour curfew. and then returned to her room to make a phone call. and When she phoned Ahmed. the others moving at a The Israeli Defense This snail’s pace and open only to settlers. but rather a desire to stretch her legs and breathe the high cool air of the rain-washed Judean Hills. dabbled in a few items: an orange. been another explosion on one of the main roads. or harsh oaths. and the tight.
pulsing with the world. the present miseries all joining a restless river of sorrow from which she was unable to swim free. mingling with commiserating regret and her own frustration.unable to move on. Why have I been so hopelessly ineffectual. When she had soaked in a warm herb-scented bath. . She stood letting the rain drift into her face. she thought as she shook off her umbrella and entered the soothing quiet of the King David Hotel. his voice in her soft outcry.. she rubbed her hands together and held them clasped against her chest a moment then sighed and opened the message. she turned around and headed slowly back the way she had come. she caught sight of email registering from long silent Green Braes. presumed to represent man’s triumph over pain and a connection with the Divine.oh. As she was going through the remainder of her messages. Continuing to chastise herself. A hot bath and then tea might help. the past.. ever watchful but resolute..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . was itself awash in fierce contention and wild negative emotion. This sacred place. such a victim of my sorry self? she pondered. “This bloody mood. She realized that she herself was blinking away the moisture of remorseful eyes. she turned right. she. descended the steps and came out into the northwestern side of the plaza. and accidentally splashed hot tea on her shaking hands. There was a lone black-garbed member of the orthodox Hasidim making his way to the Wailing Wall with his dripping umbrella raised high. she sat on her sofa in her robe. in Hebrew called Rehov Hasharsheret.. Quickly setting down the cup. and then heard Lan’s idiom.127 Moving along the Street of the Chain. the rain like the tears of all those who had suffered over this small sacred spot on the troubled planet. drinking tea and reading an editor’s email directives appearing on her laptop screen as it glowed like a living entity.” she muttered. She had never been there in the rain.
then curled up in her luxurious bed. but would pick her up in the UNRWA van. Ahmed called to say that a road had temporarily opened to Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. out in the field.. Please. to inform a segment of the world. There was a thick dark cloud bursting in a gray column behind a rainbow low in the west.. trying to work. I couldn’t see. but the drizzle had stopped. He was not promising that everything would go according to plan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she checked the weather. I can’t write this. Kate.128 “I miss you very much. Please communicate with me. which needed to hear the other side: always an act requiring a certain amount of risk.” Her uncooperative hands barely allowed her to hit the right keys as she finally succumbed to a distraught answer: “Please go on with your life. At least she was at liberty to do this. down on the whole thing.oh... she could go no further and pressed the send button before she could change her mind. She was to be in front of Orient House in half an hour. wanted no food.” Suffering herself. Don’t do this to us. air. Lan. . Rattling through small bottles in the conveniently stocked little bar. Please don’t suffer. along with another person with whom he worked in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.. she found the vodka. She She wanted to work. to obey the wise counsel of her simple grandmother by losing her own story in the grievously disregarded stories of others. At seven in the morning. hugging a pillow until she dozed off. can you help me by being well and by forgiving. this. I Do you give a damn if I’m suffering? need to know how you are. I’m It’s difficult to do like I think you knew what I’ve come to admit to myself: that It was the whole thing. forgetting. Coolish Standing on her veranda..looking it wasn’t really about Rani. tossed it down. where you are. Apologize to Mary for me.
Clutching her large purse. the gabled covering over a handsome fan entrance set with colored glass surrounded by stylized plaster latticework. She sat behind Ahmed and was at once introduced to the shyly smiling passenger beside her named Karima. “Your eyes are surprising. black-. but Karima said. “I have brought for you a scarf. white-.” Immediately thinking of Lan. Is that the right thing to do?” Katharine asked with a polite smile. a head scarf which fell to her waist and was a common sight among the women of Gaza. Karima’s smooth-skinned round face was surrounded by the gossamery white hijab.129 A hotel-summoned taxi let Katharine off before the irongated entrance of elegant Orient House. “I’m not Muslim..or jade. Katharine felt a weakness in her stomach. I find your amber-brown eyes .. green.” and brought the scarf gently over her head with quick agile fingers. studying the gamariya construction often found in Islamic architecture. the building was a stone’s throw from the extremely orthodox Hassidim neighborhood of Me’ah She’arim.the Never have I seen eyes of this green. She walked through the slightly ajar high gate and stared past the dark green firs. She considered climbing the stairs to see if she might peek inside. “Thank you. “Let me do this for you. Flying the red- triangled.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine hastened outside the gate and climbed into the waiting white UN van. “It will be easier.. Karima..” Karima said in careful English.very beautiful. Formerly a hotel and the 1897 villa of Isma’il al-Husseini. Orient House was now the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in East Jerusalem. and green-barred Palestinian flags.” Karima said. especially on the road.. Katharine reached for the scarf. but heard the quick beep of a car horn.. like the mineral stone malachite.
Gone a long time ago. a story of hours in brutal sun. Elazar.. Karima had informed her.and the desperate need for sustenance. Arab women were selling Their weathered faces heavily lined. strife. They were on the tunnel road out of Jerusalem. a road often closed. When they reached Kfar Etzion the Arab villages began to appear and continued until they reached the Kiryat Arba turnoff. The army checkpoints at Muraj.130 quite lovely. I have three children and my mother.” “She is alive?” “No. human loss.” “Yes.” “You’re working.” “So then.. and each line. She was a wise teacher.. “Do you have children?” Karima asked. “the old are wise. another parent you have?” “My grandmother raised me. the stuff of life and quite a bit more.” Katharine stared forward out the front windshield while Karima explained the places they were passing as they rolled along through the Judean Hills: the Jewish communities of Gush Etzion. Kfar Darom. Efrat.” Karima said.” “You will be asked this often. “We are going almost to Hebron. They will be wondering what . I don’t. child bearing. field work.. “What route do we take?” Katharine called out loudly enough for Ahmed to hear. and Neve Daniel.. then to Gaza and south. too..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Karima.good teachers.” “Because I’m a woman. and Netzarim are open to travelers now.” “Yes. you are doing here. “No. Katharine thought.gone now.” “My husband is dead.” “Ah. My eyes are from the eyes of my mother. produce along the road.
too. trying not to look at anyone. As they drew up to the first checkpoint.131 I must work. lowered her head and sat very still. and said. ID. she was hesitant to inquire just how the presumably young husband had died. intimidating road blockades involving examination and interrogation.” Karima responded and fell silent. “We go through that every time we reach a checkpoint. If we are allowed It is very . “just trying to be polite.” “I’m not trying to hide.” Katharine exclaimed. traversed for thousands of years.” In this warring climate. “Good lord.” The soldier warned her about the dangers of the camps and. They were on the Gaza road. “and it is never without worry. his and Karima’s special passes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine held out her passport and explained that she was simply going to visit with some Palestinian women and had the required approval to do so. we have a single moment of relief. Ahmed was ready Katharine with hawiyya. to pass. and at which Palestinian travelers were powerless to do anything but suffer whatever fate was decided upon by IDF soldiers. and would now have to deal with checkpoints. “You are not one of them.” Karima said. but she knew that sooner or later she would have to lift those always startling green eyes and level them at someone’s scrutinizing face. “I’m sorry. that’s unnerving. When attention was at last focused on her.” “I.” Katharine answered with a smile. “Why the hijab?” the soldier holding an M-16 inquired. waved them on. Katharine began to experience the anxious feeling of threat that was always present under such uncertain and unequal conditions. because she was with an UNWRA guide.
still it is difficult. but even then it is not easy.” Katharine rode in silence. During Ramadan. Here. o’clock. questions. “But curfew for you?” she went on. “Should we worry about the curfew?” Katharine asked. My father has experienced this many times.” Karima said.” Katharine said. “UN workers have red passes. where guards in high towers waved them through. a sort of castle-like dwelling for rest. and it is a In some countries Muslims social time.” “I have deep regret for all of this humiliation.” “I try to play that down. why we often have such anger.” Katharine said in a voice filled with newly heightened emotion. can party all night. “It is my hope that you will make others understand what is laid upon us. and immense respect for your great strength in living like this.S. Karima. Israeli authorities extend curfew from seven o’clock to nine o’clock. We can eat after sunset. She also knew that she could Red tape. One more very fortunately uneventful checkpoint at the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom. Here fourteenth century Egyptian Mamluk sultans had provided caravan travelers with a khan. passport and are not subject to curfew.132 humiliating to have a young immigrant IDF soldier demand of an older Palestinian man what he is doing in the place where he was born. They do not like journalists. and supplies. and they were soon in Khan Yunis.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . exempting us from curfew. take no picture without first carefully seeking permission from her subject. “Officially. feeling some of the anger that so many innocent Palestinians must feel in very large doses at the severe proscription of their lives. worship. its eroded remnants were falling to dust . stroking her travel purse with camera inside. we must rush to be home by nine And very soon it will return to seven o’clock. you have a U.
a wide street dividing the neighborhood to make room for the Israeli soldiers to chase guerrillas who vanish in narrow alleys. the house was cut in half for the Sharon Street.” Katharine said softly. has been out looking for work.” “We are visiting Amira.” Karima said. staring through the window at the heavily marked side of a building. throwing up mud from the recent rains and plowing through open sewage. If he comes home in time it will be possible to speak with him. the Palestinian fighters.’ another way of communicating the stress of suppression. Her “He lost his last job when a long curfew was imposed and the roads were closed.” Karima said. husband.. “This happened in the 1970s with General It faced a broad Ariel Sharon’s Iron Fist response to the fedayeen.133 in the square while nearby a contemporary mosque. too.” They drove through the town to a cinder block house which looked as though half of it had been cut away. “Yes. horses. flaunted an illegal Palestinian flag. ‘popular journalism. its minaret soaring seventy-five feet into the sky.000 people looked Donkeys. street slicing right through the housing area. “For you this will be of interest. “It is called sahafit is-shaab. This town of more than 80. Omar.” Ahmed said.and the people who suddenly found a black X on their houses had all or a part of their houses disappear quickly for this big road. as though a sudden wind would bring it all down in a snapping tangle. This was to protect the . and cars were oppressive and jerry-built. The electrical wiring overhead appeared equally haphazard and fraught with danger.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. “The language of graffiti. the mother of three children. a lot of shootings. imprisoned people. They tore apart houses.” They entered the house through a narrow and dark makeshift vestibule with another door at the end.
the settlements were The houses in the walled in and guarded by Israeli soldiers. “Your daughter. is a very pretty little girl.” “Thank you for letting me come into your home.134 entrance from Israeli tear gas canisters. Fasting is difficult under these circumstances.” Amira said.. delicately flowered blue blouse and a long black skirt which was being clutched by a dark-eyed. She wore a long-sleeved. “I have neither husband nor children. Katharine said. She had heard that Israeli settlers sandbagged the windows of exposed houses in their settlements to protect them from Palestinian snipers.” Katharine said. of you. You have “Where is your husband. “We do not expect this Please drink.” Karima translated for Amira. “Laila. It is not your way. but I must not complain. very curious little girl. Karima explained. “We are not in the best of humor today. waving her hands. which she could not herself drink. Amira brought a tray with tea in small glasses. Katharine had already noticed that the windows facing the street were sandbagged. Laila..” “No. pointing to her staring child.” Karima said as they entered Amira’s house.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . When she was introduced.” They sat on large cushions placed on a cold tile floor in a barren square room painted soft blue with a white ceiling.” Amira said. Generally.” . “Our home was invaded last night. Palestinian camps were subject to entry and search at any time by the IDF. “I should not drink when you cannot. plump Amira’s shy eyes flashed out from a round face surrounded by the thin cloth of her white hijab. “Sometimes they get on the roofs of our houses to watch us and shoot at rock throwers.your children? pictures?” Amira asked with smiling curiosity.
I like It’s a different point of view. like criminals. Most of the time we have no idea who they are A free state. children are so frightened whenever they hear a strange sound. to have food. sundown. None of us sleep very well. sweet water. I’ve chosen this way of life. worry that the fright will damage them. the husband. Amira. because the new settlements have used so much water that only a few wells still have maaya helwa.” At first Amira was hesitant to speak when Katharine asked to hear an account of her existence.. returned. that is so far affairs that is hardly a dream anymore.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a different way of living a life.this after the soldiers have come into our home.” “Not so sad for me.. I My What is their future? In the middle of the night they might burst into our home again and line us up for questions. You cannot imagine what it Our water tastes of salt from sea water. muddy edges of the cracked sidewalks. to be left alone and manage our own Oh. “When my husband lost his job because of the curfew and the closed roads. had met with no success.” They talked on. is like to live this way. she began to open up. but after a period of brief responses to politely orchestrated questions and short voluntary comments of her own. her withheld emotions rose to the surface and spilled out in a rapid and lengthy harangue of frustration and anger. Gradually. her home. looking for. what I do. we had to sell some of our possessions. Just before His attempts to find work The dark eyes set deep in shadowed . Omar.135 “This is very sad for you. even one of my gold bracelets. her children. ahead of us it is hardly a thought. her ravaged neighborhood with its sewage perpetually trickling down the sandy. Katharine with her tape recorder now readily approved and her note pad scribbled full of descriptive passages of Amira.
Hanan. “This is a sorry place for the young men. the shabab. gone.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Her wrinkled face beamed from behind Her full figure was her black scarf at the sight of her son. I do not I want a job. of speaking to any woman in this manner. There is nothing Her dreams are stronger than even her These young rock throwers. It One evil She locked The house of the key is The village of the house of the key is gone. He was unused to speaking to a strange woman.now a new Israeli settlement of fine houses lives there. want Israeli soldiers in my life. for them to do.. a good life for my family. the door and carried away the key. as he welcomed her into his home. children’s..136 wells of a haggard face flashed with anger as he explained his humiliating plight. “My mother wears the key of her former house on a cord around her neck. get into trouble because they are always angry and restless.no hope for them.. displaying teeth in need of dental work. and directed his words to Ahmad. yet he accepted Katharine’s role of journalist and even smiled. .. a country for my people that is free.. day she had to close the door of our home forever. his smile seemed to Katharine a monumental effort. Omar said. According to Ahmad’s translation. How else can they retaliate for this hopelessness? What can they do? “I myself do not want Palestinian terrorists.killing us. Write that down for the world to read. shuffled quietly into the room to welcome her son. Omar’s soft-spoken mother. Katharine glanced at the cold tile floors and wondered if the bare feet were a habit or a necessity. swathed in a long black kaftan from which her bare feet protruded.. is like a talisman for a dream that can bear no fruit. but she will not give up the key. With his tall figure gaunt and stooped by fatigue and his hair already thinning.
Katharine broke her warm bread and dipped it into the humus as the others were doing.” Katharine answered with a look which she hoped said This is who I am. and beans stirred with olive oil and thyme. the pleasure of the meal.137 “Do you have children?” “No. cucumbers.” Omar said. She chewed slowly and looked at the They were smiling. and Amira asked. and the cucumbers. sitting on foam cushions as Karima and Amira arranged the food. Young Aysha They tended the flat bread warming on the charcoal brazier. call to prayer. They heard the athaan. added. a pot of jam. happy to be eating. Insha’allah.” Karima said and explained her words to Katharine. unkind to accept or rude to decline. Amira’s oldest girl.” he Soon the sun would be setting. and there were a number Katharine considered whether it was She glanced at Karima. entered the room with a bowl of humus and knelt to set it on the cloth. the top one a sort of oil cloth upon which the food was laid. and was content . God’s will. “Thank you. This was the fast-breaking dinner. “One day you will have children and they will be in a free place. drank apple juice. We will share some of the food with you that we were going to eat. surrounding faces. There were fluffy almond-studded rice and mounds of a minuscule dried fish. which Ahmad had brought from the van along with the containers of the very small fish. “Will you stay for iftar with us. but she understood the necessary socializing. and they gathered around the meal. Several layers of covering were placed across the floor. the “Ask the same for us. the bottom one the fiber matt floor covering. Hanan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . tomatoes. Please accept me this way. whose name was Aysha. Omar’s mother. shyly spread out the covers. of hungry mouths to feed. olives. making jokes she couldn’t understand.
At the finish of the meal. his black-haired head bobbing as he chewed and grinned. She bit into a crisp fresh cucumber and smiled How at Hanan who nodded at her and returned her smile. but all was motion.the shabab. simply happy to be eating together. Such a pose Katharine could not allow to slip away and was quite satisfied as her shutter clicked several times.138 to watch and listen to the chattering. stoned or shot. perhaps for a moment forgetting their great misfortune. amazingly cheerful they all looked. one killed. Only Hanan looked at the camera. “That’s an antitank missile. Ahmad’s lanky torso rested back on his elbow. He stood up and raised his hands for silence. “What?” Katharine asked. in itself.. mischievous Aysha teasing her younger sister. they reclined on their cushions drinking mint tea.. With the phone The entirety of it was a story up to his ear. Katharine asked Ahmad to ask Omar if she might be permitted to photograph the family as they sat at their meal. We won’t get out of here tonight. Amal. melodic sounds of spirited voices. My God. and she reached for her purse. and then she heard a loud explosion which shook the room. Atif. Heavy explosives. his face grew serious and he shook his head and exclaimed softly. The request She tried to frame The wiggling her photograph carefully. Ahmad’s cellular phone rang. was granted. They say a jeep was stoned and two soldiers run off the road. Can you hear it?” he said in “Only a mile and a half away.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Karima was talking softly to Amira. smiling serenely. children. Now we’re in for it. They will be finishing off the houses of the suspected shabab in the morning with their . on her lap being fed. English to Karima and Katharine. Amira with the baby boy. and Omar frowning and reaching for bread.
never comfortable. war. only her shoes removed. was cold and hard. but they monitored human rights. it is really halat harb. but dreamed that Lan was making fierce love to her in a long half-water-filled kayak as it sank. a ‘martyr house.” he directed at Katharine. “This is el wadd’a. The floor She turned back and forth fully clothed. Amal. This is what I mean when I say nothing He had been speaking is certain. refugee-UNRWA liaisons. wishing for the release of sleep but instead contemplating this life and her own. crying. the meal that would Stuporous.’ “As you see. She slept in a roomful of women and children.” angrily excited Ahmad said with a dramatic gesture for Katharine. They must eat before sunrise. ‘the situation. It was time for suhur.” Karima said. . a Refugee Affairs Officer. Katharine wobbled across last them through the day.” “You must stay here. as she went on explaining to Katharine what they would do. Listen to that artillery. every Maybe every house Children are martyrs now. green in the fluorescent lamp. young Aysha and her little sister.’ will be knocked down. As the house shook again in a loud and threatening boom of sound. her damp body still pulsing in the throes of fear and erotic desire. Their mother moved over to comfort them. pulling futilely at her cover. RAOs were European or North American contractors. face looked bone tired and slightly grotesque. house will be beit shaheed. It was just after four o’clock. her blanket thin.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Omar told Ahmad. A child was At last she fell asleep. Lights flashed in her eyes. with an RAO friend on his phone. She awoke with the sudden stirring of the others. “There are some blankets in the van. She sat up as Hanan placed a The old woman’s shrouded glass of cardamom coffee in her hand. huddled together in tears.139 dynamite and bulldozers.’ what we must live with. a ‘state of Before wadd’a is over.
no victory at all. awake and thinking again. yet. How long would Lachlan Manutane invade her waking and sleeping dreams? She pondered his perceptive observations. security. When she awoke the other blankets were put away. and Katharine said..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . was... What a child she now saw herself in this matter.. and were at once greedily asleep. a self-inflicted sort of wound.. her escape felt like. and Amira and her daughter were mopping the floors. then She had wishfully entertained the Now she was fully those of Mary. “Why did you let me sleep?” She was wriggling into her shoes. be leaving today.” Karima answered. avoided the beans but ate a hard-boiled egg.140 the floor. wrapping themselves in their blankets.with your help. She had managed to get herself away. slumped down with the silent family and fed flat bread and jam into her mouth between sips of coffee. devotion.. idea of Mary as her adoptive mother.write some . talk to Amira and Hanan.” “I wish I’d brought my laptop. children whimpered and gurgled in complaint. that involved some projection of thought. She The groggy Then they all returned to their floor mats. Karima handed her a glass of very strong cardamom coffee. spurred on by the nervous idea of how swiftly she might be swallowed up if she stayed. as if Mary were simply waiting for her to come along in order to dispense that longed for maternal tenacity. “Just as well. some strength of will. but I can watch the household. so incisive.and so completely in love with Lan but unable to imagine any sort of future. callow in her yearning. We may not “It is good.” “Where are Ahmad and Omar?” “They have gone to a neighbor who needed help with a broken door. just as careless children live in the present with no thought of ensuing dark days.
doing quite well. unpleasantly salty. workers. The women are baking bread and cakes. It was the amazing endurance of the family that she found so uplifting. If With wadd’a.” Katharine leaned against the wall. pancakes filled with ground nuts. Katharine had done only minimal ablutions in the crowded household.” Her teeth felt furry and her clothes needed changing. but she had existed under far worse conditions in more immediate war zones. and the indulgent and kindly way her inconvenient appearance was accepted into the flow of things. watching the women and girls who were presently making Ramadan atayif.” “There is much to write. I am afraid they will not have much time to talk to you.141 things. which they were able to attend with part-time jobs and the help of their families. the end of Ramadan in two days.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . nothing is ever certain. Karima said. she talked to Katharine with Karima’s help. “Now we are preparing for eid al fitr celebration. while Amira was feeding baby Atif. Omar had enlisted the help of both their families to start a door manufacturing business in Gaza. had met Omar at the West Bank Birzeit University. Katharine learned that Amira actually spoke some Amira English but was shy about using it before a journalist. is there not?” Karima remarked. nothing else happens. fried and heavily soaked in honey. holding his squirming little body on her lap. “Ahmad has been talking to his RAO friend and thinks that tomorrow we may get you back to Jerusalem. At first. Amira said. Upon graduation and after their marriage. The water was indeed Insha’allah. Wishing to be unobtrusive. Later.” “Then I’ll just watch. it was They were able to employ more and more Then they had to lay off half their workers due to an .
the Israeli domestic intelligence.” Katharine answered. his tall frame moving with a stumbling forward tilt.” “Disturbed. Now he was daily searching for work.” Amira said. too.142 Israeli licensing restriction which allowed businesses no more than ten employees. Katharine looked at Amira’s hand... half in English. Ibrahim.. He is very. Next their supplies were cut off due to The business could not operate. have done this when they want to find someone.” “Are you now to tell me I must have amal.. Perhaps he thinks you are Shin Bet. and goes. “You are not the first to say so. hope?” Amira said. curfews and road closures. failed after a long curfew which prevented Omar from going out. He is very. . “Why would he think that?” “They have posed as journalists to catch people. Amira’s eyes were moist as she told her story.” Karima said. Katharine said. retreating to another room where the men often met to talk.” “Ah. this has gone on? Do you not know how long We are tired of it. I know they will because they must. Omar’s employees all found themselves jobless.” An elderly bearded man clothed in a long cream jalabeeya and wearing a taghiya or skullcap atop his gray head suddenly entered the room. and Omar had to That job. He stared at Katharine with a look of surprise then a grimace. half in Arabic. Patting this frantic hand then offering a quick grasp.” Katharine said... quickly take a job as a gardener in a settlement.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .depressed and tired.how do you say? He comes Yes. which was stroking nervously over little Atif’s body as she spoke. “My uncle. “Things will improve. “Uncle Ibrahim stays with us from time to time. they “He has the suspicion. “I guess that’s what I’m saying.
. I play in this beautiful place with “Once he has orchards. not the path to freedom..is sometimes going to other relatives.” Katharine said.” *** Back through the desert Katharine had finally been driven. our dreams.bulldozes his orchards. martyred children.perhaps he throws some rocks -..what we do not have. evil. I do not think the boy is so bad..loved to olive and almond trees. our houses. peace. how can it be right to We punish the grandfather because the boy is living there? cannot punish the families of those who steal our land.. past the cacti and the orange groves and the settlements. He is always working in his orchards. tend these trees. and for this the IDF knocks down Uncle Ibrahim’s house. “Leave us to have a country of . Who is punished for this?” “Oh..” Amira said.restless man.. Punishment is not the answer. His good mind is not good anymore. I want peace...” “I do not want to punish.. my young sisters. One of his grandsons is sometimes with the shabab. peace or harmony can rest on a foundation so evil. through the nerve-wracking checkpoints and up into the Judean I want rights for Palestinians.. That is These insane sporadic killings of the blameless on both No sides only create seething hatred. road because of rocks. this must stop. They say a soldier goes off the But even so. rows of He loves. thanking Allah for this life.but I myself can only tell your story.. but only dead innocents sacrificed for nothing... other friends.the soldiers taunt the young boys. very disturbed man. and I will.. you know. rewarded.happy in the blossoms and buzzing bees. Look what we have. “What I have seen are not This all must stop..such perfect rows. Insha’allah.. For this their families are paid..143 “Yes. Amira. He cannot stay in one place.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
Judith left a phone message. and in pursuit of a few more of the thousands of Palestinian stories which existed in the camps. instructing her to catch a bus to Mount Scopus and meet her in the cafeteria of Hebrew University for a chatty lunch. Another message from Green . “my tidy She explained to Katharine existence at the center of chaos.” Judith said.” “Salamtak. Katharine stretched on her veranda with her coffee in hand. She had been allowed to photograph quite a bit more than she had anticipated. with still more heavy uncertainty on the horizon. working long into several nights. Blood pulsed into her temples. staring thoughtfully off at the Old City and thinking of Amira. writing and rewriting until she had included and excluded all that was necessary to make a moving and flowing story of fact. after the Ramadan eid al fitr celebrations. As she was perusing her e-mail list a quick gasp escaped her. Four days after she had finished her current story. When this routine task was finished she intended to dress and head out to find the appropriate bus for Mount Scopus. posted the accompanying photographs. and set out to escape her troubled thoughts by exploring more of Jerusalem before returning to the camps. and their children.” where and when to catch a bus for the following day’s visit. They must have a better life. Omar. The next morning offered the sweet promise of a fresh early spring day. With her usual self-demanding perfectionism. she faxed her work to the contracting magazine. you. “I’ll show you my office. she sat at the desk which held her computer.” she had told them all. back to Jerusalem to write a portion of her story.144 Hills. When she was reasonably satisfied with the result. she had promised to return soon. she asserted silently as she went inside to read her email. “Health be with Finding difficulty in saying good-bye. to see what hectic life was like with a seven o’clock curfew.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
going to make it. as such. she clutched her purse and began to run. Kate. if not in anger then in disgust. tumbling. Lan. Don’t be a hypocrite in this. Or was it her own body spinning. but even then all was blackness. here and tell me to forget. Then. crashing into the earth? There was an instant of stillness. this. Come back With much A writer who can’t finish her sentences is in pain. she thought as she listlessly put on her tan slacks. All in an instant the bus. Lan had said it all. then a searing red flash of pain. the spring trees. no longer existed.” Indeed she was in pain. there was a concussive explosion of sound so loud her ears captured only the first half. *** There were short spans of sudden consciousness. but I’ll forget when you do. the blue sky. the moment the Arabs call sargat el sikineh. I love you. then a wall of blackness. you. and cream linen jacket for a lunch that she hoped would not be difficult. the pink limestone buildings all askew and spinning. at the same moment she thought this. The world spun around.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I know you have courage.” the initial paralyzing calm after a deep wound.145 Braes when she thought they had ended. She sorely needed warm and understanding conversation with an old friend. doing what you do. blue silk blouse. In those times she thought herself . but there was nothing more she could say. “knife shock. her own body being pushed along by the force of some hard object. Tell me to my face. flying. Certain it was the one she needed to Ah. Nothing. Her troubled response to his earlier message had made her assume that Lan would finally give up on her. trepidation she opened the message and read. she was catch. “Forgiving is easy. Katharine had walked a few blocks when she saw a bus pulling up to the shelter. a coward in Where are you? I worry about Please come back.
” You have been unconscious from a “Quite a normal reaction.. Where am I?” The strange male voice said. hurting quite a bit.. you cannot. hope that is why you cannot see..I don’t remember anything.. “Are you fully awake now?” an unknown. I’m sure.flying debris. concussion.” I don’t remember.” “Calmly. I. “When? It was broken in two places... well. and she thought that she had opened her eyes.. Because you are awake ... You are doing Try to “No.see. Surely he would come.I could always see.. God.two weeks ago? But I. heavily accented voice asked.are my eyes open?” “Yes. or you would be full of shrapnel..something wrong with my leg.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .Katharine Gordon. Can you tell me your name?” “My.am I blind then? Oh. but you were hit in the head.can’t. The swelling of your We believe.. She called and called until she felt herself sinking back into timeless nothingness without even comprehension of blackness..” Very good..I’m.please try to stay calm.” “There’s something.I’m Katharine..we brain has caused pressure on your optic nerves.” You It’s When was it broken? “Two weeks ago there was a bomb explosion in a bus.146 fallen into the water in complete darkness and called for Lan. “You are at Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem... were nearby and sustained some injuries..... “Are. stay calm.” “But I. and we will talk to you a little at a time.wait a minute.... Miss Gordon.” “But I.. We were certain you would not see at present..” “Two..” “Yes... She coughed and said in a rasping voice.. He had told her there were sharks. You were somewhat shielded by a large section of the displaced shelter.
