Copyright Karlene Kubat 2002

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-

and sprawling over or beneath some fifty volcanic cinder cones. even harshly. for Auckland had almost none very tall. severely.6 heartedness. deceptively serene but startling malachite eyes and the ironic smile playing into a smirk of amusement. giving it a friendly village-like atmosphere for a city of nearly a million souls. Out of sight was out of mind Learning that in his bitter world of blame and self-absorption. too competent. She it was a mistake. Her first view of Auckland with its bustling harbor reminded her a bit of San Francisco. without the tall buildings. certain men were bound to fall in love with her. too unneedful to ever be thought of as a companion for more than a short season. there were also many she didn’t escape. once From that experience she had constructed a marvelous avoidance which involved a brief span of superficial friendliness and a comparatively hasty exit. 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. restored from Victorian times and retaining their flavor in trendy upscale shops and restaurants.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . from hers. from their point of view. Auckland glimmered in the sun nestled between the blue-green waters of its two harbors. too habitually independent. it was usually an imposition. simply to put her in her place. some with manicured emerald slopes holding remnants of a thousand-year old occupation. mistrust had come much earlier. knew that eventually they would tell her she was too smart. Waitemata and Manukau. Ultimately. Indeed many areas of the city were like unique villages. That recently less frequent transition could be a When this rare condition accompanied her pleasure to observe. Any longer and they might feel a strong desire to mistreat her. It had happened. A few indications of these Maori fortified villages known as pa . blundering into his path. adage saved her many a beating but.

allowing a cursory smile as she made her exit...” came the swift and. sporty conviviality. The hundreds of sailboat masts seen everywhere added an airy..” Katharine turned around and found herself looking into the rarest of dark eyes. as if she had been lightly struck. in the America’s Cup Village. “I’ve come for America’s Cup. and blithely announced to the clerk in a teasing voice.. “Not ever in the Hauraki Gulf.” she said. She felt a sharp sting of irritation as she swung through the glass doors and walked along Quay Street West.” The accent of her voice had of course made it clear that she was an American. heading over to the outdoor tables of a restaurant and bar called The Loaded Hog.7 remained as sacred sites -. a resonant male voice behind her said. as if an argument would be a delight. and still feeling cheerfully on holiday. she had walked into the New Zealand sailing team’s signature store of apparel and gifts. to her. “I think we will get our Cup back. different. Before the surprised clerk could mouth the same sentiment as the one which came resoundingly over her shoulder. accented reply.eventually. unrevealing of anything beyond a superficial interest. not without Kiwi sailors.ah well. an indelible stare which left her usual sharp wit stillborn in her throat: gold-ringed black eyes half teasing and amused. Not long after arriving in this North Island sea town. giving the city a special panache that welcomed Katharine with the promise of a buoyant and rejuvenating stay.a vivid counterpoint to the grand modern Skytower reaching into the clouds and offering a splendid view of near and far islands. she was cockily certain. for she had forgotten that she came in to buy a souvenir baseball cap. “Ya will never get it back. . yet with a strange fierceness resembling anger and. Yet it was something altogether Her smile faded.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .

His white shirt sleeves were fastidiously rolled. shaking her head in wonder and looking at her watch. The day was steamy warm. half in the shadow of a spreading umbrella and seated beside an attractive. 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. She turned around and saw the same very tan face and angular body. the entire city of Auckland could be described as a lot of sailing folk. Finally. occasionally glancing at her leather-strapped wristwatch and feeling the eyes. She sat sipping her beer. “Please bring me a large Guinness. Although.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . which she had . She rested her folded hands a bit rigidly in the lap of her tan linen slacks and stared toward the waiter at another table. and he was quite late. as it was just down the street from the wharf where most of the sailing syndicates were located. laying it over the empty chair at her table. and she removed the cream linen jacket that hung unbuttoned over her pale green silk blouse. “Is it?” she said softly and smiled to herself. and under the present circumstances she was more than a little annoyed. friendly place with all of those New Zealand accents flying back and forth across her table. for it was known as the City of Sails and one in ten Aucklanders owned a boat. She was supposed to meet a news photographer at two o’clock. the neck of the shirt open over a thorax well acquainted with the sun’s searing coloration. she had his attention and she said.” “Good on ya.8 It was a noisy. He leaned on one hand. Probably a lot of sailing folk. Katharine Gordon was always as punctual as she was punctilious in her work relationships. with what she was beginning to hear as an American accent.” came the arresting voice she had just escaped. dark-haired young woman.

and The man hesitated a moment. when it was handed to her by a tall frame ducking under the umbrella. Taylor glanced at the man and at her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lachlan Manutane.” while talking a mile a minute about having just come off a flash chase boat that would be used in the races.9 been unable to make herself meet a second time. and Taylor stuck out his hand. The air was muggy. She heard the name for the first time: Muh-nay-ta-neh -. an incredibly generous. “Thank you. In the next several minutes Katharine had to suffer in silence while her loose-tongued colleague chatted chummily with Lachlan Manutane. there were the relentless eyes again.the sound rang in her ears. What could possibly be so interesting about me? especially with a lovely woman like that seated nearby. boring into her back. and knew that her voice could not be heard it was so soft and far beneath the ubiquitous chatter driving against her ears. who occasionally glanced at her as her name came up. headache. she wondered. She looked away She felt the beginnings of a She looked up. As she was taking her last swallow the photographer. Perhaps this curious Kiwi finds Americans intriguing. . After years of necessary travel. Apparently he was the owner of a large sheep and She heard herself described as a cattle ranch on South Island. gleaming smile that she could not begin to reciprocate in her now flagging state. She felt the heat in her face. He smiled at her. introducing himself and then remembering to introduce Katharine. Cash Taylor. which Taylor had made no attempt to pick up. Her head at that precise moment began a furious throbbing. She was about to retrieve her jacket. across the green water.” she said. she was well accustomed to the extreme adoration or hatred Americans could generate. slid into the other chair. knocking her jacket to the cement and offering a lame “Sorry I’m late.

It’s Perhaps he very mistakenly thought he was doing my head. too miserable even to protest Cash Taylor’s vaunting manner and outrageous liberty in describing the way she handled her profession. laying out money for their bill and looking a bit forlornly off down the street. “I’m sorry. “Yes.” “This is my sister.10 sort of globetrotting Wonder-Woman reporter in town for the races.” Lachlan Manutane said in a voice that was the sound of his countrymen and yet a little impatient and capricious to her. Rani.but thank you. standing up. or . “Oh. Kate. I wouldn’t want to interrupt your.” Taylor said.. Just parked around the corner. can you snag a taxi? I said I’d have some tucker with the mates on the boat.. no.your It was nice meeting you. 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.. switching vowels around then biting them off or stretching them almost beyond comprehension and boxing the ears of eloquence. and then tuned the rest out. I think I need to get back to my room...sometimes the barometric pressure does that. Wait for me here..” What might have been Katharine’s customary reluctance. a taxi. her a service.” Manutane quickly explained as he stepped back to his table and offered her name to his sister: “Katharine Gordon. afternoon. She just managed an apologetic smile to his serious young female companion still seated at the next table and said. I’ll drop ya. dropping her head into her hands. “No worries.” she was at last forced to say. Rani. feeling a little faint and looking at Taylor. “Gee.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . pleased with his newly acquired verbiage and glancing at his watch. while I get Miss Gordon to her hotel.” she said.

why you’re here... He took the key out of her trembling hand. “It is sultry this time of the year in Auckland... I’ll get ya some ice. “That’s what we’re doing here.” he said. closed the covering her eyes. . “Will ya look at me.don’t. I think I’m going chair. her room. He pulled off her sandals.. then held the bundled ice gently against her forehead.” Then they were inside her room.11 possibly even dismissal. She remained silent. fumbling for her key.” “A migraine.” “No.thank you. The dark eyes assessing her condition... “Where I live it’s better -.” Your photographer mate has no manners..” she said and thought she would swoon or very soon vomit. muttering in a ragged voice when he returned. She was leaning against a Otherwise. opened the door and said.I need to lie down. I’ve “Fortuitous. curtains. please?” She lifted her pounding head and felt the weakness in her knees. She flung herself on the bed and rolled onto her back.South Island.” room. dry hot wind. figuring it out. “Ya really do have a headache.. “Come. “I. and he was bringing ice from somewhere.. a dark I have some pills.. better. “Need some help.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . to vomit.” “Please. I don’t know you. “Can ya hold this while I get a glass of water?” She grasped the cold bundle.something cool on my head. wrapped in a wash cloth. was overcome with pained urgency as she got into his Range Rover and silently rode the few blocks over to the Hyatt Regency.” “I’m sorry.” She didn’t move. Just let me go in and lie down.understand.. closed her eyes and moaned softly with the waves of pain. I think. Light and sound were becoming unbearable. He walked her all the way to the door of She had not looked at him once.

if it could be achieved. it was he who had brought her the two pills which so efficiently knocked her out. An essential prescription There was no cure for a migraine but unconsciousness. She called down for a sandwich and ate it before the television. that anyone else had been there. She stared in awe at the .” “I’m just going away for a little while. No. Here.” *** “Please.. mama. watching a tourism station which was touting lovely.. please. she always carried. Katie-bird.” “No. mama. 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.” he said.12 never seen eyes like yours.” “I can’t just leave ya. but had no idea what time it was as she squinted at the digital clock. switching on a bedside lamp and staring around the room. “I’ll stay with ya until ya fall asleep.just leave me. which was essentially gone. please don’t leave me. Green as the Hauraki Gulf. and then leaping whales off Kaikoura and joyful porpoises choreographing their playful frolicking in the airy world above the sea surface. Pangs of hunger were at least a sign of returning lucidity. Suppose they’ll help. Ten o’clock. another one. crying out and sweating in a dark room. Then she remembered Lachlan Manutane and sat up. 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. There was no sign Perhaps she had imagined him.. What room? Where? She remembered the headache.” “No. swallowed is working.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Take swallow this.” Katharine struggled up from her dream.from your kit bag. I won’t ever see you again. but of course not.. mama.

fierce. tan forehead. they reached maturity at the ripe old age of 1. having dallied in the Skytower casino. just in time to run his shutter for the accompanying photographs. she vetoed herself. but surprisingly gentle and ministering.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . work. I’ll try to find an address and send him a thank No I won’t. By the end of the following day Katharine. had managed to interview two of the men who would be crewing on the sleek Kiwi boat. herself. and had also obtained rather interesting comments from their wives. Their extruded Magnificent at two hundred feet and with a massive girth which dwarfed the human figure. she decided.500 years. Periodically his face. but the strange eyes altogether amused. an outdoorsman’s tan. The pain had precluded any consideration of this special attention. with her usual methodical perseverance. and now it came to her that it was certainly a generous kindness. this time along with dinner at Gault’s on Quay -. powerful. brook no foolishness. The tall dark figure leaning over her with the ice. cheek bones. listening to their history. Later over a glass of chardonnay. She had not thanked him and suddenly thought of herself as another ugly would be rather embarrassing to . better to forget about it and get on with her Taylor had arrived late. unsummoned and unsettling. remembering his face. weatherized hands. and unreadable. gum was nearly indestructible and much prized. his voice flashed across her mind. but nothing else must be set It was only a passing kindness. she reminded Still. a full firm mouth and a straight Gaelic nose. Cash They would More benignant eyes than those had once None of that mattered. An intelligent well molded face with high you note.13 giant kauri trees. in motion. abused her. black waves of hair above that high.

swallowing a bite of perfectly seared swordfish. do you want to meet some guys I know? have long sailboats and fat wallets. in fact.14 run into Lachlan Manutane again at The Loaded Hog -. I can’t keep people waiting while you lounge on someone’s sailboat. The brash blue eyes. Cash. all right. in a sleeveless chiffon dress.she complained to Cash about his haphazard attention to business. me work. and the gold earring were all of a piece well familiar to her in the world in which she moved. cut loose. She was never at ease with this marvelous superficialty. or swill beer somewhere out of range.. took another swallow of her chardonnay and studied Cash with her head turned to one side. duchess. Cash? Have you lost it completely?” They “I mean.well. 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.” she wild and curly bleached blond hair. I’ll get there. Hey. “I...” The evening was again sultry and this time she was dressed for it. repulsed by it.. aren’t you?” She put down her fork. you So in the future when we need a You’re really going to make was often. but when I do business I do business and I’m on time for my appointments. Everything he wore would most certainly have the appropriate label.sort of unusual and a. shoot will you please--” “All right. with a band in college.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and some of them might even go for your type: the smart lady journalist who sings rhythm and blues. gamble away the hours. land. too. “Oh come on.. and red high-heeled sandals. “Look. know your reputation precedes you. openfronted violet silk shirt. white with red flowers. Cash was staring brazenly at her . have thought this was rather like a holiday.

private gathering while sojourning in a strange place.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . As the late afternoon progressed. Nearer the water there was a gentle breeze. grinders. staring out at the sloshing opaque green waters. Upon their first encounter Katharine felt that she had possibly found a heavy-weather friend. that you’re on time for the morning shoot with the U. herself. And this time you pay the bill. 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. is the last time I’ll be dining with you. She remained standing for a while. and she wanted to douse him with her full water glass. placed her thinstrapped red leather purse over her shoulder and sauntered out of the restaurant. her first impression was augmented by Margaret’s demonstrated perspicacity. a cool and level head with a genuine interest in others and a much appreciated sense of humor. Her inclusive rather than exclusive manner was especially .S. The equator was up north. Singing I think this You work a lot Please see better when you’re wearing ear muffs and a parka. and swinging are two different things in my book. Cash. *** Helmsman Ian Smith was a skilled and experienced man of the sea. stood up. down. in just that mood of alienation and gratitude she decided to turn up.15 breasts. 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. “I’m afraid my type finds your type off the chart. 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. Okay?” She finished her chardonnay. and quite adept at dealing with the constant stream of people surrounding their competitive lives.

Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” We’re all used to that. Katharine followed the trim young woman. was partially ringed with a thick stand of golden-trunked bamboo. The large back yard was a veritable jungle of broad-leaved plants and spidery clusters of flowers in various colorful hues. suppose.” “Really. this is lovely. do. focusing on her tan shorts and blue shirt and the enviably long tan legs. so lush. a veiled loneliness for friendship never very intentionally addressed.. and pointed to the brick walk leading around to the back of the sprawling house.since I’ve had the nerve to arrive early. Guess I’m a cold-blooded Northwestern American.” “Oh. This sultry weather really takes me down. everything else. it was perched on a cinder cone hill in a suburb of Auckland. Please tell me what I can It I’d like to make myself useful. it is a bit sultry. I Margaret fluffed her feathery hair with quick fingers. “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.” Margaret assured her.” Katharine laughed. The Kiwis were rousingly competitive when it came to the race against the Americans. “No such thing as rudely early around here. “Oh. Ya could arrange some silver on that table at the end of the deck while I answer the phone.” “Yeah. “I travel light and this chiffon thing is cool.” “Just call me Kate and I’ll respond to all directives.” The caterers will do most . “Am I rudely early?” Katharine had asked as she came up the walk of the Smith’s large white bungalow-style house. I’m flattered that you’ve come early.. Katharine. and the rest of the perimeter pungent eucalyptus trees.16 endearing to Katharine’s lonely heart.

” “But you. in this beautiful country so far away from the threat and strife of the troubled world?” Katharine asked.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . You Kiwis really have no idea Everything was moving just fine. My country has great beauty. our narrow little roads get pretty jammed sometimes. “What must it be like to grow up in this beautiful life. We’re a part of this troubled world. problems.” Margaret said. Sometimes the freeways are just giant parking lots.... “Yeah. unemployment. We have our wonky Family politicians and plenty of other troubles. and they sat down in lawn chairs on the patio and visited in the few minutes left to them before the others arrived.. but things aren’t always spot on around here. I took a shuttle in from the airport and heard homecoming passengers complaining about the traffic jam on the motorway. same as everywhere else. and we were lucky enough to have . My brother and I learned to sail when we were still practically little anklebiters. Seattle has one of the most congested freeways in the nation.” “At least you don’t yet have a population problem.. any traffic jam. a lot of us have been lucky and we’re heaps proud of our must have had a wonderful childhood with all of this incredible variation in nature to play in.” “Well.or I guess you’d say car parks. “All that being true. what a traffic jam looks like. I didn’t see It looked like clear sailing to me..” “Yeah. I still have to add that every life and every place has its own sort of strife.17 Katharine said with cheerful laughter. alcoholism. and I hope you never find out. Margaret.and the sailing. but you have to travel a long way for the diversity you apparently have condensed in these two lovely islands. Margaret returned with tall frosty glasses of iced tea.

” Margaret said.” “It seems to me that you could hike around North and South Island all of your life and never run out of spectacular places. creating interesting abstract shadows among the lacy. her history. I’ve only seen videos of your parks on television but they’re a mouthwatering temptation. leaning forward and touching Katharine’s arm. It had taken her years to realize what was happening to her and to learn to cope with it. “I didn’t have a conventional one. Jennifer says you’re being paged. The end result was always a consuming guilt. didn’t like talking about herself. it was like pointing the finger at a self which had done something shameful.. “We’ll talk more later. Yes. but I got high marks at school. I was a worthless child. your family? What did ya do?” Margaret asked. webbed floral bracts and spiky plants. take-charge body already in motion.had a grandmother who took very good care of me when she finally took charge. with her lively. Darkness slid across the sky.. Within an hour the spacious back yard had been transformed into a cheering section for the Vulcan’s Fire crew and the entire syndicate. Katharine sat on a bench under arching sprays of vivid pink bougainvillea.” a They were well into .18 a family that liked to tramp all over the place. something cloudy and vague that would involve puffery somewhere else to counteract an obscure wrongdoing which could never or must never be revealed. discursively chatting in journalese with a sports writer for the New Zealand Herald. a guilt which could actually change her chemistry. the conflicting aspects of reportage.” Katharine said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine sipped her iced tea with intentional evasiveness and thankfully noticed that people were starting to arrive. She Ultimately. and the lights strung through the trees winked on. not always successfully. Phillip. “Excuse me. “What about you.

You really Well. smell of eucalyptus was delicious. “What are you doing here?” The “I might ask the same question. Still smiling.” came a voice springing out of the recent past. your kindness.headaches. Mr.. for he truly seemed to be enjoying their talk...” “Ah. Katharine sat staring at the crowd of buzzing. Lachlan Manutane Ya looked more relaxed before ya Ya did say it Do ya go by Kate?” . “Ian and I were schoolmates. to see him win...but ya were drinking Guinness.totally lost my manners. almost a part of something solid and ongoing and admirable. even when I give my wife the pager I can’t escape.” Lachlan Manutane said. the words just audible over the band warming up at the foot of the garden.did I say it right?” “I understood how ya were the other day.didn’t mean to sound so. “My friends always.” “Yes.” After Katharine had sat back down... it cures one thing and causes another. 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.” “Will ya please sit down. right but I’d rather hear Lan. I’ve known him just that long.” “I’m careful.” the sports writer said in a regretful voice.” “I’m sorry.. With her back against the cooling verdure and the stars coming out she felt almost comfortable. state that I.yes. surprised me.. right. “Ah. It’s why I’ve come north..19 voice sang out from the dim shadows. Manutane. laughing voices. He rose and left to answer his call. “Even in this bosky darkness I can tell you’ve no headache tonight.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . saw me....” “You’ve no glass in your hand.. “Oh!” Katharine cried out as she jumped to her feet and turned around.

not a and her heart began to speed up. of a friendly encounter and yours are two entirely different things.. things. Careful. She couldn’t look away. Katharine. placing his empty glass below the bench. it doesn’t translate as casual. then reached toward her and lifted her chin until he had her averted eyes fixed on his. a stranger.” “When I’m thoroughly interested in something. glint. but this time jeans and deck shoes without socks. snapping up straight.. She reminded herself that he had watched her as the anodyne carried her from pain into sleep. “What does it cure?” “What?” “Alcohol..” She turned toward him for the first time and stared into his face. very casual remark. She was now far from relaxed. the dark eyes holding the small sparkling lights that hung above in the trees. surprised that he would touch her like that. Something had ignited inside of her. glowing in the darkness. It must have been the intimacy resulting from the headache.. He smiled.or boredom?” “What?” she said. nerves. I suppose.20 casually settled beside her. “Am I causing nerves. His wristwatch flashed a gold She watched his allusive lips curve over even white . Before his hand dropped..someone. vulnerability in a shared experience evoking a certain affinity.” “Oh. his idea “That’s. Her wary head quickly dropped. taking in his apparel. her head had stiffened and trembled. He moved closer. and hopeful of keeping her Too close to this man and she seemed to forget distance. A cooling breeze brushed against her flushed face. staring off at the band.. Another white shirt.” she said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . raising his hand to thrust his fingers through a lock of hair blown into his eyes.

but you’re so. us you’d dance. Sorry to be so. it occurs to me that you might only be interested in one thing.” “And I’m more?” she said with flippant sarcasm.I’m just. Kate? Bloody sure I’m behaving myself... “There ya are.” She tossed her head with a flash of anger at his accuracy.” You’re a stroppy little wahine. but I’m just here in New Zealand on business. too. but I’m working.. “Why should I fool around with inane banter to get where we already are? Ask Margaret. If only she What knew more people here. “I think.I’m not really who. her eyes searching through the crowd for Margaret.” she began.” he said.” A pretty young girl with a bouncing black braid and wearing shorts and a halter came hurrying up.and I really--” “And ya don’t know me. and felt a wash of relief. without showing anything at all. Rani. 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.21 teeth. It may not look like it at the moment.. Ya promised. “Why’re ya so skittish. “Oh for heaven’s sake! I think so.. Come and dance with us. . “What? It’s just that you. She’ll tell ya I’m direct. around for one thing. Lan. Margaret..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Ya promised Come on. Katharine realized it was Lachlan’s sister..” “I’ve recognized ya.. There are plenty of bodies Sometimes more is wanted.. Come and rescue me. and said. and then swallowed slowly as she tried to think how to get away without showing any emotion..” “Now you’re insulting me..” I thought I’d heard them all.... “I’m trying to find out. direct. Kate.familiar. “Since you don’t know me from Eve.I’m sorry.

“It’s an expression ya haven’t heard. and. her eager voice almost desperate. and then I saw ya talking to Phillip..ya have no self-esteem?” . How are you?” Katharine swiftly chimed in.. Even when she turned to walk away. and Katharine was sorry she had chosen such an isolated place to enjoy the garden.” “I’m not. “Box of birds. being the polite fellow that I am.why you’ve decided to--” “What.” “I was trying to spare ya that..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Hello.” “Are ya married?” “No. “You spoke Maori to Rani.” “Then you’re free to do what ya want.. enjoying her baffled reaction with a thoroughly self-indulgent rush of laughter. shaking her head and looking very disturbed.” Lachlan said with a low cool voice.” “How did you happen to find me hidden away here. “What?” Katharine responded with surprise. You’re acting bloody rude. until she vanished into the somewhat removed but noisily chattering crowd. she’s doing just great.” Rani answered. “It means But she won’t be doing just great if she doesn’t take her little backside out of here right now. Lachlan threw back his head. “Haere atu.. Once again they were quite alone.. she could be seen looking over her shoulder from time to time. Nice to see you again. Rani..just told her to rack off.” Rani backed up slowly. anyway?” “I was watching ya earlier. I was once. sorry because she was not at all in control of herself.” “I don’t understand why you’ve fastened on me.” he said. waited until ya were free.

.. when your work was finished.” “Was I ordering ya around? expressing my pleasure. there is something I’d like to ask you.” “I’ve admired it in the shops.” “Pounamu?” “Greenstone. “Yeah. “What?” “It’s an old Scottish expression of my mother’s. I was only Is there But here ya are. Ya have pounamu eyes and you’re no nonsense.. something you’d like to ask me?” “You really are quite amazing. Yes.enough to get by.Lan..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .23 “Yes..” “You’ve seen nothing...” Here. It’s very beautiful.” “The day my work is finished is the day I leave.but ya will.and pride in my country. almost caving her knees. Sonsy. all with names.” Katharine said.. He put his hand on “Where is the Southern her shoulder..” “Good. many kinds.. true nephrite.. please understand that I’m a very independent person. I don’t take well to being ordered around. Cross?” He laughed softly then stood up and said.means good fortune. I mean I’ve never.. I do.” They walked over into the shadows beside the trunks of bamboo and looked up at the star-filled sky. fortuitous. “I didn’t intend to look for ya again until after the races....” Please excuse me.” “Lachlan. lucky. “Come away from these lights.” “Ya don’t like my country?” “It must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. He pulled her in against his chest and pointed overhead into the myriad .jade. and she felt an electric pulse shooting through her in that touched spot..the little I’ve seen of it. dropping her head back to study the sky.

four lovely stars on your flag. She could feel her entire body trembling out of It frightened her. part of a ceremony.. It was he who drew back.. “A Maori gesture.. but there was nothing she could do about it. but. control. Can ya see it? Wonderful. “The sharing of life breath.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she had thought. his refined Scottish nose. but her hands didn’t work. She thought she was resisting that overconfident mouth. manuhiri.” she said in a whispery voice. Right there. intended that her hands push him away. She was far beyond any slight anticipation or the barely imagined. she still saw the curl of smile. At last She really “I don’t.” He spun her around and stared down into her startled eyes. She was working and in the wrong place for anything like this. sent her floating up into the realm of the Southern Cross. Nothing worked but the desire to go on and on cradled in that powerful surge of commingled longing..” she heard him say softly. then the delicate propriety vanished in unrestrained indulgence. wanted to do about it. closed. or worse.24 stars..yes. beyond even fear. With eyes The gently increasing force of his pliant mouth.oh. the angle of his chin. and remembered that nosetouching was a Maori greeting. “Follow my hand.” How wonderful. the shadowed well at his throat. sliding over her parched lips. “Hongi. I’ve seen the Southern Cross. looking at her and then catching . wanted that drink. Instead. beyond the ridiculous. he perhaps gave her the chance to refuse his embrace.” For a few wavering seconds. His faint scent of Scotch and citrus made her suddenly crave a swallow of her favorite old iced Scotch with its twist of lemon. she was looking at his tilted face. then drew her slowly in until their noses just touched.. warm and whiskey-tinged.

” “What is a. ka pai.” “There. Will ya let me take ya sailing?” “I’m sorry. .. also means thanks. yeah. just a visitor. ya see? to insist. but had never been kissed with an effect that folded her body as though she had been shot. please.drinking anything..thank you. “Margie.” “I rather enjoy teasing ya.. Lan.. She turned back to Katharine and said. winking at Katharine who blushed thoroughly and was glad for the welcome darkness. making a toast. Now I’ll have here while I toast Vulcan’s Fire and its soon-to-be-triumphant helmsman.” Lachlan said.” “And that’s what I am.” “Don’t. “You’re drunk on something..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. That’s confusing. Ya are going to come sailing with me. “Bloody-hell. and just in time before I lose my head... but Ian is looking for ya. laughing and pointing through the ginger leaves at Rani who was dancing flamboyantly with one of the grinders.” “There you go again. though. have ya really drunk nothing?” “I don’t remember..I don’t think so.and I do thank ya.” “Oh. coming up to them..strange little manuhiri. She had withstood being shot at.. Kate. Embarrassed.a manuhiri?” “Just a visitor.. she held on to steady herself.” “Excuse me.I don’t understand. there ya are.” “Ah. please talk to my friend He’s “I’m So much for good manners. so sorry to interrupt.. “I hope you’re This must be quite a different scene from enjoying yourself..” Margaret said..good.” Margaret sat down..25 her teetering self.” The expression This is “I only said it was quite all right.” He laughed and said.when your work is finished...

wanting very much to know more but disinclined to pry.. tell me to shut up. and even before Margaret spoke Katharine knew she was thinking of Lachlan Manutane. and his mother is a Scot. Ian’s best friends. one he ruled all right. he is.” “What a choice compliment. her father threatened to disown her. bloody nearly made it into a kingdom.. not especially because he was Maori. Margaret. “Oh. He actually came to admire Rang Manutane -.. When she fell in love with Rang. They’re beastly I hear. although I’ve never thought of any of my work as very normal. But you. She was an only child. a handsome laborer on the station. “Yeah. mind ya. but I’ll tell ya a few things that I know. I can see that you’re quite curious about I would not gossip behind his back.” “No. His father was Maori..” “Yes.” Katharine said. never had one. her father had ..and. quick to explain her short encounter If with Lachlan and her headache. “It seems to me that you’ve met Lan before this party. but because her father had wanted her to marry the son of adjoining lands and combine their stations. I’ve I just get the flimsy little ones that can be knocked down with an aspirin.” Katharine said. given time. as they say. Even his given are so wonderfully normal.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Donald McGregor. the heiress of heaps of sheep Her brusque hulk of a father. Mary McGregor.a very different sort of person. Rang Manutane.he was named after his He’s a very old friend. I’m prying.26 your normal work. and cattle lands on South Island. him. pulls no punches. one of maternal great-grandfather.” “Lachlan is. I feel as if I’ve known you all of my life.” There was a moment of silence. he would probably tell ya himself. of course.. I’m sorry.the man was a genius with animals -. He’s very direct. Lucky me.

Mary’s ten-year-old daughter drowned in a flood while on horseback. daughter--” “Oh. so does his mother who learned the language to honor his father..spurns most excess. . As a boy he went through a rather wild period. holdings into a very profitable business. Her She had married Rang. generous to the Vulcan’s Fire Syndicate. She’s Maori and adopted.... I think she’s ill. good girl essentially...owns a restaurant here. Rani understands Maori.. a She’s Lan. In the end he left Mary the entire station... Mary wanted a girl.... older than she appears. Lan treats her like a child. He has always gone back and forth between Pakeha.for whom he really cared. and they ran the place together. lovely Rani. and Rani was a foundling child.. Rani is no blood kin..27 no other heir. and Maori cultures.their private language.. and leans toward the teachings of his father. He’ll always be Ian’s friend.” “So Lachlan Manutane is a prominent sheep rancher?” “Oh.has turned his speak much. and there’s a Thoroughbred stud farm down west of Lake Taupo that belongs to him.. but quite spoiled.anyway a recluse. but his wise father soon straightened him out..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .a very shrewd businessman. But it wouldn’t have He’s simple in his tastes.twenty-two. but I’ve never heard her Lan was educated at Oxford. except for a few interests in which he indulges. whom he certainly adores. He tries to be a big brother to Rani and do what is best for her because it’s the wish of his mother. or businesses. that is white.couldn’t have children after She’s terribly spoiled.” “No. Maori always have good He’s been quite positions on his places and in his businesses... mattered. yes. I really think she stays in that childish mode because she gets so much attention that way..speaks fluent Maori. much more. I’ve heard mother and son converse in Maori. I believe.

the daughter of a Maori chief. my heart to hear that.” Katharine said.absolutely breathtaking.he drank a lot for a while.. as I say.. “Oh. “I imagine Lachlan would be considered quite a catch for some worthy girl. that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. There are those who thought he might marry Rani. but it isn’t “Oh. He was never found.before they even catch on to what’s happening..quite a moving story.. I’m beginning to stray into a place that is none of my business. He likes to do his own choosing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I hope ya aren’t going to write the most beautiful and clever girl ya could ever imagine. and I’m sure he’d consider that incestuous.. exactly my professional cup of tea. I really doubt he’ll ever There are any number of women who’d fall at his feet. She had suddenly thought of the opening line of Pride and Prejudice and was smiling over that: IT IS a truth universally acknowledged. of course. although they seem to have little in common. He was never quite the same -.” “I could.” “It certainly broke his.” “Good lord.. But.the saddest story. find anyone like that again. he was married.. She died of a rare form of leukemia. with ya. even though...28 His father was fishing at sea with friends when their boat capsized a few years ago in one of those sudden wicked storms.” It really pains “Oh.really almost a magazine piece in itself.. and then he just suddenly straightened up and went on with empire building. deftly and politely.I’ve seen him do it.” Katharine laughed. no. So now ya have a bit of personal history to take home ..” “I’ll say. but he’d step over them -.” “How interesting this all is.. so sad. Margaret. they’re not blood related.

information. Ya really can’t think of leaving without a good dose of the beauty that exists here. and I’ve still seen almost nothing of it. “Oh. Perhaps I wish I had time. Come.” Margaret said. Margaret. make sure the caterers don’t accidentally walk off with my silver. tragic information which she had just acquired only made her want to run faster -. The She had enough misery resulting from her own history. She suddenly realized that if Margaret now asked her friends for a helpful tour guide. I’d take ya to some lovely places. this kind of nature.mix it in with theirs. sandflies. and my head feels . I’m so sorry but I have to leave. perhaps he thought she could presently fill that need.. Her head was awash with new She wondered what Lachlan had expected from that ruinous kiss. She took ahold of Margaret’s arm before they reached the others and said. Certainly.her proclivity for empathic sympathy would make her quite vulnerable. Lachlan would step forward and assume that role simply for his own entertainment. and you don’t even have anything here that bites. and. I have some early business to attend. we’ll find someone to show ya New Zealand. 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. away and explore. let me introduce ya to a few more of the others. Margaret. he required some more in-depth exchanges from time to time. certain it was time to change the subject.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .29 “I’m really falling in love with this land. and walked along with Margaret. places on the tourist channel. “I’d better go check on a few things. of course. shook out the airy skirt of her dress.” Katharine said. No thank you. standing up..” “Just one quite rare little poisonous spider: katipo.” Katharine stood up. “I did see those incredible They just made me want to run I’m crazy about nature.

” “Sorry. Green Eyes.. winners.and a lot pissed-off. Us..damn you!” Katharine shouted at the dead phone.not at all. Lachlan...” “What? Who? Oh. The late breakfast she ordered in her room came with a red hibiscus flower.damn you. “Yes? Hello?” “Kate.” *** Very early in the morning. taxi..” “No.. I hope we can spend more time together before I leave. ya could have let me drive ya back.30 a little punk.. What did Margie say to ya at that piss-up? meet. night. please don’t bother anyone. I enjoyed our talk. By the time she recovered from her outrage Good enough to stop tossing and turning it was nearly time to get up.this time you kissed the wrong one. I’ll call a Thank you so much for inviting me. “And I hope ya won’t leave until you’ve There’s a phone in the hall.. a sealed envelope.” “Incredible.I’m.. God. pounamu eyes..can’t risk another headache.. and a smallish. Katharine’s phone rang and once again it took a few seconds to remember where she was.... And I’ll look forward to getting together.I’m sorry but I’m no good at casual relationships when I’m working.. because I’m bloodyhell not through with ya.” “I’ll have someone drive ya back. We’ll toast the properly seen New Zealand. Kate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .that’s drunk to you -. we’ll just forget about the casual remark right now because I’m too drunk to argue.” “Look.” “Well. She must’ve told ya I don’t kiss every woman I Lan.. it’s three o’clock.” Margaret frowned. gold-covered . but I’m a little pissed -. As for the rest. I’ll wait until you’re quite finished with your work. I mean.

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. and the Kiwis and Americans anything else. she was talking. never have called and spoken as I did. typing away and sending back stories to the magazine which held the contract for all of her New Zealand work. a very beautiful and mysterious piece of jade.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . because I was the foolish chap swallowing. She stuck her hands into the pockets of her bath robe and walked slowly around the table which held these items. her hand dangling over the side grasping the note as she stared into space. “Oh. talking to all sorts of people in and around and involved with the races. and she slipped the black cord over her head and walked to the mirror.31 gift box. The object in the box is called Totoeka. “you know you can’t keep this. . Please forgive my conduct. Green Eyes. Still. like a mongoose circling a cobra. It seemed that no one could talk or think of The races had begun. I’ll see you after the races.” *** When Katharine wasn’t sitting in her room with her laptop. Lan She sat with her arms resting on the chair. cool feel of it vibrated in her hand. Kate. remembering precisely how she had celebrated her first view of the Southern Cross. I would have sworn that you would not do what you did last night: Leave without saying good-bye. was a large pendant.” she said to the moist green eyes in the mirror. and is a rare form of the stuff your eyes are made of. carved in an oblong convex shape to accent the gorgeous vermilion streak curling diagonally through its green field like a rushing red river. Finally she snatched the envelope The note read: Katharine up in two fingers and broke its seal. and pulled off the lid of the square gold box. The smooth. Thinking of it even now.

Her only problem was keeping Cash Taylor He did perform his in line for the various shoots she arranged. Whoever maneuvered into the most favorable position at the start more frequently emerged the winner. and she knew it could not be. articles tailored to captivate the magazine’s carefully researched readership. she concluded that. but his idea of punctuality was more laid back than she had ever seen it. the win was decided at the starting gun. too. and he was pushing her good nature and high spirits to the edge with his frequent tardiness. barring strange and unforeseen accidents and exceptional boat design. big twentyseven meter Vulcan’s Fire was consistently perfect to the second. Watching them fly through the mercurial course out on the green Hauraki Gulf.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and rewatching later on television each night. They were taking over the entire Fortuna Restaurant quarters. and Ian Smith was a master at getting it right. I’ll have a ticket sent over to your hotel. where she could bite her nails in seclusion. The smooth starting-point jockeying of the Kiwi helmsman and his crew in their top-of-the-line.” Margaret said with a congenial flutter of her hand as she spun off toward the syndicate offices. There was no lack of material for her deftly written stories.32 were battling it out in well-matched and finely tuned vessels. and she intended to put in an appearance there. and come . quite an accommodating space which normally offered a huge and varied buffet but would be turned into a spacious party hall complete with orchestra. “You’re invited. work well. When they ran into each other on the crowded wharf. Margaret had just enough time to tell Katharine that there would be a large celebration at the Skytower if the Kiwis won. The Americans had invited Katharine to a smaller gathering. They made it look as easy as an aerobatic bird on the wing.

Before her. position reigned. the last time. For She stared at her television screen. inadvertently pondering small details and the intense directness of his gaze. glad that it was the deserving Kiwis.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . made no attempt to approach her. She saw Lachlan Manutane only a couple of times from a distance. Still.33 late to the Kiwi event. She desired to know much more about him. sorry for the Americans but. With patriotic anguish. certain she would not be missed. 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. regret at what might have been was better than suffering over the demise of a deeper attachment. Margaret’s friendly inclusion topped a list of other invitations which Katharine intended to forego. The initial jolt of excitement at seeing him left her foolishly adrift in confusing territory. acing the American’s out of the favored side of good wind and sealing their fate. She waved and turned away He had with her briefcase laptop attached to her other hand. 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. was another rerun in which a beaming Ian Smith raised high America’s . in another war zone. She would soon be back Standing on various brinks of disaster swiftly banished disabling imbroglios of the self. *** The race was over. This time was different. She had It was only the introduction to an assignation that would shortly end with herself in misery. at once more thrilling than offensive. as different as the man himself. whatever the outcome. What to do about the exquisite jade pendant? decided it must be given back. It was not an unfamiliar pattern. except previously the misery had been short-lived or nonexistent. if someone had to beat them.

untouched glass in her hand. Katharine fingered through her closet.she was always in the market for clever and definitive one-liners -.34 Cup.and then standing half hidden near a potted palm. “The Auld Mug seems to like it here. instead of her usual style of French roll. 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. ya look like. Just those things She would and a modest pair of opalescent pearls in her ears.I . full. taking it all in in her comforting role of observing journalist. slipping out an airy crepe evening dress she had splurged on in a trendy shop in the upscale inner suburb of Parnell.. Katharine thought the Auld Mug was rather generous of itself.. Indeed. It was black with an almost demure. Looking in her mirror. ferreting for tidbits of useful information -.” Katharine held a “Good lord. spaghetti-strapped bodice. 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. as she habitually found herself doing. Kate?” Margaret asked with a surprised scrutiny of Katharine when she spotted her standing by a thick yucca spreading above a large jardiniere. would imagine a New York model.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Evening wear which artfully molded itself over her slender curving body very appealingly and without vulgarity.” “I’m an observer. probably end up discreetly chatting here and there. after-five ambience.” he was boasting. I was hoping for unobtrusiveness. having once been smashed at its current residence by a protester wielding a sledgehammer. *** “Is that really you. a straight but filmy short skirt below a plain.

“Where have ya been? I was looking for ya earlier. but they’re pretty good sports. white shirt.. course. She was consumed with a desire to run. love..” “Wait. some other more needy folks. that very assertive accented male voice made She did lift it.” More determined than ever.a lot of long faces. but Margaret had already vanished.oh. tilted “I don’t lifting the glass almost a necessity. standing firm and watching the tall form in navy blazer. “Isn’t it grand? Ian is several meters off the ground.” “They were no slouches. and he looks as surprised as I did.” she whispered to herself. and gray slacks stride forward.” Katharine begged.” “I was at an American wake. her earnest voice carried a sincerity trailing no hint of the false blandishments heard in some other quarters. run in any direction that held a door through which she could escape. you’ll nivver bring it off with that hair and costume. “You coward. of “Have ya had anything to eat. The food is good.” this splendid land and feeling full of good will. She was wearing a tropics-inspired pale blue dress that matched the color of her happily crinkled eyes...” “Well. “Please don’t drink that. want ya getting a headache.” She had not meant to drink even a sip from her flute of champagne.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .35 “Well. Kate? “I’m afraid I ate at the other place.” he said with a grin that she immediately thought of as difficult to work against.” Margaret said. at least. I see Lan headed our way. . That’s certain. and laughed with all the fervor of her triumphant mood. Now.” Here in “This bested American is so happy for you all. Guess I’ll run off and tend to Spotcha.

not who ya seem to think I am. I. “And please don’t insult me with bad manners... Thank you so much for your kindness. not at all. I can’t do this. let me be.36 it and drank half. “There.while I. He looked at it a moment and then at her while he quickly slipped the cord over her head.” She reached into her purse.. While ya were running off at the mouth with false assumptions.” His curled mouth reminded her far too much of that Southern Cross moment.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. the smile stalled. lifted out the pendant and laid it in the palm of his hand. but impatient now. for Christ’s sake? Pardon my language. I’m sorry we have to stand here like this while I tell you. But I can’t do this. wonderful. either.. lovely pendant. ya look wonderful. “Will ya give it to me. “And I’m not in the mood for a long story.. but I’m royally insulted.and then I think you should leave me alone. “That spoke volumes...whakaturi. Maybe Cash said Really. paused a moment then drank the other half.” he said in a low voice. I know you meant well.I have the pendant in my purse. I’m going to hand it to you.. what she had said.. and I want you to take it.. She hated Please just Gold-ringed eyes like tannin-black forest pools pulled her into their depths. Look..I don’t do this.. it was a soft word beginning with an f sound and spoken mostly to himself...more than Ya look--” “Lan. I’m Do ya really think I’d let some wally photographer spot a woman for me. freeing her hair from the cord without explaining the Maori word.. I want to ..please just take it and say no more.I’m not who you think I am.” He tossed back his head as if to rid himself of sudden irritation. things to you and you’ve mistaken me for. First of all. Nevertheless. I was wondering just how ya ever imagined ya could read my mind.. I can’t accept the lovely.