“Yes. was here you could hardly talk.you have a visitor. “I last saw her. I might be dead. I swore. Katharine.. were here. roadblock.” Last time I You should have “I was only teasing. please..oh.very good.and where I’ve been..were. brought something that smells good... think daisies are cheerful. around on pain killers.Stein? “Yes. Lying Karima and Ahmad They had to undergo interrogation to get through a I wouldn’t expect them to come again... “How have I been?” How have you been?” “Well.” “I’m sorry.” When did you last see her?” Katharine’s brain was roiling. She is quite anxious to see you. but only for a few minutes a little later.. we want to do a few tests.” “I can’t see the daisies. We.or you. good. but . “I My God. Someone can put them in a vase..I last saw her.” The explosion killed and maimed--” It’s so horrible. I’m glad to see you looking better. you know how I’ve been.” Judith said as she entered Katharine’s room.. and a member of the staff will come and get you. that’s good.” “Judith.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . How stupid.. Katharine. Then perhaps. Now just wait a few minutes.” “Who?” “Judith Stein. someone who has been waiting to see you.” “Yes.. blinder than a bat... I didn’t think. The “I’m sorry.” “Katharine. I last saw her at the King David Hotel. her thoughts clouded with areas of darkness as she struggled to recall... Katharine...swore I would not say anything.your friend. Judith.147 now.” *** “Daisies..in college together.... incredible tragedy of these times. too.
” “The people I met wouldn’t have done this to anyone. you have had plenty of time to think. they let their young people do it.. he told a meeting of capitalists in New York city: ‘When you are powerful like you guys is the time to be nice.the very way it perpetuates itself -..have to hang around here for a month.” “Well.the irritation heals.” “Judith. And When while.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . they’re watching my eyes. they .it has reached the limits of its existence. You have changed your opinion maybe a little about Palestinians?” “Absolutely not.. I’ll be on crutches for a Therapy. Judith.148 now perhaps. Katharine? How can I help you?” I want it to see I’m too tired. indifferent world must bear some of the blame.” “The freedoms of America are priceless. in considering the world situation.they were horrified. Clean breaks. that others need. Oh. probably they wouldn’t hurt you. my dear friend.’ I like the way his simple.. condone the suicide of their children. I guess. aren’t terrorists.perhaps you understand.” “What are you going to do.. when a civilization is driven to sacrifice its children -. I hold the same convictions.. For that. Judith... people I met in Khan Yunis would never have done this.. He said. more The They I’ve had plenty of time to think. Frenchified use of English conveyed so much.not anyone. angered so many.” “No. the swelling goes down.. its leaders and the affluent. but us.. strongly than ever. which they call martyrdom. I can’t do this. They’ve called me. them condone what is done.” “And.. The prognosis isn’t too bad.. haven’t you?” “Recently I heard Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien on the news. “The doctors say I’m young enough for my leg to mend fairly rapidly.” Most of “No.. I’m sure.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 149 think...well, they think it will be awhile before I can see anything. Doctor Berg says it might happen suddenly somewhere
down the road.” “You’ve handled this with such stoicism. have done as well.” “Oh, Judith, I think I almost expect misfortune -- one of the perks of my rather strange childhood.” “We have excellent doctors here.” “Yes, you do, you do...really good doctors. grateful to them. this.” “Katharine, I...oh God. I asked you to take that bus.” A lot of people were on the I feel very I’m not sure I’d
I suppose they’re getting quite good at
“Don’t start that, please. bus. I wasn’t.
I’m one of the few alive.”
“One of your nurses, Rachel, asked me to ask you something personal,” Judith said, quickly changing the subject. “What?” Katharine asked without much interest, sighing and leaning back on her pillows. “She wanted to know who Lan is. they should be getting in touch with.” “What? How do they know of him?” I mean, if he is someone
“Apparently...every once in a while when your brain turned itself on, you called out his name.” “I don’t remember doing it.” “Probably not.” “No, there’s no one I want contacted. But you could bring I
me my laptop and help me read my e-mail, when you have time. know you’re busy.” “Of course, I will do that. Are you crying?”
“I’m really emotional right now...embarrassingly so. little thing sets me off.
The doctors have told me it’s very
common with head injuries, so just ignore it.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 150 “I’m quite familiar with that malady, Katharine. I treat
people with the same problem...so if you...if you want to talk, feel free. It might help you. I would like to do that.” You know, right I haven’t
“Thank you, Judith.
You’re a good friend.
now I wish you’d just tell me something funny. laughed in a long, long time.” “Something funny... asked me to marry him.” “That’s funny? Yes...all right.
My friend, Jacob,
Oh my God, Judith, that’s not funny!”
“Then why are you laughing?” “Because you said it was funny...that’s funny -- the idea that you would say it was funny.” “Well, it’s funny to me. He lives with his mother. I have I could
no wish to be a mother to a grown man, not that mother. never live up to it. mother is like?” “No. Tell me. Maybe it’ll make me laugh.” ***
Do you know what a traditional Jewish
Katharine struggled minute by minute in her new world of darkness, gradually noticing that her hearing was improving -readily detecting intricate subtleties of sound she had never before attended or cared about: a sigh, the slight creek of a door, the distant hum of a machine, a soft gasp, a clicking tongue, rolling wheels, a rustle of starched cloth, tiptoeing feet. The nights were difficult, less activity, more silence.
She could feel the dreaded nights approaching, settling over her, even without the more obvious signals of mitigated staff activities and mentally logged in evening routine. Judith had brought her laptop and gone over her e-mail with her. There were no more messages from Green Braes, and she One afternoon following
found this both a relief and a sorrow.
a particulary vigorous therapy session, she developed a
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 151 nauseating headache. This condition briefly summoned her first
meeting with Lan, and for a few moments she swam above the pain, almost smiling. His concern over her migraine that day in She relived every It
Auckland seemed to her now even more tender.
small effort of assistance, now magnified a thousand fold.
was this wretched new surfeit of emotion taking control, she told herself. Soon thereafter, she called a nurse and was given “What about the pain
an injection for her throbbing head.
here...can you do something about that?” she muttered half coherently to the oblivious departing nurse. clutching her chest. “Oh God, how I wish I were back in Khan Yunis doing my work,” she complained to Judith in the following week. “I do not understand that wish at all.” “Something draws me there...to that sharp edge of life where the mundane lies always just beneath the specter of death. Then death comes...suddenly...over and over again to that center of misery the world covers its eyes not to see. The necessity, She fell asleep
the intensity of sharing it, like...like running your finger very slowly over a sharp knife blade, almost getting cut. They
would not understand my eagerness to return to their degrading prison.” “Nor do I. Obviously, you cannot go back there now. What
will you do when you are scuttling about on those crutches? Where will you go? “Scuttling? Home?” Blundering about in the dark is a more And that will be quite a trick.”
“They say you will be able to see.” “So they say.” “Oh, you must plan on it, Katharine.” “Hmm, May in Seattle. bloomed already. The tulips and lilacs will have My grandmother had
But there will be peonies.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 152 an acre of them. extravagance. Great blowsy globes of pink and white
She and I gathered them in thick bunches, and How I
arranged them in shaved wood round baskets for wholesale.
miss the innocence...a lush field of fresh blossoms bobbing in the wind or drooping with beads of spring rain. I can almost
smell that unique peony fragrance in the fresh rain...probably raining in Seattle now. isn’t there any more. about it. I’m ruined. God, I don’t want to go back. There
I’m so restless.
I can’t do very much
Oh damn it, I’m really useless now.” You’re a mass of unstrung You still have to heal...and But...why are you so...so
“No you aren’t, Katharine. activity, temporarily shut down.
not just your body, your mind, too.
closemouthed about personal matters?” “Why are you so curious, Judith?” “I’m simply trying to help. “What good does it do? You understand that?” Hashing over old wounds.”
“You’ve just discounted my profession.” “Sorry. Can we go over my e-mail now?”
“Of course.” Together they went down the dwindling list of messages. Katharine was in an apathetic mood, expressing a desire to erase unread almost everything. “Here is something from Green Braes. What is that?”
Katharine sat up, rubbing her face in sudden agitation. She dreaded this revelation but had no alternative other than Judith’s help. A crumb to a starving bird was how she thought
of the message itself, and yet she felt herself removed by her condition, as if she were about to weep over an emotional scene in a movie, herself no longer in the picture. “What does it say?” “Katharine, I haven’t heard from you in a long time, and I need to hear. You won’t tell me where you are so, of course, I
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 153 worry. Swear at me. Any bloody thing. Lan.” Surely, you are Please, my ipo, just
answer this communication. “Well.
So, at last the mysterious Lan.
going to answer this.” “No,” Katharine said, groping for her tissues. “What was that he called you?” “Nothing.” “It was not nothing. friend.” “A Maori word. “Maori? It means sweetheart...lover.” Oh, you are so exasperating, my
You mean New Zealand?”
“It’s a beautiful country.” “Exotic, I think. I’ve never been. When were you there?”
“Shortly before I came here.” “Ah, isn’t this where I say, the plot thickens?” “Don’t be cunning with me, Judith...just because you delight in scouring out another’s mind.” “I’ve never heard my work described so. rather adept at that. “This man appears to care for you. “It won’t work. I can’t think why.” You writers are
I’m going to try and rest now, Judith. I’ve really become dependent on you,
Thank you for your help. haven’t I?”
“Not very dependent on me, not you, my friend.” *** One blurry day as uneventful as all other recent days, Katharine was sitting up in bed, listening to the shortwave radio Judith had brought her, when she heard a lusty voice teasing one of the nurses just outside her door. There was a
squeal of female laughter and into the room sailed Cash Taylor. “Hello, duchess. I was in town looking for a roll of film
and thought I’d drop into your temporary digs.”
. as the British have been known to say: Fucked up more than usual..” Katharine felt the tears sliding down her cheeks. black. broken leg and all... art is a color shoot. Cash.” “What are you wearing?” Katharine asked.” “I hear they’ll be working eventually. laugh. your bed to keep guys like me away.umm.” “My picture is complete. Did you come to gloat?” “No. same wave length at all. “I’m sorry. “Are they treating you okay? Is there anything you need?” “A working pair of eyes would be nice.” “Same old Katharine. I came to hold your hand and let you smell these bright red carnations. “That’ll be a change. “How did you know I was here?” “I’m in the business.” “Ah.” “I can’t laugh. We weren’t on the Those He hated my guts. “What am I wearing? Nike Air..154 “I’m speechless. the same old Cash. Looks like you’re all FUMTU. nice.” Katharine said..” “Sorry. Those incredible green eyes.” “I’ll smell the carnations. Then I’ll go away “Yes. I made Katharine Gordon laugh.for you..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . patrolling I kind of thought he’d be here.” “Stop it. I’ll come back tomorrow with a whole new bedside manner. You’ve no idea. rubbing her eyes.remember?. eyes are what made that big dark Kiwi letch for you. but he was polite You know. please.” Cash said. I think I could make you famous with just my macro lens. I’ve got an idea..” Come on.the news business. hugging her.beautiful as ever -. satisfied.” . Cash. about it.but the guy was nuts about you. “Good God..” “Hardly. Calvin Klein jeans and an old black Armani jacket over a white Burberry shirt..
hobbling about on crutches and wondering if she would ever see. He told her “Maybe some day I’ll sing you a complimentary torch he planned to return there at some future date and travel everywhere photographing everything. A day later. then filed it away in her head until the appropriate hour.” Katharine said with a grin. I’d go crazy.. Cash. improved much. her very little. with that cast on. assume it’s just a matter of time.” “Now that almost makes me laugh.only somehow.155 “You think that’s all there is?” “No. “Your bedside manner hasn’t Please be careful out there.” Katharine shook her head. There must be more or you wouldn’t be here. and spent part of his visit extolling the beauties of New Zealand. Margaret in New Zealand. If I didn’t. That’ll put me in dire need of crashing in Kiwi land. “Meanwhile.” One day. song. “Katharine. promised her nothing. “I’m photographing flying body parts. awhile back I thought I caught the . The first thing Margaret said after her initial surprise and delight was.” Cash Taylor did return the next afternoon. recalling Cash’s tantalizing images of New Zealand and in one of her sudden transitions of mood.” “I’d prescribe some horizontal exercise. she had told Judith.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . it doesn’t seem quite the thing. she called It was only when she heard herself talking that she knew with certainty what she would do. The doctors told A very mysterious “I’m going to science called wait and see. Little did he know what he was doing to her feeble attempts at establishing equilibrium.” he informed her.. she asked Judith to get a number from her computer.” *** Katharine was in her hotel room now. and damn soon.
and get back in shape for my next spate of globetrotting. but could learn nothing. If I didn’t have your promise of that.” “I have just a few requirements. Do you promise to be silent?” “Oh bloody-hell. I. but I don’t want to say anything much. “Good. He’ll have to find Ya see how much I’d like ya to come?” I don’t want to see anyone at all” -. place where you could practically walk in the dark and not get lost. about New Zealand.156 tail end of a news story with your picture attached.the sort of hideaway you call a bach. memories of it. none of that. of how beautiful it is. except that I want to come to New Zealand. Margaret. I have a lot of friends who sometimes let Do you think their vacation cottages.I suppose now I must. please. I’ve been thinking a lot I have such good I really love the place. I guess I just couldn’t come. little accident and I need to heal. Then I would need someone to . ya on his own. The place should have a You know. you could?” “Of course. hear more.as if I “This is strictly confidential: I was in a could.” “Then I suppose I can’t say anything... the sort of door that opens right onto an easy path.” “No. maybe in the Bay of Islands or somewhere not too far from Auckland. she thought... I was hoping you could find me one of those nice little holiday cottages for rent. Were ya? I tried to I thought ya might have Are ya?” “Margaret.. been in the Middle East.” “Then I’ll trust you.” “Oh my God. Of course I could only do that if I were sure you wouldn’t tell Lan I was coming. where the weather isn’t so bad this time of year. I want to thoroughly immerse myself in that wonderful peaceful atmosphere and.. forgive me please. I’ll need to use my laptop.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
accident.. jewel. I’m glad I’m here. I haven’t I Ya told me on the phone it was a little Good God..” “I think she’s already a doctor. and. and maybe you -. but it is highly unusual to have so much.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. “Oh. Would that be possible?” People are always looking for work around When are ya coming?” I have a few ideas. I know. Seattle. Actually.” Ignore that remark.. Kate. my friend. “I’ll be e-mailing my arrival.or is New Zealand just full of Pennies?” “She’s a real brick.. This is getting on to our winter. recovered yet. takes over. That would be so This all would be so very good of you.. oh. they’re everywhere. more pork. Kate. “Absolutely.” III “No one told me it could rain like this here. going to make a fine doctor when all those studies are through.” Katharine said to Margaret in a testy voice.knows when I need . was just so astonished when ya came off that plane. “I worry about ya here. ya know.’ I answer like an obedient child.who could maybe clean things up a bit. Margaret -good of you. Where did you ever find such a pills?’ she asks me. “I might as well be in “Yes.and your eyes. I like the sound of the rain on this noisy tin roof.knows when to leave me alone. all alone..” that demanding little owl you have. I’m so well cared for.. here. could meet me at the airport.” She walks right in here and “Penny is doing a great job. She has that manner about her. More pork.” “I’m bloody sorry..157 stop by from time to time with. Last night I heard a Morepork. supplies and mail..just you. I’ve come to love all sounds. ‘Are you remembering to take your anti-inflammatory ‘Yes.
Angry. I like it.such rotten luck.still young. As to being alone.. swear a lot. and it just kills . and over sixty percent unemployment. and some writing. It looks like a very long. She would awaken whimpering in the darkness she could not escape. Half of Gaza for the million penned-up Palestinians. death. gloomy. Right now.” “Is that what you’re writing about?” “Not now. don’t go where I think you’re going. I can’t.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . A million Gazans incarcerated in squalor with little hope for much else. I feel helpless in that regard. the moment. frustrated. with a lot of pluck.” “I’m talking about the grief of the Palestinians. crawl away and cover my head.” “But he doesn’t even know you’re here.” She didn’t bring up the bizarre things her brain was doing almost nightly. throw things.appears to be turning into a novel. although that’s hard to believe. staring down into a pit of black bodies. the strange dreams it made her endure. I suppose it’s one way of getting over the grief of the Middle East.158 something.. herself old and in tatters and bleeding. dragging one aching foot over crumbling debris.. girl. in which she found herself wandering down a street in the Gaza Strip. really quite brave. I’m doing a lot of thinking. Kate. I’m writing my way out of something else at I just want to Sorry.. “Kate. and destruction.” “That was so bad. lovely. you’re quite something. herself a Gaza dweller shuffling through the dust. Perhaps later I’ll write it. It’s a frightening powder keg. the other half for six thousand walledin settlers. but the settlers are free to come and go and living in new homes with lawns and sprinklers. It’s all the misery in the world... Some days I don’t do anything. Misery. it looks as if the situation can only get worse. and tragic road of depredation for them. Margaret. What a I wish--” “Please.
which her doctors had only suggested. Lachlan Manutane’s world. I’m doing my own thing. answer very often. She told herself that if her vision had come this That sudden transition to far it might continue to improve.as well It’s I really and truly do not want anything else. enough to know that he’s somewhere getting on with his life. “For me it has to be. “I can make the tea.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Not at all. that sort of talk. If he finds out. two fractures. Look at me. I’ve got to stay off it a while longer.” “That’s bloody amazing to me. someone else to live that way.. I suppose. less frequently. but clean at least. Penny is taking me in We’ll see. up to her cozy bach. sight.” “What about your leg? I’ll have to become When can you abandon the crutches?” “It was a bad break.” “He doesn’t need to know. to see my new doctor next week. leaning heavily on Penny.159 me. I don’t One day it’ll stop.” “So be it.. was a mysterious phenomenon she tried neither to dwell upon nor cast aside. I have suspicions that those eye doctors were being kind. . a tight-fitting little Citroen. I’m “I don’t think it’s right. Gradually. and walked. the darkness had evolved into light filled with obscure shapes.” “Doesn’t he send you e-mail?” “Yes. still trying to deal with what that means. Penny reads it to me. unrecognizable forms and nothing more. It would be a disaster. he will kill me. as I can.” *** Katharine got out of the car.” Katharine said. She now knew every angle and obstruction in her comfortable nest and could hobble about freely. as if she had full command of her sight and not merely the shadowy vision that so limited her world.” I’m not material for Furthermore.
shoulder length.. and a small mole on my left cheek. But my eyes.. as long as I’m here.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Penny.. shoulder and promotes optimism. “I’ve painted you from your voice and manner. “Well. agile she’s switched to calling them a surgeon’s..I felt your arm -. any cure.” I believe optimism is essential for .” They sat for a moment in silence.” “I’m a bit taller.” “Well.” “I hope so.at least a jacket of it -.” “And you’re wearing denim. Good old denim. way you look.and probably denim jeans. My mother used to call them piano hands.” “He’s right in that. I live in it.the narrow nose.160 “Let me do it.” Penny’s eager. takecharge voice insisted. fingers.” “Describing myself that way is rather strange.easier for a writer... I would say you are a tawny blond.. try. you see I would never use the word dirty. When they were sitting in the small kitchen nook sipping their Earl Grey. a doctor’s hands. Katharine said.. at least my cast is off. Now I know you have long.your height is?” “I’m five feet four inches. isn’t it?” “Yeah.. Hospital wear will be quite an adjustment. not for you..” “Right. I have pale blue eyes and freckles across a rather What color is your hair? It’s I’ve never Now tell me more about yourself..a sort of dirty blond. sipping her tea and rattling her cup.” “Now you’re getting it.” “Ah. “Yeah.the He pats me on the Katharine heard Penny ophthalmologist didn’t tell me much as usual.. tried to do it.
We pretty well know who we We don’t are.161 “I’ve never been a very patient person..” “Good on ya.. of course not.” “You don’t know how much I appreciate your willingness to give my writing a brief check.” “I’m enjoying it. do know you’re very good at what you’ve been doing. I don’t have time to read Your writing has a much else that isn’t technical. I mean..or what?” “Oh. We’ll both be doctors.. then.” Katharine gave a sardonic laugh. Maybe Ya ya ought to just let it happen..just let the rest . worry about it. my aren’t wearing a ring. A private life still scares me. I have a terrible and constant fear of hitting the wrong key and creating a volume of gibberish.all that.guess you’ve had heaps of experiences that are useful in your personal life. That ought to be your anchor. and you I’m going to marry Neville. fiancé.. admire you.” “Really? Could be that ya worry about it too much. don’t dwell on it. no. We skipped that..” “God..” “Yeah. your assurance. but I’m certainly working at it.try to cheer myself up singing old songs. Quite good.” “I didn’t know.medical. and the babies will just have to fit in somehow.simply press on with our goals and let the rest happen. children and all the trimmings?” “Yeah. I really Maybe because I’ve done so poorly at the little I’ve had of one.. I rather think.. you’re relaxed about the way that works... Maybe later..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .quite well established there.” “So.or... You’ve hardly spoken of him. lot of wisdom. life to go... Penny? “How do you expect your Are you going to be a strictly professional person with little time for a private life..
a few startling notes from the lyrical repertoire of the Tui. “Cheerio. Returning down the shell path. into it. almost stumbling. and the late sun welcome. Northland beauty. a white-tufted throat. The air was coolish.162 happen. made Katharine a tuna sandwich and brought it to her at her computer. she banged the foot of her good leg on an unfamiliar rock at the edge of the path. which gave it its common name of ‘parson bird.’ and gorgeous feather vanes that were rather dark and tipped with stunning blue. let it out? No one could hear her. dropping her crutch and fumbling for it with difficulty.” The writing was leading into a mental labyrinth of intricate paths that kept her exploring deeply. then left with her usual upbeat. She listened to bird calls. See ya in a couple of days.” I’ve got hours of Later. Penny returned. heavy studying ahead. she broke a tea cup which had just She groped her way to the kitchen Why not throw herself missed reaching the counter. when Katharine had slowly made her way over the path to her outdoor lounging chair and sat warming in the afternoon sun. table and cried with great bawling sobs. She tried to recall how a Tui looked: a dark head with a curved beak. setting was breathtaking. That’s the way I do it. I’d better dash over to Russell and snatch your mail and some groceries. I’ll scribble it down then I’ll be on my way. Recite that list one more time. lapping at the beach sands below were soothing. cleaned up the cup shards that lay scattered around the floor. thinking hard . It must have been quite a happy and secure one.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . making a mental note to ask her about her childhood at some leisurely moment. Once inside. The wavelets She knew her Margaret and Penny both praised this She longed to see it. she considered Penny’s very together attitude. “Well.
Lachlan My sister and I were just going fishing.” a familiar sounding male voice called as they approached. the soft satiny fibers of thick wool so luxurious brushing over her skin. the rugged furniture with durable. heavier doors. She listened to see if she could determine who it She heard two low The car doors slammed. and I I remembered that I have a fly kit locked in the closet here. I’m the owner. Sometimes she lay on it imagining it was from the Green Braes plains. Bloody-hell! My God.163 and focused. voices. She liked the way things were unobtrusively placed in the bach. Katharine? I’ll just duck in Kate?” Katharine’s hands were gripping the chair arms so tightly her fingers were numb. They knocked first on the front door and then came around the walk to the back. Manutane. she was glad for her cozy cave and her world of writing. Her eyes were closed. and dozed off thinking of Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Unless one was long inured to blindness. “Sorry to disturb ya. she could easily hear Margaret’s or Penny’s car arriving on the gravel road at the other side of the cottage. the birds. she was awakened by the sound of a car. thick-woven upholstery positioned around a huge circle of sheepskin thrown over the floor. a man and a woman. Out there. her head turned .. Napping one day in her chair. Along with the heater.. New Zealand was not a country to visit without vision. the breezes. breathing deeply and listening to the water. the buzzing insects. sat down on the foot rest and placed her crutches on the ground then swung her body around and lay back. for it was a tempting visual paradise. “Kia ora. and. was. When the weather permitted she walked to the foot of the path where her chair was firmly planted. there was a stone fireplace which she was afraid to use for fear she would burn the place down. suppose you’ve discovered the locked closet. Without it she might have gone mad. Still.
here.” Lan exploded. “God. I’ll She’s angry enough.” “No. the bitch is living in our bach. Tell me what’s happened to ya.” she cried out with a miserable voice. Kate. her heart slamming into the pained walls of her chest. I can’t believe you’ve come. and you’ll be walking. She wanted to run screaming into the sea rather than be forced to sit there exposed. “Oh. So she did it this way. Just go. She was trying to be I told her that if she heard from ya. Please talk to me. her whole body trembling in shock and the agony of what was to come. I didn’t know.” Her head was beginning to throb.” Rani’s crunching footsteps receded on the shell path. have ya been hurt?” “An accident. that you’re I’m just so bloody I nearly lost it when I saw ya. thank you.164 out toward the sound of the waves.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . left it to chance. almost more than she could bear. Don’t be mad at her.” He lifted her hand in his and she snatched it back and turned her face away. Margaret.. Please don’t keep Rani waiting out there. Believe me. saw ya. Oh.just get your fly kit and go. loyal to us both. Just.. astonished. Oh. and her body trembling. sat forward. “One more word out of ya Go back to the Rover and stay there.” She wanted to get away and envisioned herself hobbling off . “I had no idea. be out of here by tomorrow evening. what are ya doing “What are these crutches? here? My God. Rani. Katharine swallowed slowly.” she heard Rani exclaim. Please. I can’t. emotions boiling over. “Shut up. “It’s all right. “Leave me alone.. His dark shape loomed before her.I can’t.. ya will not. I wanted to know. opened her eyes and turned toward Lan’s voice.
Christ. I don’t want to talk for a while... She turned away and bit her lip. unable to reach them. so foolish. his adamant hands burning through her clothes.” she muttered... and now she groped beside her chair for them. Kate. hand back quickly and held it against her mouth. It kills me..” “Rani’s in the--” “I bloody well know where Rani is and I don’t give a fucking damn..” I’m not going to cry.” she said. her eyes. I “My God. She listened to his sigh.” He continued to hold her against him in silence. not my green eyes. turning The silence went on and on as she tried to focus She could hear the sharp intake of air in his throat. find them.. fumbling on in a clumsy. his chin sliding over her hair. won’t cry. and he was walking with her back up the path. lifting her up against him. Then she felt his hands sliding around her.. She drew her The utter silence of the next moment terrified her more than anything that had happened so far. Don’t apologize. I can walk with my. ridiculous.165 on her crutches in the wrong direction. apologetic voice.. running her searching fingers over the broken shells beside her chair. “Sorry.. She felt his hand under her chin. “I wish you hadn’t.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . When she first identified his voice. Lan. she had tried to push the crutches away with her hand. his breathing near her ear. dropping down beside her and holding her against him in silence. her head up.” He carried her inside and settled her on the sheepskin rug. turning further away from his shadowy form. her body began to relax and grow still.they were here somewhere. not your eyes. “What are you.my eyes will improve and--” “Don’t do that. Gradually. She desperately needed to get up and walk. “Where are my. She then realized it was . after some minutes of uncontrollable shaking.
She saw how deep his commiseration went when his voice intoned something low and soft in Maori against her ear.” “In which place?” . uncertain.166 that stillness for which he had been waiting... Why don’t they work?” I see “The concussion.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . almost like an incantation: “Ma te wa e whakaora to mamae.a little spacey sometimes. Kate?” “I was near a bus that blew up in Jerusalem. It was supposed to diminish but I’m not so sure I’m taking anti-inflammatory pills. but the scent that was Lan made her almost dizzy.perfect green eyes.” “And seen this?” Christ.swelling in my brain and pressure on the optic nerves. They said I was agitated from time to time.. I would “I see only Kate. His mouth was against It felt as if he were reading her mind...my same Kate.sort of.. green eyes.far too emotional..in a manner of speaking. I’m all right. her hair.. I don’t remember doing it. anymore.” She kept her head Her voice was light and soft.a bit thinner.a few strange aches. I seem to be writing a novel. down against his shirt..” “I’ll take ya to doctors in Sydney. Lan?” “Time will heal your pain. her vacant eyes away from his.. “What happened. “I was unconscious for a couple of weeks.” “What.. I’m tired of doctors. I did When I I’d try to let you know. been calling your name..... Apparently... or at least The silent holding of her had a calming her nervous feelings... a nurse wanted to know who Lan was.” “Jesus Christ. effect. Why didn’t ya let me know?” Apparently.” “Then why didn’t ya tell them to call me? have come.” “No. I’m working. Really.. rejoined the living.
” “My fishing trip was a reward for Rani’s good behavior.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the door opened and Rani entered the room. or I thought she was until a few minutes ago. just leave her alone. followed by Lan. thoughtless and I ought not to’ave said it. She will apologize. back. “You can’t just leave Rani sitting in the Rover. she roused herself to face the here and now.” After a while. After several minutes. I’ll come straight truth: that the father of the child is some wanker she hates. succinctly. She’s been making amends.” Katharine said rather She didn’t know what else to say.” “I’ve ruined your fishing trip.167 “All places. please. She finally told me the She knows the way home. knowing Rani She had a few times felt probably didn’t want to hear any more. straightening her hair and waiting for the next scene in this sudden surreal drama. she is. care of the child.” Rani “It was stupid and “Could offered in a quick rush of words. .” “Yeah.” “I’m not going anywhere.” It doesn’t matter. I’ll see she apologizes. helping Mary. Rani. or three.” Katharine reminded him.” “She’s a very young twenty-two. Stay here.” “No.” “I’m taking Rani back to Russell where she can catch the Paihia ferry. I’m still taking “Lan.” “Hello. She screamed it at me one night after ya left and I’d been refusing to talk to her. I’m sorry I said what I did. Katharine. Apology accepted. “Hello. but she’s growing up. I’ll be back in a minute. you please find my crutches on your way?” She crawled across the rug and pulled herself up onto the couch.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 168 like slapping Rani soundly, but now she felt consoling. Folding
her hands on her lap, she tried to offer a comforting smile. “I’m sorry to hear of your horrid accident and I hope ya enjoy the bach,” Rani finished, retreating back through the door. “Your crutches are here, against the arm of the couch,” Lan carefully explained. “Thank you. You don’t have to come back. It’s...I think
it must be getting late,” Katharine said in nervous uncertainty. “My God, Katharine, will ya stop this...this damned niceness. Do ya really think I wouldn’t come back?”
He sat down beside her, massaging those evocative fingers over her taut back, striving to keep her calm, to relieve her tenuous struggle for restraint, surely so obvious. “I’m sorry, Kate, sorry...but for Christ’s sake, tell me the truth for a change.” “Oh, yes, the truth,” she said, trying to smile. truth,” she repeated, sighing. “The
“All right...if you don’t come
back, I’ll...I’ll walk into the sea...without my crutches.” “Ya won’t even have to walk across the room.” His mouth “Not
touched the back of her neck, causing shivers of joy. going to kiss ya properly now...couldn’t stop. both awake in the meantime. nap.”
That’ll keep us
On second thought, better take a
She heard the door close and gave a long sigh and a jittery laugh, wiping at her wet cheeks. grateful, or is it all love? Why, oh why do I feel so
This damned emotion. ***
Lan was building a fire, crumpling old newspapers from the wood box and carrying in chunks of wood from a pile which existed somewhere outside. “I have a short maze I run, like a wary little mouse,” she
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 169 said. “I didn’t know there was wood, but I wouldn’t have built
a fire anyway, because I might have burned down your bach.” “I’m staying here with ya for a while, Kate. think of something else.” “I have Penny coming in.” “Every couple of days isn’t enough. happen. Something could Then we’ll
I’m not leaving ya, in any case...not until you’re no Ya have to learn to trust me.”
longer confused about us.
“I just can’t interrupt your life like this.” “Ya interrupted my life months ago, Kate. previous life permanently interrupted. Consider my
I’ll fish and work.
I’ll set up a computer in the other room where there’s another phone jack, and that’s it. to the house in Auckland. When you’re tired of this we’ll move Ya like it there.
“And a...there’ll be a young woman showing up around here, Nina, my secretary. I sometimes speak Maori to her, but I’ll Don’t want to--” I’m not as thin-skinned as all that.
try not to do it around ya. “It won’t bother me. Is she attractive?”
“Yeah, she’s attractive, smart, hardworking and the mother of two little anklebiters. How’s your skin doing?” Lan asked
with the utterly captivating warm burr of laughter which had echoed in her head for so long. “You tell me. You’re the one who can see my skin.” My hands remember all of ya.
“Like cream...no tan at all. I love this body...this head.”
His fingers moved from her arms “I’m
to the back of her neck, stroking up through her hair. glad they didn’t cut your hair.” “I guess there was no point in cutting my hair.”
He carried her to the sheepskin rug then eased her down to a sitting position and placed a stemmed glass in her hands. “Champagne. Don’t drink it all at once the way ya did that
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 170 night at Fortuna.” “I can sort of hobble on my own, you know.” “Yeah, waste of time. I like having ya in my arms.”
She laughed and sipped, feeling the pleasant warmth of the crackling fire and the slight euphoria of the champagne. her glass was empty she held it out to him. When
He took it, and his
arms came around her, letting her down into the long-fibered silky wool, kissing her until she thought her eyes were merely closed and she was whole and well and nothing had come in between this moment and their first lovemaking. “What is it, Kate?” he asked at her shy responses. “I feel...as if we’ve just met.” “We did...second time...ka pai.” Her slow fingers explored his face, sliding across the warm lids of his eyes and over his responding mouth. “I wish I could see you...I want to see you.” “Ya will. way. Just close your eyes and pretend ya like it that
Tell me if your leg hurts...if anything hurts.” “Nothing hurts...oh, not quite true. I have...this ache.”
“Yeah...the same...ever since ya left.” His deep kiss sent her reeling. “Ending it right now.” and tossed it somewhere. “Are ya warm enough?” “Oh, I’m warm, Lan, but I--” “No worries, I’ll be careful with ya...do whatever ya want however ya want, until ya tell me to stop.” “What if I don’t tell you to stop?” “Then we’ll both die happy.” She awoke in the early morning and lay with her eyes open. Did I ever tell him to stop? No, I think we both just passed His warm body lay He lifted her gown over her head
out, sated with pleasure, exhausted.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 171 peacefully sleeping beside her. She would like to have gotten
up, slipped out and walked on the shore below, perhaps singing some old love song. Where were her crutches? Not propped by the bed where they She rolled
should be, because he had carried her there. carefully to her side and sat up slowly. “Where ya going?
Ya haven’t got your crutches.” “I’m going nowhere. Sorry I woke
“Nowhere,” she said. you.”
She sat on the edge of the bed and began to cry, softly
and quietly. “Carry ya to the loo again?” “No thank you.” “What is it, Kate?” he asked, sliding his arms around her and stroking his fingers through her hair. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” “Nobody does. Ya can’t have the certainty of that. Ya
expect everything to work like a schedule.
It isn’t that way.
You’re smart enough to know that but...full on emotional right now. Try to let it be.” “I hate...hate being so helpless.” “Come on, we’re all just fooling ourselves that we’re spinning this planet. writing a story.” “I’m sorry. “I do not. You must think I’m awfully self-centered.” Ya aren’t.” What did you do all this Ya can’t control your life the way ya do
“You’re a man who loves sex. time?” “Ah. subject.
When ya change the subject ya really do change the Is that your interview technique? What did ya do
yourself?” “Thought of you and suffered...and you probably--” “Remembered us...” He laughed. “Got ahold of myself.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 172 “Oh, Lan... You really believed I was coming back?” We
“If I ever doubted it I thought how ya were with me. really do turn each other on, but it’s more than that. necessity for both of us. A
Ya never had it that way before and Not
ya won’t get it quite like that anywhere else.
understanding what we have, leaving that way was such a damned...ah, never mind. to need me.” “You’re a man of basic principles.” “Ya do make me laugh...and at four in the morning after so much sex I could hardly stand up long enough to piss. ya really are something, ya sexy little cracker. to sleep now?” “I guess...if I can’t get up and walk along the water.” “Do ya want to do that?” “Sort of, but what’s the use? I can’t see much. I think Christ, Ya need me and I want ya. I want ya
Can we go back
I’ll just curl up against you and drift off like a little child rescued from the big bad dark.” “Good on ya,” he said, wrapping his arms around her. “Lan?” “Yeah?” “When you get tired of me, will you--” “Stop it, Kate. start over. When we get tired, we’ll take a nap and
Ehara toku aroha i te kiri moko, engari he aroha no
te whatumanawa. “What?” “My love for ya isn’t shallow...but a love of deep passion. Go to sleep, tau aroha...my loved one.” *** When Penny arrived she was astonished to find Lan cooking breakfast. Katharine liked the way Lan accepted Penny into his Penny immediately pitched
life as if he’d known her for years.
She leaned We haven’t been I mean. and they laughed and talked about everything from New Zealand beer to aubergines and how the national rugby team. “Population. we’re a small population. forward in her lawn chair.. stricken by rat poisoning yet.. I flew up to the Nelson She could imagine him shaking his head as he winery and left ya in misery.” “Afraid to be that much in love?” Were ya that . scolded. “Yeah.. was in a fiery win streak..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Too many rats and they all turn killer.” “Actually I feel a little like a rat right here.” “You’re never wrong. are you?” She sat frowning while Lan exclaimed over the silliness of her remark.. Kate. more afraid of myself. After a short. I am. and if your eyes haven’t improved I’m taking ya to a Sydney specialist. pondering silence he said. afraid of me. you are. Ya know I’m right. I’ve always been so active that this is--” “I’m giving ya a couple more weeks.. are you?” “Yeah. “The last wrong thing I did was a heap of stupidity.” Lan interrupted. Yank.173 in with the preparations. the All Blacks. running my fixed path from bach to outdoor chair and back to the computer.” “Rat poisoning?” Katharine said with surprise.” Katharine said later.well. “Is that friendly manner something all Kiwis have? I’ve encountered it over and over.as if ya were a prisoner... Kate?” “I don’t think so. Compared to you. “Oh.still fairly nice to each other. we’re fairly nice to each other. wishing she could see Lan’s expression.so disturbed ya ran off in a bloody sheep lorry.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she worked at her computer.two more weeks.174 “Yes.” “Lan. Lan was rather quickly drawn back into his busy The phone rang incessantly. healthy ego. I’m teasing a little.. if only I could see you.helpless. opinion of things as they worked together. Katharine knew how Lan liked his women: able to take charge.. “This place is too small for your peace of mind and all of . groups to find him. place.. to heal. because I’m here?” “That’s what you’d like to believe.. People even drove out in schedule. placating voice and a strong will which was clearly evident. It surely came from his self-determined mother. I felt so drawn to this I I didn’t expect to encounter you. couldn’t stand to think of you dealing with this. you’re so far from helpless.” “Oh.” “And now?” “I wanted to be here..” *** Nina had a musical. She was not afraid to tell Lan her own I’m taking ya to Sydney. but Katharine could also hear fondness and respect for Lan in her voice.” I love New Zealand..” “So now we’re back to that. I might confess everything to you.your country. Christ..” You have such a Ya came back “Then in a roundabout way I get loved. For me.. to think for themselves.. Trying to stay out of their way. look into those rare black eyes. and Katharine found herself thinking that it was not at all what she had in mind when she had first settled into her cozy bach in peace and quiet. you are New Zealand. or wandered out to sit in her chair and listen to the sounds of nature.” “Oh. “Right.supposing I might be here as a last resort.. Katharine.here because I’m.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 175 my business affairs,” Lan said one rainy day. with your creative self.” “So this is a prelude to what?” Katharine asked. going away?” “I have to drive over to Auckland and then fly to Green Braes. Will ya come?” “Are you “I’m interfering
“You said you wouldn’t leave me.” “Yeah, I know I did say that. “I was only teasing. ordered. Go on. I want ya to come with me.” Get out of here,” Katharine
“You must be going crazy trying to work in this It’s all starting to get me, too.”
“Then you’ll come?” “No. this. I don’t want to be with Mary like this, Lan, not like
I was hoping--” “Mary adores ya. She wants to see ya, Kate.” I’m sorry Lan. Just go on about your
“I’ll wait a little. business and let me be.
I’m doing well at my computer.”
“I can’t do my work and worry about ya, Kate.” “You don’t have to. I’ll be fine. I originally intended
to stay here by myself anyway.” “Penny told me she worries about ya, too...when she’s not here.” “Oh, nonsense. What can happen to me?”
“A bloody lot of things can happen to ya.” “Nothing will.” “All right. in Auckland. I’ll be at Green Braes for two days, then back Ya do know
I’ll be back here as soon as I can.
I’m going to hear it from Mary when I turn up without ya?” Only when Lan and Nina had driven off the next day did Katharine realize how she had come to appreciate the busyness going on around her. After all, they had left her alone when She stood in silence, regretting her
she was at her computer.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 176 own willfulness. night. How she would miss Lan’s arms around her at
She drank some leftover coffee while nibbling on a
blueberry muffin, and didn’t even bother to eat the rest of the day. The next day Penny drove her to the doctor, the two of them setting out quite early. She was thrilled to be told she could
dispense with her crutches. Penny, happy with Katharine’s progress, was more voluable than usual and eager to discuss Katharine’s improved life. Back
at the bach, she ladled mutton stew into a bowl for Katharine and said, “Looks like you’ve settled into New Zealand and availed yourself of the best we have to offer.” “Lan, you mean,” Katharine said. “Yeah. He’s really choice, Kate...lucky to find a fella
like him, one who cares so much for ya.” “How’s Neville?” Katharine asked, changing the subject. “Neville? Neville is Neville, nearly always the same. He’s the one for me all right. Easier to I
can depend on him for that.
He’s found a larger place so I can move in with him. study together.”
Katharine detected a slight embarrassment in Penny’s voice. “I hope it doesn’t turn into the sort of commotion that’s been going on around here,” Katharine said. “Ya don’t miss Lan when he goes?” “Oh, yes,” Katharine said with a half-hearted laugh. The following morning, Katharine was alone again and working at her computer with intense concentration. she began to notice the initial signs of a headache. “Oh, God,” she muttered, “I hope it’s not one of those.” She poured the rest of her coffee into the kitchen sink, rinsed the cup and went to stand on the sill of the opened door. She could feel the sunlight on her skin, her pained eyes taking Gradually
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 177 in the brightness of it. She carried a towel to the foot of the
path, moving with counted steps, glad to be without her crutches. Wiping off her damp lounging chair, she lowered Her head felt very strange, but the sun was
herself onto it. warming.
Worrying over the pain of a full-blown migraine, she
managed to doze off. Mary was standing before her speaking. Was it a dream? It
must be a dream; she could see Mary’s soft but admonishing visage, one arm resting on her red-sweatered hip. “What will ya do now, Kate? your selfishness?” “Oh, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do Are ya going to hurt Lan with
about us, and my head hurts so, Mary,” Katharine answered. “I thought ya were my girl, but you’ll never be that without him. Never,” Mary called out as she grew smaller and
smaller, disappearing amidst a vast herd of sheep until Katharine couldn’t make her out but only hear her emphatic voice at the center of a rapid swirl of woolies. Kate.” Katharine awoke with a cry of protest, looking up at the soft cerulean sky and then out at the water. Clouds were flying “Never. Never,
above the rippling waves, making racing shadows over the opaque green water. Racing white clouds. The intense light. The
bright sparkle of sun-spangled water. of verdure above the sands.
The rolling emerald rise She could see The perfect See
All so startling.
the delicate shapes of leaves, blades of grass. form and color of everything. everything. “Oh God.
She could see it all.
Oh, my God!” she cried, jumping out of her chair “It’s more beautiful than I could ever Everything.
and spinning around.
have imagined, so much more beautiful. Everything.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 178 She hurried back to the bach, pausing for a moment to look around her, and then reaching for the telephone. “Penny, it’s Kate. I need you to drive me to Auckland.
Oh, I’ve got to get there right away.” *** “Oh lord, this place is gorgeous,” a jubilant Penny had said when she left Katharine off at the elegant old Victorian house. “Wish I could live here.”
“It is a nice place,” Katharine agreed, “very well kept.” She soon found the key and settled herself in the Herne Bay house like a respectful guest, but adding a few welcoming touches of her own. At the final hour, she donned her little
black dress with her freshly washed hair curving above her shoulders and the Totoeka pendant hung around her neck. Waiting
at the window, peeking through the curtains, at last she saw Lan sauntering up the walk. He was carrying his briefcase, his
sleeves rolled, his tie flapping in circling marine air, and his jacket slung over his shoulder. His thoughtful face looked just
a bit tired and worried, ready for the glass of wine waiting for him on the coffee table in the lounge where a fire was burning in the fireplace. key. The door opened as he was reaching for the
He looked Katharine up and down in shock, his eyes going
quickly to hers. “Why don’t you call me Green Eyes anymore?” she asked in a soft, rather sultry voice. She was looking directly at him, her eyes traveling over his face and then staring into the startled dark eyes she had waited so long to see. He tossed his briefcase inside on the floor and pulled her into his arms. “Jesus Christ. Is life repeating itself?”
“We’ll get better.
In a couple of days it’ll be nearly
perfect,” Katharine teased, smiling and continuing to look into
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 179 his eyes. She could hardly bring herself to look anywhere else. “Cor blimey.”
His head went back in laughter. “Into the lounge, please. your favorite Nelson winery.
I have some wine there, from
I’m sure you’ll like it...looks
especially nice in your Waterford crystal goblets.” “I don’t need any bloody wine to cheer me up, Green Eyes, and I haven’t called ya that because I thought it might upset ya.” “Well, it won’t upset me now.” “How? When did it happen?” I had a headache, dozed off in my chair,
dreamed a certain dream, then awoke and discovered I was in a very beautiful place.” They sat sipping their wine and gazing into the fire, occasionally staring at each other and bursting into laughter, as if neither could believe this most fortuitous development. Finally, Lan sighed and said, “I’m afraid I invited Margie and Ian over for drinks, and they’re just about--” Across the room, the oak tall case clock chimed as its little full-sailed ship rocked back and forth above the face, and then the doorbell gave forth a tuneful announcement of company. “Are ya still pissed at Margie?” Lan asked quickly. “I wonder how I could be,” Katharine replied, bracing herself. She stood in the background while the three others cheerfully greeted each other, then Margaret stared toward her with a startled face and took a step backwards, pulling at the hem of her gold turtleneck and smoothing her hands over her long black skirt. Katharine went forward and reached out her hand. Then
“Hello, Margaret, I haven’t seen much of you lately.” she added with a laugh, “Well, I haven’t really seen much of
” Lan and Katharine looked at each other and smiled without making any comment. She held up her hand. “What do I say now?” Margaret asked. have I?” “Kate! But ya. that’s wonderful. I did that.” Margaret said.. I could feel what’s between ya.can ya--” Nice outfit.want to show ya something.. Sorry.it simply curls my toes.how did ya? I mean are ya. including you..can’t say I regret it. Kate. with Lan there next to ya. But I was in no condition to throttle I recovered and we. and you’re looking great.” Lan said to Ian.. for heaven’s sake. Margaret.. “Ah. anyone..” you’re together.” I know. I believe we’ve been left to recover our dignity. “So you two are back together again. “It wasn’t a very nice thing to do. But do ya know what.but if ever I saw a man in pain--” “Margaret--” “Right. absolutely wonderful. it’s none of my business. with a complete lack of the exceptional subtlety and finesse he showed on the water.180 anything. “I think I need a drink. “At least If ya “That’s a rather cool explanation..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and it. “Come up to my study a minute... glancing at Katharine. Lan. He tried to keep it to himself...” Margaret added in the way of apology.” Katharine said. as if it were high summer. I know. “I think he’s He and tactician Colin are racing in heavy weather. Kate? Just a moment ago..” Margaret exclaimed.we resolved the matter. rooted. bring your glass. I’ll shut my mouth.” “Yes. “Why.” When they were seated back in the lounge with glasses in hand.. could have seen Lan when ya left. “Ian. .. I could have throttled you with my bare hands.. Ian remarked.. “Do ya hate me?” When Lan walked up to me floundering blindly in my lawn chair.
I’m I.” “Oh lord. Can ya walk up the stairs?” Katharine furrowed her brow a little in “Never mind. Katharine sat gazing into the fire in silence while Lan removed glasses and put away bottles. that. “They really are nice people. little of that kind of loyalty too.anyway I’m happy to see you. either.” “Lan just found out tonight about my eyes. Kate. God..” “Good on ya. really happy to find ya so improved..and be happy he has such friends. because I. “Ya okay?” “I did my best..” Lan said. not just because I’m happy to see anyone at all. stood .. “I’ll carry ya and right now.I suppose something like the way things have gone. due to the whisperings of Margaret to her husband..181 sorry.maybe you did the right thing. Green Eyes. You’ve He came to sit beside “Ya look just like the night I met ya at Fortuna.this. And.. Perfect timing.” “Margaret..” “From now on you’ve got it. And I like you.I sort of “I see that you’re walking without crutches..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Margaret. laughing at her serious frown. I don’t know how things would have gone -.. They like ya.” Once floated up the stairs.” she responded in a thoughtful voice. dropped in unexpectedly with the news..” “Thanks.just to put a cap on this. I I can only admire you for I hope I can earn a understand that you’re loyal to Lan. “I think so.” speculation. her. and Margaret and Ian left earlier than they had intended -.. Katharine surmised. and then we arrived.. she stood beside the bed.some day. no more crutches.” The evening went rather well after that.
biting her lip to hold herself quiet as he drove himself against her. let it out.” She moaned softly.don’t want ya away from me. “Let go. Ya rarely get two of the same of this.. beginning to move with unleashed pleasure. “I’ve been wanting ya all night.when I saw ya at my door.. for her. are ya not? “Yes.. “Look at us.” Ya are mine. inside. The joy of it was in her laughter as she drew back. deep kiss. He lay down beside her already thoroughly aroused body. She was half afraid of how completely she was coming apart. “Déjà vu. “I’m bloody sorry ya had to go through all of that horror in Jerusalem.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .oh. as if repairing something broken... a kiss that. I don’t want to think of then initiated her own deep kiss and felt his body sliding over hers..” She couldn’t talk and feel . still enthralled with simply staring into her intensely focused eyes. my Kate.Jesus. looking back at me.” “No.. Tell me.. curling mouth or tan cheek or ear or beloved lock of black hair. don’t talk about it.” she cried. lifting her head with one hand while he guided himself into her with the other.all that wildness Tell me..” He ran his thumb across her lips and kissed them with intense concentration. was very different from those others at the bach.182 trembling with excitement while he got her out of her dress and lowered her onto the soft duvet in the middle of a long. her eyes rejoicing in glimpses of taut skin.” he said. everything.just you.. Come on. and then a second time. “Yes. losing herself.. Lan. still amazed at the return of her vision.” Lan said as he stood up to strip off his clothing. my Green Eyes. anything. All.. yours.
Off to her left the sun was just She rubbed her eyes lightly and The fear was rising over the pink water. joining the hot dark river of pleasure that was Lan. saw her eyes.183 the way she felt. or is it yourself you’re afraid of?” . managing only one last cry. “Are ya thinking of leaving me again. Still silent. too.” She. she watched him pour coffee from the glass pot into a white mug and lift it to his questioning mouth. anywhere. in his. his solid dark body wrapped in a navy blue wool robe. a cup of coffee held in both trembling hands. “Look at me. “Oh. all doubt and grief gone.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I want to see your eyes looking at me. thinking Somewhere else. squinted at a close-hauled sloop in the bay. thoroughly dissolved in physical need. her nerves beginning to fire and jump beneath her skin. How could it be? Was she thinking that. In the consuming heat of post-orgasm there was nothing of her wounded self. very close. Lan found her staring into space in the kitchen nook. God.” All past horror was swept away in that powerful dominion of love. the mouth which so quickly and easily took possession of her. he said. all anxiety. only that dreamy and dazed stare of languid satisfaction. “Are ya afraid of me. desiring him even now in her sexually sated. With one discerning look and the nudge of past experience. all self-awareness. the question itself startled her. in the attentive and demanding force of Lan’s liberating body. of vanishing in a haze of indecision? She sat desiring him. overtaking her again. God. Kate?” As familiar as his directness was. *** Katharine eased out of bed and curled up in a large gray wingback by the windows. She threw up her arms and felt his hands closing over hers. Half an hour later. stalled life.
Is that what you’ve been doing. Have ya forgotten When I found ya I didn’t say.. ya do. Ya can’t straddle that high fence This is us together.. I want ya. My God.right?” “Don’t..take--” “Jesus Christ. that means. saying.” “Bloody-hell what self-deception.” he Ya do it with your body when you’re having me. “Got to run like bloody hell from the possibility of bad fate. to suit your fancy... I felt how right it was. Do ya want me?” I’ll catch ya. Jump.184 “Both. I nearly lost ya.. ya ambivalent woman. Kate. “I want you. “Then look into my eyes and tell me ya don’t love me and that you’re going away. “You always tell me to look at you.. Ya went away and were miserable...I in love with a journalist. feel.” “Yeah.oh God.’?” “No. Kate. looking away.so you can possess me. so you can.’ knew. I can’t give myself to Lachlan Manutane and ten thousand sheep.. Lan...” she said. ‘God.” .I always want you. dropping her head into her hands.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ‘Jesus I can’t fall I went after what I wanted.” “I can’t. but I--” “I can’t do this..” “I’m a journalist. I love ya. I love you.” “Come with me to Green Braes and Mary’ll gladly tell ya what it means. demanded.even if I expected a far milder version of the kind of trouble we’re having now.” she said. Lan.” “Ya love me?” I just can’t see what “I love you. that? Stop this shit and tell me what ya Ya know Look at me..
“Oh God.. There’s snow on the ground at Green Braes.slacks and a shirt.. clothes from Mary.from the same irresistible mouth..” “But I want to be with you all the time.” “You said I must be with you always..I want to see Mary.if ya don’t want to come to Green Braes. ya schizoid little wonk. “All right. Ya can borrow more We’re heading out of here now.. I know ya have to do that. can.. as surely as if she were crumbling before Lan’s eyes. what it means. help each other always.today.” “Snow? Isn’t it difficult to land?” .ya call them sweaters.” “Then go put them on. “You tell me. Half of ya wants to run away from me and the other half never wants to leave my side.185 Looking at him with sudden resolution.” “I’ve heard that before.” “Yeah. Which is it?” Katharine felt herself coming apart.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I thought as much. “Did ya bring anything with ya besides that wicked little black dress?” “I was in a hurry. write.. but I’d be willing to do that.” It means we It means ya are with me always.. we’ll fly to Green Braes. I can’t leave all of this. here. so it means Ya can ya have to want me enough to make it part of your life. pounamou eyes.. I.” Lan took her in his arms with “So some impatience and stroked his fingers through her hair. but yes.if that’s what I have to do to have ya. You tell me now..” “Yeah. and I’ll help ya in any way I Ya can stay here in Auckland and write.” Lan laughed. let ya stay here and write. she pulled her white satin robe around herself and folded her arms..” “You certainly are a bossy bloke.. “Jesus. “I’ll get ya one of my jumpers -.
understanding mother... “Oh. Green Eyes. I’m sure. the idea of it thrilled her. “Come on. “Is that a Rolex always appearing there?” “Yeah. She looked . craved until the day they died. She had thought of Mary a great deal. I’ll check with them and make sure it is.breakfast... Rex and his mates keep the runway clear. Lan?” “Haven’t ya already experienced some of my cooking?” “Some.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the woolen Swan-Dris shirt-like jackets worn everywhere in New Zealand.. To have Lan It was Here At least it’s reliable.” she said. plane.” “Can you cook... “It’ll take ya a long time to find out. even dreamed of her. knowing he was counting on Mary to help him. help them both. Lan was more patient...behind my seat under my jacket when ya get hungry.pretty good.. sorry.” “Uh.prosperity sells in the marketplace. powerful persuasion and Lan knew that very well. was a chance to have a loving.186 “Not very.. yes. please. reaching out to hold Katharine’s hand as they winged through the clear sky.” *** In the air.but there’s a limit to what I’ll do..” She dropped her head back and thought of his remark. The gold The sooner we’re out of here on his left wrist flashed beneath the cuff of a green plaid Swannie. “There’s so much I don’t know about you.” Katharine pointed to the hand guiding the and to have a mother. rattle your dags..” “Explanation.” “Made sandwiches while ya were dressing.ya can find out for yourself.sheep talk.. cocking her head with scrutiny. the sooner you’ll see Mary. what everyone needed.