Very soon I probably will have a headache.. and she stared at his hand there. I will let you take me back to my hotel. because I’ve really had enough of this. was he who would put them there.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but the worry was that this time she would be the one to attempt throwing away the key. “Your place?” “I have a house on the harbor in Herne Bay. You’re late. stay when I’m in Auckland. She could clearly see the end of this. I’ve been very compliantly waiting an Let’s get out of here. as if they were both combating something else. His It’s where I We’ll haul it over to my place. “All right.. Outside the Hyatt Regency.. even while she was saying. My luggage is packed in my room and ready to leave with me in the morning. he told her to stay put while he retrieved her luggage and checked her out. his voice even sounding commiserating.” touch astonished her because of what it did to her body. eternity for that. afraid of what she herself would do. happened when she became afraid. and we’ve done all the celebrating here either of us needs to do.” It was what She tossed her hair back in angry frustration.” “What?” she asked in astonishment.. only holding her arm as if she might escape and moving along the sidewalk until they reached his Range Rover. angry that he so readily grasped her predicament. “What kind of shape is your duffle in?” “My. The unrelenting intensity of Lachlan Manutane encircled her as forcefully as if she were already locked in a room with him.this misunderstanding. . “I said.” He took her arm. She flew into a It jittery tantrum. angry for abetting a delusion.” “That’ll make it easy.37 be alone with wait a minute. He said nothing and made no move to console her. let’s get out of here.

slightly amazed. I’ll cart ya back here Please just give us a chance. a breathtakingly beautiful white Victorian house overlooking the bay. Certain she had lost her mind. she found herself standing on a blood-red Turkish carpet running up close to walnut-wainscoted walls. “This is where you stay when you’re in Auckland?” she said.I do fish. her mind in retreat.” and let ya go. Maybe we’ll go sailing tomorrow. I like it. Her body aroused. Kate. She thought if he stayed kneeling there she would kneel down. It’s comfortable. A few halting steps over the stones of a fragrant. and amidst fine old pieces of gleaming oak furniture. I If ya don’t like the outcome. and look at him the way he was looking at her. I have a sloop just over in Westhaven Harbour.. Once inside. She folded her arms diffidently and said. “What a wonderful sense of humor ya have. the next day. will ya stay put. then hesitating as Lachlan stood aside and nodded for her to precede him through the dark. she sat huddled in her seat while the bellhop stowed her bags. too. kneel down or fling herself down. Ya need to know . and begrudging him the architectural beauty of an old treasure very well restored. palmy garden and she was climbing the steps. “Right.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” she muttered and was silent...or Do ya like to fish?” “I.38 “Please.. promise. knelt on the carpet before her and laughed with his head cocked back and the cords of his throat tight. We’ll sort it out. she looked straight ahead while Lachlan drove them out to the harbor and up to his Herne Bay house. “Don’t you have to hurry home and dip cows or punch sheep or something?” He set down her luggage. passing through an elegant but dimly lit foyer. handsomely carved front door.

irresistible in it. What does it mean?” His expression was at once sly and amused. “We’re going upstairs. Do ya know what that means? I fancy ya want with me? ya. with an accommodating smile. reaching out for her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..for this?” “Whakaturi?” “Yes. “When ya smile at me like that I’m not sure I’ll make it all the way upstairs either..” . Just sex?” “That too. Ya do know you’re But I think I’ve got to take it off ya Katharine. Make it clear to me. It means something more when I say it..” “I was overcome by the Southern Cross. I nearly had ya where we stood.” “I’d like to think ya wore it for me.because I never say it.” “With playthings in little black dresses. still with vestiges of a smile and trembling all over.39 that when I work I work hard and when I play I play the same. “What was that word you said.” she said. “Ya really are choice. “It means love token. do ya realize ya can do anything You’ve done a hell of a lot already.” Again he threw back his head and laughed. He lifted her easily in his arms.” “I couldn’t even climb them. but for your sake I’ll try.Kate... “Before you touch me.” she said and smiled for the first time as her fingers clasped the pendant hanging against her breast.” He stood.” he said.” “I haven’t been bought with jade. “I’ve come this far. fairly soon.” “And not by the way ya were kissed?” “That too. and she stepped back. Green Eyes. if you’ll tell me why ya kissed me back the way ya did at Ian’s..” I’ll tell ya any number of things. highly amused. tell me why I’m here.

Jesus. which faced out on the harbor. I don’t want to For you it’s nothing at all.” her whispery voice confirmed.. person doing this to her? A man. because it only means more pain.” He didn’t hurry after he had removed her dress.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and her dress came off quickly in his adroit fingers. First his hands. and set her gently on his bed. “I’m in very bad shape here..” “Attar of roses. 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. my suitcases. She sank down into the soft. and if you only had a little compassion you’d--” “Be quiet.. then his mouth exploring her. all.” she called out in a last desperate attempt at rationality. and that can be very hard on the system. I can’t talk now.oh.. she was half Who was this man? Who was this orchestrated wildness. talk now. dove-gray duvet and said. have you. There followed a sort of beautifully Such fierce wildness. pounamu eyes. “I like your perfume.. because you see I don’t want to want you. wait. and. “Ya won’t be needing them tonight. That was But I can’t My brain isn’t working at He rather deftly parted from his own clothes. recording every unfamiliar place until she wondered if he expected her to beg. all this waiting is another kind of pain. and when it’s over we’ll be able to talk. a stunned Katharine was in the .40 “My clothes. laying claim to her body until she couldn’t hold still.” “But very soon mine won’t be either. the thing which surprised her. but for me it’s another eventual misery. He climbed the stairs to the master bedroom. but his hands went over her flesh like those of a blind man. afraid half wild herself.roses..

couldn’t tell him that she wanted more. She was dazed. Aiming for lightness but lost in the airy unreal. His mouth gently touched the lids of her closed eyes. slowly returning. she thought. kissing her lips one at a time.” “I like that better. . if not risk-free. absolutely consumed with giving her deep pleasure. “What?” “If I was on the pill?” “Are ya?” “Yes. couldn’t open her mouth.” he said. she responded. burning up in stimulated excitement so fulfilling all practiced restraint vanished. care with his sperm. In a couple of days it’ll be nearly perfect. along with spontaneous cries at feelings she could hardly withstand.” And in a couple of weeks it will all be over. all that uninhibited satisfaction. all that earthshaking sensual play. “You could’ve asked me.” “Nice try. “I was always hoping that someday you’d come along. and yet thoughtful. By climax.” he said. wanted to do it all over again. Then he was outside her and coming against her belly with her hand pressed down on him. His freely offered self. couldn’t answer.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .41 act of discovering. nearly delirious.” “Why is that?” “Because I’m so cautious that even when I’m celibate I’m on the pill. given so naturally. exacted responses utterly surprising to her.” she said. her masterfully tended body rocking in waves of incredible sensation. she was out of control. And then amazingly enough he said. All that unleashed hunger. “Okay?” he said with his mouth in her hair. “We’ll get better. and coming like the expert that he was. She couldn’t think anymore or question anymore.

Green Eyes.42 He held onto her. Good?” “Yes..right here with ya. so that she gasped with a craving all new to her and closed her eyes.. spring. pulling her up against him and driving himself right back into her. A little? Do ya like this a little?” he asked.. tried to think of sinking into nullity. help me. had felt his muscular strength irrupting in her willing self. “Oh. I want to see your eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. ya are sexy..” Oh..yes. “I want.. she tried to hold herself still. physical need yanking her into wakefulness with her breath coming so quickly she was dizzy as she cried out.” “This what ya want? Yeah? Tell me. God. it was no use.not this close.” Very soon they were too lost in the way they were handling Yeah? .” Sleepy hot green.oh.I want.” “I’m with ya. Green Eyes...yes. “Open your eyes... The feeling was so wonderful she thought she could drift off to sleep like that. God. He lay with the back of her body tight against him... but she was with him. Maybe the hills on my place in the heat of Christ. the tawny skin dark against her sun-deprived flesh.oh.. his deftly arousing touch turning her into his. don’t ya?” “A little. his intelligent hands working so adroitly. “Ya like this. please. I’ve never seen eyes that color. until she turned to him thoroughly aroused again. not green like me.. Green. knowing precisely how to make her rise into the air.. his mouth caressing the nape of her neck while his hands stroked down the front of her. waiting as the tall case clock across the room swung its pendulum.” “A little. Lan. moaning and arching her body in sudden quick spasms. not like this. Looking at their pairing.

she looked into the oak-edged mirror and saw a rather pale face with large. what they were making happen to each other. and the incredible view facing out on the silvergreen bay. Her previous encounters with men had always been of minimal effect or unsatisfactory or both. Somehow the full pleasure of it never arrived. only unmistakable involuntary cries paired with a physical satisfaction she would never have believed possible. she felt the She weighted tiredness of her body with a strange erotic throb. The next time she opened her eyes was some time in the morning. Then he had her pressed up They both came very against the tiles and was inside of her. When she had relieved herself. gently pulling her head back to find her mouth. Erotic feelings and sensations which drove her to near hysteria were heretofore unknown to her. She muttered something unintelligible even to herself and felt his mouth opening over hers. decided to take a shower. around her and he took hold of her hair. through a carved-oak door which just happened to lead into the bathroom. bed was damp. Her feet slipped down on a broad and creamy She wandered off. perhaps of South Island range country. He lathered her and himself with a black bar of aromatic soap and they rinsed off. Leaning on the counter. Her body was damp.43 each other. and she hung onto him because she was so weak from expended energy and from him. moist green eyes that seemed almost startled. sheepskin carpet. but she was so exhausted she could barely sit up. including her dysfunctional marriage. No sooner had she turned on the water His arms came than she found she was sharing it with Lan. a large bucolic painting. in itself a sensual luxury. and her partner never seemed to care very much about what was happening to her. only looking . and she had to pee. quickly.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . The She looked around the room and saw a vintage oak dresser and desk. to utter any more words.

touched things.caring makes it good. and he said.. “The innocence. completely and totally rooted.. “What? Are you made of steel? I’m so tired that--” “I’ll let ya it was something all new to ya. In a dreamy state of fatigue she turned to open the door.the way ya lost yourself in it. I’d been watching ya for some time.44 at each other occasionally with very few words spoken. You.” She opened her eyes and faced his continuing scrutiny straight on. the smile it induced lingering on her was.” “What makes you think you know so much?” He smiled and said. 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.” he said. she lay staring at the ceiling in a half daze. The way ya I followed ya into the noticed things.” “Do “And I think that’s where I get worn out.” “It.. smiling as if it was still in your possession. slipping backwards into his arms. picking her up..” she said.but ya enjoyed this. All brand new.” “Ya think I was buying souvenirs? store. I still wonder why you followed me out of the store that day.” Her eyes closed as she relived the incredible pleasure of really being with someone.. while he leaned on an elbow and studied her. I want ya to sleep.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... “Hold it. and I don’t think ya enjoyed it much when ya did. the surprise.” When he had dried her and himself off with huge navy towels. “Ya haven’t had sex in a while.. A kind of slow .you cared how I felt. “I like the way ya said that. You’re I think it’s back to bed.. pleasure ya had in them. you have any coffee in this place?” “The coffee is after bed...” “You--” “Yeah. “Why did you. Kate.

anyway. Those green eyes shot sparks through totally somewhere else.. not all perfection...why me?” “Haven’t I been telling ya why? complicated Enzed crowd. and I report on this rotten world.” “And I think you have me mixed up with yourself..maybe even necessary..” “Am I falling asleep yet?” “No.” “You’re awfully good at this. but I’m no fool. And as we go along.but.” “Guess how I got that way. Lan..” “All right. rather like sixty volts..” “You think these are such untainted eyes? they’ve seen? Do you know what Not all the time. I’m discovering that you’re very smart--I rather suspected it after Taylor’s grudging praise--and you’re funny. And who ya are is the person I find very attractive.. so let’s do this instead.. I tend to be an optimist I’m a journalist.. going back fair.” “Is it so bloody rotten for you?” “Not always.... way. I think so. I wanted your hands on me that Ya turned toward me once and looked right through me.” . I can see you’re not going back to sleep.we wouldn’t last.” “Yeah. one I’m We. You’re fresh. I mean with a sense of humor that is absolutely necessary in this bloody rotten world. I think ya want more loving. don’t say that.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Haven’t you ever noticed anyone else doing that?” “Not the way ya did it. I live in a different world.too bloody cynical.” “Ah.. a writer of obscene truths..45 contemplation and consideration I found bloody irresistible...” “Yeah.helps make ya who ya are. You’re not a part of any It’s obvious ya have an open mind.strangely beautiful. the soles of my feet..untouched by the history here.” “No.

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.

“’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’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

My captain I don’t knocked me in the water when I didn’t move fast enough.that is...the water splashing against the bow. and how he used to swear at her: “Goddammit. her feet moving a little forward up the dock with the memories still . Katharine.” “Yeah. I like the sound she makes close-hauled and It’s an moving fast. I don’t want to sail. Richard.” “You’re a sort of poet.” “And evasive as hell..” He had uncleated the three lines from the bow and portside cleats that bound them to the slip cleats. “Do ya know anything about sailing?” “A little. then tossed her the lines and jumped on deck. huh?” “I imagine you do that very well too. Lan.” “And not a cow puncher. Do I have to knock you off this damn fucking boat again to get your attention?” She jumped back onto the dock. cleat down that fucking line. When Katharine first saw his boat Waiata Reka riding in its slip at Westhaven my editors believe.” She was standing there thinking about her former husband. old boat. thirty-five feet of history loaded with new gadgets to keep ya from drowning. pretty as an antique jewel box.” She turned and looked off at the other boats. I wonder why that is.. want to sail.” “In sailing it works this way: ya either know how to sail or ya don’t. “Changed my mind. ten and a half meters.” “What does Waiata Reka mean?” “Sweet Song. Lachlan. Which is it?” “I’m a Northwesterner...Careless Child Karlene Kubat .51 that might be caught on the way to and from Rangitoto. I’ve had the captain’s orders that go along with the sport. “Beautiful. she exclaimed.

Sweet Green Eyes. Bloody-hell. polished bronze hardware. give a damn. she stared about her at a very shipshape sloop. that’s all.. standing up. solid and firmly set over well-joined. “Would ya like to take the wheel while I hoist canvas?” he asked with careful politeness. The boat yawed slightly.” she agreed. and down in the galley. “Sorry. Please get back on the boat.. of course.” she said.” “The bloody fool dumped ya off your own boat? what a wanker.. . coming up behind her and turning her around in his arms. The perfectly flush lay and rich vertical grain of the shining teak deck. we’re going sailing to have fun.52 burning away in her insides. this boat. I Sometimes I sound a little gruff. “All right. don’t care whether or not ya know how to sail. moving slowly toward him along the tilted deck and then dropping into the cockpit.. but it’s just the way I am.” “I think I do know how to sail. He said no more to her. Show me your stuff or take a nap.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . gleaming cabinets. He recleated a line fast and jumped onto the dock. the glinting bright winches and turnbuckles.about all that. “All right. I can handle I just have to move a little faster.sometimes it was so demoralizing that I--” “We’ll see. and she grabbed a shroud. allowing her to reveal her own capabilities. I can’t believe it. but. he did it all himself. “What son of a bitch treated ya like that?” “My husband. They were out and ready for sail. unless. Right?” I don’t We’re here to enjoy ourselves. Someone must come and care for this boat most tenderly when he was away.” While the auxiliary took them out of port. or I wouldn’t have this assignment.

but the ones I’m thinking of are in Canterbury. she looked up at the whipping telltales on the shrouds. Determined not to let the boat fall off as he deftly worked at shaking out the mainsail along the boom. “Will I have to teach ya how to ride a horse?” he asked as he changed places with her. staring out toward Rangitoto. They beat into the wind for a while.” She was silent. She stretched out on her stomach opposite the cockpit on the seat above the well and said between her fingers.53 Bent on holding Waiata Reka steady into the wind. snapping the jib shackles to the forestay and raising the luffing jib.” was all she would give out. “So now we know.something very important that I won’t have to teach ya. “I haven’t seen any horses around here. he had freed the main halyard tail.” he called. and the mainsail was climbing into the sky. swelling and lapping with hunger. “She’s all yours.” he said. She was laughing and there were joyful tears in her eyes when he reached her side. Waiata Reka. “You have such magical names in this land. sweet song. “Okay.. then he brought the .. When she looked again toward the mast. her eyes went from the telltales to a quick glance at his hands and back to the telltales.” “There are horses around here.” She turned the wheel and the sails swelled and bit into the mast. The water rushing against the bow was music. nearly leaping into the sky with windpower. and her heart lunged like that as the boat heeled and strained. Her heart began to speed up as she watched him in the bow. Glorious to watch the big sailcloth suck at the wind.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . sliding his thumb across her wet cheek and kissing her laughing mouth.

Get some rest. that’s all. feeling the heat and finally donning her sunglasses. “Oh. You’re rather untrusting. she told you. 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. Please don’t get yourself in high dudgeon. Ya have some problems.” he said.” “This is something she does for you. she looked on.” things behind another’s back without permission. Margaret do a lot of my talking for me? “Oh. talk to me in a language I can’t understand. in stillness as a pod of dolphins played off the bow. ya talk to me?” “When will you talk to me?” “There’s probably a heap I don’t have to say.54 bow to leeward and slackened sail as the wind fell abeam of them. E whakaaro ana ahau he patai hohore tena. and the sails jostled Thrilled. I’m going to bait a I understand. “Ah. You’re still rooted. She’s a real straight arrow and doesn’t like to say Didn’t “When will Ya know some things. The boat lurched into a soft glide. hook and do some fishing. I get it off my chest that way without going round the bend. “Better put on a hat and some of this. tells your women--” “God. Kate. mysterious Kate. or just keep quiet and try to figure it out contextually with my high intelligence?” . Kate. handing her a baseball cap and a tube of sunscreen.” he said. “Okay.” “I’ll just watch for a while.” “Should I tell you whenever you use an Enzed expression that I’ve never heard. Do ya want to fish?” I feel very lazy.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Damn it.” “Yeah. lifting the hat from her hand and pulling it down over her shaded eyes. Water reflections danced off his face beneath his cap. I just said it was absurd.

you’re a hard case -. greatly enhanced by a rhythmic cadence of wind in the attenuated sails and lyrical swashes of water on the hull. the line he used was light and delicate enough for a fair and artful play with smaller nimble fish. put his foot up on the taffrail and glanced back at her. on the other hand.there’s one for ya: independent. but. as if he were alone. but then all the mysterious dark life in him jolting the perception into a vivid reality of here and now. a film or a dream. That unselfconscious aspect of him was reassurance both exemplary and fascinating to her. stared at her thoughtfully for a moment. His tan fingers moved with a quick and familiar dexterity.55 He was walking away and he turned around. doing. and she saw that he concentrated thoroughly on what he was doing. She watched until her eyes burned and she grew soporific and almost dizzy.” She watched him toss his hat down. “Green Eyes. aren’t getting. the intense dazzle of light reflecting off the green sea. “Sure ya don’t want to do this?” “I’d rather watch you. then laughed softly and shook his head. He made a smooth long cast. . I like ya that way.” “Yeah? It’s all in the way ya hold your mouth. I’ll simply try and explain as we go along. puffs of breeze tugging at his hair. easing herself down on the teak deck. The spinning rod he used looked powerful enough to pull in some hefty sport fish. I’ve been pretty well I think I’ll know what ya schooled in the language department. A perfect blue dome of Canaletto sky. his arm casting out over the waves. cocking his head.” 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. pull off his sunglasses and reach into the chiller for bait.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .

but I don’t like ya in this water. She She saw a dark figure standing nearby with a raised club. and I. Granted they’re well fed sharks. Jesus. screamed and leapt up and over the side of the boat. were ya thinking?” “I was having a bad dream and--” “It’s okay. There are sharks around here.” She was struggling forward.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .I thought you were going to hit me.. You’ll dry out. A couple more times she looked up and saw Lan casting his line out over the realm of unknown fishes. come here ya silly wahine.” He pulled her against him and pushed her dripping hair out of her eyes. 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. What “I woke up and saw you with that club. He was throwing a rope ladder over the side.56 The sloshing boat and the heat gradually lulled her to sleep. then she fell into a deep sleep. where she tried flapping her arms to stay above the ground and fly away. “This is certainly proving to be a very unusual day.” she choked out. What in bloody-hell are ya doing?” Lan shouted at her. When she hit the water she was thoroughly awake and sputtering. “Kate! For Christ sake.. and dreamed something dark and foreboding.” “I was using my mere to club a big kahawai I just caught. He kissed . all wet. A noise opened her eyes.. “I thought you were someone who. Her father? Some ominous form chasing her through endless rooms in a strange building and out a small confining window into the sky. Someone was after her. Look at ya.. and he reached for her. She looked up at him and began to laugh. “Now you’ve turned your clothes into swimming togs. “Come out of there.

Deep in the throes of the second kiss her bare feet left the deck and she was up against him in his arms. “Bloody amazing. I want ya.57 her wet mouth. sweet crazy little ipo. and she drew herself back away from him. and she twined around him as they tore into each other in the utter joy of wildly impassioned oblivion. heat-flushed naked body leaning over her.. Ipo. Just when I’m getting over the shock. “My god.” He pulled on his shorts.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Stay here. He was crouched on the edge of the bunk. I’ll Stop lay your clothes out on the deck to dry. I want ya. I want ya.” “What if I were to start calling you strange names. while the boat gently swayed and water sloshed indifferently against the hull. Jesus.” He carried her below and removed her wet clothes.” She stretched. and ya are very much that.” He pulled her damp hot body down on the tight bunk. feeling drowsy and sated. feeling so at peace that she drifted into sleep almost at once.please come here. sweet ipo. “Get your little arse over here wahine before I come all over my boat. his taut-skinned. oh. Kate. amazed at his ferocious expression of hunger and need. talking and come here. and she felt his warm solid body hard against her. I come below and discover a bare-skinned woman sleeping with her golden-haired self sprawled across my bunk. ya open your dreamy eyes and I want to dive into those green pools and swim right down to the bottom of ya. “I have to go topside before things get out of hand.” . you randy devil?” “I just called ya a woman. then his own clothes came off in a wild rush. peeling them away from her cool damp skin. After a while he said. Some time later she opened her eyes to the touch of his hand on her cheek..

don’t hit your head.” Turning herself half around. Her throat gave out a garbled breathless acknowledgment as she threw her arms into the air. she put her hands behind his neck and straddled him with her knees pressed into the cover of the bunk.” She was beginning to moan softly.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Seized with a desire to touch and touch. She stared up into his eyes. Then his hands were on her waist. “Careful. could have then said anything clearly. not an invasion but a coupling that gave such excruciating pleasure the sweet pain of it knocked her head back. she curled her body against him. “Hey. Nothing of her escaped those tracking black eyes. lifting her up and bringing her down on him. to somehow. They were almost together then as he coaxed her into a tight . her gaze captured and held by points of light glittering in diminishing hues of hot darkness. and felt them crash into the roof of the cabin. “Is this what ya wanted?” She would have said rhetorical if she could have thought clearly. her arms extended forward with her hands anchored on his shoulders as her heart raced and her breath came in quick jagging gasps. As she quickly sucked in air a startled high note of satisfaction like a short wail issued from her mouth. It had begun with her eyes roving over curves and angles of sun-warmed. covering her mouth to suppress a halfgrinning yawn. walnut-gold flesh and poignantly wind-mussed hair. her body swaying. don’t hurt yourself. ya wild little wahina. somehow get deep inside that dark enigma and reach the place that made her into a sensual being full of heretofore unknown joy. then almost at once her lazy heart lurched forward colliding with her ribs. then her clearing head considered the words of his poetic voice. He laughed and lifted her onto his lap.58 She sat up slowly.

streamlined ocean-going trout with .lovely. “Nice. bin..” she cried out. “No.yes.” she said.” She lifted the lid and studied the fish. 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.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Jesus Christ. Jesus. tramp?” “I want to eat like a starving tramp. also with forked tails. Careful. “Okay?” “Uh-huh. pointed-nosed fish with a V-shaped tail and nicely attenuated at both ends.oh God.” They lay back with two hands locked together beside their heads..with me. beaked noses and large sad eyes. “We’re anchored off Rangitoto.look out!” “Oh..59 weave of heated rhythm.. “Where is the kahawai? I want to see it. gutted.. ya remembered its name. kissing and stroking one another in lazy oblivion. wait. “Ah! My God. dark-banded raised foreheads.” was issued with a slight gasp.. collapsing against him.” she said. He held her. The kahawai was about twenty inches long. beautiful silvery fish with dark backs. lovely fish. Yeah... “At home.also two tarakihi. Easy. Don’t hit your. With me.” It’s in the chilly “Where “Are ya hungry? Do ya want to eat first or “Good on ya. The tarakihi were rounder.. I sometimes fish for steelhead. stroking her back.. oh..” he finally muttered into her left ear.” His fingers clasped her waist.. are my clothes?” When she was dressed she came topside and said. “Oh. a silvery-green-topped.

” she repeated. but very appropriate for my Maori half -.. offering her another Steinie. “You said your Maori half. They sat on the deck. staring up He peeled an orange and handed it to her.fertility. She watched him slice the grainy bread and edge off wedges of cheese then hand an open sandwich to her.a tattoo on the buttocks.” “I see. a stylized ancestor. big mana.” His eyes held hers until she began to blush so deeply she could feel the coloration spreading over her face.” “What is it?” “A heitiki. Do you ever think of yourself as two opposing halves?” she asked with a carefully gentled .” “All the more reason to blush.” “Ya did.” “I’m certain ya do. swilling Steinlagers. at the island.” she said in a soft voice.” “I doubt it. did ya? Something that occurred in my wilder days.. “Mau tenei arani. “What is ipo?” “Ipo is sweetheart or lover.” he said.” “Mau tenei arani.a. “Ya have a very good ear.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .I noticed your tattoo when we were. “I.. I always put them back. He glanced at her for the certainty of her refusal and then drank from the bottle himself. power. really quite wonderful that ya can blush with such innocence after what we’ve done to each other.. a tiki. and.” he said.. They ate in silence.” She repeated it several more times while he smiled at her. “I find it choice. a common practice.60 tremendous fight.” “What?” “I said this orange is for ya. which she declined....

but I speak the language well enough. but the Maori came here in waves of canoes..everything.” “The name is short for Nga Rangi-iotongia-a-Tama-te-kapua.” She halted a moment to gaze off at the dark greenery. What’s that small-leaved one?” The last part is easy boardwalk and a . not for me. It means ‘the days of Tamatekapua’s bleeding. a half-caste. booted up and headed over the very rough black lava trail.and far too busy. The Arawa canoe arrived in the Bay of Plenty in the That’s where the Arawa Maori settled.’ Arawa canoe was wounded here. lot of wood steps. It’s two hundred and sixty meters high and it’ll take about an hour to reach the top. Wouldn’t change anything.have been fairly well accepted among my Maori friends. They’ve seen it before. I went through a period of being bothered by it. had a few scraps.. “These trees and shrubbery grow right out of the lava..” she said as they jogged forward.. thanks to my father. “the name. “Tell me about this place. I’m comfortable with myself. They secured the dinghy.. even though there were almost no Maori on the Canterbury plains.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . The chief of the fourteenth century.” “Where are those clodhoppers I’m supposed to put on to protect my cute little feet?” she asked.” “The Arawa canoe?” “It’s rather a long story.. The Scots aren’t much of a problem.61 voice. He rowed them to shore in the dinghy with their boot ties knotted and the boots strung around their necks. “I’m what is known as hawhe kaehe in Maori. I don’t think of it much anymore. “Rangitoto blasted out of the sea only six hundred years ago and last erupted about two hundred and fifty years ago.

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. They sat looking at each other. Enzed. their honey here.” They crunched on over the lava in silence.62 “Manuka.. your childhood. She was killed in an automobile accident with her lover. they were starting up the boardwalks and steps. didn’t have the heart to tell me. The I didn’t know that. Finally. Always blooms at chrissy. stopping now and then to look back through the tunnel of leaves or outward when a sea view was available. talk to me..still a few Bees love them. I went to live with my grandmother. a rather all-purpose plant that you might know as the tea tree -. five. grazed by cattle and sheep. and he said..your family. I know it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .Christmas time.. good stuff. tea tree oil and soap and shampoo.” “None?” “None that I know of. the early settler’s tea substitute. promised me she would come back for me. last words from my mother were a promise that we would pick . Another young couple came along. and she I waited and waited. My mother left my father when I was He was cruel. but I never saw her again.. Ya had some on your toast this morning.” Lan said as they walked the loop around the crater’s rim.” “Oh. and medicine to us. and honey collectors get lingering red flowers. “Kate Green Eyes. Very What’s that other gorgeous tree I see everywhere?” This island has the largest forest of it in “Pohutukawa. anything. She I couldn’t blame her for that. “Motutapu is mostly grassland..” “I have no family. glanced around and left. They returned in about half an hour and sat on a bench gazing out to sea.a slightly different species from Australia.

I found it very easy to go into dangerous places. When my I sometimes dream that my mother and I are there. I’d intended a musical career. took me into her When she died it heart and filled me with sweet old aphorisms.. I guess. end of story. and developed some humility. see. possibly even worse than my father. She was a Greenhouses in the winter filled with heavenly blue I roamed her woods. and that’s what I I accidentally married Oh. End of story.. There. Richard one cold winter sojourn in New York. . grandmother discovered that my father was beating me she took me away. iris and white and yellow narcissus. she was beginning to regret it.very lovely. cut-throat advertising executive. My grandmother sometimes spoke French. It just became a habit.63 flowers together in the meadow of a woods beyond our farmhouse. not quite. me to a very good school where I excelled. lady-slippers. That was when I became a journalist. They’re a small wild orchid. I was eight. her Wild Flower.. and She sent she called me her Fleur des Champs. She saved my life. It lasted a little over a year.” Surprised at having said so much. Cut loose from everything.” “Yeah. you “Then I went to Stanford where I became a quillet-tongued wise-ass.. And then?” I always had to. said he was only venting his rage at my mother. I loved my grandmother. I’m good at writing.. a deceitfully friendly. until I had my ears knocked back getting shot at. I’m beginning to see. He was the one who made my judgment of another’s character highly suspect. hunting wild things. was one of the saddest days of my life.little did I know. but I was a little too cerebral and. She tried to tell me the beating was really She nothing personal because she was afraid it would ruin me. greedy.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . florist.decided to make my contribution to the world by exposing its evil underbelly -.. idealistic. do.

ready to head downhill. guess I can’t argue with that. as folks in the southern United States like to say. but found herself being led back.” “I’m.” She sprang off the bench.. “I simply want to know ya. recognized ya the exact moment I saw ya wandering down the street.” he said.until now.but a part of me felt something else..” she said. smiling... Very soon you’ll be shut of all this.. and that’s the part I’m talking about..I’m being conservative..and.” I “I “Fun when you come to Auckland.wonderful.I guess I opted for a nice memory..” “A nice memory. “Now. I’d have sworn it was more than that. clever funny Green Eyes.. know you think it’s been a crazy mixed-up day. because I was right about everything I thought when I first saw ya. He leaned away and looked at her long and hard in silence. looking at her. A part of me thought ya might be fun for a few days. “Well. Kate?” “I.64 He sat in silence. . “Sit down a minute. Why are ya here. “That’s good. and touching ya and looking at ya and listening to ya... one of the best days I’ve ever--” He had hauled her against him and buried his face in her salty hair.... yeah. I don’t quite know how it works. more than you ever wanted to know about Katharine Gordon. I bloody well knew it would turn into this. having ya. “I wish you hadn’t done this. was hoping for more. but to me it’s been. Jesus.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” she said in a low voice.” she said. because I’ve discovered I like being with ya..the kind of wonderful that see. 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.

and they walked down the hill.” she said.65 Something just clicks and there ya are. “Explain please. then went into the living room which he called the lounge. 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. sliced tomatoes. didn’t you?” “Not at all. and she declined. which went into the freezer. don’t ya?” Nothing more was said of what had transpired. They cleaned up the kitchen and washed the dishes together.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Is that what I am? Well. Katharine. “I’m sorry. feeling rather unsociable and wanting to simply wander through his house and peer at the books in his library. somewhat subdued in mood. sat on a lovely old striped Victorian chaise lounge.” “Moody. He scrambled six eggs.” “You’re scaring me. They returned home late. wearing fresh tan slacks and a blue silk shirt. and toast served on blue and white china. hardly touching but ranging deep inside of each other. Maybe you’ll catch some fish on the way back. he asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner. browsing idly through an array of magazines. you wanted to go out to dinner. I’m just sorry you’re in this sooky state. I’ve had articles in here on occasion. both in somber thought. Ya like to fish. it’ll go away. after she had turned down the fish. The day isn’t over yet. I had a wonderful .” “Don’t be afraid. Recalling parts of my past is like a spurt of bad chemistry. and you’ll never be the same. Fluffy eggs with a bit of cheese. After showering. tea. “Hmm. and ya can’t go back to whatever the hell it was ya were doing before.

how can ya do that and then I’m sorry but I feel like I’ve got a temper Ya refuse to accept it. and I’m trying to figure out how to do that. I’ll always remember that. out of my head and can’t think of anything else. I My God. that’s how I feel. just chatter on about walking away? smashing something. When I get home I’ll be able to close my Please stop it. yourself so completely. Not you. Ya know how I feel.. Have I?” “No. easier for ya than taking a chance . Kate?” Running around the world nearly getting shot is. He looked at her a long moment with incredulity. “I’m besotted with ya.. Don’t worry.” “Ya have.” Tell me how you feel. but I’m not going anywhere until I have ya with me.. please. ya must. that’s how I feel. know ya do. When ya make love with me ya give Oh Jesus.that’s how I feel.” “Then I feel sorry for ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . that’s how I feel. remember this day. 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. I’ll always the way.. The way you do things. Your clever hands. Scared to I should be working. started to speak and then continued looking in silence.” “You can hurt someone without touching them.but I loved watching you fish along I can close my eyes and see you. death you’ll get away from me. You’re a little coward Is that it? And the sky might fall. Kate. earth might cave in. but--” “But I might. eyes and--” “Stop it. and the In what do ya place your trust. I was a lazy lout. I suppose. but I’ll never lay any pain on ya. yeah.66 day. What I don’t think ya realize is that ya feel the same. unwilling to take a chance. “Nothing.” “Tell me.

coming up behind her. such.” he said. She stood up quickly and walked to the window.the raw truth. Tell me something. Your mind....67 on a close human relationship. very familiar with it.” “I tried to tell you in the beginning.oh.your Everything you did was like being hit hard. looking out on lights around the harbor.” changed completely..yes. Tell me.yes.” he said softly. but he caught her and held her and let the tears fall on his shirt.everything about you. sharing moments with you. the way we make love. Today. “Tell me it will go away..... “Poor little Green Eyes.” he said. God.” “Tried to tell me what?” “I guess that I’m. you’re--” She turned around rapidly and said. “How could that be when I always. loved you.the way you moved and held your head and looked at me and laughed with me and told me things....rather unstable. wiping her eyes with his .lovesickness. “Kate. oh such pain.. or tell me it won’t go away.” she cried out and tried to flee with her hands over her face.oh... She had walked away so that he wouldn’t see how badly she was shaking... I was getting sick.such pain. He was grinning and his expression had “Lovesickness?” she said with a startled and frightened voice... “The truth.. looking at him with her sad moist eyes and seeing reflected back such obvious misery she had to look away. I just sat there in pain and. and.” she said.... What is that? more of--” “Wewehe. hands. “At least tell me the truth...Careless Child Karlene Kubat .what? Way-waya?” “Recently I’ve become What is it? Whatever it is I can’t stand much “It’s.” he explained...

” He turned her face up. “Taku manawa. lost in a swaying rapture with her head back. luxuriating in the certainty of the terrible heat to come.” “Taku manawa. “Tangihanga. were slow and languid. She looked down into his burning Then eyes and saw them glazed with a vulnerable satisfaction. Soon he lifted her writhing body atop him and watched her pleasure them both. then thrust into her. In the early evening he brought her a glass of chardonnay and a single slice of bread with salami. She’s having a good cry. making her cry out. “You said you would tell me some day. staring idly out at the harbor.” she repeated. my love. Their first movements. “What was that you said in Maori?” “What?” he asked. She ran her tongue over his firm nipple. kissing him back until he took hold of her. They stayed in bed most of the day. taku tau.” “Are you making fun of me?” He didn’t answer. even more arousing now. sliding her down and fitting her against him.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . rubbing his chin over the top of her head. taku tau.68 thumb. She lay with her head on his shoulder. . leaned over and looked into her eyes. *** Their lovemaking had been so furious and all-consuming that when morning came neither wanted to get up. He slid his mouth over her lips as she quivered with desire. My heart. only rising for brief visits to the bathroom. merely picked her up and carried her once again up the stairs to his bedroom. feeding her from his careful hand. staring into his suddenly intense face. and to the kitchen to stave off hunger pangs. and he threw back his head.

I’m up for it.” “Where is Rani?” Katharine asked. and then ya close . We’re flying out of here tomorrow.just replaced my old Cessna with a new one.” “When I was twenty-two I was very serious. “When they finally do arrive. ridiculously so.” he said. much older than I am now.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. if those pikers get in anyone’s way there’ll be hell to pay. “Nothing to worry about.” “All right. ya little glutton. drawing up her knees and curling against him. nearly deranged with the pleasure shooting and spiraling all through her body and brain until she was limp and senseless. I’m rooted. “You know when you do that I only want more. When it abated. with their bodies drenched in sweat. pulling her head back by a silky hank of hair and opening her mouth with a deep kiss. her parted legs quivering. Nice plane. Overfucked and brain-dead?” What kind of a pilot do ya want? “I’m a very nervous passenger. panting softly. lassie. He laughed and said.69 he rolled them over and made her come very quickly with a ferocity that startled and thrilled her.. too. if they ever get there. I’m fairly interested in living. a slight frown of impatient annoyance. she threw her arm over her head and lay back.. 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 -. Kate. to make a pun. A Turbo Skylane four-seater. She saw his face change very subtly.” he said laughing.” she said. “You’ve had enough.that will take some time.” “I can just imagine it. Green Eyes.. It was only the beginning of a relentless give-and-take energy which made her cry out over and over.the little idiot.

depended on the air speed and altitude. touched her arm and said. Lan loaded in their luggage. Staring dreamily through the window and out into the blue horizon. he told her. he revved the engine up to 1.500 feet and eighty-eight percent power it could travel 594 knots in a little over three hours. then they rolled down the runway and powered into the sky.” “Why kick a moo cow?” she said. but at 12. She looked down upon this exquisite surprise of clouddappled land pinned between the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Ocean.000 feet. “You’re off to Waikikamukau. When they were cleared for take-off. tinted windows. and gave forth more of the She glanced . then checked the oil and fuel. at Lan. like a multifaceted brooch set with colored gems of all the earthy hues.70 your green eyes and give me a rest. At the moment she was too suspended in the narcotic of love to care. and shoulderharness seatbelts. they had to travel only about 600 miles.500 rpms several times. she was shaken from her transfixed state when the plane bucked in an unruly current of air.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” *** They had taken a taxi south out of town and over to the air strip where his plane was parked. wall-to-wall carpeting. Katharine saw that the small plane was indeed sparkling new and looked like a very capable and compact form of private transportation. while she sat pondering how she had come to be making this journey and wondering what would happen next. Kate Green Eyes. range. and at a speed of over 180 miles per hour they would arrive in a little over three hours. It had a single piston engine of 235 The horsepower and could fly at an altitude of 20. As the crow flies. Oxygen for each passenger. He gave her a reassuring smile. which he had already ordered topped off.

his past was a strange unknown place to her. really recovered.71 soft giggling laughter which he found so enchanting. and she suddenly felt a little nudge of fear. Did I say something that . and slipped back into silence. A term for the very back of beyond. Katharine. nothing. but it was simply impossible. I’m congenerous. 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. disturbed ya?” “No. “Exactly.” he said. “No worries. and Lan spoke little of his earlier days. realized that she felt sad. “How far will we have to drive when we land?” “Hmm.” “You’ve gone very silent.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I rather suspect a lot of it When my father was lost at sea she never Her devotion was very strong and thorough. “Tell me about your mother. Except for Margaret’s brief history.” She was silent. not quite a mile.” “My mother is not very well. stems from depression.” She tried to imagine how it would be. The runway is on our station. Collywobbles? Not going to spew breakfast are ya?” “Not if I can help it. thinking that he must be implying that his devotion to his dead wife remained strong. He looked at her carefully and said. very like her in that respect. Once again the plane was going through some turbulence in the mercurial and wild currents of air whipping across New Zealand. this had been a selfish time of falling in love. too many variables to consider. She looked away and His wife had not entered her For thoughts since the incident with the fish hook pendant. Lan.” she said. She was trying to remain calm and show how unconcerned she was but her stomach was not cooperating.

sorry. I do. I live in the present.” “Sorry. them small things. the loss of loved ones A visit. .” he said. “I was thinking about your mother. tell. even come with me to Christchurch. trying to tell ya who I am. tussockland with a river flowing through it and gorgeous snow-capped peaks biting into the sky. “Yes. When they had finished. she neatly folded the wrappers and put them back in the bag while he smiled at her tidiness. I’m here with ya. lifting her hand to his mouth. “I didn’t mean to. country does wonders for them. They can be like a family. I’ve often chatted with shut-ins. Kate.. “Have any desire for a sandwich?” he asked.” and reached for the bag with their ham sandwiches in it. When my grandmother died I was so lonely for the company of an elder that I started visiting retirement homes..with older people. and the droning engine made her sleepy. that isn’t what I meant.are very much so. and was astonished to find that they were in a landing pattern.” She fell silent again. I’m so sorry.. They were coming down over dry rolling- hilled. These were called the Southern Alps. That’s the sort of person you are.” “God. brought Sometimes they have wonderful stories to Their loneliness and. but I’m more impressed with ya than ever. Kate said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . After a while she dozed off.. of course.” she said. Whenever I’m at I like them. Realizing that he was hungry.. Lan. Kate. show me around while I’m there.” “Nothing to be sorry about. but altogether rather flat. a hug. Does she go out?” “No.72 “I only wanted ya to know that I’m faithful. Kate. I think you must have been very much so.” “Yes. home I try to visit with. a drive in the Maybe I could get your mother to causes serious depression.. and Lan was radioing someone on the ground.

” “That’s a lot of acres. Katharine asked.” “For sheep and cattle. the green banks upriver where our property runs around lake preserves and into rugged foothills..” Lan waved Rex off. Lan came around to her side of the plane. after a few friendly words of introduction. gnarled old trees. but sound and well maintained. Now you’ll be rested. lifted her into his arms and gave her a long warm kiss. weathered looking Maori stepped up. At the end of the lane. and was soon handing him luggage to be transported to another Range Rover. Eager for more history and facts.acres. then got behind the wheel of the Rover.. “I’ve been thinking about doing that for nearly four hours...73 “I can’t have slept that long.” she said. They drove down a gravel road and turned into a lane bordered by thick and low. and I was raised on Robbie Burns. not as smooth as the one they took off on. “The name sounds like something out of Robert Burns..” he said with surprise. “from his poem Afton Water.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” They touched down and rolled over a long packed runway. some species of dry smallleaved holly. “Well. astonished.” she said. an older.. When the plane had taxied off the runway.about fifteen thousand. my sleepy Green Eyes. ya did. “How many acres do you have?” “Acres?. ya need a lot of hectares.acres.. He named my mother Mary from Green Braes is named for it.hmm. and I’m glad. she saw rising before her .. “It is. Got to concentrate here a minute and we’ll be down. Lan greeted him as Rex. Welcome to Green Braes. My grandfather loved that poem. reeking of tobacco that she could smell on the wind coming through the open cabin.

nor’wester is the bane of us high plains jokers.. Katie Green Eyes?” “No one ever accused me of it.. off the mountains and as such is called a föhn.Lachlan Manutane.a sort of castle for a feudal baron. with a burst of laughter.” An attractive woman with short ash-blond hair and a smiling face was standing on the steps. Maori. simply her way of honoring my father. Stone does very well out here in these extremes of heat and snow.. I love it.” “I certainly feel the heat. as they rolled to a stop in the circular drive before the steps of the towering Lodge.” He looked at her and laughed. 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. The Lodge.” he said. She was slender and almost as She wore tall as Lachlan. well-cut tan slacks and a white tailored blouse beneath an olive .” “Big and solid it is. “Testin’ your temper. “It’s more like a. snob are ya. ya cheeky brat. “Is that--?” “Green Braes Lodge. perhaps somewhere in her mid-fifties.. “That It sweeps down Many’s the time it’s been a good excuse for a corker of a scrap. Did you really attend Oxford?” “You’re not a “Oi did.” “I see. lassie?” Lan teased..” he said. “My mother might greet ya in It’s Don’t worry if ya don’t understand something. having stepped off the plane into a hot wind which could hardly be ignored. “That’s your--” “My home.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” she said.. ya make me laugh.74 what she thought resembled a great stone church.” “Jesus.’ as my grandfather was fond of calling it.Laird of Green Braes Lodge.

“Mother this is Katharine Gordon. 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. Katharine also noticed that Mary rolled her r when she said Green Braes. Katharine thought. and said. Lachlan turned around and said. There was a brief moment of Katharine saw restraint and then Mary hugged her back. She almost blushed in remembering how she had pictured the woman. Lachlan went forward to meet her. . That fetching burr must be a prevalent Scottish characteristic of this part of South Island. Haere mai. “He whenua kura tenei. and they embraced in a very loving way.” “She said that was a beautiful remark. She had been practicing it over and over to get the perfect vowel sound and authenticity to the words. back. “Mamae ana to korero. and Katharine realized she had been hearing the same slight roll in Lan’s speech. Katharine. both speaking in low voices. smiling and waiting. Good lord. and had rather expensive looking loafers on her comparatively small poised feet.” Katharine hung “Welcome to Green Braes. putting her arms around Mary. my mother.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Mary laughed and said.75 green.” She reached out her hand and Katharine She quickly took it. Mary Manutane. and Mary quickly replied.” Mary Manutane said. “Your Scots girl likes the words.” She smiled at Mary Both Lan and Mary smiled with appreciation. hesitated a moment and then succumbed to her inclination. Unbeknownst to Lan. boiled wool jacket. Katharine. immediately that Mary Manutane was not used to being warmly greeted by anyone but her son and probably Rani. and I agree. wanting to hug her but uncertain.” Lan said. “Tena koe. this graceful specimen of mature womanhood must be Lachlan’s mother.