Lan came around to Katharine’s side and helped her out. Lan was off the radio and very soon rolling to a stop. She had thought she would sleep only a few minutes. looming stone house now cloaked in white.” Katharine said.” “Yeah. Waving to Rex. but once again awoke to find them in a landing pattern. playful thing.187 over at his concentrating profile and wished she could know what he was thinking at that precise moment. Australia. I suppose that’s a more noble death than just getting flattened on the highway.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . He turned to her and said.” “Well. He reached for a heavier coat. Katharine’s heart beat with excitement as she stepped out .” “On livestock. up to the always impressive.” They were soon moving down the holly lane over packed snow. stepping out of the plane and quickly donning his big leather jacket. What is this? It’s so thick and furry. “Do ya like snow?” “It’s never treated me badly.” “Possum?” “Not the kind you’re thinking of.from Warm fur. I’ve always thought of it as a sort of whimsical.. The runway was almost clear.. coming down on a world of white. “Oh. We line our hats and coats with ’em.” They ate ham and cheese sandwiches and then Katharine dozed off. Kiwi bear. “Brrr. “Let’s get ya into the Rover fast.” “A blend of possum and wool. Yank. those poor brownish critters I saw squashed all over the roads. yeah. “My jumper warm enough?” “It’s wonderful.” We’re overrun with the little creatures. but I suppose it can be very brutal.
Her feet crunched in the snow. He His lips were cold She but growing warm as she held onto his leather jacket. She bent down and gathered a handful of snow. occasionally reaching for his hot tea. Sheb and Wooly.188 of the Rover. across from them in a wingback. They turned toward the house and saw Mary. Two huntaways. handful of snow and strode toward her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Your clothes are wet. quickly packing another snowball and barely getting it airborne before he grabbed her again and plowed her into a snowdrift. shaking her head and smiling. once again forgot everything but the caressing mouth and the dark eyes made fierce from taunting. Screaming with laughter. to the snowy fields of her grandmother’s flower farm. gingerly packing it tight with iceburned fingers. hounds she had once seen from a distance. she whirled away. As Lan was coming around the side of the Rover He scooped up a she let fly and hit him soundly in the chest. For her it was a setting which took her back to her childhood. “Come on. their brown. grabbing her and rubbing it over her face. Its drumming warmth quieted their . hunched inside a heavy red cardigan and standing on the steps. black. Then he pulled himself away from her and lifted her to a sitting position. forgot the cold.” He helped her up and brushed her off while she stood laughing. ya wild little brat. and white fur gleaming as they dozed by the fire. were in from their station duties. straddled her and kissed her laughing mouth. forgot where she was. *** Katharine was snugly wrapped in a soft wine robe of Mary’s and curled up on the long black leather sofa angled before the big snapping fireplace in the lounge. her face softer than the last time Katharine had seen her. Lan sat with his arm Mary sat around her. before ya freeze your arse.
” “Good on ya. Her body was still glowing from its effect. twisting a hank of her drying blond hair around his fingers. Mary. “You’re blushing.” “Shh. “I’m going to help Mattie with baking.” he countered. “Ya won’t shut me up when it’s good. reaching up to run her fingers through Lan’s snow-wetted black waves.” “I napped on the plane. quiet.” I’ve still got enough life left in me to help . Ya know what that does to me.” Katharine begged. “Look at the two of ya. “I was perfectly ready to come in but the child needed her playtime. “So is yours. “I’ll have ya here if ya want. Oh. It’s time for our nap.” The blond hair wound around his fingers received a sharp tug. ya finish me off. Green Eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Your hair is still damp. almost teary-eyed with gratitude for the firm hug of welcome she had received from Mary. ya little primrose.” Mary scolded in a teasing voice.” Ya heard “Then it’s up the stairs.” “Shhh.” Katharine said. There’s a fire laid in your room if you’d like to rest until tea is ready. mended leg? Do I carry ya up the stairs?” How’s your little “Aren’t you comfortable right here?” Katharine said in a half teasing voice. Lan said. Katharine could only smile. straightening her black wool skirt. Mary stood up. doused from rolling in the cold snow like naughty little bairns.” As Mary slipped out of the room. Lan.189 normally loud and nervous manners.
never used to.that horror in Jerusalem did strange things to my head. I was terrible. I’d give a lot to have seen you then.I can’t think of anything . grasping a brown woolen afghan Mary had knitted. I’m always crying. Kate?” around.here. As she watched the logs I’m surprised he hasn’t catch hold and the flames climb. removed her robe and drew her shivering body into his warmth.. “He never tires of standing there.” “When I was a little blighter I thought of it. Let’s make love. She closed them and let the burning tears roll down.what I did to you..really--” Stop all of that..make me divine while you’re at it.” He tossed off his clothes. motive is just a form of selfishness.....” “What are you making me?” “Yeah. “That. maybe I’m around the bend over ya but I’m good for You’re. pulling it out from the foot of the bed and over their cooling bodies.us. arm in arm..190 They climbed the stairs slowly. her eyes began to sting and burn. “What’s wrong with ya now...” She sat on the edge of the high bed. been shot....” “Oh. But why now?” “I was thinking of last time. You knew me much better than I realized. with Katharine pausing to greet the noble glass stag poised over the landing.” “Right. yeah?” “You’re not selfish. “Just come and hold me. You’ve been so good. “What?” he asked..” “I am sorry about that. wrong with you at all. watching Lan kneel to light the neatly arranged dry wood..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Their shoulders were propped Lan asked when he turned against a bank of square pillows as they stared at the flames.. Maybe my “Stop it.
“even only a small tattoo. Lan uncorked two bottles of a chilled tart rosé from his winery and filled their generous-sized goblets. Haven’t I given ya Mary? I’ll keep ya happy. we won’t do any heavy talking tonight. Lan. “To Lachlan and Katharine. they rushed down the stairs. . herbed potatoes. can count. a soft golden wool.” “Oh God.” *** Descending the stairs was a replay.” Tea was thin slices of tender roast leg of lamb with mint jelly. sprinkled with spicesugared nuts.” Katharine remarked. “Ya look good in my mother’s clothes. lifting her goldedged crystal goblet. Katharine wore a skirt and sweater of But I’m a greedy bastard. wahina. all drizzled with sweet dressing..” “Careful with the loose tongue. You’ll forget.” Lan said. match your hair. “and the happiness of it. roasted. irresistible lovemaking in the shower. Green Eyes. all of ya. just drink a lot of wine and go to bed. lassie.” “You look good in anything. communicating with the bloody muddy sheep while ya talk to Mary. am I laughing?” “See how useful I am. and freshly baked oatmeal rolls light as air. Tomorrow I’m meeting my “These manager down at the sheds. Both of us. There was a crisp salad made with pale leaves of Belgian endive and dark green cress.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” Mary said. I want Mary’s. I’ve told her about ya and she understands. “Speaking of which. They did drink several glasses of the pleasant wine. Trust what ya feel like this. served with an acorn-stamped mound of newly churned butter. flushed from lovemaking and a warm shower. and more sheep than ya You’re done for.191 it.and right now.” she added.
Oh. “Beautiful. His chin edged down against her shoulder as he gazed out with her..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lan’s arms came around her from behind. often laughing over Mary’s ample and pointed witticisms. Lan?” she asked as they lay together fitted like spoons. so indecisive now? place and write. Then the explosion. . unpredictable even to herself.” he said in a warm sleepy voice. In my work I almost never And yet. Somehow she would have to head off the ensuing downward spiral which could so easily make her very poor company. “Ya don’t have to get up yet. God. soothed by his touch.” “Drink a large cup of black tea later and you’ll be right as rain. she stood by the windows. I really want to stay in one Why then am I so worried.. and after such a wonderful evening..192 chatting amiably. world involving myself in constant misery was starting to get me.” she whispered. What’s wrong with me. She tried to blame it on the wine. Dessert was a kiwi custard tart served with a sweet liqueur and demitasses of rich coffee. running around the equivocate as I’ve been doing. gazing out at the icy river and the exquisite pink shimmer of early morning sun falling on banks and fields and purpleshadowed hillocks blanketed with pure. The next morning she awoke with a tight wrap of depression that threatened to unfold itself in all directions. Snuggled in Mary’s soft robe. Katharine’s head was whirling with bonhomie as she climbed the stairs leaning on Lan’s arm. “More so when ya can share it.” “I’ve been thinking.” “I think the wine did a little damage. her humor far dryer than the vanishing wine. Come back to bed. unblemished snow..
for yourself.she’s with my former in-laws.” .. I would.just the excuse ya needed to I bloody near fired the lorry run away and hurt yourself. I’m part of Would ya like to meet the other half? The Why wouldn’t I? and when they know ya they’ll like ya for yourself. The world is a very frightening place. all I can say. Ya can have mine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. trying to learn how to care for her little girl. Ya were so full on hungry for The only person around who love ya married an abusive liar.. they’ll accept ya.. It’s just the way ya started out. Ya think we’ll come to a sad end.. I’ve tried to do that.where is she?” Ya need some happiness “Rani is..” “Ultimately. cared for ya.so.. Maori half?” “Oh.” “I’ve cursed myself a hundred times that I ever told ya about Rani...until Mary stepped in to save the poor bloke. driver who took ya away from me.. “That proposition nearly killed ya.much..” “She’s finally paying attention to the child?” “I think so.” “And maybe I could have convinced ya of that. Ya expect it.” “I’d have found some other excuse..impossible. It wasn’t necessary. your grandmother.193 “Nothing. Your mother went away and never came back. I think I had to go and do what I did. and your violent father was a bloody poor excuse for a human being. died and left ya with no family.. quite a bit of yourself to the world.. “Yeah. “Where is Rani?” Ya can have them all. a rather extended family.” I think you’ve given That’s The wrongs have to be exposed. And you really want me to?” If you’re mine..hope so. I didn’t realize I was really running away from myself.” “Rani..
” Come here.the mother in ya.” He rolled on his back. “I strongly suspected the baby wasn’t yours.. my little ipo. wanted. remark?” “I guess it’s. “Mary would go bloody nuts. “Maybe it would have green staring at the ceiling and laughing.” “And now that ya have thought of it?” She put her hand under her cheek and against the pillow and continued looking into his dark questioning eyes. would have wanted it. good for ya. Lan. Four .... and ya can talk to Think about the rest.” She Any woman carrying your child would have She had suddenly stopped herself. And Yeah.” “You wouldn’t like it if it had your rare dark eyes?” “What do ya think? on the pill?” “Now wait a minute. and the caring. I’m getting dizzy. We’ll talk about it later. pounamou eyes.. “You’re blushing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Then it’s off to the sheep pens for me. “You’re wanting children. ya mean. “You think so?” “I do.inside this plucky little package.. Wait. her surprised thoughts turning over in wonder.” after a little anklebiter or two..now I’m fully awake and I want ya any which way.. eyes. It’s the softness that I see..” the tip of her nose..with you.a man about town like you?” “A man about Katharine... yourself focusing on something besides personal loss. Then I’d go bloody nuts... Are ya still “All right. Green Eyes.194 Katharine turned over and looked into Lan’s eyes. He chuckled and kissed I didn’t even think of Were ya including yourself in that last “Yeah.kind of early in the morning to be blushing.. Mary.. Lan. it until I said it. I’d be It would be good for ya.why I’m blushing.
I was “I wanted to be able to see you. Your condition wouldn’t have I’ve looked after a few in my life. “Ya could have come sooner.. a sparkling neat pale green arena of warmth and activity.” “Well. I’m not so sure I know what ya intend.. Two with green and two with..” *** Mary refilled Katharine’s cup with more black tea.” Katharine stared into Mary’s gray-blue eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .195 of them maybe? “Lan?” Reveling in his own laughter. You were scolding me. he grabbed her escaping body and fit her to him.” “I certainly agree. “May I ask why ya did come back. hoping I could. were sitting at the long wooden work table in the big old kitchen.. Mattie had relinquished her reign there to set about They vacuuming in the upstairs bedrooms. The sudden appearance of Katharine Gordon said more to me than any inadequate words could have.whatever.but never did he bring a single one of them here.. Kate.of the way I was. Mary. kissing her astonished mouth. Still.” “Your own conscience is in good working order then. her warm. softly lined Scottish face radiating a momentary relief that was not without uncertainty. the good of it is that you’re here now. mattered to me... Mary.” “I dreamed about you...” “It’s a miracle that you’re here at all. quite a fit. was breaking for Lachlan.and yet. Katharine. I’m quite ashamed of the way I ran off I really threw without saying good-bye.. My heart He’s entertained some rather interested women since the loss of. didn’t I? How ironic that it took a knock in the head and blindness to make me see a little better. or am I overstepping .” At least.
And I think I had to finally admit to myself that this place was so especially wonderful. He loves so hard. Do ya not know You were Surely ya do. I have periods of depression. I felt so drawn to this place. “I’m a professional person. but It’s all I’ve ever been.hunger. of it to last me to my grave.with Lan..not enough...so depressing to me..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . It was much more than a And yet.. what that means? You’re Lan’s chosen one.” I had enough That isn’t failure.” “Oh.” “And satisfied then?” “No..and.. I’ve failed at everything else. good to me and you didn’t have to be that way at all. you’ll never forget. I have some friends there but I--” “Ya really have no family?” “No. .” “Of course I did..196 myself?” “It’s sort of complicated. a softer version of his angular jaw and well-molded chin. but I think ya still have some problems to resolve.and yet the Ya had a taste of something that I was inundated with. That’s why ya came back.” “But at least I’m good at what I do.. All I have to do is remember and I can go right on -. and you’re To my way of thinking you’re the one receiving that attention.the kind of love only Lachlan can give ya. as lucky as can be. all of its touted beauty notwithstanding.. it’s loss. “A person can’t live very well without love.not always.and you. Do ya not?” Mary leaned back with her hands folded on the table and her sharply focused eyes waiting.. because Lan was here. Katharine began to identify more of the facial features given to Lan...” “Ya were never loved. taste... Mary. Returning to Seattle to recover seemed so.. Oh. you are right about that.
but you. no right to--” “It’s not that so much. too. leave off.play the piano for my own joy of it... because I can’t stand it. My dad sent me to the best schools. Kate. Mary... Somehow... He doesn’t know that I heard him swear an oath one bitter night..197 thought of such a complete change in my life is.that he would never give himself like that again.” “I’m a writer.see it and feel it. My career was here with my Now it We ran this place together and we ran it well. I must be craving Oh. Mary. There I’ve said it. I don’t resist. and he’s made it into something much larger. to happiness.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . without completely . husband.” “For a while he drank a great deal. I know I have unconditional love. somehow ya do resist. You’re a lovely girl with a right It’s just that I don’t know if you’re able to Ya see.. He loves ya too much.. Now he’s done it. he or she is born to.” “Please understand. an intelligent woman like yourself. Mary.” “A successful career is a powerful thing. Kate. I do. belongs to Lachlan.” “Nobody could take that from ya.. He knows that very well but he’ll never ask it of ya.” “Oh... He could do with a good partner. He couldn’t help himself any more than I could when I fell in love with Rang.yes.frightening. Do ya see that?” “Yes.. “Your frowning at me. It’s why I’m here.. Each has to do what But I can’t help feeling that if ya loved him enough we wouldn’t be having this conversation.enough to deny himself what he ought to have. the stewardship of these lands.the way it feeds your ego. and I taught But when I found Rang I was quite content to I have loved music for a while. For him it works that way. Lachlan has suffered make that change ya talk about. you’re wrong.
and off in the distance hung the Southern Alps. Katharine basked in the ensuing release of tension. but alongside this was a somewhat anxious speculation of how she would live the rest of her life. she could easily assert that she had miraculously escaped the jaws of death and was now sitting at the pinnacle of all beauty. Mary’s trust in her? What would make her? She glanced out the tall side Through the windows which opened onto a narrow sun porch. the rush of warm feeling.” Mary said. piercing the hard blue winter sky. environment. she gradually drifted In this pristine off in thought. was dazzling in the bright sun. She could certainly . “I’d like to take a walk in the snow. first brushing it off briskly with a gloved hand. if she were to betray her presumed commitment. With her arms gratefully wrapped around Mary. pondering her situation. standing up and giving Katharine a steady.” *** Katharine was walking along the river. all good fortune. There was ice along the bank but the freezing The snow water burbled with a lyrical sound rather comforting.. I have to fit into your world. very likely with lovely black eyes? cherish it.how she would Could she help to run a place like this..198 losing myself.because I love him far more than I think you realize. reassuring hug. a world Probably she could learn. Along with this went a huge sense of relief that Mary What had always quietly been there and was there now for Lan. Leaning back. She stopped to position herself on a large rock.” “Then I’ll get ya some warm clothes. windows the hardened snow crystals glittered like faceted diamonds. like Lan’s? A part of Lan -.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the crisp air biting into her lungs. Did she want a little child clinging to her skirt. because I love Lan.” “And for that ya have all my devotion.
even though she was totally and inescapably in its grip. there were always those. Katharine? I found ya and ya found me. enriching her self.” “No... “But that isn’t the end of the problem.I guess we’re talking about a special sort of competence. I’m already happy just having ya. It’s kind of sad.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Ya hear “Bloody hell it is.” “That decision is the one I get to make.. lowered her head and sighed..” “Then what in bloody hell are we talking about?” “I guess.” “Oh. for her...if I’m the right person for you.199 write about it. “For as long as you want me I’m yours.in a way. to make you happy.” “Forever?” “I don’t know if.. sliding into his arms. could no longer imagine being otherwise. with her? Wasn’t that the irrefutable answer? What was wrong She began to see that deep down she felt inadequate She for Lan. It would be a necessity She wasn’t indifferent to the cornucopia of good things spilling into her life..” His kiss warmed her whole body and she kissed him back until he leaned away and looked into her revealing eyes. Of course there Love didn’t conquer all.” No more sadness.. would be difficulties.. feeding her creative needs with endless titillating themes.and about the end of something and the beginning of something else. her old insecurity always just within reach.. but I’m so satisfied with you. We’ve both had . Lan. she knew this. It’s I who have to figure out how to make ya satisfied..so happy. No more. about so many things. “What is it now?” Lan’s voice suddenly intoned.have made. is it?” “I have to learn to live well with you. me. decided to give me up?” “Have ya She turned around and couldn’t bear the uncertainty on his face for even a second after discovery.
tapping at the heavy sheepskin jacket. his lids closed down to a narrow darkness that was just her. “Another thing about ya. ya unpredictable wahina -. if you so decree it. but not from cold.the way ya suddenly eat up life. Wasn’t her body forever trying to launch itself. She was beginning to tremble. For a second she wondered if her leg was really up to this.” “Can’t have ya in the snow. great god Manutane. slowed Lan down when he stopped to pick it up. laughing mouth. .” him. Over there. pasted over her gasping. to fly away in dreams? “Kate. “Well. up away from the river and into an open field where the whiteness rose in smooth hillocks.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . her eyes. It’s That’s the end of all this equivocation.” There was a pause of heavy silence while her taut face softened then bloomed with amusement.” It was the thing that had Her hair was in His fingers “Be careful with your leg.. certain nothing could stop her.too bloody cold. but the thought blew away behind her as she ran on.200 enough of sadness.. Her woolen hat had come off. what I love. He clicked his tongue with “Now I want ya bad and we’re in the snow. He hesitated. before ya drown yourself in it.” impatience. savoring her humor as his mood drifted away from the heat of protest.” She slid her hand down the front of his jacket and looked up into his eyes.” She laughed with an expansive surge of joy and began to run. lifted it and smoothed it back as he replaced her hat.” Her coy mouth offered a teasing smile as she pushed her fingers into his chest. I won’t steal ya from your rare self. “Do ya know what your eyes do to me when ya smile like that?” “Just pounamou for my lover. He caught hold of her and swung her around against Please be careful. She ran over the powdery snow in quick bursts of speed.
.. “Oh.. craving much more. No one will.what if someone--” “No. She gripped him tightly. Jesus..201 he jerked his head toward a stone shed with a small. I want ya. ipo. in its path motes of whirling dust..only here with me. first time she encountered fully the translucent mahogany grain of his eyes. discover more than enough. but let me get my hands inside. it turned their quick breath into rising white clouds of vapor. “Ah. fastening her legs around him as they became one tortuous element of hot energy in a still space of heavy cold. with his tongue in her mouth and his hands fitting her against him.” He eased her down upon his open jacket. far beneath her momentous longing she knew that he was right. unfathomed. “Oh.anything. intense with lust.. “There’s straw on the floor. I want ya. heightened the agony of being that close. perhaps not . Anything.” We’ll His words were tinged with regret. Come on. Lan.” The pale blond straw was fresh and sweet beneath them as they pulled off their gloves and tugged at their clothes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. brr.” Katharine said. “Oh. something which should never be finished until the eyes closed for the last time.. the rich deliquescence. feeling so much and knowing so little.. Shout at me..only here. Even in this condition.for either of us. that to wish for or acquire even a partial revelation of the mystery behind the windows of the eyes was to finish something. “Leave your jumper on.” While their partially cold bodies joined in heat. The straight For the shaft of dazzle ignited part of this man having her. snow-etched window. ipo. she let her frenzied self cry out his name and heard his soft response. I want to know--” “It’s no good knowing everything.” A bolt of white light streamed through the high snow-framed old glass.
recovering for a moment until the harsh cold .look at ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . eyes briefly closed then opening as he lifted her shaking body up against him..” His voice sounded soft and slow with satisfaction while his fingers held the back of her neck. She wanted it to go on but thought it powerful enough to stop her heart. E tino aroha ana ahau ki a koe.don’t move while I help ya feel this..oh.” They lay back..” she managed with gasping voice..” Lan said softly. already studied and abandoned as dangerously destructive and useless. so good. I love having ya. “Will ya tell me if I hurt ya?” “Y-yes.good. “Get your arms where I can. and heard herself screaming. “I.202 even then....” “Good?” “Oh..and..” Their bodies rocked hard into the crunching straw. head back. “Ata noho. From his brusque response she inferred a similar longing.liked those words. his thumb rubbing the damp hollow of her throat.. “Okay?” “Yes..” “I said I adore ya. stroking her back..” His hands slid down her waist and pressed her into him until her skin was his. “Oh God!” Above her. the dust of it rising as she was thrown backwards and pinned there in throbbing heat. “Hold still.” Forward deep inside she felt a pleasure that was so excruciating it was almost a searing pain. “Jesus. he leaned away.
his father’s younger brother.” I’ll . “Just a place where Mary nurses her culled weakling newborns from time to time. *** They had flown up to Nelson and were driving to the winery in a car left at the airstrip for them by Lan’s uncle.tend to do that more when I come here. and Katharine put her hands tightly together in her lap. They walked home along the rushing river.. “What is this for?” Katharine asked. Lan glanced at her and said a word to himself. she remotely hearing its warbling winter song. “Are you going to speak a lot of Maori?” “I’m sorry. but mostly it’s a land of sunshine and good beaches...keeps everything rich and green..” He smiled at her and led her through the cobwebbed heavy wooden door into the cold bright sun.” Lan said.203 began to creep over them. They turned down a long lane and drove up to a large old stone house set back before a stand of Red Beech trees. We’re all right.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. People Gus and his family managed the Wai They drove through fields of vines in a of various ages began coming out of the big gray house. then pulled on what little they had removed. gentle rain. “The wind blows and it rains a bit this time of year in Nelson. Kate. looking around.. Quickly sitting up they knelt to pick the thin golden stalks of straw from each other’s hair and clothing. both silent and lost in the thrall of each other. shaking his head. They’ll like ya. arm in arm. try to help ya understand. “Don’t be afraid. Gus. Need that rain. Reka Winery for Lan.” Kai te pai matau. Lan occasionally staring down at her as if astonished to find her there looking back.lambs who’ve lost their mothers like her newest pet. wehi. my tau aroha.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . who had She didn’t provided the winery in which so many of them worked? know if there was any meaning in the seating at all. Mea. and eight of their older grandchildren sat at two separate smaller tables. Gus was saying something to his wife in Maori: “Ka mumura ona papering i te whakama. Gus and his wife. and quite ready to converse in welcome New Zealand English. had done hongi with her. but when it’s my own life on review I’m like this. She felt a little clumsy and didn’t look at Lan for fear she would encounter a certain keen assessment. smoothly planked hardwood dinner table placed in a rimu-wainscoted. both with graying hair. easy to tell when ya blush. deciding she should save her analyses for some other time and simply let things happen. too. isn’t it?” *** They had all greeted her. When it’s my job I can stick my nose into people’s lives quite easily. Pathetic. The You’re fair and it’s four adult children of Gus and Mea sat below. . You’re mine. wahina. brick-red dining room. Would this be in deference to Lan. Nobody will do anything to make ya feel bad.” “I know.204 “Will there be hongi?” “Maybe. Green Eyes.” They sat down at a long. Katharine noticed that no one sat at the head of the table but that Gus and Lan sat across from one another at its end. giggling and teasing one another. their eyes twinkling with a slight teasing amusement at her rather shy responses. with which she didn’t want to deal. “Just your chemistry. but they were polite in that.” Katharine then gave Lan a questioning look. Just stay cool. studied her with polite curiosity. and she heard Maori words.
” Good.” “Lan will teach you only good things.” Katharine answered.” Now don’t get yourself in high dudgeon.” she said.205 With her hands held motionless in the lap of her gray wool pantsuit. does that count?” she added in a soft. Ya see that excuses a lot. focused on his mouth as he repeated the phrase which she then tried to say... Katharine. “I really have no idea.I’ve helped smuggle food to a starving African village under siege. sweet potato. “What did I say?” “Ya simply told him ya thought it was an absurd question. “Can she cook?” Gus asked. “He said ya are attractive. a quick study in pronunciation. laughed with great enjoyment. “Oh. Try it. she was trying hard to remember everyone’s name.” .” Lan said. “Kumara. faintly defensive voice. a different texture. “I’ve. Can ya cook?” “I. “Kina..” Katharine smiled. Gus laughed and threw up his hands. “Lan is teaching me bad things. sea urchin.” and everyone.” maternal dark-eyed Mea offered in a slow.” Lan said. which held for Katharine a lovely earthy warmth. “Tell him: E whakaaro ana ahau he patai hohore tena. “I’m not. I’m sorry. discerning voice. Lan was putting food on her plate as the serving dishes went by. “He ataahua te kotiro ra. who was now blushing deeply..” “Oh. his flat and robust dark face lined with humor.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Then Lan squeezed her hand and winked at her...can keep myself from starving.” “What needs to be excused?” Katharine muttered. including Lan. “Yes. Lan turned to Katharine. “Nothing. Gus looked at Katharine and said.yes.” Katharine said with a cheerful smile.
eating and celebrating.. very Mea had explained to her large and satin-grained wood rockers. fascinated. emeraldedged beauty. Mea heard one of the babies screaming and went to see what happened.. “The men are counting barrels. and filled with photographs.” she said. Katharine found herself with Mea in a sort of study. .” Everyone drank while Katharine took a sip and stared out over the many full serving dishes. fireroasted pork..choice..206 Katharine lifted her glass of the white wine taken from their own Wai Reka Winery and said. and colorful salads. Lan was taking other things She tasted and he and putting them on her plate again. “Some of the best I’ve ever tasted. tutua shellfish. Then her eyes fell upon an earlier She stared at his cocky grin.or bottles. laughing and waving her hand. fishing in various rivers and lakes. They were both rocking slowly in old. holding up a shell and admiring its dark.” Lan asserted. then got up and stepped slowly around the room.. “I do love these plump green-lipped mussels. that this pastime was soothing and good for digestion. She was enjoying the pictures.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . so many of the growing family at work and play.” Mea said. Later when dessert was finished and the table cleared. opalescent. “Here’s to all of you and thank you for this delicious food. “Nothing too serious.” the young mother called out.messy. which included some things she recognized: green-lipped mussels. there was a loud crash. a small dark blue room with a shiny black hardwood floor.” “They are the best.. explained. Katharine sat listening a moment to the voices discussing whatever cleanup was necessary. Just as they were beginning a conversation about Lan’s father’s childhood. photograph of Lan.
“Ah. Katharine. precisely what a man looked like who was content with the love of his life. the voice inside her head She wondered insisted.. Once again and very swiftly the old insecurity assailed her. how Mary had felt when she met Rang’s family. They were all trying to carry on rather truncated conversations.. tamariki. know. and toys. Adored and coddled by her father. This time they settled in the lounge. a couple satisfied to be just themselves together.207 His arm was around an exquisite young woman with long black hair and large moist eyes. “No. but she found it very difficult to obey. Mea moved closer to Katharine and said. should they? They might have been far more satisfied if he were with Rani. intelligent eyes. Why had Mea taken her into that dark blue room filled with pictures? paranoid? Was it intentional? Or was she simply being Why Thank you. Stop this. She left the room and went into the kitchen. staring at Mea bent over the floor. Sticky orange juice. Mary had spoken of the family with admiration and warmth.so . The children were quite apparently foremost in all of their minds. her mouth smiling with unmistakable possession. said. with the other young women and babies surrounding them. her face turned toward him. and growing children running in and out. her manner evinced a secure sense of self. or some other Maori woman. Finished. mopping something up. punctuated by the antics of the children together with their puppies. Mary had such a different childhood from her own. Before they left to come here.” Mea Perhaps they didn’t want her with Lan at all. What had Mary’s mother been like? She didn’t She would seek an opportunity to ask her. A pain That was spiked through her heart and her knees almost buckled.. “May I help?” she asked.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .not this foreign Pakeha journalist.. kittens.
.. Oh God. I I wish I could chatter away in There’s an expansive thing about learning a language that makes you a part of. for a moment taken aback. she thought. ask. pregnant. like patronizing flattery.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the bathroom?” she said. and that. Lan will be thoroughly She could feel the mixture of food she had eaten Her head started a slow beginning to churn in her stomach. She saw two of Gus’s daughters staring at her from across the room. throbbing. is this? “I like this big friendly house. love the sound of your language. these children. too. fumbling and miserable.” Katharine said. She was on her knees over the toilet bowl and could hear the women giggling down the hall.... stumbling into the massive old white tile bathroom. the forewarning of a migraine.” she said. disgusted.a part of us.208 much life. bitter half-digested food. sounded false. They bent their heads together to whisper something while a little boy tugged at one of their skirts.full of wild spirit.. Then it happened. standing up with her hand against her mouth. “Please. Mea pointed and she hurried off in that direction.. They thought she was A surge of food rose up through her esophagus and tears streamed from her eyes as she gagged and spewed out acidburning. and in the next few minutes she had seriously begun to think of vomiting. “Oh.of--” “Yeah. it. “Are ya going to learn to speak like Mary? “What?” Katharine asked. .. Why is there this gulf between us? she wanted to What Why must she feel as if she were under a microscope? We are all just human beings. Ya would like that?” “I would. She could feel the back of her head begin that constricting sensation. no.I would.
put me in the.” “Can you. he started to lead her out of the room.. sliding down as he caught her and lifted her into his arms.just want ya to get over this.” “Hold me. She awoke with a start. “Mea is making ya something to drink. then knelt and wiped her face. Ya have to sleep.” “Try at least. couldn’t speak..Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... I’m so bloody sorry ya hurt. the pain in it was so consuming..sleep on the plane. “Oh. colorful squiggles of pain writhed on. some of them Lan’s. When the door had closed she said.” I could--” “Maybe. The top of her head was like ice..” she muttered.sorry. He held it to her lips and she tried to drink as agreeably as possible.. Katharine. Absolutely not.” “Sorry. to sleep. Lifting her She wetting a washcloth..I could.” He lay down beside her and held her in his arms. small pin Shivering. He leaned over the sink. bed in a dark room.haven’t any pills.” “Doesn’t matter. remembered where she was and Beneath her lids the Slowly she drifted off ..” “No. “Are you mad at me?” “Jesus. Oh God. He tapped on the door and came inside... his fingers rubbing at the base of her skull.. She was through with vomiting but could hardly stand to raise her head.209 “What?” she heard a voice say and then Maori words.. She regained consciousness lying on a Lan had his massaging fingers in her hair. up against him. swallowing about a third of the cup.plane like this? “No..” “Don’t think I can. she felt a sudden flash of white heat and tried to take a step.” Mea came into the room with a warm cup of strong herbs and handed it to Lan. pricks of ice.
but saw only the perfect black and white photograph. You will never be able to give enough of yourself to have this. There was no one else in She heard bursts of laughter.usually it takes a long time. the picture seemed to call out to her.just needed some air. more life than her breathing could ever bestow. Its perfection had all the You will never have this.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Will ya come back in?” “Yes.” *** Flying back in the early morning she was very quiet..210 whispered.. and sat up in the darkness. She closed her eyes. She turned around and saw Lan standing before her in the open door. so perfect she could actually grieve for Lan instead of herself. she leaned against the trunk of a Red Beech tree.” “Yes. reaching for the bedside lamp. resting on a hardwood cabinet one photograph which seemed to resonate with life. and hoped that Lan would assume she was still recovering. She fled past him. I want to apologize and thank everyone. pretending to sleep. “They think I’m pregnant. through the kitchen and out the back door into the dark night. got into There was no way she could discount . inhaling a strange sweet dampness which smelled completely unfamiliar to her. then another and she was back in the dark blue room of photographs. because you are a divided self. Finally they screeched down on the frozen runway.” the room. power to censure and accuse..those herbs were good.. that photograph. Lan’s shadow stretched toward her in the lights from the house. better. There was one small lamp lit. Stealing down the hall she tried a door knob. Stumbling over the She grass... “I’m glad you’re feeling better. thank you. would like to have thrown herself on the ground but heard the soft rustle of footsteps in the grass.
.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .but I can’t. Mary. liked them all and.loved. complete... take a sip of my tea.” “They understood. Mary sat patiently stroking her hair.not until Lan. yes. “In the beginning it wasn’t so bad..love. She found Mary in her bedroom having tea before a crackling fire. When I saw the photograph of the two of them. I think they wanted me to know. I knew I’d lied.” Katharine lifted her head.was thoroughly sick. .” “It’s amazing to me that ya can go around the world and nearly die of it but not face up to what ya feel here and now. and dropped down with her head in Mary’s lap.. but then.could do this. “I did have a bit of worry with that first visit. I can’t. Your imagination is Ya have such strong feeling that--” “Oh.I never knew what it was... running wild. who--” “Ya don’t love him then?” “Oh God.” regretful sigh. I thought I could. Katharine. girl.....and that was the end of it.. but I was Rang’s only wife and quite headstrong with the daring of my deed.. ya “I was eating the food.211 the Rover and crunched over the snow.and.. Mary... almost falling on the steps while Lan shouted. took a single long swallow of the strong black tea and thought a moment..disaster. Then I got a wretched migraine. to No sooner had they come a stop then she had wrenched open the door and raced inside. “It was easier when I did it.. I’m not the person so beautiful. really hoped they’d like me..something happened. like a frantic child with a bleeding wound in search of its mother.. no..” Mary said. laughing with them. “Here. “Careful.. Kate!” She went through the great house room by room... She uttered a I Poor Kate. letting the anxious words flow against Mary’s dressing gown. want so to be liked.
” “Oh.. yourself than this?” “Just more proof that I’m no good at a private life.” “Thank ya.” “I saw what really--” “I know what ya saw! Ya saw the past and set it blazing This is the present. Lan. talk to ya later. heading straight for his bedroom. ya do? Ya understand that? They thought ya were smart and beautiful and polite. I understand why they don’t want you to have me. don’t want me anyway. to God ya were. his face displaying an obvious and fuming agitation.’ They thought your green eyes were fascinating. and you’ve got to consider that too.” with your bloody great imagination. accident your girl was in.” “Careful now.and. “Oh. crook as a dog. mother.. rubbing her temples with extended fingers. and how can I blame Mary’s door burst open..” She lowered her head and sat in confusion. ran his fingers slowly over her throat and said. them after--” They Have ya no more faith in They don’t like me.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .212 I know ya aren’t a coward. “Now it’s my turn.except that part of this is my own fault.. yet. “If I didn’t love ya so I could almost choke ya to death. Her thoughts were in a jumble.. Ya know she isn’t completely well That was a terrible I do think her head’s still confused. Mea told me: ‘She has plenty of common sense. Lan stood there staring at both of them. “All right you’ve had your tea and sympathy. they thought ya were pregnant. They were bloody sorry ya were He tino nui They thought I was damned lucky. Lachlan.. girl. yeah. dragging Katharine from Mary’s lap and lifting her into his arms. tona atamai.nearly as much as I do. He set her down on the bed.” he said.” he said as he walked out with Katharine in his arms. And I wish .
Ya need to heal.” he said.” “Rarotonga? That’s way north in the Cook Islands.213 Never had she felt so bewildered. She looked up at him. making flight reservations from Auckland. if ya have any. Katharine dug her toes into the warm beige sand and stared at the startling shades of aquamarine water.” IV “You could go round and round on this little green jewel in the sea until you were dizzy.” “Are ya worrying about something again?” Lan asked. their force broken by . damned good at living with misery none of us have fully understood what you’ve been through. I just didn’t--” I’ll be “My Green Eyes. Ya I realized it flying back. You’re not over any You’re so of what happened to ya. If she were truly that mistaken then she must really be in a distracted state. better. round and round the other way. Small waves lapped Round and round one way and then The poor bus drivers must go out gently up over the smooth shore incline. shifting in his beach chair and reaching for his Steinie. “Please pack a few light clothes. her eyes wide with disbelief.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . all been too much for ya.” Lan said in a softer voice. Very relaxing. and I should have seen it. Ya need to lie in the sun and do This has nothing. “Oh. vacation there. I have a place there. of their minds. Mary knows it too. hear nothing but wind and water and birds. please don’t send me away right now.” “Right. Lan. a Margaret told me you Kiwis like to dependency of New Zealand. “I’m taking ya away to Rarotonga. holding her face in his hands. aren’t well. and that’s what I’ve been doing while ya were talking.
it’ll mellow out. and silver and black striped ones darting all around them. splashing into the sky and crashing down with a constant roar. On the plane Ya make those plain swimming togs Katharine had read a magazine and dozed against Lan’s shoulder while he studied profit and loss statements from his accountant. whitey. There were small colored fish.” They had departed from the airport without even going into Auckland first.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . laughing and swilling his beer. but so many they could carry the place away.” “They’ve always been here. blue. No problem making up your mind about fashion.214 the distant reef. almost transparent. “This morning there were thousands of ants on the kitchen counter..” Lan said. They arrived late at night. went straight to the cottage and slept. Katharine stood up.” “I’m going for a swim. The next afternoon Katharine had gone into town with Lan and done some quick shopping.a few miles down the road and there is very nearly the only store with a suitable suit. “The scar on my leg isn’t so bad. “Avarua is the kind of town I like. . Don’t even try. Lan’s dark body in the clear water. and with no time to buy anything.” “No. realizing that her lungs needed more exercise. hadn’t found one?” “I’d have enjoyed that. She swam out to the reef.” She observed that Lan got up rather quickly and followed her into the water.. yellow. straightening her new navy bathing suit. she felt happy and playful. look flash. swimming toward her with powerful strokes. Ya can’t get rid of them. Out on the reef’s edge waves boiled up in a line of high white foam. what if I tired. so tiny I could hardly see them. She rolled over and lay on her back. and felt a little Watching Hmm.
” “Good. your eyes are like the water. That’ll be fun. Turning over she stretched out her arms to him. “You keep referring to my floury skin. motionless. Lan surged up from beneath the water and held her by the waist.” “I’m covered with lotion. doing whatever needed to be done in the most natural and direct way. Need some more lotion or you’ll burn like toast. Aren’t you embarrassed to be seen with this pale creature?” “Seen by whom? There’s no one around. “A white sea nymph. She loved to study him closely when he wasn’t noticing. dried themselves and went inside. “God. Ya smell like a coconut cocktail. my hot little sex object. giving her a slippery wet kiss.” Under the outside shower nozzle her oiled skin beaded as she rid herself of salt water. “Let’s go inside. She walked away. swinging open the door of the refrigerator in the dark-green-tiled kitchen. His fingers slid over her as the hot sun beat down on them. pulling her suit away from her breasts to wash away the sand. she rolled over and started back. They grabbed the huge striped beach towels flung over a chair. looking at her. trying to get out of her clinging wet suit . remained kneeling.215 staring at huge white cumulus clouds fastened to the horizon.” In the shallows she stood up and shook out her hair.” He glanced toward the He dark orange stucco bungalow nestled in the rippling palms above the sand. Whether observed or not he was never self-conscious. I love your skin. Lan flung his head back in a spiral of spraying droplets and stripped water from his arms. When she had rested awhile in weightless drifting. “Want something to drink?” Lan asked.” She lay on her mat while he slathered lotion onto her body.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
“This is really good for us. glass-topped bamboo table. “Yes. ya oily sweet wahina. “Where in bloody-hell did ya get that?” “Even in Rarotonga they receive bad news it seems. please.” His body was hot to her touch. Kate. that dark moist flesh her entire boundary as they tangled together atop the flowered coverlet on the bed.” “Cool damp skin. Grinning at her ongoing struggle. She reached for the juice and drank with his fingers sliding over her pulsing throat.” “I was thinking of a family in Khan Yunis. Lan. You’re on holiday. browsing through a newspaper where she came across reportage of another severe flare-up in the Middle East. isn’t it?” “You’re the only one who has ever made me want to stay forever in the present moment. solid and faintly salty against her mouth. of--” “When you’re there ya want me and when you’re with me ya want to be there. Lie down. kissing firmed nipples and stroking his hands over her as she shivered in the sultry heat. he grasped the suit and pulled it down away from her cool body. *** Katharine.” “If ya could see your face you’d know why I don’t want ya reading that gloomy gore. lay in her beach chair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . guava juice.” He came into the shadowy bedroom with the juice and set it on a low. calm now after a week of rest and lovemaking. right now I feel so happy “Lock me in your castle? . What can I do with ya?” Lan. Lost in this disturbing recurrence she was surprised by Lan reaching over her head and sliding the paper out of her hands. attention.216 and calling out. Ah. I’m spoiled by all of this I’ll keep ya in the present moment.
She dropped her gaze.” “Guilty enough to die of it? exchange. Lan?” “Forever? Suffer badly. “Do ya know it isn’t all a crusade with ya? has been trying to run away from me since the beginning. Kate..because ya think if ya keep moving life won’t disintegrate. And what would ya do yourself?” . staring at his brown hand It will. It’s moving even faster than your quick A part of ya on her white flesh and shivering with the truth of his words. the fear of loss. Eyes? Do I let ya keep running then. at his very serious expression.. and felt fear spring up. brain.. but I’m trying to make ya tell me what ya want. Life gives ya those. “You want to give me ultimatums. The more the world knows about There has to Ya won’t get very much in that situation the less it will tolerate.” She looked at Lan. Kate. “No.would just let me go?” “That would never be my decision.” He knelt in the sand and put his hand on her thigh.I hope.” “What would you do if I went away.. You--” It I’ll force ya into nothing.217 with you. looking into her eyes.” “I can’t think that way.. do ya want any life of your own?” “Yes. “Look at me.” She got up from the chair and went to lean against the trunk of a shady palm. It’s only that I feel a little guilty..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . my Green Is that what ya want?” “You would. I don’t want to be anywhere else. Her heart was beating so rapidly it felt as if it were in her throat. be a concerted effort to--” “Katharine. would ruin us both.
She would remember this day and hour. no longer able to stand without support. pleasure each other in the doing.a sort of business partner.. hearing the palm fronds rustle overhead. Yeah? Marry me?” “Yes. “Be your.. We’ll do this bloody life together and Yeah?” I haven’t much choice.” “And will ya be reasonably happy in that condition?” She clasped her arms around his solid.. knelt down too and lifted her chin. feeling her knees dug into warm sand and his dark eyes on her.. much required body and laid her mouth against his flesh. “I didn’t think the world had a Lachlan Manutane.” she said in a slow dreamy voice against his shoulder. staring out at the ultramarine blue of deep sea..or..or for me. “Will ya marry me. knew he could see a force so powerful it could never be hidden or laid aside. Kate?” She responded with sudden disbelief..218 She leaned against the trunk. she knew how she looked... putting disconnected parts of her together. made her slide down and kneel in the sand. if I wake up?” “Ya will wake up and there I’ll be.when ya go to sleep and when ya wake up.. “Mary seems to think you need a.wife?” He cocked his head and laughed. more recently having contemplated those words and yet amazed at the sound of his voice saying them. Is that why you’re marrying me?” She offered a playful smile to keep the question from any other implication. Her swimming eyes were filled with the love of him.. The thought of no Lan in her life made her He body go limp.. .but what “That’s what it means.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “one who could do this to me.
batik prints.219 “Ah.. still in each other’s arms.” He picked her up and started toward the water. He lifted her up and held her tight against him. you’ve sussed the lay of things. white beaches. my love. at the wind in their faces. waiting for the circling bus to carry them into the town. of the benefits. pulling him down into the water with her then managing to wriggle out of his careful grasp and swim away. palms. and Gauguinstyle watercolors.. and I’d rather have ya without getting ya drowned. and green slopes of the ever-present central volcanic mountains flew by as they turned to each other and laughed at nothing.” She grabbed the back of his neck. They walked down the street hand in hand. a face full of proprietary rapture.” to her feet. no. peering into touristy little shops with shells. Her laughter drifted into a surfacing with her in his arms.. deeper emotion when she saw his altered face..” he said. “Come on. at the bus driver making humorous comments to break the monotony of his endless revolutions. developments. Very soon cottages. He came after her and dragged her under. his mouth sliding over hers until she uttered some small sound coinciding with his complete preoccupation.” In the morning they stood at the roadside in their sandals. “Lan? Are you going to. shacks.. Katharine in a yellow sun dress and Lan in shorts and a black tropical shirt.but think and.wait! I’m all nice and dry now “Just needed a top level employee. They sloshed to the water’s edge.. azure lagoons.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .oh. falling in with her levity. hedges of crimson bougainvillea. the wavelets lapping at their oblivious embrace. Lan pulled her You’re making me crazy all awash here. and slipped down on the wet sand. finally settling at a bistro table on a . “Let’s get ourselves back to the cottage.
“Yes. missed you. “I’ve been sportfishing big time. Out beyond the reef you Good can find some pretty hefty prey for even a heavy line. I’m talking your head off. and khaki shorts and shirt with bare feet in expensive looking deck shoes. blue eyes. Lan. They dipped their heads beneath broad sun- infused banana leaves and sipped overfull glasses of cool beer.” I’ve She was straining to hear more when a man carrying a pint of beer blocked her view.” “No.220 grayed wood deck. “Oh. but you have to come. Haven’t I’d remember that. aren’t I? McGregor from Chicago. having made a decision to be courteous. sandy hair. “Mind if I join you? seen you in town. I do. took a swallow of his beer and leaned forward. even amusing. a leather-strapped watch of the style she liked. “Hey. and for the moment completely diverted her attention. make out her words. rugged tan.. something and the woman laughed again. The interloper sat down at her table. no rings on his fingers. . wondering if he was simply being friendly or actually engaged in that old routine of getting to know you. You like this place?” I’m Frank It’s just the right size and shape.just a small party.” Katharine said.” Katharine said and was pondering a further comment when the man relieved her of any speculation by going on.. A slender brunette with tanned skin. They know their stuff. laughing and Lan bent to her and said Katharine could just tilting her head back with surprise.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . When Lan got up to find Katharine a napkin for her spilled foaming beer. she saw a woman across the deck exclaim and grab his arm. He laughed heartily at that. guides around here.” Katharine drew herself up and angled her head. Not many tables available. He was rather nice looking.
raising one eyebrow and remaining on his feet.” Frank said.” Katharine tapped her fingers on the table. “Yeah?” Lan said.” Katharine and Lan left Frank McGregor sulking over his . “Yeah?” Lan said. He’s been sportfishing. I was here first. Lan. what the hell. I really thought this sort of thing I think you’d better stick I’m through with my beer. “She isn’t wearing a ring. We’ll let Mr. but well built and apparently more familiar with this sort of braggadocio contest than Katharine had thought.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . He was perhaps an inch shorter than Lan. McGregor get on with his sportfishing. only happened on television soaps. “Might as well unclench the fist and settle down. Lan stepped between her and Frank McGregor with a cool smile and said.” Frank said. fella. but Lan had sauntered up to the table. “Ah. “Sorry. McGregor. but he was apparently not a quitter. and ya won’t be catching any fish tomorrow. sport?” not when I’ve got a real trophy on the line.” “Then you’re out of the running. she realized.” This is Frank “How long ago was that?” Katharine noticed that Frank’s face registered considerable disappointment. sit down. Lan. Frank. mate. mate. “About five minutes. “but I sure will miss those green eyes. mate. I don’t give up that easily. “Ya haven’t got anything on the line.” Frank stood up and moved near her. grinning. to swordfish. Huh. because when I scrap it’s for results not appearance. was that his first beer.221 “Mind telling me your name?” “I--” Katharine said. “This is very amusing.” The narrowed eyes leveled at Lan for a moment. nor. Come on.” “Oh for heaven’s sake.
his mind clearly in the process of switching subjects. and walked down the street in silence. he was. if you’re in the human race you’re always moving in those circles.my husband slapped me around but I doubt that he would have fought anyone else for me.do something?” I’ve had enough practice with wankers like “Bloody right.” “Yeah..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .one that.” “I knew her once. took her arm and gently backed her against a plate glass window while his still enlarged feral black pupils held her firmly..” ....” “I’m sorry.” “Yes. that....” “Oh. some of them ego. I really couldn’t believe....” “Yeah. Patricia Leonard. “Ya didn’t have to encourage the bloody wanker.I guess.” “Hmm.” “I didn’t mean to.. I hope it’s simple I’m not crazy about scrapping over ya like a possession. reasons.well. grinning. thank you..” Lan turned to Katharine. We do that for various With me..Patsy. and said. I guess I just don’t move in those circles. They stopped at the corner and Lan said.” “Okay. is still burning. Were you really going to. from her point of view. “Very obviously an old flame. protection. “Oh. but I’m bloody-hell not letting any pissed bastard put his hands on ya. “Sweet Green Eyes. My. I think so.222 beer.I just thought he was being friendly. I’ll try and remember that. he probably would have. “Who was that woman?” Lan thought a moment.” “What does that mean?” he asked.
” “And now ya have a black pearl pendant. She didn’t answer. sit up on the deck and have lunch. I don’t think--” “No.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . try this on your ring finger. Lan. about this ya don’t have to think.. please.” Right? Let me see that pearl ring with the Lan tapped the glass counter. merely walked along staring at hibiscus blossoms across the street. are ya jealous?” He was laughing. Green Eyes. “Here. diamonds.223 “I’m sure. She would have to show up in my town. clasping the pendant and smiling appreciatively at Lan.and for which this place is famous. “Wait a minute.” “You’ve already given me a lovely jade pendant. I’m going to buy ya something.” While they were drinking their beer and waiting for their food they observed two men standing below on the beach.” “Yeah.” Upon leaving the store Katharine nearly stumbled as she studied her new ring from various angles. He laughed at her engrossed antics. Let’s go over to Trader Jacks.. my choice little possession. Nice breeze on the water and I’m ready for a bit of tucker. Katharine stood with quickening heart while Lan took the ring from the smiling male clerk and lifted her hand. scrap over ya.” They were soon standing at the counter of a rather upscale jewelry store. “Come on.. and Lan was fastening a chain holding a large iridescent black pearl set in white gold around her neck.. “If you’re trying to make me feel good it’s working. “Lan.” “Kate.it’s something very nice. guiding a pair of authentically equipped miniature sailboats over the gentle waves of the small .” “No. making watchful adjustments of her wayward steps. Then I won’t have to You’ll be doing me a favor. the men holding remote controls.
Isn’t that just dandy? He’s got you a Smart move. I like cheap T-shirts with local names on them. After a while the men brought their sturdy little boats to rest on the gravelly shore and stood animatedly talking and smoking.” Lan admonished. mate. which looked like a barn but turned out to be a T-shirt store. McGregor. Except I’d have bought her a great big emerald to match You want the real thing. from Trader Jacks she had to sit down on the weather-beaten steps of a large old gray building. she began to look around.” “Not enough. Katharine began to laugh. kia orana. Just as they were finishing their pesto fish sandwiches and beer. As they walked through the graveled lot.. nice pearl showpiece on your pretty little hand. you come with me. you want emeralds those green eyes. fella. “Go haul on a ton of northbound marlin and leave us to our pleasures. “Happy as two little boys. and Lan was laughing right along with her.” Katharine remarked. Frank McGregor drifted in with a telling swagger. you beautiful little babe..” “Look me up when you’re not off yer face.” Not nearly enough to fully appreciate Frank . walking right up to their table.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Very soon she had tears in Not far her eyes. “Oh. They heard the bilious Frank McGregor hurling steadily more indistinguishable words after them as they left.” “I’m ready for you.” Lan suggested. Do they have any with fishes?” How many beers did ya have? I wasn’t When her laughter subsided “Are ya drunk? counting.224 harbor. Kiwi. heading toward the bus stop. “Well.” “Rack off.and fishes. standing up and throwing his money over the check.
. he wouldn’t want ya looking And there I go again..” “Why not be trying for a nice little evenness? suppose writers have a difficulty with that. I’ll buy ya a stack of T-shirts.” *** Mary was leaning over Green Braes’ kitchen table while cradling her brick-red and white porcelain tea cup in both hands and studying Katharine.or whimpering. a silly and shallow one at It’s been a sort of roller coaster. It’s the sudden changes in your life doing this. drawing clenched fingers over her forehead with mock seriousness.” “He likes ya in your natural state is the proper way of putting it.. But. Lan. but Lan won’t tell me what I’ve done if I happen to wake him. Eyes.. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.” “Oh dear. darn it. tea.” “Ya do look at sixes and sevens.precious to me.. today. Kate.a day I’ll never ever forget. Mary. think I’ve actually been moaning or muttering. If ya were Maori. “Why I think ya do have a bit of a tan.. I suppose.” I .225 “Let’s go inside. white.. I probably shouldn’t be drinking this I’m more nervous than usual. that.” But I “I should think the serious ones barely have any idea of it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’m dreaming those detestable dreams again.” “Oh. things going round and round in my head with no form of expression but fragmented distortion.oh. Green Ya can cart them back to Enzed as a strange reminder of how not to get engaged. As for myself. Mary.” Katharine said. otherwise.putting my foot in it.” Nothing could bring me down “Apparently.... Lan likes me “It doesn’t matter.” “Somewhat. This is one of those memorable days. I must be in a manic phase.
Blood-spattered hands reaching out to her. “Put me to work. Katharine.” “I think ya capable of doing most anything. too. I think ya Can’t I help do something around should work on your novel.” With visits to the winery. Katharine was experiencing once again what it was like to sleep alone. stroking up through her hair when she knew she had been crying out in her sleep. to write and think and go about a daily routine without interruption or the emotional interplay of a . I’m off to my computer then.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Mary said with a “We’ll have plenty of time to chatter over not well enough to travel with him or assist him in any way with his work. He still considered Katharine Now off with ya. tea. But please let me know if you need any help you think me capable of giving. Lan had been gone a week. not have left us. war. and the stud farm. beneath which were slight dark circles. She thought of the recent times she had felt Lan’s hand on the back of her neck. wave of her hand.” “All right. certain she was vexing Mary with the ups and downs of her fluctuating nature. Your work isn’t finished.226 Mary rubbed at her gray-blue eyes. You should She was painfully convinced that her selfish happiness had precipitated a reverse outpouring in her dreams. and with Lan gone it’ll help to fill your nights. the restaurant. calling her back to scenes she had not meant to escape in such a drastic manner. Middle Eastern horrors had translated into electric impulses shooting through her brain. but ya need to engage your mind. Explosions. Come back and share this with us. here?” “Everything that needs doing is being done. Having felt the need to bring up her dreams Katharine was experiencing a sharp twinge of guilt. Mary.
been hoping a long time for this. Green Eyes?” “Do exactly what you intended. without that engagement she felt adrift and aimless. Please forget that I said Mea told me they’ve everyone else with no difficulty at all.” “Ya have a right. The usual assignments which came under Alone and her purview were placed on hold or turned down.it’s just a selfish thing. handed her the phone with a nod and a smile and left the room. In the evening after tea Mary called her into the study. “No.” ... Within this temporary solitary existence there was a gaping exclusion: the habitual demands of a profession which had now become dormant. anything at all.. It was incumbent upon her to agree with him in considering her still in recovery.” “They do love a bit of celebrating. “Where are you..” “I’m deeply ashamed of myself. It was her nightly call from Lan. but she knew that her trust in Lan and her respect for his sound judgment must also be manifested by patience... She was restless. What shall I do.feeling like I’ll be on display. Lan?” “Tamaki-makau-rau -. I’ll smile at you and It’s your own wedding. an unpleasantness that made her set to work especially hard on her novel.wanting to be only with you and Mary. arranged for a family ceremony at the meeting house near Nelson. Do ya mind..227 paired life.no. I’ll be home tomorrow I’ve All the legalities have been taken care of. Kate?” “I.Auckland..” “Ya do. evening. When her eyes grew tired she paced.” She heard the regret in his voice.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
.” I’ve still got some Katharine went into the library where Mary was reading by a noisily snapping pine log fire.. half finished pink roses on a sky-blue background. running her fingers over folded arms held taut against the soft boiled wool robe Mary had given her. and I don’t see them that often.” Katharine averted her face..” “My grandmother would have loved to come. It’s a long way to come. “Kate. ipo. work to do. girl. have ya no one you’d like to be there at Nelson to share your wedding?” “No. Oh a few friends in Seattle. would have loved to see me marry Lan. Good night.” “Don’t get me thinking on it too much. I believe.228 “Ya are choice. She simply couldn’t last How quickly it all.sorry..” “Please come home.. “Lan just told me that we’ll be going up to Nelson for our wedding ceremony. but it isn’t necessary.sorry.” “It’s a shame ya have no family at all. . Why this flood of emotion over events long over? An excuse for lamenting the shortness of her own life? She felt annoyance at her fragility. Our span of life is so short. isn’t it? this long.” Mary took up a piece of needlepoint which lay on the lamp table and held it up to the light. and to burden Mary so. disgust with herself. It seems everyone is looking forward to it. I know she would have adored him. She turned it back and forth then looked over her glasses at Katharine. Are ya resting up for tomorrow night?” “For you.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Home? I like it when ya say that. “But not so much yourself.. Lan.” Mary laid aside her book and studied Katharine a moment.