“Ya two can have afternoon tea if ya like. Midway. for apparently she thought little of the two sharing a bedroom. the mellow tones of brown and burgundy. “Surely this must be the master bedroom. her senses were infused with the smoky spice of old fires. 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. the burgundy walls were met with oak wainscoting.76 Lan. 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. Perhaps it was Katharine’s Scottish ancestry which had so favored her in Mary’s eyes. “No. and the gold-edged paintings hanging above rich blond oak. Lani.” 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. They climbed the broad stairs with its handsome carved thistle newel posts. She wondered if Lan had thought of it. holding a heavy metal chandelier fixed with opaque glass globes shaped like flames. We had a sandwich. Kate?” Lan asked. Once in the spacious bedroom. Mother didn’t want it without my father. running behind a massive fourposter bed of carved oak overspread with a brown and . “Surely it is. A well lived in room much enhanced by Lan’s consuming presence. complete with master.” Katharine was still considering Mary’s words and wondering how conservative she was in her outlook. I can wait. the pooling velour drapes at the broad. beveled and leaded windows filled with blue sky and facing out on the river.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Lan explained. Of course he had. She had never even thought of it until this moment. eager to be alone with her. I’m fine.” “Hungry. The ceiling was very high.” Lan said as he watched Katharine explore.” she said.

” she said. Consequentially. was met at its edges by a shining parquet floor patterned in red and blond woods. At that moment..I don’t know. she now realized first time..where have ya gone.. a strange interlocked repetition of rather abstract violet-topped thistles of muted green on a field of dark umber. almost afraid of the emotions flooding through her as she stood looking at him.77 wine duvet.. that if she ever accompanied him to a Maori setting she might also meet the other half for the first time.” Katharine posed. Green Eyes?” As if a whirling dark cloud of misgiving were rolling toward her. and portraits of hunting and sheep dogs on the walls. “It is. flashing the white teeth of an irresistible mouth that could so easily and fiercely consume her. “Do ya want a shower? What do ya want?” She turned to take in all of him at last. she pocketed her hands and backed up slowly toward the wall. . this tall. with the strange black eyes still so full of mysteries. 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. glancing behind her and just avoiding a small oak desk. dark. “What are ya doing?” “I’m. The carpet. He grinned. still smiling and watching her. 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. “That must be nice in the winter snows. surprisingly urbane Maori-Scot male from the back of beyond. “Kate? Katharine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Lan affirmed. There were paintings of well- sired horses poised in dressage.

” “Ya don’t understand. then you can say it whenever I stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong.” . she feels She prefers going bush. “Your mother is perfectly well. don’t ya?” Is there an “You almost said it’s none of my business. When my mother was a young woman. she knew it would temporarily send him in another direction. comfortable and safe and free to roam through her own house and on her own land as she pleases. blowing away as if caught on the hot exterior wind of this place... She knew what he wanted. too?” “Kaore he wahi o tera ki a koe. her so-called friends shunned her. and even now it can be a bit chilly. people around here were far more provincial then they are now. When she married my father She avoided them. Jabbing dark thoughts of how to save a shred of herself flew across her divided mind like disturbed hornets.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . The only thing wrong with her is that she is lonely and depressed.” “Didn’t I say as much?” “She needs to get out. 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. expression for that in Maori.ya really do plunge right in.78 Nearly all of the self-inculcated reason which had for so long facilitated her confined pre-New Zealand journey was swiftly evaporating.has done Here..” “Is that her wish or yours?” “What? Kate. thing she wanted.” “Good. 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. so ever since..” “For God’s sake.

She could never have explained what she was doing here anyway.. Beds are for lying down. then bringing himself atop her and sliding into her yet one more furious time. Come here. casting aside all the weighty speculation of an unreadable future because the here and now of freewheeling emotion was more. Have we just met? Again? A little No worries. my frowning I need to make ya smile. She thought it would have been so perfect to drift slowly into sleep then.please.. stretching languorously.” he said and then pulled her into the steaming..” She kissed his throat and ran her fingers down his firmmuscled body and along his groin to play in the soft black curls.” *** “We have to get up. Will ya get your clothes off. “Oh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . except that Lachlan Manutane was here.. so much more than she had ever known. Green Eyes. Kate. “Ya are choice.” Katharine said. thoroughly aroused and gathering her up. ya randy little wench. Instead.79 “I certainly agree. yeah? wahine. “Get up.” he muttered.Jesus. locked together as they were. and hard against his slippery wet . if we shower together we’ll likely both go right down the scuttle. Jesus. It’s nearly time for tea.” “I’ll have my tea in the drawing room. white-tiled shower. more of us.” He was beginning to laugh and then Katharine was trying to let go once again. He was in a rough hurry. and she cried out and moaned softly while they flung themselves together until she bit into his shoulder to prevent a rising scream. he leapt out of bed and raced across the room and into the shower with Katharine close behind him. or shall I do it? I fancy ya like nothing else. “My god.

now at a lower stage. She was dressed in a plain olive skirt and beige silk blouse. A Maori cook named Mattie bustled and clattered in the kitchen. 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. sliding against him. her voice amazed. and a very fresh salad with a delicate dressing unfamiliar to Katharine. with Katharine laughing and stopping to button a missed space in Lan’s shirt while he kissed the top of her head. who sat with them. Sauvignon blanc from a winery I own up near Nelson. crisp white shirt. 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. How long have you . oh. The dining room was large with a fireplace on one wall.” she cried. and with chestnut wedge-heeled shoes on her tripping feet. the jade pendant hanging around her neck. Tea included an airy red wine. “Taste and tell me what ya think. Lan.80 body. sometimes went back into the huge old kitchen where her low voice could be heard speaking indistinguishable words. It was a very lovely environment for a meal. “very good. Dessert was a frothy vanilla pudding topped with slices of kiwifruit. and Mary. “Oh Lan. Before it was served Lan went to the sideboard and He poured some into Katharine’s It’s a uncorked an icing white wine.” Katharine said. goblet and said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “It’s good. *** They rapidly descended the stairs arm in arm. and not even able to laugh. cold roast beef. Lan wore gray slacks and Spanish cordovan loafers and another well-tailored. There was grainy bread hot from the oven.

Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “So you aren’t going to ride off punching cows. the U.” Lan answered. exported to Germany where venison is eaten with relish. When tea was over. they lingered at the table while Mary brought Lan up to date with the mundane happenings at Green . Green Eyes.” Katharine said. and knew what Mary knew about them. plenty of them.” Lan said.or snails or puppy dog tails.” “I see ya two have not been talking about wine. mother.” “What kind of relish?” Katharine said. “Up at the north end of the property we have red deer. and ya can get a feel of hard leather and a whiff of down and dirty on the plain. It’s working out well enough..” “What else is on the hoof around here.” Mary said with a twinkle in her eye. Katharine saw Mary watching them. “We’ll simply ride out among ’em. 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.81 been a vintner?” “A few years. “Very amusing. “We have not.” Lan said with the quick wit that Katharine was growing to love. “If this is where I’m supposed to launch into a discussion of sheep you’ll find the conversation wanting. besides horses?” Katharine asked. We export to I think these innocent whites are becoming a bit more sophisticated.S.. after all. 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.

. “Oh no. the mountains. Green Braes must involve a great deal of work and constant attention.82 Braes. she was deeply enough in love to punish herself and everyone around her for the loss of will that it involved. I would think it quite a challenge.from time to time at least. I love to listen. “I think I prefer nature to the city. and aloof that she couldn’t look at Lan. If she was expected to gush and say how she could hardly wait to settle in. Seattle.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine was surprised and a little embarrassed but tried to answer in a serious and thoughtful way. requiring a very special and single-minded devotion.. It’s how one learns about an unknown place. unassailable. although I now live in a city.. Lan could make the coolly firm observation she had just delivered evaporate and fall like rain.all the little details. but with all the problems of congested cities. with a softening smile. Katharine sat listening in silence until Mary apologized for boring her.. She knew very well that within a matter of seconds.” Her answer had been so absolutely tactful. nature and made that a necessity. Growing up on my grandmother’s It brought me close to flower farm was a fortunate experience.. one or both of them would certainly be disappointed.a blustery northwest sea town made more attractive by the beauty of its setting.” “Can ya imagine yourself living here?” Mary asked with the very same directness she had apparently passed on to her son... knowing he wouldn’t like it. and she went upstairs to put on her jeans and tennis shoes while he remained talking with his mother. as if she were a distant relative come for a visit. Lan suggested that they go for a walk along the river.. and Katharine said.really very interesting to me. She felt a little mean-spirited and stared out at Habitually independent. She heard them begin a .

“Are those Wellingtons from Wellington?” she asked in a teasing voice. Are ya These old boots are bloody essential to me. ready?” *** “Where were those trucks going. He kissed the nape of her neck.. they’ve held up rather well. the ones I saw when we flew in?” Katharine asked as they strolled along. that is gravel. 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. 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.and periodically oversees some repair work.83 conversation in Maori.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . today because of road repair. Careful what ya say.. Wheeler. “They leave every Thursday. usually at five in the morning. although they’re looking a bit tired after all those years. but the evening was warm and the river quite refreshing. and almost resented that very private way of saying anything they wanted.early nineteenth century. headed for the port of Timaru.. and then paved roads. keeps an eye on road erosion. where the woolies are shipped out. mostly headed for the Middle East. until she reminded herself it was something they regularly did and none of her business.” Lan answered.” The wind had abated a little. 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. then left her to put on his jeans and slip into a pair of old Wellingtons. They were on a very well-worn path . impish Green Eyes. Let’s walk. Our manager.” “You’ve drunk just enough of my wine to foolishly criticize my favorite boots. “From the 1st Duke of Wellington.. “Hmm.

that isn’t true. I don’t know myself.. advice.” “That I well know.” Katharine said. the lovely bellbird. I’ve gotten ya this far and now I’m wondering about the next obstacle. very tall blond grasses.. hesitation. “All right.” “I simply will.or are you busy?” “Yeah. pushover. do.” “And how I love being with you. I have to go to Christchurch. “Kate.” “What does that mean?” “Just what I’ve said. “Ya were happier in Auckland.” “But God how I love having ya with me. can try a little of your friendly persuasion on my mother.” “No. I think.restless. and I thought ya could try to get Mary to come with us.. in places.” “No more?” “Please don’t press me. complicated but--” “And so are you. this place. but I’m not sure ya know what you’re in for. I was about to say. You’re unpredictable. when he turned around and took hold of her arm and drew her against him. Ya see how I’m following your I wonder if ya could get her out.. I’ve barely seen Can we go riding tomorrow.. I become. Katharine was listening for unusual bird sounds and asking Lan about one she thought she was able to distinguish.” .” “Neither am I. 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.a bit complicated.uncertain when you I only know that I--” We’d better go back.. “Well. so ya No more tonight. his penetrating eyes and serious manner a sudden explicit revelation of concern. Lan...84 through the tough and. It’s so nice here.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I appreciate your determination.

85 *** Lan went into his study to answer some e-mail. You’re a very fetching girl. and come along? schoolgirl. “No. and she would soon be weeping in earnest for the desired effect. a grandmother who left me too soon.I mean.. but it’s not so easy in a . go to the wrong places. her eyes swimming with moisture that was not so very difficult to summon. I expect you’re here to have a little talk about something. Katharine Gordon. I’ll be all alone. I guess I can do it. “always longing for a mother. She had only to think of her life without a family for a minute. “I’ve had to go everywhere alone most of my life. “Am I bothering you?” she asked. and I’m afraid I’ll do all the wrong things. Katharine.. “I’m hoping you’ll come with me to Christchurch tomorrow. Mary. and I know nothing about the town. but I don’t go out.. “For you.” “I certainly do see why Lan has taken a fancy to ya.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. Lan is flying over on some busines. I have almost no idea anymore what it feels like to walk down the street with one or the other and share experiences. but not for me.” Katharine dropped her head.. Katharine decided to be the same and said. I really have no idea where to begin there but I’ve heard it has lovely gardens and parks.” Mary said. Are ya not?” If Mary had chosen to be direct.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine said.” “It’s an easy town to get around in if ya don’t mind the river. while Katharine went in search of Mary and found her in the library reading in her favorite red leather wing chair. things.

ya devious imp?” “Mary will be coming with us tomorrow.” He told me Nevertheless.” I just can’t. tell him how mistaken he was. totally immersed in what I’m doing. please. “Poor Lan. I’m not so selfish as to deny It was nothing against ya.because it’s such a lonely proposition. Are ya serious?” .. looked up and said. I’m almost never a’re the have brought ya here. He said you would come with me because it would make I’m sorry. He and stood quietly with her hands crossed behind her back. Go tell him I’ll come. He’s in his study... I’ll show ya whatever ya want to see. Mary rose from her chair and stared at Katharine with a half disbelieving expression that began to look like concession.” “Well.86 strange place. Mary. I’ll come. Lan anything like that..” “Are ya not the same fearless girl who goes around the world covering wars and looking into the troubling affairs of others?” “Oh.. sorry. that’s one I haven’t heard. She went up to Lan. I’m Katharine wrung her hands and said. know. I don’t go out. “I think ya know I would never tell Lan anything that would make him unhappy. “He’s had too much of that already.” she said. There I’m playing the role of journalist. you would. or Lan would never You’re the first since. I can’t Will you tell him him happy to have you there beside me. who was heavily into e-mail responses.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “What are ya grinning at now. that’s very different.a good girl.” she said. “Get off the grass. and I nearly always have a photographer or a guide with me. I hope ya You’re a clever girl.” Katharine went into the study looking like the Cheshire cat. first.. tugging at the edges of her blue cardigan.

and. it was located in a former band rotunda on Cambridge Terrace. It’s rorohiko. “I’d be willing to bet there’s no Maori word for this modern machine. 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. consecrated in 1881. laughing with such conspiratorial delight that Katharine was feeling quite heady with her success. Lan. I am serious. Sort of like your brain. Green Eyes. “Roro for brain.” Let’s go “You certainly think highly of yourself. “That’s enough of cyber space for tonight.” “Then ya would lose the bet. had left them in the heart of the city at Cathedral Square on Colombo Street. I like that expression.” “At the moment.” “How ingenious.. Looking in her guidebook Katharine had a clever idea concerning the location of this restaurant. “I just thought of something. Lan turned to her.” she said in a wondering voice as she stared at the computer. riding in the car of the business associate who picked them up from the airport. very English city of Christchurch known as the city of gardens.. He had promised to meet them later in the day at a popular riverside restaurant called Thomas Edmonds. and hiko for lightning. It’s time for your reward. ipo.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine answered.” “How on earth does that translate?” she asked with surprise.” she mused. I was thinking rather highly of a greeneyed phenomenon. but first she suggested they go inside the towering and ornate Christ Church Cathedral. She was thinking wistfully of having a . yes. which she intended to broach later. I think. to bed.” *** Katharine and Mary were on their own in this flat.87 “Hmm.

“This spire actually fell into the square once during an earthquake.88 look at the splendid view and the cathedral bells in the viewing balconies of the sixty-three meter high spire. It has a restaurant. They ambled down Gloucester Street and into the well established and very luxuriant Botanic Gardens. but not about to suggest that Mary climb the 133 steps. When they reached the top.” Come “Oh. When they were back on the ground they looked at the historical display.are you sure. slipping on her sunglasses.” Katharine invited. Do ya know It’s been damaged several times in them. “At least this is one thing that hasn’t changed.. shrugging and laughing at her caution.” Katharine noted..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . said.. “I’ll probably be in worse shape than you at the top. but. Mary. Mary was not even winded. look at those lush roses. The view was a wonderful way to study the layout of the city. “There’s something about the intense light down in this southern hemisphere that’s different to me.” I’m not that far gone. let’s climb the stairs. “Since we both like gardens and plants we’ll probably enjoy ourselves in that green environment. nothing to me.” Mary I’ve never eaten there. and they stood together while Mary pointed out places of interest. everything startling and sharp. “It’s a white light that makes Oh. Mary?” “What? Ya think I’m incapable? I ride a horse and walk A few steps are all over Green Braes.” “Then let’s have lunch there.” Katharine said. . and then Katharine suggested they walk over to the Botanic Gardens beside the cool Avon River meandering through the city. with which Mary seemed quite familiar.. when Mary spoke up. I do remember the view.not once. it’s a lovely place.” “Oh.

grandmother was French. She was so good to me. about every growing thing. Odd little motor-towed carts with green-canvassed canopies kept arriving and depositing visitors at the restaurant. and Katharine encouraged Mary to indulge herself. nursed me through many a tummy ache and bruised knee and unrequited teen-aged crush.” “No..” Mary set down her fork and stared out the window.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “That’s very amusing. “I’m paying. before my grandmother.” They sat by a window looking out at rare flora in every direction. It served a popular smorgasbord. I’m paying. bought me my first lovely prom dress--it was soft pink toile over pink taffeta--.” Mary’s smile faded as she stared at Katharine and said. “I’m sorry.” And a number of other unmentioned things: bouts of depression and moodiness. her faraway eyes roving over a tall.all of these wonderful trees. riding about when they ought to be walking. dazzling in the sunlight.. Katharine. broad-needled fir gilded a shimmering gold in the sunlight. grandmother would have loved it. “Those little carts carrying the visitors are called Toastracks.” Katharine laughed. And everywhere. That’s the way of it. My maternal grandfather died long My How my She was a florist and curious Both he and my father were Scots. “Ya have no family alive then?” “Perhaps somewhere.” The Gardens Restaurant was a six-sided flat building with a sloping roof and wide viewing windows.. joining in the laughter.89 So many colors. girl.exotic. to me at least. “Rang and I came to Christchurch on business from time to . “Incredible variety here.” Mary said. sent me to school.” Mary shook her head. “And the people are the toast..

“Sometimes he’s a mystery even to me. I don’t know if I could do that.” she said observing Katharine’s discomfort. hard. “But what I did to him with my own selfish love. Mary. looking at various plantings and blooming flora. But I hope to heaven. except that.. they rested on a bench while Katharine consulted her guidebook...” Katharine agreed. staring at Katharine. seems to me.. And Lan is like that. not an easy thing. leave it at that and go on with our day. better than anyone.” Mary said. and he’s so wonderful.” Katharine said. and I know him so well.” “Oh....” “Well. we two. Lan is not hurt again. so very wonderful. he’s the coming together of two kinds. not at all. insisting upon it once again. When Mary had paid the bill. I miss He loves We We loved hard.” “Of course.90 time.” Mary said. or else how can life go on? Without understanding that there can only be strife.that it’s not a frivolous thing. really a sort of refinement which must be respected in the human condition. you do. “Would you mind if we walked to the visitor center and . cupping flowers in their hands and sniffing sweet aromas as they went along.” she didn’t hesitate in both felt more comfortable there.” “Will you go there with me sometime?” “I don’t know. him so.I don’t think you’ve made up your mind about anything. but he wouldn’t be who he is without it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine.. “I can see how ya feel about my son. hopeful of having her meaning go beyond her own desire. although we more often went to Dunedin for pleasure. so we’ll leave it at “We’ll just “It that.that mix of Scot and Maori was not an easy thing. that he’s the rarest. they walked over paths thickly lined with collections of verdure mostly unknown to Katharine. It’s too soon. that’s settled in my mind at least. Finally.

Inside the quiet. having quite a treat. high-perched restaurant they found coolness and a simplicity of design which was soothing. I wouldn’t mind. and it says here the view is stunning.” Katharine protested.” Mary said with a quick sip of tea.” “No.” Mary said. “I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself nearly as much without you. and Katharine found the windy vistas breathtaking. “I’m supposed to be showing ya around. there are your snowy Southern Alps way off in the distance. I haven’t done that in years.” “I hope you’ll still think so after I tell you what I have in mind for our next adventure. We’re open room with a splendid wrap-around view. catching a hint of Mary’s fatigue. A neat “Lucky we have such a clear day. “You’re a good girl. Mary.” They caught Bus number 28.” Katharine said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and made the quick and restful twelve kilometer journey. Katharine Gordon.” “And I’m going to treat you to tea inside at the restaurant. “Oh look. 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. Cavendish in a little gondola. very different from anything she had ever seen. The barren. a pretty white tea service. but the truth is it’s yourself doing the showing. almost like a purely stylized storybook painting.” “Yes.” .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. Soon they were gliding up Mount At the top they walked about. and even a fresh sprig of some bright blue flower in a white vase on the shiny black table top.

and ya have nylons on. rolled her beige linen pants leg and stuck her foot into the water. Apparently punts will take you right to the Thomas Edmonds. reversing her doubtful opposition with a carefree smile which rendered her face almost girlish. “I want us to get into a punt at the Antigua Boatsheds and have ourselves punted all the way over to Cambridge Terrace. that is for tea. Mary dragged her hand through the refreshing waters and hummed from time to time.” “What? I don’t think.” she said. laughing and pointing and with Katharine occasionally singing. I needed that. it’s the undipped one that’s clammy.” The punter shook his head and whistled. Isn’t your foot a bit clammy?” “It’s given me a whole new “No.” Mary said. what a lovely idea.” Katharine said. Katharine pulled off one of her tan walking flats. and Mary began to laugh while Katharine was drying her foot with a tissue from her purse and putting her shoe back on.why. the burbling Avon River cooled and assuaged their fatigue and lifted their spirits even higher than the previous hours. and we can time it so we arrive just in time to meet Lan for dinner.. outlook.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” . Mind ya. you should have tried it.” “Perhaps another day I’ll try it. “Oh.92 Katharine glanced once again into her guidebook and then looked up with a mischievous smile.. “Lord. what if ya’d dropped your shoe into the water. *** They floated along in utter delight and lethargy.” Mary said. no offense. When they were almost to the restaurant. Katharine. “Really. One foot in the Avon and nothing will ever be the same. giggling. “when I’ve no sense left at all. Kate of doused foot. Katharine. As they were skillfully poled to their destination.

I’d want--” “I’ll be up in a little while. what good deportment was.93 They both began to laugh at this splendid title until they could hardly get out of the punt. while Mary chatted with Lan in English about the pleasant day she had experienced. She had embarrassed him by Her arriving at the restaurant acting like a madcap child. It was I like her very much. She remained that way all through dinner and on the plane ride back to Green Braes. Then Katharine looked up and saw Lan watching them as they came toward him.guess I ended up pretty excited about the whole thing. thinking she would wait until Lan was asleep and then creep into bed and fall asleep simply thinking about the day.” Katharine interposed. reveling in the camaraderie. I’ve gotten rather used to Didn’t ya think having ya there. She had rapidly come to adore attentive Mary with her slightly sodden whimsy and very dry wit. laughter abated and her face went soft and quiet. It wasn’t as if Katharine didn’t know Although sometimes preferring to revel in lively unconventionality. Katharine. Lan found her in the library and said. and I know ya must be tired. of transforming her into a confiding friend.” “Please come to bed. so much fun being with Mary. but the look was quite serious and soon she interpreted it as censure. She didn’t go up to their room right away.. “Aren’t ya tired after all that running around?” “I thought I’d just read for a while to calm down. perhaps even a motherly friend.. It was only that she had so delighted in bringing Mary out of herself. hanging onto each other in stitches. but remained in the library reading. He was looking at her with an expression she couldn’t read at all. she certainly knew when the proper conduct was necessary. Glancing at Lan in trim slacks and a t-shirt which clung to .Careless Child Karlene Kubat .

An kissin my Katie when a’ was done! O. staying carefully on her side and lying still. Half an hour later she crept into the bathroom and then into bed. Katie Green Eyes.. a’ the lang day I ca’ at my hammer. Katharine had Ka pai.” I’ll never sleep until ya do. ipo. An come to my arms. “Will ya kiss me now.. her voice smothered by an impatient mouth. He stood looking at her a few more seconds in silence. merry hae I been cloutin a kettle. my Katie. An a’ the lang day I whistle and sing! O. about to thank ya properly for today. An a’ the lang night as happy’s a king! . Very soon she heard a lilting voice that astonished her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Lan. 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. “I thought you were mad at me because I was acting like a child. she whispered as his body fiercely tangled with hers. and kiss me again! Drunken or sober. I’m . no one ever. Kate? ya strange sulky lass. my Katie.. Katie.94 his muscular diaphragm. a’ the lang night I cuddle my kimmer. she was hardly able to restrain herself.” “Ya thought wrong. merry hae I been teethin a heckle An merry hae I been shapin a spoon! O.. here’s to thee. for it was the voice of Robbie Burns: O. then left the room. “Lan.Come to my arms.” *** It was a little after seven in the morning and at last they were going to ride out onto the Canterbury plain.I’ve never heard anything so--” she exclaimed. closing the large heavy door behind him.

ya make me laugh. Ben.” Lan said.” They didn’t really have to saddle up. a great breed for herding livestock. Lan?” “No. “What kind of horses do you have?” she asked. the way ya slide into things.. wahina.we have red ones and black ones and white ones and--” “Oh. “We have quarter horses. Lan caught up with her on his big stallion. another part of your past I know nothing about. Really?” Come “God. I really want to’re a cracker on a horse.. several of them. because Rex had already taken care of that necessity by the time they arrived. She edged her moccasined feet gently back into the flank of a horse named Jangle.. “Ah. let’s go down to the stable and saddle up.” “I was raised on quarter horses. sipping coffee and dressed in old jeans and an open-necked blue shirt and wearing scuffed boots. “All right. I think you’re very nearly completely smart. cowgirl. “I’ll give ya a leg up. cowgirl. fast and strong. then gave a little flick of the reins and galloped off just clearing a fresh pile of stockade poles while Lan stared after her. placed her foot in the stirrup and leapt into the saddle. but Katharine had already run over to her mount. and said..” “Would ya know if I told ya?” “Do you think I’m completely stupid. on. stop it Lan. looking very cowboyish to her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . My grandmother had I belonged to a horse club and rode in funky little shows when I was just a nipper of ten.” “Get off the grass. Lan sprawled across from her in no great hurry. That means we can hang out here all day and I won’t have to worry about your tired little arse.95 on her jeans and a t-shirt and sat over her half-finished oatmeal eager to be off.” .” “Well Good on ya.

.” “Then ya can have all of this: Aoteoroa.96 Lan. regretting how she had ruined the moment.” “There are ten sheep for every Kiwi in New Zealand. just follow me. “I’ve never seen so many sheep. safe.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” They were up on a slight rise.” “What if I get thirsty?” “For me or water?” “Either. I just need to have my space. who was wearing a rather handsome oiled leather hat.” “We’ll dismount by the river and take care of both requirements. while. They stood in the warm wind on a slight rise and looked at the clouds rolling in great billows along the Southern Alps. cowgirl. 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. need . reached into his saddle bag and pulled out a rolled felt hat.” “I’ve heard the other expression: the land of the wrong white crowd. “I collect clouds. watching him frown and immediately regretting it. then leaned over and arranged it on Katharine’s head. surveying the sheep-dotted landscape. and Katharine said.. He pushed his hat back.” she said. please.” she said.” “But are you?” “Don’t get me thinking about it. “Why do ya do that?” “What? I don’t know.” They rode on. the land of the long white cloud. “Come on. looked hard at her and said. “This is to keep your brains from frying.where Green Braes got its name. “nothing else but clouds. dismounting once when Katharine intended to adjust her stirrups but then let Lan do it for her.

and an entirely different subject overtaken what I want. “Ya don’t have to be afraid of me. “Then get down. They remounted and rode side by side in silence until he said. drinking.” They tied their horses’ reins in branches and walked to a level opening where they could reach the river’s low bank.I don’t know. I scare ya bloody bad because I want ya. The roaring water. frothing in a rushing white foam with the grasses greening up all around them. and it must be so obvious.97 to have. that of change. Lan... babbling words. going to hurt ya. drastic change. Lan.” “Yeah? Until ya want me a little too much.” They were climbing slightly with Lan ahead. “I’m thirsty. myself and I don’t really need much else. It was why she had spoken in Now she was cringing at that frenetic and dismissive manner. following the river until it was squeezed between raised green banks. Katharine. I’ve always maintained my freedom to I’ve made a sort of life for I don’t need--” Listen to yourself.” “Yeah. the tender rich bright grasses had all charged her senses with a restless hunger. straying explanation that was She did need. then lay on their bellies.” “I’m not afraid of you.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” I’m not “I’m happy with you. needed very much. He was right to make her hear her own A disconnected. The promise of New not even true and completely off the point. the wind and clouds. “What in bloody-hell are ya doing? She was silent. ya are. .” come and go...” He turned around in his saddle and looked at her. her own words. Zealand clouds had been left to evaporate like the clouds themselves.

I want. sooky green.” “For what?” “I want to. “This is as good a place as any. unable to escape the steady jet gaze. a long speculation in his troubled dark eyes.. God... “Look at me.I want.. What I have to say is..” “Lan. The fear was rising in her. Lan. “I can’t right now.” “Better?” His adept fingers eased smoothly inside of her.” she cried. He went to his horse and returned with a blanket.” “I never want to deny ya anything.. until a tremor of fear made her look away.98 “It’s so quiet and pure and clean here...yeah.. you hypnotize. “Give me back your beautiful eyes.” he said. gently working his fingers against her while she moaned softly with closed eyes.” He took off his hat and threw it down.. “Yes. throwing it on the ground.” “Ya like that?” She opened her eyes and stared elatedly into eyes of covert blackness. running his fingers through his hair and looking at her with an unreadable question. “Please.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She put her arm around his waist and said.. wiping the dripping water from her mouth with the back of her hand.I have to talk to ya.” 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. it’s so beautiful here. “Lan.. of falling helplessly through space. but he startled her with his words. with an unsmiling mouth and eyes lost in the shadow of his hat but looking away from her.” She knew he understood that she wanted only to be in this arousing moment with him. a fear of leaving herself. but I.” she said. She curled against him and lifted his hand to her cheek.” He squatted at the edge of the blanket. “Oh. .

” “Lan..Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..I have a ya even know how much ya are? Exactly what I want.” I mean.. “Let me finish.” “What?” she said.” he said.. please. giving in to the truth which he spoke for both of them.died... I realized how very right I was about ya.I want to have ya.” She reached for him.. “My ipo.. kissing her and pushing her hair away from her eyes.” “But she would have wanted you to--” .what I have to say has my guts in a knot and the rest of me useless. he watched her come.. even enough to override the ruinous fear. this is. confused and suddenly frightened again. “God.. “Wait.” “Why? Why don’t you have her with you?” Jesus.” “What.I’ve never seen anyone so afraid of loving. Lan?” she asked with a new fear sweeping over late “Ya can’t meet her. He tamaiti taku..when Ani.and God. wife’s parents. my Green Eyes. then folded his arms and stared at her. I want to meet her.. except. I have.... a daughter. Kate.99 With a serious mouth. He zipped her jeans and lifted her still excited body up to a sitting position. I love ya.who Katharine Gordon really is. wanting him more than any other professed or contingent need. Ya want me and ya want my mother and you’re so bloody scared of that... she lives with my.” “That’s nice.... I doubt ya know yourself. her head twisting helplessly against his shirt in spasms of pleasure..I was twenty-five and drunk most of the time. “That was practice for this: Apparently. I turned into a. drunk for quite a while... I’d like to. “When I saw how ya were with my mother yesterday.but..

. drunk. suspicion made easy by past experience was “How do I know anything anymore? You!” I know ya already corroding her thought. I regretted it the next morning. She came into my room and..” “But I don’t.she fancied me. waited until I was. flawless and I’ve disappointed ya. in-laws for anything she needs. and because of my guilt I treat her like a child. but I was afraid Rani might ruin us. I’m telling ya now. too.. and didn’t want the baby. can’t stand hearing that because of your past.Kate.. he jumped up.” Seeing her distraught state. The child isn’t hers.... dead I had no idea. Ya see. it was the thing that sobered me up. “Liar. with his fist coiled at his side in a sudden heat of frustration..” She was remembering how he sat with his arm over Rani’s chair at The Loaded Hog when first they met.. I. I would never have opened my mouth.I didn’t.. telling It wasn’t ya everything.. Ya want me I think you’d like to see me . Please. Rani had She was sixteen.whose?” “One night I came home off-my-face drunk. really necessary. I couldn’t take care of it.. and to me she I was haurangi. “You can lie by omission.waited. was just my little “What? You liar!” I’ve never lied to ya..wait!” She had jumped up with her heart flying out of her chest. Mistrust.. Kate. about her. But Rani got pregnant.crawled into my bed naked.100 “Please. I visit her. Rani doesn’t care Rani acts like such a reckless child. Kate. and that’s what you’ve done. She was a wild little bird. How can I believe anything? “Life isn’t perfect.. don’t.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .we gave the baby I pay my to my in-laws to raise and sent Rani away to school. that. You and Rani. Nothing is perfect. always wanted. I don’t know why.. a child herself. It came later. I don’t even remember how I accomplished I regretted it so much I guess I had her.

bringing her rather swiftly to the stables. near me. He’s told ya. don’t let him near me.” Mary brought Kate a washcloth with lumps of ice gathered inside and held it on her head. I’m not perfect but I I found ya and I love ya.” she called. I just couldn’t stand it. She hastened to her room. Please understand.101 as a symbol of some perfect circle that doesn’t exist -. “No. “Oh no. Please come with ya?” Mary cried. I can’t be Please let me stay in your I’ll get a cool flannel for your head. . please let me stay in your room.we all join hands and sing hallelujah. Do ya know that? Please. tugging at her fruit-stained apron. my head is beginning to ache.” Please don’t let him I’m under the bridge. There was Rani newly arrived with a busload of mates who were laughing and joking and exploring the grounds of the Lodge.” “Of course ya can stay in my room. I told him not to. bed. “Mary? here. know what love is. Katharine? What in heaven’s name is wrong Mary. I want ya. room.” “I’ll put ya in one of the guest rooms..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Oh God. Kate. He will. I couldn’t stand it. getting a headache. my Green Eyes.. packed her things into her suitcase and took it into Mary’s room. Please. oh no. but Jangles had an excellent sense of direction and knew exactly where to go. Mary!” “What is it. Please. jumping on Jangles and whacking his rump.” She turned and ran. ya love me. I told him it was water He loves ya so. alone. Mary. but he had to do it.and In my bed ya do. twice certain she had lost her way. Jesus. Then Mary stared at Katharine’s face and said.” “No. She rode fast and hard. The sight of Rani made Katharine sick. Come let’s get ya into He’ll get to me. “Please come here. Come along.

her spiteful young face gloating.ya phony American bitch.” “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. He really loves me and he knows it.” Please. Not you.” Katharine begged. me two?” Katharine asked.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Now. little self run wild. to straighten her out. but Mary was nowhere in sight. “I just wanted to tell ya what I really think of ya.” she cried.” “Rani. I spoiled her badly.102 “I spoiled Rani. stirrer. “Katharine. She started to sit up and saw “He’ll never marry ya.. ya emotionally retarded little Out. I shouldn’t be talking.” he demanded. Try to sleep. Just try to sleep.” Mary said.. Not you. and then put her head under the pillow. my selfish fault. “Lie quietly. She awoke and looked at the clock.” “Get out!” Katharine shouted. It was ten in the evening.” She had taken two pills and finally they knocked her out. entering the room. She cringed and pulled the covers up to her throat. “Rani!” Lan hollered.” I’ll pull the curtains and bring the pills. “Leave me alone. could you get “I have pills in my little blue bag. paleface. Very soon Katharine heard loud voices outside the door. Mary and Lan speaking in Maori and English back and forth. that someone was in the room. her eyes pained by the light. She was laughing with triumphant delight. So much of it was my fault. “Get the hell out I’ve had enough of ya.” Lan called. “Mary?” Rani turned on the light and moved toward her. “Go away. here. dragging Rani out of the . please get out of here. of here. “I’m sorry.

In the morning she found Mary gone. herself for her inability to resolve anything. but Sliding in and out of agony. Mary?” “Yes. good-bye. Oh God. Then Lan tapped on the E noho ra.” “Yes.” Her eyes filled with tears. Please remember that I love ya. Katharine apologized for her histrionics and said she was feeling a little better. incapable of judging anything.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Green Eyes.” Katharine agreed. poor little Katharine. door and called to her. When Mary came into the room. one pitiful mess. sent Rani and her friends packing. like a coddled sick child. it came to her how that might be accomplished if she could last until Thursday morning. stroking the hair away from her eyes. huge lump in her throat. “I love ya. and she thought. 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. girl. tramp over at Milford. until she remembered yesterday. so very motherly she felt a small comfort. few days and maybe you’ll feel better by that time. It was a soothing gesture.” Mary said. I’m a fearful mess. but she knew it . Lan. “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. how?” I’ve got to get out of here right away. anyway.103 room. She wanted only to have her arms around She hated herself. and she shook her head with anger and frustration. “I’ve told Lan to leave ya alone until ya calm down. if only I can last until Thursday. not There was a him. thinking how well this would fit in with her own plans. “Oh God. Katharine was shaking badly and had momentarily decided she was in a madhouse. The disclosed incident with Rani had jolted her out of paradise and back to reality. I’ll see ya soon.

where Mary wouldn’t immediately find it. dressed. laying out her clothes the night before and putting her packed suitcase downstairs at the back of the foyer coat closet. You had your own problems. using Lan’s bathroom. smiling She sadly as she looked at Mary who was softly snoring. the fear of losing herself in Lan. I thought she was more I like a worshipful sister. Mary. or I’d have put a stop to that soon enough. She had written Mary a thankful and loving and apologetic note. Oh. Then Mary might suppose she had At four o’clock she slipped out of bed. along with her briefcase laptop. I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re right. That was My head is off today. “Even I didn’t realize how much Rani fancied Lan. She had placed the note in an unobtrusive but well-used place in the kitchen.” Probably his fine Ani “No.. “Let’s talk of something else now. attempting to commiserate with Katharine.” “If only his Ani hadn’t died. the pain shooting all through her as she relived their hungrily indulgent showers. the real problem went far beyond Rani. She crept Slipping a few wrapped oatmeal cookies into her . looking up to her big brother.. downstairs.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . since they aren’t blood related and it was too easy. should have seen it.” At last Thursday arrived.104 wasn’t the real problem. too. again opened up with a special softness. and decided that it would be a sufficient good-bye for Lan.this lovely place. the real problem was herself. quite the wrong thing to say. Katharine had planned carefully.been far more careful.. although a taciturn person not given to personal revelations. would have kept everything on an even keel. gone riding. I realize now there were problems all over this place.. Mary.” Katharine put down her fork and said. You can’t go on castigating yourself. Mary. They talked over tea and in the evenings spent together in the lounge after their meal.

difference from the way she had arrived. “No. where she could get off and rent a car. Timaru. I’ll leaving in a few minutes.105 purse. Down at the stockades and sheds the large trucks were warming up their engines for the haul to Timaru. “There are plenty of four-wheel drives around here. When the kindly driver left her off at the train station. hanging onto the laptop.” was a busy port city of 27. Manutane pays for all the petrol around Climb up then. here. She went up to one of the drivers and said. Right. I can’t take any of those. Mr. We’ll be They’re needed here. Katharine discovered that a train. and the several hours long. “meaning the place of shelter.” “No problem. blowsy driver looked her up and down in her fine linen slacks and jacket and laughed. I’ll stow these. gear-grinding drive to Timaru. “I need to get to Timaru. the Southerner.” “I’ll keep this. which. . left Timaru each morning at 10:35 going south through Dunedin.” she said. Miss. pay you. can you give me a lift?” The hulking. Quite a I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. in her present condition. And so it was. she taunted herself.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .500 people. *** In her guidebook.” he suggested. from the Maori word Te Maru. bouncing. grimacing bitterly and frequently clenching her teeth. she preferred not to look upon. her clandestine and ignominious departure from Green Braes in a sheep lorry. still numb with pain. she bought a ticket then walked about the town. lurching. she retrieved her things from the closet and went out the door. if that’s a problem. it was said to have a very nice beach and a statue of Robbie Burns. had some coffee and departed on the Southerner for the Scottish town of Dunedin.

She immediately came across another statue of the ubiquitous Robert Burns. and she decided to drive until she was exhausted. Strewing her things around the room.106 On the train she had plenty of time to think of what she would do next. It occurred to her that piling new experiences atop the present pain would help to deaden it. maybe even some of my folk. I’ve never been here but I Mary came here with her lover. simply look at things and keep on driving. student-filled old university town and headed south.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Upon looking around at this lovely Scottish town. she thought. she rented a white. old and fine. right-hand-drive Honda and had to keep reminding herself to drive on the left side of the road. on and on with tears streaming down her face. She slid down upon the . and there discovered an innocent bruise from Lan’s lovemaking. she decided to leave. It was heavy stone. and she was going to be She drove quickly through the sick with longing for Lachlan. She stayed in a comfortable bed and breakfast with a balcony that overlooked the sky-reflecting lake. Queenstown was high and cooler. On and on through green flat sheep country and over one-lane bridges and broad rivers. From Dunedin she could aim for Queenstown. which she found was Celtic for Edinburgh. keep driving until she reached Auckland and fly out of there. cutting west near Milton and heading for Queenstown. which had seen greater days of glory but had a certain Midlothian charm and splendid beaches. and the place is full of her folk. Too many memories. Way up north. Rang. and began to feel ill. she showered. 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. with buildings studding the hills and tumbling down to the esplanade at the edge of expansive and serene Lake Wakatipu. In Dunedin. have all of these memories.

my Green Eyes. We’ll resolve this Please don’t leave Please come back. She had experienced this condition before. In late morning. forking food into their smiling mouths and sipping wine -perhaps some of it was Lan’s wine. Finally. and suddenly there was the message from Green Braes: “Please come back to me. Lan. Drying herself off in a slow daze. she nibbled around the edges of a generous plate of rice with chunks of meat and vegetables.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” New Zealand. Lan. standing outside and wondering for a moment how to get back to her room. but had never been quite this drunk alone. She had been all over the world and hardly ever got lost. less Swallowing several aspirin. I’ll never see you again. She ordered another drink. At last she regained her sense of direction. “Lan. will I?” She fell into a disturbed sleep. she dressed and went out. leaning on her hand for a while and discreetly watching the convivial diners. she then began to pace. have three of them or four? wear and tear on recovery. walking down uncluttered streets and peering into small restaurants until she grew tired. oh. a deceptive little ache that promised to bloom fully later. They were all in flagrantly amorous twos. oh. She paid her bill and left. .107 tile floor and sat with her head on her knees. Please. my love. together. she woke up sweating but with only a slight headache. the warm water pouring over her. A list of her e-mail was displayed. Having reached the end of endurance. and another. The drinks were strong. Did she Vodka was the best. she lay back and said aloud. looking from time to time out at the lake. Vodka. she sat cross-legged on her bed with her laptop screen glowing before her. In the middle of the night. Katharine. but no more hungry. Ordering a drink. she sat down at a blond wood table in a tiny cream-walled bistro which was supposed to remind one of Morocco.

” just Nothing like her tame Seattle ferries. anything but consciousness.108 “Oh too piercingly beautiful. She stood gasping. It was named Aratere.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . long sparkling beaches. the white tassels dipping in the wind. In three and a half hours windy Wellington . scrambled down to the beach and ran barefoot on the gray sand until she couldn’t breathe. where all the splendid jade was made into jewelry. totoeka jade pendant and held it in her hand -. she would be inclined to jump off a bridge without a bungy cord. staring at the spiky dark flax growing on the cliffs. The rainy West Coast had offered a few sunny spots. She stayed near Westport before crossing the That night she took out her mountains on her way to Picton. spanking past golden islands like a proud swan. she told herself. Staring at it she tried to will herself to fall asleep or fall into a trance or fall into some insensitive state. a place for lovers. If she encountered many more couples holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. oh God. It rained half way up the West Coast. *** She had decided to skip Milford Sound. violet-padded chair as the ferry plunged through the misty waters with hardly a tremor. She ordered a drink and sat in the broad bow in a sumptuous. what she needed. No finicky little fly would bite into this poisonous body.” she cried. Maori for “quick path. it even She took the elevator up to the plush bar. the red river flowing through the green like blood gushing from her heart. slumping forward in tears. She never acquired a single sandfly bite. Really nice. had a movie theater. finally driving aboard the huge interislander ferry which plied the waters to Wellington. Once she parked the car. At Picton she bought a ticket for the 10:30 sailing and got into the long line that wound through the town. but the sun shined at the beach town of Hokitika.

she sat on her bed in her silk slip. her heart racing. a little woozy from the wine.109 came sliding into view. Katherine Mansfield had spent the teenaged years of her short life. New Zealand had stifled Public places reveled in the land’s exotic nikau Off to the sophisticated cities of Europe she had sailed. then dressed in a white suit and pumps and called a taxi. she took a shower. She drove by the famous executive office building of the parliamentary complex known as the Beehive. attractive? Back in her room. Paradise was far too provincial. which was just what it resembled. breath. A journalist she knew had raved about the It was far more than her appetite food there. She felt the top of her head growing cold. giving the driver the name of a restaurant on Queens Wharf called Shed 5. palms. were some kind of game. So tranquil had she been rendered by the lulling ferry and her Scotch. She held her As if it Did bone-aching misery make one more Why was she doing this? It was no game. rested. why didn’t she just turn the car around? The message from Green Braes read: I am yours and always “You belong to me. and he was right. and thick slices of Parmesan cheese bread. her. . Waves were crashing over the motorway in a howling gale that was apparently the norm for Wellington. So this was where the writer. the room going black. and almost fainted.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a large bowl of crisp salad. and she had to turn on her wipers. could accommodate: fresh bluenose bass. and looked the opposite direction from two staring men seated at a nearby table. pesto mashed potatoes served home style. Pounamu Eyes. she dreaded returning to her car. checking her e-mail. She swallowed generous amounts of wine. After checking into the Novotel Wellington. She had no desire to drive herself to dinner. If it was going to continue this way.

and the thinness of the air.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . cry. . and was touted to offer a popular tourist cruise.110 will be. crying softly and sliding her empty hands over the moist center of her body.” She lay back on her bed. especially for those living in 186 A. she was more than half way Remember how I hold you. stop and fish there. dark green forests. very large lake. clear. ipo. built in 1926. rainbow trout that all originated in California’s Russian River. rolling from side to side. Kate Green She drove over sweeping empty landscapes and miles Lake Taupo was a of carefully manicured. very clean for so much tourism. The Barbary. Eyes. together. Once there. disappointed? Or was that really the reason she was She couldn’t get away the next morning and lay in bed with a headache. iridescent-silver trout. and she felt the crispness of the snowy peaks that partially surrounded the lake. She wanted to Even to think of fishing made her want to There was a large old racing yacht floating around the lake. formed by one of the largest volcanic upheavals the world has ever seen.D. disappointed because there was no trout on the menu. popular place. 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. it had once belonged to the rogue actor Errol Flynn. to Auckland. and the lake itself a high. cold. had drunk too much at a restaurant. There was She no message on her computer that night or the morning after. The lake teamed with famously large and gleaming. with tidy modern dwellings in Taupo at the lake’s northeast edge. the largest lake in all of New Zealand. Remember how we are No one else will ever have you like that. Katharine crashed in a lakeside motel in Taupo. It was 375 meters above sea level.