I do. Slipping back in time as her hair was gently stroked.” Katharine felt a needy childishness overtake her. for all of your loving generosity.229 “Are ya crying. A rather large one. if ya want. When the plane touched down and rolled to a stop. How shamelessly adept I am at turning into a deprived child. my poor lamb. it’s a part of ya that needs attention. most wonderful of all. Mary. with the motor running and the heater on and the radio playing Frank Sinatra. no matter how worldly and traveled ya are. Come here to me.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” *** So eager for Lan was Katharine that she drove the Rover to the airstrip and waited there for his arrival. I didn’t mean to upset shuffled slowly across the dark blue carpet. put her head on Mary’s lap. with your eagerness to be accepted. ya clever. I do see why Lan loves You’ll always be a Both of us are Do ya not think?” ya so. quite fortunate to have each other and Lan. Kate? ya. Nestled inside soft sheep’s wool slippers her feet She knelt down and I’m sorry. After a while. “Ya wriggled your way into my heart from the first day I met ya. Rex pulled up in a muddy-snow-spattered black pickup. concern to me.so lovely.and. she gave in to the coddling she so often craved. I’ve really nothing to complain I did have my grandmother for It’s just my soppy head. This is a time To me ya are sometimes like a lost child. thank you for raising such an amazingly patient son.. caring girl.. have a family now. many years.. Thank you for making me feel so welcome. and she waved as he parked near the small office. she .especially when I scold ya. I’ll be a part of that family to ya as long as I’m around. a desire for release. to be especially happy. about. Yes... Lan has told Ya me ya were a mistreated child and I’m heaps sorry for that. “I do. Kate. and how easily I still cry from that damnable explosion..
” Very soon Lan was in the driver’s seat. it’s not going to kill you. It’s too “I’ve been A waka is any form of transportation from an auto to a kayak.” Did ya drive over here?” “Here. He reached over and gave her a deep kiss. Despite her eagerness for Lan. Lan was putting on his leather jacket when she came up behind him. “God. Green Eyes. They started back along the snowy road in the shadowy blue dusk. with a mischievous grin.. Maybe I should go away more often. deciding . “Tena koe.. and he turned around and laughed with surprise as she jumped into his arms.. long time in their discussion tonight.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .or whatever. ya cheeky wahina. who had already taken her meal. I need to talk to Rex for just a minute.probably won’t even make you sick.” When they had eaten Katharine’s zesty macaroni casserole. take my laptop and get back in the waka.” “The waka?” “Oh. the smell of his leather jacket delicious to her as it creaked beneath her fingers.” she teased. “Haere mai. But they were a She was restless and unable to engage herself in either writing or idleness. cold. brave one. I’ve missed ya.. speaking a lot of Maori lately. made with sheep’s cheese in rich cream sauce and praised by Lan who ate several helpings.230 opened the Rover door and ran over the snow. They needed to talk about the weekly business and anything else that occurred to them. yeah? “Yes.” she cried. What a choice welcome. sorry.” “Well. “Are you hungry? “Ya have? I’ve fixed you something to eat. he went into the library to talk with Mary. she wanted them to have that time.” I’ll eat whatever it is.” he said. to continue on with the routine normal to them. and Katharine decided to help Mattie in the kitchen.
” She suspected Mary’s intervention. and you’ll invite Margaret and Ian.” Ya want that snarky lens-popper at our wedding?” “What? “He came to see me when I was in the hospital in Jerusalem. “too many friends and associates for anything else. Kate. I thought at the time it was only a joke.” he said between kisses. surprising her with his desire to talk instead of make love.231 to take a warm shower to calm the excitement of having Lan home.. “Me. “I want Penny to come.. won’t you?” “Yeah. “It isn’t necessary. Lan.” “He didn’t understand about us. “Ya feel like it’s just you.good to wash the travel off. anyone at all ya want at Nelson I’ll send them airfare. I never talked about it. That must hurt.and I wasn’t even there myself.. mentioned that.. but mostly only family. turning around and leaning against him. and ya don’t want the I’m sorry..” He took a soapy rag and drew it slowly across her back..” She laid her head against his chest in the steamy spray.. I suppose he And he’s very unobtrusive . too.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .all the rest on the other side and none of your own to celebrate with ya. then his kiss at the nape of her neck made her tremble.” he said.. “You aren’t going to like this.” “Ah.. If there’s others noticing no one there..I promised Cash Taylor he could do the pictures of my wedding.” “What?” “I.” “No. Her head was back and water pouring over her hair when she felt Lan’s arms come around her. He really is a good photographer.that’d turn it into a bloody piss-up.” she said. “I understand about the wedding. finally bringing herself to say.
” “Oh.” “You won’t--” “Ya think I’m an uncouth sod. Lan. Us.” he said. Falling slowly into his startling almond eyes. her slender white form straddling his much darker skinned body. don’t make me scream. with Lan lifting the edge of his large towel and flinging it over her dripping hair. Green Eyes. a lazy.” she said. They toweled dry. “Wet as the day I fished ya out of the Hauraki Gulf.” he said as he worked at her hair. the power of simply looking without blinking.right now. have me. the joy of seeing. mainly for Mary and the others.232 when he’s working.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” “The talking was your idea. She pulled the towel out of his hands and dove against him.and at my own wedding? probably won’t see anyone but yourself. Green Eyes? I want in ya. “Jesus. Oh. don’t ya. flirtatious delight. ya strange beautiful thing. Lan. warming stare. “Let’s get out of here.. isn’t it?” “Is it?” “No. she was finally beginning to realize what her own eyes could do to him. Carefully. You might not even notice--” Invite the bloody wanker.now. She sat very still above him. too. “Come here. languid. I’m crazy for ya. Ya know how to My God... pushing him back on the bed and kissing his steamy warm mouth. ending up sitting on the bed. She continued to gaze at him in a thrilling silence until he pulled her down against him. she scrutinized all of what she had been missing. it’s for us. I It’s all I’ve waited all week for ya. with a shy. laughing and holding her by the wrists. of course. wahina.. “All right.. watching him yank two large white towels off the linen shelf. Don’t make me . We’ll talk more later.
slowly and with a secretive shiver of pleasure. . “That’s what I first saw ya doing.233 scream.I’m so bloody hungry for ya.. “The thing ya do. Not tonight... Katharine lay watching Lan sleep. over from. “In the shopping center on Quay Street East. don’t tease me. give and take with the only one who had ever suspended her in the timeless heat of such effusion.” his sleepy voice informed her.” she whispered.. *** Pink light reflecting off the snow came through the high windows..visiting a friend in Devonport.” “Where did you really see me doing that?” she asked with disbelief. headed for coffee at the Paneton Bakery.Mary will--” “Bloody-hell with that. until he clasped them tight above her. not even the sound of her own wild cries. “What?” she asked after a start of surprise.. How she needed to give and take in this way. It’s These walls have heard Mary’s own been an entire week. Ya want me?” Her arms rose over her head with a nervous exuberance. now seriously trying not to awaken him. He threw his arm out.exploring something with your hands. When he turned over his eyelids moved and she wondered if he would awaken.” I’d just come I was on the wharf.. the hand just touching her shoulder as she thought of the blood coursing through the strong curled fingers. wild voice.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . wanting him to sleep yet at the same moment longing for another unspoken message imparted from his dark gaze. sweet woman. She ran her palm lightly over his irresistible arm. “Come on. Very quickly he brought her to a sensuous feeling so high she neither thought of anything else nor heard anything but his few soft words of pleasure. “I want you..
Jesus.” “But. If she could have answered she would have said there was nothing else... I’m okay with it.fondling a red jersey from a sale bin outside a shop in the center..love--” “Ipo.” “What?” “I wasn’t even going in there. this...nothing in the world which could approach that lofty pinnacle of love. my green Green Eyes.... right?” “Funny.. will it--” “No worries.. melting into the buttery warmth their hungrily conjoined bodies generated.. Then ya looked up. I’d have picked up your jacket.nice. ya later at the Loaded Hog.those dreamy eyes went right through me. I did.... pulsing explosion of sweet pain. some time to kill.I love.you must have.the center. bloody fascinated. She was melting... looked at ya and.” “Oh. Ya held it up to yourself and ran your hand down I leaned against the wall.like “Come here. *** Katharine awoke the second time to find the sun whiter and .easy... maybe I ought to thank that rude jerk.. We might never have--” I might have found I just had “I don’t even want to think about it..hold still. it’s so good the way we do this. Slow this time.yeah?” Her opened mouth gave an affirmative gasp against his shoulder and went silent... my ipo...you followed me from there all the way over to the gift store?” “Yeah.” “Lan....just. the front of it... then all at once her body and brain were flooded with the astonishing.God..obviously I did.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .... Let’s wake up slow..so good..234 “What was I doing?” “A..
getting into it. and Lan gone. not to their cozy shelter but scattering into the snow.has a raised him with so much love. it happens on occasion.” Katharine said. Retrieval shouldn’t be too difficult. “He’s ridden off with the men to look for some missing sheep. I worried that he’d be too much of a loner far He’s a self- more than that he’d meet with an accident. plain.just like yourself. lost his footing and off that little batch went.. animals.. too. a hell raiser. running her finger around the edge of her cup and smiling dreamily. They were being moved to The herder stepped into an icy hole. in a daze over Lan’s most recent lovemaking. We knew he’d return to decent values because we He looks out for others. “How did that happen?” “Oh. “I do think he needs to be out there sometimes.235 higher on the snow.. happy to spark another’s most treasured memories .once quite a hautulu. Kate. always going off without a thought of it.” Mary told her over tea and toast. but to think of them in succession would have caused a desire debilitating enough to leave her prostrate. as his father said it.” “What a pair we make.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . are no match for those clever hounds.” “What about the huntaways?” “They were walking backs in the big pens.. too. Mary smiled and shook her head with clearly discernible recollections and a vicarious pleasure which made Katharine happy.. another pen.. Lan grew up wild as the wildest föhn blowing over the The poor woolies Sheep are not very bright They’ve gone along. good many mates. She was still The excruciatingly joyful details of their consuming encounters were permanently catalogued in her mind. even in the meanest weather. sufficient one. but there are still his sooky times.
a bit embarrassed at her foolishness. after doing anything to harm himself.236 with the prevailing mood of her own passion. Here’s a measure of your Glenlivet with hot His hands and face were quite cold I’m going to feed you right now. Again she had to admit that the explosion in Jerusalem had increased her fears a thousand fold. water. In another quarter of an hour the unruly huntaways Sheb and Wooley bounded ahead of Lan into the lounge.” “Why not? It’s late. then threw themselves before the fire and stretched out. that anxious state long ago.” “Mary’s eaten. swirling the Scotch in the steaming mug handed him and then taking a long swallow.” Katharine said. to Katharine’s touch.and still Lan had not returned. Lan had shaken the snow from his oilskin hat and coat and hung them in the sun room. The fire in the lounge was burning high. *** It was snowing. They snorted and stared up at him with wet-matted coats. “Ya should have had your tea.Katharine couldn’t eat -.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Kate. “You’ve been gone all day without any food. never think it. “Bog-standard hunting sheep.” “What about yourself?” he asked. I learned to get over He’s not Lan knows the plain. “Don’t shake yourselves in here. “I’m a bit knackered from the saddle and I could eat the shelves of a dairy clean. tea was finished for Mary -.” “I just thought I’d eat with him.” .” Lan warned his dogs.” Katharine said. appearing to understand a frequently given command.” Lan answered with a grin. “I haven’t eaten.
*** It was a bleak desert she walked through. “Where’s Mattie?” “Mattie’s retired to her room..” “I thought I was sleeping. Mary’s reading in the I’m neither incompetent nor an invalid. and then began to scramble eggs and fry sausages in the generous amount she deemed suitable for a hungry horseman fresh from a day on the cold plain.237 “I thought I’d wait.” “Come here and kiss me properly first. still with throbbing mouth.” Katharine laughed and said. cocked his head with a She stood a transcendent wink at her and left the kitchen. moment.” “You’re very spoiled. kissing her so thoroughly it seemed that she herself had been sipping his Scotch.” Lan followed her into the kitchen and asked.a little anxious.. Why don’t you go take a It seems like I sleep too warm shower while I get the food on the table. but I didn’t want to wake ya. laying her hands against the buttons of his navy Swannie and rising on her toes to straighten his tousled hair.even with all the exercise ya get in bed.” Katharine said.” “That’s because ya don’t sleep well. I can do it. late.” “I don’t want ya anxious.. bodies piled together and strewn over the bloody dust. He set her down. I’d have told ya not to worry Ya don’t sleep very well. library. Lan lifted her up and backed her against a countertop. many of them in . “We’re talking about my sleep while you’re standing here starving. Kate.” “Ya weren’t worried about me were ya?” “Just..” “By whom?” “Me.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
wrapping her in her robe. Bodies everywhere. flying across the room and into a chest. having rushed straight from her bed and now looking upon the scene with a worried frown. “What is it?” Mary stood outside the door of her room. out the door and across the balcony headed blindly toward the stairs. He led her into the bathroom and held her wrist beneath the cold water faucet.sorry. “What’s this?” Lan said. I couldn’t. legs. Lan caught her at the edge of the stairs and held her struggling body tight against him until she went limp. lifting her wrist where a blue bruise was swelling.” Katharine screamed and rose from the bed. raising her head in surprise. and brushes to the floor. mother.” She dropped her head to one shoulder. all the while crying out with revulsion.” “What?” she asked.. her hands dangling. wearing her long flannel nightgown. holding her hand beneath the soothing coldness and staring at the tile floor. raised up suddenly and cried. her arms half raised.. look at us..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . leaning back against the counter and looking at her.” he said. torsos. Maybe some of it’s my fault.. then struggling up. and began to weep.my God. I’ll take trembling. knocking jars. “I don’t think so. that was so bad. “Look at us. among them she saw faces she knew. her head back moaning...sorry. There A body Oh. care of this.238 pieces: arms.” “It isn’t your fault. fumbling and falling. silence until finally she whispered. “Ya hurting anywhere else?” . mute and ashamed. combs. “A nightmare. “I’m sorry. and grimacing severed heads. “Leave it there a minute.” He picked Katharine up and carried her back to their bed. She tried to keep herself from Lan continued to hold her in Please go back to bed.
I loaded it into my laptop. Your story “On the flight back I did a lot of thinking. need it back. That’s your Ya Without realizing it I took that identity away. She felt his eyes on her. Kate. almost dizzy. your fault.a while longer. the way ya dealt with.. Kate.the way ya got around the harm done to ya in the past. my ipo..” . “I read your novel.” he said. Lan. Stop it.. “Please don’t. Come back to bed and let me tell ya something I should have already said. apprehension..I’m going to let ya go for a while.. I love ya. I wanted to find out what was coming out of this head. easier than looking up.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . when she lifted her head she saw that they were filled with pity.if ya need to.” A fear was rising in her as she lay back against the pillows and looked at him. Very quickly he discerned her Ya really are a hard “Don’t be afraid.. Over those years of work it was your security. if ya want.” “Yeah. easy to look at.” He dried her wrist carefully. “Ya write very well. “Käti ake.as much as ya had written when I left.. kissing her temple and stroking her hair. Some of it.. simple.” “What?” “You’re torn in two directions.” Tears were rolling down her face.” “What?” She was beginning to shake.. I love ya.... but it isn’t finished yet. “I’ll never leave you. your self-esteem. That’s how ya see yourself. it is..for. I’m not ever going to part from ya.read it at night when I had time.. about a journalist is really all about Katharine Gordon.neither the novel nor your quest to be who ya think ya must be..239 small white octagonals. But.. identity. You can’t possibly think any of this is “He ngakau e hahaetia ana e te whakaaro papa. case. not ever.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the She placed her male scent of him which she found so arousing.unless ya want to kill me in the doing.” I know ya love me.anyway... You’ve tried so hard to please me I feel some guilt along with all the pleasure of it. Now all ya have to do is prove it. my choice little journalist. Maybe away from me you’ll finally decide what ya couldn’t I begged ya to come decide here: if ya want this sort of life..by sleeping peacefully with me. At least ya need to know that you’re still what ya worked so hard to become. scents that never seemed to leave him. immediately inhaling a faint admixture of scents: Scotch... wood smoke. You.” “Ah. ever thought possible.” “Well.” “I’m not going anywhere.. back because I love ya so. But you’ll come back. until ya see--” “You fulfill me. when ya finally decide to chase down another story... . ya will.. It was Green Braes that must be in his skin. I want to stay here with you.some of the peace ya need: that ya can go on doing what fulfills ya. and these mingled with a fresh outdoor scent hinting of leather and hay and shearling. Now I have to let ya go for the same reason. my beloved journalist?” “I think I love you more at this moment than I ever.let ya go until ya suss how to love yourself. of the river and the plain and musky-sweet growing things. “Don’t be nice.. just remember this: ya can’t stay away too long or get yourself in harm’s way.. then we’re of the same mind. tau aroha. spicy herbal shower soap. that you’ll always come back.240 “Yeah.” Katharine placed her head against his chest. arms tight around him. “Do I understand ya well enough.. That’s what I need to have.” V.that it’s not gone.
She knew only that until she completed that unfinished portion of her work. she could barely comprehend how she could go away. It pained her that she could not even promise to marry Lan. of holing up again and again in barricaded homes in the middle of ongoing war. This time. “You’ve had years to figure it out. there which made her ponder her own condition..241 So it was that Katharine went away from Lan to finish the work she considered unfinished. so intertwined with her self. “We’ve gotten ourselves into this situation where we know we need to have each other. she could never be as whole and at peace as she needed to be for herself or for him. The wedding ceremony was postponed until a future unnamed date when Katharine adjudged herself fully in accord with all those tenets for which it stood. because Mary was thinking mainly of Lan’s loss. in leaving.” was Mary’s final comment. this. and we have to resolve it in our own way. how did it work with strife all around that was so much worse . just as she would have no other but Lachlan Manutane. “I love him so and I can’t burden him with He deserves so much better. not until she understood this mystery of her nomadic striving. that he wished for no other but her..” she tried to explain to Mary.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . perhaps even disgust. It was more difficult trying to make Mary understand. and that conclusion did ring in Katharine’s head.as best we can.” she tried to explain to a disgruntled and grieving Mary who only waved her hand in disappointment. Yet the answer was somehow tied Something she had seen up with the unfinished work in Israel. until she connected the disjointed parts of herself and felt complete while alone and standing still. Happiest in Lan’s company. she came to ponder what held a family together. the comfort was in knowing that Lan was there for her. In those lonely nights of writing more Khan Yunis stories.
her careful depiction of individual lives and their miseries and strivings had made some others see this.. until her redeeming grandmother. what she looked for from her work.so difficult. Perhaps... The killing went on. and from the endeavors of like-minded others. Please Ya can’t She was thinking of Mary. but that mattered little to her. The hatred and vengeance went on.” “You said that to me in a dream once. One evening in a state of exhaustion. was some effect. give up Lan so easily and be my girl. Kate. her tired self unable even to rise from her chair for a glass of water. “The answer isn’t out there. Perhaps not. Oh. it’s in yourself. understand that I haven’t given up Lan. I claim you I won’t give you up either. Mary. a moral recognition that would help bring to an end the carnage. no. bona-fide acts implementing human rights. Perhaps her small contribution. Her ultimate conclusion was that it would never stop until both sides suddenly and firmly ended it with sincere mutual tolerance and respect. of It isn’t easy to go. their last conversation. Could she possibly have driven her parents apart. back in her hotel room and just having managed to get there before the roads once again closed..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and were willing to do so even in the face of death and destruction. Her stature in the business was never more unassailable. and yet the lingering guilt required a solid explanation before it could be expelled.been the cause of anything that happened to them all? The thought seemed so ridiculous. Her stories continued to win recognition and praise.242 than anything outside the violent house of her own childhood? For all those formative years she had no real family. . her unseeing eyes cast out toward the Old City. she sat focused on nothing. No mother and father who struggled together to make a home.
But you hurt me badly. “But you.. child’s.. so little of you to keep. .please forgive me. I hear your carefree laughter.. They sat expressionless.. You are my family.please..loved me.sick. it must Had she fallen asleep in her chair? be a dream but. But for what? If only she could forgive herself. You were good to me in our short time I think you intended to come back and get together.innocent. half dreamy... I wanted to have you and know you. I have I think you were beautiful.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She was startled to find two figures sitting across the room. father. You would hold them up to the sun.hopeful. its light coming through their delicate pink shapes.. well apart from each other: her mother and father. colliding with the tender yearning inside of her. “I guess it was a good thing you didn’t take me with you. it didn’t feel like one. so Gran said. do it? It was you. You hurt me. I suppose. We could have comforted each You hurt me. loveliest thing: picking lady slippers in the woods meadow. me. There was nothing wrong with me. falling into a half wakeful. Mother. other. Why didn’t you know I Couldn’t you see that? tried so hard to please you. she thought.. looking at her in total silence.243 as my family.. rage coming from a volatile place so deep and wild it took a minute to speak. My mother. but I might have had far worse memories of you. such beautiful little nodding flowers. You.. You were bitter and I could cruel. exploding. mother. hold them up and laugh. Yes. Why did you have to hurt me? And you made me believe there was something wrong with me.. transfixed state.. Why did you I was good. no. even more distilled. straight and rigid as stone..what’s your excuse? what you had? I was a good girl. I can remember only the and I’ve wanted you all these years. offering nothing.” Forgiveness. like a I have your green eyes. Her rage was seething. or I’d be dead too.
You hurt me. untrammeled areas of the planet.” “Mmm. Kate.. had the right to her own family. It was In New Zealand it would be late spring. Her phone was ringing. You sure as hell know how to turn over the right stones..” Judith said.244 withstand the beatings but what you did to my mind. Kate.. where Lan was.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Morris. and I’m sorry you missed my wedding. You taught me to hate myself.” her editor was saying. I wanted to show you how good I never believed..and you’re just the person who can--” “I’m going home.” she heard herself saying. *** “I’m sorry you’re leaving. Hurt me.. Katharine awoke with a start. the effects of free trade on ecologically sensitive.. “Yes.she had made it so. She answered...but I’m really tired. Katharine. You hurt me!” I could be but I never believed in myself. She had the right. “After that last piece... as though a fierce wind of change had swept her mind clean of all uncertainty and indecision. I wanted to punish you.experience.. page-turning style of yours.. Home.turn over the stones and expose the mess beneath in that gripping. But at least you got to know Jacob while you She was resting comfortably in a were here. We’d like some solid pieces on the pros and cons of global trade.. You once implied that Jacob was a mama’s boy. the garbled cries of rage still echoing in her head. to fear that others would find out something terrible about me. He .. She She had the right to love and She had made be loved. thickly padded white floral chair as she watched Katharine pack.” “What you need is a change of scene.. something I could never even define.almost ruined me. “you can probably get what everyone else has to wait for. letting her editor ramble on while she considered the dream and its powerful effect.. it so.wangle for.
too.so dedicated.245 isn’t at all. with only bombings and shootings. my friend. One can hardly find anything to joke about anymore. come on. orthodoxy in the ascendant.my home. although it has its pigu’a -. partake of it?” “Yes.. “You can’t imagine how happy I was to see you so well restored..” “Oh... beautiful old place is slowing -.” “There was less to know..that is terrorist -. Judith. And to think that She yanked a poorly folded blouse back out and you would come back to these dangers and take up right where you . refolded it.” “You mean like yourself?” “All right.” “You’ve become very dear to me. Life is getting difficult. with only Yeshiva students and the destitute..” “Oh. we’re even. Fanaticism reigns in religion The heartbeat of this With only extreme and secular Jews are in a minority.I really didn’t think you were going to marry him. What good is this place if we can no longer move through it.more of my black Jewish humor. It is getting too Frightened professional people. Judith. educated people are departing. perhaps beautiful Jerusalem as we have known it will soon die. Judith. I’m afraid you’re right. You made all of those silly jokes. I always thought you were a terrific person.. will you really leave too?” “Jacob and I may have to go.problems. I know. miss you terribly. dangerous to live in Jerusalem.maybe a little too serious. I wasn’t certain about your eyes. I’ll I don’t think I really knew you well enough in college to fully appreciate your droll self. Katharine. “Oy vey. studying her suitcase as she ran her fingers through strands of hair falling over her eyes.” “I know.” Katharine said..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Where will you go?” “Perhaps Tel Aviv.
get him to--” “What do you mean? You’re a psychologist.. needed to finish my work here.. “I know I’m difficult.more That’s sort of wonderful. yes. that mysterious place I’ll probably never see.clever strategy He even seemed to know that I’d come back He teased me.. gazing off. “Hmm. We never did have anything resembling a honeymoon. isn’t it? I’ve never seen anything like it. for very long..you wouldn’t. if you really think.. I’ll certainly have a very enthusiastic talk with Jacob about it.” “What?” Judith demanded.. New Zealand. Oh. Maybe we could--” “Yes.” Katharine looked up.” “We’ll see...” “Jacob too. It’s a long way and Jacob--” Please.hmm. the first time I ran off. I really don’t understand how you could have left New Zealand.” Katharine stopped her meticulous packing and stood still for a minute. rising from the overstuffed bedroom chair and pulling impatiently at her beige sweater.. Judith. Judith. Put your I wonder if I could special gift to good use and get him to come. “Would you come to my wedding? “Me? Please? Oh.” “Well.. readily than I understood myself. thought.after agreeing to marry someone you love that much.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . could you?” “I’ve just Ah.. Few would put up with me It was Lan who first suggested that maybe I He understood so well..246 left off. focusing on Judith.’ he said in his irresistible accent. we’ll see. Yes. What a delight to have you there..” “Maybe he’ll be more agreeable when you tell him that a . boots in my Auckland house.very clever..would you?. ‘Ya left your tramping too...” “I’d like to meet this astonishing Kiwi.
She had been so tired she had not even removed There was a rather exotic green evening dress she had bought in Jerusalem. to wear to an embassy party. That was unusual for Margaret.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Come straight here. you surprising little female mensch.yes. so put yourself in a party mood. “I’ll tell ya everything when ya get here. where is--” The phone had gone dead. When Katharine awoke she found that she had slept until late afternoon. anything. Lan. early enough for Katharine to consider it still night. Searching through the layers she pulled it out and held it up while her . a slim Asian looking frock with a high collar and short sleeves.” “But Margaret.. Meanwhile. “I think you’re likely to get your wish. Katharine got up with a sigh and went to look in one of her suitcases. jet lag having thoroughly caught up with her. and decided she would call Margaret at a reasonable hour and find out. wait. Wanting to surprise She wasn’t sure whether he would be in Auckland or at Green Braes or somewhere else. either to the Herne Bay house or to Margaret’s. herself driven into town. She phoned Margaret at once. she checked into a hotel out at the She wanted to be fully rested before she had airport and slept. but now I’ve changed my mind.247 generous Lachlan Manutane will provide you both with airfare.. I want you there. my friend. she hadn’t told him she was coming.” “God.” An excited Judith threw her arm over Katharine’s shoulder. We’re having a little gathering of friends tonight. yes. Can he afford to do that?” “He offered to fly anyone to our wedding I wanted and I declined.” Margaret said with an excited welcoming voice. See ya soon.” *** The plane arrived very early in the morning.