She She couldn’t remember their names or very much of what they had said.111 “I will go fishing. the other a delicately spicy red sauce which did not detract from the flavor of the fresh fish. but she was smiling proudly with her two excellent fish.” she said aloud from her bed. so fine that she invited people over to her table to share the large meal.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . laughing and joining in.above the noise of the boat motor -. They insisted on buying the drinks. As soon as she had dropped it into the . herself was quite soused. When her picture was developed the trout looked wonderful but she did not. She was quite surprised. Returning that evening at an appointed hour. although not quite as happy. 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 -. for she appeared thin as a reed. one in a light soy and green onion sauce. He photographed her with the fish then left her at a restaurant which he assured her would prepare her trout very nicely.” the two couples said. as if to say. she found the proprietors had done two expert and tasty presentations of the fish. her moist green eyes sad and larger looking than ever in her drawn face. and everyone was thoroughly and happily soused by the end of the evening. only the laughter and the heart-rending accents and the very welcome camaraderie of their rosy smiling faces. “Good on ya. and catching your lovely fish to boot. See.vivid descriptions of rambunctious steelhead trout fishing. She hired a Maori fishing guide and he took her out on the lake to a spot guaranteed to produce trout. On a sudden impulse she decided to send the photograph to Green Braes. 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.

She had wanted to visit a marae. Kate?” Where are ya. and called Margaret. Too much pungent sulfur and too many tourists for her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . spectacular aquamarine pools. the open area in front of the Maori meeting house. Driving eighty-two kilometers the next day. and she did walk through Te Whakarewarewa. but the dense Maori history here was quite fascinating to investigate. One quick immersion in one of these would cure her of everything. I’m so happy to hear your voice. Katharine checked into a small. The place reeked of hot springs. “Good lord. After having sent her photograph she felt an ill wind nipping at her heels. was no place to land. a thermal reserve filled with famous geysers. but she felt unclean. Perhaps some day she would return with enough humility and understanding of herself to deserve a marae welcome. for it was cloaked in a terrible lie and only drew her back to Green Braes. She was like a foreign There It bird flying over the land. . her fear and mistrust. and she was the person who had failed. and that she ought to get on in a hurry. a very unlikely place in which to be found. either. the Maori spot tourists seemed to love most on North Island.112 mailbox she regretted her foolishness. obscure hotel. She stayed one night in Rotorua and in the morning drove the three hours to Auckland. It seemed to her that he was the symbol of what must be accomplished. searching for a place to land. It was a physical and a spiritual act which she thought of as a profoundly beautiful ceremony. she was in Rotorua. because she had failed to forgive Lan. failed in her smallness. unfit to be welcomed or so tenderly treated. but perhaps another excuse to run. and bubbling mud ponds. wasn’t all a matter of forgiveness. the welcoming and acceptance of a guest.

” What a long way it is..I hope.because it Can you understand? I’m far too much of a stranger to myself already. Kate.I mean. What I do now is at least familiar to me. That would destroy us And you see I’ve always run like mad from. a long. He’s going out of his mind.... I know he respects your Don’t ya care enough to--” “Oh God..but I suppose you won’t. bloody-hell.. Lan knows who ya are..or if you come to Seattle..too much of an idealist. independence... friend.. Maybe I’ll be back some day. but Lan is my I can’t believe it myself. Margaret. Margaret. and I don’t know what the problems are. both. romantic for someone who’s always out there in the world’s bad parts. please call him.oh. problems.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..and there are other assumes too much importance.” I just wanted to thank you for being a I’ve got to go. I just never thought. Isn’t that rather amazing? You’re bloody Perhaps you’re too. I’m so sorry we never got to spend much time together.the. please. I’m sorry. respects who ya are.from whatever And.. “I can’t. I mean. I don’t know what this is all about. Please. and no good to anyone this way.” Can’t.. I know I shouldn’t say anything to ya but I’ve got to.113 “I’d rather not say.. I think you’re making a terrible mistake. Kate. Margaret.” “Kate. I’ll go to pieces if I don’t hang . up. what Oh God. long way. ya found each other...” “Kate. can’t. but when ya love each other they can be worked out. friend.. not that ya aren’t..but I should have known...the annihilation of my miserable self before I even straighten myself out. because ya really are quite a girl.. because I’m leaving New Zealand almost at once. wouldn’t be me calling.. Really sorry.. can’t.I think I could totally disappear into Lachlan Manutane.” “I don’t really understand this...

” Please come back. or call. Margaret. even though she couldn’t Doubt recall a single memory of Lan without nearly passing out.” We are one .. My final word to ya. my ipo. She knew there was something missing in her frame of reference. matter how far away you go. “Good-bye. Katharine. to soothe herself with a trite and meaningless cliché that came into her head as she was standing in her tacky little room. “It just wasn’t in the cards. you look so sad with your two handsome fish. It tells me something very important about you. and the familiarity of an undefined and chaotic way of life had been allowed to rule.anything. why you can’t forgive and why you run so hard. Kate. She tried to assume a stoic posture.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . of that on your long flight home.” She had confirmed her plane reservations and called a It was a sad way to leave such a taxi for the morning. continuing to believe she must go out and do something about it. “Green Eyes. continuing to feel small and unworthy. You know I love you. 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. One day you’ll look up and It’s Think of your childhood. Lan. Say good-bye and cheers to Ian.” Katharine hung up and bawled in a loud rush of grief. She could not envision it. Think deeply. Thank you for sending the picture. I treasure it. just keep in touch. had never felt so alone. beautiful country. E-mail me or write me. Kate. She She didn’t even want to contemplate what her life might have been like if she had stayed at Green Braes. spirit. is that Lan cares for ya Please think as I’ve never seen him care for anyone in years.114 “Wait.” “Good-bye. there I’ll be.. my friend. It tells me that It doesn’t you’ve suffered. and if that is so then you love me.

like . Occasionally. Victoria had been an interlude equivalent to a state of shock. There was an ache that came into her wrists and ankles. had told her. shivering in the sea mists and looking at stucco English cottages and quaint old wooden houses which reminded her of New Zealand. would always be tainted. never mind trying to correct anything. seeing instead a tall sail unfurling over aquamarine water and feeling a sudden heat on her skin. When at last she could leave her room. this heavy sickness being dragged around in her body until she could hardly withstand the weight. but had made not the slightest change in a single uncertainty. to engage in any form of self-evaluation. was as congenital as an arm or a leg. and now here it was. exacting work requiring full concentration. The condition Her intellect told her this predetermined fate assigned by an enraged parent was ridiculous.115 II It was cold early spring in Victoria. The next day she returned to Seattle with something more engulfing and monumental in mind: work. she said. a bittersweet misery that at times almost sent her to her knees. 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. The interlude was over and she had refused to think of anything. she walked around the verdant city distractedly peering into sleeping wet gardens. she would fall into a vacuous stare and wonder what she had been looking at. standing in the rain in Beacon Hill Park and listening to the peacocks’ mournful cries. only the thought of an easy assignment.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . 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. Her nerves told her it was straight overhead. This isn’t working out.

By the time she was eight.116 a dark cloud pregnant with doom. was working. she could listen with an ear and mind that she hoped would retain a controlled compassion. Katharine took care of her permanent affliction in the best way she could. for small pleasures and attempted good for others. just as she had lied by slight implication to Lan about her happy post-father childhood. probably very quickly and by your own hand. because it was counterproductive. This time she was so far gone that. got rid of that or you’d be dead. and existed in ample enough amounts to make existence worthwhile. she needed to go further. strived to act as if it existed.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . No matter what Why expect a positive Of course. and there are others a lot . Beneath this self-deception. at first with outrageous arrogance and then by lying. even in herself. That fragile part of her was all That part of her was what wished You never receptive. only of work. would attempt a viable encapsulation and dispersion of a long and legitimate history of pain. and her mind must stay focused on inflamed Palestinians and Israelis in a very dangerous place. In this resumed role of journalist. Katharine felt herself fairly well-equipped for the job. We all get on in the best way we can. asserting that everything was wonderful. Unlike a lot of pols with agendas. in a sense. 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. soft and hopeful. the damage thrived. In a world gone deaf this one pair of ears would listen carefully. the rules of conduct were familiar. her well-meaning but parochial grandmother could have done nothing to erase this emotional conviction. you did you were going to be beaten. a part of outcome if you were congenitally no good? her always wanted to believe in good. she didn’t distract herself with unassociated fear.

it was quite a difficult achievement. everything was light and shadow here.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . started. for they were powerful symbols of peoples and cultures and spiritual dreams. the walled city. How ironic that the name Jerusalem meant “foundation of peace. Standing on her veranda on the fourth floor of the King David Hotel in the rosy-gold setting sun. the ever-changing. When not curtained with winter drizzle. 2. she tried to imagine what it would feel like to be the dispossessed. ambitious proprietors coming and going from every corner of the Middle Eastern map. had captured this once humble and now sacred spot from the Jebusites some three thousand years ago.117 worse off was the oft-repeated bromide of her self-sacrificing grandmother. translucent blue hazed with gold above the dense texture of the Old City. Today the sky was an ethereal. It was seventeen to fifty feet high and in places ten . in this exotic That was the place from which Katharine always place of red desert supporting rich treasures of antiquity. Three thousand years of strife and struggle with swiftly time-threaded moments of peace and hope. three centuries longer if one considered the Byzantine Roman Emperor Constantine. her room faced the Old City. King David. In this starkly beautiful. Although architectural modernity of the most avant-garde stripe existed here. Here.7 miles of gated wall which the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent built between 1536 and 1541. blood-fed land of dissension and death. Sprawling out before her was a collection of ancient buildings representing far more than ornate and long-lived periods of architecture.” The hotel’s namesake. she reminded herself. The Romans alone had been here over three hundred years. her own misery would be readily superceded by a large collective misery which daily accelerated.

Muslims and Jews. She stood very still. Great care had always to be taken. She could set up her laptop and work from a convenient desk when she returned each day.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the gleaming Dome of the Rock. and despite careful scheduling nothing was ever certain. Otherwise. An extravagant self-indulgence to soothe her troubled brain. Her squinting eyes could hardly take in a fraction of the encrustations of history and meaning. a Jacuzzi. The room was a bastion of comfort. but instead requested a special entry document for that purpose. then stepped back inside her commodious suite. She had a guide lined up to visit Palestinian camps and planned to do her own photography when permitted. gave one long sigh as the light faded. One did not even allow an Israeli stamp on one’s passport. Inside its southeastern part were the gray-domed Al-Aqsa Mosque. always it hovered over flawed man’s magnificent achievements.a separate living room. Off to the west in the Old City was the Places sacred to Christians and Church of the Holy Sepulcher. although she hardly ever worked in such luxury -. She dressed in an olive sweater and skirt and slid her foot .for an American all distances here were very short. the troubling logistics of even negotiating very short distances -. VCR. She well knew the red-tape imbroglios that were the norm. so close together and yet by historical paths and human nature so very far apart.118 feet thick. the greatest distance was a deep psychological pathology with no end in sight. and the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif with its most sacred Wailing Wall dating from the first century. all existing beneath the pervasive spectre of spilled blood. a compact disc stereo system. a handsome bedroom. the stamp would prevent one from entering an Arab country when reportage required that entry. and fax. If she returned each day. There were regular Israeli-imposed curfews in this tit for tat world of monstrous acts.

She had thought of Lan. had once again offered her a bedroom. Hittite. the room. Once seated at her table in the La Regence Grill. wanting her own sanctum. the square. She had stayed there on her last visit.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and was now held in his powerful sway. But the memories would not leave her. “There you are.” “Thin is good. Judith Stein. She sat motionless.” it was what the word intifada meant. Her heart pounded as if he were about to enter Taking several deep breaths. smiling at her old schoolmate as she heard once again that familiar Israeli . but she had declined. Striding briskly over the shining floors and through the splendid public halls of the King David. a violent Palestinian response to suppression and devalued existence. memories over dinner. and Phoenician cultures. begun in 1987. “You’re thinner. isn’t it?” Katharine said. scrollsided cream columns and the high ceilings cross-beamed with colorful and interesting motifs. summoning up the entire memory. Here were touches of Assyrian. holding the other shoe in her hand. she finished her preparations for dinner and went downstairs to meet a friend who lived in an Art Deco apartment not far away. in the lovely old 30s neighborhood of Rehavia. She would shake off the “A shaking off. her own headquarters. Katharine.” Judith said as Katharine stood up to receive and give a hug.119 into her chestnut wedge-heeled shoe. her body at once more his than her own. her own coddling cave in which to work absent of any memory at all. stopping to button his shirt as those dark eyes engulfed her reason. she tried to focus on its sumptuous intimations of antiquity. suddenly remembering Green Braes and descending the stairs beside Lan. Judith Stein was a teacher at Hebrew University on Mount Scopus north of the Mount of Olives in the northeastern part of Jerusalem. and the friend. she ordered a Manhattan neat and waited for her friend.

“So you are going to visit Palestinians. her smallish body wrapped in a pale blue cashmere sweater and matching slacks.120 voice. while they slowly spooned into a fruited mousse dessert. commerce-exchanging peace. For . “Everyone is equally One of sick of and horrified at the current state of affairs. “Come up to my rooms.” Judith finally said. “Not too thin. 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.” Once seated on Katharine’s comfortable sofa and nursing small glasses of brandy. If you manage to talk to the far right.” “There is every shade of sentiment here from rabid hatred of each other to a desire for co-existing states and an aloof. they resumed their discussion of what everyone called “the situation. you will see that they think it does.” “Where do you stand in those shades of feeling. I wish it all belonged to us. But it’s so good to see you again. but it doesn’t. We can have a little nip of something with coffee and talk in private. “The logistics of doing that could really be dangerous. 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.” Judith said. There’s a sort of complimentary bar there. They refuse to consider the plight of the Palestinians. Judith?” Judith. although she was not able to finish her meal.” Katharine emptied her wine glass and said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Ideally. Judith. Katharine ate chicken croquettes and sauce with wild rice and a mixed green salad. white fish with the same wild rice and salad.” As if to amend her physical condition. leaned back and said.

...prisoners.. something to be proud of in that sense. it seems elementary.” “Katharine. Yes.” “Do you ever grieve for Palestinians?” “I’ve been too busy grieving for Israelis..” ..” “But human bombs--” “They don’t have tanks or gunships.121 them there is no plight but their own. started. their dignity assaulted.” “They want only to fight. you’ve shut them in pens.. to kill. And I grieve. human bombs. land. too.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a willful interpretation of God’s written word and anger.rationalization. would fight. ignorance. Don’t get me They have no regard for life. hubris..I’m sorry to say very much like concentration camps.” “Because they’re under severe stress.hunger for a place they believe nearest to God. intelligent and longsuffering and apparently caring. even with my bare hands... and so many have died. want to kill us?” “For me. their villages. their houses gone.. It’s a history of their own suffering. You’ve made a Why do Arabs I love this city... You’ve given them curfews and treated them like bad children or worse..a frustration at the level of mad rage.” “Meanwhile. oh. It might have been paradise.. They kill innocents. until I died.their land gone. Their homes.this beautiful place here. it’s inexcusable that innocent youth are inveigled into those wretched tactics.. no They make themselves into respect for even their own lives..what a sorrow. But backed into such an inescapable corner. an outsider.. I believe I.a hopeless place.. their dreams have vanished. You Israelis are so remarkable. yours is not a popular view....all the more amazing have taken their land.” “We have tried to resolve this.

Don’t Both “Please sit down. and It’s exactly what you need. I’m sure you’ve had preachment enough.” “You have no idea. “They wanted only to fight.. “The populace doesn’t want to fight when it isn’t necessary.” but you don’t live here. slice right through the horrors of the extremists and move without stopping to a place of co-existence. And who were the Lehi and Irgun armies and the Palmach strike force in those early days? They. Only wrong-thinking leaders with self-serving interests and backed by extremists want that. Innocents don’t have to go on suffering and dying on either side. even to fight amongst themselves. Somehow reason must come into play.” “Me? Do you mean me. Judith?” “The Haganah? The beginning of the Israeli Defense Forces..” Judith stood up. You’re not a seem to think you can just come here and tell us what to do.” rising out of the Zionist Labor movement.” “How do you know?” Judith asked with irritation. wanted only to fight. Now let’s talk of something else.” Judith flung her hair back with an angry grimace. with a legacy of Don’t preach to me. Our survival. sides have to ride through all of this killing. a Palestinian state the same would come to be true. Now we’ve said our say. it anymore. those radical wings were swallowed up. too. “I hope I’m not. As soon as the well-oiled machinery of a state was With properly in place.122 “What was the Haganah. Judith. brutal mistreatment and vilification. the leaders are involved in all sorts of conflicting agendas. think I don’t feel for you. or my country’s representatives? Both sides are mired in rage.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I feel deeply for both sides. because neither side is going away. They just aren’t going away. or you’ll never have peace.” I can’t do “And I’ve had this discussion too many times. . “So you know something of our history.

to laugh and sing and eat and dream. my country has proved that. but that is what must occur. too. and to them it looks quite the reverse.” Judith chided. too.” Judith said.and yes. Innocent Palestinian people are being They have a right to houses That cannot continue. and it only leads backwards. Palestinians and Israelis are too often misrepresented by fanatical. mediate a lasting peace. . The history of Some strong third party must Oh. the right to come and go freely. This is their country. “I know you fear that. once again standing with her agitated Surely you see it. but I don’t think so. warring autocrats. 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. and gardens and land. oppressed.123 some honest and some far from it. a third impartial party to come in here and tell you what to do. state isn’t a leader but a structure. the trouble is something always stops it. I’ve been reading comprehensive reports on the actions of both sides.” “You know. and if it’s well in place it will survive the sudden loss of any leader. and the more I read and observe the more I realize that you need a persevering mediator.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “And you think your American president can do that? all the public posturing. A society only lives freely and comfortably when reason is allowed to supercede the horrors of wild emotion. it’s interesting. I’ve found that the With Palestinians hate us for being partial to Israelis -.” “I do. it hasn’t happened yet. That’s the only solution. The A Palestinians need an autonomous state with a sound structure.” “They seem to want it all. it’s been tried many times. A number of well-intentioned Israelis have seen this. but Nothing must stop it. seen that the killing must stop and how to stop it.

. shaking her head as she sat down.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine said. If enough people are shown. think your country has committed no atrocities?” “How I wish it were the case. Katharine.124 fingers sliding through her dark blond hair. so I did. Now we’ll talk of something else.” I think You “You were such an exceptional student.” “You weren’t so bad yourself. it’s a conviction. Katharine had stood and touched Judith’s shoulder. And you’re here because it has gone perhaps?” Currently. “We were talking about the problem here.ah.. for anyone in a position to publicize the futility of constant bloodshed.” And it’s more than opinion. leaning forward with her face in her hand and her elbow resting on her knee.try to tell the truth. but you have me doing it again.. I haven’t much of a private life.. 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. but it has nothing to do with my conviction. it’s one of the reasons I tolerate your audacity. marry as soon as I find a suitable husband.” You wanted to continue and You’re my friend. Please. Judith... Katharine?” “Oh.” “Do you have a private life. “Please don’t be angry. But it comes and goes. Judith sat down.respect your opinion. life.your private life?” “Oh.” “I intend to .” “Aren’t reporters supposed to be unbiased?” “I try to be. and her gray eyes blazing with a certain indignant anger.. circumstance that is unconscionable for any compassionate human being.. “You’re a guest in Israel and I’m trying to be polite.. yes. “Psychology is definitely your metier.however unpopular.” Judith said with a sardonic laugh. “Hmm.. “What about you. You have a good mind and I do respect that. Judith.

too.” “So you’re going to be evasive. shrugging. Lovers consume you..” “And to do that I have to do a lot of listening. Please be careful.” Judith stood up with finality. the same way that you need to go about reporting on the state of things. for supper in a few days.those sad green eyes.. Judith.” door. my friend.” “Thanks for coming and for sharing thoughts with me. is it not? But your eyes are enviable..” “I don’t know about that. “Guess I’d better get back to my place... “Maybe it’s the way to go. I’m sure. You can’t find one? You can’t be looking very You have so much to offer.more a friend than a lover. to those camps seems to me like a nightmare....” “The nightmare is.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . *** Katharine walked a rather sullen Judith to the .125 “What? hard.or I wouldn’t be in this profession.” “Yes?” Judith said with an incisive encouragement.. I don’t think of futility. “Just. usually know when it’s needed.” It’s in my nature..” I will have you over Going “And I thank you for the good meal.except when this sad.. I have a very good friend who is really just that. it? I think you need to. I have a few things to do before I sleep for the morning rush. I “But I’ll listen if you want me to..” Katharine answered.” Do you want to talk about “When you aren’t teaching. for the people living there. You don’t need another one from me. you’re listening to enough sad stories in your practice. I’m a listener. “If you could see your face. I’ll check in with you from time to time.. It could be that I’m far too particular. Well.. Envy is expressed as green.opinion.. let me know if you need a sympathetic ear while you’re here.. Katharine.rather futile.

She badly needed mitigating exercise. Forces had placed the camps under twenty-four hour curfew. and When she phoned Ahmed. smoking. and then returned to her room to make a phone call. A large date palm was dripping in the slow drizzle as she passed through the ancient Jaffa Gate and then down through the souk. Setting off with an umbrella borrowed from the hotel. a roll. she walked over to the Old City. so many determined lives. and the tight. Many roads were closed. her that absolutely nothing was negotiable today. Orient House. the now subdued marketplace. for it was late March and nearing the end of Ramadan. resulting in two deaths. dabbled in a few items: an orange. disheartening news made Katharine nervous and irritable. Self-purification Katharine went down early to the tempting miscellaneous breakfast buffet provided by the hotel. involving dawn to dusk fasting. in front of the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . for the Muslim population.126 In the morning it was raining. He would have arranged a visit to one of the camps. no food. been another explosion on one of the main roads. now often rife with soldiers. This was the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The fragile white almond blossoms which Katharine had once seen in February would have blown away. but rather a desire to stretch her legs and breathe the high cool air of the rain-washed Judean Hills. Ahmed. narrow. or harsh oaths. overhung and winding passageways which held centuries of echoing footfalls. and currently had no wish to visit the hotel’s fitness room. sex. but the season of rain had tapered off. a lovely old refurbished hotel slightly north and west of the Old City. so many little intrigues that melted away with disappointment and physical decline. he told There had once there interpret for her. . the others moving at a The Israeli Defense This snail’s pace and open only to settlers. drink. She was to meet her contact. a boiled egg along with coffee.

descended the steps and came out into the northwestern side of the plaza. . Quickly setting down the cup. ever watchful but resolute. such a victim of my sorry self? she pondered..127 Moving along the Street of the Chain. mingling with commiserating regret and her own frustration. When she had soaked in a warm herb-scented bath. and accidentally splashed hot tea on her shaking hands. in Hebrew called Rehov Hasharsheret..unable to move on. This sacred place. the present miseries all joining a restless river of sorrow from which she was unable to swim free. she turned right. she caught sight of email registering from long silent Green Braes. Why have I been so hopelessly ineffectual. She realized that she herself was blinking away the moisture of remorseful eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . drinking tea and reading an editor’s email directives appearing on her laptop screen as it glowed like a living entity. she thought as she shook off her umbrella and entered the soothing quiet of the King David Hotel. 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 stood letting the rain drift into her face. she sat on her sofa in her robe.. the rain like the tears of all those who had suffered over this small sacred spot on the troubled planet. she turned around and headed slowly back the way she had come. she rubbed her hands together and held them clasped against her chest a moment then sighed and opened the message. As she was going through the remainder of her messages. and then heard Lan’s idiom. “This bloody mood. pulsing with the world.. A hot bath and then tea might help. She had never been there in the rain. was itself awash in fierce contention and wild negative emotion. she. Continuing to chastise herself.” she muttered.oh. his voice in her soft outcry. presumed to represent man’s triumph over pain and a connection with the Divine. the past.

. At least she was at liberty to do this. but would pick her up in the UNRWA van. Don’t do this to us. which needed to hear the other side: always an act requiring a certain amount of risk. He was not promising that everything would go according to plan. air. tossed it down. She She wanted to work. she found the vodka. Lan. then curled up in her luxurious bed. Please don’t suffer. 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. to obey the wise counsel of her simple grandmother by losing her own story in the grievously disregarded stories of others. forgetting. Coolish Standing on her veranda. There was a thick dark cloud bursting in a gray column behind a rainbow low in the west. she could go no further and pressed the send button before she could change her mind. wanted no food. Apologize to Mary for me. I Do you give a damn if I’m suffering? need to know how you are. out in the field.” Suffering herself. She was to be in front of Orient House in half an hour.oh. but the drizzle had stopped. where you are. Rattling through small bottles in the conveniently stocked little bar. I can’t write this..” 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. along with another person with whom he worked in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.. can you help me by being well and by forgiving. At seven in the morning.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Kate. to inform a segment of the world.looking it wasn’t really about Rani. . hugging a pillow until she dozed off. down on the whole thing. I couldn’t see. trying to work. Ahmed called to say that a road had temporarily opened to Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. this.128 “I miss you very much. Please. Please communicate with me... she checked the weather..

or jade.” Immediately thinking of Lan. Orient House was now the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in East Jerusalem. Karima’s smooth-skinned round face was surrounded by the gossamery white hijab. studying the gamariya construction often found in Islamic architecture. green. a head scarf which fell to her waist and was a common sight among the women of Gaza. She sat behind Ahmed and was at once introduced to the shyly smiling passenger beside her named Karima.. Katharine hastened outside the gate and climbed into the waiting white UN van.. like the mineral stone malachite. Katharine felt a weakness in her stomach. She walked through the slightly ajar high gate and stared past the dark green firs. “I’m not Muslim. Flying the red- triangled.” and brought the scarf gently over her head with quick agile fingers. “It will be easier. Is that the right thing to do?” Katharine asked with a polite smile. white-.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the gabled covering over a handsome fan entrance set with colored glass surrounded by stylized plaster latticework. Karima. I find your amber-brown eyes .the Never have I seen eyes of this green. but heard the quick beep of a car horn. black-.” Karima said in careful English. “Let me do this for you. “Your eyes are surprising.. “I have brought for you a scarf. Formerly a hotel and the 1897 villa of Isma’il al-Husseini. the building was a stone’s throw from the extremely orthodox Hassidim neighborhood of Me’ah She’arim... and green-barred Palestinian flags. “Thank you.” Karima said. She considered climbing the stairs to see if she might peek inside.129 A hotel-summoned taxi let Katharine off before the irongated entrance of elegant Orient House. but Karima said. Clutching her large purse. especially on the road. Katharine reached for the scarf..very beautiful.

. you are doing here. too. Kfar Darom.” “Ah. She was a wise teacher.” “Yes. field work.good teachers. They will be wondering what . human loss.. Efrat. Elazar.. “No. I don’t. child bearing..” “My husband is dead.” Karima said. strife.” “Yes. and Neve Daniel. “Do you have children?” Karima asked. “the old are wise.” “So then. produce along the road..” “Because I’m a woman. Karima. a story of hours in brutal sun. They were on the tunnel road out of Jerusalem. When they reached Kfar Etzion the Arab villages began to appear and continued until they reached the Kiryat Arba turnoff. another parent you have?” “My grandmother raised me. Katharine thought.” “You will be asked this often.gone now. a road often closed. My eyes are from the eyes of my mother. and each line.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Karima had informed her.” “She is alive?” “No. 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. and Netzarim are open to travelers now. Arab women were selling Their weathered faces heavily lined. I have three children and my mother. The army checkpoints at Muraj. “What route do we take?” Katharine called out loudly enough for Ahmed to hear. “We are going almost to Hebron.130 quite lovely.and the desperate need for sustenance.. then to Gaza and south.” “You’re working. Gone a long time ago.

Ahmed was ready Katharine with hawiyya. trying not to look at anyone. lowered her head and sat very still. They were on the Gaza road. “I’m sorry.” Karima said. and would now have to deal with checkpoints.” Karima responded and fell silent. and at which Palestinian travelers were powerless to do anything but suffer whatever fate was decided upon by IDF soldiers. too.” Katharine answered with a smile. to pass. “We go through that every time we reach a checkpoint.” Katharine exclaimed. ID.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. “Good lord. she was hesitant to inquire just how the presumably young husband had died. “You are not one of them.” “I’m not trying to hide. Katharine began to experience the anxious feeling of threat that was always present under such uncertain and unequal conditions.131 I must work. and said. When attention was at last focused on her. because she was with an UNWRA guide.” The soldier warned her about the dangers of the camps and. “just trying to be polite. “and it is never without worry. “Why the hijab?” the soldier holding an M-16 inquired. As they drew up to the first checkpoint. we have a single moment of relief. If we are allowed It is very . 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. traversed for thousands of years. intimidating road blockades involving examination and interrogation.” “I. waved them on. that’s unnerving.” In this warring climate. his and Karima’s special passes.

” Karima said. Here fourteenth century Egyptian Mamluk sultans had provided caravan travelers with a khan. During Ramadan. They do not like journalists. “UN workers have red passes. and immense respect for your great strength in living like this. “Should we worry about the curfew?” Katharine asked. “But curfew for you?” she went on. We can eat after sunset. “Officially. Here. Karima.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . can party all night. take no picture without first carefully seeking permission from her subject. One more very fortunately uneventful checkpoint at the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom. but even then it is not easy. why we often have such anger. and it is a In some countries Muslims social time.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. questions. and supplies. stroking her travel purse with camera inside. Israeli authorities extend curfew from seven o’clock to nine o’clock. where guards in high towers waved them through. She also knew that she could Red tape. its eroded remnants were falling to dust . a sort of castle-like dwelling for rest.” Katharine said in a voice filled with newly heightened emotion. My father has experienced this many times.” “I try to play that down. passport and are not subject to curfew.” “I have deep regret for all of this humiliation.S. you have a U. feeling some of the anger that so many innocent Palestinians must feel in very large doses at the severe proscription of their lives.” Katharine rode in silence.” Katharine said. worship. “It is my hope that you will make others understand what is laid upon us. o’clock. exempting us from curfew. still it is difficult. we must rush to be home by nine And very soon it will return to seven o’clock. and they were soon in Khan Yunis.

Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “The language of graffiti. too.” They entered the house through a narrow and dark makeshift vestibule with another door at the end. This town of more than 80.” Karima 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. “It is called sahafit is-shaab.” Ahmed said.133 in the square while nearby a contemporary mosque. a lot of shootings. staring through the window at the heavily marked side of a building. flaunted an illegal Palestinian flag. ‘popular journalism. and cars were oppressive and jerry-built. as though a sudden wind would bring it all down in a snapping tangle.” They drove through the town to a cinder block house which looked as though half of it had been cut away. a wide street dividing the neighborhood to make room for the Israeli soldiers to chase guerrillas who vanish in narrow alleys. throwing up mud from the recent rains and plowing through open sewage. The electrical wiring overhead appeared equally haphazard and fraught with danger.. horses. Omar. If he comes home in time it will be possible to speak with him. imprisoned people. the mother of three children.000 people looked Donkeys.” “We are visiting Amira.” Katharine said softly. the house was cut in half for the Sharon Street. its minaret soaring seventy-five feet into the sky. Her “He lost his last job when a long curfew was imposed and the roads were closed.” Karima said. “Yes.. the Palestinian fighters. This was to protect the . husband.’ another way of communicating the stress of suppression. They tore apart houses. street slicing right through the housing area. “This happened in the 1970s with General It faced a broad Ariel Sharon’s Iron Fist response to the fedayeen. has been out looking for work. “For you this will be of interest.

“We do not expect this Please drink. very curious little girl. 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. Laila. Katharine said.” Amira said. waving her hands. Amira brought a tray with tea in small glasses.. It is not your way. the settlements were The houses in the walled in and guarded by Israeli soldiers. Katharine had already noticed that the windows facing the street were sandbagged.” Amira said. of you. delicately flowered blue blouse and a long black skirt which was being clutched by a dark-eyed. but I must not complain.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She wore a long-sleeved. Palestinian camps were subject to entry and search at any time by the IDF. “I should not drink when you cannot. which she could not herself drink. Fasting is difficult under these circumstances. You have “Where is your husband.your children? pictures?” Amira asked with smiling curiosity. “Your daughter.. plump Amira’s shy eyes flashed out from a round face surrounded by the thin cloth of her white hijab.” Katharine said.” “Thank you for letting me come into your home. She had heard that Israeli settlers sandbagged the windows of exposed houses in their settlements to protect them from Palestinian snipers.” Karima translated for Amira. “Laila.” .” Karima said as they entered Amira’s house. Generally. “I have neither husband nor children. “We are not in the best of humor today.134 entrance from Israeli tear gas canisters. is a very pretty little girl. Karima explained. “Our home was invaded last night. pointing to her staring child.” “No. “Sometimes they get on the roofs of our houses to watch us and shoot at rock throwers.

You cannot imagine what it Our water tastes of salt from sea water. Just before His attempts to find work The dark eyes set deep in shadowed . her children. even one of my gold bracelets. “When my husband lost his job because of the curfew and the closed roads.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . sweet water. I’ve chosen this way of life. that is so far affairs that is hardly a dream anymore. the husband. sundown. Gradually.135 “This is very sad for you. Most of the time we have no idea who they are A free state. to be left alone and manage our own Oh. a different way of living a life. we had to sell some of our possessions. 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. but after a period of brief responses to politely orchestrated questions and short voluntary comments of her own. muddy edges of the cracked sidewalks. I like It’s a different point of view.” “Not so sad for me.” They talked on. ahead of us it is hardly a thought.. Omar. because the new settlements have used so much water that only a few wells still have maaya helwa. what I do. children are so frightened whenever they hear a strange sound. her ravaged neighborhood with its sewage perpetually trickling down the sandy. her home. is like to live this way. Katharine with her tape recorder now readily approved and her note pad scribbled full of descriptive passages of Amira.” At first Amira was hesitant to speak when Katharine asked to hear an account of her existence. she began to open up. had met with no success. her withheld emotions rose to the surface and spilled out in a rapid and lengthy harangue of frustration and anger. to have food.. worry that the fright will damage them. None of us sleep very well. Amira.this after the soldiers have come into our home. looking for. like criminals. returned.

“My mother wears the key of her former house on a cord around her neck. “This is a sorry place for the young men.136 wells of a haggard face flashed with anger as he explained his humiliating plight. . It One evil She locked The house of the key is The village of the house of the key is gone. According to Ahmad’s translation. the door and carried away the key. the shabab. gone. I do not I want a job. is like a talisman for a dream that can bear no fruit. but she will not give up the key. day she had to close the door of our home forever. With his tall figure gaunt and stooped by fatigue and his hair already thinning. swathed in a long black kaftan from which her bare feet a new Israeli settlement of fine houses lives there... Katharine glanced at the cold tile floors and wondered if the bare feet were a habit or a necessity. There is nothing Her dreams are stronger than even her These young rock throwers. Write that down for the world to read. Omar said. yet he accepted Katharine’s role of journalist and even smiled. shuffled quietly into the room to welcome her son. How else can they retaliate for this hopelessness? What can they do? “I myself do not want Palestinian terrorists. get into trouble because they are always angry and hope for them. of speaking to any woman in this manner. children’s. Omar’s soft-spoken mother. He was unused to speaking to a strange woman.. want Israeli soldiers in my life. and directed his words to Ahmad. displaying teeth in need of dental work. for them to do.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a country for my people that is free..killing us. his smile seemed to Katharine a monumental effort. Hanan. a good life for my family. Her wrinkled face beamed from behind Her full figure was her black scarf at the sight of her son. as he welcomed her into his home.

of hungry mouths to feed. Insha’allah. olives. the top one a sort of oil cloth upon which the food was laid. happy to be eating. and there were a number Katharine considered whether it was She glanced at Karima. but she understood the necessary socializing.” Omar said. shyly spread out the covers. the “Ask the same for us. We will share some of the food with you that we were going to eat. Katharine broke her warm bread and dipped it into the humus as the others were doing. “Thank you. entered the room with a bowl of humus and knelt to set it on the cloth. God’s will. and they gathered around the meal. making jokes she couldn’t understand.137 “Do you have children?” “No. unkind to accept or rude to decline. tomatoes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Omar’s mother. They heard the athaan.” Katharine answered with a look which she hoped said This is who I am. drank apple juice. and the cucumbers.” he Soon the sun would be setting. call to prayer. added. Amira’s oldest girl. This was the fast-breaking dinner.” Karima said and explained her words to Katharine. Please accept me this way. and Amira asked. whose name was Aysha. There were fluffy almond-studded rice and mounds of a minuscule dried fish. sitting on foam cushions as Karima and Amira arranged the food. and was content . Hanan. the pleasure of the meal. the bottom one the fiber matt floor covering. a pot of jam. Young Aysha They tended the flat bread warming on the charcoal brazier. surrounding faces. She chewed slowly and looked at the They were smiling. which Ahmad had brought from the van along with the containers of the very small fish. cucumbers. “Will you stay for iftar with us. Several layers of covering were placed across the floor. and beans stirred with olive oil and thyme. “One day you will have children and they will be in a free place.

Atif. My God. “That’s an antitank missile. Ahmad’s lanky torso rested back on his elbow. was granted. She bit into a crisp fresh cucumber and smiled How at Hanan who nodded at her and returned her smile.. they reclined on their cushions drinking mint tea. They will be finishing off the houses of the suspected shabab in the morning with their . and Omar frowning and reaching for bread.. “What?” Katharine asked. amazingly cheerful they all looked. He stood up and raised his hands for silence. Ahmad’s cellular phone rang. mischievous Aysha teasing her younger sister.138 to watch and listen to the chattering. but all was motion. Heavy explosives. With the phone The entirety of it was a story up to his ear. Such a pose Katharine could not allow to slip away and was quite satisfied as her shutter clicked several times. They say a jeep was stoned and two soldiers run off the road. At the finish of the meal. and she reached for her purse. We won’t get out of here tonight. Now we’re in for it. his face grew serious and he shook his head and exclaimed softly.the shabab. Only Hanan looked at the camera. his black-haired head bobbing as he chewed and grinned. stoned or shot. The request She tried to frame The wiggling her photograph carefully. in itself. Amira with the baby boy. on her lap being fed. melodic sounds of spirited voices.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . children. English to Karima and Katharine. Amal. one killed. perhaps for a moment forgetting their great misfortune. smiling serenely. Katharine asked Ahmad to ask Omar if she might be permitted to photograph the family as they sat at their meal. and then she heard a loud explosion which shook the room. simply happy to be eating together. Can you hear it?” he said in “Only a mile and a half away. Karima was talking softly to Amira.

Lights flashed in her eyes.139 dynamite and bulldozers. war. “This is el wadd’a.” “You must stay here. a ‘state of Before wadd’a is over. pulling futilely at her cover. wishing for the release of sleep but instead contemplating this life and her own. A child was At last she fell asleep. This is what I mean when I say nothing He had been speaking is certain. crying. It was time for suhur.” he directed at Katharine. the meal that would Stuporous. her damp body still pulsing in the throes of fear and erotic desire.” Omar told Ahmad.’ what we must live with. She slept in a roomful of women and children. She sat up as Hanan placed a The old woman’s shrouded glass of cardamom coffee in her hand. a Refugee Affairs Officer. a ‘martyr house. Their mother moved over to comfort them. “There are some blankets in the van.” angrily excited Ahmad said with a dramatic gesture for Katharine. was cold and hard. but dreamed that Lan was making fierce love to her in a long half-water-filled kayak as it sank. with an RAO friend on his phone. her blanket thin. They must eat before sunrise. it is really halat harb. . refugee-UNRWA liaisons. house will be beit shaheed. The floor She turned back and forth fully clothed. Katharine wobbled across last them through the day.’ will be knocked down. Listen to that artillery. She awoke with the sudden stirring of the others. never comfortable.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . young Aysha and her little sister. green in the fluorescent lamp. but they monitored human rights. RAOs were European or North American contractors. huddled together in tears. every Maybe every house Children are martyrs now.” Karima said. Amal. face looked bone tired and slightly grotesque. As the house shook again in a loud and threatening boom of sound. as she went on explaining to Katharine what they would do. ‘the situation.’ “As you see. only her shoes removed. It was just after four o’clock.

When she awoke the other blankets were put away. and Amira and her daughter were mopping the floors. that involved some projection of thought.. “Just as well. idea of Mary as her adoptive mother.” “Where are Ahmad and Omar?” “They have gone to a neighbor who needed help with a broken door. security. “Why did you let me sleep?” She was wriggling into her shoes. was.140 the floor. avoided the beans but ate a hard-boiled egg.. She had managed to get herself away. no victory at all. her escape felt like. What a child she now saw herself in this matter. children whimpered and gurgled in complaint. Karima handed her a glass of very strong cardamom coffee. How long would Lachlan Manutane invade her waking and sleeping dreams? She pondered his perceptive observations. but I can watch the household. so incisive. yet. as if Mary were simply waiting for her to come along in order to dispense that longed for maternal tenacity.write some . We may not “It is good.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a self-inflicted sort of wound. awake and thinking again. She The groggy Then they all returned to their floor mats..” Karima answered. wrapping themselves in their blankets. be leaving today.. callow in her yearning.with your help. devotion. then She had wishfully entertained the Now she was fully those of Mary.and so completely in love with Lan but unable to imagine any sort of future.. slumped down with the silent family and fed flat bread and jam into her mouth between sips of coffee. talk to Amira and Hanan. and were at once greedily asleep. spurred on by the nervous idea of how swiftly she might be swallowed up if she stayed.. some strength of will. and Katharine said. just as careless children live in the present with no thought of ensuing dark days.” “I wish I’d brought my laptop.

” Her teeth felt furry and her clothes needed changing. “Ahmad has been talking to his RAO friend and thinks that tomorrow we may get you back to Jerusalem. It was the amazing endurance of the family that she found so uplifting. Amira said. the end of Ramadan in two days.” “Then I’ll just watch. “Now we are preparing for eid al fitr celebration. which they were able to attend with part-time jobs and the help of their families. Wishing to be unobtrusive.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . nothing else happens. had met Omar at the West Bank Birzeit University. unpleasantly salty. and the indulgent and kindly way her inconvenient appearance was accepted into the flow of things. but she had existed under far worse conditions in more immediate war zones. doing quite well.141 things.” “There is much to write. is there not?” Karima remarked. Karima said. she talked to Katharine with Karima’s help. fried and heavily soaked in honey. I am afraid they will not have much time to talk to you. nothing is ever certain. If With wadd’a.” Katharine leaned against the wall. Katharine learned that Amira actually spoke some Amira English but was shy about using it before a journalist. pancakes filled with ground nuts. At first. The women are baking bread and cakes. Later. holding his squirming little body on her lap. workers. Upon graduation and after their marriage. it was They were able to employ more and more Then they had to lay off half their workers due to an . while Amira was feeding baby Atif. The water was indeed Insha’allah. watching the women and girls who were presently making Ramadan atayif. Omar had enlisted the help of both their families to start a door manufacturing business in Gaza. Katharine had done only minimal ablutions in the crowded household.

.depressed and tired. Now he was daily searching for work. retreating to another room where the men often met to talk. I know they will because they must.” Katharine answered. Patting this frantic hand then offering a quick grasp. Perhaps he thinks you are Shin Bet. He stared at Katharine with a look of surprise then a grimace. they “He has the suspicion. Amira’s eyes were moist as she told her story. “My uncle. failed after a long curfew which prevented Omar from going out. and Omar had to That job.142 Israeli licensing restriction which allowed businesses no more than ten employees. “Uncle Ibrahim stays with us from time to time.” “Are you now to tell me I must have amal.” Katharine said. Ibrahim. Katharine looked at Amira’s hand. and goes. Omar’s employees all found themselves jobless. half in Arabic... He is very.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . this has gone on? Do you not know how long We are tired of it.” “Ah. “Why would he think that?” “They have posed as journalists to catch people.” Amira said. He is very... too. his tall frame moving with a stumbling forward tilt. Katharine said. . quickly take a job as a gardener in a settlement.” Karima said.. “You are not the first to say so. the Israeli domestic intelligence. curfews and road closures. which was stroking nervously over little Atif’s body as she do you say? He comes Yes. “Things will improve. hope?” Amira said. half in English. “I guess that’s what I’m saying.” “Disturbed. Next their supplies were cut off due to The business could not operate. have done this when they want to find someone.” An elderly bearded man clothed in a long cream jalabeeya and wearing a taghiya or skullcap atop his gray head suddenly entered the room.

. not the path to freedom.. “Leave us to have a country of ..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . peace or harmony can rest on a foundation so evil.happy in the blossoms and buzzing bees. peace. They say a soldier goes off the But even so.such perfect rows. I play in this beautiful place with “Once he has orchards. our dreams.. and for this the IDF knocks down Uncle Ibrahim’s house. He is always working in his orchards..bulldozes his orchards. and I will.” *** Back through the desert Katharine had finally been driven. Punishment is not the answer.” Katharine said...the soldiers taunt the young boys. thanking Allah for this life.. Look what we have. His good mind is not good anymore.but I myself can only tell your story. this must sometimes going to other relatives. He cannot stay in one place.loved to olive and almond trees. our houses. tend these trees. Who is punished for this?” “Oh. “What I have seen are not This all must stop. For this their families are paid..restless man. road because of rocks.” Amira said. rewarded.perhaps he throws some rocks -.. One of his grandsons is sometimes with the shabab.. I do not think the boy is so bad. my young sisters.. rows of He loves. you know... 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.” “I do not want to punish. very disturbed man. but only dead innocents sacrificed for nothing. Amira. 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..143 “Yes. martyred children. past the cacti and the orange groves and the settlements... other friends. I want peace. Insha’allah. evil.what we do not have.

Katharine stretched on her veranda with her coffee in hand. with still more heavy uncertainty on the horizon. instructing her to catch a bus to Mount Scopus and meet her in the cafeteria of Hebrew University for a chatty lunch. She had been allowed to photograph quite a bit more than she had anticipated. They must have a better life. and set out to escape her troubled thoughts by exploring more of Jerusalem before returning to the camps. she sat at the desk which held her computer. “I’ll show you my office. Another message from Green . Four days after she had finished her current story. she asserted silently as she went inside to read her email. back to Jerusalem to write a portion of her story.” “Salamtak. “Health be with Finding difficulty in saying good-bye. The next morning offered the sweet promise of a fresh early spring day. posted the accompanying photographs. to see what hectic life was like with a seven o’clock curfew. working long into several nights.” Judith said. and their children. Judith left a phone message. after the Ramadan eid al fitr celebrations. she had promised to return soon. staring thoughtfully off at the Old City and thinking of Amira.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” she had told them all.144 Hills. “my tidy She explained to Katharine existence at the center of chaos. writing and rewriting until she had included and excluded all that was necessary to make a moving and flowing story of fact. you. With her usual self-demanding perfectionism.” where and when to catch a bus for the following day’s visit. Blood pulsed into her temples. As she was perusing her e-mail list a quick gasp escaped her. When this routine task was finished she intended to dress and head out to find the appropriate bus for Mount Scopus. and in pursuit of a few more of the thousands of Palestinian stories which existed in the camps. Omar. When she was reasonably satisfied with the result. she faxed her work to the contracting magazine.

*** There were short spans of sudden consciousness. Katharine had walked a few blocks when she saw a bus pulling up to the shelter. All in an instant the bus. but even then all was blackness. In those times she thought herself . Tell me to my face. the spring trees. but I’ll forget when you do. at the same moment she thought this. Nothing. blue silk blouse. crashing into the earth? There was an instant of stillness. Come back With much A writer who can’t finish her sentences is in pain. Or was it her own body spinning. no longer existed. Certain it was the one she needed to Ah. then a wall of blackness. as such. this. tumbling. She sorely needed warm and understanding conversation with an old friend. I know you have courage. flying. doing what you do.145 Braes when she thought they had ended. she thought as she listlessly put on her tan slacks. her own body being pushed along by the force of some hard object. “Forgiving is easy. going to make it. the blue sky.” the initial paralyzing calm after a deep wound. the pink limestone buildings all askew and spinning. The world spun around.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Indeed she was in pain. Lan had said it all. a coward in Where are you? I worry about Please come back. the moment the Arabs call sargat el sikineh. I love you. Her troubled response to his earlier message had made her assume that Lan would finally give up on her. if not in anger then in disgust. and cream linen jacket for a lunch that she hoped would not be difficult. trepidation she opened the message and read. she clutched her purse and began to run. “knife shock. here and tell me to forget. you. then a searing red flash of pain. Then. Lan. there was a concussive explosion of sound so loud her ears captured only the first half. she was catch. but there was nothing more she could say. Don’t be a hypocrite in this. Kate.

She coughed and said in a rasping voice.” Very good.. The swelling of your We believe.I’m Katharine. Can you tell me your name?” “My..we brain has caused pressure on your optic nerves. and she thought that she had opened her eyes.are my eyes open?” “Yes. He had told her there were sharks... You were somewhat shielded by a large section of the displaced shelter.. but you were hit in the head. God. “Are you fully awake now?” an unknown. You are doing Try to “No..two weeks ago? But I. hope that is why you cannot see...” “Yes.... heavily accented voice asked..” You It’s When was it broken? “Two weeks ago there was a bomb explosion in a bus..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . concussion.” “Calmly..wait a minute.” “Two..” “But I. I’m sure..” You have been unconscious from a “Quite a normal reaction. Miss Gordon..146 fallen into the water in complete darkness and called for Lan...flying debris..see..Katharine Gordon. and we will talk to you a little at a time.. were nearby and sustained some injuries. We were certain you would not see at present..can’t. Where am I?” The strange male voice said. “You are at Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. you I blind then? Oh.I’m. or you would be full of shrapnel. hurting quite a bit.I don’t remember anything.” I don’t remember...something wrong with my leg..” “But I..” “There’s something. “When? It was broken in two places. stay calm. well.I could always see. Because you are awake .please try to stay calm.. I.. She called and called until she felt herself sinking back into timeless nothingness without even comprehension of blackness.. Surely he would come. “Are.

and where I’ve been..or you. and a member of the staff will come and get you. I didn’t think..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Katharine. that’s good. brought something that smells good. was here you could hardly talk.. think daisies are have a college together...” “I’m sorry.” “Judith. “How have I been?” How have you been?” “Well.” *** “Daisies. were here. but . but only for a few minutes a little later. “Yes. I swore. please.” When did you last see her?” Katharine’s brain was roiling.....were. I’m glad to see you looking better. Then perhaps..147 now.. someone who has been waiting to see you.” Judith said as she entered Katharine’s room.” “I can’t see the daisies. we want to do a few tests. Lying Karima and Ahmad They had to undergo interrogation to get through a I wouldn’t expect them to come again. Katharine..oh...your friend. Katharine. The “I’m sorry.” The explosion killed and maimed--” It’s so horrible.very good. “I My God. Now just wait a few minutes.Stein? “Yes.I last saw her.” “Who?” “Judith Stein... I last saw her at the King David Hotel.” “Yes... too.. How stupid. you know how I’ve been.. She is quite anxious to see you. blinder than a bat. good. I might be dead. We.. “I last saw her. Judith.swore I would not say anything. incredible tragedy of these times. Katharine.” Last time I You should have “I was only teasing. Someone can put them in a vase. around on pain killers. roadblock. her thoughts clouded with areas of darkness as she struggled to recall..

. they let their young people do it...” “Judith. he told a meeting of capitalists in New York city: ‘When you are powerful like you guys is the time to be nice..perhaps you understand.. Judith. aren’t terrorists. you have had plenty of time to think.’ I like the way his simple. the swelling goes down..” Most of “No.have to hang around here for a month. They’ve called me. when a civilization is driven to sacrifice its children -. in considering the world situation.148 now perhaps. that others need. Judith. but us. people I met in Khan Yunis would never have done this. Katharine? How can I help you?” I want it to see I’m too tired. You have changed your opinion maybe a little about Palestinians?” “Absolutely not.” “The freedoms of America are priceless.” “And. Oh. angered so many. my dear friend... Clean breaks.” “What are you going to do. I’ll be on crutches for a Therapy.. probably they wouldn’t hurt you. which they call has reached the limits of its existence. “The doctors say I’m young enough for my leg to mend fairly rapidly.. strongly than ever. they’re watching my eyes. I’m sure. And When while. more The They I’ve had plenty of time to think. indifferent world must bear some of the blame.” “Well. its leaders and the affluent.not anyone..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. I guess. I can’t do this. them condone what is done.. For that.” “No. Frenchified use of English conveyed so much. condone the suicide of their children. The prognosis isn’t too bad. He said.the irritation heals. they .they were horrified.the very way it perpetuates itself -. I hold the same convictions..” “The people I met wouldn’t have done this to anyone. haven’t you?” “Recently I heard Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien on the news.

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 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 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, 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.”

accurate description.

“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

“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.”

but he was polite You know. rubbing her eyes. please.” Cash said. nice. Cash. “Are they treating you okay? Is there anything you need?” “A working pair of eyes would be nice. hugging her. I’ll come back tomorrow with a whole new bedside manner. I came to hold your hand and let you smell these bright red carnations. “What am I wearing? Nike Air.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” Come on.umm. Cash. satisfied. I’ve got an idea. your bed to keep guys like me away. “Good God.” . We weren’t on the Those He hated my guts. laugh. black.” Katharine felt the tears sliding down her cheeks. You’ve no idea. eyes are what made that big dark Kiwi letch for you. patrolling I kind of thought he’d be here.” “Same old Katharine. Calvin Klein jeans and an old black Armani jacket over a white Burberry shirt. I made Katharine Gordon laugh.but the guy was nuts about you.” “My picture is complete.” “Stop it. “I’m sorry...” “I can’t laugh.” “I’ll smell the carnations.” “Ah. art is a color shoot. as the British have been known to say: Fucked up more than usual.the news business. “How did you know I was here?” “I’m in the business.” “What are you wearing?” Katharine asked. “That’ll be a change.” Katharine said. Looks like you’re all FUMTU.beautiful as ever -. same wave length at all.154 “I’m speechless..” “I hear they’ll be working eventually.for you. broken leg and all.” “Sorry. about it.. the same old Cash.. Those incredible green eyes..” “Hardly.remember?.. Then I’ll go away “Yes.. I think I could make you famous with just my macro lens.. Did you come to gloat?” “No.

Margaret in New Zealand. with that cast on. A day later.” “Now that almost makes me laugh.” he informed her.” Katharine shook her head. then filed it away in her head until the appropriate hour.” One day. “Meanwhile. assume it’s just a matter of time. and damn soon.155 “You think that’s all there is?” “No.. The first thing Margaret said after her initial surprise and delight was. she called It was only when she heard herself talking that she knew with certainty what she would do. recalling Cash’s tantalizing images of New Zealand and in one of her sudden transitions of mood.” Cash Taylor did return the next afternoon. There must be more or you wouldn’t be here. Cash. promised her nothing. 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. “Katharine. If I didn’t. her very little. she asked Judith to get a number from her computer. Little did he know what he was doing to her feeble attempts at establishing equilibrium. and spent part of his visit extolling the beauties of New Zealand.” “I’d prescribe some horizontal exercise. That’ll put me in dire need of crashing in Kiwi land.” *** Katharine was in her hotel room now. song. The doctors told A very mysterious “I’m going to science called wait and see.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine said with a grin. it doesn’t seem quite the thing. awhile back I thought I caught the . she had told Judith. “Your bedside manner hasn’t Please be careful out there.. hobbling about on crutches and wondering if she would ever see. “I’m photographing flying body parts. improved much.only somehow. I’d go crazy.

the sort of door that opens right onto an easy path. forgive me please. she thought. place where you could practically walk in the dark and not get lost. where the weather isn’t so bad this time of year. Then I would need someone to . hear more. I have a lot of friends who sometimes let Do you think their vacation cottages. I was hoping you could find me one of those nice little holiday cottages for rent. little accident and I need to heal. been in the Middle East.the sort of hideaway you call a bach. I’ll need to use my if I “This is strictly confidential: I was in a could. Margaret. of how beautiful it is. memories of it. I’ve been thinking a lot I have such good I really love the place. none of that. but I don’t want to say anything much.” “Then I’ll trust you. except that I want to come to New Zealand.” “Oh my God. If I didn’t have your promise of that. I.” “No.156 tail end of a news story with your picture attached. but could learn nothing.. you could?” “Of course. Of course I could only do that if I were sure you wouldn’t tell Lan I was coming..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Then I suppose I can’t say anything.and get back in shape for my next spate of globetrotting. “Good. maybe in the Bay of Islands or somewhere not too far from Auckland. please. Were ya? I tried to I thought ya might have Are ya?” “Margaret. I guess I just couldn’t come. ya on his own. about New Zealand. The place should have a You know.I suppose now I must. I want to thoroughly immerse myself in that wonderful peaceful atmosphere and... Do you promise to be silent?” “Oh bloody-hell.” “I have just a few requirements... He’ll have to find Ya see how much I’d like ya to come?” I don’t want to see anyone at all” -.

more pork. I’m glad I’m here.. Would that be possible?” People are always looking for work around When are ya coming?” I have a few ideas.knows when I need .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . That would be so This all would be so very good of you. “I might as well be in “Yes. was just so astonished when ya came off that plane.who could maybe clean things up a bit. accident....157 stop by from time to time with. takes over. my friend.” “I’m bloody sorry. More pork. could meet me at the airport.. “Absolutely. Margaret -good of you.” “I think she’s already a doctor. Where did you ever find such a pills?’ she asks me.knows when to leave me alone. Seattle. here.and your eyes.or is New Zealand just full of Pennies?” “She’s a real brick. and. going to make a fine doctor when all those studies are through. I like the sound of the rain on this noisy tin roof.. This is getting on to our winter.” that demanding little owl you have. but it is highly unusual to have so much. ya know. Last night I heard a Morepork.just you.” Katharine said to Margaret in a testy voice. ‘Are you remembering to take your anti-inflammatory ‘Yes. I’ve come to love all sounds. jewel. Kate.’ I answer like an obedient child. I haven’t I Ya told me on the phone it was a little Good God.” She walks right in here and “Penny is doing a great job. recovered yet. I know.” III “No one told me it could rain like this here. Actually. they’re everywhere. “Oh. supplies and mail. “I worry about ya here. and maybe you -..” Ignore that remark. Kate... I’m so well cared for. oh. all alone. She has that manner about her. “I’ll be e-mailing my arrival..

“Kate.appears to be turning into a novel. and some writing. and tragic road of depredation for them. staring down into a pit of black bodies. herself old and in tatters and bleeding.. it looks as if the situation can only get worse.158 something. Some days I don’t do anything. Kate. I’m doing a lot of thinking. don’t go where I think you’re going.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I feel helpless in that regard. the moment. It looks like a very long. Perhaps later I’ll write it. the other half for six thousand walledin settlers. I like it... I can’t. girl. death. and destruction.” “Is that what you’re writing about?” “Not now. dragging one aching foot over crumbling debris. Margaret. frustrated. Angry. It’s a frightening powder keg.. Half of Gaza for the million penned-up Palestinians. but the settlers are free to come and go and living in new homes with lawns and sprinklers. and it just kills .” She didn’t bring up the bizarre things her brain was doing almost nightly. and over sixty percent unemployment.. herself a Gaza dweller shuffling through the dust. throw things. It’s all the misery in the world. As to being alone.” “But he doesn’t even know you’re here. really quite brave. A million Gazans incarcerated in squalor with little hope for much else.. the strange dreams it made her endure. with a lot of pluck.” “I’m talking about the grief of the Palestinians. gloomy. I’m writing my way out of something else at I just want to Sorry. crawl away and cover my head. you’re quite something. Right now. lovely.such rotten luck. in which she found herself wandering down a street in the Gaza Strip. swear a lot. What a I wish--” “Please. She would awaken whimpering in the darkness she could not escape. Misery.” “That was so bad. I suppose it’s one way of getting over the grief of the Middle East.still young. although that’s hard to believe.

less frequently. sight. as I can.” *** Katharine got out of the car. I’m doing my own thing. leaning heavily on Penny.. the darkness had evolved into light filled with obscure shapes. to see my new doctor next week. he will kill me. Gradually. Look at me. that sort of talk. I’m “I don’t think it’s right.” “So be it. and walked. I have suspicions that those eye doctors were being kind.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “What about your leg? I’ll have to become When can you abandon the crutches?” “It was a bad break. I’ve got to stay off it a while longer. but clean at least. If he finds out. a tight-fitting little Citroen.” “That’s bloody amazing to me. as if she had full command of her sight and not merely the shadowy vision that so limited her world.” Katharine said.” Not at well It’s I really and truly do not want anything else. which her doctors had only suggested. She now knew every angle and obstruction in her comfortable nest and could hobble about freely. enough to know that he’s somewhere getting on with his life. .” “He doesn’t need to know.” “Doesn’t he send you e-mail?” “Yes. It would be a disaster.” I’m not material for Furthermore. Lachlan Manutane’s world. someone else to live that way.. two fractures. up to her cozy bach. I don’t One day it’ll stop. Penny is taking me in We’ll see. unrecognizable forms and nothing more. She told herself that if her vision had come this That sudden transition to far it might continue to improve. “For me it has to be.159 me. I suppose. “I can make the tea. answer very often. Penny reads it to me. was a mysterious phenomenon she tried neither to dwell upon nor cast aside. still trying to deal with what that means.

Katharine said..your height is?” “I’m five feet four inches.. you see I would never use the word dirty.160 “Let me do it. “Yeah. isn’t it?” “Yeah. My mother used to call them piano hands. I would say you are a tawny blond.” “Describing myself that way is rather strange.. as long as I’m here. 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.” “And you’re wearing denim.. “Well...” “Ah.. at least my cast is off.” I believe optimism is essential for .” “Right.” “He’s right in that.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a doctor’s hands. Good old denim.and probably denim jeans.the He pats me on the Katharine heard Penny ophthalmologist didn’t tell me much as usual. try.easier for a writer.” “Now you’re getting it.. tried to do it. takecharge voice insisted. Penny. I live in it. When they were sitting in the small kitchen nook sipping their Earl Grey. shoulder and promotes least a jacket of it -.” “Well.” “I’m a bit taller. fingers. and a small mole on my left cheek.. way you look.” Penny’s eager.” They sat for a moment in silence. agile she’s switched to calling them a surgeon’s.I felt your arm -. Now I know you have long. But my eyes. shoulder length. Hospital wear will be quite an adjustment. not for you. sipping her tea and rattling her cup.the narrow nose. “I’ve painted you from your voice and manner..a sort of dirty blond.. any cure..” “I hope so.

my aren’t wearing a ring. I mean. your assurance.. but I’m certainly working at it.medical... Penny? “How do you expect your Are you going to be a strictly professional person with little time for a private life. you’re relaxed about the way that works. and the babies will just have to fit in somehow. life to go. admire you. worry about it. of course not. That ought to be your anchor..quite well established there.. Maybe later. children and all the trimmings?” “Yeah...161 “I’ve never been a very patient person. We skipped that..” “I’m enjoying it. do know you’re very good at what you’ve been doing. fiancé. Quite good. I have a terrible and constant fear of hitting the wrong key and creating a volume of gibberish. We’ll both be doctors. Maybe Ya ya ought to just let it happen.” “You don’t know how much I appreciate your willingness to give my writing a brief check.” “I didn’t know.or.simply press on with our goals and let the rest happen.” Katharine gave a sardonic laugh.” “Really? Could be that ya worry about it too much..” “Good on ya.” “God. You’ve hardly spoken of him.. A private life still scares me. then.” “Yeah... don’t dwell on it... no.” “So.just let the rest . I rather think.. I don’t have time to read Your writing has a much else that isn’t technical... and you I’m going to marry Neville.try to cheer myself up singing old songs.or what?” “Oh.all that. I really Maybe because I’ve done so poorly at the little I’ve had of one.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .guess you’ve had heaps of experiences that are useful in your personal life. lot of wisdom.. We pretty well know who we We don’t are.

dropping her crutch and fumbling for it with difficulty. She listened to bird calls. when Katharine had slowly made her way over the path to her outdoor lounging chair and sat warming in the afternoon sun. It must have been quite a happy and secure one. making a mental note to ask her about her childhood at some leisurely moment. setting was breathtaking. I’d better dash over to Russell and snatch your mail and some groceries. Once inside. a few startling notes from the lyrical repertoire of the Tui. The air was coolish. heavy studying ahead. she considered Penny’s very together attitude.162 happen.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Northland beauty. lapping at the beach sands below were soothing. “Well. into it. cleaned up the cup shards that lay scattered around the floor. “Cheerio. then left with her usual upbeat.” I’ve got hours of Later. Penny returned. The wavelets She knew her Margaret and Penny both praised this She longed to see it. table and cried with great bawling sobs. That’s the way I do it.” The writing was leading into a mental labyrinth of intricate paths that kept her exploring deeply. She tried to recall how a Tui looked: a dark head with a curved beak. almost stumbling. thinking hard . she broke a tea cup which had just She groped her way to the kitchen Why not throw herself missed reaching the counter. a white-tufted throat. Returning down the shell path. I’ll scribble it down then I’ll be on my way. made Katharine a tuna sandwich and brought it to her at her computer. which gave it its common name of ‘parson bird. See ya in a couple of days. and the late sun welcome.’ and gorgeous feather vanes that were rather dark and tipped with stunning blue. she banged the foot of her good leg on an unfamiliar rock at the edge of the path. Recite that list one more time. let it out? No one could hear her.

163 and focused. suppose you’ve discovered the locked closet. Her eyes were closed. for it was a tempting visual paradise.” a familiar sounding male voice called as they approached. the buzzing insects. sat down on the foot rest and placed her crutches on the ground then swung her body around and lay back. breathing deeply and listening to the water. Sometimes she lay on it imagining it was from the Green Braes plains. the birds. “Kia ora.. she was glad for her cozy cave and her world of writing. the soft satiny fibers of thick wool so luxurious brushing over her skin. thick-woven upholstery positioned around a huge circle of sheepskin thrown over the floor. heavier doors. voices. she could easily hear Margaret’s or Penny’s car arriving on the gravel road at the other side of the cottage. Unless one was long inured to blindness. the rugged furniture with durable. she was awakened by the sound of a car. Out there. Katharine? I’ll just duck in Kate?” Katharine’s hands were gripping the chair arms so tightly her fingers were numb. Bloody-hell! My God. When the weather permitted she walked to the foot of the path where her chair was firmly planted. Manutane. Without it she might have gone mad. the breezes. Along with the heater. a man and a woman. her head turned . She listened to see if she could determine who it She heard two low The car doors slammed. and. They knocked first on the front door and then came around the walk to the back. Napping one day in her chair. I’m the owner. and dozed off thinking of Lan. was. “Sorry to disturb ya. New Zealand was not a country to visit without vision. She liked the way things were unobtrusively placed in the bach. Still.. and I I remembered that I have a fly kit locked in the closet here. Lachlan My sister and I were just going fishing. there was a stone fireplace which she was afraid to use for fear she would burn the place down.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .

” she cried out with a miserable voice.” “No.” Her head was beginning to throb.I can’t. I can’t. Oh. and you’ll be walking. Kate. Tell me what’s happened to ya. almost more than she could bear.. Margaret. have ya been hurt?” “An accident. here. emotions boiling over.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . opened her eyes and turned toward Lan’s voice.” she heard Rani exclaim. what are ya doing “What are these crutches? here? My God. “Oh. I didn’t know. her heart slamming into the pained walls of her chest.” She wanted to get away and envisioned herself hobbling off . the bitch is living in our bach.. I wanted to know. and her body trembling. Oh.164 out toward the sound of the waves. I can’t believe you’ve come. Just. left it to chance.” Rani’s crunching footsteps receded on the shell path. loyal to us both. her whole body trembling in shock and the agony of what was to come. Please don’t keep Rani waiting out there. His dark shape loomed before her. “God. Please.just get your fly kit and go. “I had no idea..” He lifted her hand in his and she snatched it back and turned her face away. Katharine swallowed slowly. Don’t be mad at her.” Lan exploded. ya will not. Please talk to me. Just go. Rani. She was trying to be I told her that if she heard from ya. be out of here by tomorrow evening. “It’s all right. “Leave me alone. that you’re I’m just so bloody I nearly lost it when I saw ya. So she did it this way.. She wanted to run screaming into the sea rather than be forced to sit there exposed. astonished. sat forward. Believe me. thank you. saw ya. “One more word out of ya Go back to the Rover and stay there. “Shut up. I’ll She’s angry enough.

“Where are my. his chin sliding over her hair. She drew her The utter silence of the next moment terrified her more than anything that had happened so far. She then realized it was . She felt his hand under her chin. I can walk with my. apologetic voice. I “My God. find them.. she had tried to push the crutches away with her hand. When she first identified his voice.. his breathing near her ear.” I’m not going to cry. not your eyes. turning further away from his shadowy form.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” He carried her inside and settled her on the sheepskin rug.they were here somewhere. ridiculous. won’t cry. and now she groped beside her chair for them. after some minutes of uncontrollable shaking. her body began to relax and grow still. Gradually. her head up. her eyes. so foolish. Christ...165 on her crutches in the wrong direction. Don’t apologize. and he was walking with her back up the path. Then she felt his hands sliding around her. “Sorry.” she muttered. turning The silence went on and on as she tried to focus She could hear the sharp intake of air in his throat... I don’t want to talk for a while.. not my green eyes.. fumbling on in a clumsy. Kate. “I wish you hadn’t.” “Rani’s in the--” “I bloody well know where Rani is and I don’t give a fucking damn. dropping down beside her and holding her against him in silence. running her searching fingers over the broken shells beside her chair. “What are you.. Lan. unable to reach them. She desperately needed to get up and walk.” He continued to hold her against him in eyes will improve and--” “Don’t do that.. hand back quickly and held it against her mouth. It kills me. She turned away and bit her lip. lifting her up against him.” she said. his adamant hands burning through her clothes. She listened to his sigh.

I’m tired of doctors.. effect.” “And seen this?” Christ.. her hair. They said I was agitated from time to time.a little spacey sometimes.166 that stillness for which he had been waiting. Lan?” “Time will heal your pain. I did When I I’d try to let you know.” “What. uncertain... It was supposed to diminish but I’m not so sure I’m taking anti-inflammatory pills... Apparently.a few strange aches.far too emotional. I seem to be writing a novel.. a nurse wanted to know who Lan was. I don’t remember doing same Kate... been calling your name. Why don’t they work?” I see “The concussion. Kate?” “I was near a bus that blew up in Jerusalem.. green eyes. “What happened..” “I’ll take ya to doctors in Sydney. She saw how deep his commiseration went when his voice intoned something low and soft in Maori against her ear.” “Jesus Christ. almost like an incantation: “Ma te wa e whakaora to mamae.. His mouth was against It felt as if he were reading her mind..sort of..” She kept her head Her voice was light and soft.” “In which place?” . anymore.perfect green eyes. down against his shirt.. I would “I see only Kate. rejoined the living. or at least The silent holding of her had a calming her nervous feelings. her vacant eyes away from his. “I was unconscious for a couple of weeks.” “Then why didn’t ya tell them to call me? have come. Why didn’t ya let me know?” Apparently.a bit a manner of speaking. I’m working.. but the scent that was Lan made her almost dizzy. I’m all right.” “No..swelling in my brain and pressure on the optic nerves..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Really.

” Katharine said rather She didn’t know what else to say. She will apologize.” “Yeah. back. she roused herself to face the here and now. “You can’t just leave Rani sitting in the Rover. you please find my crutches on your way?” She crawled across the rug and pulled herself up onto the couch.” “Hello. She finally told me the She knows the way home.” “She’s a very young twenty-two.” Rani “It was stupid and “Could offered in a quick rush of words. I’ll be back in a minute. Apology accepted. care of the child. knowing Rani She had a few times felt probably didn’t want to hear any more. but she’s growing up. I’m sorry I said what I did. I’m still taking “Lan.167 “All places. thoughtless and I ought not to’ave said it.” It doesn’t matter. she is.” “My fishing trip was a reward for Rani’s good behavior. She screamed it at me one night after ya left and I’d been refusing to talk to her. just leave her alone. . the door opened and Rani entered the room. After several minutes. Rani. or I thought she was until a few minutes ago. followed by Lan. She’s been making amends. or three. Katharine.” After a while. I’ll see she apologizes. please.” “No. straightening her hair and waiting for the next scene in this sudden surreal drama. Stay here. “Hello. helping Mary. succinctly.” “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll come straight truth: that the father of the child is some wanker she hates.” “I’ve ruined your fishing trip.” Katharine reminded him.” “I’m taking Rani back to Russell where she can catch the Paihia ferry.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .

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 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 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 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 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.

. Compared to you. we’re a small population.. I flew up to the Nelson She could imagine him shaking his head as he winery and left ya in misery.still fairly nice to each other. Kate.” Lan interrupted.” “Rat poisoning?” Katharine said with surprise. running my fixed path from bach to outdoor chair and back to the computer. more afraid of if ya were a prisoner.” Katharine said later. the All Blacks. are you?” “Yeah. we’re fairly nice to each other.well. Kate?” “I don’t think so.. “Oh. After a short. “Is that friendly manner something all Kiwis have? I’ve encountered it over and over. “The last wrong thing I did was a heap of stupidity. stricken by rat poisoning yet.” “Afraid to be that much in love?” Were ya that . and if your eyes haven’t improved I’m taking ya to a Sydney specialist. Too many rats and they all turn killer.” “You’re never wrong. “Population.. disturbed ya ran off in a bloody sheep lorry.. I’ve always been so active that this is--” “I’m giving ya a couple more weeks. you are..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .173 in with the preparations. and they laughed and talked about everything from New Zealand beer to aubergines and how the national rugby team. was in a fiery win streak.” “Actually I feel a little like a rat right here. Yank. pondering silence he said. “Yeah. afraid of me.. She leaned We haven’t been I mean. I am. Ya know I’m right. forward in her lawn chair. are you?” She sat frowning while Lan exclaimed over the silliness of her remark. wishing she could see Lan’s expression.

.helpless.” “Oh. Katharine knew how Lan liked his women: able to take charge. if only I could see you. I felt so drawn to this I I didn’t expect to encounter you. she worked at her computer.” You have such a Ya came back “Then in a roundabout way I get loved.. place. groups to find him.your country. I’m teasing a little.174 “ because I’m. “Right.. you are New Zealand. because I’m here?” “That’s what you’d like to believe.. Katharine.supposing I might be here as a last resort.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. She was not afraid to tell Lan her own I’m taking ya to Sydney. couldn’t stand to think of you dealing with this.” “Lan. Christ.” *** Nina had a musical. to heal. healthy ego. People even drove out in schedule. but Katharine could also hear fondness and respect for Lan in her voice.. you’re so far from helpless... I might confess everything to you. look into those rare black eyes. or wandered out to sit in her chair and listen to the sounds of nature. Trying to stay out of their way.. Lan was rather quickly drawn back into his busy The phone rang incessantly.two more weeks. placating voice and a strong will which was clearly evident.. opinion of things as they worked together.” “And now?” “I wanted to be here. “This place is too small for your peace of mind and all of . It surely came from his self-determined mother. For me. to think for themselves.” “So now we’re back to that. 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.” “Oh.” I love New Zealand.

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,

“This morning.

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

“What do I say now?” Margaret asked. have I?” “Kate! But simply curls my toes.can ya--” Nice outfit.. Kate... glancing at Katharine.can’t say I regret it. bring your glass. “Ah. and you’re looking great.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “At least If ya “That’s a rather cool explanation. “Come up to my study a minute. He tried to keep it to himself. it’s none of my business..want to show ya something.” Katharine said. as if it were high summer. “I think I need a drink.but if ever I saw a man in pain--” “Margaret--” “Right. Sorry. including you. with Lan there next to ya. But do ya know what. I believe we’ve been left to recover our dignity.” Margaret added in the way of apology.. “So you two are back together again. I did that.. rooted. “It wasn’t a very nice thing to do. “Why. Lan. I could have throttled you with my bare hands..” I know. anyone.” Margaret said...” When they were seated back in the lounge with glasses in hand. with a complete lack of the exceptional subtlety and finesse he showed on the water. Ian remarked. “Do ya hate me?” When Lan walked up to me floundering blindly in my lawn chair..” Lan and Katharine looked at each other and smiled without making any comment. She held up her hand.we resolved the matter.” Lan said to Ian. Margaret.180 anything. “I think he’s He and tactician Colin are racing in heavy weather. for heaven’s sake. But I was in no condition to throttle I recovered and we..” you’re together. I could feel what’s between ya.. that’s wonderful. . I’ll shut my mouth. and it. I know. absolutely wonderful.” Margaret exclaimed. “ did ya? I mean are ya... Kate? Just a moment ago.. could have seen Lan when ya left.” “Yes.

. really happy to find ya so improved. Katharine sat gazing into the fire in silence while Lan removed glasses and put away bottles. and then we arrived.this...maybe you did the right thing.. because I. no more crutches..” “Oh lord.just to put a cap on this.I sort of “I see that you’re walking without crutches. dropped in unexpectedly with the news.” “Good on ya.I suppose something like the way things have gone. They like ya. not just because I’m happy to see anyone at all..” “Thanks. Margaret. Perfect timing.” “Margaret. I’m I. either. You’ve He came to sit beside “Ya look just like the night I met ya at Fortuna.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” she responded in a thoughtful voice. Kate. “Ya okay?” “I did my best. I I can only admire you for I hope I can earn a understand that you’re loyal to Lan. God.some day..anyway I’m happy to see you. And.... that. little of that kind of loyalty too.” The evening went rather well after that.” speculation. and Margaret and Ian left earlier than they had intended -.” Lan said. Can ya walk up the stairs?” Katharine furrowed her brow a little in “Never mind. stood ..” “Lan just found out tonight about my eyes. And I like you. Katharine surmised. “I’ll carry ya and right now. I don’t know how things would have gone -. Green Eyes.. “I think so. she stood beside the bed.181 sorry.and be happy he has such friends.” Once floated up the stairs. laughing at her serious frown. due to the whisperings of Margaret to her husband. her. “They really are nice people.” “From now on you’ve got it.

. All. for her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and then a second time. her eyes rejoicing in glimpses of taut skin. “Yes.” Lan said as he stood up to strip off his clothing. biting her lip to hold herself quiet as he drove himself against her.” she cried. a kiss that. let it out..when I saw ya at my door. my Green Eyes. still amazed at the return of her vision. The joy of it was in her laughter as she drew back. my Kate.” She moaned softly.” he said. lifting her head with one hand while he guided himself into her with the other. He lay down beside her already thoroughly aroused body..all that wildness Tell me. anything..” “No.” She couldn’t talk and feel . “I’ve been wanting ya all night. beginning to move with unleashed pleasure. yours.Jesus. inside. Ya rarely get two of the same of this.” He ran his thumb across her lips and kissed them with intense concentration. I don’t want to think of then initiated her own deep kiss and felt his body sliding over hers.. “I’m bloody sorry ya had to go through all of that horror in Jerusalem.oh. as if repairing something broken. 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. looking back at me. curling mouth or tan cheek or ear or beloved lock of black hair. She was half afraid of how completely she was coming apart. “Let go..” Ya are mine.. don’t talk about it.just you. Tell me.. losing herself.. are ya not? “Yes. still enthralled with simply staring into her intensely focused eyes. “Look at us.. everything...don’t want ya away from me. deep kiss. “Déjà vu. Come on. Lan.

all self-awareness. Still silent. managing only one last cry. “Oh. thoroughly dissolved in physical need. God. squinted at a close-hauled sloop in the bay. all anxiety. In the consuming heat of post-orgasm there was nothing of her wounded self. God. Half an hour later. his solid dark body wrapped in a navy blue wool robe. overtaking her again. *** Katharine eased out of bed and curled up in a large gray wingback by the windows. With one discerning look and the nudge of past experience.” All past horror was swept away in that powerful dominion of love. of vanishing in a haze of indecision? She sat desiring him. too. in the attentive and demanding force of Lan’s liberating body. all doubt and grief gone. the question itself startled her. in his. very close. “Are ya afraid of me. Kate?” As familiar as his directness was. the mouth which so quickly and easily took possession of her. her nerves beginning to fire and jump beneath her skin. “Look at me. stalled life. or is it yourself you’re afraid of?” . saw her eyes. Lan found her staring into space in the kitchen nook. How could it be? Was she thinking that. I want to see your eyes looking at me. a cup of coffee held in both trembling hands. 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. desiring him even now in her sexually sated.183 the way she felt. he said.” She. thinking Somewhere else. anywhere.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . only that dreamy and dazed stare of languid satisfaction. “Are ya thinking of leaving me again. she watched him pour coffee from the glass pot into a white mug and lift it to his questioning mouth. She threw up her arms and felt his hands closing over hers.

dropping her head into her hands. saying.184 “Both.” “Yeah.. ‘God. that? Stop this shit and tell me what ya Ya know Look at me.right?” “Don’t.” “Bloody-hell what self-deception. looking away. My God. “I want you. so you can..” she said. I love ya..’?” “No. Lan. “Then look into my eyes and tell me ya don’t love me and that you’re going away. ‘Jesus I can’t fall I went after what I wanted. Lan. Ya can’t straddle that high fence This is us together. to suit your you can possess me.even if I expected a far milder version of the kind of trouble we’re having now. Ya went away and were miserable. I can’t give myself to Lachlan Manutane and ten thousand sheep.. Is that what you’ve been doing. Have ya forgotten When I found ya I didn’t say..” “I’m a journalist.. Do ya want me?” I’ll catch ya. I want ya. ya do.. but I--” “I can’t do this.take--” “Jesus Christ.” .” she said. feel.” he Ya do it with your body when you’re having me.’ knew. that means.oh God. Jump.... Kate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ya ambivalent woman.I in love with a journalist. “You always tell me to look at you. I love you. Kate..” “Come with me to Green Braes and Mary’ll gladly tell ya what it means. “Got to run like bloody hell from the possibility of bad fate. I felt how right it was.. I nearly lost ya.I always want you..” “I can’t.” “Ya love me?” I just can’t see what “I love you. demanded..

write. but I’d be willing to do that. There’s snow on the ground at Green Braes.185 Looking at him with sudden resolution.” It means we It means ya are with me always. “Jesus.” “Then go put them on. she pulled her white satin robe around herself and folded her arms. let ya stay here and write. You tell me now..” “You said I must be with you always.” “Yeah..if ya don’t want to come to Green Braes..if that’s what I have to do to have ya.” Lan laughed. “Oh God.. we’ll fly to Green Braes.” “You certainly are a bossy bloke. “I’ll get ya one of my jumpers -. Ya can borrow more We’re heading out of here now..” “But I want to be with you all the time.” “Yeah.ya call them sweaters.. what it means. “You tell me.I want to see Mary. as surely as if she were crumbling before Lan’s eyes. I thought as much.from the same irresistible mouth. “Did ya bring anything with ya besides that wicked little black dress?” “I was in a Half of ya wants to run away from me and the other half never wants to leave my side.” “Snow? Isn’t it difficult to land?” ..” “I’ve heard that before. clothes from Mary. can. I can’t leave all of this. pounamou eyes.. but yes. Which is it?” Katharine felt herself coming apart. and I’ll help ya in any way I Ya can stay here in Auckland and write.” Lan took her in his arms with “So some impatience and stroked his fingers through her hair. ya schizoid little wonk.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... help each other always.slacks and a shirt. so it means Ya can ya have to want me enough to make it part of your life.. here. I.. “All right. I know ya have to do that.

” “Made sandwiches while ya were dressing. plane. understanding mother.sheep talk.” Katharine pointed to the hand guiding the and to have a mother...” “Can you cook.” she said. even dreamed of her. “There’s so much I don’t know about you. Green Eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . To have Lan It was Here At least it’s reliable.” *** In the air. sorry... what everyone needed. Lan?” “Haven’t ya already experienced some of my cooking?” “Some.but there’s a limit to what I’ll do. She looked . I’ll check with them and make sure it is.. craved until the day they died.behind my seat under my jacket when ya get hungry. help them both. The gold The sooner we’re out of here on his left wrist flashed beneath the cuff of a green plaid Swannie. “Come on... She had thought of Mary a great deal.” “Uh. rattle your dags..... “It’ll take ya a long time to find out. I’m sure. knowing he was counting on Mary to help him. powerful persuasion and Lan knew that very well.” “Explanation. the idea of it thrilled her..breakfast. yes.ya can find out for yourself.. please. Rex and his mates keep the runway clear. the sooner you’ll see Mary. “Is that a Rolex always appearing there?” “Yeah.prosperity sells in the marketplace.” She dropped her head back and thought of his remark. reaching out to hold Katharine’s hand as they winged through the clear sky.pretty good.. cocking her head with scrutiny. was a chance to have a loving. “Oh.186 “Not very. Lan was more patient. the woolen Swan-Dris shirt-like jackets worn everywhere in New Zealand.

” “A blend of possum and wool.” “Yeah. playful thing.” They ate ham and cheese sandwiches and then Katharine dozed off.from Warm fur. looming stone house now cloaked in white. Lan was off the radio and very soon rolling to a stop. I’ve always thought of it as a sort of whimsical. He turned to her and said. Yank. I suppose that’s a more noble death than just getting flattened on the highway. Kiwi bear.. but once again awoke to find them in a landing pattern.” “Possum?” “Not the kind you’re thinking of. stepping out of the plane and quickly donning his big leather jacket. but I suppose it can be very brutal. coming down on a world of white. The runway was almost clear. “Do ya like snow?” “It’s never treated me badly. Katharine’s heart beat with excitement as she stepped out . She had thought she would sleep only a few minutes. What is this? It’s so thick and furry. He reached for a heavier coat.” “On livestock. We line our hats and coats with ’em.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. those poor brownish critters I saw squashed all over the roads.” We’re overrun with the little creatures. Australia. Lan came around to Katharine’s side and helped her out. “My jumper warm enough?” “It’s wonderful. “Let’s get ya into the Rover fast.” They were soon moving down the holly lane over packed snow. Waving to Rex. yeah.187 over at his concentrating profile and wished she could know what he was thinking at that precise moment.” Katharine said. “Oh. up to the always impressive. “Brrr.” “Well.

were in from their station duties. forgot where she was. Then he pulled himself away from her and lifted her to a sitting position. He His lips were cold She but growing warm as she held onto his leather jacket.188 of the Rover. hunched inside a heavy red cardigan and standing on the steps. grabbing her and rubbing it over her face. Her feet crunched in the snow. For her it was a setting which took her back to her childhood. forgot the cold. They turned toward the house and saw Mary. once again forgot everything but the caressing mouth and the dark eyes made fierce from taunting. Lan sat with his arm Mary sat around her. She bent down and gathered a handful of snow. she whirled away. “Come on. Screaming with laughter. and white fur gleaming as they dozed by the fire.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . before ya freeze your arse. occasionally reaching for his hot tea. shaking her head and smiling. Your clothes are wet. to the snowy fields of her grandmother’s flower farm. straddled her and kissed her laughing mouth. black. hounds she had once seen from a distance. their brown. Its drumming warmth quieted their . *** 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.” He helped her up and brushed her off while she stood laughing. Sheb and Wooly. quickly packing another snowball and barely getting it airborne before he grabbed her again and plowed her into a snowdrift. ya wild little brat. As Lan was coming around the side of the Rover He scooped up a she let fly and hit him soundly in the chest. gingerly packing it tight with iceburned fingers. her face softer than the last time Katharine had seen her. handful of snow and strode toward her. Two huntaways. across from them in a wingback.

almost teary-eyed with gratitude for the firm hug of welcome she had received from Mary. twisting a hank of her drying blond hair around his fingers.” he countered.” “Shhh.” Katharine begged. “I’m going to help Mattie with baking. “Your hair is still damp.” “I napped on the plane.” I’ve still got enough life left in me to help . Mary stood up. Oh. “So is yours. Ya know what that does to me.” The blond hair wound around his fingers received a sharp tug.” “Good on ya.” As Mary slipped out of the room. doused from rolling in the cold snow like naughty little bairns. “You’re blushing.189 normally loud and nervous manners. 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.” Katharine said. “I was perfectly ready to come in but the child needed her playtime. reaching up to run her fingers through Lan’s snow-wetted black waves.” Mary scolded in a teasing voice. ya finish me off. Her body was still glowing from its effect. “Look at the two of ya. Katharine could only smile. “I’ll have ya here if ya want. Green Eyes. quiet. ya little primrose. Mary.” Ya heard “Then it’s up the stairs.” “Shh. It’s time for our nap. Lan said. There’s a fire laid in your room if you’d like to rest until tea is ready. Lan. straightening her black wool skirt.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Ya won’t shut me up when it’s good.