Kate. Margaret clasped her tight and quickly dragged her off to the kitchen where she handed Katharine a flute of champagne.. wrinkles..248 face contorted in a wide..and one of the nicest black pearl pendants I’ve seen. believe your timing. *** When the taxi pulled up to the Smith’s house the windows were brightly illuminated and there were a number of cars parked up and down the hill-hugging curved street.. The dress had a few soft She decided to hang it in the bathroom and let it Looking into the mirror When was the It appeared straighten out while she was showering. last time she had paid very close attention to it? to need a trim. I haven’t said a I feel heaps conspiratorial..absolutely bursting This is so choice. Margaret..blow dry a nice soft roll just above the shoulders. “Lan is here. The driver carried her luggage to the door and Ian whisked it inside while she paid her fare..a little thinner but really gorgeous.” “Ya look beautiful.” she whispered to the face looking back at her. “Oh God.” .” with excitement.. I’m so hyped on all this drama you’ve created that now I’m a nervous wreck.. word to him.have a couple of inches cut.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . so of course we planned a celebration. “He’s been in town all week. opening another I can’t restaurant.feels good to be fussed over.. with a more critical eye she focused on her hair. “Are there a lot of people out there?” “Only about Twenty. “Think I’ll go to the beauty salon.” Margaret pressed her hands together against the tiny pearls covering the front of her white Angora sweater.” Margaret soothed. I just can’t believe it. What a flash dress. I’m glad ya got some rest. sleepy yawn...
ya didn’t?. “Oh.” Katharine said.249 “Well. “Yeah.” “Yeah. dark-suited man. as if to verify her actual . surely of Maori descent.. business. “Hello.” Her expression was apologetic as her hand inadvertently moved over the bodice of her emerald dress and for a moment clasped the glowing black pearl.I didn’t mean to interrupt. She immediately saw Lan’s dark head bent a little above the others in a cluster of attentively leaning bodies. “Please. probably because she had just come upon the scene. we are featuring our wines. looking directly at her. folding her arms across her midriff.the new manager too. I guess I’ll just go in then. smiled at her. He’s in the lounge with most everyone else.. There That’s just good was a slight hesitation then Lan turned his head again. but of course we’re giving the clientele a chance to choose what they want from the usual varied list of high end stock..” Katharine swallowed.. brushed her hands slowly down the front of her dress and preceded Margaret into the big noisy lounge.. He continued to look at her. His jet eyes blinked as his serious expression registered disbelief then softened in a surprised welcome. Making her way across the room she stood slightly behind and beside Lan. walk right in.ya didn’t mean to interrupt?” Lan said with an explosion of laughter. Lan offered a quick glance at the green dress to his right then started to say something more. rather holding in a rising excitement while forcing herself to concentrate on his remarks.” “All right.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Here goes..” Across from Lan a very focused. Noticing the exchange. perhaps the new restaurant manager.
night perfect. Her arms came tight around him. “Perfect. then took her hand firmly in his. While a few whistled and clapped.. I thought I was delusional. no longer out of reach. her mind and body reveling in their deep. cradling her head. holding hands and staring at each other.” “I’m sorry. “Excuse me.” She heard the word made soft against her ear. Her hand smoothed out the turned edge of the gray and white striped top .” he said to the little gathering.. after so long made her body begin to tremble. by the joy of being where she was and knowing what she knew her patience with his displeasure remained impervious.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . The touch of him Her eyes went He stared from their clasped hands to his rapidly altered face. down at her. “Jesus.once so far away that even the thought of such distance was now unbearable. his grinning single focus evoked a gaping interest from everyone.” *** It was late morning and they were lying in bed in the Herne Bay house. Lan got up. She felt the Simply In harsh transition of mood but was herself imperturbable. She smiled at this and at having him within the grasp of her hand. I was wishing for ya and here ya are. a flashing reflected glint of her green dress in his eyes. the effect of it just beginning to answer a long neglected need. you’ve made this “Can’t believe it. extended kiss.the My God. Lan. a while he returned and stood looking at her.250 existence.. most important missing part. He led her out of the room and down the hall into a small study. I didn’t know all of this was going--” The force of his exuberance pushed her down upon a nearby sofa until she was almost in a reclining position while he knelt beside her with his fingers threaded through her hair. put on his robe and went into the bathroom. Kate..
in a self-contained serenity swiftly melting into considerable hunger. He stood looking at her in speechless surprise. “That certainly makes two of us. She saw that her misunderstood light-heartedness would only continue to infuriate him. yanking off his robe and coming to her side.or.. making certain that his eyes followed her as she threw them into the waste basket..I know what I’ve told ya but I don’t think I can stand to give ya up again. leaning back against the pillows and folding her arms.” “Why won’t ya. Lan. “Are ya sure ya want this? bend just now?” It wasn’t my going round the .” learn to love your own existence? Katharine sat up and pulled her silk robe from the foot of the bed. these? Birth Control pills.what... “Is this a break in your schedule. Do you think I could get pregnant? of you. and directed her gaze to the misty waters beyond the tall windows.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lan..” he said. did I miss something? When did this happen?” You’re so very “It happened..” He tossed them to her and rubbed his hand over his chin. She removed her robe and got back into bed. clever. “Jesus. and you have a perfect right to all that impatience. such self-satisfaction.or what. Kate... Kate? I’m sorry but I can’t.. You’ve stayed away too long. She plucked them from the covers and walked across the room. sliding his fingers through his tousled hair in frustration. “Please hand me those pills on the dresser.just as you intended. are ya listening? How much time does it take to I bloody-hell can’t do this.. of--” I’ve thought and thought of this.251 sheet while she offered Lan’s stormy countenance a curled mouth of contentment. Later I’ll tell you about a dream I had.
. smiled. Kate. When they were seated in a private booth at a white-clothed and candlelit table near a corner window... Green Eyes... He grinned and said. tau aroha. and Lan had ordered drinks and told the manager not to fuss over them. her pearl pendant nestled in the bosom of a pale green Angora sweater that made the slightly darker green of her eyes even more expansive. Then the laughter died. unpredictable wahina.. he sat back and said. I know what I want. Once you did tell me you thought it was a good idea.it’s what ya are to me..” “I remember the day. his voice thick with arousal. hold still and let me love ya.. clasping her shoulders and playfully grappling with her laughing.give ya everything.. dodging body.home. Jesus.ya grew for a while without cultivation and it made ya into a wildflower.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .but only if you want it.at last.” he exclaimed. “Your gran was right. a handsomely appointed bistro-style establishment overlooking the water and not far from the Herne Bay house.. “My other place is big and noisy.every detail of it.” *** In the evening Lan took her to the new restaurant.. just “My strange. little belly? Ya want a sprog in your sweet I’ll give ya that and more. Katharine wore black velvet slacks.. ever remember that? mentioned it briefly that day on Rangitoto.252 “No. This is smaller and Lan I only ..that I would--” “A small version of yourself..” “But how did you ever.” The smiling manager swung open the brass-edged glass door and stepped aside with a bow. enjoying her as she assessed the room with a roving discerning gaze. As they walked up to the entrance she was astonished to read the name scripted in gold across the dark wine awning: Fleur des Champs...
the night is just a chit..” His appreciative dark eyes burned into her heart. Kate. Green Eyes.like your cheeky self.uncluttered and elegant. .all the necessary fittings polished and gleaming.the ceremony..” He lifted her hand and studied the diamond-encircled black pearl. Her eyes told him this but he only grinned and said. one way or another we’re going to do it.” “I mean one that would go with a wedding ring?” “This would go with a. Lan.” She looked at him and was suddenly shy..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . loyal..” “I meant.oh.253 intimate.the etched glass is a nice touch...” “Is the wine good?” She held her goblet of wine up to the candlelight to enjoy its ruby glow. sophisticated but warm and friendly. Are we going to do that? Go up to Nelson and.. “Careful. it’s such pleasure.. If we’re making anklebiters we’re definitely going to do that.. that rich mahoganygrained paneling. However ya want it.sort of a marvelous extension of Waiata Reka...” “I know that.and do that?” “Yeah.. What do ya think?” “I like the décor: burgundy and black.a wedding ring..like you.. “Do ya want another ring?” Absolutely not. ring? I love this ring.” “And I’m thinking the same.. I’m quite Very an overwhelming desire to kiss his wry. Why would I want another “Another. wondering how she I I nearly always know what ya mean....” “I know what ya meant.. I prefer your wine. I’d like to have it the way you want it.. that’s why I’m asking ya. smoothly relaxed mouth....more class. love pleasing you.” “Well. She had “Very good..
” “What?” He lifted her hand to his mouth. “Ya are paying it. mine is yours. businesswise..” “Well. my friend in Jerusalem. wrinkling her nose and .. I..254 could tell him what she had said to Judith in Israel. yourself before we leave. have more freedom to create in his own close domain. “I don’t want ya hesitating with me. Later..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .there’ll be plenty of opportunity.” Her bluenose bass basted in lemon Their food arrived. A husband too?” They’d love to see New Zealand. How is the venison?” Ya can compliment the chef I found the clever bloke languishing I think he’ll in a resort kitchen on Rarotonga.” “Now that I think of it I should be the one to pay their airfare. A heap of opportunity for that too. “Good. Aotearoa never disappoints the manuhiris. Katie Green Eyes....I’m afraid I told Judith.with your good head. “Lan.” “Good on ya.” She looked up from her plate. wahina.. that you’d--” “I’ll give ya an account at the bank and ya can take care of it yourself.. Kate.” “I like to help others.” he added with a wink. For a time just Oh. “Earn my. unappreciated.but I might make ya earn your keep... What’s You’re a part of everything I have. to do?” “Bloody little if you’re growing a sprog. “Just the way I like it. newly married.” His face registered surprise.. ya can do as much or as little as ya want. grass butter was delicious. is this an interview? What would I have look at me and smile and tell me when I’m veering off course. “My grateful compliments to the chef.” “Yes.
” “Here’s to the two of us.” He arched an appraising black eyebrow. gliding over the opaque green shore waters along creamy-white sand beaches and into jewel-like azure coves nestled in black lava. having my name?” “Katharine Gordon Manutane. Ya know I Are ya “Canterbury cowboy.” She smiled and lifted his hand.. not far from their camp above a hidden beach cove in the Nelson region.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Kereru. Let’s have dessert at home. and said after a soft ruffle of laughter. yeah?” *** They were walking hand in hand on the golden sands of Kaiteriteri Beach.255 teasing him with her eyes. rubbing it across her cheek. “To Lachlan and Katharine Manutane. amaze me. I like your name. a wood pigeon. . We haven’t had dessert. caressing him with her eyes. “What’s that?” Katharine asked in a hushed and fascinated voice.but I like it. you really do love the way ya wrinkle your nose. or high above tramping along rugged winding trails with spectacular vistas and strange bird calls.” she responded. Lan. the only species that belongs here.” “Ya say the wackiest things. a red pine.. For three days they had been “Just a little coffee. “Jesus. touching his glass to hers. Once they heard beating wings like a soft drumming and looked up to see a rather large whitebreasted and green-headed bird resting high on the limb of a rimu. adding a slow thrill to her suggestion. Yes. tramping and kayaking Abel Tasman National Park.” he said. “Fewer calories and a lot more satisfaction. Katharine Gordon. don’t start that again.
256 Beautiful. ya little imp. sun-defined body shone with the warm color of richly creamed coffee. Lachlan Manutane? How about yourself. Green Eyes.. How do you wish to be addressed if you find yourself in the role of papa?” “Ya can tease all ya want. Preferably after the ceremony so ya won’t be chundering . sooner or later I always have to bond with nature somewhere. Two nature-loving loners. I’d thought Ya Suddenly I was thinking of two.. Kate.” Sort of a loner like you..when I first kissed ya at Margie’s. “Yes. The skin of his sinewy. knew it then too.” Are ya “And one choice day you’ll be thinking of three.... of only one for so long.” She stepped back and stared at Lan in his bush shirt and shorts and bare feet..” she said. still good with that intention?” “No worries. but I bloody well like the idea of my offspring growing here. “You were so sure of yourself.” “What a lovely thing. yeah? Like your eyes at night the iridescent green.remember? yet but ya would.” “No. I’m glad ya like to do it. camping out in the wilds of our station and every other bloody place in Enzed.” “I wanted ya.” arms. as you like to say. “The sand beneath these happy toes is truly golden. “Is this all real? She spread her Why didn’t you tell me?” I said ya hadn’t seen anything “I did tell ya.. He slid his hand “I want to know as soon as ya find out.” “And that was the end of the matter.the beginning of what’s between us. “I’ve gone off alone in the outback since I was a little anklebiter. laughing.didn’t ya?” “I guess the very first time I looked at you.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine was watching a sloop unfurl its sails against a cerulean sky as it rode the blue-green water of the bay.” beneath her waist.
” “Good on you. family problems. Watching the water swirl up and spill over the bubbling sand.” she cried out.257 breakfast on the day we marry. “Don’t say paradise.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “But why wouldn’t you love to hear me call this beautiful land of penguins and palm trees paradise?” she asked. “Oh.” he said. With very few words they had put on their boots and hiked thoughtfully back to their camp.that means laid off. doesn’t work that way. Your hair is a tangled mess. with social programs slipping away and redundant workers -. Katharine was kneeling on her sleeping bag. laughing and lifting her dripping hair away from her eyes. I love it. although on a smaller scale. I didn’t think you would. “I’m not living in a dream. having just removed her squishy boots and now searching through her backpack for a comb. but you see I’ve been in such far worse off places that to me this looks like--” “Don’t say paradise. You mean thing.” Lan exhorted again. alcoholism among the unwaged. “Look at ya. Yank. ya little rat. love it here. she cried out. not always the highest standard of living. It If ya say paradise I’ll drop ya flat in and turn your clothes into swimming togs. This entire country is--” Granted our nature is wonderful to behold and this looks like paradise to the manuhiris. Manutane. grabbing her up and striding into the water. but New Zealand has its problems: not the greatest economy. “Oh.” In a desultory manner they were approaching a goldenfloored cove angled back into high black rocks. It’s one of the reasons I take pleasure in at least putting a few people to work. screaming with the shock of it. Mr. Dodgy characters like everywhere else. “It’s only because I like taking wet clothes off ya.” . death on the motorway. and found herself flung into the water. struggling up drenched and with streaming wet hair.
ipo. unbuttoning her shirt. Hastily undressing he grasped her shoulder and rolled her supine body over.” He reached for her. ya stroppy little wahina. “Oh God..sorry. hovering over them like giant umbrellas. his questioning jet eyes narrowed in surprise. you threw me into “Get away.. she glanced in all directions with an habitually modest caution. Kate. Before she sank into the unabashedly erotic oblivion she had come to crave. at the emphatic accent in his voice.” “Yeah.” “No..” “No I’m the sorry one. They were in a private sheltered area beneath a grove of ponga ferns... what am I doing? I’m sorry.” “Don’t touch me. Cocking his head.. “You’re not thinking. She smiled Thiaz na one heeya. big silver tree ferns nearly ten meters high. for Christ’s sake? She lifted her head and looked into his eyes. let me--” You.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “There’s no one here but us. Lan. I’ll go right on teasing ya and you’ll bloody-well have to bear up.. She lay back a little nervously.that it was like being tossed I was teasing ya.” .” he assured her. Here.” she suddenly cried. peeling away her shorts and kissing her shivering breasts.I’ll help ya get your clothes off. “Let me. “On your tummy.258 “Your fault.” off a bloody boat.” “Not too serious. speaking in the low voice she had come to recognize as highly aroused. the water.” she said slapping at his hand. my trusted companion..” “Now you’ll never--” “Yeah. I will. staring at chinks of bluest sky through the lacy spiraling dark fronds.
throwing a large doubled towel over the pillows. balanced form eased down upon her in a slowly choreographed cadence.259 He grabbed the pillows from their opened and layeredtogether sleeping bags.” Her flushed diffidence dissipated.. making himself weightless. They were headed into the feverish rhythm of steadily intensifying pleasure.make ya feel very.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Choice position. could send a woman into wild paroxysms of joy. rhythmic.” He raised her up and slid the towel-covered pillows beneath the joining of her thigh and abdomen. locking them in to ecstatic heat. her arousal deepening with his allusion to the incredible Gräfenberg spot which. then stretched out above her. deep . my tau aroha. She felt a shivering thrill as his firm warmth came against her coolly damp. very good. “Going to get us both wet now. She moaned Turn your softly and tried to raise herself enough to keep her head turned into his kiss.” Lifting her hair from her eyes he lowered his head to the side and kissed her mouth as he slid into her.” She rested her chin on her folded arms and asked. “How do you know that?” “I want ya to enjoy this and I’ll see to it.. the prosaic position linked with it unimaginative and faulty. Turning her head back to focus on his dampened face. “Ya aren’t used to G spot orgasm. The weightless. That first night I changed the sheets before I joined ya in the shower.yeah. my love. His hungrily anticipating expression broke into a soft grin. an action which elicited from her a questioning look. when properly stimulated.. she found his limpid eyes swimming with her.. head a bit more so I can. He smiled at her with teasing eyes and said. “Okay?” he softly intoned. Until Lan its reputation had been only wistful conjecture. elevated backside. As she yielded to the inflaming touch of his coaxing mouth his long.
” He pressed his hand against her groin and changed the angle of his position very subtly with almost clinical precision... As if from a distant place his low groan of satisfaction slowly registered in her vertiginous head. a rapture that shook her body and blurred her mind.” he prompted. her earlier inhibitions had been completely displaced by a thoroughly aroused state.love..260 penetration had so enveloped her senses she was incapable of anything but a blink of dazed exhilaration. gushing waves of nearly unbearable ecstasy. breathing ..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Sweet Green Eyes. wild cries of release escaped her gasping mouth as her senses rose on waves emanating from a hot zone deep inside. her trembling hand held against her moist cheek went rigid.love. She lay beside him with their hands still locked. impassioned voice managed as she responded to his demanding mouth with increasing desire.look at me now.” her throaty.. Still....” “And.you. repeated on raggedly expended breath: “I. an earthshaking exultant immolation.. his nimble body stroking against her as his mouth moved over the perspiring nape of her neck and his head lowered to watch her come before she even realized she had arrived. Gasping in amazement and with her insides still throbbing. Now she was immersed in his repeated caresses and that climbing pulse of love. Her eyes opened wide. ya are so good.you. the silence of nearing climax was broken by an urgent need to say what she had often refrained from saying in lovemaking: “I.. her body striving to give back.” Above all she wanted to impart that certainty.. she rubbed the driest edge of the soaked towel against herself and flung it aside then rolled over onto her back.you.. “God. Her fingers remained clenched in his as she tried to focus on whirling fern fronds.
Katharine was contemplative. venting sigh and drifted into sleep.too much Lachlan Manutane. staring out the window and pondering a certain neglected sticking place... so precisely foreknowing yet so spontaneously implemented by pure ardor. You always manage to do that. His understanding of her was almost bewildering.. until him.. did feel very.. running his thumb across her wet cheek. “Yes.too much of a good thing.oh yes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “I like to drive and think.and it isn’t really a deal..too much. center of pleasure resided and exactly how to get her to that potent and excruciatingly sensuous place which.. then realized her cheeks were already damp with spilling emotion.of--” “Rani. guess it’s another one of those areas that I dread venturing into.but I’ve become a part of your family. she curled against him with a long.” .. In that sated phase of exhaustion. slowly reclaiming enough of her reason to consider his earlier assertion.” “How do you do that? “Not too difficult. and there’s the problem of. She thought of crying. “Hmm.. “Too much.. she had He knew exactly where her felt.” he said softly.” “Never enough Katharine.. *** In the Rover. she had never experienced or could have imagined.” It’s bloody near the only problem around.” Lan remarked. which she had only recently discovered he owned in Nelson. too. very good..261 deeply. He turned his skyward-gazing eyes upon her. Lan. driving back to Lan’s cozy little cottage.” he answered with a low chortle of pleasure. He was quite accurate -. but ya haven’t said a word in nearly half an hour.
No one will I think of Rani as my little sister. but it isn’t all my mother’s fault. If I were dead drunk and suffering with loss and a beautiful hunk crawled into my bed--” “I don’t care for your analogy. messing about and bludging on the family.in petty little ongoing dramas. out sufficiently. because--” “Bloody-hell. I managed that.” “Speaking of charitable--” “All right.” .” “Ya have and she knows it.of what I told ya.262 “Oh? She despises me. I just don’t like what she did to you. know I’ve been over-tolerant because of. drunk or sober I’m the only one crawling into your bed.” “Am I going to have to compete with her in..and that was the grief of the matter for me.. She treated ya badly. keep it. Lan.” “Well. I Anyway.... always will. Competition? That’s a laugh.” “And that wasn’t all your fault. her daughter.has a job working for a pol in Wellington. in fact... I laid into her over that until she cried.” “Ya made it.. ever get near ya.it’s really too much. I had several She’s through “She does not. rather long talks with Rani while ya were away.I always have.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. I think I’ve straightened the matter Rani is beginning to take responsibility for think I’ve tried to be decent to her.hardly any of it. isn’t that charitable?” “Kate?” “To produce a child.. but it’ll be up to her to Mary I She’s not stupid just spoiled and immature.” She grudgingly admires ya. lie about its father and then cast it aside.” “I was trying to make a point.... Katie Green Eyes.. admits her hand in that.
” “Maybe sooner than ya think.my teacher.” she went on after a short stretch of silence. I really love her. Lan.my sophisticated shepherd.” “You’re a corker.. will ya--” “Sorry. “Anyway ya can find out for yourself..263 “On your shoulder?” “Kate.. my wily cowboy entrepreneur.especially the troubled ones.. “My Maori-Scots love scholar... sorry. Is she still angry with me for leaving you?” “No worries.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “I have to win Mary back. but eloquence isn’t really my cup.. I’m I’m flying her up She’ll be staying at .. Mary loves ya... I’m dead serious. please. I want peace with Rani. ya clever fox.almost convincing. Who could Ya deal with others very well. Maybe some day we’ll even be friends.and you’ve come back and agreed to marry the mystery of her life. resist ya? You’ll have her eating from your hand. both worldly and innocent green-eyed addiction. for the party Margie and Ian are giving us Herne Bay.” “My modest Oxford bushman. “My very literate.” she intoned.” “And so do you. keeping his eyes on the narrow road as a huge lumber truck sped past them. What I have of it comes from my days at Oxford.” “Is that a catty--” “No. lifting his hand against her cheek with the giggling laughter which so clearly delighted him. you silver-tongued charmer. I’m so glad she’s coming? That’s wonderful. You’re mine for a start.” “Oh.send her round the bend with happiness. Any child of ours will be a chrissy bonus. That’s all she cares about.” he countered with an amused voice. I’ll gladly extend the olive branch whenever she’s capable of understanding what that means... and in a sultry voice which brought his caressing fingers to her neck.
. Katharine was listening from a deck chair on the patio. and grabbing Katharine’s ankle with a quick jerk of affection. Nobody was doing that kind of music anymore and we thought of ourselves as preservationists. Kate. which she called jandals. Katharine’s lolling head raised in She leaned forward in her chair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . We were sort of reactionary renegades.” “You’ve done a heap of good for Mary. surprise at this news. I used to sing R and B with a small band in college..” laying her head against Lan’s shoulder.. After flying Mary up Lan had departed again on a fishing trip with Ian and some other mates. “I imagine.264 eager to see her. She’s happier with ya around.” I was really shy but when I sang I “I know. forgot about everything. “What. setting down her glass of iced tea and coming alive with memories. “Oh. I loved the old blues songs. as Margaret began describing the rhythm and blues quartet she had engaged for the party. slipping her feet back into her ejected thongs. How good are ya?” Someone heard me in a music class and hustled me into that hard-working little band. *** While Mary rested at Herne Bay Katharine was visiting with Margaret at her sunny home above the city. at singing? I don’t know... He kept one hand on the You’ve brought her “And I with her.and the torch songs. out.too cerebral..still do.” “Where did ya perform?” “We played all over Palo Alto and San Francisco.” Katharine smiled with that thought. Kate.” Although ya don’t seem like the type.. Margaret. wheel and stroked her knee with the other. “You’re full of surprises. I finally quit because it was People . We had such a good time.” Margaret sat up.. seemed to like my voice.that sultry soulful music.
there.265 interfering with my work on the school paper.. a very difficult choice without background music.well. A heady joy swelled her lungs and when she finished Of course it’s easier singing to she said..” Margaret said with a cunning expression of delight. but she had chosen it because the lyrics were so lovely and fit her personal experience so precisely.so. Margaret.. “Ya could rehearse a few songs with the band and surprise everyone by singing at your own party. “Well.” “A wonderful idea is taking shape in my head.singing to . She hummed a few bars then turned to Margaret and began to sing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. but that means your cords are in good shape. As she watched Margaret listening with an expression of astonishment. she knew her heartfelt rendering of those very moving lyrics must be eliciting some pleasure.. myself but I’d forgotten how good that feels. interviewing politicians.. the ensuing pleasure of hitting her stride rising in her throat and resonating across the garden. passion-driven song was tricky to sing a cappella.” “Oh. something right now. Sing. staring off into the golden trunks of bamboo..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine stood up and walked to the edge of the patio. I was stretching myself pretty thin...” Sing “But I.” “Ah.I can’t just--” “Sing. Within a stanza she had begun to take command of her old voice. The slow. remembering how Lan had kissed her there beneath the Southern Cross.. I was I craved that heady game of trying to get a factual answer. no. The only singing I’ve done of late is to myself and mostly in the shower. Now?” I’m the only one here..” “What? “Yeah.
delighted at having assisted circumspect Mary in finding something which .” “My God. “I haven’t bought a fancy dress in so long I’ve no idea what’s fashionable. very professional. I mean.just to celebrate a nice evening with our family and friends. *** Mary was shopping with Katharine in a handsomely appointed Parnell shop. The band is always rehearsing.” Mary said.” “If I did sing it would only be this one song. the hushed rose-scented shop of gleaming dark wood. but rewarding Katharine with the frissons of happiness she had learned to capture in such moments. The escaped bustle of the street where bright sun prevailed.. They both agreed that it might be worn on various occasions by dressing it up or down. Margaret. the luxurious fabrics. and speculating on a dress or gown for Katharine’s wedding ceremony. and now that you’ve heard it you know why.. I’m giving them a Oh this is really You’ll ring right now.thanks to you and Ian..that was very.” Katharine suggested. “You can leave the little bolero jacket off for the party and drape a pretty scarf over your shoulders. that was so good. the silk-tasseled windows. What a treat everyone has in store. which pleased prudent Mary immensely.. bloody-well knock them dead. running her fingers over the smartly cut navy evening dress she had just selected. I certainly wouldn’t expect to impress an audience. I’m glad for your opinion. and Mary’s softly earnest face all flowed together in a mellow interstice between much larger events... Katharine.. going to be choice. girl. They were looking at dresses for the party.maybe drive ya over there. then wear the jacket for the wedding.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. In the process Mary had come across a dress she intended to buy for herself.266 someone else.
strapless. She couldn’t think of it for long. dusty-rose velvet gown for the party. to agree to this? Was she out of her mind Margaret had introduced her to the noticeably doubtful quartet of young musicians. which sprang to life when Katharine began to sing. Kate. love. it’s a Katharine was merely thinking that its bare simplicity would perfectly accommodate her beloved jade pendant. wanting only to fish with him.267 satisfied her rather particular taste. He was there and she was here. saxophone. Katharine had chosen a slender. who were clearly bent on keeping their music viable (piano. and drum) and far from enthusiastic about accompanying an unknown voice. The moment she tried it on Mary was “Ya look Katie wild about it and insisted she look no further. bass. The rehearsal session had started out with a rather grim-faced band. “I think you may be enjoying yourself at my expense. do ya know that skittery velvet goes from silvery pale pink to shady rose when ya move under the light. Kate. Margaret.” Katharine had teased. Gray. A shot of fear drove through her like a fast-ricocheting bullet when she thought of standing before all the others in that rose gown and bursting into song.” Oh. “Absolutely ravishing.” She began pondering the days ahead while Mary poured Earl . was walking around brimming with the delight of favorable collusion. Mary and Katharine completed their purchases and strolled to a cozy tearoom. Once seated Katharine leaned on her hands and stared through the plate glass window. A flashing image of Lan casting a fast-darting line over the riffle of a silvery flat river flew across her mind. ravishing!” she had exclaimed. of course. choice thing on your lovely self.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . squinting between the fronds of a fan palm out into the busy street. “Have a biscuit.