” “When I was a little blighter I thought of it. watching Lan kneel to light the neatly arranged dry wood. “What?” he asked. As she watched the logs I’m surprised he hasn’t catch hold and the flames climb. motive is just a form of selfishness.” “” “What are you making me?” “Yeah. pulling it out from the foot of the bed and over their cooling bodies.what I did to you.make me divine while you’re at it. I’d give a lot to have seen you then. “He never tires of standing there.” He tossed off his clothes. “What’s wrong with ya now.” “I am sorry about that...190 They climbed the stairs slowly. You knew me much better than I realized. with Katharine pausing to greet the noble glass stag poised over the landing.... She closed them and let the burning tears roll down. You’ve been so good. her eyes began to sting and burn...never used to.I can’t think of anything . I was terrible.. maybe I’m around the bend over ya but I’m good for You’ Kate?” around.” “Right..that horror in Jerusalem did strange things to my head.really--” Stop all of that. Let’s make love. I’m always crying. grasping a brown woolen afghan Mary had knitted.” She sat on the edge of the high bed... yeah?” “You’re not selfish. removed her robe and drew her shivering body into his warmth.. arm in arm. “That. Their shoulders were propped Lan asked when he turned against a bank of square pillows as they stared at the flames. “Just come and hold me. wrong with you at all. Maybe my “Stop it. But why now?” “I was thinking of last time... been shot.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .

communicating with the bloody muddy sheep while ya talk to Mary. Katharine wore a skirt and sweater of But I’m a greedy bastard. “Ya look good in my mother’s clothes. There was a crisp salad made with pale leaves of Belgian endive and dark green cress..” “You look good in anything.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . . “and the happiness of it. “Speaking of which.” *** Descending the stairs was a replay. am I laughing?” “See how useful I am.191 it. lifting her goldedged crystal goblet. Both of us. Green Eyes. Trust what ya feel like this.” Tea was thin slices of tender roast leg of lamb with mint jelly. all drizzled with sweet dressing. wahina. lassie. I want Mary’s. roasted. we won’t do any heavy talking tonight.” she added. flushed from lovemaking and a warm shower. Lan.” Katharine remarked. Tomorrow I’m meeting my “These manager down at the sheds. sprinkled with spicesugared nuts..and right now. Haven’t I given ya Mary? I’ll keep ya happy. just drink a lot of wine and go to bed.” “Careful with the loose tongue.” Lan said. match your hair. I’ve told her about ya and she understands. all of ya.” Mary said. herbed potatoes. “even only a small tattoo. They did drink several glasses of the pleasant wine. irresistible lovemaking in the shower. can count. a soft golden wool. and freshly baked oatmeal rolls light as air. Lan uncorked two bottles of a chilled tart rosé from his winery and filled their generous-sized goblets. “To Lachlan and Katharine. served with an acorn-stamped mound of newly churned butter. You’ll forget. and more sheep than ya You’re done for.” “Oh God. they rushed down the stairs.

Snuggled in Mary’s soft robe. her humor far dryer than the vanishing wine. Katharine’s head was whirling with bonhomie as she climbed the stairs leaning on Lan’s arm. running around the equivocate as I’ve been doing. so indecisive now? place and write.. 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.” he said in a warm sleepy voice. . Lan’s arms came around her from behind.” “I’ve been thinking.. and after such a wonderful evening. unblemished snow. The next morning she awoke with a tight wrap of depression that threatened to unfold itself in all directions.. She tried to blame it on the wine.” she whispered.192 chatting amiably. Somehow she would have to head off the ensuing downward spiral which could so easily make her very poor company. she stood by the windows. unpredictable even to herself. “Ya don’t have to get up yet. His chin edged down against her shoulder as he gazed out with her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Oh. “More so when ya can share it. often laughing over Mary’s ample and pointed witticisms. God. Dessert was a kiwi custard tart served with a sweet liqueur and demitasses of rich coffee. Lan?” she asked as they lay together fitted like spoons. Then the explosion. world involving myself in constant misery was starting to get me. “Beautiful. Come back to bed. What’s wrong with me.. soothed by his touch.” “Drink a large cup of black tea later and you’ll be right as rain. I really want to stay in one Why then am I so worried.” “I think the wine did a little damage. In my work I almost never And yet.

. “Yeah.hope so. It wasn’t necessary. Ya expect it. all I can say..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. driver who took ya away from me. for yourself.” “I’ve cursed myself a hundred times that I ever told ya about Rani. It’s just the way ya started out..she’s with my former in-laws.much. I would. The world is a very frightening place..” “Ultimately. I think I had to go and do what I did.” .until Mary stepped in to save the poor bloke. Ya think we’ll come to a sad end.impossible... Maori half?” “Oh. Ya were so full on hungry for The only person around who love ya married an abusive” “And maybe I could have convinced ya of that. your grandmother....where is she?” Ya need some happiness “Rani is. cared for ya. they’ll accept ya. trying to learn how to care for her little girl. Your mother went away and never came back. died and left ya with no family. quite a bit of yourself to the world. 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.” “Rani.. “Where is Rani?” Ya can have them all. and your violent father was a bloody poor excuse for a human being. Ya can have mine. I didn’t realize I was really running away from myself... And you really want me to?” If you’re mine.. “That proposition nearly killed ya. a rather extended family..” “I’d have found some other excuse.” I think you’ve given That’s The wrongs have to be exposed.” “She’s finally paying attention to the child?” “I think so.just the excuse ya needed to I bloody near fired the lorry run away and hurt yourself.193 “Nothing. I’ve tried to do that.

. Lan. and ya can talk to Think about the rest. He chuckled and kissed I didn’t even think of Were ya including yourself in that last “Yeah. We’ll talk about it later.. “I strongly suspected the baby wasn’t yours.why I’m blushing. would have wanted it.” after a little anklebiter or two. ya mean.with you. Mary.. It’s the softness that I see. Wait.. “You’re blushing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’d be It would be good for ya. “Mary would go bloody nuts....the mother in I’m fully awake and I want ya any which way.” the tip of her nose.. yourself focusing on something besides personal loss..” She Any woman carrying your child would have She had suddenly stopped herself. Four . “Maybe it would have green staring at the ceiling and laughing. And Yeah.kind of early in the morning to be blushing. wanted. Green Eyes. “You’re wanting children.inside this plucky little package. my little ipo.” He rolled on his back. pounamou eyes. Then I’d go bloody nuts. her surprised thoughts turning over in wonder....a man about town like you?” “A man about Katharine.194 Katharine turned over and looked into Lan’s eyes. Then it’s off to the sheep pens for me. good for ya.” “You wouldn’t like it if it had your rare dark eyes?” “What do ya think? on the pill?” “Now wait a minute.” Come here. remark?” “I guess it’s. “You think so?” “I do.. I’m getting dizzy.. it until I said it.” “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. eyes.. Are ya still “All right. and the caring. Lan..

Kate.” *** Mary refilled Katharine’s cup with more black tea. Mary. I’m quite ashamed of the way I ran off I really threw without saying good-bye..” “I certainly agree. “Ya could have come sooner. The sudden appearance of Katharine Gordon said more to me than any inadequate words could have..” Katharine stared into Mary’s gray-blue eyes.195 of them maybe? “Lan?” Reveling in his own laughter. was breaking for Lachlan. a sparkling neat pale green arena of warmth and activity. I’m not so sure I know what ya intend.” “Your own conscience is in good working order then. I was “I wanted to be able to see you.of the way I was. Mattie had relinquished her reign there to set about They vacuuming in the upstairs bedrooms..whatever. he grabbed her escaping body and fit her to him.. kissing her astonished mouth.” At least. didn’t I? How ironic that it took a knock in the head and blindness to make me see a little better.. quite a fit.and yet.but never did he bring a single one of them here. You were scolding me. Two with green and two with. My heart He’s entertained some rather interested women since the loss of. or am I overstepping .. Katharine.. Mary.. “May I ask why ya did come back. her warm. were sitting at the long wooden work table in the big old kitchen. the good of it is that you’re here now.” “I dreamed about you. Your condition wouldn’t have I’ve looked after a few in my life.” “It’s a miracle that you’re here at all..” “Well.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Still. softly lined Scottish face radiating a momentary relief that was not without uncertainty. mattered to me. hoping I could..

you’ll never forget..and you. I have some friends there but I--” “Ya really have no family?” “No..196 myself?” “It’s sort of complicated.and yet the Ya had a taste of something that I was inundated with. ..” I had enough That isn’t failure. Returning to Seattle to recover seemed so. but It’s all I’ve ever been. “A person can’t live very well without love.not enough. He loves so hard. It was much more than a And yet.the kind of love only Lachlan can give ya. taste... you are right about that.not always. all of its touted beauty notwithstanding. as lucky as can be. and you’re To my way of thinking you’re the one receiving that attention.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Oh. Do ya not know You were Surely ya do. of it to last me to my grave. Mary.” “And satisfied then?” “No.” “Oh.hunger. “I’m a professional person.” “But at least I’m good at what I do.” “Ya were never loved.and. it’s loss. Do ya not?” Mary leaned back with her hands folded on the table and her sharply focused eyes waiting. what that means? You’re Lan’s chosen one.” “Of course I did.... I have periods of depression. but I think ya still have some problems to resolve. because Lan was here.. And I think I had to finally admit to myself that this place was so especially depressing to me.. I’ve failed at everything else.with Lan. good to me and you didn’t have to be that way at all.. a softer version of his angular jaw and well-molded chin. All I have to do is remember and I can go right on -. I felt so drawn to this place.... That’s why ya came back... Katharine began to identify more of the facial features given to Lan.

leave off. too...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . My career was here with my Now it We ran this place together and we ran it well...” “A successful career is a powerful thing. but you. Mary. an intelligent woman like yourself.frightening. He could do with a good partner. Mary. I don’t resist. belongs to Lachlan. It’s why I’m here. and I taught But when I found Rang I was quite content to I have loved music for a while. “Your frowning at me.. He couldn’t help himself any more than I could when I fell in love with Rang.. He knows that very well but he’ll never ask it of ya.enough to deny himself what he ought to have. Mary.” “I’m a writer. without completely .” “Nobody could take that from ya. Somehow. I know I have unconditional the piano for my own joy of it. I do.” “Please understand. Lachlan has suffered make that change ya talk about. I must be craving Oh.. the stewardship of these lands.197 thought of such a complete change in my life is.yes..that he would never give himself like that again. to happiness.the way it feeds your ego. he or she is born to.” “Oh. no right to--” “It’s not that so much. There I’ve said it.. because I can’t stand it. You’re a lovely girl with a right It’s just that I don’t know if you’re able to Ya see. Now he’s done it.. and he’s made it into something much larger. Kate. For him it works that way. He loves ya too much. He doesn’t know that I heard him swear an oath one bitter night.... husband. Do ya see that?” “Yes. Each has to do what But I can’t help feeling that if ya loved him enough we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” “For a while he drank a great deal. somehow ya do resist..see it and feel it. My dad sent me to the best schools. Kate. you’re wrong.

” “Then I’ll get ya some warm clothes. environment. but alongside this was a somewhat anxious speculation of how she would live the rest of her life.. the rush of warm feeling. first brushing it off briskly with a gloved she would Could she help to run a place like this.198 losing myself. She could certainly . I have to fit into your world.” *** Katharine was walking along the river. 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. Katharine basked in the ensuing release of tension. Leaning back. Did she want a little child clinging to her skirt. if she were to betray her presumed commitment. She stopped to position herself on a large rock. very likely with lovely black eyes? cherish it..because I love him far more than I think you realize.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . There was ice along the bank but the freezing The snow water burbled with a lyrical sound rather comforting. piercing the hard blue winter sky. “I’d like to take a walk in the snow. she could easily assert that she had miraculously escaped the jaws of death and was now sitting at the pinnacle of all beauty. all good fortune. reassuring hug. because I love Lan. she gradually drifted In this pristine off in thought. and off in the distance hung the Southern Alps. like Lan’s? A part of Lan -. standing up and giving Katharine a steady.” Mary said. was dazzling in the bright sun. windows the hardened snow crystals glittered like faceted diamonds. With her arms gratefully wrapped around Mary. a world Probably she could learn.” “And for that ya have all my devotion. pondering her situation. the crisp air biting into her lungs. Along with this went a huge sense of relief that Mary What had always quietly been there and was there now for Lan.

... Ya hear “Bloody hell it is.. she knew this. about so many things. lowered her head and sighed.” “Then what in bloody hell are we talking about?” “I guess. enriching her self.. It’s I who have to figure out how to make ya satisfied. is it?” “I have to learn to live well with you. I’m already happy just having ya. Of course there Love didn’t conquer all. We’ve both had .. feeding her creative needs with endless titillating themes.if I’m the right person for you.. “What is it now?” Lan’s voice suddenly intoned. to make you happy.” “No. “But that isn’t the end of the problem.. could no longer imagine being happy.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . me. Lan...” His kiss warmed her whole body and she kissed him back until he leaned away and looked into her revealing eyes. there were always a way.I guess we’re talking about a special sort of competence. for her. No more.” “That decision is the one I get to make. “For as long as you want me I’m yours.” No more sadness. It would be a necessity She wasn’t indifferent to the cornucopia of good things spilling into her life.” “Oh. but I’m so satisfied with you. would be difficulties. 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. her old insecurity always just within reach. sliding into his arms.and about the end of something and the beginning of something else. Katharine? I found ya and ya found me. 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’s kind of sad. even though she was totally and inescapably in its grip.199 write about it.” “Forever?” “I don’t know if..have made.

” There was a pause of heavy silence while her taut face softened then bloomed with amusement. “Well.the way ya suddenly eat up life. “Do ya know what your eyes do to me when ya smile like that?” “Just pounamou for my lover.200 enough of sadness.” impatience.” It was the thing that had Her hair was in His fingers “Be careful with your leg. .” She slid her hand down the front of his jacket and looked up into his eyes. It’s That’s the end of all this equivocation.too bloody cold. if you so decree it. lifted it and smoothed it back as he replaced her hat. great god Manutane. her eyes. but the thought blew away behind her as she ran on. certain nothing could stop her. Her woolen hat had come off.” She laughed with an expansive surge of joy and began to run. He hesitated. I won’t steal ya from your rare self... For a second she wondered if her leg was really up to this.” Her coy mouth offered a teasing smile as she pushed her fingers into his chest. to fly away in dreams? “Kate. ya unpredictable wahina -. slowed Lan down when he stopped to pick it up. savoring her humor as his mood drifted away from the heat of protest. before ya drown yourself in it.” him. but not from cold. laughing mouth. She ran over the powdery snow in quick bursts of speed.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . He clicked his tongue with “Now I want ya bad and we’re in the snow. tapping at the heavy sheepskin jacket. his lids closed down to a narrow darkness that was just her. She was beginning to tremble.” “Can’t have ya in the snow. up away from the river and into an open field where the whiteness rose in smooth hillocks. Over there. He caught hold of her and swung her around against Please be careful. pasted over her gasping. Wasn’t her body forever trying to launch itself. “Another thing about ya. what I love.

first time she encountered fully the translucent mahogany grain of his eyes. perhaps not . I want ya. with his tongue in her mouth and his hands fitting her against him.” We’ll His words were tinged with regret. it turned their quick breath into rising white clouds of vapor..what if someone--” “No. No one will. I want ya.” Katharine said. far beneath her momentous longing she knew that he was right.. intense with lust. Anything. “Oh. snow-etched window. in its path motes of whirling dust....only here with me. Lan.” A bolt of white light streamed through the high snow-framed old glass. she let her frenzied self cry out his name and heard his soft response. brr. Even in this condition. feeling so much and knowing so little.” He eased her down upon his open jacket. but let me get my hands inside. Come on.. fastening her legs around him as they became one tortuous element of hot energy in a still space of heavy cold.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” While their partially cold bodies joined in heat. Jesus.anything. craving much more. something which should never be finished until the eyes closed for the last time. “Ah. discover more than enough. that to wish for or acquire even a partial revelation of the mystery behind the windows of the eyes was to finish something. heightened the agony of being that close... The straight For the shaft of dazzle ignited part of this man having her. ipo.201 he jerked his head toward a stone shed with a small. “Leave your jumper on. ipo. I want to know--” “It’s no good knowing everything.for either of us.only here. “Oh. Shout at me. unfathomed. the rich deliquescence.. She gripped him tightly. “Oh.” The pale blond straw was fresh and sweet beneath them as they pulled off their gloves and tugged at their clothes. “There’s straw on the floor..

so good.” They lay back. I love having ya..don’t move while I help ya feel this. She wanted it to go on but thought it powerful enough to stop her heart.. stroking her back.. eyes briefly closed then opening as he lifted her shaking body up against him. “Hold still. “Okay?” “Yes.oh.. “Ata noho. he leaned away.and...look at ya.” His hands slid down her waist and pressed her into him until her skin was his. head back.. From his brusque response she inferred a similar longing..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Will ya tell me if I hurt ya?” “Y-yes.good.liked those words. “Oh God!” Above her. the dust of it rising as she was thrown backwards and pinned there in throbbing heat.. E tino aroha ana ahau ki a koe. his thumb rubbing the damp hollow of her throat.” “Good?” “Oh..” Lan said softly.202 even then.. “Jesus.” Forward deep inside she felt a pleasure that was so excruciating it was almost a searing pain.” His voice sounded soft and slow with satisfaction while his fingers held the back of her neck.” “I said I adore ya. and heard herself screaming.. “Get your arms where I can. recovering for a moment until the harsh cold . already studied and abandoned as dangerously destructive and useless.” she managed with gasping voice.” Their bodies rocked hard into the crunching straw. “I.

Quickly sitting up they knelt to pick the thin golden stalks of straw from each other’s hair and clothing. Lan glanced at her and said a word to himself. “Don’t be afraid. arm in arm.. and Katharine put her hands tightly together in her lap.” Kai te pai matau.lambs who’ve lost their mothers like her newest pet. Need that rain. then pulled on what little they had removed.keeps everything rich and green. “Are you going to speak a lot of Maori?” “I’m sorry. both silent and lost in the thrall of each other. They walked home along the rushing river. “The wind blows and it rains a bit this time of year in Nelson. but mostly it’s a land of sunshine and good beaches. his father’s younger brother.” Lan said. “Just a place where Mary nurses her culled weakling newborns from time to time. she remotely hearing its warbling winter song.. *** 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.. shaking his head. my tau aroha. Kate. wehi. We’re all right. 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. gentle rain.” He smiled at her and led her through the cobwebbed heavy wooden door into the cold bright sun. They’ll like ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .203 began to creep over them.. “What is this for?” Katharine asked.. try to help ya understand. looking around.” I’ll . Gus. Reka Winery for Lan.tend to do that more when I come here. They turned down a long lane and drove up to a large old stone house set back before a stand of Red Beech trees.. Lan occasionally staring down at her as if astonished to find her there looking back.

easy to tell when ya blush. and eight of their older grandchildren sat at two separate smaller tables. isn’t it?” *** They had all greeted her. studied her with polite curiosity. brick-red dining room. too. Nobody will do anything to make ya feel bad. Gus was saying something to his wife in Maori: “Ka mumura ona papering i te whakama. and she heard Maori words.” Katharine then gave Lan a questioning look. Pathetic. . giggling and teasing one another.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . smoothly planked hardwood dinner table placed in a rimu-wainscoted. but when it’s my own life on review I’m like this. deciding she should save her analyses for some other time and simply let things happen. their eyes twinkling with a slight teasing amusement at her rather shy responses. both with graying hair. Would this be in deference to Lan. had done hongi with her. She felt a little clumsy and didn’t look at Lan for fear she would encounter a certain keen assessment. Mea. wahina. 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.” They sat down at a long. Green Eyes. You’re mine. with which she didn’t want to deal. The You’re fair and it’s four adult children of Gus and Mea sat below. When it’s my job I can stick my nose into people’s lives quite easily. “Just your chemistry.204 “Will there be hongi?” “Maybe. 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.” “I know. Just stay cool. but they were polite in that. Gus and his wife. and quite ready to converse in welcome New Zealand English.

“What did I say?” “Ya simply told him ya thought it was an absurd question. Gus laughed and threw up his hands.” “What needs to be excused?” Katharine muttered. Lan was putting food on her plate as the serving dishes went by.” Katharine said with a cheerful smile. Can ya cook?” “I. “Tell him: E whakaaro ana ahau he patai hohore tena. Katharine. Try it. laughed with great enjoyment. sweet potato. does that count?” she added in a soft.. discerning voice. focused on his mouth as he repeated the phrase which she then tried to say. “I’ve.” she said.” maternal dark-eyed Mea offered in a slow. Then Lan squeezed her hand and winked at her..” . a quick study in pronunciation. “I really have no idea. Gus looked at Katharine and said. including Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lan turned to Katharine.205 With her hands held motionless in the lap of her gray wool pantsuit. who was now blushing deeply.yes... “Lan is teaching me bad things.” Katharine answered. “Nothing.” “Lan will teach you only good things. “Kina.” “Oh. his flat and robust dark face lined with humor. faintly defensive voice. “Oh. “Yes.” Good.. “He ataahua te kotiro ra. a different texture. which held for Katharine a lovely earthy warmth. I’m sorry.” Lan said.” Lan said..can keep myself from starving. “Can she cook?” Gus asked. “I’m not. she was trying hard to remember everyone’s name.I’ve helped smuggle food to a starving African village under siege.” Katharine smiled. “Kumara. “He said ya are attractive. Ya see that excuses a lot. sea urchin.” and everyone.” Now don’t get yourself in high dudgeon.

fishing in various rivers and lakes.206 Katharine lifted her glass of the white wine taken from their own Wai Reka Winery and said. “Some of the best I’ve ever tasted. laughing and waving her hand.” Lan asserted.” she said.. “I do love these plump green-lipped mussels..messy.. there was a loud crash.” the young mother called out. “Nothing too serious. and filled with photographs. Then her eyes fell upon an earlier She stared at his cocky grin. fireroasted pork. then got up and stepped slowly around the room. Mea heard one of the babies screaming and went to see what happened. and colorful salads.” Everyone drank while Katharine took a sip and stared out over the many full serving dishes. tutua shellfish. explained. They were both rocking slowly in old. Later when dessert was finished and the table cleared.” Mea said. 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.or bottles.. She was enjoying the pictures. holding up a shell and admiring its dark. . opalescent. photograph of Lan. “Here’s to all of you and thank you for this delicious food.. Lan was taking other things She tasted and he and putting them on her plate again. fascinated. emeraldedged beauty. which included some things she recognized: green-lipped mussels. that this pastime was soothing and good for digestion.. eating and celebrating. very Mea had explained to her large and satin-grained wood rockers. Katharine found herself with Mea in a sort of study. “The men are counting barrels.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “They are the best. a small dark blue room with a shiny black hardwood floor. so many of the growing family at work and play.choice.

The children were quite apparently foremost in all of their minds. “No. said. her manner evinced a secure sense of self. Mary had such a different childhood from her own. should they? They might have been far more satisfied if he were with Rani. tamariki. and growing children running in and out. 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. staring at Mea bent over the floor. What had Mary’s mother been like? She didn’t She would seek an opportunity to ask her. her face turned toward him. and toys. mopping something up. with the other young women and babies surrounding them. intelligent eyes. Katharine.” Mea Perhaps they didn’t want her with Lan at all. but she found it very difficult to obey. Mea moved closer to Katharine and said. This time they settled in the lounge... Adored and coddled by her father. “Ah. A pain That was spiked through her heart and her knees almost buckled. She left the room and went into the kitchen. the voice inside her head She wondered . They were all trying to carry on rather truncated conversations. Stop this.. kittens.207 His arm was around an exquisite young woman with long black hair and large moist eyes. know. “May I help?” she asked. Before they left to come here. or some other Maori woman. Once again and very swiftly the old insecurity assailed her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a couple satisfied to be just themselves together. Sticky orange juice. punctuated by the antics of the children together with their puppies.not this foreign Pakeha journalist. Finished. Mary had spoken of the family with admiration and warmth. precisely what a man looked like who was content with the love of his life. how Mary had felt when she met Rang’s family. her mouth smiling with unmistakable possession.

Ya would like that?” “I would.of--” “Yeah. 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.. bitter half-digested food. she thought. love the sound of your language...” she said.. 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. She was on her knees over the toilet bowl and could hear the women giggling down the hall. sounded false.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Are ya going to learn to speak like Mary? “What?” Katharine asked. Then it happened. I I wish I could chatter away in There’s an expansive thing about learning a language that makes you a part of. like patronizing flattery. ask. She saw two of Gus’s daughters staring at her from across the room.” Katharine said. They bent their heads together to whisper something while a little boy tugged at one of their skirts. it.208 much life. “Please. disgusted. pregnant. fumbling and miserable. Mea pointed and she hurried off in that direction.full of wild spirit.a part of us. 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. Oh God. the forewarning of a migraine. standing up with her hand against her mouth. is this? “I like this big friendly house.. and that. these children.. no. stumbling into the massive old white tile bathroom.I would. and in the next few minutes she had seriously begun to think of vomiting.. the bathroom?” she said. too.. for a moment taken aback. She could feel the back of her head begin that constricting sensation. . “Oh. throbbing.

Oh God....plane like this? “No.” she muttered. Absolutely not. sliding down as he caught her and lifted her into his arms. He tapped on the door and came inside. some of them Lan’s. to sleep.. the pain in it was so consuming.” “Sorry.sorry.” “Can you.put me in the. He held it to her lips and she tried to drink as agreeably as possible.” “Try at least.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “No.209 “What?” she heard a voice say and then Maori words. She was through with vomiting but could hardly stand to raise her head.just want ya to get over this. I’m so bloody sorry ya hurt.. She regained consciousness lying on a Lan had his massaging fingers in her hair..haven’t any pills.. Lifting her She wetting a washcloth. she felt a sudden flash of white heat and tried to take a step.” “Don’t think I can.. up against him. he started to lead her out of the room. bed in a dark room. “Mea is making ya something to drink... “Are you mad at me?” “Jesus... He leaned over the sink. When the door had closed she said. pricks of ice. Ya have to sleep. swallowing about a third of the cup.” Mea came into the room with a warm cup of strong herbs and handed it to Lan.” He lay down beside her and held her in his arms.” “Hold me. colorful squiggles of pain writhed on. The top of her head was like ice. Katharine. then knelt and wiped her face. She awoke with a start. his fingers rubbing at the base of her skull. “Oh.” “Doesn’t matter.sleep on the plane.I could...” I could--” “Maybe. small pin Shivering. remembered where she was and Beneath her lids the Slowly she drifted off . couldn’t speak.

those herbs were good. she leaned against the trunk of a Red Beech tree. “They think I’m pregnant. pretending to sleep.. that photograph. more life than her breathing could ever bestow.usually it takes a long time.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Its perfection had all the You will never have this..” *** Flying back in the early morning she was very quiet. the picture seemed to call out to her. so perfect she could actually grieve for Lan instead of herself. “I’m glad you’re feeling better. reaching for the bedside lamp.” “Yes. got into There was no way she could discount . She fled past him.” “Will ya come back in?” “Yes.. resting on a hardwood cabinet one photograph which seemed to resonate with life. would like to have thrown herself on the ground but heard the soft rustle of footsteps in the grass.. Stealing down the hall she tried a door knob. She closed her eyes. There was no one else in She heard bursts of laughter. but saw only the perfect black and white photograph. Lan’s shadow stretched toward her in the lights from the house. because you are a divided self.. I want to apologize and thank everyone. power to censure and accuse. then another and she was back in the dark blue room of photographs. and hoped that Lan would assume she was still recovering. better. inhaling a strange sweet dampness which smelled completely unfamiliar to her. Finally they screeched down on the frozen runway. and sat up in the darkness.” the room. She turned around and saw Lan standing before her in the open door. Stumbling over the She grass.just needed some air. You will never be able to give enough of yourself to have this.210 whispered. There was one small lamp lit. thank you. through the kitchen and out the back door into the dark night..

and dropped down with her head in Mary’s lap. to No sooner had they come a stop then she had wrenched open the door and raced inside. no.. Katharine. running wild.” regretful sigh.. She found Mary in her bedroom having tea before a crackling fire. “I did have a bit of worry with that first visit. Mary sat patiently stroking her hair.” “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..could do this.... “In the beginning it wasn’t so bad. liked them all and. Then I got a wretched migraine. “It was easier when I did it. “Here.” Mary said.. took a single long swallow of the strong black tea and thought a moment. letting the anxious words flow against Mary’s dressing gown..... girl.not until never knew what it was.. almost falling on the steps while Lan shouted. Mary.and that was the end of it. She uttered a I Poor Kate... I think they wanted me to know.” “They understood.. ya “I was eating the food.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . want so to be liked.. I’m not the person so beautiful. really hoped they’d like me. I thought I could...something happened. like a frantic child with a bleeding wound in search of its mother. Kate!” She went through the great house room by room.” Katharine lifted her head.. take a sip of my tea.and. When I saw the photograph of the two of them.was thoroughly sick..loved. “Careful. but then. complete. who--” “Ya don’t love him then?” “Oh God.211 the Rover and crunched over the snow. I knew I’d lied. but I was Rang’s only wife and quite headstrong with the daring of my deed. yes.disaster. laughing with them.but I can’t... I can’t. Your imagination is Ya have such strong feeling that--” “Oh. Mary. ..

Lan. and how can I blame Mary’s door burst open.” “Oh. accident your girl was in. dragging Katharine from Mary’s lap and lifting her into his arms..” “I saw what really--” “I know what ya saw! Ya saw the past and set it blazing This is the present. Mea told me: ‘She has plenty of common sense.except that part of this is my own fault. yourself than this?” “Just more proof that I’m no good at a private life.and. They were bloody sorry ya were He tino nui They thought I was damned lucky. yeah. don’t want me anyway.” “Careful now. Lachlan.” he said as he walked out with Katharine in his arms. to God ya were. mother. “If I didn’t love ya so I could almost choke ya to death. tona atamai.. crook as a dog.nearly as much as I do. ya do? Ya understand that? They thought ya were smart and beautiful and polite. And I wish . talk to ya later. his face displaying an obvious and fuming agitation. He set her down on the bed.. “Now it’s my turn. “All right you’ve had your tea and sympathy. “Oh.” She lowered her head and sat in confusion. Lan stood there staring at both of them.’ They thought your green eyes were fascinating. Ya know she isn’t completely well That was a terrible I do think her head’s still confused. I understand why they don’t want you to have me.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. them after--” They Have ya no more faith in They don’t like me. they thought ya were pregnant.212 I know ya aren’t a coward.” with your bloody great imagination. rubbing her temples with extended fingers.. yet.” he said. heading straight for his bedroom. ran his fingers slowly over her throat and said.” “Thank ya. and you’ve got to consider that too.. girl. Her thoughts were in a jumble.

Ya I realized it flying back. I just didn’t--” I’ll be “My Green Eyes. and I should have seen it. better. a Margaret told me you Kiwis like to dependency of New Zealand. holding her face in his hands.” IV “You could go round and round on this little green jewel in the sea until you were dizzy.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . aren’t well. Ya need to heal. of their minds. Very relaxing. their force broken by .213 Never had she felt so bewildered. round and round the other way. shifting in his beach chair and reaching for his Steinie. all been too much for ya. Ya need to lie in the sun and do This has nothing. “I’m taking ya away to Rarotonga. Katharine dug her toes into the warm beige sand and stared at the startling shades of aquamarine water. “Oh. Lan. damned good at living with misery none of us have fully understood what you’ve been through.” “Are ya worrying about something again?” Lan asked. She looked up at him.” “Right. I have a place there. making flight reservations from Auckland.” Lan said in a softer voice. 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.” he said. “Please pack a few light clothes. please don’t send me away right now.” “Rarotonga? That’s way north in the Cook Islands. Mary knows it too. Small waves lapped Round and round one way and then The poor bus drivers must go out gently up over the smooth shore incline. her eyes wide with disbelief. and that’s what I’ve been doing while ya were talking. if ya have any. hear nothing but wind and water and birds. vacation there.

and with no time to buy anything. Out on the reef’s edge waves boiled up in a line of high white foam. what if I tired. She swam out to the reef. hadn’t found one?” “I’d have enjoyed that.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. went straight to the cottage and slept. The next afternoon Katharine had gone into town with Lan and done some quick shopping. Ya can’t get rid of them. yellow. “The scar on my leg isn’t so bad.” She observed that Lan got up rather quickly and followed her into the water. “This morning there were thousands of ants on the kitchen counter. blue.a few miles down the road and there is very nearly the only store with a suitable suit. laughing and swilling his beer.” They had departed from the airport without even going into Auckland first. They arrived late at night.” “They’ve always been here. straightening her new navy bathing suit. so tiny I could hardly see them. Katharine stood up. but so many they could carry the place away. No problem making up your mind about fashion. 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. and silver and black striped ones darting all around them.214 the distant reef. and felt a little Watching Hmm. realizing that her lungs needed more exercise. almost transparent. . splashing into the sky and crashing down with a constant roar. Don’t even try. Lan’s dark body in the clear water..” “No. she felt happy and playful. it’ll mellow out. swimming toward her with powerful strokes. “Avarua is the kind of town I like. whitey. She rolled over and lay on her back. There were small colored fish.” “I’m going for a swim. look flash.” Lan said.

pulling her suit away from her breasts to wash away the sand. She walked away. giving her a slippery wet kiss. “Want something to drink?” Lan asked. Lan flung his head back in a spiral of spraying droplets and stripped water from his arms.” Under the outside shower nozzle her oiled skin beaded as she rid herself of salt water.” He glanced toward the He dark orange stucco bungalow nestled in the rippling palms above the sand. my hot little sex object. Whether observed or not he was never self-conscious. Need some more lotion or you’ll burn like toast. your eyes are like the water. dried themselves and went inside. That’ll be fun. Lan surged up from beneath the water and held her by the waist. His fingers slid over her as the hot sun beat down on them. “A white sea nymph. When she had rested awhile in weightless drifting.” “Good. “God.” “I’m covered with lotion. motionless.” She lay on her mat while he slathered lotion onto her body. “Let’s go inside.215 staring at huge white cumulus clouds fastened to the horizon. remained kneeling. Turning over she stretched out her arms to him. trying to get out of her clinging wet suit . They grabbed the huge striped beach towels flung over a chair. Aren’t you embarrassed to be seen with this pale creature?” “Seen by whom? There’s no one around. doing whatever needed to be done in the most natural and direct way. She loved to study him closely when he wasn’t noticing.” In the shallows she stood up and shook out her hair. she rolled over and started back. looking at her. “You keep referring to my floury skin.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I love your skin. Ya smell like a coconut cocktail. swinging open the door of the refrigerator in the dark-green-tiled kitchen.

Lost in this disturbing recurrence she was surprised by Lan reaching over her head and sliding the paper out of her hands. Lan. right now I feel so happy “Lock me in your castle? . of--” “When you’re there ya want me and when you’re with me ya want to be there.216 and calling out. Ah. lay in her beach chair. browsing through a newspaper where she came across reportage of another severe flare-up in the Middle East. “Where in bloody-hell did ya get that?” “Even in Rarotonga they receive bad news it seems. guava juice.” His body was hot to her touch.” He came into the shadowy bedroom with the juice and set it on a low.” “Cool damp skin. I’m spoiled by all of this I’ll keep ya in the present moment. She reached for the juice and drank with his fingers sliding over her pulsing throat. please.” “I was thinking of a family in Khan Yunis. You’re on holiday. “Yes. he grasped the suit and pulled it down away from her cool body. calm now after a week of rest and lovemaking. ya oily sweet wahina. glass-topped bamboo table. “This is really good for us. isn’t it?” “You’re the only one who has ever made me want to stay forever in the present moment. that dark moist flesh her entire boundary as they tangled together atop the flowered coverlet on the bed. Lie down. Kate.” “If ya could see your face you’d know why I don’t want ya reading that gloomy gore. Grinning at her ongoing struggle.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . What can I do with ya?” Lan. *** Katharine. kissing firmed nipples and stroking his hands over her as she shivered in the sultry heat. attention. solid and faintly salty against her mouth.

. at his very serious expression. The more the world knows about There has to Ya won’t get very much in that situation the less it will tolerate. brain. Life gives ya those.” “I can’t think that way.” He knelt in the sand and put his hand on her thigh.. Lan?” “Forever? Suffer badly. looking into her eyes. would ruin us both.” She got up from the chair and went to lean against the trunk of a shady palm. I don’t want to be anywhere else. the fear of loss. but I’m trying to make ya tell me what ya want..would just let me go?” “That would never be my decision. She dropped her gaze. “You want to give me ultimatums. and felt fear spring up.” She looked at Lan. It’s only that I feel a little guilty. Eyes? Do I let ya keep running then. And what would ya do yourself?” .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Do ya know it isn’t all a crusade with ya? has been trying to run away from me since the beginning.” “What would you do if I went away. Kate.because ya think if ya keep moving life won’t disintegrate.. It’s moving even faster than your quick A part of ya on her white flesh and shivering with the truth of his words. Kate. You--” It I’ll force ya into nothing.” “Guilty enough to die of it? exchange. my Green Is that what ya want?” “You would. “No.217 with you. Her heart was beating so rapidly it felt as if it were in her throat. be a concerted effort to--” “Katharine. “Look at me... do ya want any life of your own?” “Yes. staring at his brown hand It will.I hope.

.a sort of business partner..... Kate?” She responded with sudden disbelief. she knew how she looked. Is that why you’re marrying me?” She offered a playful smile to keep the question from any other implication.wife?” He cocked his head and laughed. much required body and laid her mouth against his flesh. made her slide down and kneel in the sand.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “I didn’t think the world had a Lachlan Manutane.” “And will ya be reasonably happy in that condition?” She clasped her arms around his solid. “Will ya marry me. no longer able to stand without support.. putting disconnected parts of her together... “Be your. “one who could do this to me. pleasure each other in the doing..when ya go to sleep and when ya wake up. feeling her knees dug into warm sand and his dark eyes on her.218 She leaned against the trunk. .” she said in a slow dreamy voice against his shoulder.or.or for me.. “Mary seems to think you need a. staring out at the ultramarine blue of deep sea. if I wake up?” “Ya will wake up and there I’ll be.. knelt down too and lifted her chin. hearing the palm fronds rustle overhead. She would remember this day and hour.. Yeah? Marry me?” “Yes. The thought of no Lan in her life made her He body go limp. knew he could see a force so powerful it could never be hidden or laid aside.but what “That’s what it means. Her swimming eyes were filled with the love of him. more recently having contemplated those words and yet amazed at the sound of his voice saying them. We’ll do this bloody life together and Yeah?” I haven’t much choice.

. the wavelets lapping at their oblivious embrace. deeper emotion when she saw his altered face. azure lagoons. They walked down the street hand in hand.. pulling him down into the water with her then managing to wriggle out of his careful grasp and swim away.. He came after her and dragged her under. at the wind in their faces. my love. batik prints.219 “Ah. his mouth sliding over hers until she uttered some small sound coinciding with his complete preoccupation. finally settling at a bistro table on a .” he said.” to her feet. no. you’ve sussed the lay of things. shacks.. They sloshed to the water’s edge. white beaches... palms. and green slopes of the ever-present central volcanic mountains flew by as they turned to each other and laughed at nothing. “Lan? Are you going to. Lan pulled her You’re making me crazy all awash here. still in each other’s arms. and slipped down on the wet sand.wait! I’m all nice and dry now “Just needed a top level employee.” She grabbed the back of his neck. waiting for the circling bus to carry them into the town. and I’d rather have ya without getting ya drowned. Very soon cottages. Her laughter drifted into a surfacing with her in his arms.oh. at the bus driver making humorous comments to break the monotony of his endless revolutions. falling in with her levity.but think and. Katharine in a yellow sun dress and Lan in shorts and a black tropical shirt.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . hedges of crimson bougainvillea. He lifted her up and held her tight against him. of the benefits. “Let’s get ourselves back to the cottage. a face full of proprietary rapture. developments. “Come on.” He picked her up and started toward the water.” In the morning they stood at the roadside in their sandals. peering into touristy little shops with shells. and Gauguinstyle watercolors.

He laughed heartily at that. and khaki shorts and shirt with bare feet in expensive looking deck shoes.” Katharine said and was pondering a further comment when the man relieved her of any speculation by going on.just a small party. sandy hair. I’m talking your head off. . even amusing. You like this place?” I’m Frank It’s just the right size and shape.” I’ve She was straining to hear more when a man carrying a pint of beer blocked her view.220 grayed wood deck. no rings on his fingers. she saw a woman across the deck exclaim and grab his arm. a leather-strapped watch of the style she liked. wondering if he was simply being friendly or actually engaged in that old routine of getting to know you. They know their stuff.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Mind if I join you? seen you in town. but you have to come.” “No. Lan. He was rather nice looking. and for the moment completely diverted her attention. “Yes. having made a decision to be courteous. blue eyes. I do. guides around here. A slender brunette with tanned skin.” Katharine said. took a swallow of his beer and leaned forward.” Katharine drew herself up and angled her head. laughing and Lan bent to her and said Katharine could just tilting her head back with surprise.. something and the woman laughed again. make out her words. The interloper sat down at her table. “Oh. Out beyond the reef you Good can find some pretty hefty prey for even a heavy line.. “I’ve been sportfishing big time. Haven’t I’d remember that. missed you. When Lan got up to find Katharine a napkin for her spilled foaming beer. Not many tables available. “Hey. aren’t I? McGregor from Chicago. rugged tan. They dipped their heads beneath broad sun- infused banana leaves and sipped overfull glasses of cool beer.

I really thought this sort of thing I think you’d better stick I’m through with my beer.” Katharine and Lan left Frank McGregor sulking over his . only happened on television soaps.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” This is Frank “How long ago was that?” Katharine noticed that Frank’s face registered considerable disappointment. Lan. McGregor. “About five minutes. nor. mate. what the hell. Huh. “Ah. “Might as well unclench the fist and settle down. but Lan had sauntered up to the table. she realized.” Frank said. He’s been sportfishing. “She isn’t wearing a ring.” Katharine tapped her fingers on the table.” “Then you’re out of the running. Lan stepped between her and Frank McGregor with a cool smile and said. “Yeah?” Lan said. fella.” Frank said. raising one eyebrow and remaining on his feet. mate. “but I sure will miss those green eyes. to swordfish.” “Oh for heaven’s sake. Lan. sit down.221 “Mind telling me your name?” “I--” Katharine said. was that his first beer. sport?” not when I’ve got a real trophy on the line.” Frank stood up and moved near her. I don’t give up that easily.” The narrowed eyes leveled at Lan for a moment. “Ya haven’t got anything on the line. Come on. mate. “This is very amusing. Frank. grinning. and ya won’t be catching any fish tomorrow. but he was apparently not a quitter. because when I scrap it’s for results not appearance. I was here first. “Sorry. but well built and apparently more familiar with this sort of braggadocio contest than Katharine had thought. McGregor get on with his sportfishing. He was perhaps an inch shorter than Lan. We’ll let Mr. “Yeah?” Lan said.