“I’ll have to go look. that sounds wonderful.” “I just don’t know what to wear. no idea at all. ivory lace bodice was a sort of rectangle of plaid. we haven’t made much progress on your wedding dress. “Ya can do anything ya want. You may have solved my I always have such a Oh. who had been glad to give Mary and Katharine these busy days together. I don’t want a traditional white dress and it wouldn’t be appropriate anyway. The skirt part was a simple affair of gathered I never would have thought how well it could work I was thinking ya could have something like until I saw it. You’ve seen these celebrations before. Mary. problem. by putting a small swatch of the Gordon plaid in that bodice.” “Ya could give it your own signature. and pastoral at the same time.” “Mary. A lovely airy thing I’m imagining. the border could be of black velvet. It sounds interesting. like taffeta. I’m still full from our outrageous lunch. was still fly-fishing with his mates down on several of the scenic rivers feeding into Lake Taupo. What should I do?” Ya know I do have an As we were passing a shop I saw a creamy lace thing in Set over the folds of the the window that was most unusual.268 “No thank you. ivory lace. tapered to the waist and bordered in wine velvet on three sides. Katharine. Kate. I’m so glad we’ve done this. good time with you.” “You’ve no idea how much it all means. On the You’ve day before the celebration he called Katharine to say that he would be back the following day in time to dress and meet her at . *** Lan. a bit of your own heritage: black squares edged in yellow it is. like New Zealand itself.” Mary said with cheerfully moist eyes. idea. that with your slender waist.” “Well.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ya know.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and then added. could hardly refuse and so followed her into the house. as she imagined them. “Rani. and while she stood in the She was garden talking to the band Rani suddenly appeared.. She didn’t know what he would think of her intention to sing at their party and had decided not to tell him. with which Rani seemed quite familiar. trout-filled rivers in devoted abandon. desirous of a pleasant evening.269 the party. with her lustrous black hair piled high atop her head and more makeup than she needed applied to her lovely young face. if she could muster the skill and courage to do it well.. Without hesitating she came straight to Katharine. Margaret still seemed to think the idea was a splendid one. *** The first surprising occurrence at the party was not a good omen. Katharine arrived early.all that sophistication is just what Lani likes. and Katharine really wanted to offer that special song to him. and thence into Ian’s cool dark study where they remained standing..sorry for that. but with a dash of confidence at their disappointment. I hope we can get along. The band had even suggested that she She had declined. Katharine. greeted her in a friendly manner and then suggested they go into Ian’s study to have a sort of ameliorating talk. and ya--” . “Ya look very nice. but you’re a bloody clever woman and ya get what ya want.” Katharine frowned and said.. casting over their wild. “That’s a choice gown. This fit in well with her plans. It’s quite clear that you don’t like me but maybe with time--” “You’ve been through some hell. although she was missing him more than she would say.sexy enough for any man.” Rani said.. not wanting to taint his happy days with fishing pals. sing a few more songs. wearing a bright blue party dress of which there was very little..
bush? Why beat around the When he was sick with grieving and thoroughly inebriated you took advantage of him.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lan.I didn’t think he’d--” “My God. will she?” Lan said in a resignedly firm voice.. I heard most of it and since it pertains to He was looking at Rani.selfishly wound them when they’re down and suffering? deeply over this too? “I see that ya--” “Oh Rani.. “Then tell him that and relieve his grieving heart. please stop it. “Oh. “What are ya talking about?” “You know what I’m talking about.” They heard a soft click and both turned around startled.” He never touched me.simply to suit yourself.simply to extricate yourself from the mess you made. out differently. for others for a change... do you?” return his devotion? “I didn’t..... I thought it would all come I swear.” “It was just..to make it all come out in your favor..270 “Rani. Do you even realize?” but look what you did to him. “Rani won’t have to tell me anything now.” Rani protested. . anything. staring at them.. The study door had slowly swung shut and Lan was standing there with folded arms. Do you think Mary hasn’t suffered You still don’t see it.. Kate. I only let him think. “If you really love a person how could you ever do anything so cruel. Please try to have some compassion You profess to care so much for Lan. did you--” “Yeah.. and how did you By making him--” “I didn’t make him do He was too bloody haurangi.without a thought to his condition or his pain. Lan has always thought of himself as your big brother. He never even tried to touch me.. her voice catching on fire and her adrenaline pumping.” Katharine exclaimed. He was there for you all of your life.
She held her hand to her mouth. garden. The band was warming up and still Katharine had spoken no . I’m so happy to see you both. smiled and said. softly lined face.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .rose velvet and totoeka with those rare eyes.” Katharine said. Mea.” Katharine’s arm.the way it is. “Oh. placed a hand on his shoulder and he turned to speak to Gus’s son. but at least How would Lan deal with this? She didn’t their party? the truth was out. happy plants. And I love your dress.. kia ora.” Mea said as she gathered Katharine into her arms. “Will you ever forgive what happened at your wonderful dinner?” “A migraine is no one’s fault. “Come with me. and slipped out of the room. Her That soft silvery color matches your gorgeous hair. closing the door behind her. want to think about it anymore and went briskly down the walk.” They strolled with soft laughter.. who worked in the winery. as briskly as her slender gown would allow. tramp through this friendly garden. then tried to blink the tears onto her hand without ruining her face.271 me I won’t apologize for listening. how nice ya look. her eyes brimming. She hurried away back into the Why did she have to reopen this serious old wound at She regretted her unchecked wrath. the long hair swept back in a handsome French roll. Over Mea’s shoulder Katharine saw Lan entering the Their eyes met briefly and then one of his cousins garden.” fingers just touched Mea’s silver-gray hair done in thick waves around her smiling. Mea gripped Let’s take a I love to see all these Someone is giving them tender loving care. “Gus and Mea. stretching out her arms to greet Gus and Mea who had just ventured into the garden.” “Excuse me.” “Kate.. as this smart wahine pono will do for Lan. I wäna nei -. pretty girl..just I see the devotion.
which She saw Margaret arm Margaret was scheduled to make very soon. As Margaret was indicating the seat where Katharine should have been she lifted her head. away from ya. The band was already into its second melody when Margaret found Katharine -. hadn’t ruined his arrival by bringing up that grievous subject with Rani. But with Rani’s surly conduct it could hardly have Rani was with someone. This party was for them and yet If only she they were still at opposite ends of the garden. looking for Katharine who had ducked into the bamboo in a cowardly fashion.” . Excuse me. to carry that with him all evening? Katharine went around warmly greeting the Maori half of Lan’s family. She was explaining the virtues of steelhead fishing. so handsome in his charcoal dinner jacket. Mea has one saved.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a dark. his dark frame tinted rose bronze under the colorful hanging lanterns. in arm with Lan and leading him to a seat below the platform. young man with a motorcycle helmet under his arm. How strange. A shiver swept through her as she watched the drummer adjust the microphone she would use. On his other side was that empty chair. somewhat raffish Was he going been avoided. Perhaps she should decline the invitation to sing. “Oh God. as she saw Mea and Mary strolling arm in arm to their seats. Gus. Margaret was pointing to the seat beside Lan. I need to steal Katharine I think “There ya are.ostensibly quite deep into a conversation with Gus.” she muttered. Please find yourself a seat down there. She was breathless and thoroughly disgusted At his wrist a Lan had a drink in his hand. with herself. gleam of gold cufflink flashed as he talked to another cousin seated next to him. Then the band began a slow rhapsodic Gladness flowed through her body melody and her heart softened. and then saw that people were starting to settle in chairs placed before the small platform on which the band sat.272 more with Lan.
are ya giving up on me at the last moment? Lan has been wondering where ya are. “Hello. you’re one of my and Ian’s oldest friends. a celebration of love in which she and Lan would stand side by side and greet the party guests while overflowing with mutual happiness. as if she didn’t exist. Katharine Gordon. and now it’s time for our little songbird to make her appearance.” “Margaret.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . everyone. in this enchanting garden Lan couldn’t reach her side quickly enough.. I’m sure. Hope you’re all enjoying this special Lachlan Manutane.273 When Gus had taken himself off. She looked up to see Margaret insistently beckoning to her over her shoulder as she made her way to the bandstand. When first they met making treacherous detours without warning.. A maudlin wave of self-pity swept over her. and how lucky we are for that.” Katharine had anticipated such a different sort of evening. She’s about to come up here and sing to ya. road. not after all my efforts. Get your lovely I’m after introducing an entirely new side of ya to your new family. Now he was sitting down there chatting with his family and drinking Scotch. superimposing its own dubious routes. The vicissitudes of life simply refused a smooth Fate stepped in. occasion. I don’t think--” “Oh no ya don’t. and you’ll soon see what a choice treat it is. she was certain it was Scotch. She could hardly bring herself . She was certainly in a wonderful mood to sing a love song. and after having been away from her for nearly a week. but the rest of us are bloody-well going to share in the treat. “Kate. Margaret said. self down to the foot of my garden. and right now. Katharine?” Just pretend like it’s another band gig out of the past.and to be able to celebrate your upcoming marriage to this amazing woman. Katharine said to herself as she took Margaret’s hand and carefully mounted the platform.
.for your love. Katharine’s heart began to fill with rapidly coursing blood. your song. washing away all decorum.. Whistling and loud clapping pursued her. He was still holding the glass in his hand but he set it down beneath his chair without taking his eyes off her.” “Lan. There was his riveted face. When she had completed the final long- held note she bowed low with an attempt at a modestly beatific smile.. what do I say in return? How do I Thank ya for Rani. then the softened voice against her ear. the memory of their first night together. The song had finished her. offering the memory of their first kiss. She no longer cared how she With looked or how she would present herself to the others.. Never had she given so much in a She felt drained.274 to look at anyone. the memory that infused the words lovingly tendered by her voice. her eyes fastened on Lan and she heard her own slow. supportive anticipation clearly written across her proudly expectant face.” “My beautiful wahina.. especially Lan. feeling them ripple and rise in warm waves up into the realm of the Southern Cross. absolutely wiped out all of her strength and restraint.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .all for you. she was startled by Lan’s arms catching her up and coming tight around her. steady voice sending the impassioned words straight out to the love of her life. Tears streamed from performance. fearful of sliding to the ground.. my tau aroha.. Slumping lower as her body shook with the forceful aftermath of what she knew had been a sort of catharsis. Thank ya for . limp body and bent head she hung onto a tender young stalk of bamboo. her face. The band was keyed.those lyrics. A shifting glance yielded a beaming Mary. never had she wished to. “Thank ya.were. the very moon and stars of the lyrics. but her eyes drifted in that direction anyway.. then stepped carefully down and hurried off to lose herself in the bamboo grove.
In these days her eyes were filled She with dreams of the future and memories of the recent past. The following morning as Mary helped Katharine cook a late breakfast.” Lan sauntered into the kitchen. and while Lan was in his study on the phone. with her own and Mary’s artful suggestions. leaving them to their insatiable upstairs lovemaking. Please stop the crying.a unique and lovely dress stitched into a symbol of the rarest event.she said ya had a beautiful voice.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . one she had half feared would never occur. want to lie with ya.275 tell ya what ya mean to me? Eyes..” *** It had taken very little time to alter Katharine’s wedding dress. the way you’ve set things right here. rolling his shirtsleeves as . terrible things she did. I your velvet gown. when she and Lan drove Mary back to the Herne Bay house and wise Mary took herself swiftly off to a comfortable downstairs bedroom. Ya have. and when she tried it on she was well satisfied -. He’s a changed man. said that she already had.... Oh Jesus. Green All I saw on the rivers were these I’ve missed ya. “Whatever did ya say to Rani.. thought often of the night after the party. Mary had said. my spoiled little girl. I believe ya made her look into the mirror. Perfect.the way you’ve made Lan so happy. thought.” Katharine turned off the heat under the smoking frying pan and turned to Mary.and here ya are. I certainly thank ya for that. I thank ya for so much.. and.ya know I love ya.. Kate? said something. Why? “I’m afraid I really told her what I I know ya must have What did she say?” “She came to me some time after your song and she was so changed. all mine and choice in Your song was perfect. ya know.. She apologized to me for the She I told her to apologize to Lan. Kate. eyes.
.and this kiss is for having a mother like Mary.no shoe. hence no wedding. Judith was there and They crowded into the sparely appointed bedroom of Lan’s very masculine Nelson cottage and helped her dress and do her hair.. inhaling all the familiar scents that were so arousing.. these as if emanating from an unconscious brain romping in REM sleep. and precisely. She laid her head against Lan’s shirt. of course.. I’ll marry Petruchio in bare feet. always reading the moment so swiftly flashes of sharply indelible consciousness juxtaposed with flashes of blurring mystery.” “Here. drink this.276 he came and walking up to Katharine to whisper in her ear. She glanced politely over where Mary had been standing and saw her back disappearing down the hall. Will you. obstinate foot.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Penny ordered. Struggling with a recalcitrant shoe she said. “Anything edible in here yet besides yourself?” Primed with joy Katharine wanted to kiss Lan in a very private way. nill you. “My benumbed brain has disconnected my foot -. Mary. Her jittery nerves necessitated mitigation by self- deprecating acid bons mots and continual laughter with her friends. The desire was overwhelming. “What? Should I drink that?” .and this kiss is for--” “Jesus. The day transposed into a swift parade of images: Dear Mary. then lifted her head and said in a slow voice. handing her a flute of champage. Penny and Margaret and. “This kiss is for you.” *** The wedding itself was a remarkably colorful and singular event. any more of this and brekkie will be out the bloody window. giggling and chattering with a boisterous lot of noise and soaking up her emotional spillover. Green Eyes.
As the proceeding began. but the anxiety had not entirely escaped his notice. looked so handsome that at first glance her worried frown softened into pure pleasure. The ceremony was a different sort of affair.” “Nor would he wish to. pale gray Italian suit of shot silk with a healthy green sprig of some unfamiliar local plant affixed as a boutonnière. Katie love.” Judith encouraged. Amidst their laughter she went on with her Taming of The Shrew allusion.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . their eyes meeting with a mutual understanding which seemed to hint at something positive. but he’ll never bring me from a wild Kate to a Kate comfortable as other household Kates. Your wild self is what he fancies. wearing a chocolate silk dress. Before this lively but abbreviated war dance ensued she had been joined by Lan on the path leading up to the marae.277 “Absolutely. stuck out their tongues. Lan will take care of any headache that comes along. “Yeah. he’s not after taming ya. was continually popping up everywhere and capturing everything. and they all burst into yet another effusion of laughter. He at once attempted to lift her spirits He . “Or they’ll have to peel ya off the ceiling of the marae meeting hall. “Oh. figure would give her away. then stepped back into the line of guests.” Mary assured her.” “No worries. No paternal Cash Taylor.” Mary soothed. curtsied ever so slightly. He and camera had even made a quick foray into Lan’s bedroom just as the women were preparing to whisk Katharine out of there.” Margaret chimed in. having made a tenuous peace with Lan. chanted and waved clubs in a primally fierce demonstration of haka. walked up to Katharine and handed her a bouquet of orchids. He was wearing a smartly cut. Rani. Katharine and Lan stood before the marae where they were initially met by tattooed and sparsely clothed warriors who yelled at them.
the other an elegant twining vine which represented eternity. they were greeted with a loving display of hongi and some words in Maori which Lan answered in Maori. body-filled hall. As Maori words flowed past her a sudden jab of fear darted through her chest. The highly polished hardwood floors shimmered in honey tones of gold and brown. or so she read his easy composure and knowing anticipation. The hall smelled of spicy-sweet ginger combined with numerous other scented flowers of New Zealand.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and wearing large jade pendants around his neck.” In her volatile condition she found this so amusing that she had to place her hand over her mouth to suppress the giggling laughter. After this It seemed to her that Lan was not only in a state of self-assured control but in quiet. running to the peaked and cross-beamed ceiling. which he so often strove to elicit. Oh God. a reading from her own nervous frame of reference. The pungent smell of abundant floral arrangements swirled around Katharine’s head in the warm. approached the low wood dais where the official who was to marry them stood cloaked in a robe covered with tiny. Seated at either side of their advancing They passage were all the members of the wedding party.278 with a swift offering of humor. they were led inside. The meeting hall was adorned with gleaming pillars of wood carved in the form of tikis and other earthy motifs. one of a tiki. unspoken control of everything. leaning down and muttering in her ear. Following the clamorous intimidation of the threatening warriors. delicate and airy feathers. what if she swooned and disgraced herself? What if her head began to throb and nausea ensued? face up to Lan and their eyes met. Soon this will all be over and I’ll put ya out to pasture herding sheep. “No worries. and the walls rose in striking patterned designs. She turned her His calm dark eyes looking .
it was especially exhilarating to have at once received Lan’s understanding assurance. From the For moment of his first grasp she had never let go of his arm. More than anything she wanted to please him. Judith and Jacob were heading south to visit Milford Sound and other points of interest.279 down at her seemed to read her mind. promising and thrilling. and one of his flying mates was winging her home to Green Braes in the morning. Sliding into that sealing kiss all else momentarily dissolved. to bring him peace and happiness and. Mary was staying in Lan’s cottage. In this rushing span of time when she found herself amidst sharp transition so unfamiliar. and Ian and Margaret were sailing home on a friend’s boat. and then Lan was laughing and they were spilling out into the sunlight. Finally there were English words exchanged and they made their vows and kissed. she demanded of herself. that she could stand alone. She smiled and. until she heard sighs and mutterings of appreciation traveling through the hall. began to ponder the effect this man standing bedside her had and would always have on her life. Following all the exuberant hugs from joyful family members and the few friends who attended the reception at Gus and Mea’s large and beautifully decked out old house.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . never. and he took hold of her arm. please not ever boredom. He was to drive them to Lan’s plane. visit with Gus and Mea. such a long time she had been her own strength. because she couldn’t understand the words. Katharine were flying to Rarotonga. After a whence Lan would fly himself and Katharine to Auckland. without ever acknowledging it. proven over and over. Everyone wanted to hang onto Lan and Katharine. The firmness of his supportive. capturing From Auckland Lan and . they tried to make their way to Gus’s car. emblematic grasp traveled through her body with a ministering relief at once comforting.
like magic. Their heartening life-affirming aura held a magnetism so alluring they were continually restrained from departure. I spent half the day laughing hysterically and now I’m doing it again. But when I look back on it I suppose I’ll be very amused. flying off over New Zealand. Lan would drink nothing because he was flying.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Here I am Well. Lan.amused and deeply moved and even sorry it ended so soon.. Your bloke. having already said good-bye three times and been hugged by Mary. “I’m actually glad we didn’t bother to change. and Katharine would drink nothing because she feared a headache.” Katharine said when they were finally aloft in the plane. I had to bloody-well tell him to rack off.” Katharine said..” They made a dash to the car where Gus was just transferring their luggage from another car into his trunk. with joyful teasing and offerings of food and drink. whose eyes were filled with tears of love and relief.. I’ll probably ... especially in her exhausted and over-stimulated condition. in a couple more hours ya can watch me taking I would have loved to watch you putting in my ballerina length Scottish bridal gown. Once out of earshot of everyone Lan exclaimed. continuing to giggle with Lan’s smiling encouragement.” “I’m looking forward to it. “I think it was for everyone else. even invaded the guest bedroom and tried to snap me putting on my suit.or an idyllic fairy tale. They edged their way to the back door. *** “You were right.” “Yeah? it off.280 the spilling radiance emanating from their highly charged mutual devotion. the ubiquitous Cash Taylor. let’s get the hell out of here. “Katharine Gordon Manutane.” “Looks as though we’ll have plenty of photographs to go along with our memories.” “Oh. on your suit..
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . how sad.” “And not for me.” “Careful. Lan. I want ya happy. too. Diving in shoreline conservation areas called raui.” Oh. away from the world and growing familiar with each other’s needs and desires and habits in a slow awakening. lime juice. and cavorting in . just in case. and partook of the remote village life on this quiet atoll of such startling sea and sand colors.” he added with a wink. The days passed in a luxurious idleness. Green Eyes. They drank at a thatched- roofed bar on the beach and ate diced raw fish prepared with coconut cream. But take a bit of a nap now.” “What if I’m too tired. *** Rarotonga was a time of love and lethargy. blissfully free from the prosaic alterations of a workaday existence. How I wish my grandmother “Weddings are sad. reef sharks. onions and bits of tomato. Kate. Green Eyes. they encountered giant clams. They watched the startling sunsets bleed into dark palm-fringed horizons.281 never wear it again. painting the surface waters of dusk with dazzling hues of crimson and gold. we still have a ways to go before we lie down together. wife. could have--” “Please don’t. about an hour away. They swam to the motus in the lagoon and made love on those uninhabited white sands beneath the shade of coconut palms. husband?” “Then I’ll hold ya until I can have ya in the morning. a delicious meal called ika mata. my darling Maroi-Scot lover. affording further investigation and uninterrupted enjoyment of one another.. and myriad darting fish the Day-Glo colors of the rainbow. teasing. moray eels. While there they flew over to Aitutaki..not for me. Playing.” “Not this one.
and from time to time she did think of those places. chased thousands of ants around their kitchen. would always be in her. cut up fresh fruit. they returned to Green Braes. leaning on the pommel of his saddle and glancing at her reflective face from time to time. created her own ika mata. Lan?” . Lan was beside her on the roan stallion. and mixed large tropical drinks. looking out over the myriad grayed-white tufts of grazing sheep. They lay together in their ample hammock. he might be concerned that she was thinking of Jerusalem or Gaza or some other troubled place in the world forebodingly calling to her. but not total. with a regenerated eagerness to face the world. Katharine swam. *** Katharine sat astride Jangle. and it brought considerable. She thought. Finally. when he studied her that way. she was thinking very close to home. however. They were in her. This event would unfold quite differently. but never at his expense. hoping to correct that other horribly failed ride when Lan had professed such love only to be cruelly abandoned.282 mutually generated situations of comic entertainment.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . had arranged it. Ben. they pleasured each other and slept wrapped together in an airy bungalow with the crashing surf sounding on the distant reef and the soughing waves almost at their feet. of all the forgone obligations. After a week they returned to Lan’s orange beach cottage on Rarotonga. She would see to it. where he used his laptop to check into his business affairs. “Why don’t you ever take me fishing. Just now. She was glad to be here at this moment. to have addressed those places of strife in her nearly completed novel. caressing or talking softly in a soporific state of contentment while the palm fronds rustled overhead in warm fluky winds. redress of all the relinquished assignments.
‘Why do we suddenly have to go fishing?’ you’ll be saying soon enough. Ya want to fish. “I’ve finally taught ya to tell me what ya want in lovemaking.” she said.when I took ya sailing. clouds of sandflies only gets ya more bites. They’re used to force. Green Eyes.” “But I mean. Would ya have an opinion from me?” Yes.sometimes. “The Israelis have no idea how to fight that kind of war..” he answered. bringing Jangle to a halt. There’s I’ll drag ya around everywhere at a moment’s notice and you’ll be asking me the opposite.” “I love fishing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” Right now I’ve thought of Come on. because they’re only .. since he had always preferred not to bring up that subject.. Every time an Swatting at atrocity occurs they rush in with guns and tanks.” As they rode along Lan asked.. Kate.” “How should they fight it?” she asked in a rhetorical manner. will.” “I haven’t said much on the subject but I’d like to be able to talk to ya about it. why didn’t you just think of it on your own?” “I did once. eager to hear his answer. “Yes. “Sometimes I do. Lan. plenty of time for that. “They shouldn’t fight it at all. something all on my own. mainly to keep her overactive mind from brooding on an insurmountable problem. I would.283 “Ya never asked me. ya hard case. Kate?” She was surprised that he would ask the question.I’ll take ya fishing. a form of insanity that could stop at once with the right leadership. heavy retaliation.. I won’t say that. now ya have to learn to do it the rest of the time. “Ya. “Have ya been thinking of the fighting in the Middle East. We’ll ride up along the green banks and eat our sandwiches there by the river. No worries. It’s there and going on. smiling with good-natured ease.
he asked. only it takes a bloody keen mind to see that. the strength. the best way to win.” “I think you’re right. She gave a long sigh and The house I’ve kept just as it was. firepower.pull out their settlers and give the Palestinians a free state.. “What happened to your grandmother’s farm?” “Oh. smiled at Lan.. clicked his tongue and ordered the big horse to walk on. He reached over and brushed her windblown hair away from her eyes. the farm? I still own it. say.. They’re the ones with all the They’re the ones who have to bring it to an end.” . need a strong peacemaker who sees total stoppage as an honorable solution. She was glad to find herself I agree with everything you positioned beside an understanding mind.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..... I lease it to a grower.and feeling threatened.. Now it’s become important for the whole world. his accurate perception was like a pressure release.war-minded..that’s the tough part. Ignoring the need for a Palestinian state is the whole crux of the Middle Eastern problem. Turning aside to glance down at her as they moved slowly forward.I can go back there any time I want.” “You’re absolutely right. It would relieve a lot of tension in the world. a companion who could share her thoughts so precisely..for instance. all the troublemakers always hark back to the Palestinian problem for their ammunition against your country. A free unified state is the only answer. Why don’t they see that?” They “Wrong leaders. then eased his boot into Ben’s belly. real courage. But it’s really a form of winning.” “I’d like to see it.284 inviting more human explosions. concerted support from their own people -.” Lan’s broaching of the subject.
“Then get down. “I’m thirsty.” Once again Lan had surprised her with his perceptive thoughtfulness. with his head angled over his shoulder. making her realize that she didn’t have to remain cut off from her homeland. Lan. times. Lan...” She stared He turned in his saddle and pushed back his hat.... my After she died I went there so many I could still have the wonderful flowers. They rode on in silence for half an hour.” “Yeah.it’s over two thousand feet taller than Mount Cook. white Mount Rainier floating on the horizon -. who rode slightly ahead of her... lifted the sandwiches out of the saddlebag and pulled the rolled blanket from behind the saddle.and the spring fields of flowers.but not Gran.” A vision flashed in her mind as she dismounted. until they could hear the rushing river and see its emerald banks. steamy greenhouses in winter snow. I’d like to. of course. dauntless grandmother.when you have some time. even.. Déjà vu. And. We’ll do it this fall. if you want.285 “We could go there. He stood a moment in silence. He swung off his horse.. make some plans to do that. be wonderful sharing it all with you.oh. bringing her peace of mind.. you can see massive. smoothing out one more wrinkle of worry.the place where ya grew up. Nice to I’d love it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . keep the good part of your past alive... Kate. It would Thanks. looking at her with a slight smile .thank you for suggesting it. The dazzle of An sunlight on the climbing green slopes swelled her heart. your spring. after Lan. epiphany of joy like a sweet pain shot through her. From the house It was never quite the same but still lovely.” “Yeah. Do ya miss it?” We’ll “The fragrant... yes.stay in the house.
Oh God.. then leaned back a short distance.. this with an incisive expression of encouragement beginning to astonish her. his voice full of amused irony.. balancing her knees upon the tan square of soft wool and watching him crouch beside her.” . “Do ya have something ya want to tell me.and ya didn’t trust me at all. what if Why were ya so bloody afraid of a ngakau joker like me?” he asked...” “And have I consumed ya?” “No. She dropped down.so. I found ya. His eyes held hers. tau aroha?” “Yes.. I’d never found you?” “Ya didn’t. running her fingers through his tousled thick black hair.so lucky to have you... Reaching out she pulled off his hat...you’re Mary’s son.I thought you would consume me..286 and a penetratingly soulful gaze that evoked a certain memory..and a little water.so relieved and full of hope.. “Well. When they were finished he spread the blanket..I thought.. For a long moment she feasted on his eyes as they traveled over her face and fastened upon her appraising gaze.. catching both her arousal and her intention to reveal something.. Lan. the fear I had was. “Oh. “I’m so lucky..” “Exactly what you have. “Ngakau?” He laughed.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” They tied the horses and walked to the river where they found a flat place between the rocks and lay on their bellies drinking... happy with myself and--” He bent toward her and stopped her words with a long and dissolving kiss. I went so crazy. you’ve made me feel so alive. so much more than I was.I was giving myself a kind heart.. “For me or for water?” “For you..most definitely for you. Lan.
. you’ll never lose me either.or whinge or. ipo.can’t run around on horses like a wild wahina much longer.” “I understand.. a part of me is growing in ya. I was beginning to worry about that. and let’s not dwell on that. Come here. How did you know?” I feel a lot when I look at ya.” “How did you know? I was about to say that this time I was the one with the shocking news... ya here this way. but--” “You’ll never lose me.because. bloody little Gordon-Manutane. What? Let’s be Braes.” He began to .ka mutu pea -... staring off at the rushing white river and finally speaking in a wondering voice. and you stole all the wind from my sails.because--” “Bloody right. Ah.here at the heart of Green Once I denied ya that.and ya get to have me. I want ya now....that’s the best...” “I thought so. let’s.. felt it. Jesus. because I feel the same about you..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” He stretched out his legs and lifted her onto his lap then rubbed his chin over her hair. Green Eyes..” “Come here. wondering if you’d ever. Kate. “I just knew it..” “I won’t do that either.. You’re a tough little journalist.287 “Are ya pregnant?” “Yes.” “Lan. except by something unforeseen.. Loving It means to complain. but I’m not going to let ya hurt yourself or get in harm’s way if I can help it. Ya don’t know that expression? happy.are you afraid of losing me.” “Yes.... Kate. “Jesus...” “Now don’t start treating me like fragile glass.yeah I am. I wouldn’t have done anyway. A I’ll have to watch ya. my urbane cowboy.
. Katharine smiled as a voice inside her head whispered.. of course I want to tell Mary. of her incredible gift. full of all the greens of our countries.in Maori.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . tell Mary right away?.” “I’m sorry. “Later we’ll eat our sandwiches.do ya want to our horses and go tell Mary. No. “Ya know all the right ways to have me. in one extraordinary sense the richness had turned out to be the fortune of green eyes.. He paused and looked at her. wait a I think that I want to watch you tell Mary. just perfect... the gift of this rich and varied life. minute.. Lan.” There came a sudden vision of her lost mother’s eyes. don’t ya.” He pulled her down against him on the blanket... mother.that and your green eyes. foxy Kate? It’s why I love ya so much. would be just delicious. gave her an appreciative kiss and said.bloody amazing these bottomless pounamu eyes.or wait awhile or--” “Oh.. get back on She’ll go round the bend. THE END .288 undo her jeans. Thank you..
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