” “I knew her once. from her point of view.” “Hmm. if you’re in the human race you’re always moving in those circles. and walked down the street in silence. “Who was that woman?” Lan thought a moment. he probably would have. I really couldn’t something?” I’ve had enough practice with wankers like “Bloody right.well. he was. protection... “Very obviously an old flame..Patsy. and said. is still burning. “Oh. took her arm and gently backed her against a plate glass window while his still enlarged feral black pupils held her firmly.” .” “Yeah. reasons. “Ya didn’t have to encourage the bloody wanker. “Sweet Green Eyes.” Lan turned to Katharine. I’ll try and remember that..” “Yeah.” “Oh.. grinning. Were you really going to.222 beer.I guess. some of them husband slapped me around but I doubt that he would have fought anyone else for me.” “Okay.” “I didn’t mean to..... I guess I just don’t move in those circles. I think so... We do that for various With me. that.” “Yes.” “I’m sorry. his mind clearly in the process of switching that. They stopped at the corner and Lan said. My..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but I’m bloody-hell not letting any pissed bastard put his hands on ya. thank you. Patricia Leonard. I hope it’s simple I’m not crazy about scrapping over ya like a possession.I just thought he was being friendly.” “What does that mean?” he asked.

guiding a pair of authentically equipped miniature sailboats over the gentle waves of the small . “If you’re trying to make me feel good it’s working. are ya jealous?” He was laughing. Let’s go over to Trader Jacks. “Here.” “No. Green Eyes. “Come on. scrap over ya. please. merely walked along staring at hibiscus blossoms across the street. about this ya don’t have to’s something very nice..223 “I’m sure.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” While they were drinking their beer and waiting for their food they observed two men standing below on the beach. Nice breeze on the water and I’m ready for a bit of tucker. She didn’t answer. making watchful adjustments of her wayward steps. the men holding remote controls.. clasping the pendant and smiling appreciatively at Lan. sit up on the deck and have lunch. Then I won’t have to You’ll be doing me a favor. I don’t think--” “No. my choice little possession.” Upon leaving the store Katharine nearly stumbled as she studied her new ring from various angles. She would have to show up in my town.” They were soon standing at the counter of a rather upscale jewelry store. try this on your ring finger.” “And now ya have a black pearl pendant.. “Lan.” “Kate. I’m going to buy ya something. and Lan was fastening a chain holding a large iridescent black pearl set in white gold around her neck. Katharine stood with quickening heart while Lan took the ring from the smiling male clerk and lifted her hand. “Wait a minute.” “Yeah. He laughed at her engrossed antics.” Right? Let me see that pearl ring with the Lan tapped the glass counter.and for which this place is famous. Lan..” “You’ve already given me a lovely jade pendant. diamonds.

you want emeralds those green eyes.and fishes. “Go haul on a ton of northbound marlin and leave us to our pleasures.” “I’m ready for you. and Lan was laughing right along with her.224 harbor.” “Rack off.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Lan suggested. Very soon she had tears in Not far her eyes. Kiwi. mate. standing up and throwing his money over the check. Frank McGregor drifted in with a telling swagger. from Trader Jacks she had to sit down on the weather-beaten steps of a large old gray building.” Not nearly enough to fully appreciate Frank . Isn’t that just dandy? He’s got you a Smart move. Do they have any with fishes?” How many beers did ya have? I wasn’t When her laughter subsided “Are ya drunk? counting. nice pearl showpiece on your pretty little hand. which looked like a barn but turned out to be a T-shirt store. Just as they were finishing their pesto fish sandwiches and beer. “Oh. After a while the men brought their sturdy little boats to rest on the gravelly shore and stood animatedly talking and smoking. walking right up to their table. As they walked through the graveled lot. “Well. Except I’d have bought her a great big emerald to match You want the real thing.” “Look me up when you’re not off yer face.” Lan admonished. Katharine began to laugh. “Happy as two little boys. you come with me. fella. she began to look around. They heard the bilious Frank McGregor hurling steadily more indistinguishable words after them as they left..” “Not enough. I like cheap T-shirts with local names on them. McGregor.. heading toward the bus stop.” Katharine remarked. kia orana. you beautiful little babe.

Eyes.putting my foot in it.oh. I probably shouldn’t be drinking this I’m more nervous than usual.. It’s the sudden changes in your life doing this..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. otherwise. Lan likes me “It doesn’t matter. “Why I think ya do have a bit of a tan. drawing clenched fingers over her forehead with mock seriousness. Kate..a day I’ll never ever forget.. he wouldn’t want ya looking And there I go again.. Mary.” “Somewhat.. I must be in a manic phase. But. tea. that. Lan.” Nothing could bring me down “Apparently.” *** Mary was leaning over Green Braes’ kitchen table while cradling her brick-red and white porcelain tea cup in both hands and studying Katharine. I suppose.” “He likes ya in your natural state is the proper way of putting it.” But I “I should think the serious ones barely have any idea of it. things going round and round in my head with no form of expression but fragmented distortion. This is one of those memorable days. think I’ve actually been moaning or muttering. I’ll buy ya a stack of T-shirts.. As for myself. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.. but Lan won’t tell me what I’ve done if I happen to wake him.” “Oh dear. I’m dreaming those detestable dreams again.” “Why not be trying for a nice little evenness? suppose writers have a difficulty with that.precious to me. a silly and shallow one at It’s been a sort of roller coaster.225 “Let’s go inside. today. If ya were Maori.” “Oh. white.” “Ya do look at sixes and sevens.. Green Ya can cart them back to Enzed as a strange reminder of how not to get engaged.” I . darn it.or whimpering. Mary.” Katharine said.

wave of her hand. Come back and share this with us. You should She was painfully convinced that her selfish happiness had precipitated a reverse outpouring in her dreams. stroking up through her hair when she knew she had been crying out in her sleep. too. certain she was vexing Mary with the ups and downs of her fluctuating nature. but ya need to engage your mind. Blood-spattered hands reaching out to her. war. beneath which were slight dark circles. Having felt the need to bring up her dreams Katharine was experiencing a sharp twinge of guilt. Your work isn’t finished. Lan had been gone a week.” With visits to the winery. I’m off to my computer then. Katharine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and with Lan gone it’ll help to fill your nights. But please let me know if you need any help you think me capable of giving. I think ya Can’t I help do something around should work on your novel. and the stud farm. to write and think and go about a daily routine without interruption or the emotional interplay of a .226 Mary rubbed at her gray-blue eyes. He still considered Katharine Now off with ya. calling her back to scenes she had not meant to escape in such a drastic manner. here?” “Everything that needs doing is being done. “Put me to work. not have left us. Mary. Explosions. tea.” 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. Middle Eastern horrors had translated into electric impulses shooting through her brain.” “I think ya capable of doing most anything. Katharine was experiencing once again what it was like to sleep alone. the restaurant.” “All right. She thought of the recent times she had felt Lan’s hand on the back of her neck.

Please forget that I said Mea told me they’ve everyone else with no difficulty at all. Do ya mind... Lan?” “Tamaki-makau-rau -. I’ll be home tomorrow I’ve All the legalities have been taken care of. but she knew that her trust in Lan and her respect for his sound judgment must also be manifested by patience. Kate?” “I.feeling like I’ll be on display. She was restless.wanting to be only with you and Mary. Green Eyes?” “Do exactly what you intended.” “Ya do. “No. evening.. It was incumbent upon her to agree with him in considering her still in recovery. I’ll smile at you and It’s your own’s just a selfish thing. “Where are you.227 paired Child Karlene Kubat . anything at all. arranged for a family ceremony at the meeting house near Nelson. Within this temporary solitary existence there was a gaping exclusion: the habitual demands of a profession which had now become dormant..” “They do love a bit of celebrating. In the evening after tea Mary called her into the study. It was her nightly call from Lan...Auckland. handed her the phone with a nod and a smile and left the room.” “Ya have a right. When her eyes grew tired she paced.” . without that engagement she felt adrift and aimless.. an unpleasantness that made her set to work especially hard on her novel. What shall I do.” She heard the regret in his voice.” “I’m deeply ashamed of myself.. been hoping a long time for this. The usual assignments which came under Alone and her purview were placed on hold or turned down.

” Mary took up a piece of needlepoint which lay on the lamp table and held it up to the light. but it isn’t necessary. Oh a few friends in Seattle.. running her fingers over folded arms held taut against the soft boiled wool robe Mary had given her..sorry.” “Home? I like it when ya say that. I believe.. and I don’t see them that often.” “It’s a shame ya have no family at all.” “Please come home. Lan..sorry. and to burden Mary so. Are ya resting up for tomorrow night?” “For you.. “Lan just told me that we’ll be going up to Nelson for our wedding ceremony. It seems everyone is looking forward to it. She simply couldn’t last How quickly it all. I know she would have adored him. disgust with herself.” Mary laid aside her book and studied Katharine a moment. girl. have ya no one you’d like to be there at Nelson to share your wedding?” “No.. . work to do.” “Don’t get me thinking on it too much. would have loved to see me marry Lan.” I’ve still got some Katharine went into the library where Mary was reading by a noisily snapping pine log fire. “Kate. Our span of life is so short. half finished pink roses on a sky-blue background.” Katharine averted her face. It’s a long way to come. isn’t it? this long. 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.” “My grandmother would have loved to come. Good night. ipo.228 “Ya are choice. She turned it back and forth then looked over her glasses at Katharine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “But not so much yourself.

Nestled inside soft sheep’s wool slippers her feet She knelt down and I’m sorry. After a while. my poor lamb. have a family now. she . Kate. “I do. she gave in to the coddling she so often craved..” Katharine felt a needy childishness overtake her. a desire for release. for all of your loving generosity. with your eagerness to be accepted.229 “Are ya crying. Slipping back in time as her hair was gently stroked. it’s a part of ya that needs attention. I do see why Lan loves You’ll always be a Both of us are Do ya not think?” ya so. A rather large one. quite fortunate to have each other and Lan..and. Kate? ya. put her head on Mary’s lap.. no matter how worldly and traveled ya are. When the plane touched down and rolled to a stop. Come here to me. many years. with the motor running and the heater on and the radio playing Frank Sinatra.. This is a time To me ya are sometimes like a lost child. “Ya wriggled your way into my heart from the first day I met ya. if ya want. I’ll be a part of that family to ya as long as I’m around. thank you for raising such an amazingly patient son. I do. most wonderful of all.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ya clever. I’ve really nothing to complain I did have my grandmother for It’s just my soppy head. about. Rex pulled up in a muddy-snow-spattered black pickup. caring girl. How shamelessly adept I am at turning into a deprived child.especially when I scold ya. and she waved as he parked near the small office. I didn’t mean to upset shuffled slowly across the dark blue lovely. Mary. and how easily I still cry from that damnable explosion.” *** So eager for Lan was Katharine that she drove the Rover to the airstrip and waited there for his arrival. concern to me. to be especially happy. Yes. Thank you for making me feel so welcome... Lan has told Ya me ya were a mistreated child and I’m heaps sorry for that.

They needed to talk about the weekly business and anything else that occurred to them. she wanted them to have that time. speaking a lot of Maori lately.or whatever.” “Well.” she cried.230 opened the Rover door and ran over the snow.” “The waka?” “Oh. cold.. ya cheeky wahina.. Despite her eagerness for Lan. he went into the library to talk with Mary. sorry. yeah? “Yes. They started back along the snowy road in the shadowy blue dusk. with a mischievous grin. Green Eyes.probably won’t even make you sick. “Tena koe. He reached over and gave her a deep kiss.” Did ya drive over here?” “Here. I need to talk to Rex for just a minute. brave one. I’ve missed ya. “Haere mai.” I’ll eat whatever it is. the smell of his leather jacket delicious to her as it creaked beneath her fingers. deciding . take my laptop and get back in the waka. Maybe I should go away more often. made with sheep’s cheese in rich cream sauce and praised by Lan who ate several helpings.” he said. long time in their discussion tonight. Lan was putting on his leather jacket when she came up behind him. “Are you hungry? “Ya have? I’ve fixed you something to eat. “God. who had already taken her meal. It’s too “I’ve been A waka is any form of transportation from an auto to a kayak. to continue on with the routine normal to them. it’s not going to kill you.. and Katharine decided to help Mattie in the kitchen.” she teased.. and he turned around and laughed with surprise as she jumped into his arms.” Very soon Lan was in the driver’s seat. What a choice welcome.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” When they had eaten Katharine’s zesty macaroni casserole. But they were a She was restless and unable to engage herself in either writing or idleness.

I promised Cash Taylor he could do the pictures of my wedding.” she said. finally bringing herself to say.” “Ah. won’t you?” “Yeah.231 to take a warm shower to calm the excitement of having Lan home.” “No. and ya don’t want the I’m sorry.. “You aren’t going to like this. I never talked about it. “too many friends and associates for anything else.. That must hurt.” Ya want that snarky lens-popper at our wedding?” “What? “He came to see me when I was in the hospital in Jerusalem. “I understand about the wedding. surprising her with his desire to talk instead of make love. anyone at all ya want at Nelson I’ll send them airfare. He really is a good photographer.” “What?” “I.” he said.” She laid her head against his chest in the steamy spray. “Me.. If there’s others noticing no one there. Lan..” She suspected Mary’s intervention. “It isn’t necessary.all the rest on the other side and none of your own to celebrate with ya. and you’ll invite Margaret and Ian.” “He didn’t understand about us. turning around and leaning against him. Her head was back and water pouring over her hair when she felt Lan’s arms come around her..that’d turn it into a bloody piss-up.. I thought at the time it was only a joke..” He took a soapy rag and drew it slowly across her back. I suppose he And he’s very unobtrusive ...Careless Child Karlene Kubat .good to wash the travel off. “I want Penny to come. then his kiss at the nape of her neck made her tremble.and I wasn’t even there myself.” he said between kisses. too. mentioned that. but mostly only family. “Ya feel like it’s just you.. Kate.

her slender white form straddling his much darker skinned body. isn’t it?” “Is it?” “No. the joy of seeing. Falling slowly into his startling almond eyes. wahina. We’ll talk more later. Lan..and at my own wedding? probably won’t see anyone but yourself. Carefully. she was finally beginning to realize what her own eyes could do to him. laughing and holding her by the wrists. have me. don’t ya.232 when he’s working.” he said. Don’t make me .. too. warming stare. “Let’s get out of here. with a shy. She pulled the towel out of his hands and dove against him. pushing him back on the bed and kissing his steamy warm mouth. mainly for Mary and the others. Green Eyes. I’m crazy for ya. of course. she scrutinized all of what she had been missing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ending up sitting on the bed.. it’s for us. a lazy.” he said as he worked at her hair. “Come here. flirtatious delight. She continued to gaze at him in a thrilling silence until he pulled her down against him. Oh.” “Oh.” “The talking was your idea... watching him yank two large white towels off the linen shelf. languid. Ya know how to My God. Green Eyes? I want in ya. the power of simply looking without blinking. I It’s all I’ve waited all week for ya. with Lan lifting the edge of his large towel and flinging it over her dripping hair. You might not even notice--” Invite the bloody wanker. “Wet as the day I fished ya out of the Hauraki Gulf. “Jesus. Lan. “All right.. They toweled dry.” she said. ya strange beautiful thing.” “You won’t--” “Ya think I’m an uncouth sod.right now. Us. She sat very still above don’t make me scream.

wild voice. He threw his arm out.. headed for coffee at the Paneton Bakery. wanting him to sleep yet at the same moment longing for another unspoken message imparted from his dark gaze.I’m so bloody hungry for ya.. Not tonight. sweet woman. the hand just touching her shoulder as she thought of the blood coursing through the strong curled fingers.” she whispered. “That’s what I first saw ya doing. give and take with the only one who had ever suspended her in the timeless heat of such effusion. 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.233 scream.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine lay watching Lan sleep. Ya want me?” Her arms rose over her head with a nervous exuberance.” I’d just come I was on the wharf.” his sleepy voice informed her..visiting a friend in Devonport.” “Where did you really see me doing that?” she asked with disbelief.. slowly and with a secretive shiver of pleasure.. now seriously trying not to awaken him. *** Pink light reflecting off the snow came through the high windows. “In the shopping center on Quay Street East. “Come on. . It’s These walls have heard Mary’s own been an entire week.. When he turned over his eyelids moved and she wondered if he would awaken. “What?” she asked after a start of surprise. not even the sound of her own wild cries. “The thing ya do.. until he clasped them tight above her.Mary will--” “Bloody-hell with that.exploring something with your hands. How she needed to give and take in this way. “I want you. don’t tease me. over from.. She ran her palm lightly over his irresistible arm.

so “Come” “Ipo.I love. If she could have answered she would have said there was nothing else.. looked at ya and. right?” “Funny....nice.. my green Green Eyes... some time to kill. We might never have--” I might have found I just had “I don’t even want to think about it.fondling a red jersey from a sale bin outside a shop in the center..the center.” “What?” “I wasn’t even going in there.obviously I did.yeah?” Her opened mouth gave an affirmative gasp against his shoulder and went silent..God.just.” “But. Slow this time...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’m okay with it.. I’d have picked up your jacket. pulsing explosion of sweet pain..hold still. then all at once her body and brain were flooded with the astonishing. maybe I ought to thank that rude jerk. *** Katharine awoke the second time to find the sun whiter and followed me from there all the way over to the gift store?” “Yeah...nothing in the world which could approach that lofty pinnacle of must have. Let’s wake up slow. bloody fascinated... this... it’s so good the way we do this. the front of it.” “Lan....234 “What was I doing?” “A. ya later at the Loaded Hog....” “Oh. my ipo.those dreamy eyes went right through me.. She was melting... will it--” “No worries. Then ya looked up.. Ya held it up to yourself and ran your hand down I leaned against the wall. melting into the buttery warmth their hungrily conjoined bodies generated. I did.

. not to their cozy shelter but scattering into the snow.. She was still The excruciatingly joyful details of their consuming encounters were permanently catalogued in her mind. too. always going off without a thought of it. are no match for those clever hounds. in a daze over Lan’s most recent lovemaking. “I do think he needs to be out there sometimes.” Katharine said. “How did that happen?” “Oh.” “What about the huntaways?” “They were walking backs in the big pens. too. plain. even in the meanest weather. We knew he’d return to decent values because we He looks out for others. Retrieval shouldn’t be too difficult. it happens on occasion. as his father said it. 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.just like yourself. “He’s ridden off with the men to look for some missing sheep. happy to spark another’s most treasured memories . They were being moved to The herder stepped into an icy hole. lost his footing and off that little batch went. another pen.” Mary told her over tea and toast. Kate. getting into it.once quite a hautulu. Mary smiled and shook her head with clearly discernible recollections and a vicarious pleasure which made Katharine happy.235 higher on the snow.” “What a pair we make. but there are still his sooky times. running her finger around the edge of her cup and smiling dreamily. and Lan gone... good many mates. but to think of them in succession would have caused a desire debilitating enough to leave her prostrate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .has a raised him with so much love. sufficient one.. animals. a hell raiser. Lan grew up wild as the wildest föhn blowing over the The poor woolies Sheep are not very bright They’ve gone along..

236 with the prevailing mood of her own passion.” Lan warned his dogs. a bit embarrassed at her foolishness. Again she had to admit that the explosion in Jerusalem had increased her fears a thousand fold.and still Lan had not returned. “Don’t shake yourselves in here. *** It was snowing.Katharine couldn’t eat -. swirling the Scotch in the steaming mug handed him and then taking a long swallow. Here’s a measure of your Glenlivet with hot His hands and face were quite cold I’m going to feed you right now.” “Why not? It’s late. after doing anything to harm himself.” . In another quarter of an hour the unruly huntaways Sheb and Wooley bounded ahead of Lan into the lounge. then threw themselves before the fire and stretched out. “You’ve been gone all day without any food. The fire in the lounge was burning high. “I’m a bit knackered from the saddle and I could eat the shelves of a dairy clean.” “I just thought I’d eat with him.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . water.” Katharine said. Lan had shaken the snow from his oilskin hat and coat and hung them in the sun room.” Lan answered with a grin. that anxious state long ago. “Ya should have had your tea. to Katharine’s touch. “I haven’t eaten.” Katharine said. appearing to understand a frequently given command. They snorted and stared up at him with wet-matted coats. Kate. tea was finished for Mary -.” “Mary’s eaten. never think it. I learned to get over He’s not Lan knows the plain.” “What about yourself?” he asked. “Bog-standard hunting sheep.

” “Come here and kiss me properly first.” Katharine said.” “By whom?” “Me.” Katharine laughed and said.” “You’re very spoiled.” “I don’t want ya anxious. still with throbbing mouth.even with all the exercise ya get in bed. Mary’s reading in the I’m neither incompetent nor an invalid. laying her hands against the buttons of his navy Swannie and rising on her toes to straighten his tousled hair..” Lan followed her into the kitchen and asked. but I didn’t want to wake ya. many of them in .” “I thought I was sleeping.. I can do it. Why don’t you go take a It seems like I sleep too warm shower while I get the food on the table. bodies piled together and strewn over the bloody dust. cocked his head with a She stood a transcendent wink at her and left the kitchen. Lan lifted her up and backed her against a countertop. “Where’s Mattie?” “Mattie’s retired to her room.. 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. kissing her so thoroughly it seemed that she herself had been sipping his Scotch. moment. library.. Kate. late. I’d have told ya not to worry Ya don’t sleep very well.a little anxious.237 “I thought I’d wait. “We’re talking about my sleep while you’re standing here starving.” “That’s because ya don’t sleep well.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . *** It was a bleak desert she walked through.” “Ya weren’t worried about me were ya?” “Just. He set her down.

legs. “Look at us. “What’s this?” Lan said. holding her hand beneath the soothing coldness and staring at the tile floor. “I’m sorry. Lan caught her at the edge of the stairs and held her struggling body tight against him until she went limp.. look at us... that was so bad. all the while crying out with revulsion.” Katharine screamed and rose from the bed. and began to weep. her hands dangling.. then struggling up. raising her head in surprise. mother. among them she saw faces she knew. fumbling and falling. wrapping her in her robe. wearing her long flannel nightgown.” he said.. her head back God. raised up suddenly and cried. Bodies everywhere.” He picked Katharine up and carried her back to their bed. He led her into the bathroom and held her wrist beneath the cold water faucet. “Leave it there a minute.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . flying across the room and into a chest. having rushed straight from her bed and now looking upon the scene with a worried frown. and brushes to the floor. mute and ashamed. She tried to keep herself from Lan continued to hold her in Please go back to bed. combs.238 pieces: arms. “I don’t think so. There A body Oh.sorry. I couldn’t. leaning back against the counter and looking at her. lifting her wrist where a blue bruise was swelling. silence until finally she whispered.sorry. her arms half raised.” “What?” she asked. knocking jars. and grimacing severed heads. “What is it?” Mary stood outside the door of her room. out the door and across the balcony headed blindly toward the stairs.” “It isn’t your fault. care of this.. I’ll take trembling. “A nightmare. Maybe some of it’s my fault. “Ya hurting anywhere else?” . torsos.” She dropped her head to one shoulder.

need it back. the way ya dealt with.for. easy to look at.if ya need to. simple. not ever.” “What?” “You’re torn in two directions. I love ya.. “I’ll never leave you. You can’t possibly think any of this is “He ngakau e hahaetia ana e te whakaaro papa.the way ya got around the harm done to ya in the past. much as ya had written when I left.. I wanted to find out what was coming out of this head.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . easier than looking up. I love ya.” . That’s your Ya Without realizing it I took that identity away.. identity. kissing her temple and stroking her hair. your fault. “I read your novel.. She felt his eyes on her.. Come back to bed and let me tell ya something I should have already said. my ipo.” “What?” She was beginning to shake.. Stop it. Some of it. Your story “On the flight back I did a lot of thinking.” He dried her wrist carefully.a while longer.” he said. I loaded it into my laptop.... Very quickly he discerned her Ya really are a hard “Don’t be it at night when I had time.” A fear was rising in her as she lay back against the pillows and looked at him.. I’m not ever going to part from ya. when she lifted her head she saw that they were filled with pity. But. That’s how ya see yourself.239 small white octagonals. but it isn’t finished yet. your self-esteem... “Please don’t. “Ya write very well..” “Yeah. about a journalist is really all about Katharine Gordon. almost dizzy. Over those years of work it was your security. if ya want..” Tears were rolling down her face. it is.I’m going to let ya go for a while. Kate.neither the novel nor your quest to be who ya think ya must be. “Käti ake. Kate.. Lan. case..

..” I know ya love me.. ever thought sleeping peacefully with me. of the river and the plain and musky-sweet growing things. my choice little journalist..240 “Yeah.some of the peace ya need: that ya can go on doing what fulfills ya.that it’s not gone.anyway. when ya finally decide to chase down another story.. You. back because I love ya so. my beloved journalist?” “I think I love you more at this moment than I ever. But you’ll come back. until ya see--” “You fulfill me.. the She placed her male scent of him which she found so arousing. At least ya need to know that you’re still what ya worked so hard to become.” Katharine placed her head against his chest. It was Green Braes that must be in his skin..” “Well. scents that never seemed to leave him. arms tight around him.let ya go until ya suss how to love yourself. wood smoke. Now I have to let ya go for the same reason.unless ya want to kill me in the doing. . That’s what I need to have. You’ve tried so hard to please me I feel some guilt along with all the pleasure of it. 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.. ya will. that you’ll always come back.. “Do I understand ya well enough.” V. and these mingled with a fresh outdoor scent hinting of leather and hay and shearling. spicy herbal shower soap.. then we’re of the same mind. Now all ya have to do is prove it.” “I’m not going anywhere. immediately inhaling a faint admixture of scents: Scotch...” “Ah.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I want to stay here with you. “Don’t be nice. tau aroha. just remember this: ya can’t stay away too long or get yourself in harm’s way.

” was Mary’s final comment. of holing up again and again in barricaded homes in the middle of ongoing war. the comfort was in knowing that Lan was there for her. “I love him so and I can’t burden him with He deserves so much better. she could never be as whole and at peace as she needed to be for herself or for him. It was more difficult trying to make Mary understand. not until she understood this mystery of her nomadic striving. until she connected the disjointed parts of herself and felt complete while alone and standing still.” she tried to explain to Mary. She knew only that until she completed that unfinished portion of her work. how did it work with strife all around that was so much worse . and we have to resolve it in our own way.” she tried to explain to a disgruntled and grieving Mary who only waved her hand in disappointment. there which made her ponder her own condition. perhaps even disgust. and that conclusion did ring in Katharine’s head. In those lonely nights of writing more Khan Yunis stories. that he wished for no other but her. this.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . just as she would have no other but Lachlan Manutane. she could barely comprehend how she could go away. It pained her that she could not even promise to marry Lan.. Happiest in Lan’s company. This best we can.241 So it was that Katharine went away from Lan to finish the work she considered unfinished. “You’ve had years to figure it out. “We’ve gotten ourselves into this situation where we know we need to have each other. she came to ponder what held a family together. so intertwined with her self. Yet the answer was somehow tied Something she had seen up with the unfinished work in Israel. in leaving. because Mary was thinking mainly of Lan’s loss. 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..

understand that I haven’t given up Lan. “The answer isn’t out there. but that mattered little to her. Mary. Her stories continued to win recognition and praise. was some effect. of It isn’t easy to go. The killing went on. her tired self unable even to rise from her chair for a glass of water. The hatred and vengeance went on. she sat focused on nothing. their last conversation. and were willing to do so even in the face of death and destruction.. and from the endeavors of like-minded others.242 than anything outside the violent house of her own childhood? For all those formative years she had no real family.been the cause of anything that happened to them all? The thought seemed so ridiculous. Oh. and yet the lingering guilt required a solid explanation before it could be expelled. One evening in a state of exhaustion. Please Ya can’t She was thinking of Mary.” “You said that to me in a dream once.. give up Lan so easily and be my girl. Her stature in the business was never more unassailable. Kate. Perhaps difficult. until her redeeming grandmother. a moral recognition that would help bring to an end the carnage. no. it’s in yourself. I claim you I won’t give you up either. bona-fide acts implementing human rights. Perhaps her small contribution.. what she looked for from her work.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . back in her hotel room and just having managed to get there before the roads once again closed. Could she possibly have driven her parents apart. her careful depiction of individual lives and their miseries and strivings had made some others see this. her unseeing eyes cast out toward the Old City. Her ultimate conclusion was that it would never stop until both sides suddenly and firmly ended it with sincere mutual tolerance and respect. No mother and father who struggled together to make a home.. . Perhaps.

.please forgive me. so Gran said. They sat expressionless. it must Had she fallen asleep in her chair? be a dream but.. well apart from each other: her mother and father. it didn’t feel like one. its light coming through their delicate pink shapes. transfixed state... But for what? If only she could forgive herself. Why did you have to hurt me? And you made me believe there was something wrong with me.innocent. loveliest thing: picking lady slippers in the woods meadow. even more distilled. or I’d be dead too.what’s your excuse? what you had? I was a good girl. she thought. I wanted to have you and know you.. but I might have had far worse memories of you.” Forgiveness. half dreamy. father. looking at her in total silence. colliding with the tender yearning inside of her. offering nothing. I suppose. like a I have your green eyes.. Mother. I can remember only the and I’ve wanted you all these years.. straight and rigid as stone..hopeful. You. hold them up and laugh. other. exploding. You hurt me. child’s. You are my family. She was startled to find two figures sitting across the room.please..243 as my family.. Why did you I was good. rage coming from a volatile place so deep and wild it took a minute to speak. But you hurt me badly. mother. so little of you to keep. You were good to me in our short time I think you intended to come back and get together. Yes. We could have comforted each You hurt me. such beautiful little nodding flowers. I have I think you were beautiful.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . . me. You were bitter and I could cruel. My mother. no. do it? It was you. falling into a half wakeful. Her rage was seething. I hear your carefree laughter.loved me.. You would hold them up to the sun.sick.. “I guess it was a good thing you didn’t take me with you... “But you. Why didn’t you know I Couldn’t you see that? tried so hard to please you. There was nothing wrong with me.

untrammeled areas of the planet.experience... as though a fierce wind of change had swept her mind clean of all uncertainty and indecision. We’d like some solid pieces on the pros and cons of global trade. But at least you got to know Jacob while you She was resting comfortably in a were here. had the right to her own family... something I could never even define. *** “I’m sorry you’re leaving. where Lan was.. it so..but I’m really tired. She answered. “After that last piece.. Hurt me.. Home. thickly padded white floral chair as she watched Katharine pack. I wanted to show you how good I never believed.244 withstand the beatings but what you did to my mind.she had made it so.almost ruined me.” Judith said.turn over the stones and expose the mess beneath in that gripping. It was In New Zealand it would be late spring. Kate. “Yes.wangle for. the garbled cries of rage still echoing in her head. to fear that others would find out something terrible about me. the effects of free trade on ecologically sensitive. Kate. letting her editor ramble on while she considered the dream and its powerful effect.. You sure as hell know how to turn over the right stones. Katharine..” “What you need is a change of scene.. She had the right.” “Mmm.. He . and I’m sorry you missed my wedding.” her editor was saying.” she heard herself saying.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . page-turning style of yours. You hurt me.. You once implied that Jacob was a mama’s boy. You taught me to hate myself.and you’re just the person who can--” “I’m going home. She She had the right to love and She had made be loved.. Morris. You hurt me!” I could be but I never believed in myself.. I wanted to punish you. “you can probably get what everyone else has to wait for.. Katharine awoke with a start. Her phone was ringing.

Judith. It is getting too Frightened professional people. dedicated.” “I know.” “Oh. I’m afraid you’re right.. orthodoxy in the ascendant. Katharine. we’re even. too. Fanaticism reigns in religion The heartbeat of this With only extreme and secular Jews are in a minority.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .245 isn’t at all. 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 .maybe a little too serious. my friend.that is terrorist -. Where will you go?” “Perhaps Tel Aviv.. “Oy vey. refolded it.” Katharine said. beautiful old place is slowing -. although it has its pigu’a -. One can hardly find anything to joke about anymore.. What good is this place if we can no longer move through it. I always thought you were a terrific home. Judith.” “You mean like yourself?” “All right. I know. “You can’t imagine how happy I was to see you so well restored.” “There was less to know... You made all of those silly jokes. I wasn’t certain about your eyes.” “Oh. perhaps beautiful Jerusalem as we have known it will soon die.more of my black Jewish humor. with only Yeshiva students and the destitute.. studying her suitcase as she ran her fingers through strands of hair falling over her eyes.. dangerous to live in Jerusalem. miss you terribly. partake of it?” “Yes.. Life is getting difficult. will you really leave too?” “Jacob and I may have to go.” “You’ve become very dear to me. with only bombings and shootings. I’ll I don’t think I really knew you well enough in college to fully appreciate your droll self. come on.I really didn’t think you were going to marry him. educated people are departing.

Careless Child Karlene Kubat . We never did have anything resembling a honeymoon. needed to finish my work here.. Judith.more That’s sort of wonderful..” Katharine looked up. I really don’t understand how you could have left New Zealand. readily than I understood myself.” Katharine stopped her meticulous packing and stood still for a minute. for very long.... if you really think. “Would you come to my wedding? “Me? Please? Oh. New Zealand. I’ll certainly have a very enthusiastic talk with Jacob about it.” “We’ll see. Oh.” “Well. we’ll see.. get him to--” “What do you mean? You’re a psychologist. could you?” “I’ve just Ah..” “I’d like to meet this astonishing Kiwi. Maybe we could--” “Yes... Yes. isn’t it? I’ve never seen anything like it. Judith.” “What?” Judith demanded. focusing on Judith. Put your I wonder if I could special gift to good use and get him to come. boots in my Auckland house..would you?.” “Jacob too. “Hmm. yes. thought.clever strategy He even seemed to know that I’d come back He teased me. rising from the overstuffed bedroom chair and pulling impatiently at her beige sweater.after agreeing to marry someone you love that much.very clever. gazing off.’ he said in his irresistible accent.. What a delight to have you wouldn’t.. the first time I ran off. that mysterious place I’ll probably never see. It’s a long way and Jacob--” Please..hmm.246 left off... “I know I’m difficult. ‘Ya left your tramping too.” “Maybe he’ll be more agreeable when you tell him that a . Few would put up with me It was Lan who first suggested that maybe I He understood so well.

wait. “I think you’re likely to get your wish. anything. my friend. I want you there. yes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lan..” *** The plane arrived very early in the morning. where is--” The phone had gone dead.” An excited Judith threw her arm over Katharine’s shoulder. “I’ll tell ya everything when ya get here. When Katharine awoke she found that she had slept until late afternoon. We’re having a little gathering of friends tonight. to wear to an embassy party. early enough for Katharine to consider it still night. jet lag having thoroughly caught up with her.247 generous Lachlan Manutane will provide you both with airfare. a slim Asian looking frock with a high collar and short sleeves. so put yourself in a party mood. either to the Herne Bay house or to Margaret’s.. That was unusual for Margaret.” “God. and decided she would call Margaret at a reasonable hour and find out. She phoned Margaret at once. Katharine got up with a sigh and went to look in one of her suitcases. Meanwhile. she checked into a hotel out at the She wanted to be fully rested before she had airport and slept.” Margaret said with an excited welcoming voice.” “But Margaret. She had been so tired she had not even removed There was a rather exotic green evening dress she had bought in Jerusalem. you surprising little female mensch. Can he afford to do that?” “He offered to fly anyone to our wedding I wanted and I declined. Wanting to surprise She wasn’t sure whether he would be in Auckland or at Green Braes or somewhere else.yes. but now I’ve changed my mind. she hadn’t told him she was coming. See ya soon. Searching through the layers she pulled it out and held it up while her . “Come straight here. herself driven into town.

. last time she had paid very close attention to it? to need a trim. “Oh God. “Lan is here. Margaret clasped her tight and quickly dragged her off to the kitchen where she handed Katharine a flute of champagne.” with excitement..absolutely bursting This is so choice.. so of course we planned a celebration. word to him. with a more critical eye she focused on her hair. *** 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. believe your timing..a little thinner but really gorgeous. opening another I can’t restaurant. “Think I’ll go to the beauty salon.” Margaret soothed.have a couple of inches cut. I haven’t said a I feel heaps conspiratorial.” “Ya look beautiful.. “Are there a lot of people out there?” “Only about Twenty.” . “He’s been in town all week. The driver carried her luggage to the door and Ian whisked it inside while she paid her fare.” Margaret pressed her hands together against the tiny pearls covering the front of her white Angora sweater. Kate. I’m glad ya got some rest.” she whispered to the face looking back at her. Margaret. What a flash dress..Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... sleepy yawn.feels good to be fussed over..blow dry a nice soft roll just above the shoulders...and one of the nicest black pearl pendants I’ve seen. I just can’t believe it. I’m so hyped on all this drama you’ve created that now I’m a nervous wreck. 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. wrinkles.248 face contorted in a wide..

I guess I’ll just go in then. He continued to look at her. smiled at her. probably because she had just come upon the scene. “Hello..I didn’t mean to interrupt..” “Yeah. we are featuring our wines. brushed her hands slowly down the front of her dress and preceded Margaret into the big noisy lounge. He’s in the lounge with most everyone else.” “All right.249 “Well. folding her arms across her midriff. Here goes. Noticing the exchange.ya didn’t mean to interrupt?” Lan said with an explosion of laughter. His jet eyes blinked as his serious expression registered disbelief then softened in a surprised welcome. She immediately saw Lan’s dark head bent a little above the others in a cluster of attentively leaning bodies. walk right in.the new manager too. but of course we’re giving the clientele a chance to choose what they want from the usual varied list of high end stock. Making her way across the room she stood slightly behind and beside Lan. “Oh... business. perhaps the new restaurant manager. “Yeah. rather holding in a rising excitement while forcing herself to concentrate on his remarks.” 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. surely of Maori descent. as if to verify her actual . Lan offered a quick glance at the green dress to his right then started to say something more. There That’s just good was a slight hesitation then Lan turned his head again. looking directly at her. dark-suited man. “Please.” Katharine swallowed. ya didn’t?.” Katharine said.” Across from Lan a very focused...Careless Child Karlene Kubat .

She felt the Simply In harsh transition of mood but was herself imperturbable. then took her hand firmly in his. Lan. While a few whistled and clapped.” “I’m sorry.250 existence.” *** It was late morning and they were lying in bed in the Herne Bay house. “Excuse me. Kate. by the joy of being where she was and knowing what she knew her patience with his displeasure remained impervious. Lan got up. extended kiss. I thought I was delusional. a while he returned and stood looking at her.” She heard the word made soft against her ear. a flashing reflected glint of her green dress in his eyes.” he said to the little gathering. his grinning single focus evoked a gaping interest from everyone. after so long made her body begin to tremble. her mind and body reveling in their deep. 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. down at her. put on his robe and went into the bathroom.. I was wishing for ya and here ya are. you’ve made this “Can’t believe it..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. Her arms came tight around him. She smiled at this and at having him within the grasp of her hand.the My God.once so far away that even the thought of such distance was now unbearable.. no longer out of reach. Her hand smoothed out the turned edge of the gray and white striped top . the effect of it just beginning to answer a long neglected need. “Perfect. cradling her head. holding hands and staring at each other. most important missing part. night perfect. “Jesus. The touch of him Her eyes went He stared from their clasped hands to his rapidly altered face.

these? Birth Control pills.” learn to love your own existence? Katharine sat up and pulled her silk robe from the foot of the bed..what. yanking off his robe and coming to her side. such self-satisfaction. of--” I’ve thought and thought of this. “Are ya sure ya want this? bend just now?” It wasn’t my going round the . Lan..” “Why won’t ya. She plucked them from the covers and walked across the room.... He stood looking at her in speechless surprise.251 sheet while she offered Lan’s stormy countenance a curled mouth of contentment.or. leaning back against the pillows and folding her arms.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Jesus. “Please hand me those pills on the dresser. She removed her robe and got back into bed. and you have a perfect right to all that impatience. making certain that his eyes followed her as she threw them into the waste basket. Kate? I’m sorry but I can’t. sliding his fingers through his tousled hair in frustration. are ya listening? How much time does it take to I bloody-hell can’t do this.. clever.or what..I know what I’ve told ya but I don’t think I can stand to give ya up again. and directed her gaze to the misty waters beyond the tall windows. Lan. She saw that her misunderstood light-heartedness would only continue to infuriate him. Do you think I could get pregnant? of you. did I miss something? When did this happen?” You’re so very “It happened.” he said. in a self-contained serenity swiftly melting into considerable hunger.. You’ve stayed away too long.” He tossed them to her and rubbed his hand over his chin. “Is this a break in your schedule.. “That certainly makes two of us.just as you intended.. Kate. Later I’ll tell you about a dream I had.

Jesus.” “But how did you ever.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine wore black velvet slacks. and Lan had ordered drinks and told the manager not to fuss over them.” The smiling manager swung open the brass-edged glass door and stepped aside with a bow. just “My strange.... unpredictable wahina.. his voice thick with arousal.every detail of it. 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. dodging body.ya grew for a while without cultivation and it made ya into a wildflower.” “I remember the day. little belly? Ya want a sprog in your sweet I’ll give ya that and more. 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. hold still and let me love ya.” *** In the evening Lan took her to the new restaurant.give ya everything. When they were seated in a private booth at a white-clothed and candlelit table near a corner window.home. enjoying her as she assessed the room with a roving discerning gaze....but only if you want it.. Kate.. Then the laughter died. This is smaller and Lan I only .that I would--” “A small version of yourself. smiled.. “Your gran was’s what ya are to me. tau aroha. a handsomely appointed bistro-style establishment overlooking the water and not far from the Herne Bay house.252 “No. I know what I want.. “My other place is big and last... He grinned and said. Once you did tell me you thought it was a good idea. ever remember that? mentioned it briefly that day on Rangitoto.” he exclaimed.. he sat back and said. Green Eyes. clasping her shoulders and playfully grappling with her laughing.

However ya want it.oh.. that rich mahoganygrained paneling..” “I know what ya meant.” “Is the wine good?” She held her goblet of wine up to the candlelight to enjoy its ruby glow..the etched glass is a nice touch... that’s why I’m asking ya. She had “Very good... If we’re making anklebiters we’re definitely going to do that.” “Well.” She looked at him and was suddenly shy. Are we going to do that? Go up to Nelson and.. I prefer your wine. .uncluttered and elegant.more class.. “Careful...253 intimate.. smoothly relaxed mouth.. it’s such pleasure.. love pleasing you..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Do ya want another ring?” Absolutely not.the ceremony. I’m quite Very an overwhelming desire to kiss his wry.. What do ya think?” “I like the décor: burgundy and black.and do that?” “Yeah. Green Eyes.” He lifted her hand and studied the diamond-encircled black pearl. Why would I want another “Another. the night is just a chit.” “I know that. you.sort of a marvelous extension of Waiata Reka. ring? I love this ring.. sophisticated but warm and friendly... your cheeky self..” “I meant.. I’d like to have it the way you want it..” “I mean one that would go with a wedding ring?” “This would go with a. wondering how she I I nearly always know what ya mean.” “And I’m thinking the same.all the necessary fittings polished and gleaming.a wedding ring. one way or another we’re going to do it. loyal..” His appreciative dark eyes burned into her heart. Her eyes told him this but he only grinned and said.

Aotearoa never disappoints the manuhiris. wrinkling her nose and . “Good.” “Well... “Just the way I like it... to do?” “Bloody little if you’re growing a sprog..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . businesswise. newly married.” “What?” He lifted her hand to his mouth.” “Now that I think of it I should be the one to pay their airfare.” he added with a wink. What’s You’re a part of everything I have.with your good head. Katie Green Eyes. is this an interview? What would I have look at me and smile and tell me when I’m veering off course.. ya can do as much or as little as ya want.there’ll be plenty of opportunity..” “Good on ya. I..” “I like to help others.but I might make ya earn your keep.” She looked up from her plate.I’m afraid I told Judith. yourself before we leave. have more freedom to create in his own close domain.. A heap of opportunity for that too. For a time just Oh. “Earn my. my friend in Jerusalem. Kate.. A husband too?” They’d love to see New Zealand.. that you’d--” “I’ll give ya an account at the bank and ya can take care of it yourself. “I don’t want ya hesitating with me. wahina. 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.. Later.254 could tell him what she had said to Judith in Israel.” His face registered surprise. unappreciated.” “Yes.” Her bluenose bass basted in lemon Their food arrived. grass butter was delicious. “Lan. “My grateful compliments to the chef. mine is yours. “Ya are paying it.

Careless Child Karlene Kubat . yeah?” *** They were walking hand in hand on the golden sands of Kaiteriteri Beach. “To Lachlan and Katharine Manutane.” “Ya say the wackiest things. I like your name.. touching his glass to hers.” She smiled and lifted his hand. For three days they had been “Just a little coffee. .” she responded. Ya know I Are ya “Canterbury cowboy. or high above tramping along rugged winding trails with spectacular vistas and strange bird calls. you really do love the way ya wrinkle your nose. rubbing it across her cheek. “Kereru.” he said. having my name?” “Katharine Gordon Manutane. and said after a soft ruffle of laughter. “What’s that?” Katharine asked in a hushed and fascinated voice. don’t start that again. “Fewer calories and a lot more satisfaction.” “Here’s to the two of us.. Katharine Gordon. 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. a wood pigeon. We haven’t had dessert.but I like it. gliding over the opaque green shore waters along creamy-white sand beaches and into jewel-like azure coves nestled in black lava. not far from their camp above a hidden beach cove in the Nelson region. tramping and kayaking Abel Tasman National Park. Yes. caressing him with her eyes. Let’s have dessert at home.” He arched an appraising black eyebrow. the only species that belongs here. adding a slow thrill to her suggestion. Lan. amaze me. a red pine.255 teasing him with her eyes. “Jesus.

Careless Child Karlene Kubat . sun-defined body shone with the warm color of richly creamed coffee. “The sand beneath these happy toes is truly golden.” 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.didn’t ya?” “I guess the very first time I looked at you. Two nature-loving loners. ya little imp. as you like to say..” “And that was the end of the matter.. I’d thought Ya Suddenly I was thinking of two.. camping out in the wilds of our station and every other bloody place in Enzed. Green Eyes.” she said.. yeah? Like your eyes at night the iridescent green. of only one for so long. “Is this all real? She spread her Why didn’t you tell me?” I said ya hadn’t seen anything “I did tell ya.when I first kissed ya at Margie’s. I’m glad ya like to do it. How do you wish to be addressed if you find yourself in the role of papa?” “Ya can tease all ya want. “I’ve gone off alone in the outback since I was a little anklebiter.” “I wanted ya. “You were so sure of yourself. still good with that intention?” “No worries. knew it then too. laughing. Kate.” “What a lovely thing.” She stepped back and stared at Lan in his bush shirt and shorts and bare feet. “Yes. sooner or later I always have to bond with nature somewhere.” Are ya “And one choice day you’ll be thinking of three.256 Beautiful. Lachlan Manutane? How about yourself.” “No.” Sort of a loner like you.. He slid his hand “I want to know as soon as ya find out.. The skin of his sinewy.the beginning of what’s between us. but I bloody well like the idea of my offspring growing here.remember? yet but ya would.” arms.. Preferably after the ceremony so ya won’t be chundering .

“Oh. With very few words they had put on their boots and hiked thoughtfully back to their camp. “I’m not living in a dream. It’s one of the reasons I take pleasure in at least putting a few people to work. and found herself flung into the water. Katharine was kneeling on her sleeping bag. doesn’t work that way. It If ya say paradise I’ll drop ya flat in and turn your clothes into swimming togs. Your hair is a tangled mess. This entire country is--” Granted our nature is wonderful to behold and this looks like paradise to the manuhiris. Mr. family problems. ya little rat.” “Good on you. although on a smaller scale. Manutane. “Oh. struggling up drenched and with streaming wet hair. love it here.” Lan exhorted again.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but you see I’ve been in such far worse off places that to me this looks like--” “Don’t say paradise. Watching the water swirl up and spill over the bubbling sand. but New Zealand has its problems: not the greatest economy.” she cried out. grabbing her up and striding into the water. with social programs slipping away and redundant workers -. I love it. not always the highest standard of living. alcoholism among the unwaged. she cried out.257 breakfast on the day we marry.” he said.that means laid off. laughing and lifting her dripping hair away from her eyes.” In a desultory manner they were approaching a goldenfloored cove angled back into high black rocks.” . “It’s only because I like taking wet clothes off ya. Dodgy characters like everywhere else. “Don’t say paradise. having just removed her squishy boots and now searching through her backpack for a comb. Yank. screaming with the shock of it. “Look at ya. I didn’t think you would.” “But why wouldn’t you love to hear me call this beautiful land of penguins and palm trees paradise?” she asked. death on the motorway. You mean thing.

let me--” You.” she said slapping at his hand.. She smiled Thiaz na one heeya.” . I’ll go right on teasing ya and you’ll bloody-well have to bear up. ya stroppy little wahina. “On your tummy. Hastily undressing he grasped her shoulder and rolled her supine body over. for Christ’s sake? She lifted her head and looked into his eyes. “Let me. Here.” off a bloody boat. at the emphatic accent in his voice.. unbuttoning her shirt. peeling away her shorts and kissing her shivering breasts. ipo. speaking in the low voice she had come to recognize as highly aroused. Cocking his head. “Oh God.that it was like being tossed I was teasing ya. she glanced in all directions with an habitually modest caution. you threw me into “Get away.” “Yeah. what am I doing? I’m sorry.” “Don’t touch me.258 “Your fault. my trusted companion. the water...” he assured her.sorry. “There’s no one here but us.I’ll help ya get your clothes off.” “Now you’ll never--” “Yeah.” “No I’m the sorry one. hovering over them like giant umbrellas. I will. She lay back a little nervously. staring at chinks of bluest sky through the lacy spiraling dark fronds..” she suddenly cried. “You’re not thinking. big silver tree ferns nearly ten meters high. Lan.” “Not too serious.” He reached for her. Kate.” “No.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. his questioning jet eyes narrowed in surprise. Before she sank into the unabashedly erotic oblivion she had come to crave. They were in a private sheltered area beneath a grove of ponga ferns...

the prosaic position linked with it unimaginative and faulty. deep .” He raised her up and slid the towel-covered pillows beneath the joining of her thigh and abdomen. They were headed into the feverish rhythm of steadily intensifying pleasure. As she yielded to the inflaming touch of his coaxing mouth his long. her arousal deepening with his allusion to the incredible Gräfenberg spot which. His hungrily anticipating expression broke into a soft grin.” She rested her chin on her folded arms and asked. my tau aroha. rhythmic. “How do you know that?” “I want ya to enjoy this and I’ll see to it.. She moaned Turn your softly and tried to raise herself enough to keep her head turned into his kiss. Turning her head back to focus on his dampened face. “Choice position. head a bit more so I can. my love. balanced form eased down upon her in a slowly choreographed cadence. very good. “Okay?” he softly intoned. She felt a shivering thrill as his firm warmth came against her coolly damp.” Her flushed diffidence dissipated. an action which elicited from her a questioning look. when properly stimulated. “Going to get us both wet now.yeah. making himself weightless. she found his limpid eyes swimming with her... throwing a large doubled towel over the pillows. could send a woman into wild paroxysms of joy. elevated backside.” Lifting her hair from her eyes he lowered his head to the side and kissed her mouth as he slid into her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . then stretched out above her. The weightless.259 He grabbed the pillows from their opened and layeredtogether sleeping bags.make ya feel very.. “Ya aren’t used to G spot orgasm. He smiled at her with teasing eyes and said. locking them in to ecstatic heat. That first night I changed the sheets before I joined ya in the shower. Until Lan its reputation had been only wistful conjecture.

.. She lay beside him with their hands still locked.. wild cries of release escaped her gasping mouth as her senses rose on waves emanating from a hot zone deep inside. she rubbed the driest edge of the soaked towel against herself and flung it aside then rolled over onto her back. gushing waves of nearly unbearable Her eyes opened wide... As if from a distant place his low groan of satisfaction slowly registered in her vertiginous” He pressed his hand against her groin and changed the angle of his position very subtly with almost clinical precision. an earthshaking exultant immolation. a rapture that shook her body and blurred her mind.look at me now.” “And.” her throaty. “Sweet Green Eyes.260 penetration had so enveloped her senses she was incapable of anything but a blink of dazed exhilaration. her body striving to give back. the silence of nearing climax was broken by an urgent need to say what she had often refrained from saying in lovemaking: “I.” Above all she wanted to impart that certainty... Her fingers remained clenched in his as she tried to focus on whirling fern fronds.” he prompted. impassioned voice managed as she responded to his demanding mouth with increasing desire. 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... repeated on raggedly expended breath: “I.. her trembling hand held against her moist cheek went rigid. “God. her earlier inhibitions had been completely displaced by a thoroughly aroused state. Gasping in amazement and with her insides still throbbing. breathing . ya are so Now she was immersed in his repeated caresses and that climbing pulse of love.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .you.

. and there’s the problem of. “Hmm. too. “Too much.. Lan.. He turned his skyward-gazing eyes upon her. He was quite accurate -.. His understanding of her was almost bewildering. “I like to drive and think. *** In the Rover. In that sated phase of exhaustion.261 deeply..” “Never enough Katharine. but ya haven’t said a word in nearly half an hour.” .. she had never experienced or could have imagined. driving back to Lan’s cozy little cottage.” It’s bloody near the only problem around. She thought of crying. very good.” he said softly..of--” “Rani. until him. guess it’s another one of those areas that I dread venturing into. then realized her cheeks were already damp with spilling emotion.oh yes. did feel very. You always manage to do that.. she curled against him with a long. so precisely foreknowing yet so spontaneously implemented by pure ardor.” he answered with a low chortle of pleasure. slowly reclaiming enough of her reason to consider his earlier assertion. which she had only recently discovered he owned in Nelson..but I’ve become a part of your family.. she had He knew exactly where her felt.too much of a good thing.and it isn’t really a deal..too much Lachlan Manutane.. running his thumb across her wet cheek.too much.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Yes.” Lan remarked. staring out the window and pondering a certain neglected sticking place. center of pleasure resided and exactly how to get her to that potent and excruciatingly sensuous place which. venting sigh and drifted into sleep. Katharine was contemplative.” “How do you do that? “Not too difficult.

.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I managed that.” . always will.. out sufficiently.” “Ya made it.of what I told ya..” “Well. I had several She’s through “She does not.” “Speaking of charitable--” “All right. her’s really too petty little ongoing dramas. I Anyway.I always have.. ever get near ya. drunk or sober I’m the only one crawling into your bed. in fact.hardly any of it.” “Ya have and she knows it.” “Am I going to have to compete with her in. If I were dead drunk and suffering with loss and a beautiful hunk crawled into my bed--” “I don’t care for your analogy. I laid into her over that until she cried..” “And that wasn’t all your fault. know I’ve been over-tolerant because of. I think I’ve straightened the matter Rani is beginning to take responsibility for think I’ve tried to be decent to her.262 “Oh? She despises me.and that was the grief of the matter for me. lie about its father and then cast it aside.. Competition? That’s a laugh. because--” “Bloody-hell.. Katie Green Eyes.” “I was trying to make a point. No one will I think of Rani as my little sister. messing about and bludging on the family.. I just don’t like what she did to you.has a job working for a pol in Wellington. but it’ll be up to her to Mary I She’s not stupid just spoiled and immature. She treated ya badly.. keep it. rather long talks with Rani while ya were away. Lan.... admits her hand in that.. but it isn’t all my mother’s fault.. isn’t that charitable?” “Kate?” “To produce a child.” She grudgingly admires ya.

” “You’re a corker. Any child of ours will be a chrissy bonus. ya clever fox. lifting his hand against her cheek with the giggling laughter which so clearly delighted him.send her round the bend with happiness. I’m I’m flying her up She’ll be staying at sophisticated shepherd..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . That’s all she cares about..” “Maybe sooner than ya think. sorry.and you’ve come back and agreed to marry the mystery of her life. Mary loves ya. and in a sultry voice which brought his caressing fingers to her neck..” “My modest Oxford bushman. Who could Ya deal with others very well. for the party Margie and Ian are giving us Herne teacher. but eloquence isn’t really my cup. keeping his eyes on the narrow road as a huge lumber truck sped past them.” she intoned.. “My Maori-Scots love scholar. What I have of it comes from my days at Oxford. “My very literate.” she went on after a short stretch of silence. I really love her. resist ya? You’ll have her eating from your hand. Lan. Is she still angry with me for leaving you?” “No worries.. will ya--” “Sorry.263 “On your shoulder?” “Kate.” “And so do you.. I’m dead serious.” “Oh. my wily cowboy entrepreneur.almost convincing.. I’m so glad she’s coming? That’s wonderful. I want peace with Rani. I’ll gladly extend the olive branch whenever she’s capable of understanding what that means. you silver-tongued charmer.. Maybe some day we’ll even be friends. please.especially the troubled ones. “Anyway ya can find out for yourself..” he countered with an amused voice. You’re mine for a start.. both worldly and innocent green-eyed addiction.” “Is that a catty--” “No. “I have to win Mary back.

Kate.. We were sort of reactionary renegades.. *** While Mary rested at Herne Bay Katharine was visiting with Margaret at her sunny home above the city.264 eager to see her. forgot about everything..” Katharine smiled with that thought. She’s happier with ya around. Margaret. “You’re full of surprises. and grabbing Katharine’s ankle with a quick jerk of affection. “What. Kate.” I was really shy but when I sang I “I know.. as Margaret began describing the rhythm and blues quartet she had engaged for the party.” “Where did ya perform?” “We played all over Palo Alto and San Francisco. Katharine was listening from a deck chair on the patio.” Although ya don’t seem like the type.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..and the torch songs.that sultry soulful music. wheel and stroked her knee with the other. Nobody was doing that kind of music anymore and we thought of ourselves as preservationists.” “You’ve done a heap of good for Mary. We had such a good time.too cerebral. How good are ya?” Someone heard me in a music class and hustled me into that hard-working little band. I loved the old blues songs..still do. setting down her glass of iced tea and coming alive with memories.. Katharine’s lolling head raised in She leaned forward in her chair. which she called jandals.” Margaret sat up. I used to sing R and B with a small band in college. After flying Mary up Lan had departed again on a fishing trip with Ian and some other mates. I finally quit because it was People . out..” laying her head against Lan’s shoulder. slipping her feet back into her ejected thongs. seemed to like my voice. “Oh. surprise at this news. He kept one hand on the You’ve brought her “And I with her. “I imagine. at singing? I don’t know.

.I can’t just--” “Sing. passion-driven song was tricky to sing a cappella... “Ya could rehearse a few songs with the band and surprise everyone by singing at your own party. Now?” I’m the only one here.there.. something right now. A heady joy swelled her lungs and when she finished Of course it’s easier singing to she said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Oh. I was I craved that heady game of trying to get a factual answer.” Sing “But I.” Margaret said with a cunning expression of delight. She hummed a few bars then turned to Margaret and began to sing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Sing. “Well. interviewing politicians..” “Ah.. Within a stanza she had begun to take command of her old voice.. staring off into the golden trunks of bamboo..singing to . remembering how Lan had kissed her there beneath the Southern Cross. she knew her heartfelt rendering of those very moving lyrics must be eliciting some pleasure. As she watched Margaret listening with an expression of astonishment. The only singing I’ve done of late is to myself and mostly in the shower.” “What? “Yeah.” “A wonderful idea is taking shape in my head. I was stretching myself pretty thin. but she had chosen it because the lyrics were so lovely and fit her personal experience so precisely. but that means your cords are in good shape. The slow.. the ensuing pleasure of hitting her stride rising in her throat and resonating across the garden. no. myself but I’d forgotten how good that feels.” Katharine stood up and walked to the edge of the patio. a very difficult choice without background music.265 interfering with my work on the school paper.

then wear the jacket for the wedding. In the process Mary had come across a dress she intended to buy for herself.266 someone else. *** Mary was shopping with Katharine in a handsomely appointed Parnell shop. and speculating on a dress or gown for Katharine’s wedding ceremony.just to celebrate a nice evening with our family and friends. going to be choice. I’m giving them a Oh this is really You’ll ring right now. I mean. “I haven’t bought a fancy dress in so long I’ve no idea what’s fashionable. The band is always rehearsing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the silk-tasseled windows. I’m glad for your opinion. but rewarding Katharine with the frissons of happiness she had learned to capture in such moments. Katharine. They both agreed that it might be worn on various occasions by dressing it up or down.” “If I did sing it would only be this one song.thanks to you and Ian...” Mary said. What a treat everyone has in store. Margaret. girl. running her fingers over the smartly cut navy evening dress she had just selected.. bloody-well knock them dead.. that was so good. the hushed rose-scented shop of gleaming dark wood.. which pleased prudent Mary immensely.that was very...maybe drive ya over there. the luxurious fabrics. They were looking at dresses for the party.. very professional. “You can leave the little bolero jacket off for the party and drape a pretty scarf over your shoulders. and Mary’s softly earnest face all flowed together in a mellow interstice between much larger events. and now that you’ve heard it you know why.” “My God. delighted at having assisted circumspect Mary in finding something which . I certainly wouldn’t expect to impress an audience.” Katharine suggested. The escaped bustle of the street where bright sun prevailed.

267 satisfied her rather particular taste. “Absolutely ravishing. was walking around brimming with the delight of favorable collusion. ravishing!” she had exclaimed. which sprang to life when Katharine began to sing. She couldn’t think of it for long. love. strapless.” Katharine had teased. Kate. Margaret. bass. saxophone.” She began pondering the days ahead while Mary poured Earl . who were clearly bent on keeping their music viable (piano. Gray. “I think you may be enjoying yourself at my expense. Katharine had chosen a slender.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . 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. Kate. choice thing on your lovely self. wanting only to fish with him. it’s a Katharine was merely thinking that its bare simplicity would perfectly accommodate her beloved jade pendant.” Oh. Mary and Katharine completed their purchases and strolled to a cozy tearoom. squinting between the fronds of a fan palm out into the busy street. of course. The rehearsal session had started out with a rather grim-faced band. A flashing image of Lan casting a fast-darting line over the riffle of a silvery flat river flew across her mind. Once seated Katharine leaned on her hands and stared through the plate glass window. The moment she tried it on Mary was “Ya look Katie wild about it and insisted she look no further. “Have a biscuit. dusty-rose velvet gown for the party. do ya know that skittery velvet goes from silvery pale pink to shady rose when ya move under the light. to agree to this? Was she out of her mind Margaret had introduced her to the noticeably doubtful quartet of young musicians. and drum) and far from enthusiastic about accompanying an unknown voice. He was there and she was here.

You’ve seen these celebrations before. I’m still full from our outrageous lunch. ivory lace bodice was a sort of rectangle of plaid. that sounds wonderful. ya know. like taffeta. 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. like New Zealand itself. good time with you.” “Well.” “You’ve no idea how much it all means. the border could be of black velvet.” Mary said with cheerfully moist eyes.” “Mary. problem. a bit of your own heritage: black squares edged in yellow it is. “Ya can do anything ya want. by putting a small swatch of the Gordon plaid in that bodice. I don’t want a traditional white dress and it wouldn’t be appropriate anyway. “I’ll have to go look. *** Lan. Katharine. Kate. tapered to the waist and bordered in wine velvet on three sides. It sounds interesting. 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. Mary. that with your slender waist.” “I just don’t know what to wear. and pastoral at the same time. You may have solved my I always have such a Oh. A lovely airy thing I’m imagining. I’m so glad we’ve done this. idea.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . no idea at all. who had been glad to give Mary and Katharine these busy days together. ivory lace. we haven’t made much progress on your wedding dress.268 “No thank you. was still fly-fishing with his mates down on several of the scenic rivers feeding into Lake Taupo. 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 .” “Ya could give it your own signature.

trout-filled rivers in devoted abandon.. She didn’t know what he would think of her intention to sing at their party and had decided not to tell him. and then added.sorry for that.” Katharine frowned and said. greeted her in a friendly manner and then suggested they go into Ian’s study to have a sort of ameliorating talk. Without hesitating she came straight to Katharine. casting over their wild.. desirous of a pleasant enough for any man. Katharine arrived early. and Katharine really wanted to offer that special song to him.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine. but you’re a bloody clever woman and ya get what ya want. It’s quite clear that you don’t like me but maybe with time--” “You’ve been through some hell. and while she stood in the She was garden talking to the band Rani suddenly appeared. Margaret still seemed to think the idea was a splendid one. and thence into Ian’s cool dark study where they remained standing. as she imagined them.269 the party.. “Rani. “Ya look very nice. *** The first surprising occurrence at the party was not a good omen.. but with a dash of confidence at their disappointment. if she could muster the skill and courage to do it well.” Rani said. I hope we can get along. with her lustrous black hair piled high atop her head and more makeup than she needed applied to her lovely young face.. wearing a bright blue party dress of which there was very little. with which Rani seemed quite familiar. could hardly refuse and so followed her into the house. The band had even suggested that she She had declined.all that sophistication is just what Lani likes. This fit in well with her plans. although she was missing him more than she would say. not wanting to taint his happy days with fishing pals. and ya--” . “That’s a choice gown.. sing a few more songs.

. please stop it. The study door had slowly swung shut and Lan was standing there with folded arms. anything. staring at them..simply to suit yourself. out differently.” They heard a soft click and both turned around startled. Kate.” Rani protested.selfishly wound them when they’re down and suffering? deeply over this too? “I see that ya--” “Oh Rani. .” Katharine exclaimed. do you?” return his devotion? “I didn’t.I didn’t think he’d--” “My God. her voice catching on fire and her adrenaline pumping.. Do you even realize?” but look what you did to him. He never even tried to touch me.” He never touched me. I only let him think. did you--” “Yeah. “If you really love a person how could you ever do anything so cruel.” “It was just. and how did you By making him--” “I didn’t make him do He was too bloody haurangi. “Then tell him that and relieve his grieving heart. I thought it would all come I swear. He was there for you all of your life.. Lan has always thought of himself as your big brother.. “Oh.....270 “Rani. I heard most of it and since it pertains to He was looking at Rani.. Lan. “What are ya talking about?” “You know what I’m talking about.simply to extricate yourself from the mess you made. “Rani won’t have to tell me anything now. Please try to have some compassion You profess to care so much for Lan. Do you think Mary hasn’t suffered You still don’t see it.without a thought to his condition or his pain.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . for others for a change. will she?” Lan said in a resignedly firm make it all come out in your favor... bush? Why beat around the When he was sick with grieving and thoroughly inebriated you took advantage of him...

She held her hand to her mouth. tramp through this friendly garden. happy plants. I’m so happy to see you both. “Oh. Over Mea’s shoulder Katharine saw Lan entering the Their eyes met briefly and then one of his cousins garden. closing the door behind her. kia ora.” “Kate.rose velvet and totoeka with those rare eyes. want to think about it anymore and went briskly down the walk. who worked in the winery. her eyes brimming. Mea gripped Let’s take a I love to see all these Someone is giving them tender loving care. placed a hand on his shoulder and he turned to speak to Gus’s son. smiled and said. and slipped out of the room.the way it is. but at least How would Lan deal with this? She didn’t their party? the truth was out. as this smart wahine pono will do for Lan. I wäna nei -.” They strolled with soft laughter. And I love your dress..” “Excuse me. then tried to blink the tears onto her hand without ruining her face. how nice ya look. Mea.just I see the devotion. the long hair swept back in a handsome French roll.. The band was warming up and still Katharine had spoken no .” Mea said as she gathered Katharine into her arms.” Katharine’s arm. “Come with me.. pretty girl. garden.” fingers just touched Mea’s silver-gray hair done in thick waves around her smiling. “Gus and Mea. as briskly as her slender gown would allow.” Katharine said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. Her That soft silvery color matches your gorgeous hair. “Will you ever forgive what happened at your wonderful dinner?” “A migraine is no one’s fault. stretching out her arms to greet Gus and Mea who had just ventured into the garden.271 me I won’t apologize for listening. She hurried away back into the Why did she have to reopen this serious old wound at She regretted her unchecked wrath. softly lined face.

How strange. But with Rani’s surly conduct it could hardly have Rani was with someone. gleam of gold cufflink flashed as he talked to another cousin seated next to him. This party was for them and yet If only she they were still at opposite ends of the garden. his dark frame tinted rose bronze under the colorful hanging lanterns. On his other side was that empty chair. somewhat raffish Was he going been avoided. in arm with Lan and leading him to a seat below the platform. She was explaining the virtues of steelhead fishing.” . young man with a motorcycle helmet under his arm. Gus.ostensibly quite deep into a conversation with Gus. Margaret was pointing to the seat beside Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . away from ya. with herself.” she muttered. hadn’t ruined his arrival by bringing up that grievous subject with Rani. Mea has one saved. “Oh God. as she saw Mea and Mary strolling arm in arm to their seats. She was breathless and thoroughly disgusted At his wrist a Lan had a drink in his hand.272 more with Lan. looking for Katharine who had ducked into the bamboo in a cowardly fashion. A shiver swept through her as she watched the drummer adjust the microphone she would use. which She saw Margaret arm Margaret was scheduled to make very soon. The band was already into its second melody when Margaret found Katharine -. Please find yourself a seat down there. a dark. Then the band began a slow rhapsodic Gladness flowed through her body melody and her heart softened. Excuse me. I need to steal Katharine I think “There ya are. and then saw that people were starting to settle in chairs placed before the small platform on which the band sat. As Margaret was indicating the seat where Katharine should have been she lifted her head. to carry that with him all evening? Katharine went around warmly greeting the Maori half of Lan’s family. Perhaps she should decline the invitation to sing. so handsome in his charcoal dinner jacket.

everyone.” Katharine had anticipated such a different sort of evening. I don’t think--” “Oh no ya don’t. road. The vicissitudes of life simply refused a smooth Fate stepped in. and right now. a celebration of love in which she and Lan would stand side by side and greet the party guests while overflowing with mutual happiness. superimposing its own dubious routes. She was certainly in a wonderful mood to sing a love song. I’m sure. Get your lovely I’m after introducing an entirely new side of ya to your new family..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and after having been away from her for nearly a week.. Katharine said to herself as she took Margaret’s hand and carefully mounted the platform. self down to the foot of my garden. She looked up to see Margaret insistently beckoning to her over her shoulder as she made her way to the bandstand. and how lucky we are for that. “Hello. Margaret said. are ya giving up on me at the last moment? Lan has been wondering where ya are. A maudlin wave of self-pity swept over her. Katharine Gordon. in this enchanting garden Lan couldn’t reach her side quickly enough. When first they met making treacherous detours without warning. she was certain it was Scotch. but the rest of us are bloody-well going to share in the treat.273 When Gus had taken himself off. Katharine?” Just pretend like it’s another band gig out of the past. “Kate.” “Margaret. She could hardly bring herself .and to be able to celebrate your upcoming marriage to this amazing woman. you’re one of my and Ian’s oldest friends. She’s about to come up here and sing to ya. occasion. not after all my efforts. and you’ll soon see what a choice treat it is. Now he was sitting down there chatting with his family and drinking Scotch. Hope you’re all enjoying this special Lachlan Manutane. as if she didn’t exist. and now it’s time for our little songbird to make her appearance.

... limp body and bent head she hung onto a tender young stalk of bamboo. A shifting glance yielded a beaming Mary. Thank ya for .all for you. Never had she given so much in a She felt drained. There was his riveted face. She no longer cared how she With looked or how she would present herself to the others. The song had finished her. your song. Katharine’s heart began to fill with rapidly coursing blood.274 to look at anyone.” “My beautiful wahina.. Slumping lower as her body shook with the forceful aftermath of what she knew had been a sort of catharsis. offering the memory of their first kiss. Whistling and loud clapping pursued her. but her eyes drifted in that direction anyway. she was startled by Lan’s arms catching her up and coming tight around her. absolutely wiped out all of her strength and restraint. then the softened voice against her ear.were. feeling them ripple and rise in warm waves up into the realm of the Southern Cross. her face. supportive anticipation clearly written across her proudly expectant face.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. Tears streamed from performance. When she had completed the final long- held note she bowed low with an attempt at a modestly beatific smile.. especially Lan. the very moon and stars of the lyrics. the memory that infused the words lovingly tendered by her voice.those lyrics. then stepped carefully down and hurried off to lose herself in the bamboo grove. the memory of their first night together.. washing away all decorum. her eyes fastened on Lan and she heard her own slow. what do I say in return? How do I Thank ya for Rani. “Thank ya..” “Lan. never had she wished to. He was still holding the glass in his hand but he set it down beneath his chair without taking his eyes off her. steady voice sending the impassioned words straight out to the love of her life.for your love. The band was keyed. my tau aroha. fearful of sliding to the ground.

with her own and Mary’s artful suggestions.. rolling his shirtsleeves as . He’s a changed man.ya know I love ya. thought often of the night after the party.” Katharine turned off the heat under the smoking frying pan and turned to Mary.she said ya had a beautiful voice.. the way you’ve set things right here.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Perfect. one she had half feared would never occur. Kate? said something. leaving them to their insatiable upstairs lovemaking. eyes. Green All I saw on the rivers were these I’ve missed ya. I your velvet gown. said that she already had. and. Please stop the crying. I thank ya for so much. “Whatever did ya say to Rani. I believe ya made her look into the mirror. The following morning as Mary helped Katharine cook a late breakfast. I certainly thank ya for that. terrible things she did. In these days her eyes were filled She with dreams of the future and memories of the recent past. Ya have. 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 know. want to lie with ya.and here ya are.” *** It had taken very little time to alter Katharine’s wedding dress. and while Lan was in his study on the phone...the way you’ve made Lan so happy. She apologized to me for the She I told her to apologize to Lan... Kate. and when she tried it on she was well satisfied -. Mary had said. thought.275 tell ya what ya mean to me? Eyes. my spoiled little girl. all mine and choice in Your song was perfect. 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. Oh Jesus.” Lan sauntered into the kitchen.a unique and lovely dress stitched into a symbol of the rarest event.

“Anything edible in here yet besides yourself?” Primed with joy Katharine wanted to kiss Lan in a very private way. Struggling with a recalcitrant shoe she said. Green Eyes. always reading the moment so swiftly flashes of sharply indelible consciousness juxtaposed with flashes of blurring mystery. Mary. giggling and chattering with a boisterous lot of noise and soaking up her emotional spillover. Penny and Margaret and. of course... any more of this and brekkie will be out the bloody window. hence no wedding. drink this. 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. obstinate foot. “What? Should I drink that?” . nill shoe.. Her jittery nerves necessitated mitigation by self- deprecating acid bons mots and continual laughter with her friends. and precisely. these as if emanating from an unconscious brain romping in REM sleep. Will you..and this kiss is for having a mother like Mary.” “Here. “This kiss is for you.and this kiss is for--” “Jesus. She laid her head against Lan’s shirt.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . handing her a flute of champage.” Penny ordered.” *** The wedding itself was a remarkably colorful and singular event.276 he came and walking up to Katharine to whisper in her ear. I’ll marry Petruchio in bare feet. then lifted her head and said in a slow voice. inhaling all the familiar scents that were so arousing. The desire was overwhelming. She glanced politely over where Mary had been standing and saw her back disappearing down the hall. The day transposed into a swift parade of images: Dear Mary. “My benumbed brain has disconnected my foot -.

then stepped back into the line of guests. figure would give her away. their eyes meeting with a mutual understanding which seemed to hint at something positive. He at once attempted to lift her spirits He .” Mary assured her. Rani. chanted and waved clubs in a primally fierce demonstration of haka. but the anxiety had not entirely escaped his notice. but he’ll never bring me from a wild Kate to a Kate comfortable as other household Kates. Lan will take care of any headache that comes along. “Or they’ll have to peel ya off the ceiling of the marae meeting hall. “Oh.” “Nor would he wish to. he’s not after taming ya.” Margaret chimed in. 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. No paternal Cash Taylor. The ceremony was a different sort of affair. was continually popping up everywhere and capturing everything. “Yeah. He was wearing a smartly cut.” “No worries. stuck out their tongues. curtsied ever so slightly. Katie love. and they all burst into yet another effusion of laughter. As the proceeding began. looked so handsome that at first glance her worried frown softened into pure pleasure.277 “Absolutely. Amidst their laughter she went on with her Taming of The Shrew allusion.” Mary soothed. wearing a chocolate silk dress. walked up to Katharine and handed her a bouquet of orchids.” Judith encouraged. pale gray Italian suit of shot silk with a healthy green sprig of some unfamiliar local plant affixed as a boutonnière. having made a tenuous peace with Lan. Before this lively but abbreviated war dance ensued she had been joined by Lan on the path leading up to the marae.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine and Lan stood before the marae where they were initially met by tattooed and sparsely clothed warriors who yelled at them. Your wild self is what he fancies.

” In her volatile condition she found this so amusing that she had to place her hand over her mouth to suppress the giggling laughter. which he so often strove to elicit. one of a tiki. The meeting hall was adorned with gleaming pillars of wood carved in the form of tikis and other earthy motifs. The pungent smell of abundant floral arrangements swirled around Katharine’s head in the warm. they were led inside. they were greeted with a loving display of hongi and some words in Maori which Lan answered in Maori. Seated at either side of their advancing They passage were all the members of the wedding party. “No worries.278 with a swift offering of humor. The highly polished hardwood floors shimmered in honey tones of gold and brown. running to the peaked and cross-beamed ceiling. leaning down and muttering in her ear. After this It seemed to her that Lan was not only in a state of self-assured control but in quiet. Oh God. and the walls rose in striking patterned designs. 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. a reading from her own nervous frame of reference. approached the low wood dais where the official who was to marry them stood cloaked in a robe covered with tiny. or so she read his easy composure and knowing anticipation. the other an elegant twining vine which represented eternity. The hall smelled of spicy-sweet ginger combined with numerous other scented flowers of New Zealand. As Maori words flowed past her a sudden jab of fear darted through her chest. body-filled hall. Soon this will all be over and I’ll put ya out to pasture herding sheep. Following the clamorous intimidation of the threatening warriors. delicate and airy feathers. and wearing large jade pendants around his neck. She turned her His calm dark eyes looking . unspoken control of everything.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .

she demanded of herself. without ever acknowledging it. it was especially exhilarating to have at once received Lan’s understanding assurance. Katharine were flying to Rarotonga. promising and thrilling. In this rushing span of time when she found herself amidst sharp transition so unfamiliar. Finally there were English words exchanged and they made their vows and kissed. such a long time she had been her own strength. After a whence Lan would fly himself and Katharine to Auckland. and Ian and Margaret were sailing home on a friend’s boat. because she couldn’t understand the words.279 down at her seemed to read her mind. She smiled and. and he took hold of her arm.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . until she heard sighs and mutterings of appreciation traveling through the hall. The firmness of his supportive. Mary was staying in Lan’s cottage. 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. He was to drive them to Lan’s plane. they tried to make their way to Gus’s car. emblematic grasp traveled through her body with a ministering relief at once comforting. and then Lan was laughing and they were spilling out into the sunlight. and one of his flying mates was winging her home to Green Braes in the morning. proven over and over. Everyone wanted to hang onto Lan and Katharine. Judith and Jacob were heading south to visit Milford Sound and other points of interest. began to ponder the effect this man standing bedside her had and would always have on her life. Sliding into that sealing kiss all else momentarily dissolved. never. to bring him peace and happiness and. capturing From Auckland Lan and . More than anything she wanted to please him. From the For moment of his first grasp she had never let go of his arm. visit with Gus and Mea. please not ever boredom. that she could stand alone.

. flying off over New Zealand.. I spent half the day laughing hysterically and now I’m doing it again. “I’m actually glad we didn’t bother to change. continuing to giggle with Lan’s smiling encouragement.amused and deeply moved and even sorry it ended so soon. I had to bloody-well tell him to rack off. *** “You were right. They edged their way to the back door. “I think it was for everyone else.. I’ll probably . let’s get the hell out of here. with joyful teasing and offerings of food and drink. Here I am Well. “Katharine Gordon Manutane. But when I look back on it I suppose I’ll be very amused.280 the spilling radiance emanating from their highly charged mutual devotion. Lan would drink nothing because he was flying.” Katharine said. on your suit.” They made a dash to the car where Gus was just transferring their luggage from another car into his trunk.” “Looks as though we’ll have plenty of photographs to go along with our memories.” Katharine said when they were finally aloft in the plane.” “I’m looking forward to it. having already said good-bye three times and been hugged by Mary.” “Yeah? it off... even invaded the guest bedroom and tried to snap me putting on my magic.or an idyllic fairy tale.” “Oh. Your bloke. 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. Their heartening life-affirming aura held a magnetism so alluring they were continually restrained from departure. especially in her exhausted and over-stimulated condition.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the ubiquitous Cash Taylor. Once out of earshot of everyone Lan exclaimed.. whose eyes were filled with tears of love and relief. Lan. and Katharine would drink nothing because she feared a headache.

teasing.. away from the world and growing familiar with each other’s needs and desires and habits in a slow awakening. painting the surface waters of dusk with dazzling hues of crimson and gold.” “Careful.” “What if I’m too tired. lime juice. blissfully free from the prosaic alterations of a workaday existence.” he added with a wink. they encountered giant clams. Playing.” Oh. The days passed in a luxurious idleness. and cavorting in . How I wish my grandmother “Weddings are sad. They drank at a thatched- roofed bar on the beach and ate diced raw fish prepared with coconut cream. They watched the startling sunsets bleed into dark palm-fringed horizons. Kate. my darling Maroi-Scot lover. how sad. we still have a ways to go before we lie down together. and myriad darting fish the Day-Glo colors of the rainbow.” “And not for me.not for me. about an hour away. could have--” “Please don’t. *** Rarotonga was a time of love and lethargy. They swam to the motus in the lagoon and made love on those uninhabited white sands beneath the shade of coconut palms. just in case. onions and bits of tomato. moray eels. Green Eyes. and partook of the remote village life on this quiet atoll of such startling sea and sand colors. affording further investigation and uninterrupted enjoyment of one another. Green Eyes. Diving in shoreline conservation areas called raui. reef sharks.. But take a bit of a nap now. a delicious meal called ika mata. wife.281 never wear it again. While there they flew over to Aitutaki. husband?” “Then I’ll hold ya until I can have ya in the morning. I want ya happy. too.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Not this one. Lan.

She would see to it. Just now. They were in her. “Why don’t you ever take me fishing. Katharine swam. Finally. chased thousands of ants around their kitchen. looking out over the myriad grayed-white tufts of grazing sheep.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . leaning on the pommel of his saddle and glancing at her reflective face from time to time. She thought. she was thinking very close to home. and from time to time she did think of those places. This event would unfold quite differently. Ben. After a week they returned to Lan’s orange beach cottage on Rarotonga. with a regenerated eagerness to face the world. Lan was beside her on the roan stallion.282 mutually generated situations of comic entertainment. hoping to correct that other horribly failed ride when Lan had professed such love only to be cruelly abandoned. had arranged it. however. cut up fresh fruit. would always be in her. and mixed large tropical drinks. he might be concerned that she was thinking of Jerusalem or Gaza or some other troubled place in the world forebodingly calling to her. redress of all the relinquished assignments. They lay together in their ample hammock. of all the forgone obligations. and it brought considerable. 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. Lan?” . She was glad to be here at this moment. when he studied her that way. created her own ika mata. caressing or talking softly in a soporific state of contentment while the palm fronds rustled overhead in warm fluky winds. but never at his expense. but not total. they returned to Green Braes. to have addressed those places of strife in her nearly completed novel. *** Katharine sat astride Jangle. where he used his laptop to check into his business affairs.

” she said. It’s there and going on. ya hard case. “Ya.” “I love fishing. ‘Why do we suddenly have to go fishing?’ you’ll be saying soon enough. They’re used to force.. will. Ya want to fish... 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.” As they rode along Lan asked. eager to hear his answer.. Green Eyes.. smiling with good-natured ease.” “How should they fight it?” she asked in a rhetorical manner. We’ll ride up along the green banks and eat our sandwiches there by the river. I won’t say that. “Sometimes I do. Kate?” She was surprised that he would ask the question.” Right now I’ve thought of Come on.I’ll take ya fishing.” he answered. why didn’t you just think of it on your own?” “I did once.. clouds of sandflies only gets ya more bites.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . since he had always preferred not to bring up that subject. I would.sometimes. “Yes. Would ya have an opinion from me?” Yes.” “But I mean.when I took ya sailing. “They shouldn’t fight it at all. No worries.283 “Ya never asked me. “The Israelis have no idea how to fight that kind of war. now ya have to learn to do it the rest of the time. mainly to keep her overactive mind from brooding on an insurmountable problem. because they’re only . Every time an Swatting at atrocity occurs they rush in with guns and tanks. Kate.” “I haven’t said much on the subject but I’d like to be able to talk to ya about it. a form of insanity that could stop at once with the right leadership. “Have ya been thinking of the fighting in the Middle East. “I’ve finally taught ya to tell me what ya want in lovemaking. heavy retaliation. Lan. plenty of time for that. something all on my own.

. I lease it to a grower..” “I’d like to see it.. clicked his tongue and ordered the big horse to walk on.. They’re the ones with all the They’re the ones who have to bring it to an end.. the best way to win. all the troublemakers always hark back to the Palestinian problem for their ammunition against your country. real courage. he asked. Why don’t they see that?” They “Wrong leaders... the strength. firepower. a companion who could share her thoughts so precisely.” “I think you’re right.pull out their settlers and give the Palestinians a free state.I can go back there any time I want.” . A free unified state is the only answer.and feeling threatened. say. only it takes a bloody keen mind to see that.for instance. Now it’s become important for the whole world. Ignoring the need for a Palestinian state is the whole crux of the Middle Eastern problem..284 inviting more human explosions. the farm? I still own it. “What happened to your grandmother’s farm?” “Oh..war-minded. then eased his boot into Ben’s belly. It would relieve a lot of tension in the world. But it’s really a form of winning. concerted support from their own people -. need a strong peacemaker who sees total stoppage as an honorable solution.” “You’re absolutely right. She was glad to find herself I agree with everything you positioned beside an understanding mind. She gave a long sigh and The house I’ve kept just as it was. his accurate perception was like a pressure release.that’s the tough part. Turning aside to glance down at her as they moved slowly forward.” Lan’s broaching of the subject. He reached over and brushed her windblown hair away from her eyes..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . smiled at Lan.

Déjà vu. Lan. yes.. after Lan.and the spring fields of flowers. of course. with his head angled over his shoulder. looking at her with a slight smile . dauntless grandmother.but not Gran.” She stared He turned in his saddle and pushed back his hat. The dazzle of An sunlight on the climbing green slopes swelled her’s over two thousand feet taller than Mount Cook. Lan.. times.” “Yeah.” Once again Lan had surprised her with his perceptive thoughtfulness.. even. be wonderful sharing it all with you.oh. epiphany of joy like a sweet pain shot through her. my After she died I went there so many I could still have the wonderful flowers.. who rode slightly ahead of her..when you have some time.. And. “I’m thirsty. if you want.. Kate. Do ya miss it?” We’ll “The fragrant. We’ll do it this fall. keep the good part of your past alive.. He swung off his horse. Nice to I’d love it.. It would Thanks.the place where ya grew up.. From the house It was never quite the same but still lovely.” “Yeah.thank you for suggesting it. you can see massive.. your spring. I’d like to. He stood a moment in silence. steamy greenhouses in winter snow..285 “We could go there. lifted the sandwiches out of the saddlebag and pulled the rolled blanket from behind the saddle. They rode on in silence for half an hour. smoothing out one more wrinkle of worry.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. white Mount Rainier floating on the horizon -.stay in the house. bringing her peace of mind. making her realize that she didn’t have to remain cut off from her homeland.. “Then get down.” A vision flashed in her mind as she dismounted. until they could hear the rushing river and see its emerald banks. make some plans to do that.

.. She dropped down. “Ngakau?” He laughed......and ya didn’t trust me at all. catching both her arousal and her intention to reveal something. this with an incisive expression of encouragement beginning to astonish her. his voice full of amused irony.” ... I’d never found you?” “Ya didn’t. you’ve made me feel so alive. “ lucky to have you.. so much more than I was. “Do ya have something ya want to tell me. “I’m so relieved and full of hope. Oh God. I found ya. then leaned back a short distance. When they were finished he spread the blanket.” “And have I consumed ya?” “No. balancing her knees upon the tan square of soft wool and watching him crouch beside her....” They tied the horses and walked to the river where they found a flat place between the rocks and lay on their bellies drinking.. Lan. the fear I had was.I was giving myself a kind heart. His eyes held hers.most definitely for you.” “Exactly what you have.. running her fingers through his tousled thick black tau aroha?” “Yes. what if Why were ya so bloody afraid of a ngakau joker like me?” he asked..286 and a penetratingly soulful gaze that evoked a certain memory..I thought. happy with myself and--” He bent toward her and stopped her words with a long and dissolving kiss.. “For me or for water?” “For you..Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..and a little water. I went so crazy.. Reaching out she pulled off his hat. “Well. Lan..I thought you would consume’re Mary’s son. For a long moment she feasted on his eyes as they traveled over her face and fastened upon her appraising gaze.

.. Loving It means to complain.” “I won’t do that either. You’re a tough little journalist.that’s the best.. ya here this way. Ya don’t know that expression? happy.because--” “Bloody right..287 “Are ya pregnant?” “Yes. Kate.” “I thought so. Green Eyes.. a part of me is growing in ya. felt it.” “I understand.... “I just knew it.” “Yes. except by something unforeseen.because. but--” “You’ll never lose me.” “Now don’t start treating me like fragile glass.” “How did you know? I was about to say that this time I was the one with the shocking news.. ipo.. my urbane cowboy.can’t run around on horses like a wild wahina much longer...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I was beginning to worry about that. I wouldn’t have done anyway.. bloody little Gordon-Manutane.. “Jesus.” “Lan. let’s.ka mutu pea -. How did you know?” I feel a lot when I look at ya. because I feel the same about you...... Ah.or whinge or.” He began to .. staring off at the rushing white river and finally speaking in a wondering voice. wondering if you’d ever.. What? Let’s be Braes. A I’ll have to watch ya.and ya get to have me. Jesus.yeah I am.” He stretched out his legs and lifted her onto his lap then rubbed his chin over her at the heart of Green Once I denied ya that.” “Come here. and you stole all the wind from my sails. I want ya now. but I’m not going to let ya hurt yourself or get in harm’s way if I can help it.. you’ll never lose me either. Kate. Come here. and let’s not dwell on that.are you afraid of losing me.

or wait awhile or--” “Oh... Katharine smiled as a voice inside her head whispered... THE END . don’t ya.. tell Mary right away?. the gift of this rich and varied life. “Ya know all the right ways to have me. He paused and looked at her. just perfect. mother. No..” There came a sudden vision of her lost mother’s eyes... Thank you.that and your green eyes..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” He pulled her down against him on the blanket..” “I’m sorry.288 undo her jeans. full of all the greens of our countries. gave her an appreciative kiss and Maori. wait a I think that I want to watch you tell Mary. “Later we’ll eat our sandwiches. foxy Kate? It’s why I love ya so much. minute. of course I want to tell Mary. get back on She’ll go round the bend. would be just delicious.bloody amazing these bottomless pounamu eyes. of her incredible ya want to our horses and go tell Mary. Lan. in one extraordinary sense the richness had turned out to be the fortune of green eyes.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful