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Careless Child by Karlene Kubat
I would I were a careless child, Still dwelling in my highland cave, Or roaming through the dusky wild, Or bounding o’er the dark blue wave; . . . .Byron
The boat was rolling, reminding her of the smoothness of New Zealand’s enormous Interislander, Aratere, with its six decks, two of them for cars and cargo. Along with its sumptuous
pleasures, she recalled the mesmerizing rumble, a gentle lullaby of sound easing passengers between the picture perfect little fishing cove of Picton on the north end of South Island and blustery and blowing, hill-tucked Wellington on the south end of North Island. The ferry she was on now, the Coho, was actually
traveling from Port Angeles, Washington to the Inner Harbour of Victoria on Vancouver Island in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The trip took nearly two hours, during which time she
tried but failed to escape heavy thoughts, her weary eyes
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 2 transfixed on rough water and drizzling skies. For a time she
attempted to think of the in-betweeness of ferries, not even to think of it but to reside in that place, in that arrested time where one forgot what they were: commercial vessels bearing lives from point to point in routine, leisurely, or regretted passages. In that captive pause they collaborated as aloof and
graceful engines of escape, gliding over the timeless waters. She mused that she could actually chart some of her life by the routes of ferries, having so frequently crossed various placid and stormy waters of the miraculously hydrated planet. The misty cyan-blue hills over by Sooke Harbour rose and fell on the horizon as the port edged up into the sky then dropped back into the choppy Juan de Fuca Strait. The steady
roll hinted of malaise, assisted by an anxiety which she hoped to dispel at her familiar and unfailing destination. Was she far enough away yet? No, she would never get far Deliverance
enough away, unable to run from what was inside.
was only from immediate disintegration not from the underlying cause. right? Why can’t I get it right? Why can’t I ever get it
Finally she had found something which made her fall into Then its
a stillness without the echo of self-accusation.
continuance reached a startling impasse -- so untenable she had to run simply to free herself from the fear of having but having not. “You liar. Liar!” echoed her impulsive and regretted cry, She remembered the
a flimsy accusation that a child might make.
endearing bronze hand reaching out, hesitating a moment then dropping back in a tight fist. you go, Kate. “It doesn’t matter how far away
One day you’ll look up and there I’ll be,” his
message later pursued her, the memory easily flaying her heart. It was perpetual misery to think of her accusation, her confused conduct. It didn’t fit the moment that had engendered
it at all, should really have been aimed at her own self-
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 3 deception. The boat rolled sharply and she clenched her teeth Just a short bit more and you’ll be in
in a wave of nausea.
your room, your lovely walnut-paneled room, wrapping its comforting old history around another wrecked endeavor. on. Hang on. The long, long plane ride from down under on exceptionally proficient Air New Zealand had imprisoned her with recurring and unwanted memories, causing a relentless ache mimicking that of a broken bone. Unpacking and repacking lightly in her Seattle Hang
apartment, she had swiftly driven from Seattle onto the Peninsula, headed for the Port Angeles ferry with her body all rigid tension behind the wheel. She could have reached Victoria
via the passenger-only jet boat from the downtown wharf; driving over to the Port Angeles dock simply made her work at something. Finally disembarking the Coho, she took a taxi to the grand old Tudor guest house sprawling over its solid promontory -- a Victoria landmark which had become a restful home away from home. Nowadays home was any extended time in one place. The
pleasant and accommodating owner welcomed her as a familiar patron and no more, respecting her wish for privacy. Here, she
sometimes encountered the same people in the same generously appointed rooms, most of which, from various angles and levels of the three stories, had a view of Juan de Fuca Strait and the snowy Olympic Mountain Range across the restless waters in Washington. The ground floor walnut-wainscoted room, in which
she took refuge, faced out on the strait and the cloud-shrouded Olympic Range in full and spectacular panorama. It was a
familiar place in which she sometimes managed to heal herself sufficiently for another foray, after covering a bruising war or failing at a private existence; the personal encounters were always afforded minimal time, just enough time for a ruinous or eagerly desired end.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 4 Lan wouldn’t follow her to Seattle, and certainly never find her in Victoria. When he wrote that, he must have meant
that she would look up and find him foremost in her thoughts, needed sorely enough for her to give up whatever defined her. He didn’t realize what she could withstand. Her attenuated
frame and painfully sensitive mind were surprisingly resilient, could be very tough, a toughness that had formed like the thickening scar of a repeated abrasion. Sweltering flack
jackets and loud explosions and tumid, fly-covered, ripped-apart bodies had given her mettle when there was nothing else left but stubborn spirit. That toughening process had actually started She would come through this but she was
at a very early age.
tired to the bone, couldn’t remember and didn’t care what day it was. The tiredness itself was familiar. When one constantly
moved around the world, days went forward and backward; hours shifted into timeless periods of waiting, of merely lying down or standing up and then hurtling forward by sheer force of will. For two days she didn’t leave her room, offering a few platitudes when a gangly and equally taciturn British girl came in to make the bed and restock the refrigerator. She arose late
and sat with her arms propped on the table by the window, staring out at the distant snowy peaks across the changing shades of water. With an old pair of binoculars left lying on
the table for guests, the high snow fields yielded mysterious crevasses, the clean slopes dazzling in brief late winter sun or hidden in blue moon shadow or peeking through morning sea fog. She stared and stared as if a definitive answer would emerge from the stippled water or the cunning mountains or perhaps even the floating gray clouds. “I collect clouds, nothing else but
clouds,” she had told Lan, standing on the sheep-grazed, cloudbacked South Island plain. “Then ya can have all of this: Aotearoa, the land of the
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 5 long white cloud.” “I’ve heard the other expression: the land of the wrong white crowd,” she said, and knew she had ruined the moment, ruined the most generous offering perhaps another more pliable nature could have hoped to obtain. white cloud. But The land of the long
How lyrical and tantalizing the expression, and
how exhilarating she found the amazing land itself. After her regrettable comment there had been a moment of uncomfortable silence. He looked at her with those inscrutable,
very extraordinary Maori-tinged eyes holding something she didn’t want. She thought it was pity. Don’t pity me, Lan. He
I’ve had quite a life, and still a ways to go, if I make it.
seemed to know himself so well; an enviable condition beyond her experience. She had never fit comfortably anywhere, outside, This discomfiture was The moment she
always outside and belonging to nothing. the catalyst for all her constant motion.
settled anywhere for any length of time the anxiety, the restless sleep and threatening dreams fell over her like a smothering blanket. That unimaginable place in the South Pacific had held her like no other, held her for a perfect moment, as he had held her. There was a man who wouldn’t stand for any of her glibly
spouted rationalizations, who mocked her excuses and cut her off in the middle of a facile explanation which had become her practiced method of avoiding commitment. was his incisive charge. “Listen to yourself,”
No other had ever suggested it.
She had gone to New Zealand to cover the America’s Cup races. For her that sort of reportage doubled as a vacation.
The idea of escaping the carnage of the world for a few short weeks had lifted her spirits and enhanced the woefully neglected carefree side of her nature. Katharine Gordon had, in a sudden
spate of self-indulgence, allowed herself the liberty of light-
6 heartedness. giving it a friendly village-like atmosphere for a city of nearly a million souls. too unneedful to ever be thought of as a companion for more than a short season. Auckland glimmered in the sun nestled between the blue-green waters of its two harbors. and sprawling over or beneath some fifty volcanic cinder cones. certain men were bound to fall in love with her. mistrust had come much earlier. there were also many she didn’t escape. for Auckland had almost none very tall. too competent. Out of sight was out of mind Learning that in his bitter world of blame and self-absorption. from their point of view.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Waitemata and Manukau. it was usually an imposition. Ultimately. adage saved her many a beating but. once From that experience she had constructed a marvelous avoidance which involved a brief span of superficial friendliness and a comparatively hasty exit. too habitually independent. It had happened. severely. even harshly. deceptively serene but startling malachite eyes and the ironic smile playing into a smirk of amusement. simply to put her in her place. She it was a mistake. some with manicured emerald slopes holding remnants of a thousand-year old occupation. Indeed many areas of the city were like unique villages. A few indications of these Maori fortified villages known as pa . That recently less frequent transition could be a When this rare condition accompanied her pleasure to observe. without the tall buildings. 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. Her first view of Auckland with its bustling harbor reminded her a bit of San Francisco. Any longer and they might feel a strong desire to mistreat her. from hers. knew that eventually they would tell her she was too smart. restored from Victorian times and retaining their flavor in trendy upscale shops and restaurants. blundering into his path.
” she said. she had walked into the New Zealand sailing team’s signature store of apparel and gifts. Not long after arriving in this North Island sea town. allowing a cursory smile as she made her exit. sporty conviviality. to her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... “Ya will never get it back. Yet it was something altogether Her smile faded. yet with a strange fierceness resembling anger and. The hundreds of sailboat masts seen everywhere added an airy. and still feeling cheerfully on holiday.ah well. an indelible stare which left her usual sharp wit stillborn in her throat: gold-ringed black eyes half teasing and amused.” came the swift and. accented reply. not without Kiwi sailors. “Not ever in the Hauraki Gulf. unrevealing of anything beyond a superficial interest. as if she had been lightly struck. and blithely announced to the clerk in a teasing voice. “I think we will get our Cup back. giving the city a special panache that welcomed Katharine with the promise of a buoyant and rejuvenating stay. in the America’s Cup Village.7 remained as sacred sites -... a resonant male voice behind her said. she was cockily certain. She felt a sharp sting of irritation as she swung through the glass doors and walked along Quay Street West. “I’ve come for America’s Cup.” The accent of her voice had of course made it clear that she was an American. . for she had forgotten that she came in to buy a souvenir baseball cap.eventually. different.a vivid counterpoint to the grand modern Skytower reaching into the clouds and offering a splendid view of near and far islands. as if an argument would be a delight. heading over to the outdoor tables of a restaurant and bar called The Loaded Hog.” Katharine turned around and found herself looking into the rarest of dark eyes. Before the surprised clerk could mouth the same sentiment as the one which came resoundingly over her shoulder.
laying it over the empty chair at her table. Katharine Gordon was always as punctual as she was punctilious in her work relationships. She rested her folded hands a bit rigidly in the lap of her tan linen slacks and stared toward the waiter at another table. the neck of the shirt open over a thorax well acquainted with the sun’s searing coloration.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . His white shirt sleeves were fastidiously rolled. for it was known as the City of Sails and one in ten Aucklanders owned a boat. and she removed the cream linen jacket that hung unbuttoned over her pale green silk blouse. dark-haired young woman. and he was quite late. occasionally glancing at her leather-strapped wristwatch and feeling the eyes. the entire city of Auckland could be described as a lot of sailing folk. “Is it?” she said softly and smiled to herself.” came the arresting voice she had just escaped. “Please bring me a large Guinness. Probably a lot of sailing folk. which she had .” “Good on ya. Although. He leaned on one hand. She turned around and saw the same very tan face and angular body. she had his attention and she said.8 It was a noisy. with what she was beginning to hear as an American accent. Finally. 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. The day was steamy warm. 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 sat sipping her beer. half in the shadow of a spreading umbrella and seated beside an attractive. shaking her head in wonder and looking at her watch. as it was just down the street from the wharf where most of the sailing syndicates were located. She was supposed to meet a news photographer at two o’clock.
there were the relentless eyes again.9 been unable to make herself meet a second time. Taylor glanced at the man and at her. Perhaps this curious Kiwi finds Americans intriguing. gleaming smile that she could not begin to reciprocate in her now flagging state. She heard the name for the first time: Muh-nay-ta-neh -. when it was handed to her by a tall frame ducking under the umbrella.the sound rang in her ears. Lachlan Manutane. He smiled at her. slid into the other chair. and The man hesitated a moment. who occasionally glanced at her as her name came up. As she was taking her last swallow the photographer. Her head at that precise moment began a furious throbbing. and Taylor stuck out his hand. What could possibly be so interesting about me? especially with a lovely woman like that seated nearby. and knew that her voice could not be heard it was so soft and far beneath the ubiquitous chatter driving against her ears.” while talking a mile a minute about having just come off a flash chase boat that would be used in the races. which Taylor had made no attempt to pick up. knocking her jacket to the cement and offering a lame “Sorry I’m late. she wondered. headache.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Apparently he was the owner of a large sheep and She heard herself described as a cattle ranch on South Island. boring into her back. “Thank you. She looked away She felt the beginnings of a She looked up. In the next several minutes Katharine had to suffer in silence while her loose-tongued colleague chatted chummily with Lachlan Manutane. Cash Taylor.” she said. an incredibly generous. across the green water. The air was muggy. She was about to retrieve her jacket. After years of necessary travel. introducing himself and then remembering to introduce Katharine. . She felt the heat in her face. she was well accustomed to the extreme adoration or hatred Americans could generate.
.but thank you.” she was at last forced to say. “No worries. I think I need to get back to my room. Just parked around the corner.” Lachlan Manutane said in a voice that was the sound of his countrymen and yet a little impatient and capricious to her. I’ll drop ya.your It was nice meeting you. Kate. Rani.” Manutane quickly explained as he stepped back to his table and offered her name to his sister: “Katharine Gordon. while I get Miss Gordon to her hotel. dropping her head into her hands. feeling a little faint and looking at Taylor.” Taylor said. afternoon. no. “Oh. “I’m sorry. It’s Perhaps he very mistakenly thought he was doing my head...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Gee.. a taxi.sometimes the barometric pressure does that. can you snag a taxi? I said I’d have some tucker with the mates on the boat.. too miserable even to protest Cash Taylor’s vaunting manner and outrageous liberty in describing the way she handled her profession. “Yes. switching vowels around then biting them off or stretching them almost beyond comprehension and boxing the ears of eloquence. her a service. Wait for me here. pleased with his newly acquired verbiage and glancing at his watch. standing up. Rani. 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. or .. laying out money for their bill and looking a bit forlornly off down the street.” she said.” What might have been Katharine’s customary reluctance. She just managed an apologetic smile to his serious young female companion still seated at the next table and said.” “This is my sister.10 sort of globetrotting Wonder-Woman reporter in town for the races. and then tuned the rest out. I wouldn’t want to interrupt your.
He walked her all the way to the door of She had not looked at him once.. “Will ya look at me.” “A migraine..thank you. then held the bundled ice gently against her forehead. “I. She flung herself on the bed and rolled onto her back.” She didn’t move.. I’ll get ya some ice.... The dark eyes assessing her condition. He pulled off her sandals. “Can ya hold this while I get a glass of water?” She grasped the cold bundle. closed the covering her eyes. fumbling for her key.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “No. “Ya really do have a headache. curtains.why you’re here. “That’s what we’re doing here.” “Please.” Then they were inside her room. I don’t know you.don’t..” room. “Where I live it’s better -.something cool on my head..understand.. Light and sound were becoming unbearable. opened the door and said. dry hot wind.. to vomit. “Need some help.. She was leaning against a Otherwise. closed her eyes and moaned softly with the waves of pain. was overcome with pained urgency as she got into his Range Rover and silently rode the few blocks over to the Hyatt Regency. please?” She lifted her pounding head and felt the weakness in her knees.. .I need to lie down. a dark I have some pills. I think. better.South Island. wrapped in a wash cloth. She remained silent. I’ve “Fortuitous. Just let me go in and lie down.11 possibly even dismissal.” she said and thought she would swoon or very soon vomit. her room. “Come. He took the key out of her trembling hand. figuring it out.” he said. “It is sultry this time of the year in Auckland. muttering in a ragged voice when he returned. I think I’m going chair. and he was bringing ice from somewhere.” “I’m sorry.” Your photographer mate has no manners.
12 never seen eyes like yours.” he said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . What room? Where? She remembered the headache. crying out and sweating in a dark room. Katie-bird. please don’t leave me. 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. mama..from your kit bag. switching on a bedside lamp and staring around the room.” Katharine struggled up from her dream. swallowed is working. if it could be achieved. Then she remembered Lachlan Manutane and sat up.. and then leaping whales off Kaikoura and joyful porpoises choreographing their playful frolicking in the airy world above the sea surface. Suppose they’ll help. mama. but of course not.just leave me. She stared in awe at the . “I’ll stay with ya until ya fall asleep. but had no idea what time it was as she squinted at the digital clock.” “No. another one. it was he who had brought her the two pills which so efficiently knocked her out. please.” “I’m just going away for a little while. she always carried. She called down for a sandwich and ate it before the television. There was no sign Perhaps she had imagined him. watching a tourism station which was touting lovely.. 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. No. I won’t ever see you again. Ten o’clock. Pangs of hunger were at least a sign of returning lucidity.” “I can’t just leave ya.. that anyone else had been there. which was essentially gone.” “No. Take swallow this.” *** “Please. mama. Here. An essential prescription There was no cure for a migraine but unconsciousness. Green as the Hauraki Gulf.
in motion.500 years. An intelligent well molded face with high you note.it would be rather embarrassing to . Their extruded Magnificent at two hundred feet and with a massive girth which dwarfed the human figure. Later over a glass of chardonnay. had managed to interview two of the men who would be crewing on the sleek Kiwi boat. unsummoned and unsettling. remembering his face. abused her. just in time to run his shutter for the accompanying photographs. she vetoed herself. but the strange eyes altogether amused. herself. with her usual methodical perseverance. She had not thanked him and suddenly thought of herself as another ugly American. they reached maturity at the ripe old age of 1.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a full firm mouth and a straight Gaelic nose. but surprisingly gentle and ministering. tan forehead. The tall dark figure leaning over her with the ice. and now it came to her that it was certainly a generous kindness.13 giant kauri trees. work. an outdoorsman’s tan. I’ll try to find an address and send him a thank No I won’t. weatherized hands. and unreadable. Periodically his face. better to forget about it and get on with her Taylor had arrived late. and had also obtained rather interesting comments from their wives. Cash They would More benignant eyes than those had once None of that mattered. his voice flashed across her mind. black waves of hair above that high. cheek bones. brook no foolishness. By the end of the following day Katharine. powerful. she decided. having dallied in the Skytower casino. The pain had precluded any consideration of this special attention. listening to their history. gum was nearly indestructible and much prized. but nothing else must be set It was only a passing kindness. she reminded Still. fierce. this time along with dinner at Gault’s on Quay -.
sexy. too.she complained to Cash about his haphazard attention to business.” she said. duchess. land. in a sleeveless chiffon dress. have thought this was rather like a holiday. Cash was staring brazenly at her ... aren’t you?” She put down her fork.well. swallowing a bite of perfectly seared swordfish. you So in the future when we need a You’re really going to make was often.. took another swallow of her chardonnay and studied Cash with her head turned to one side..sort of unusual and a. Cash? Have you lost it completely?” They “I mean. cut loose. know your reputation precedes you. shoot will you please--” “All right. openfronted violet silk shirt. and red high-heeled sandals. Everything he wore would most certainly have the appropriate label. The brash blue eyes. white with red flowers. in fact. all right.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . me work. repulsed by it. but when I do business I do business and I’m on time for my appointments. and some of them might even go for your type: the smart lady journalist who sings rhythm and blues. or swill beer somewhere out of range. “Look... 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. “I. and the gold earring were all of a piece well familiar to her in the world in which she moved.” The evening was again sultry and this time she was dressed for it. Cash. wild and curly bleached blond hair. Hey. “Oh come on. with a band in college. I can’t keep people waiting while you lounge on someone’s sailboat.14 run into Lachlan Manutane again at The Loaded Hog -. do you want to meet some guys I know? have long sailboats and fat wallets. gamble away the hours. She was never at ease with this marvelous superficialty. I’ll get there.
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. Upon their first encounter Katharine felt that she had possibly found a heavy-weather friend. stood up. Cash. Her inclusive rather than exclusive manner was especially .15 breasts. grinders. a smooth deftness at handling social obligations. Ian’s wife Margaret was very skilled behind the helm herself. and she wanted to douse him with her full water glass. and swinging are two different things in my book. Nearer the water there was a gentle breeze. As the late afternoon progressed. Singing I think this You work a lot Please see better when you’re wearing ear muffs and a parka.S. down. “I’m afraid my type finds your type off the chart. herself. The equator was up north. Okay?” She finished her chardonnay. and quite adept at dealing with the constant stream of people surrounding their competitive lives. She remained standing for a while. her first impression was augmented by Margaret’s demonstrated perspicacity. *** Helmsman Ian Smith was a skilled and experienced man of the sea. private gathering while sojourning in a strange place. staring out at the sloshing opaque green waters. a cool and level head with a genuine interest in others and a much appreciated sense of humor. is the last time I’ll be dining with you.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . in just that mood of alienation and gratitude she decided to turn up. And this time you pay the bill. that you’re on time for the morning shoot with the U. placed her thinstrapped red leather purse over her shoulder and sauntered out of the restaurant. a highly respected sailor familiar with every shiver of water and shifting wind in the mercurial Hauraki Gulf. The Americans would be hard-pressed to wrest their Cup from the savvy crew Katharine had been getting to know.
it is a bit sultry. I’m flattered that you’ve come early. and the rest of the perimeter pungent eucalyptus trees.” “Oh.” Katharine laughed. focusing on her tan shorts and blue shirt and the enviably long tan legs.. This sultry weather really takes me down. a veiled loneliness for friendship never very intentionally addressed. “Although I might have put ya to work if ya hadn’t worn such a lovely dress.. The Kiwis were rousingly competitive when it came to the race against the Americans. so lush. it was perched on a cinder cone hill in a suburb of Auckland. was partially ringed with a thick stand of golden-trunked bamboo. this is lovely. Guess I’m a cold-blooded Northwestern American.” The caterers will do most . “No such thing as rudely early around here. Katharine followed the trim young woman. The large back yard was a veritable jungle of broad-leaved plants and spidery clusters of flowers in various colorful hues. “Oh. Katharine.” “Yeah. “I travel light and this chiffon thing is cool. everything else. but this did not preclude a generous friendliness toward Katharine. “Am I rudely early?” Katharine had asked as she came up the walk of the Smith’s large white bungalow-style house. suppose. do. Please tell me what I can It I’d like to make myself useful. I Margaret fluffed her feathery hair with quick fingers.16 endearing to Katharine’s lonely heart.” “Really.” Margaret assured her.since I’ve had the nerve to arrive early. and pointed to the brick walk leading around to the back of the sprawling house.” We’re all used to that.” “Just call me Kate and I’ll respond to all directives. Ya could arrange some silver on that table at the end of the deck while I answer the phone.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . My country has great beauty..or I guess you’d say car parks.you must have had a wonderful childhood with all of this incredible variation in nature to play in. our narrow little roads get pretty jammed sometimes. unemployment. in this beautiful country so far away from the threat and strife of the troubled world?” Katharine asked. I didn’t see It looked like clear sailing to me.. You Kiwis really have no idea Everything was moving just fine. and we were lucky enough to have .. same as everywhere else. I still have to add that every life and every place has its own sort of strife.” “At least you don’t yet have a population problem. but things aren’t always spot on around here.” “Well. Sometimes the freeways are just giant parking lots. Seattle has one of the most congested freeways in the nation.17 Katharine said with cheerful laughter. a lot of us have been lucky and we’re heaps proud of our country. Margaret. We have our wonky Family politicians and plenty of other troubles.and the sailing. I took a shuttle in from the airport and heard homecoming passengers complaining about the traffic jam on the motorway. problems. “All that being true. what a traffic jam looks like. and I hope you never find out. “Yeah. Margaret returned with tall frosty glasses of iced tea. “What must it be like to grow up in this beautiful life. alcoholism.” “But you. My brother and I learned to sail when we were still practically little anklebiters.. We’re a part of this troubled world.” Margaret said. but you have to travel a long way for the diversity you apparently have condensed in these two lovely islands. and they sat down in lawn chairs on the patio and visited in the few minutes left to them before the others arrived...” “Yeah. any traffic jam.
leaning forward and touching Katharine’s arm. Darkness slid across the sky.” Margaret said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I was a worthless child. didn’t like talking about herself. It had taken her years to realize what was happening to her and to learn to cope with it. She Ultimately. with her lively.” Katharine sipped her iced tea with intentional evasiveness and thankfully noticed that people were starting to arrive. Yes. and the lights strung through the trees winked on.” Katharine said. I’ve only seen videos of your parks on television but they’re a mouthwatering temptation. the conflicting aspects of reportage. but I got high marks at school. “I didn’t have a conventional one. 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. Katharine sat on a bench under arching sprays of vivid pink bougainvillea.. creating interesting abstract shadows among the lacy. Within an hour the spacious back yard had been transformed into a cheering section for the Vulcan’s Fire crew and the entire syndicate. webbed floral bracts and spiky plants. it was like pointing the finger at a self which had done something shameful. Jennifer says you’re being paged. The end result was always a consuming guilt.18 a family that liked to tramp all over the place. not always successfully. your family? What did ya do?” Margaret asked.” “It seems to me that you could hike around North and South Island all of your life and never run out of spectacular places. take-charge body already in motion. a guilt which could actually change her chemistry. “We’ll talk more later. her history. “What about you.” a They were well into .had a grandmother who took very good care of me when she finally took charge. Phillip.. “Excuse me.
” Lachlan Manutane said. state that I.. “What are you doing here?” The “I might ask the same question.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. Still smiling. it cures one thing and causes another.totally lost my manners. your kindness. almost a part of something solid and ongoing and admirable.. You really Well. “Ian and I were schoolmates.yes. Manutane. It’s why I’ve come north.” came a voice springing out of the recent past. the words just audible over the band warming up at the foot of the garden.. Mr. laughing voices. surprised me.” “Yes.. smell of eucalyptus was delicious. “Ah.” “You’ve no glass in your hand.” “Ah. I’ve known him just that long. With her back against the cooling verdure and the stars coming out she felt almost comfortable. saw me. right. “My friends always.. Katharine sat staring at the crowd of buzzing.. “Even in this bosky darkness I can tell you’ve no headache tonight.. He rose and left to answer his call. for he truly seemed to be enjoying their talk.. even when I give my wife the pager I can’t escape. “Oh!” Katharine cried out as she jumped to her feet and turned around. 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.” After Katharine had sat back down.” the sports writer said in a regretful voice. right but I’d rather hear Lan.” “I’m sorry. to see him win.but ya were drinking Guinness.didn’t mean to sound so.” “I’m careful...headaches.19 voice sang out from the dim shadows..did I say it right?” “I understood how ya were the other day. Lachlan Manutane Ya looked more relaxed before ya Ya did say it Do ya go by Kate?” .” “Will ya please sit down...
taking in his apparel. things. Another white shirt. Careful. glint. but this time jeans and deck shoes without socks. glowing in the darkness. She couldn’t look away.or boredom?” “What?” she said. surprised that he would touch her like that.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . snapping up straight. Her wary head quickly dropped.20 casually settled beside her. Before his hand dropped.” “When I’m thoroughly interested in something. nerves. it doesn’t translate as casual. the dark eyes holding the small sparkling lights that hung above in the trees. then reached toward her and lifted her chin until he had her averted eyes fixed on his.” She turned toward him for the first time and stared into his face. staring off at the band.. very casual remark. her head had stiffened and trembled. “What does it cure?” “What?” “Alcohol. a stranger. I suppose. placing his empty glass below the bench.. It must have been the intimacy resulting from the headache.. He moved closer. of a friendly encounter and yours are two entirely different things.someone.not a and her heart began to speed up. She was now far from relaxed. He smiled.. She reminded herself that he had watched her as the anodyne carried her from pain into sleep. vulnerability in a shared experience evoking a certain affinity.” she said. A cooling breeze brushed against her flushed face. Katharine. “Am I causing nerves.. His wristwatch flashed a gold She watched his allusive lips curve over even white . Something had ignited inside of her.” “Oh. and hopeful of keeping her Too close to this man and she seemed to forget distance. raising his hand to thrust his fingers through a lock of hair blown into his eyes. his idea “That’s..
“I think. Sorry to be so. Kate? Bloody sure I’m behaving myself.21 teeth. Come and dance with us..” “And I’m more?” she said with flippant sarcasm.familiar... it occurs to me that you might only be interested in one thing.” he said. “Since you don’t know me from Eve.I’m not really who..” She tossed her head with a flash of anger at his accuracy. “Why should I fool around with inane banter to get where we already are? Ask Margaret.I’m just. around for one thing. .” A pretty young girl with a bouncing black braid and wearing shorts and a halter came hurrying up.” I thought I’d heard them all.. Katharine realized it was Lachlan’s sister. too. If only she What knew more people here. Margaret. without showing anything at all. It may not look like it at the moment..” “Now you’re insulting me.” “I’ve recognized ya. Rani. but I’m working. but I’m just here in New Zealand on business. “Oh for heaven’s sake! I think so. Kate. 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. “What? It’s just that you..” she began.” Ya promised Come on. “Why’re ya so skittish.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . laughing.I’m sorry. her eyes searching through the crowd for Margaret.. “I’m trying to find out.and I really--” “And ya don’t know me. and felt a wash of relief.” You’re a stroppy little wahine.. Ya promised. There are plenty of bodies Sometimes more is wanted. and said. us you’d dance. “There ya are.... She’ll tell ya I’m direct. Come and rescue me...so direct. and then swallowed slowly as she tried to think how to get away without showing any emotion. Lan. but you’re so.
I was once. shaking her head and looking very disturbed... anyway?” “I was watching ya earlier. “What?” Katharine responded with surprise. enjoying her baffled reaction with a thoroughly self-indulgent rush of laughter. Rani. she’s doing just great.” “Are ya married?” “No. How are you?” Katharine swiftly chimed in. “Box of birds.. Even when she turned to walk away. You’re acting bloody rude.22 “Haere atu. Nice to see you again. “You spoke Maori to Rani. and. being the polite fellow that I am.” Rani backed up slowly. “It means But she won’t be doing just great if she doesn’t take her little backside out of here right now. “Hello.” Lachlan said with a low cool voice.. she could be seen looking over her shoulder from time to time. her eager voice almost desperate. Lachlan threw back his head.” “How did you happen to find me hidden away here..” Rani answered.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Once again they were quite alone.just told her to rack off.” “Then you’re free to do what ya want..” “I was trying to spare ya that... waited until ya were free.why you’ve decided to--” “What. until she vanished into the somewhat removed but noisily chattering crowd.” “I don’t understand why you’ve fastened on me.free. and Katharine was sorry she had chosen such an isolated place to enjoy the garden. sorry because she was not at all in control of herself.” “I’m not. and then I saw ya talking to Phillip. “It’s an expression ya haven’t heard. Rani.ya have no self-esteem?” .” he said.
lucky.the little I’ve seen of it. He put his hand on “Where is the Southern her shoulder.” “I’ve admired it in the shops.. He pulled her in against his chest and pointed overhead into the myriad .enough to get by. “I didn’t intend to look for ya again until after the races.” “Lachlan.” “Pounamu?” “Greenstone. true nephrite. Cross?” He laughed softly then stood up and said.means good fortune. Yes. and she felt an electric pulse shooting through her in that touched spot. “Yeah. It’s very beautiful. I mean I’ve never. I was only Is there But here ya are.Lan...Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. there is something I’d like to ask you.. I do. dropping her head back to study the sky.” Katharine said.” They walked over into the shadows beside the trunks of bamboo and looked up at the star-filled sky. many kinds. when your work was finished.” “Ya don’t like my country?” “It must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Ya have pounamu eyes and you’re no nonsense..” Please excuse me. fortuitous.” “The day my work is finished is the day I leave.. “Come away from these lights..and pride in my country.” “Good.” “Was I ordering ya around? expressing my pleasure.jade..” “You’ve seen nothing.but ya will.. something you’d like to ask me?” “You really are quite amazing. Sonsy. please understand that I’m a very independent person.. almost caving her knees. I don’t take well to being ordered around.... all with names..” Here.. “What?” “It’s an old Scottish expression of my mother’s.23 “Yes.
.24 stars. control. but her hands didn’t work.four lovely stars on your flag. then the delicate propriety vanished in unrestrained indulgence. she had thought. the shadowed well at his throat. looking at her and then catching .” He spun her around and stared down into her startled eyes.” 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. With eyes The gently increasing force of his pliant mouth. she still saw the curl of smile. wanted to do about it. part of a ceremony. warm and whiskey-tinged.. She could feel her entire body trembling out of It frightened her.. the angle of his chin. or worse. It was he who drew back. she was looking at his tilted face. She thought she was resisting that overconfident mouth.. manuhiri. At last She really “I don’t.. Instead.oh. She was working and in the wrong place for anything like this. Nothing worked but the desire to go on and on cradled in that powerful surge of commingled longing.. She was far beyond any slight anticipation or the barely imagined. beyond even fear. Right there. and remembered that nosetouching was a Maori greeting.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Hongi. his refined Scottish nose. but there was nothing she could do about it. wanted that drink.” she heard him say softly. closed. “A Maori gesture.” How wonderful. but. he perhaps gave her the chance to refuse his embrace. sent her floating up into the realm of the Southern Cross. intended that her hands push him away. “Follow my hand. beyond the ridiculous. then drew her slowly in until their noses just touched. Can ya see it? Wonderful. I’ve seen the Southern Cross. “The sharing of life breath.yes. sliding over her parched lips.” she said in a whispery voice.
” Margaret sat down. there ya are.” “Excuse me.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . That’s confusing.good. but Ian is looking for ya. she held on to steady herself.. though..” “Ah.. Lan.. have ya really drunk nothing?” “I don’t remember. winking at Katharine who blushed thoroughly and was glad for the welcome darkness. “I hope you’re This must be quite a different scene from enjoying yourself.and I do thank ya..” Lachlan said..” The expression This is “I only said it was quite all right.. please talk to my friend He’s “I’m So much for good manners.. . Embarrassed. Ya are going to come sailing with me.... ya see? to insist. “Bloody-hell.” “I rather enjoy teasing ya.” “There. please. also means thanks.” He laughed and said. She had withstood being shot at. “Margie.” “There you go again. making a toast.I don’t understand. just a visitor. “You’re drunk on something.strange little manuhiri.I don’t think so.” “And that’s what I am. Will ya let me take ya sailing?” “I’m sorry.” “Don’t.a manuhiri?” “Just a visitor.” “Oh. Now I’ll have here while I toast Vulcan’s Fire and its soon-to-be-triumphant helmsman. and just in time before I lose my head.. ka pai. laughing and pointing through the ginger leaves at Rani who was dancing flamboyantly with one of the grinders..drinking anything..” “What is a. coming up to them. yeah. but had never been kissed with an effect that folded her body as though she had been shot. She turned back to Katharine and said..when your work is finished...” Margaret said. so sorry to interrupt. Kate.25 her teetering self..thank you.
Donald McGregor. given time. His father was Maori. Mary McGregor. pulls no punches. bloody nearly made it into a kingdom. I’m sorry. “Oh. I can see that you’re quite curious about I would not gossip behind his back. They’re beastly I hear.the man was a genius with animals -.” Katharine said. “It seems to me that you’ve met Lan before this party. quick to explain her short encounter If with Lachlan and her headache. mind ya.. her father threatened to disown her. he is. “Yeah. him. Rang Manutane. but I’ll tell ya a few things that I know. of course. He’s very direct. her father had .” “No. the heiress of heaps of sheep Her brusque hulk of a father.. as they say. Ian’s best friends. and cattle lands on South Island. I’ve I just get the flimsy little ones that can be knocked down with an aspirin. I feel as if I’ve known you all of my life.and. Even his given name. tell me to shut up. not especially because he was Maori. and his mother is a Scot.” “What a choice compliment.” “Yes. he would probably tell ya himself.26 your normal work. Lucky me. Margaret.a very different sort of person.you are so wonderfully normal.he was named after his He’s a very old friend. a handsome laborer on the station. She was an only child. never had one. one of maternal great-grandfather.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” “Lachlan is. He actually came to admire Rang Manutane -.” There was a moment of silence. although I’ve never thought of any of my work as very normal. and even before Margaret spoke Katharine knew she was thinking of Lachlan Manutane. But you. one he ruled all right.. but because her father had wanted her to marry the son of adjoining lands and combine their stations. When she fell in love with Rang.” Katharine said... I’m prying. wanting very much to know more but disinclined to pry.
. holdings into a very profitable business.twenty-two. and leans toward the teachings of his father..speaks fluent Maori. older than she appears.a very shrewd businessman.has turned his speak much... Mary’s ten-year-old daughter drowned in a flood while on horseback.. As a boy he went through a rather wild period. Rani understands Maori...spurns most excess. Her She had married Rang....anyway a recluse.” “So Lachlan Manutane is a prominent sheep rancher?” “Oh. Rani is no blood kin.owns a restaurant here. I really think she stays in that childish mode because she gets so much attention that way. yes.. But it wouldn’t have He’s simple in his tastes. I’ve heard mother and son converse in Maori. He has always gone back and forth between Pakeha.. mattered.. He’ll always be Ian’s friend. that is white. good girl essentially. Lan treats her like a child...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . He tries to be a big brother to Rani and do what is best for her because it’s the wish of his mother. In the end he left Mary the entire station. or businesses. daughter--” “Oh. but I’ve never heard her Lan was educated at Oxford. whom he certainly adores. and Rani was a foundling child. a She’s Lan. lovely Rani.. much more.. and they ran the place together. and there’s a Thoroughbred stud farm down west of Lake Taupo that belongs to him. I believe. and Maori cultures. but his wise father soon straightened him out.. She’s Maori and adopted.their private language. Maori always have good He’s been quite positions on his places and in his businesses.” “No.. Mary wanted a girl..for whom he really cared.27 no other heir. generous to the Vulcan’s Fire Syndicate. but quite spoiled. I think she’s ill. . except for a few interests in which he indulges. so does his mother who learned the language to honor his father.couldn’t have children after She’s terribly spoiled.
.” Katharine laughed. He was never quite the same -. I’m beginning to stray into a place that is none of my business.before they even catch on to what’s happening. There are those who thought he might marry Rani.the saddest story. Margaret. my heart to hear that. find anyone like that again. they’re not blood related.. “Oh..really almost a magazine piece in itself.” “It certainly broke his. but he’d step over them -.absolutely breathtaking.. So now ya have a bit of personal history to take home . as I say. of course.to the most beautiful and clever girl ya could ever imagine.. I hope ya aren’t going to write it.” It really pains “Oh.. He likes to do his own choosing. the daughter of a Maori chief. but it isn’t “Oh.. even though.” “I could. She had suddenly thought of the opening line of Pride and Prejudice and was smiling over that: IT IS a truth universally acknowledged..I’ve seen him do it. no. “I imagine Lachlan would be considered quite a catch for some worthy girl. deftly and politely. although they seem to have little in common.28 His father was fishing at sea with friends when their boat capsized a few years ago in one of those sudden wicked storms. exactly my professional cup of tea. and I’m sure he’d consider that incestuous..” “I’ll say. I really doubt he’ll ever There are any number of women who’d fall at his feet.” “How interesting this all is. so sad..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She died of a rare form of leukemia.he drank a lot for a while.” “Good lord. and then he just suddenly straightened up and went on with empire building.quite a moving story. He was never found. with ya..” Katharine said.. he was married. that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. But.
certain it was time to change the subject. and I’ve still seen almost nothing of it. away and explore.her proclivity for empathic sympathy would make her quite vulnerable. shook out the airy skirt of her dress. he required some more in-depth exchanges from time to time. “I’d better go check on a few things. make sure the caterers don’t accidentally walk off with my silver. Ya really can’t think of leaving without a good dose of the beauty that exists here. and you don’t even have anything here that bites. this kind of nature. She suddenly realized that if Margaret now asked her friends for a helpful tour guide.” “Just one quite rare little poisonous spider: katipo. of course. “Oh.. sandflies. Lachlan would step forward and assume that role simply for his own entertainment. No thank you.” Katharine said.29 “I’m really falling in love with this land. Her head was awash with new She wondered what Lachlan had expected from that ruinous kiss. Margaret. I have some early business to attend. She took ahold of Margaret’s arm before they reached the others and said.. Perhaps I wish I had time. The She had enough misery resulting from her own history. 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. I’d take ya to some lovely places. Certainly. let me introduce ya to a few more of the others. Margaret.mix it in with theirs. and my head feels . perhaps he thought she could presently fill that need. places on the tourist channel. “I did see those incredible They just made me want to run I’m crazy about nature.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and.” Katharine stood up. we’ll find someone to show ya New Zealand. I’m so sorry but I have to leave. information. and walked along with Margaret. tragic information which she had just acquired only made her want to run faster -. Come.” Margaret said. standing up.
God.” *** Very early in the morning.. We’ll toast the properly seen New Zealand.” “I’ll have someone drive ya back. please don’t bother anyone.” “What? Who? Oh. a sealed envelope. gold-covered . night. I’ll call a Thank you so much for inviting me. I enjoyed our talk.can’t risk another headache..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Sorry. “Yes? Hello?” “Kate. I hope we can spend more time together before I leave.... The late breakfast she ordered in her room came with a red hibiscus flower.I’m... What did Margie say to ya at that piss-up? meet.. Green Eyes. because I’m bloodyhell not through with ya.damn you..I’m sorry but I’m no good at casual relationships when I’m working.” Margaret frowned. I mean.not at all.” “No.” “Look. ya could have let me drive ya back. but I’m a little pissed -..30 a little punk. She must’ve told ya I don’t kiss every woman I Lan..and a lot pissed-off.” “Well... Lachlan. Kate. And I’ll look forward to getting together. pounamu eyes.that’s drunk to you -.. Us.this time you kissed the wrong one. Katharine’s phone rang and once again it took a few seconds to remember where she was. winners. “And I hope ya won’t leave until you’ve There’s a phone in the hall. it’s three o’clock. taxi.. and a smallish. we’ll just forget about the casual remark right now because I’m too drunk to argue.. As for the rest. I’ll wait until you’re quite finished with your work.” “Incredible. By the time she recovered from her outrage Good enough to stop tossing and turning it was nearly time to get up.damn you!” Katharine shouted at the dead phone.
Lan She sat with her arms resting on the chair. She stuck her hands into the pockets of her bath robe and walked slowly around the table which held these items. Please forgive my conduct. Green Eyes. “you know you can’t keep this. and is a rare form of the stuff your eyes are made of. like a mongoose circling a cobra. she was talking. The smooth. Kate. cool feel of it vibrated in her hand. I’ll see you after the races. she In a while she lifted the ribbon Nestled inside couldn’t rise from her chair. and pulled off the lid of the square gold box. The object in the box is called Totoeka. I should I can’t blame Ian for continually filling my glass. typing away and sending back stories to the magazine which held the contract for all of her New Zealand work. Still. remembering precisely how she had celebrated her first view of the Southern Cross. “Oh.” *** When Katharine wasn’t sitting in her room with her laptop. carved in an oblong convex shape to accent the gorgeous vermilion streak curling diagonally through its green field like a rushing red river. because I was the foolish chap swallowing. and the Kiwis and Americans anything else. her hand dangling over the side grasping the note as she stared into space. never have called and spoken as I did.31 gift box.” she said to the moist green eyes in the mirror. It seemed that no one could talk or think of The races had begun. and she slipped the black cord over her head and walked to the mirror. Thinking of it even now. . a very beautiful and mysterious piece of jade. Finally she snatched the envelope The note read: Katharine up in two fingers and broke its seal. was a large pendant. talking to all sorts of people in and around and involved with the races.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I would have sworn that you would not do what you did last night: Leave without saying good-bye.
big twentyseven meter Vulcan’s Fire was consistently perfect to the second. The Americans had invited Katharine to a smaller gathering. and he was pushing her good nature and high spirits to the edge with his frequent tardiness. Her only problem was keeping Cash Taylor He did perform his in line for the various shoots she arranged. articles tailored to captivate the magazine’s carefully researched readership. Whoever maneuvered into the most favorable position at the start more frequently emerged the winner. and she knew it could not be. They made it look as easy as an aerobatic bird on the wing. where she could bite her nails in seclusion. too. but his idea of punctuality was more laid back than she had ever seen it. barring strange and unforeseen accidents and exceptional boat design. The smooth starting-point jockeying of the Kiwi helmsman and his crew in their top-of-the-line. When they ran into each other on the crowded wharf. There was no lack of material for her deftly written stories. I’ll have a ticket sent over to your hotel.32 were battling it out in well-matched and finely tuned vessels. work well. quite an accommodating space which normally offered a huge and varied buffet but would be turned into a spacious party hall complete with orchestra. she concluded that.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and rewatching later on television each night.” Margaret said with a congenial flutter of her hand as she spun off toward the syndicate offices. Margaret had just enough time to tell Katharine that there would be a large celebration at the Skytower if the Kiwis won. and she intended to put in an appearance there. Watching them fly through the mercurial course out on the green Hauraki Gulf. and Ian Smith was a master at getting it right. They were taking over the entire Fortuna Restaurant quarters. the win was decided at the starting gun. “You’re invited. and come .
the last time. She would soon be back Standing on various brinks of disaster swiftly banished disabling imbroglios of the self. It was not an unfamiliar pattern. in another war zone.33 late to the Kiwi event. if someone had to beat them. made no attempt to approach her. This time was different.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . For She stared at her television screen. Still. as different as the man himself. What to do about the exquisite jade pendant? decided it must be given back. The initial jolt of excitement at seeing him left her foolishly adrift in confusing territory. She had It was only the introduction to an assignation that would shortly end with herself in misery. With patriotic anguish. position reigned. Margaret’s friendly inclusion topped a list of other invitations which Katharine intended to forego. except previously the misery had been short-lived or nonexistent. She desired to know much more about him. *** The race was over. 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 . glad that it was the deserving Kiwis. She waved and turned away He had with her briefcase laptop attached to her other hand. inadvertently pondering small details and the intense directness of his gaze. whatever the outcome. 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. Before her. acing the American’s out of the favored side of good wind and sealing their fate. certain she would not be missed. She saw Lachlan Manutane only a couple of times from a distance. sorry for the Americans but. at once more thrilling than offensive. regret at what might have been was better than suffering over the demise of a deeper attachment.
taking it all in in her comforting role of observing journalist.” “I’m an observer. as she habitually found herself doing. 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.. I was hoping for unobtrusiveness.. untouched glass in her hand. slipping out an airy crepe evening dress she had splurged on in a trendy shop in the upscale inner suburb of Parnell.” he was boasting. full. Evening wear which artfully molded itself over her slender curving body very appealingly and without vulgarity. Kate?” Margaret asked with a surprised scrutiny of Katharine when she spotted her standing by a thick yucca spreading above a large jardiniere.” Katharine held a “Good lord. *** “Is that really you.34 Cup. after-five ambience.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . would imagine a New York model. ya look like. ferreting for tidbits of useful information -. 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. Looking in her mirror. spaghetti-strapped bodice. It was black with an almost demure. Katharine thought the Auld Mug was rather generous of itself.she was always in the market for clever and definitive one-liners -. Indeed. “The Auld Mug seems to like it here. Katharine fingered through her closet. having once been smashed at its current residence by a protester wielding a sledgehammer. a straight but filmy short skirt below a plain.and then standing half hidden near a potted palm. instead of her usual style of French roll. Just those things She would and a modest pair of opalescent pearls in her ears.I . probably end up discreetly chatting here and there.
oh. She was consumed with a desire to run. “Where have ya been? I was looking for ya earlier.” Here in “This bested American is so happy for you all.” this splendid land and feeling full of good will. at least. and laughed with all the fervor of her triumphant mood.. of “Have ya had anything to eat.” “I was at an American wake. and he looks as surprised as I did. course. tilted “I don’t lifting the glass almost a necessity. I see Lan headed our way. She was wearing a tropics-inspired pale blue dress that matched the color of her happily crinkled eyes. but Margaret had already vanished. white shirt.35 “Well.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .a lot of long faces.. Now.” She had not meant to drink even a sip from her flute of champagne. Guess I’ll run off and tend to Spotcha.” “Wait.” More determined than ever.” she whispered to herself. some other more needy folks.. .” Margaret said. Kate? “I’m afraid I ate at the other place. “Please don’t drink that. standing firm and watching the tall form in navy blazer. run in any direction that held a door through which she could escape. That’s certain.” “They were no slouches.. and gray slacks stride forward. want ya getting a headache. that very assertive accented male voice made She did lift it. but they’re pretty good sports.” Katharine begged. you’ll nivver bring it off with that hair and costume. her earnest voice carried a sincerity trailing no hint of the false blandishments heard in some other quarters.” “Well. “You coward. love. “Isn’t it grand? Ian is several meters off the ground.” he said with a grin that she immediately thought of as difficult to work against. The food is good.
whakaturi. “That spoke volumes. I’m Do ya really think I’d let some wally photographer spot a woman for me. lovely pendant.36 it and drank half. not who ya seem to think I am. I. Thank you so much for your kindness. let me be.” he said in a low voice. “And I’m not in the mood for a long story. I’m going to hand it to you.. Nevertheless.please just take it and say no more.. it was a soft word beginning with an f sound and spoken mostly to himself. First of all..” He tossed back his head as if to rid himself of sudden irritation.. But I can’t do this. but impatient now... I want to .. “There. either. paused a moment then drank the other half. I was wondering just how ya ever imagined ya could read my mind... She hated Please just Gold-ringed eyes like tannin-black forest pools pulled her into their depths. things to you and you’ve mistaken me for. but I’m royally insulted.I don’t do this.. “Will ya give it to me.. ya look wonderful. Maybe Cash said Really. and I want you to take it.” She reached into her purse. I can’t do this.more than Ya look--” “Lan..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . freeing her hair from the cord without explaining the Maori word. “And please don’t insult me with bad manners. lifted out the pendant and laid it in the palm of his hand. He looked at it a moment and then at her while he quickly slipped the cord over her head.. what she had said. wonderful. I can’t accept the lovely.I’m not who you think I am. While ya were running off at the mouth with false assumptions. for Christ’s sake? Pardon my language.while I.. not at all. I know you meant well. the smile stalled..” His curled mouth reminded her far too much of that Southern Cross moment.. Look..I have the pendant in my purse. I’m sorry we have to stand here like this while I tell you.and then I think you should leave me alone..
He said nothing and made no move to console her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .37 be alone with ya. “What kind of shape is your duffle in?” “My. and we’ve done all the celebrating here either of us needs to do. “All right. as if they were both combating something else.” He took her arm. let’s get out of here.” “That’ll make it easy. angry for abetting a delusion.” It was what She tossed her hair back in angry frustration. stay when I’m in Auckland.. Very soon I probably will have a headache.. his voice even sounding commiserating. only holding her arm as if she might escape and moving along the sidewalk until they reached his Range Rover.this misunderstanding. angry that he so readily grasped her predicament. I will let you take me back to my hotel. even while she was saying. I’ve been very compliantly waiting an Let’s get out of here. “I said. afraid of what she herself would do. and she stared at his hand there. but the worry was that this time she would be the one to attempt throwing away the key. because I’ve really had enough of this. My luggage is packed in my room and ready to leave with me in the morning..” “What?” she asked in astonishment.now wait a minute. She flew into a It jittery tantrum. he told her to stay put while he retrieved her luggage and checked her out. eternity for that.. The unrelenting intensity of Lachlan Manutane encircled her as forcefully as if she were already locked in a room with him. happened when she became afraid. . You’re late.” touch astonished her because of what it did to her body. She could clearly see the end of this. Outside the Hyatt Regency. His It’s where I We’ll haul it over to my place. “Your place?” “I have a house on the harbor in Herne Bay. was he who would put them there.
she sat huddled in her seat while the bellhop stowed her bags. I have a sloop just over in Westhaven Harbour. She thought if he stayed kneeling there she would kneel down. She folded her arms diffidently and said. “This is where you stay when you’re in Auckland?” she said. she found herself standing on a blood-red Turkish carpet running up close to walnut-wainscoted walls. Ya need to know .. It’s comfortable. “What a wonderful sense of humor ya have. she looked straight ahead while Lachlan drove them out to the harbor and up to his Herne Bay house. We’ll sort it out. slightly amazed. will ya stay put. passing through an elegant but dimly lit foyer. handsomely carved front door. Certain she had lost her mind.38 “Please. A few halting steps over the stones of a fragrant. and amidst fine old pieces of gleaming oak furniture..Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” she muttered and was silent. I If ya don’t like the outcome. and begrudging him the architectural beauty of an old treasure very well restored. Her body aroused.. “Don’t you have to hurry home and dip cows or punch sheep or something?” He set down her luggage.I do fish.” and let ya go. too. I’ll cart ya back here Please just give us a chance. knelt on the carpet before her and laughed with his head cocked back and the cords of his throat tight. the next day. promise. her mind in retreat. Maybe we’ll go sailing tomorrow. Once inside.or Do ya like to fish?” “I. a breathtakingly beautiful white Victorian house overlooking the bay. “Right. Kate. then hesitating as Lachlan stood aside and nodded for her to precede him through the dark. and look at him the way he was looking at her. palmy garden and she was climbing the steps. I like it. kneel down or fling herself down.
” . It means something more when I say it. Green Eyes.because I never say it. and she stepped back. highly amused. but for your sake I’ll try.” “With playthings in little black dresses. Make it clear to me. “Ya really are choice. fairly soon. What does it mean?” His expression was at once sly and amused..” “I haven’t been bought with jade. tell me why I’m here.” “I couldn’t even climb them.39 that when I work I work hard and when I play I play the same.” she said. with an accommodating smile. “I’ve come this far.for this?” “Whakaturi?” “Yes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .Kate..” I’ll tell ya any number of things. “When ya smile at me like that I’m not sure I’ll make it all the way upstairs either.. “Before you touch me. do ya realize ya can do anything You’ve done a hell of a lot already. reaching out for her. Do ya know what that means? I fancy ya want with me? ya.” she said and smiled for the first time as her fingers clasped the pendant hanging against her breast.” he said. “What was that word you said.” “And not by the way ya were kissed?” “That too.. He lifted her easily in his arms..” “I’d like to think ya wore it for me.” Again he threw back his head and laughed.. still with vestiges of a smile and trembling all over.” He stood.” “I was overcome by the Southern Cross. “We’re going upstairs. I nearly had ya where we stood. Just sex?” “That too. irresistible in it. Ya do know you’re But I think I’ve got to take it off ya Katharine. if you’ll tell me why ya kissed me back the way ya did at Ian’s. “It means love token.
He climbed the stairs to the master bedroom. my suitcases.roses. That was But I can’t My brain isn’t working at He rather deftly parted from his own clothes. and when it’s over we’ll be able to talk. “I’m in very bad shape here. There followed a sort of beautifully Such fierce wildness.” He didn’t hurry after he had removed her dress. a stunned Katharine was in the . have you.Jesus.. I can’t talk now. “I like your perfume. and finally pinning her hands above her head while a piercing hard thrust slid into the very wet center of her just as she was about to open her mouth and beg and before she even realized what was happening. I don’t want to For you it’s nothing at all.” she called out in a last desperate attempt at rationality.40 “My clothes.oh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . recording every unfamiliar place until she wondered if he expected her to beg. because you see I don’t want to want you. wait. because it only means more pain.. dove-gray duvet and said. laying claim to her body until she couldn’t hold still. then his mouth exploring her. the thing which surprised her.. and her dress came off quickly in his adroit fingers. but for me it’s another eventual misery. person doing this to her? A man..” her whispery voice confirmed. all this waiting is another kind of pain. pounamu eyes.” “Attar of roses. but his hands went over her flesh like those of a blind man. She sank down into the soft. and if you only had a little compassion you’d--” “Be quiet..” “But very soon mine won’t be either. she was half Who was this man? Who was this orchestrated wildness. and. and set her gently on his bed. First his hands. which faced out on the harbor. talk now. “Ya won’t be needing them tonight. afraid half wild herself. all. and that can be very hard on the system..
all that uninhibited satisfaction. His freely offered self. and coming like the expert that he was. “What?” “If I was on the pill?” “Are ya?” “Yes. His mouth gently touched the lids of her closed eyes. exacted responses utterly surprising to her. burning up in stimulated excitement so fulfilling all practiced restraint vanished. kissing her lips one at a time. And then amazingly enough he said. She couldn’t think anymore or question anymore.” he said.” she said. “We’ll get better. Then he was outside her and coming against her belly with her hand pressed down on him.” “Why is that?” “Because I’m so cautious that even when I’m celibate I’m on the pill. wanted to do it all over again. she was out of control. couldn’t tell him that she wanted more.” And in a couple of weeks it will all be over. all that earthshaking sensual play. “I was always hoping that someday you’d come along. she thought.” “Nice try. slowly returning. along with spontaneous cries at feelings she could hardly withstand.41 act of discovering. All that unleashed hunger. By climax. nearly delirious. couldn’t open her mouth. if not risk-free. care with his sperm. absolutely consumed with giving her deep pleasure.” “I like that better. “You could’ve asked me.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Okay?” he said with his mouth in her hair. her masterfully tended body rocking in waves of incredible sensation. given so naturally. Aiming for lightness but lost in the airy unreal. she responded. couldn’t answer. She was dazed. .” he said. In a couple of days it’ll be nearly perfect. and yet thoughtful.
yes. she tried to hold herself still. his deftly arousing touch turning her into his. waiting as the tall case clock across the room swung its pendulum...” Oh. his intelligent hands working so adroitly. not green like this. Green Eyes. but she was with him..oh.42 He held onto her. his mouth caressing the nape of her neck while his hands stroked down the front of her. it was no use. don’t ya?” “A little. please.” “This what ya want? Yeah? Tell me. had felt his muscular strength irrupting in her willing self.right here with ya. God. Green.. “I want.. the tawny skin dark against her sun-deprived flesh.oh.” Very soon they were too lost in the way they were handling Yeah? ....I want.” “I’m with ya. spring. knowing precisely how to make her rise into the air. Green Eyes. The feeling was so wonderful she thought she could drift off to sleep like that. God.. I’ve never seen eyes that color. Looking at their pairing..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. ya are sexy. Maybe the hills on my place in the heat of Christ. moaning and arching her body in sudden quick spasms.not this close.” “A little.. physical need yanking her into wakefulness with her breath coming so quickly she was dizzy as she cried out. so that she gasped with a craving all new to her and closed her eyes. “Open your eyes. A little? Do ya like this a little?” he asked. “Oh. He lay with the back of her body tight against him.yes.help me. not like this.” Sleepy hot green. Good?” “Yes. help me.. Lan. tried to think of sinking into nullity... pulling her up against him and driving himself right back into her. until she turned to him thoroughly aroused again. I want to see your eyes.. “Ya like this.
Her previous encounters with men had always been of minimal effect or unsatisfactory or both. and her partner never seemed to care very much about what was happening to her. sheepskin carpet. Somehow the full pleasure of it never arrived. through a carved-oak door which just happened to lead into the bathroom. only looking . including her dysfunctional marriage. a large bucolic painting. Her feet slipped down on a broad and creamy She wandered off. Leaning on the counter. The She looked around the room and saw a vintage oak dresser and desk. decided to take a shower. 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. He lathered her and himself with a black bar of aromatic soap and they rinsed off. Her body was damp. No sooner had she turned on the water His arms came than she found she was sharing it with Lan. around her and he took hold of her hair. quickly. When she had relieved herself. in itself a sensual luxury.43 each other. what they were making happen to each other. but she was so exhausted she could barely sit up. moist green eyes that seemed almost startled.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Erotic feelings and sensations which drove her to near hysteria were heretofore unknown to her. and she hung onto him because she was so weak from expended energy and from him. only unmistakable involuntary cries paired with a physical satisfaction she would never have believed possible. she looked into the oak-edged mirror and saw a rather pale face with large. She muttered something unintelligible even to herself and felt his mouth opening over hers. to utter any more words. perhaps of South Island range country. and the incredible view facing out on the silvergreen bay. and she had to pee. gently pulling her head back to find her mouth. Then he had her pressed up They both came very against the tiles and was inside of her. bed was damp.
The way ya I followed ya into the noticed things. I want ya to sleep. All brand new.caring makes it good.44 at each other occasionally with very few words spoken. “The innocence.” “Ya think I was buying souvenirs? store. “Ya haven’t had sex in a while. 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. completely and totally rooted. A kind of slow ..” she said...” “You--” “Yeah.” “What makes you think you know so much?” He smiled and said.the way ya lost yourself in it.” When he had dried her and himself off with huge navy towels.like it was something all new to ya. and I don’t think ya enjoyed it much when ya did. In a dreamy state of fatigue she turned to open the door. slipping backwards into his arms.you cared how I felt. “I like the way ya said that. I’d been watching ya for some time.. she lay staring at the ceiling in a half daze. pleasure ya had in them.. the smile it induced lingering on her face. “Hold it. You’re I think it’s back to bed. “What? Are you made of steel? I’m so tired that--” “I’ll let ya sleep.” “It. and he said.but ya enjoyed this....” She opened her eyes and faced his continuing scrutiny straight on. touched things.. while he leaned on an elbow and studied her.” Her eyes closed as she relived the incredible pleasure of really being with someone. smiling as if it was still in your possession.” “Do “And I think that’s where I get worn out.it was..Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..... I still wonder why you followed me out of the store that day. picking her up.” he said. “Why did you. the surprise. You. Kate. you have any coffee in this place?” “The coffee is after bed.
” “You’re awfully good at this.maybe even necessary. way.strangely beautiful. Those green eyes shot sparks through totally somewhere else.” “All right.why me?” “Haven’t I been telling ya why? complicated Enzed crowd. anyway.. I think so.... I’m discovering that you’re very smart--I rather suspected it after Taylor’s grudging praise--and you’re funny. don’t say that. I mean with a sense of humor that is absolutely necessary in this bloody rotten world. I think ya want more loving. but I’m no fool.... not all perfection.” “Is it so bloody rotten for you?” “Not always.” “You think these are such untainted eyes? they’ve seen? Do you know what Not all the time... one I’m We.too bloody cynical.” “Haven’t you ever noticed anyone else doing that?” “Not the way ya did it.” “Yeah.so fair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .helps make ya who ya are.. You’re not a part of any It’s obvious ya have an open mind. the soles of my feet.... And as we go along..45 contemplation and consideration I found bloody irresistible. I tend to be an optimist I’m a journalist.. I wanted your hands on me that Ya turned toward me once and looked right through me.we wouldn’t last. rather like sixty volts.” “No.” “Yeah. a writer of obscene truths. You’re fresh.” “Guess how I got that way.. so let’s do this instead.” “Ah. going back to.untouched by the history here. Lan.” “Am I falling asleep yet?” “No.but.” . I can see you’re not going back to sleep.” “And I think you have me mixed up with yourself.. And who ya are is the person I find very attractive. and I report on this rotten world.. I live in a different world.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 46 He ran his hand down the length of her body, stroking between her thighs until she quivered with need, then rolled atop her and drove himself into her until her legs clasped around him and she tore her fingers through his hair, her exhausted body trembling uncontrollably while she cried out for more. Finally, they lay on their backs simply breathing for several minutes, until she turned on her side and said, “I’ve been wondering what that is you have around your neck. shower with it on. Does it represent a fish hook?” You even
He stared at her a long moment without answering, then his fingers slid across his chest and cradled the pendant in his hand without looking at it. He gazed quietly into space.
“Yeah...it’s...a very finely carved, stylized fish hook...bone.” She wanted to take it in her hand and examine it, but something in his manner forestalled a closer inspection. “It looks very beautiful. I’ve seen them in the stores.”
“This was never in a store.” “Your wife gave it to you,” she said with a quick intuitiveness. He lay in silence, his eyes continuing to stare up at the turning ceiling fan. “I never had any such relationship with my husband, or any other man. You’re lucky, very lucky to have had it.”
He sat up, slipped the thong over his head, wrapped the cord around his fingers, then opened the drawer of a stand beside his bed and dropped the pendant gently inside. “Please don’t do that because of anything I’ve said.” “I should have done it before I had ya...since I... been with me so long I didn’t think of it.” “I wish I hadn’t said anything. I feel sad for you...I’m It’s
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 47 sorry, I shouldn’t say so...but very sad. I wish that you could
have been happy for a long time...that it never happened to you.” Her nervous fingers smoothed over the sheet. He picked up her restless hand and kissed the palm. “Ya are choice, Green Eyes. choice. Come here. I didn’t really know how
Let’s go to sleep.”
In a few hours she awoke and found herself held close against Lan, who was breathing softly in her ear. her face toward him. She turned
He opened his almond-shaped black eyes and
blinked at her with a slow smile. “Say something to me in Maori.” “Something to me in Maori,” he muttered. “No, come on, humor me. Maori?”
He shook the sleep out of his head and stared at her. “Why? You’re not a speaker and ya won’t understand
me...but...you’ll probably hear plenty of it from me anyway.” “Yes, you’ve said things to me before.” “Tourist words,” he said in a grainy sleep voice. “Pounamu eyes?” “All right...couldn’t help myself.” “I’ve listened to the language on the radio. beautiful lilt to it. it from you. Rather like Hawaiian. It has a
I’d like to hear
Please, will you speak to me?” The black,
Lan raised up on one arm and leaned over her.
gold-ringed eyes seemed even more black when he began to think in Maori. His smooth Maori-Scots face looked daggers at her,
and she was beginning to wish she had kept her mouth shut. “Noku ka pakeke, katahi ano toku hinengaro ka huri ki te ao Maori i tipo aki ai ahau. “Lovely. What did you say?”
“A...didn’t think about the Maori world of my childhood until I became an adult.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 48 “Oh, Lan, is that so? me the way you change. language. head?” “And in your head, Green Eyes? Ya strange woman.” Please tell me more. It fascinates
I love to see you thinking in that Oh, how does it work in your
How does it work?
He stared at her while a slow, appreciative smile altered his serious mouth and crept over his transformed face. It was a
Maori smile, she thought, one that she could feel as from another frame of reference. The singularity of language, the
rare forms of communication began to overwhelm her as she stared off, frowning in contemplation. Then she felt his fingers
smoothing the serious furrow in her brow, followed by delicate, carefully made kisses over her face and throat until she, too, was smiling. “Taku manawa, taku tau,” he said in a soft voice. “Which means?” “I’ll tell ya some other day...maybe.” His voice, his manner had returned to the other part of him she sought to know, just now a titillating, unbridled humor. “Now either sleep or more fucking or we get up and go sailing. Which is it?” *** She was sitting in the breakfast nook, holding her yellow mug with two hands and staring dreamily out at the waters of the harbor. Her body felt light, perhaps slightly bruised but not
unpleasantly affected, as if she had been rolled over and over by warm waves and tumbled onto a beach. “What kind of shoes do ya have with ya?” Lan asked. boots? I suppose not.” “Any
“You mean like hiking boots?” she asked, turning her languid green eyes on him and making him smile as he reached out to touch her sleep-flushed cheek. “I don’t carry hiking boots
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 49 with me unless I expect to go hiking.” “Ya sure’s hell didn’t plan on staying long in Enzed, did ya? No one with any sense comes here without tramping boots.
We’ll have to buy ya some.” “I thought we were going sailing.” “We are. the top. We’ll sail over to Rangitoto Island and tramp to Choice view. Good exercise.”
It’s rough lava.
“My God, I’ve just had plenty of exercise.” “Well, this tramping bit will get ya in better shape for the kind ya just had, Green Eyes. head out.” “You certainly are a bossy bloke,” she said, staring at him sitting there in his Windsor chair, wearing tan bush shorts and an open-necked blue shirt and smiling as if he owned the world. He laughed. not at all. “I don’t mean to be. I don’t want to boss ya, Finish your coffee and let’s
I’m just the leader here because it’s my country.
When I come to your country, ya can tell me what to do.” “Have you seen much of America?” “A fair amount. Ya have a lot of nice wild there, but it’s I like it better here.” *** Lan drove with an impatient self-assurance, one hand on the wheel the other doing other things, tuning the radio or touching the bare leg below her shorts to point out something. They
crazy...too many people.
drove out Jervois Road to the Herne Bay shopping center. She squinted down the street at some English words too far away to read and said, “What does that sign say?” “He putu, he hu, we nga whakamaunga waewae katoa e hokona ana i konei,” he translated into Maori and winked at her. “Now you’re getting back at me.” “What’s the matter, do ya need glasses?” “Is that what you said?”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 50 “No, I said boots, shoes, and all other footwear sold here. Do ya need glasses, perhaps?” “No, I need lessons in Maori.” “When was the last time ya had your eyes checked?” “When was the last time you spoke Maori to an American woman with no boots?” “My god, I’m going to have a royal smash-up here if ya go on like that,” he said, laughing so hard that it was fortunate they were just pulling into a parking space. In the store she said, “I like these. They’re cute.” She
smacked together the toes of the boots she had just tried on. “Cute doesn’t cut it. These are better. Give them a try,”
Lan said, handing her a heavier pair of dark leather boots. “You will have your way, won’t you?” “I’m thinking of your feet, Green Eyes. cute, and ya ought to keep them that way. They’re what is
Please try these.”
“I would but I’m afraid they’ll sink your boat.” “Oh, Christ, I can just see what sort of day we have ahead of us.” At the register a slight disagreement occurred as to who would pay for the heavier boots which had been decided upon. “Expensive,” she said. “I’m buying,” he quickly replied. “Certainly not. I’m wearing so I’m paying.” “It’s not your fault
“I’m paying,” he said with finality.
you’re getting the kind of boots ya expect to sink my boat.” *** They drove back to his place for two ice chests, one filled with sweating green bottles of Steinlager beer, from an ample supply in the refrigerator, and a hunk of Stilton with a loaf of uncut bread. oranges. Lan tossed in a broad-bladed knife and two
The other ice chest held bait and was for any fish
her feet moving a little forward up the dock with the memories still . cleat down that fucking line.” “What does Waiata Reka mean?” “Sweet Song.. When Katharine first saw his boat Waiata Reka riding in its slip at Westhaven Harbour..” “Yeah.the water splashing against the bow. then tossed her the lines and jumped on deck.” He had uncleated the three lines from the bow and portside cleats that bound them to the slip cleats. Lan. ten and a half meters. I’ve had the captain’s orders that go along with the sport. “Changed my mind. thirty-five feet of history loaded with new gadgets to keep ya from drowning.so my editors believe. I don’t want to sail.” “In sailing it works this way: ya either know how to sail or ya don’t.” “And evasive as hell. I like the sound she makes close-hauled and It’s an moving fast..” She was standing there thinking about her former husband. I wonder why that is.” She turned and looked off at the other boats. Which is it?” “I’m a Northwesterner.” “You’re a sort of poet.. pretty as an antique jewel box.. “Do ya know anything about sailing?” “A little. Do I have to knock you off this damn fucking boat again to get your attention?” She jumped back onto the dock. and how he used to swear at her: “Goddammit. Katharine. My captain I don’t knocked me in the water when I didn’t move fast enough.that is..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “And not a cow puncher. Richard.51 that might be caught on the way to and from Rangitoto. old boat. huh?” “I imagine you do that very well too. Lachlan. want to sail. she exclaimed. “Beautiful.
. The perfectly flush lay and rich vertical grain of the shining teak deck. They were out and ready for sail. I can handle I just have to move a little faster. standing up. he did it all himself. of course. give a damn. “Sorry...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she stared about her at a very shipshape sloop. Please get back on the boat. but it’s just the way I am. He recleated a line fast and jumped onto the dock. the glinting bright winches and turnbuckles. and down in the galley. we’re going sailing to have fun. I Sometimes I sound a little gruff. polished bronze hardware. Show me your stuff or take a nap.” “I think I do know how to sail.sometimes it was so demoralizing that I--” “We’ll see. that’s all. allowing her to reveal her own capabilities. gleaming cabinets. Right?” I don’t We’re here to enjoy ourselves. Someone must come and care for this boat most tenderly when he was away. The boat yawed slightly. “All right.” “The bloody fool dumped ya off your own boat? what a wanker.52 burning away in her insides.. “Would ya like to take the wheel while I hoist canvas?” he asked with careful politeness.” While the auxiliary took them out of port. “What son of a bitch treated ya like that?” “My husband. moving slowly toward him along the tilted deck and then dropping into the cockpit. I can’t believe it..” she agreed. don’t care whether or not ya know how to sail.” she said. He said no more to her. Sweet Green Eyes. “All right. or I wouldn’t have this assignment. Bloody-hell. but. solid and firmly set over well-joined. this boat. and she grabbed a shroud. coming up behind her and turning her around in his arms.about all that. unless.
“She’s all yours. “You have such magical names in this land. snapping the jib shackles to the forestay and raising the luffing jib. Waiata Reka.” was all she would give out.. then he brought the .” he said.” She turned the wheel and the sails swelled and bit into the mast.53 Bent on holding Waiata Reka steady into the wind. swelling and lapping with hunger. her eyes went from the telltales to a quick glance at his hands and back to the telltales.something very important that I won’t have to teach ya. “Will I have to teach ya how to ride a horse?” he asked as he changed places with her. sweet song. and her heart lunged like that as the boat heeled and strained.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “So now we know. She stretched out on her stomach opposite the cockpit on the seat above the well and said between her fingers. and the mainsail was climbing into the sky.” “There are horses around here.” he called. “I haven’t seen any horses around here. nearly leaping into the sky with windpower. Glorious to watch the big sailcloth suck at the wind. she looked up at the whipping telltales on the shrouds. he had freed the main halyard tail. Determined not to let the boat fall off as he deftly worked at shaking out the mainsail along the boom. Her heart began to speed up as she watched him in the bow. They beat into the wind for a while. sliding his thumb across her wet cheek and kissing her laughing mouth. When she looked again toward the mast. The water rushing against the bow was music.” She was silent. staring out toward Rangitoto. “Okay. but the ones I’m thinking of are in Canterbury. She was laughing and there were joyful tears in her eyes when he reached her side..
“Okay. that’s all.54 bow to leeward and slackened sail as the wind fell abeam of them. hook and do some fishing. and the sails jostled Thrilled. she looked on. Please don’t get yourself in high dudgeon. 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. I just said it was absurd. feeling the heat and finally donning her sunglasses.” “This is something she does for you. “Oh. I get it off my chest that way without going round the bend. or just keep quiet and try to figure it out contextually with my high intelligence?” .” “I’ll just watch for a while. “Ah.” he said. she told you. “Better put on a hat and some of this. Water reflections danced off his face beneath his cap. tells your women--” “God. Ya have some problems. lifting the hat from her hand and pulling it down over her shaded eyes. ya talk to me?” “When will you talk to me?” “There’s probably a heap I don’t have to say. Do ya want to fish?” I feel very lazy. handing her a baseball cap and a tube of sunscreen.” “Damn it.” he said. You’re still rooted. I’m going to bait a I understand. The boat lurched into a soft glide. E whakaaro ana ahau he patai hohore tena. in stillness as a pod of dolphins played off the bow.” things behind another’s back without permission. Get some rest. Kate. Kate.” “Yeah. mysterious Kate. You’re rather untrusting. talk to me in a language I can’t understand. Margaret do a lot of my talking for me? “Oh.” “Should I tell you whenever you use an Enzed expression that I’ve never heard.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She’s a real straight arrow and doesn’t like to say Didn’t “When will Ya know some things.
He made a smooth long cast. and she saw that he concentrated thoroughly on what he was doing. stared at her thoughtfully for a moment. aren’t getting. as if he were alone. then laughed softly and shook his head. his arm casting out over the waves. greatly enhanced by a rhythmic cadence of wind in the attenuated sails and lyrical swashes of water on the hull. . The spinning rod he used looked powerful enough to pull in some hefty sport fish. I’ll simply try and explain as we go along. puffs of breeze tugging at his hair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She watched until her eyes burned and she grew soporific and almost dizzy. put his foot up on the taffrail and glanced back at her.” 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.there’s one for ya: independent. but then all the mysterious dark life in him jolting the perception into a vivid reality of here and now. doing. I’ve been pretty well I think I’ll know what ya schooled in the language department. the line he used was light and delicate enough for a fair and artful play with smaller nimble fish. a film or a dream. That unselfconscious aspect of him was reassurance both exemplary and fascinating to her. but. easing herself down on the teak deck.” She watched him toss his hat down. the intense dazzle of light reflecting off the green sea. A perfect blue dome of Canaletto sky. “Sure ya don’t want to do this?” “I’d rather watch you. I like ya that way. pull off his sunglasses and reach into the chiller for bait.” “Yeah? It’s all in the way ya hold your mouth.55 He was walking away and he turned around. His tan fingers moved with a quick and familiar dexterity. you’re a hard case -. on the other hand. “Green Eyes. cocking his head.
” “I was using my mere to club a big kahawai I just caught. He kissed . “Kate! For Christ sake. come here ya silly wahine. There are sharks around here. Her father? Some ominous form chasing her through endless rooms in a strange building and out a small confining window into the sky. Jesus. where she tried flapping her arms to stay above the ground and fly away..56 The sloshing boat and the heat gradually lulled her to sleep.. were ya thinking?” “I was having a bad dream and--” “It’s okay. When she hit the water she was thoroughly awake and sputtering. You’ll dry out. A couple more times she looked up and saw Lan casting his line out over the realm of unknown fishes..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . then she fell into a deep sleep. and he reached for her. Look at ya. Someone was after her.I thought you were going to hit me. and I. What in bloody-hell are ya doing?” Lan shouted at her.” He pulled her against him and pushed her dripping hair out of her eyes. screamed and leapt up and over the side of the boat. “Now you’ve turned your clothes into swimming togs. “I thought you were someone who. He was throwing a rope ladder over the side. “Come out of there.” She was struggling forward. She She saw a dark figure standing nearby with a raised club.” she choked out. She looked up at him and began to laugh. 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. “This is certainly proving to be a very unusual day. but I don’t like ya in this water. What “I woke up and saw you with that club. Granted they’re well fed sharks. all wet. A noise opened her eyes. and dreamed something dark and foreboding..
please come here. I come below and discover a bare-skinned woman sleeping with her golden-haired self sprawled across my bunk. you randy devil?” “I just called ya a woman. Ipo. Just when I’m getting over the shock. then his own clothes came off in a wild rush.” .” She stretched. oh. and she twined around him as they tore into each other in the utter joy of wildly impassioned oblivion. Kate. I want ya. and she felt his warm solid body hard against her. his taut-skinned. “I have to go topside before things get out of hand. I want ya. amazed at his ferocious expression of hunger and need. Some time later she opened her eyes to the touch of his hand on her cheek. “My god.” He pulled on his shorts.” He pulled her damp hot body down on the tight bunk. “Stay here. I’ll Stop lay your clothes out on the deck to dry.. ya open your dreamy eyes and I want to dive into those green pools and swim right down to the bottom of ya. Deep in the throes of the second kiss her bare feet left the deck and she was up against him in his arms.. sweet crazy little ipo.57 her wet mouth. feeling drowsy and sated. and ya are very much that. He was crouched on the edge of the bunk. “Bloody amazing.” “What if I were to start calling you strange names. I want ya. After a while he said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . sweet ipo. feeling so at peace that she drifted into sleep almost at once.” He carried her below and removed her wet clothes. peeling them away from her cool damp skin. heat-flushed naked body leaning over her. “Get your little arse over here wahine before I come all over my boat. talking and come here. Jesus. and she drew herself back away from him. while the boat gently swayed and water sloshed indifferently against the hull.
It had begun with her eyes roving over curves and angles of sun-warmed. As she quickly sucked in air a startled high note of satisfaction like a short wail issued from her mouth. “Hey.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . her gaze captured and held by points of light glittering in diminishing hues of hot darkness. He laughed and lifted her onto his lap. could have then said anything clearly. she curled her body against him. Seized with a desire to touch and touch. Nothing of her escaped those tracking black eyes. walnut-gold flesh and poignantly wind-mussed hair. don’t hurt yourself. her arms extended forward with her hands anchored on his shoulders as her heart raced and her breath came in quick jagging gasps. She stared up into his eyes. ya wild little wahina. then almost at once her lazy heart lurched forward colliding with her ribs. not an invasion but a coupling that gave such excruciating pleasure the sweet pain of it knocked her head back. “Is this what ya wanted?” She would have said rhetorical if she could have thought clearly. They were almost together then as he coaxed her into a tight . she put her hands behind his neck and straddled him with her knees pressed into the cover of the bunk. don’t hit your head. to somehow. her body swaying. Then his hands were on her waist. then her clearing head considered the words of his poetic voice.” She was beginning to moan softly. Her throat gave out a garbled breathless acknowledgment as she threw her arms into the air. lifting her up and bringing her down on him. covering her mouth to suppress a halfgrinning yawn. somehow get deep inside that dark enigma and reach the place that made her into a sensual being full of heretofore unknown joy.” Turning herself half around.58 She sat up slowly. and felt them crash into the roof of the cabin. “Careful.
a silvery-green-topped. are my clothes?” When she was dressed she came topside and said. With me. wait.yes. also with forked tails. Jesus Christ. dark-banded raised foreheads. Jesus.. Don’t hit your. Yeah. The kahawai was about twenty inches long.” he finally muttered into her left ear.. collapsing against him. “Oh.” was issued with a slight gasp. I sometimes fish for steelhead.also two tarakihi.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” she cried out. “At home. beaked noses and large sad eyes.. beautiful silvery fish with dark backs.. gutted. stroking her back.” His fingers clasped her waist. “Nice. pointed-nosed fish with a V-shaped tail and nicely attenuated at both ends. “Where is the kahawai? I want to see it..” It’s in the chilly “Where “Are ya hungry? Do ya want to eat first or “Good on ya. He held her.” she said.” She lifted the lid and studied the fish.. bin.. “No.” They lay back with two hands locked together beside their heads.lovely. “Okay?” “Uh-huh.. tramp?” “I want to eat like a starving tramp. The tarakihi were rounder. “We’re anchored off Rangitoto.59 weave of heated rhythm. Careful... ya remembered its name. kissing and stroking one another in lazy oblivion. lovely fish. streamlined ocean-going trout with . Easy..oh God..” she said.look out!” “Oh. “Ah! My God. oh.with me. 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.
“You said your Maori half. big mana.60 tremendous fight. “Mau tenei arani. They sat on the deck. a common practice. power..fertility.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” she repeated. did ya? Something that occurred in my wilder days.” His eyes held hers until she began to blush so deeply she could feel the coloration spreading over her face.” She repeated it several more times while he smiled at her.” he said. “I. staring up He peeled an orange and handed it to her. a stylized ancestor..I noticed your tattoo when we were. “What is ipo?” “Ipo is sweetheart or lover.” “All the more reason to blush..a. He glanced at her for the certainty of her refusal and then drank from the bottle himself.” she said in a soft voice.” “I doubt it.” “Mau tenei arani. “I find it choice.” “What?” “I said this orange is for ya. “Ya have a very good ear. Do you ever think of yourself as two opposing halves?” she asked with a carefully gentled . a tiki. They ate in silence.” “Ya did....a tattoo on the buttocks. but very appropriate for my Maori half -..” “I see. really quite wonderful that ya can blush with such innocence after what we’ve done to each other. and. offering her another Steinie.. swilling Steinlagers.” “What is it?” “A heitiki. She watched him slice the grainy bread and edge off wedges of cheese then hand an open sandwich to her. which she declined. I always put them back.” he said. at the island.” “I’m certain ya do.
even though there were almost no Maori on the Canterbury plains. “the name. “Rangitoto blasted out of the sea only six hundred years ago and last erupted about two hundred and fifty years ago. I’m comfortable with myself.everything. They’ve seen it before. “These trees and shrubbery grow right out of the lava..and far too busy.61 voice.” “The Arawa canoe?” “It’s rather a long story. but I speak the language well enough. The Scots aren’t much of a problem. What’s that small-leaved one?” The last part is easy boardwalk and a . It’s two hundred and sixty meters high and it’ll take about an hour to reach the top.. not for me. had a few scraps. but the Maori came here in waves of canoes.” “Where are those clodhoppers I’m supposed to put on to protect my cute little feet?” she asked. thanks to my father. I went through a period of being bothered by it... I don’t think of it much anymore.. The chief of the fourteenth century.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . lot of wood steps.” “The name is short for Nga Rangi-iotongia-a-Tama-te-kapua.have been fairly well accepted among my Maori friends. “Tell me about this place. He rowed them to shore in the dinghy with their boot ties knotted and the boots strung around their necks. It means ‘the days of Tamatekapua’s bleeding. “I’m what is known as hawhe kaehe in Maori.” She halted a moment to gaze off at the dark greenery.’ Arawa canoe was wounded here.” she said as they jogged forward.. The Arawa canoe arrived in the Bay of Plenty in the That’s where the Arawa Maori settled. They secured the dinghy. a half-caste. booted up and headed over the very rough black lava trail. Wouldn’t change anything.
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. “Kate Green Eyes. Enzed.your family. Another young couple came along.” Lan said as they walked the loop around the crater’s rim.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . they were starting up the boardwalks and steps. She I couldn’t blame her for that.62 “Manuka. My mother left my father when I was He was cruel.” “Oh.Christmas time. “Motutapu is mostly grassland. They sat looking at each other. didn’t have the heart to tell me. Very What’s that other gorgeous tree I see everywhere?” This island has the largest forest of it in “Pohutukawa. last words from my mother were a promise that we would pick . five.. promised me she would come back for me.. and he said. stopping now and then to look back through the tunnel of leaves or outward when a sea view was available. their honey here. and honey collectors get lingering red flowers. good stuff.a slightly different species from Australia.” “I have no family. and she I waited and waited. talk to me. They returned in about half an hour and sat on a bench gazing out to sea. Finally. the early settler’s tea substitute.still a few Bees love them. I went to live with my grandmother.. She was killed in an automobile accident with her lover. and medicine to us... a rather all-purpose plant that you might know as the tea tree -. Ya had some on your toast this morning. Always blooms at chrissy. tea tree oil and soap and shampoo.” “None?” “None that I know of. your childhood. I know it. glanced around and left. but I never saw her again. The I didn’t know that. grazed by cattle and sheep.” They crunched on over the lava in silence. anything..
and that’s what I I accidentally married Oh. She tried to tell me the beating was really She nothing personal because she was afraid it would ruin me. I loved my grandmother. I found it very easy to go into dangerous places. Richard one cold winter sojourn in New York. She was a Greenhouses in the winter filled with heavenly blue I roamed her woods. hunting wild things. possibly even worse than my father. not quite. There. It lasted a little over a year.. took me into her When she died it heart and filled me with sweet old aphorisms. her Wild Flower. . and She sent she called me her Fleur des Champs. My grandmother sometimes spoke French. It just became a habit.little did I know. do. end of story. When my I sometimes dream that my mother and I are there.very lovely.” “Yeah. greedy. I was eight. said he was only venting his rage at my mother.decided to make my contribution to the world by exposing its evil underbelly -.63 flowers together in the meadow of a woods beyond our farmhouse. I’m good at writing. Cut loose from everything. They’re a small wild orchid.” Surprised at having said so much. but I was a little too cerebral and.. End of story. and developed some humility. florist.. I’m beginning to see. you “Then I went to Stanford where I became a quillet-tongued wise-ass. me to a very good school where I excelled. a deceitfully friendly. she was beginning to regret it. I’d intended a musical career.. She saved my life. iris and white and yellow narcissus. I guess. And then?” I always had to.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . That was when I became a journalist. He was the one who made my judgment of another’s character highly suspect. lady-slippers. grandmother discovered that my father was beating me she took me away... idealistic. until I had my ears knocked back getting shot at. see. cut-throat advertising executive. was one of the saddest days of my life.
” She sprang off the bench.you see. ready to head downhill.I’m being conservative.” I “I “Fun when you come to Auckland..wonderful. but to me it’s been.” she said..and. A part of me thought ya might be fun for a few days.” “I’m. He leaned away and looked at her long and hard in silence. Very soon you’ll be shut of all this.the kind of wonderful that hurts...” she said in a low voice. Kate?” “I..” “A nice memory. one of the best days I’ve ever--” He had hauled her against him and buried his face in her salty hair.. looking at her. “That’s good. Jesus. recognized ya the exact moment I saw ya wandering down the street. I don’t quite know how it works.. . Why are ya here.... “Well. more than you ever wanted to know about Katharine Gordon. because I was right about everything I thought when I first saw ya. yeah. and that’s the part I’m talking about. smiling. I’d have sworn it was more than that..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. “I simply want to know ya.64 He sat in silence.I guess I opted for a nice memory. was hoping for more. having ya.” she said. clever funny Green Eyes. but found herself being led back.. because I’ve discovered I like being with ya.” he said. I bloody well knew it would turn into this. “Sit down a minute. “I wish you hadn’t done this. know you think it’s been a crazy mixed-up day.but a part of me felt something else. 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.until now. “Now. guess I can’t argue with that. and touching ya and looking at ya and listening to ya... as folks in the southern United States like to say..
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . sliced tomatoes. “I’m sorry.65 Something just clicks and there ya are. They cleaned up the kitchen and washed the dishes together. I’m just sorry you’re in this sooky state. Katharine. don’t ya?” Nothing more was said of what had transpired. I’ve had articles in here on occasion. both in somber thought. he asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner. and she declined.” “Is that what I am? Well. Maybe you’ll catch some fish on the way back. Fluffy eggs with a bit of cheese. They returned home late.” She flashed him the first grin of the evening and said. browsing idly through an array of magazines. Recalling parts of my past is like a spurt of bad chemistry. He scrambled six eggs. somewhat subdued in mood. didn’t you?” “Not at all. it’ll go away.” “Moody. then went into the living room which he called the lounge. and ya can’t go back to whatever the hell it was ya were doing before. and toast served on blue and white china.” she said. tea. I had a wonderful . and they walked down the hill.” “You’re scaring me. wearing fresh tan slacks and a blue silk shirt. feeling rather unsociable and wanting to simply wander through his house and peer at the books in his library. Ya like to fish. “Hmm. which went into the freezer. and you’ll never be the same. sat on a lovely old striped Victorian chaise lounge.” “Don’t be afraid. hardly touching but ranging deep inside of each other. The day isn’t over yet. you wanted to go out to dinner. “Explain please. after she had turned down the fish. 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. After showering.
” “Tell me.” Tell me how you feel. Ya know how I feel. You’re a little coward Is that it? And the sky might fall. Scared to I should be working.” “Ya have. yeah. yourself so completely. Kate?” Running around the world nearly getting shot is. I’ll always the way. that’s how I feel.. Kate. Don’t worry. ya must. “I’m besotted with ya. please.. how can ya do that and then I’m sorry but I feel like I’ve got a temper Ya refuse to accept it.” “You can hurt someone without touching them. Have I?” “No. When ya make love with me ya give Oh Jesus. I suppose. but I’m not going anywhere until I have ya with me. He looked at her a long moment with incredulity. that’s how I feel..that’s how I feel. I was a lazy lout. Not you. out of my head and can’t think of anything else. Your clever hands..” “Then I feel sorry for ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . know ya do. I My God. just chatter on about walking away? smashing something. that’s how I feel. unwilling to take a chance. easier for ya than taking a chance . I’ll always remember that. earth might cave in. The way you do things. When I get home I’ll be able to close my Please stop it. “Nothing. but I’ll never lay any pain on ya. What I don’t think ya realize is that ya feel the same.66 day. started to speak and then continued looking in silence. death you’ll get away from me. eyes and--” “Stop it. and the In what do ya place your trust. but--” “But I might. and I’m trying to figure out how to do that.but I loved watching you fish along I can close my eyes and see you. 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. remember this day.
.. very familiar with it. looking out on lights around the harbor.. or tell me it won’t go away.” “I tried to tell you in the beginning. loved you... “How could that be when I always.what? Way-waya?” “Recently I’ve become What is it? Whatever it is I can’t stand much “It’s. God.” he said. but he caught her and held her and let the tears fall on his shirt.... you’re--” She turned around rapidly and said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . such.... looking at him with her sad moist eyes and seeing reflected back such obvious misery she had to look away.oh.yes.” “Tried to tell me what?” “I guess that I’m. hands.” he said softly. Tell me something.” he said.the raw truth. “Tell me it will go away. “The truth.yes.” changed completely.oh.rather unstable.lovesickness. “Poor little Green Eyes... the way we make love. Tell me.” she cried out and tried to flee with her hands over her face.. Today... Your mind. “Kate.. I was getting sick.everything about you.. coming up behind her. She had walked away so that he wouldn’t see how badly she was shaking..the way you moved and held your head and looked at me and laughed with me and told me things.. What is that? more of--” “Wewehe.such pain..” she said.67 on a close human relationship.. oh such pain.” he explained.. and. wiping her eyes with his .. He was grinning and his expression had “Lovesickness?” she said with a startled and frightened voice. I just sat there in pain and. sharing moments with you.your Everything you did was like being hit hard. “At least tell me the truth. She stood up quickly and walked to the window...
“What was that you said in Maori?” “What?” he asked. *** Their lovemaking had been so furious and all-consuming that when morning came neither wanted to get up. only rising for brief visits to the bathroom. She looked down into his burning Then eyes and saw them glazed with a vulnerable satisfaction. kissing him back until he took hold of her. She lay with her head on his shoulder. and he threw back his head. making her cry out.68 thumb. luxuriating in the certainty of the terrible heat to come. lost in a swaying rapture with her head back. rubbing his chin over the top of her head. Soon he lifted her writhing body atop him and watched her pleasure them both. He slid his mouth over her lips as she quivered with desire. even more arousing now.” He turned her face up. leaned over and looked into her eyes. She’s having a good cry.” “Are you making fun of me?” He didn’t answer. . They stayed in bed most of the day. merely picked her up and carried her once again up the stairs to his bedroom. staring into his suddenly intense face.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She ran her tongue over his firm nipple.” “Taku manawa. were slow and languid.” she repeated. feeding her from his careful hand. “Taku manawa. then thrust into her. taku tau. taku tau. “Tangihanga. sliding her down and fitting her against him. My heart. In the early evening he brought her a glass of chardonnay and a single slice of bread with salami. and to the kitchen to stave off hunger pangs. “You said you would tell me some day. staring idly out at the harbor. my love. Their first movements.
” “Where is Rani?” Katharine asked.” “I can just imagine it. He laughed and said. much older than I am now.. I’m fairly interested in living.the little idiot. She saw his face change very subtly.. Overfucked and brain-dead?” What kind of a pilot do ya want? “I’m a very nervous passenger. Green Eyes.” “All right. “When they finally do arrive. she threw her arm over her head and lay back. A Turbo Skylane four-seater. “Nothing to worry about. with their bodies drenched in sweat. lassie.. drawing up her knees and curling against him. We’re flying out of here tomorrow. too.” he said laughing.that will take some time. It was only the beginning of a relentless give-and-take energy which made her cry out over and over.just replaced my old Cessna with a new one. and then ya close . panting softly. nearly deranged with the pleasure shooting and spiraling all through her body and brain until she was limp and senseless. ya little glutton. if they ever get there. if those pikers get in anyone’s way there’ll be hell to pay.69 he rolled them over and made her come very quickly with a ferocity that startled and thrilled her. pulling her head back by a silky hank of hair and opening her mouth with a deep kiss. “You know when you do that I only want more.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . When it abated. “She took a commercial planeload of her mates down to Christchurch and is bussing them over to the station to mess about in idle nonsense -.” she said. Cor blimey. Nice plane. to make a pun. I’m up for it. I’m rooted. Kate. her parted legs quivering.” he said.. “You’ve had enough. a slight frown of impatient annoyance.” “When I was twenty-two I was very serious. ridiculously so.
and shoulderharness seatbelts. Kate Green Eyes. then checked the oil and fuel. Staring dreamily through the window and out into the blue horizon. Katharine saw that the small plane was indeed sparkling new and looked like a very capable and compact form of private transportation. which he had already ordered topped off. but at 12. Oxygen for each passenger. As the crow flies. and at a speed of over 180 miles per hour they would arrive in a little over three hours. “You’re off to Waikikamukau. Lan loaded in their luggage.70 your green eyes and give me a rest. he revved the engine up to 1. He gave her a reassuring smile. they had to travel only about 600 miles. like a multifaceted brooch set with colored gems of all the earthy hues. while she sat pondering how she had come to be making this journey and wondering what would happen next. range. She looked down upon this exquisite surprise of clouddappled land pinned between the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Ocean. tinted windows. at Lan. he told her. and gave forth more of the She glanced . wall-to-wall carpeting. It had a single piston engine of 235 The horsepower and could fly at an altitude of 20.000 feet. she was shaken from her transfixed state when the plane bucked in an unruly current of air.” “Why kick a moo cow?” she said. When they were cleared for take-off.” *** They had taken a taxi south out of town and over to the air strip where his plane was parked. At the moment she was too suspended in the narcotic of love to care.500 rpms several times.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . depended on the air speed and altitude. then they rolled down the runway and powered into the sky. touched her arm and said.500 feet and eighty-eight percent power it could travel 594 knots in a little over three hours.
A term for the very back of beyond. and slipped back into silence. his past was a strange unknown place to her. I’m congenerous. not quite a mile. She looked away and His wife had not entered her For thoughts since the incident with the fish hook pendant. and Lan spoke little of his earlier days. “Tell me about your mother. and she suddenly felt a little nudge of fear. really recovered. “Exactly. She was trying to remain calm and show how unconcerned she was but her stomach was not cooperating. Collywobbles? Not going to spew breakfast are ya?” “Not if I can help it.71 soft giggling laughter which he found so enchanting. Once again the plane was going through some turbulence in the mercurial and wild currents of air whipping across New Zealand. thinking that he must be implying that his devotion to his dead wife remained strong. He looked at her carefully and said. Did I say something that .” she said. realized that she felt sad.” he said. too many variables to consider.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “You’ve gone very silent. “How far will we have to drive when we land?” “Hmm. Katharine.” “My mother is not very well. Except for Margaret’s brief history.” She tried to imagine how it would be.” She was silent. this had been a selfish time of falling in love. but it was simply impossible. 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. Lan. stems from depression. I rather suspect a lot of it When my father was lost at sea she never Her devotion was very strong and thorough. The runway is on our station. very like her in that respect. “No worries. nothing.
that isn’t what I meant. trying to tell ya who I am. I think you must have been very much so. but altogether rather flat.” he said.sorry. “I didn’t mean to. of course. After a while she dozed off. show me around while I’m there.” “God. I do. .” She fell silent again.with older people. and Lan was radioing someone on the ground. Kate.. That’s the sort of person you are.” “Yes. even come with me to Christchurch. Lan. These were called the Southern Alps.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Yes. When my grandmother died I was so lonely for the company of an elder that I started visiting retirement homes.” “Sorry. but I’m more impressed with ya than ever. a drive in the Maybe I could get your mother to causes serious depression. them small things.72 “I only wanted ya to know that I’m faithful. Whenever I’m at I like them... Kate said. “Have any desire for a sandwich?” he asked.. the loss of loved ones A visit..” and reached for the bag with their ham sandwiches in it. tussockland with a river flowing through it and gorgeous snow-capped peaks biting into the sky.” she said. and was astonished to find that they were in a landing pattern.” “Nothing to be sorry about. When they had finished. lifting her hand to his mouth. Kate. They were coming down over dry rolling- hilled. I’ve often chatted with shut-ins. a hug. Does she go out?” “No. Kate. home I try to visit with. Realizing that he was hungry. They can be like a family. she neatly folded the wrappers and put them back in the bag while he smiled at her tidiness. tell. I’m so sorry.are very much so. “I was thinking about your mother. brought Sometimes they have wonderful stories to Their loneliness and. country does wonders for them. and the droning engine made her sleepy. I live in the present.. I’m here with ya.
My grandfather loved that poem.73 “I can’t have slept that long.. At the end of the lane.. and I was raised on Robbie Burns. “I’ve been thinking about doing that for nearly four hours. “Well. some species of dry smallleaved holly.. Now you’ll be rested.” she said. not as smooth as the one they took off on. the green banks upriver where our property runs around lake preserves and into rugged foothills.. weathered looking Maori stepped up. When the plane had taxied off the runway.hmm.” Lan waved Rex off.” she said. after a few friendly words of introduction. Lan came around to her side of the plane. and I’m glad. Eager for more history and facts. astonished. ya need a lot of hectares. lifted her into his arms and gave her a long warm kiss. ya did.” he said with surprise. They drove down a gravel road and turned into a lane bordered by thick and low. “The name sounds like something out of Robert Burns. Katharine asked. but sound and well maintained. Welcome to Green Braes. “from his poem Afton Water.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . gnarled old trees.” They touched down and rolled over a long packed runway.” “That’s a lot of acres. Lan greeted him as Rex.. she saw rising before her . and was soon handing him luggage to be transported to another Range Rover.acres.. then got behind the wheel of the Rover. my sleepy Green Eyes.” “For sheep and cattle. Got to concentrate here a minute and we’ll be down.acres.. reeking of tobacco that she could smell on the wind coming through the open cabin. an older. “It is.about fifteen thousand. “How many acres do you have?” “Acres?. He named my mother Mary from Green Braes is named for it..
perhaps somewhere in her mid-fifties.. as they rolled to a stop in the circular drive before the steps of the towering Lodge..a sort of castle for a feudal baron.” “I certainly feel the heat..” “I see. “Is that--?” “Green Braes Lodge. Stone does very well out here in these extremes of heat and snow.” she said. well-cut tan slacks and a white tailored blouse beneath an olive . “My mother might greet ya in It’s Don’t worry if ya don’t understand something.” An attractive woman with short ash-blond hair and a smiling face was standing on the steps. I love it.” “Jesus. She was slender and almost as She wore tall as Lachlan.” he said. simply her way of honoring my father.Laird of Green Braes Lodge. “It’s more like a.” He looked at her and laughed.. “Testin’ your temper.” he said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .74 what she thought resembled a great stone church.’ as my grandfather was fond of calling it. snob are ya. The Lodge. “That’s your--” “My home. with a burst of laughter. Maori. having stepped off the plane into a hot wind which could hardly be ignored. 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. lassie?” Lan teased.. “That It sweeps down Many’s the time it’s been a good excuse for a corker of a scrap. ya make me laugh. Did you really attend Oxford?” “You’re not a “Oi did. nor’wester is the bane of us high plains jokers. off the mountains and as such is called a föhn.” “Big and solid it is. ya cheeky brat.Lachlan Manutane. Katie Green Eyes?” “No one ever accused me of it..
Mary laughed and said. and Katharine realized she had been hearing the same slight roll in Lan’s speech. Lachlan went forward to meet her. and I agree. wanting to hug her but uncertain. She had been practicing it over and over to get the perfect vowel sound and authenticity to the words. Unbeknownst to Lan. Lachlan turned around and said.” “She said that was a beautiful remark. both speaking in low voices. back. smiling and waiting.” She smiled at Mary Both Lan and Mary smiled with appreciation.” She reached out her hand and Katharine She quickly took it. and said. boiled wool jacket. “Mother this is Katharine Gordon. this graceful specimen of mature womanhood must be Lachlan’s mother. Katharine thought. 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. “Mamae ana to korero. Katharine. and had rather expensive looking loafers on her comparatively small poised feet. and they embraced in a very loving way.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Tena koe. She almost blushed in remembering how she had pictured the woman. Good lord.” Mary Manutane said. Katharine.” Katharine hung “Welcome to Green Braes. That fetching burr must be a prevalent Scottish characteristic of this part of South Island. putting her arms around Mary. Haere mai. Katharine also noticed that Mary rolled her r when she said Green Braes. my mother. “Your Scots girl likes the words.75 green.” Lan said. Mary Manutane. immediately that Mary Manutane was not used to being warmly greeted by anyone but her son and probably Rani. hesitated a moment and then succumbed to her inclination. “He whenua kura tenei. There was a brief moment of Katharine saw restraint and then Mary hugged her back. . and Mary quickly replied.
the pooling velour drapes at the broad. running behind a massive fourposter bed of carved oak overspread with a brown and . Perhaps it was Katharine’s Scottish ancestry which had so favored her in Mary’s eyes. “No. 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. She had never even thought of it until this moment.” she said. Mother didn’t want it without my father. eager to be alone with her. the burgundy walls were met with oak wainscoting. “Surely it is. 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.” “Hungry.” Lan explained. The ceiling was very high.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the mellow tones of brown and burgundy. complete with master. and the gold-edged paintings hanging above rich blond oak. beveled and leaded windows filled with blue sky and facing out on the river. “Ya two can have afternoon tea if ya like.” Lan said as he watched Katharine explore. Of course he had. I can wait. I’m fine. She wondered if Lan had thought of it.” Katharine was still considering Mary’s words and wondering how conservative she was in her outlook. Once in the spacious bedroom. Kate?” Lan asked. “Surely this must be the master bedroom. her senses were infused with the smoky spice of old fires. A well lived in room much enhanced by Lan’s consuming presence. They climbed the broad stairs with its handsome carved thistle newel posts.76 Lan. “Tea means dinner.” The burr of the r in her pronunciation of girl was as much a delight as the way she had phrased the sentence. Lani. We had a sandwich. holding a heavy metal chandelier fixed with opaque glass globes shaped like flames. for apparently she thought little of the two sharing a bedroom. Midway.
. was met at its edges by a shining parquet floor patterned in red and blond woods. “Do ya want a shower? What do ya want?” She turned to take in all of him at last. At that moment.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . that if she ever accompanied him to a Maori setting she might also meet the other half for the first time. she now realized first time. “That must be nice in the winter snows. with the strange black eyes still so full of mysteries. this tall. a strange interlocked repetition of rather abstract violet-topped thistles of muted green on a field of dark umber. surprisingly urbane Maori-Scot male from the back of beyond.” Katharine posed. and portraits of hunting and sheep dogs on the walls.” Lan affirmed.I don’t know. flashing the white teeth of an irresistible mouth that could so easily and fiercely consume her.” she said. “It is. dark. There were paintings of well- sired horses poised in dressage. Consequentially.. “Kate? Katharine.. “What are ya doing?” “I’m. 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. The carpet.where have ya gone. 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. almost afraid of the emotions flooding through her as she stood looking at him. glancing behind her and just avoiding a small oak desk. still smiling and watching her. He grinned.77 wine duvet. Green Eyes?” As if a whirling dark cloud of misgiving were rolling toward her. . she pocketed her hands and backed up slowly toward the wall.
has done Here. The only thing wrong with her is that she is lonely and depressed.. don’t ya?” Is there an “You almost said it’s none of my business. comfortable and safe and free to roam through her own house and on her own land as she pleases. she knew it would temporarily send him in another direction. expression for that in Maori. so ever since. she feels She prefers going bush.” “Is that her wish or yours?” “What? Kate.” “For God’s sake. 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.” “Didn’t I say as much?” “She needs to get out. her so-called friends shunned her.. “Your mother is perfectly well.” “Ya don’t understand. and even now it can be a bit chilly.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Good.ya really do plunge right in. people around here were far more provincial then they are now.. 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. too?” “Kaore he wahi o tera ki a koe. 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. thing she wanted.78 Nearly all of the self-inculcated reason which had for so long facilitated her confined pre-New Zealand journey was swiftly evaporating. She knew what he wanted.” . then you can say it whenever I stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong.. blowing away as if caught on the hot exterior wind of this place. When my mother was a young woman.
Green Eyes. “Get up. Jesus. thoroughly aroused and gathering her up. He was in a rough hurry. “Ya are choice.” She kissed his throat and ran her fingers down his firmmuscled body and along his groin to play in the soft black curls. She thought it would have been so perfect to drift slowly into sleep then.Jesus.” he said and then pulled her into the steaming.. “My god. Kate. my frowning I need to make ya smile. Will ya get your clothes off. Instead. ya randy little wench.” Katharine said. and she cried out and moaned softly while they flung themselves together until she bit into his shoulder to prevent a rising scream. and hard against his slippery wet .” *** “We have to get up. more of us.” He was beginning to laugh and then Katharine was trying to let go once again.79 “I certainly agree. he leapt out of bed and raced across the room and into the shower with Katharine close behind him.please. “Oh. She could never have explained what she was doing here anyway.” he muttered.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . locked together as they were. if we shower together we’ll likely both go right down the scuttle. then bringing himself atop her and sliding into her yet one more furious time. or shall I do it? I fancy ya like nothing else. Come here. casting aside all the weighty speculation of an unreadable future because the here and now of freewheeling emotion was more.” “I’ll have my tea in the drawing room. stretching languorously. white-tiled shower.. Beds are for lying down. It’s nearly time for tea. except that Lachlan Manutane was here. yeah? wahine. so much more than she had ever known.. Have we just met? Again? A little No worries..
sliding against him.80 body. “very good. who sat with them. She was dressed in a plain olive skirt and beige silk blouse. A Maori cook named Mattie bustled and clattered in the kitchen. “Oh Lan. with Katharine laughing and stopping to button a missed space in Lan’s shirt while he kissed the top of her head. and Mary. crisp white shirt. oh. and not even able to laugh. 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. goblet and said. There was grainy bread hot from the oven. 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.” “It’s good. and with chestnut wedge-heeled shoes on her tripping feet. now at a lower stage. Before it was served Lan went to the sideboard and He poured some into Katharine’s It’s a uncorked an icing white wine. It was a very lovely environment for a meal. Lan. Lan wore gray slacks and Spanish cordovan loafers and another well-tailored. cold roast beef. and a very fresh salad with a delicate dressing unfamiliar to Katharine. “Taste and tell me what ya think.” Katharine said. How long have you .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . her voice amazed. the jade pendant hanging around her neck. The dining room was large with a fireplace on one wall. Sauvignon blanc from a winery I own up near Nelson.” she cried. Tea included an airy red wine. Dessert was a frothy vanilla pudding topped with slices of kiwifruit. sometimes went back into the huge old kitchen where her low voice could be heard speaking indistinguishable words. and occasionally engaging in tittering laughter with her longtime cook and housekeeper and friend. *** They rapidly descended the stairs arm in arm.
” Lan said.S. after all.” “I see ya two have not been talking about wine. We export to I think these innocent whites are becoming a bit more sophisticated. mother.” Mary said with a twinkle in her eye. “Up at the north end of the property we have red deer.” “What else is on the hoof around here.or snails or puppy dog tails..” Katharine said. “Very amusing. besides horses?” Katharine asked.” Lan answered.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “We have not.. It’s working out well enough. they lingered at the table while Mary brought Lan up to date with the mundane happenings at Green . “We’ll simply ride out among ’em. Katharine saw Mary watching them.81 been a vintner?” “A few years. and knew what Mary knew about them. Green Eyes.” Lan said with the quick wit that Katharine was growing to love. That’s the best introduction to sheep and cattle and anything else on the hoof. exported to Germany where venison is eaten with relish. the U. “So you aren’t going to ride off punching cows. When tea was over.” “What kind of relish?” Katharine said. “If this is where I’m supposed to launch into a discussion of sheep you’ll find the conversation wanting. 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. that they were in love and that it was an excruciatingly fragile time of foolishness and great joy and anguish. plenty of them. and ya can get a feel of hard leather and a whiff of down and dirty on the plain.
“I think I prefer nature to the city. unassailable.from time to time at least. “Oh no. She knew very well that within a matter of seconds. with a softening smile.... Seattle. nature and made that a necessity. She felt a little mean-spirited and stared out at Habitually independent. and aloof that she couldn’t look at Lan. although I now live in a city. knowing he wouldn’t like it. She heard them begin a . one or both of them would certainly be disappointed. I would think it quite a challenge. Katharine was surprised and a little embarrassed but tried to answer in a serious and thoughtful way. Lan suggested that they go for a walk along the river. she was deeply enough in love to punish herself and everyone around her for the loss of will that it involved. as if she were a distant relative come for a visit.. Katharine sat listening in silence until Mary apologized for boring her.really very interesting to me.” “Can ya imagine yourself living here?” Mary asked with the very same directness she had apparently passed on to her son.” Her answer had been so absolutely tactful.. requiring a very special and single-minded devotion.82 Braes..all the little details.a blustery northwest sea town made more attractive by the beauty of its setting.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . It’s how one learns about an unknown place.. Growing up on my grandmother’s It brought me close to flower farm was a fortunate experience. the mountains. and Katharine said.. Green Braes must involve a great deal of work and constant attention. If she was expected to gush and say how she could hardly wait to settle in. and she went upstairs to put on her jeans and tennis shoes while he remained talking with his mother. I love to listen. but with all the problems of congested cities. Lan could make the coolly firm observation she had just delivered evaporate and fall like rain.
although they’re looking a bit tired after all those years. the ones I saw when we flew in?” Katharine asked as they strolled along. ready?” *** “Where were those trucks going. They were on a very well-worn path .. usually at five in the morning. then left her to put on his jeans and slip into a pair of old Wellingtons. Careful what ya say. “Are those Wellingtons from Wellington?” she asked in a teasing voice. impish Green Eyes.early nineteenth century. and almost resented that very private way of saying anything they wanted. headed for the port of Timaru.. but the evening was warm and the river quite refreshing. “From the 1st Duke of Wellington. Are ya These old boots are bloody essential to me. Our manager.. that is gravel. He kissed the nape of her neck. Wheeler. 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.” Lan answered. Let’s walk. until she reminded herself it was something they regularly did and none of her business.” 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. and then paved roads.and periodically oversees some repair work..” “You’ve drunk just enough of my wine to foolishly criticize my favorite boots. they’ve held up rather well.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . 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. “Hmm. where the woolies are shipped out.83 conversation in Maori. today because of road repair. “They leave every Thursday. mostly headed for the Middle East. keeps an eye on road erosion.
uncertain when you I only know that I--” We’d better go back. when he turned around and took hold of her arm and drew her against him. “Well. I become.” . I’ve barely seen Can we go riding tomorrow. The very things that attract me to your I’ve sussed the Mary McGregor Manutane is no independent self are also the worries I have.. You’re unpredictable.. in places. “Ya were happier in Auckland. his penetrating eyes and serious manner a sudden explicit revelation of concern.” “I simply will. complicated but--” “And so are you.” “What does that mean?” “Just what I’ve said.” “And how I love being with you. advice.or are you busy?” “Yeah. Katharine was listening for unusual bird sounds and asking Lan about one she thought she was able to distinguish.” “Neither am I.. that isn’t true. I think.. the lovely bellbird. hesitation. Ya see how I’m following your I wonder if ya could get her out..” “No more?” “Please don’t press me.” “No. “All right.restless.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I don’t know myself. can try a little of your friendly persuasion on my mother. I have to go to Christchurch.” “That I well know. I was about to say. and I thought ya could try to get Mary to come with us. do. so ya No more tonight..a bit complicated. I appreciate your determination. “Kate.. very tall blond grasses. Lan.. I’ve gotten ya this far and now I’m wondering about the next obstacle.84 through the tough and. this place.” Katharine said. pushover.” “But God how I love having ya with me. but I’m not sure ya know what you’re in for. It’s so nice here.
” Katharine dropped her head.. and I know nothing about the town. “For you. Katharine. but I don’t go out. Katharine decided to be the same and said. I guess I can do it. I expect you’re here to have a little talk about something. Are ya not?” If Mary had chosen to be direct. “Am I bothering you?” she asked. Katharine Gordon. “I’m hoping you’ll come with me to Christchurch tomorrow. but not for me. things. and I’m afraid I’ll do all the wrong things. I really have no idea where to begin there but I’ve heard it has lovely gardens and parks. while Katharine went in search of Mary and found her in the library reading in her favorite red leather wing chair. You’re a very fetching girl. a grandmother who left me too soon. Lan is flying over on some busines.” “I certainly do see why Lan has taken a fancy to ya. and come along? schoolgirl. “No.” Mary said. “I’ve had to go everywhere alone most of my life. She had only to think of her life without a family for a minute.85 *** Lan went into his study to answer some e-mail. go to the wrong places.I mean..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “always longing for a mother. her eyes swimming with moisture that was not so very difficult to summon. I’ll be all alone.” Katharine said. Mary.. but it’s not so easy in a . and she would soon be weeping in earnest for the desired effect.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..” “It’s an easy town to get around in if ya don’t mind the river. I have almost no idea anymore what it feels like to walk down the street with one or the other and share experiences.
. He’s in his study.. I’m not so selfish as to deny It was nothing against ya.86 strange place. who was heavily into e-mail responses. that’s very different. Are ya serious?” . “Get off the grass. I’ll show ya whatever ya want to see. and I nearly always have a photographer or a guide with me.” she said.because it’s such a lonely proposition. I hope ya You’re a clever girl. There I’m playing the role of journalist.” “Are ya not the same fearless girl who goes around the world covering wars and looking into the troubling affairs of others?” “Oh.” she said.. Mary.. please. He and stood quietly with her hands crossed behind her back. “I think ya know I would never tell Lan anything that would make him unhappy. I can’t Will you tell him him happy to have you there beside me. “What are ya grinning at now. I’m Katharine wrung her hands and said. first. I’m almost never a tourist.. He said you would come with me because it would make I’m sorry. ya devious imp?” “Mary will be coming with us tomorrow. tell him how mistaken he was. “He’s had too much of that already.you’re the have brought ya here.” “Well.” Katharine went into the study looking like the Cheshire cat. sorry. totally immersed in what I’m doing. She went up to Lan. you would.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. Mary rose from her chair and stared at Katharine with a half disbelieving expression that began to look like concession. Lan anything like that. I’ll come. looked up and said. or Lan would never You’re the first since. Go tell him I’ll come. “Poor Lan. that’s one I haven’t heard.” I just can’t. tugging at the edges of her blue cardigan.” He told me Nevertheless. I don’t go out.a good girl. know.
” “What the devil did ya say to her to get her to do that?” “Every bloody thing I could think of. I am serious.” she said in a wondering voice as she stared at the computer. very English city of Christchurch known as the city of gardens. Looking in her guidebook Katharine had a clever idea concerning the location of this restaurant. it was located in a former band rotunda on Cambridge Terrace.” “How on earth does that translate?” she asked with surprise. consecrated in 1881. He had promised to meet them later in the day at a popular riverside restaurant called Thomas Edmonds. to bed. I think. I like that expression. It’s time for your reward.and.” “Then ya would lose the bet. but first she suggested they go inside the towering and ornate Christ Church Cathedral. “Roro for brain.” “At the moment. I was thinking rather highly of a greeneyed phenomenon.” *** Katharine and Mary were on their own in this flat.” Let’s go “You certainly think highly of yourself. “That’s enough of cyber space for tonight. Lan.” “How ingenious. had left them in the heart of the city at Cathedral Square on Colombo Street.” she mused. and hiko for lightning.” Katharine answered. She was thinking wistfully of having a .87 “Hmm. Sort of like your brain. which she intended to broach later. Green Eyes. Lan turned to her. riding in the car of the business associate who picked them up from the airport. ipo. yes. “I’d be willing to bet there’s no Maori word for this modern machine. giving him a teasing kiss.. It’s rorohiko. “I just thought of something..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . laughing with such conspiratorial delight that Katharine was feeling quite heady with her success.
” Come “Oh. and they stood together while Mary pointed out places of interest.are you sure. Do ya know It’s been damaged several times in them.. everything startling and sharp. . when Mary spoke up. let’s climb the stairs. but. but not about to suggest that Mary climb the 133 steps. and then Katharine suggested they walk over to the Botanic Gardens beside the cool Avon River meandering through the city.” Mary I’ve never eaten there. “At least this is one thing that hasn’t changed. slipping on her sunglasses. nothing to me.” I’m not that far gone. It has a restaurant.” “Then let’s have lunch there.” Katharine invited. They ambled down Gloucester Street and into the well established and very luxuriant Botanic Gardens. Mary was not even winded. The view was a wonderful way to study the layout of the city. “Since we both like gardens and plants we’ll probably enjoy ourselves in that green environment. When they reached the top.not once. shrugging and laughing at her caution. “There’s something about the intense light down in this southern hemisphere that’s different to me. look at those lush roses. When they were back on the ground they looked at the historical display. “It’s a white light that makes Oh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” “Oh..” Katharine said. “This spire actually fell into the square once during an earthquake. Mary. I do remember the view. Mary?” “What? Ya think I’m incapable? I ride a horse and walk A few steps are all over Green Braes.88 look at the splendid view and the cathedral bells in the viewing balconies of the sixty-three meter high spire. said. with which Mary seemed quite familiar. it’s a lovely place.. “I’ll probably be in worse shape than you at the top.” Katharine noted.
dazzling in the sunlight. broad-needled fir gilded a shimmering gold in the sunlight. Katharine. grandmother was French. before my grandmother.” Mary set down her fork and stared out the window. girl.exotic.” The Gardens Restaurant was a six-sided flat building with a sloping roof and wide viewing windows. joining in the laughter. My maternal grandfather died long My How my She was a florist and curious Both he and my father were Scots. and Katharine encouraged Mary to indulge herself. “Ya have no family alive then?” “Perhaps somewhere. And everywhere.all of these wonderful trees.” Mary said.. nursed me through many a tummy ache and bruised knee and unrequited teen-aged crush. It served a popular smorgasbord. “Incredible variety here. “And the people are the toast.” Mary’s smile faded as she stared at Katharine and said.” They sat by a window looking out at rare flora in every direction. to me at least. I’m paying.” And a number of other unmentioned things: bouts of depression and moodiness. That’s the way of it.89 So many colors.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “I’m paying. her faraway eyes roving over a tall. riding about when they ought to be walking.” Mary shook her head.. sent me to school.. “Rang and I came to Christchurch on business from time to . Odd little motor-towed carts with green-canvassed canopies kept arriving and depositing visitors at the restaurant. “That’s very amusing. about every growing thing. “Those little carts carrying the visitors are called Toastracks.” “No. bought me my first lovely prom dress--it was soft pink toile over pink taffeta--.” Katharine laughed. grandmother would have loved it. She was so good to me. “I’m sorry..
When Mary had paid the bill. so we’ll leave it at “We’ll just “It that.. Katharine.” “Will you go there with me sometime?” “I don’t know. really a sort of refinement which must be respected in the human condition.” “Oh. you do. except that. not at all.” “Of course. so very wonderful. “Sometimes he’s a mystery even to me. cupping flowers in their hands and sniffing sweet aromas as they went along.. hopeful of having her meaning go beyond her own desire.. I miss He loves We We loved hard. seems to me.that it’s not a frivolous thing. and I know him so well. And Lan is like that. insisting upon it once again. that’s settled in my mind at least. Mary.” “Well. they walked over paths thickly lined with collections of verdure mostly unknown to Katharine. although we more often went to Dunedin for pleasure. not an easy thing. “I can see how ya feel about my son.I don’t think you’ve made up your mind about anything.. staring at Katharine. “Would you mind if we walked to the visitor center and . Lan is not hurt again. both felt more comfortable there.” Mary said.” Mary said. Finally.” she didn’t hesitate in adding.” Katharine said. But I hope to heaven. him so. we two. and he’s so wonderful. he’s the coming together of two kinds.. but he wouldn’t be who he is without it. they rested on a bench while Katharine consulted her guidebook. looking at various plantings and blooming flora.” she said observing Katharine’s discomfort. that he’s the rarest.” Katharine agreed. hard.that mix of Scot and Maori was not an easy thing.no. better than anyone. I don’t know if I could do that.. leave it at that and go on with our day.. or else how can life go on? Without understanding that there can only be strife. It’s too soon.. “But what I did to him with my own selfish love.90 time.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
“I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself nearly as much without you.” “No.” Mary said with a quick sip of tea.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Yes.” Mary said. 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. almost like a purely stylized storybook painting. high-perched restaurant they found coolness and a simplicity of design which was soothing.” “I hope you’ll still think so after I tell you what I have in mind for our next adventure. Soon they were gliding up Mount At the top they walked about.” Katharine said.” . The barren. and Katharine found the windy vistas breathtaking. very different from anything she had ever seen. Mary.” “And I’m going to treat you to tea inside at the restaurant. and it says here the view is stunning. having quite a treat. I haven’t done that in years. Katharine Gordon. “You’re a good girl. A neat “Lucky we have such a clear day. a pretty white tea service.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. and even a fresh sprig of some bright blue flower in a white vase on the shiny black table top. Inside the quiet. there are your snowy Southern Alps way off in the distance.” They caught Bus number 28. “Oh look. and made the quick and restful twelve kilometer journey. catching a hint of Mary’s fatigue. but the truth is it’s yourself doing the showing. We’re open room with a splendid wrap-around view.” Katharine protested. I wouldn’t mind. Cavendish in a little gondola. “I’m supposed to be showing ya around.
Mary dragged her hand through the refreshing waters and hummed from time to time. One foot in the Avon and nothing will ever be the same. When they were almost to the restaurant.” “What? I don’t think. “Really. As they were skillfully poled to their destination. *** They floated along in utter delight and lethargy. you should have tried it.. and Mary began to laugh while Katharine was drying her foot with a tissue from her purse and putting her shoe back on.. Mind ya. “I want us to get into a punt at the Antigua Boatsheds and have ourselves punted all the way over to Cambridge Terrace.” Katharine said. reversing her doubtful opposition with a carefree smile which rendered her face almost girlish.” The punter shook his head and whistled. rolled her beige linen pants leg and stuck her foot into the water. no offense. the burbling Avon River cooled and assuaged their fatigue and lifted their spirits even higher than the previous hours. that is for tea. it’s the undipped one that’s clammy. Katharine. what a lovely idea. I needed that. Katharine.” Mary said.” Mary said.92 Katharine glanced once again into her guidebook and then looked up with a mischievous smile.” . “Oh. what if ya’d dropped your shoe into the water. and ya have nylons on. “Lord.” she said. Isn’t your foot a bit clammy?” “It’s given me a whole new “No. Apparently punts will take you right to the Thomas Edmonds. outlook. giggling.” “Perhaps another day I’ll try it.why.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “when I’ve no sense left at all. Kate of doused foot. laughing and pointing and with Katharine occasionally singing. Katharine pulled off one of her tan walking flats. and we can time it so we arrive just in time to meet Lan for dinner.
reveling in the camaraderie. hanging onto each other in stitches. It wasn’t as if Katharine didn’t know Although sometimes preferring to revel in lively unconventionality. Glancing at Lan in trim slacks and a t-shirt which clung to .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but remained in the library reading. She didn’t go up to their room right away. laughter abated and her face went soft and quiet. It was I like her very much. thinking she would wait until Lan was asleep and then creep into bed and fall asleep simply thinking about the day.93 They both began to laugh at this splendid title until they could hardly get out of the punt. She had embarrassed him by Her arriving at the restaurant acting like a madcap child. so much fun being with Mary.” Katharine interposed.. what good deportment was. of transforming her into a confiding friend.guess I ended up pretty excited about the whole thing. “Aren’t ya tired after all that running around?” “I thought I’d just read for a while to calm down. She had rapidly come to adore attentive Mary with her slightly sodden whimsy and very dry wit. she certainly knew when the proper conduct was necessary. She remained that way all through dinner and on the plane ride back to Green Braes.. Katharine. I’d want--” “I’ll be up in a little while. and I know ya must be tired. but the look was quite serious and soon she interpreted it as censure. He was looking at her with an expression she couldn’t read at all. It was only that she had so delighted in bringing Mary out of herself. I’ve gotten rather used to Didn’t ya think having ya there.” “Please come to bed. Lan found her in the library and said. Then Katharine looked up and saw Lan watching them as they came toward him. while Mary chatted with Lan in English about the pleasant day she had experienced. perhaps even a motherly friend.
Very soon she heard a lilting voice that astonished her.Come to my arms. Katie Green Eyes. a’ the lang day I ca’ at my hammer.. here’s to thee. An a’ the lang night as happy’s a king! . “Lan. no one ever. Katie. my Katie. then left the room. Katharine had Ka pai. 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.94 his muscular diaphragm. and kiss me again! Drunken or sober.. a’ the lang night I cuddle my kimmer. merry hae I been teethin a heckle An merry hae I been shapin a spoon! O. ipo. she whispered as his body fiercely tangled with hers.” *** It was a little after seven in the morning and at last they were going to ride out onto the Canterbury plain. she was hardly able to restrain herself.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Half an hour later she crept into the bathroom and then into bed. merry hae I been cloutin a kettle. “Will ya kiss me now. for it was the voice of Robbie Burns: O.. her voice smothered by an impatient mouth.I’ve never heard anything so--” she exclaimed. staying carefully on her side and lying still. An a’ the lang day I whistle and sing! O.” “Lan.. closing the large heavy door behind him.” I’ll never sleep until ya do. I’m . my Katie.” “Ya thought wrong. An kissin my Katie when a’ was done! O. Kate? ya strange sulky lass. An come to my arms. about to thank ya properly for today. “I thought you were mad at me because I was acting like a child. He stood looking at her a few more seconds in silence.
“Ah..” “I was raised on quarter horses.” . let’s go down to the stable and saddle up. My grandmother had I belonged to a horse club and rode in funky little shows when I was just a nipper of ten. She edged her moccasined feet gently back into the flank of a horse named Jangle. and said. stop it Lan.95 on her jeans and a t-shirt and sat over her half-finished oatmeal eager to be off.. Ben.” Lan said.. wahina. because Rex had already taken care of that necessity by the time they arrived. I think you’re very nearly completely smart. then gave a little flick of the reins and galloped off just clearing a fresh pile of stockade poles while Lan stared after her. That means we can hang out here all day and I won’t have to worry about your tired little arse. several of them. Really?” Come “God.” “Would ya know if I told ya?” “Do you think I’m completely stupid. Lan sprawled across from her in no great hurry. “I’ll give ya a leg up.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ya make me laugh. but Katharine had already run over to her mount.we have red ones and black ones and white ones and--” “Oh. “All right. looking very cowboyish to her. Lan caught up with her on his big stallion. the way ya slide into things. sipping coffee and dressed in old jeans and an open-necked blue shirt and wearing scuffed boots.” “Well Good on ya. cowgirl.. on. a great breed for herding livestock. placed her foot in the stirrup and leapt into the saddle. Lan?” “No. “We have quarter horses.” “Get off the grass. fast and strong. I really want to know.you’re a cracker on a horse. cowgirl. another part of your past I know nothing about. “What kind of horses do you have?” she asked.” They didn’t really have to saddle up.
” “But are you?” “Don’t get me thinking about it. “I collect clouds.” she said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the land of the long white cloud. They stood in the warm wind on a slight rise and looked at the clouds rolling in great billows along the Southern Alps.. “This is to keep your brains from frying. while. surveying the sheep-dotted landscape.” “Then ya can have all of this: Aoteoroa. watching him frown and immediately regretting it. safe.” “We’ll dismount by the river and take care of both requirements. just follow me. please.” “There are ten sheep for every Kiwi in New Zealand. reached into his saddle bag and pulled out a rolled felt hat. regretting how she had ruined the moment. I just need to have my space. cowgirl. need .” “What if I get thirsty?” “For me or water?” “Either. “I’ve never seen so many sheep. “Come on.” They were up on a slight rise. 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.” They rode on. who was wearing a rather handsome oiled leather hat. “nothing else but clouds. then leaned over and arranged it on Katharine’s head. He pushed his hat back. looked hard at her and said. and Katharine said.96 Lan.where Green Braes got its name. “Why do ya do that?” “What? I don’t know. dismounting once when Katharine intended to adjust her stirrups but then let Lan do it for her.” she said..” “I’ve heard the other expression: the land of the wrong white crowd.
and an entirely different subject overtaken her.” They tied their horses’ reins in branches and walked to a level opening where they could reach the river’s low bank.” “I’m not afraid of you. Lan. following the river until it was squeezed between raised green banks. and it must be so obvious. straying explanation that was She did need. I’ve always maintained my freedom to I’ve made a sort of life for I don’t need--” Listen to yourself.. drinking. drastic change.” They were climbing slightly with Lan ahead. The roaring water.” I’m not “I’m happy with you. . the tender rich bright grasses had all charged her senses with a restless hunger.I don’t know.” He turned around in his saddle and looked at her. needed very much. then lay on their bellies. myself and I don’t really need much else. the wind and clouds. It was why she had spoken in Now she was cringing at that frenetic and dismissive manner. frothing in a rushing white foam with the grasses greening up all around them. going to hurt ya.” “Yeah. Zealand clouds had been left to evaporate like the clouds themselves. Lan. The promise of New not even true and completely off the point. that of change. her own words.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Yeah? Until ya want me a little too much... Katharine. “I’m thirsty. “Then get down.97 to have.do what I want. He was right to make her hear her own A disconnected. “Ya don’t have to be afraid of me. “What in bloody-hell are ya doing? She was silent. I scare ya bloody bad because I want ya. babbling words.” come and go.. ya are. They remounted and rode side by side in silence until he said.
98 “It’s so quiet and pure and clean here. She put her arm around his waist and said.” He squatted at the edge of the blanket. but he startled her with his words. “Lan. . God... “This is as good a place as any. it’s so beautiful here. a long speculation in his troubled dark eyes. sooky green..” “I never want to deny ya anything. wiping the dripping water from her mouth with the back of her hand. with an unsmiling mouth and eyes lost in the shadow of his hat but looking away from her.” “For what?” “I want to. throwing it on the ground.yeah. “Oh.” He pulled her backwards across his knees and held the nape of her neck while he opened her jeans and slid his hand to her crotch.I want. The fear was rising in her. gently working his fingers against her while she moaned softly with closed eyes.” she cried..” he said. He went to his horse and returned with a blanket. Lan. a fear of leaving herself.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” She knew he understood that she wanted only to be in this arousing moment with him. “Yes. “I can’t right now.” “Lan. but I. I want. of falling helplessly through space..” “Ya like that?” She opened her eyes and stared elatedly into eyes of covert blackness.. you hypnotize. “Please. What I have to say is.. unable to escape the steady jet gaze. She curled against him and lifted his hand to her cheek.I have to talk to ya.....” she said.” “Better?” His adept fingers eased smoothly inside of her. running his fingers through his hair and looking at her with an unreadable question..” He took off his hat and threw it down. “Look at me. until a tremor of fear made her look away. “Give me back your beautiful eyes.
..who Katharine Gordon really is.” She reached for him. “God... “Wait. I doubt ya know yourself.” “But she would have wanted you to--” . this is. Lan?” she asked with a new fear sweeping over her. then folded his arms and stared at her.. even enough to override the ruinous fear..” “That’s nice. except. I turned into a..” “Lan. Kate.. I want to meet her..” “What.” he said. he watched her come.and God..I was twenty-five and drunk most of the time. I love ya. kissing her and pushing her hair away from her eyes. He tamaiti taku..99 With a serious mouth.when Ani. her head twisting helplessly against his shirt in spasms of pleasure..what I have to say has my guts in a knot and the rest of me useless.” I mean..I’ve never seen anyone so afraid of loving.” “Why? Why don’t you have her with you?” Jesus..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . my Green Eyes...... “When I saw how ya were with my mother yesterday.but...died. drunk for quite a while. confused and suddenly frightened again. giving in to the truth which he spoke for both of them. He zipped her jeans and lifted her still excited body up to a sitting position. she lives with my.I have a child. wife’s parents.. I’d like to.do ya even know how much ya are? Exactly what I want. please..I want to have ya. “Let me finish.. 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. “That was practice for this: Apparently. a daughter. I have.” “What?” she said.my late “Ya can’t meet her. “My ipo. I realized how very right I was about ya.
” Seeing her distraught state. telling It wasn’t ya everything. and that’s what you’ve done. Mistrust.. flawless and I’ve disappointed ya.... waited until I was.. Rani had She was sixteen. in-laws for anything she needs. I couldn’t take care of it. The child isn’t hers. You and Rani. I regretted it the next morning. and didn’t want the baby. that. I don’t even remember how I accomplished I regretted it so much I guess I had her. really necessary. Please.whose?” “One night I came home off-my-face drunk.Kate.wait!” She had jumped up with her heart flying out of her chest.. can’t stand hearing that because of your past.. It came later. How can I believe anything? “Life isn’t perfect...crawled into my bed naked.she fancied me. “Liar. Kate..” She was remembering how he sat with his arm over Rani’s chair at The Loaded Hog when first they met.. he jumped up. Rani doesn’t care Rani acts like such a reckless child. a child herself. “You can lie by omission. Nothing is perfect. and because of my guilt I treat her like a child. Ya want me I think you’d like to see me .. about her. with his fist coiled at his side in a sudden heat of frustration. don’t.100 “Please. too.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..waited. I would never have opened my mouth. I visit her. always wanted.I didn’t. but I was afraid Rani might ruin us. She was a wild little bird.. She came into my room and.” “But I don’t.we gave the baby I pay my to my in-laws to raise and sent Rani away to school. and to me she I was haurangi.. I’m telling ya now.. “What? You liar!” I’ve never lied to ya. But Rani got pregnant. dead I had no idea. suspicion made easy by past experience was “How do I know anything anymore? You!” I know ya already corroding her thought. I don’t know why.. it was the thing that sobered me up. was just my little sister. drunk.you. Kate.. I. Ya see.
ya love me. There was Rani newly arrived with a busload of mates who were laughing and joking and exploring the grounds of the Lodge. but Jangles had an excellent sense of direction and knew exactly where to go. Mary!” “What is it. don’t let him near me. Please come with ya?” Mary cried. “Please come here. I’m not perfect but I I found ya and I love ya. “Oh no. room. know what love is.” “Of course ya can stay in my room. Come let’s get ya into He’ll get to me. Come along.” Please don’t let him I’m under the bridge. Mary.” “I’ll put ya in one of the guest rooms. Kate. my head is beginning to ache. He’s told ya. “Mary? here. Please understand. bed. . packed her things into her suitcase and took it into Mary’s room. I told him not to. Please. oh no. I want ya.” “No. Oh God. Then Mary stared at Katharine’s face and said. twice certain she had lost her way. jumping on Jangles and whacking his rump. He will. Jesus.and In my bed ya do.101 as a symbol of some perfect circle that doesn’t exist -. I told him it was water He loves ya so. please let me stay in your room. alone. Please.. The sight of Rani made Katharine sick.” she called. bringing her rather swiftly to the stables. Do ya know that? Please.we all join hands and sing hallelujah.” Mary brought Kate a washcloth with lumps of ice gathered inside and held it on her head. I can’t be Please let me stay in your I’ll get a cool flannel for your head. my Green Eyes. but he had to do it.” She turned and ran. I couldn’t stand it. I just couldn’t stand it. Katharine? What in heaven’s name is wrong Mary. near me. getting a headache. She rode fast and hard.. tugging at her fruit-stained apron. She hastened to her room.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “No.
“I’m sorry. She cringed and pulled the covers up to her throat. that someone was in the room. She started to sit up and saw “He’ll never marry ya.” Please. Mary and Lan speaking in Maori and English back and forth. and then put her head under the pillow.” I’ll pull the curtains and bring the pills.. “Katharine. Not you.” She had taken two pills and finally they knocked her out.ya phony American bitch.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “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. “Go away. “I just wanted to tell ya what I really think of ya. She was laughing with triumphant delight. Very soon Katharine heard loud voices outside the door. her spiteful young face gloating. She awoke and looked at the clock. “Get the hell out I’ve had enough of ya. Now. me two?” Katharine asked. of here. Try to sleep. my selfish fault. “Mary?” Rani turned on the light and moved toward her. her eyes pained by the light.” Mary said. stirrer. It was ten in the evening.. Just try to sleep.” “Rani.102 “I spoiled Rani. here.” she cried. to straighten her out. could you get “I have pills in my little blue bag.” Lan called.” he demanded. “Rani!” Lan hollered. He really loves me and he knows it. So much of it was my fault.” “Get out!” Katharine shouted. “Leave me alone. please get out of here. I spoiled her badly. I shouldn’t be talking. dragging Rani out of the . “Lie quietly. little self run wild. entering the room. but Mary was nowhere in sight.” Katharine begged. Not you. paleface. ya emotionally retarded little Out.
She wanted only to have her arms around She hated herself. Katharine apologized for her histrionics and said she was feeling a little better. “I love ya. few days and maybe you’ll feel better by that time. Mary?” “Yes. 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.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Oh God. poor little Katharine. one pitiful mess. huge lump in her throat. Then Lan tapped on the E noho ra.” Mary said. thinking how well this would fit in with her own plans. stroking the hair away from her eyes. Lan. I’m a fearful mess. until she remembered yesterday. and she thought. Green Eyes. It was a soothing gesture. herself for her inability to resolve anything.” Her eyes filled with tears. 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. “Oh God. “I’ve told Lan to leave ya alone until ya calm down.” “Yes. Please remember that I love ya. if only I can last until Thursday. When Mary came into the room. The disclosed incident with Rani had jolted her out of paradise and back to reality. not There was a him. good-bye. incapable of judging anything.103 room. and she shook her head with anger and frustration. but she knew it . anyway. Katharine was shaking badly and had momentarily decided she was in a madhouse. In the morning she found Mary gone. but Sliding in and out of agony. so very motherly she felt a small comfort.” Katharine agreed. door and called to her. tramp over at Milford. sent Rani and her friends packing. it came to her how that might be accomplished if she could last until Thursday morning. girl. “Will you sleep here tonight. how?” I’ve got to get out of here right away. I’ll see ya soon. like a coddled sick child.
smiling She sadly as she looked at Mary who was softly snoring.” “If only his Ani hadn’t died. the pain shooting all through her as she relived their hungrily indulgent showers. “Even I didn’t realize how much Rani fancied Lan. You can’t go on castigating yourself. quite the wrong thing to say. downstairs.” Probably his fine Ani “No. She crept Slipping a few wrapped oatmeal cookies into her . I realize now there were problems all over this place. since they aren’t blood related and it was too easy. should have seen it.. That was My head is off today. would have kept everything on an even keel. the real problem was herself. and decided that it would be a sufficient good-bye for Lan. “Let’s talk of something else now. or I’d have put a stop to that soon enough. Oh. attempting to commiserate with Katharine. laying out her clothes the night before and putting her packed suitcase downstairs at the back of the foyer coat closet. Katharine had planned carefully. You had your own problems. Mary. too.” Katharine put down her fork and said. again opened up with a special softness. along with her briefcase laptop. I’m sorry. I thought she was more I like a worshipful sister. where Mary wouldn’t immediately find it..this lovely place. She had written Mary a thankful and loving and apologetic note.. dressed. Then Mary might suppose she had At four o’clock she slipped out of bed. although a taciturn person not given to personal revelations. Mary. using Lan’s bathroom.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .104 wasn’t the real problem.. She had placed the note in an unobtrusive but well-used place in the kitchen. I’m sure you’re right. the real problem went far beyond Rani.been far more careful. the fear of losing herself in Lan. gone riding. looking up to her big brother.” At last Thursday arrived. Mary. They talked over tea and in the evenings spent together in the lounge after their meal.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “No problem. her clandestine and ignominious departure from Green Braes in a sheep lorry. . hanging onto the laptop. and the several hours long. where she could get off and rent a car. blowsy driver looked her up and down in her fine linen slacks and jacket and laughed.500 people. gear-grinding drive to Timaru. she bought a ticket then walked about the town. Right.105 purse. I can’t take any of those. can you give me a lift?” The hulking. *** In her guidebook. pay you. still numb with pain. Manutane pays for all the petrol around Climb up then. the Southerner. she preferred not to look upon. she taunted herself. here.” she said.” “I’ll keep this. I’ll leaving in a few minutes. difference from the way she had arrived.” was a busy port city of 27. from the Maori word Te Maru. in her present condition. grimacing bitterly and frequently clenching her teeth. Mr. When the kindly driver left her off at the train station. which. bouncing. We’ll be They’re needed here. Timaru. it was said to have a very nice beach and a statue of Robbie Burns. she retrieved her things from the closet and went out the door. Miss. lurching. Katharine discovered that a train. if that’s a problem. Down at the stockades and sheds the large trucks were warming up their engines for the haul to Timaru. “I need to get to Timaru. Quite a I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. “No. She went up to one of the drivers and said. And so it was. left Timaru each morning at 10:35 going south through Dunedin. “meaning the place of shelter. “There are plenty of four-wheel drives around here.” he suggested. had some coffee and departed on the Southerner for the Scottish town of Dunedin. I’ll stow these.
Way up north. In Dunedin. Too many memories. Queenstown was high and cooler. she thought. and began to feel ill. Rang. and the place is full of her folk.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . old and fine. She immediately came across another statue of the ubiquitous Robert Burns. From Dunedin she could aim for Queenstown. with buildings studding the hills and tumbling down to the esplanade at the edge of expansive and serene Lake Wakatipu. have all of these memories. She slid down upon the . student-filled old university town and headed south. It occurred to her that piling new experiences atop the present pain would help to deaden it. she could catch the big interislander ferry to Wellington on North Island. on and on with tears streaming down her face. cutting west near Milton and heading for Queenstown.106 On the train she had plenty of time to think of what she would do next. simply look at things and keep on driving. which she found was Celtic for Edinburgh. keep driving until she reached Auckland and fly out of there. maybe even some of my folk. and there discovered an innocent bruise from Lan’s lovemaking. she decided to leave. I’ve never been here but I Mary came here with her lover. she showered. Upon looking around at this lovely Scottish town. she rented a white. It was heavy stone. which had seen greater days of glory but had a certain Midlothian charm and splendid beaches. right-hand-drive Honda and had to keep reminding herself to drive on the left side of the road. and she decided to drive until she was exhausted. Strewing her things around the room. drive across one of the passes on the map and head up the West Coast. and she was going to be She drove quickly through the sick with longing for Lachlan. On and on through green flat sheep country and over one-lane bridges and broad rivers. She stayed in a comfortable bed and breakfast with a balcony that overlooked the sky-reflecting lake.
A list of her e-mail was displayed. a deceptive little ache that promised to bloom fully later. Having reached the end of endurance. oh. She paid her bill and left. Vodka. leaning on her hand for a while and discreetly watching the convivial diners. She had experienced this condition before. and suddenly there was the message from Green Braes: “Please come back to me. We’ll resolve this Please don’t leave Please come back. She ordered another drink. together. she then began to pace. Lan. but had never been quite this drunk alone. At last she regained her sense of direction. Drying herself off in a slow daze. looking from time to time out at the lake. have three of them or four? wear and tear on recovery.107 tile floor and sat with her head on her knees. less Swallowing several aspirin. They were all in flagrantly amorous twos. will I?” She fell into a disturbed sleep. standing outside and wondering for a moment how to get back to her room. and another. she sat down at a blond wood table in a tiny cream-walled bistro which was supposed to remind one of Morocco. forking food into their smiling mouths and sipping wine -perhaps some of it was Lan’s wine. my Green Eyes. Did she Vodka was the best. Katharine. she nibbled around the edges of a generous plate of rice with chunks of meat and vegetables. Ordering a drink. walking down uncluttered streets and peering into small restaurants until she grew tired. I’ll never see you again. The drinks were strong. but no more hungry. Finally. she dressed and went out. my love. “Lan. she sat cross-legged on her bed with her laptop screen glowing before her. she woke up sweating but with only a slight headache. Lan. . In the middle of the night. she lay back and said aloud. She had been all over the world and hardly ever got lost. the warm water pouring over her. Please.” New Zealand.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . oh. In late morning.
If she encountered many more couples holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. the red river flowing through the green like blood gushing from her heart. a place for lovers. staring at the spiky dark flax growing on the cliffs. spanking past golden islands like a proud swan. *** She had decided to skip Milford Sound.cool. No finicky little fly would bite into this poisonous body. where all the splendid jade was made into jewelry. Maori for “quick path. what she needed. anything but consciousness. she would be inclined to jump off a bridge without a bungy cord. She stayed near Westport before crossing the That night she took out her mountains on her way to Picton. long sparkling beaches. too piercingly beautiful. It was named Aratere. In three and a half hours windy Wellington . The rainy West Coast had offered a few sunny spots. Staring at it she tried to will herself to fall asleep or fall into a trance or fall into some insensitive state. She stood gasping. totoeka jade pendant and held it in her hand -. she told herself.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the white tassels dipping in the wind. slumping forward in tears. Really nice. It rained half way up the West Coast. scrambled down to the beach and ran barefoot on the gray sand until she couldn’t breathe. had a movie theater. finally driving aboard the huge interislander ferry which plied the waters to Wellington. but the sun shined at the beach town of Hokitika. Once she parked the car. oh God. violet-padded chair as the ferry plunged through the misty waters with hardly a tremor. She never acquired a single sandfly bite. She ordered a drink and sat in the broad bow in a sumptuous. it even She took the elevator up to the plush bar.” she cried.” just Nothing like her tame Seattle ferries. At Picton she bought a ticket for the 10:30 sailing and got into the long line that wound through the town.108 “Oh God.
a little woozy from the wine. checking her e-mail. She swallowed generous amounts of wine. and thick slices of Parmesan cheese bread. could accommodate: fresh bluenose bass. If it was going to continue this way. she took a shower. She felt the top of her head growing cold. So tranquil had she been rendered by the lulling ferry and her Scotch. . She drove by the famous executive office building of the parliamentary complex known as the Beehive. she sat on her bed in her silk slip. attractive? Back in her room. and she had to turn on her wipers.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . rested. giving the driver the name of a restaurant on Queens Wharf called Shed 5. and he was right. Waves were crashing over the motorway in a howling gale that was apparently the norm for Wellington.109 came sliding into view. breath. A journalist she knew had raved about the It was far more than her appetite food there. New Zealand had stifled Public places reveled in the land’s exotic nikau Off to the sophisticated cities of Europe she had sailed. a large bowl of crisp salad. her. why didn’t she just turn the car around? The message from Green Braes read: I am yours and always “You belong to me. After checking into the Novotel Wellington. were some kind of game. So this was where the writer. palms. which was just what it resembled. and looked the opposite direction from two staring men seated at a nearby table. pesto mashed potatoes served home style. She held her As if it Did bone-aching misery make one more Why was she doing this? It was no game. she dreaded returning to her car. then dressed in a white suit and pumps and called a taxi. the room going black. and almost fainted. Katherine Mansfield had spent the teenaged years of her short life. her heart racing. She had no desire to drive herself to dinner. Paradise was far too provincial. Pounamu Eyes.
with tidy modern dwellings in Taupo at the lake’s northeast edge. The lake teamed with famously large and gleaming. and she felt the crispness of the snowy peaks that partially surrounded the lake. and the lake itself a high. disappointed? Or was that really the reason she was She couldn’t get away the next morning and lay in bed with a headache. and the thinness of the air. 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. clear. crying softly and sliding her empty hands over the moist center of her body. especially for those living in 186 A. and was touted to offer a popular tourist cruise. cry. cold. together. formed by one of the largest volcanic upheavals the world has ever seen. dark green forests. rainbow trout that all originated in California’s Russian River. She wanted to Even to think of fishing made her want to There was a large old racing yacht floating around the lake. very large lake. . Once there. she was more than half way Remember how I hold you. it had once belonged to the rogue actor Errol Flynn. popular place.110 will be. built in 1926. Remember how we are No one else will ever have you like that. disappointed because there was no trout on the menu. Kate Green She drove over sweeping empty landscapes and miles Lake Taupo was a of carefully manicured.” She lay back on her bed. very clean for so much tourism. the largest lake in all of New Zealand. Eyes. It was 375 meters above sea level. ipo. The Barbary. to Auckland.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . There was She no message on her computer that night or the morning after. Katharine crashed in a lakeside motel in Taupo. stop and fish there.D. iridescent-silver trout. had drunk too much at a restaurant. rolling from side to side.
She was quite surprised. herself was quite soused. Returning that evening at an appointed hour. When her picture was developed the trout looked wonderful but she did not.vivid descriptions of rambunctious steelhead trout fishing. the other a delicately spicy red sauce which did not detract from the flavor of the fresh fish. She She couldn’t remember their names or very much of what they had said. and everyone was thoroughly and happily soused by the end of the evening. She hired a Maori fishing guide and he took her out on the lake to a spot guaranteed to produce trout.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . See. On a sudden impulse she decided to send the photograph to Green Braes. As soon as she had dropped it into the . as if to say. although not quite as happy. and catching your lovely fish to boot. only the laughter and the heart-rending accents and the very welcome camaraderie of their rosy smiling faces.” the two couples said. 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. for she appeared thin as a reed. They insisted on buying the drinks. she found the proprietors had done two expert and tasty presentations of the fish. but she was smiling proudly with her two excellent fish. He photographed her with the fish then left her at a restaurant which he assured her would prepare her trout very nicely. “Good on ya. laughing and joining in. her moist green eyes sad and larger looking than ever in her drawn face.111 “I will go fishing.above the noise of the boat motor -. 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 -. so fine that she invited people over to her table to share the large meal. one in a light soy and green onion sauce.” she said aloud from her bed.
Perhaps some day she would return with enough humility and understanding of herself to deserve a marae welcome. the welcoming and acceptance of a guest. It seemed to her that he was the symbol of what must be accomplished. and she did walk through Te Whakarewarewa. she was in Rotorua. and that she ought to get on in a hurry. She was like a foreign There It bird flying over the land. and she was the person who had failed. failed in her smallness. a thermal reserve filled with famous geysers. a very unlikely place in which to be found. either. her fear and mistrust. Too much pungent sulfur and too many tourists for her. One quick immersion in one of these would cure her of everything. because she had failed to forgive Lan. Katharine checked into a small. Driving eighty-two kilometers the next day. for it was cloaked in a terrible lie and only drew her back to Green Braes. wasn’t all a matter of forgiveness. obscure hotel. She had wanted to visit a marae. and bubbling mud ponds. Kate?” Where are ya. “Good lord. unfit to be welcomed or so tenderly treated. I’m so happy to hear your voice. but the dense Maori history here was quite fascinating to investigate. the Maori spot tourists seemed to love most on North Island. searching for a place to land. but she felt unclean. the open area in front of the Maori meeting house.112 mailbox she regretted her foolishness. and called Margaret. but perhaps another excuse to run. It was a physical and a spiritual act which she thought of as a profoundly beautiful ceremony. spectacular aquamarine pools. .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She stayed one night in Rotorua and in the morning drove the three hours to Auckland. The place reeked of hot springs. was no place to land. After having sent her photograph she felt an ill wind nipping at her heels.
oh..” “Kate. I don’t know what this is all about....but I should have known.. problems. because ya really are quite a girl. up.. please call him.” What a long way it is.. What I do now is at least familiar to me. Margaret. please. Lan knows who ya are.. independence. I think you’re making a terrible mistake. and I don’t know what the problems are. but when ya love each other they can be worked out. I’ll go to pieces if I don’t hang . I mean.and there are other assumes too much importance.” “I don’t really understand this. Isn’t that rather amazing? You’re bloody Perhaps you’re too. That would destroy us And you see I’ve always run like mad from. romantic for someone who’s always out there in the world’s bad parts. not that ya aren’t. can’t.. friend.the.or if you come to Seattle. “I can’t..... Kate. respects who ya are.. friend.. I’m so sorry we never got to spend much time together. Margaret. and no good to anyone this way.I hope.113 “I’d rather not say.from whatever And. Kate.. Margaret... He’s going out of his mind.” I just wanted to thank you for being a I’ve got to go....I mean. Really sorry.I think I could totally disappear into Lachlan Manutane. long way. I’m sorry. bloody-hell.” “Kate. I know he respects your Don’t ya care enough to--” “Oh God. ya found each other.too much of an idealist. I just never thought. but Lan is my I can’t believe it myself..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Please. a long..” Can’t.the annihilation of my miserable self before I even straighten myself out. what Oh God. both. I know I shouldn’t say anything to ya but I’ve got to.but I suppose you won’t. Maybe I’ll be back some day. can’t.because it Can you understand? I’m far too much of a stranger to myself already.... wouldn’t be me calling. because I’m leaving New Zealand almost at once.
. It tells me something very important about you. Say good-bye and cheers to Ian. You know I love you. Thank you for sending the picture.114 “Wait.” Please come back.” We are one . She could not envision it. Margaret. Katharine. Kate. E-mail me or write me. Think deeply. “Good-bye.” “Good-bye. my friend. and the familiarity of an undefined and chaotic way of life had been allowed to rule.. just keep in touch. why you can’t forgive and why you run so hard. “Green Eyes.” Katharine hung up and bawled in a loud rush of grief. and if that is so then you love me. beautiful country. even though she couldn’t Doubt recall a single memory of Lan without nearly passing out. Kate. It tells me that It doesn’t you’ve suffered.” She had confirmed her plane reservations and called a It was a sad way to leave such a taxi for the morning. had never felt so alone. I treasure it. my ipo. continuing to feel small and unworthy. One day you’ll look up and It’s Think of your childhood. She She didn’t even want to contemplate what her life might have been like if she had stayed at Green Braes. continuing to believe she must go out and do something about it. She knew there was something missing in her frame of reference. She tried to assume a stoic posture. My final word to ya. to soothe herself with a trite and meaningless cliché that came into her head as she was standing in her tacky little room. spirit. of that on your long flight home.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .anything. 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. or call. “It just wasn’t in the cards. matter how far away you go. you look so sad with your two handsome fish. Lan. is that Lan cares for ya Please think as I’ve never seen him care for anyone in years. there I’ll be.
standing in the rain in Beacon Hill Park and listening to the peacocks’ mournful cries.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . to engage in any form of self-evaluation. shivering in the sea mists and looking at stucco English cottages and quaint old wooden houses which reminded her of New Zealand. The next day she returned to Seattle with something more engulfing and monumental in mind: work. 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. would always be tainted. she walked around the verdant city distractedly peering into sleeping wet gardens. only the thought of an easy assignment. she said. Occasionally. This isn’t working out. 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. a bittersweet misery that at times almost sent her to her knees. never mind trying to correct anything. Her nerves told her it was straight overhead. she would fall into a vacuous stare and wonder what she had been looking at. The condition Her intellect told her this predetermined fate assigned by an enraged parent was ridiculous. seeing instead a tall sail unfurling over aquamarine water and feeling a sudden heat on her skin. exacting work requiring full concentration. When at last she could leave her room. like . had told her. There was an ache that came into her wrists and ankles. this heavy sickness being dragged around in her body until she could hardly withstand the weight. The interlude was over and she had refused to think of anything. Victoria had been an interlude equivalent to a state of shock. was as congenital as an arm or a leg. but had made not the slightest change in a single uncertainty.115 II It was cold early spring in Victoria. and now here it was.
you did you were going to be beaten. This time she was so far gone that. the rules of conduct were familiar. she didn’t distract herself with unassociated fear. her well-meaning but parochial grandmother could have done nothing to erase this emotional conviction. at first with outrageous arrogance and then by lying. even in herself. because it was counterproductive. soft and hopeful. Beneath this self-deception. By the time she was eight. asserting that everything was wonderful.116 a dark cloud pregnant with doom. and her mind must stay focused on inflamed Palestinians and Israelis in a very dangerous place. just as she had lied by slight implication to Lan about her happy post-father childhood. the damage thrived. she could listen with an ear and mind that she hoped would retain a controlled compassion. Unlike a lot of pols with agendas. a part of outcome if you were congenitally no good? her always wanted to believe in good. In this resumed role of journalist. would attempt a viable encapsulation and dispersion of a long and legitimate history of pain. No matter what Why expect a positive Of course. strived to act as if it existed. In a world gone deaf this one pair of ears would listen carefully. probably very quickly and by your own hand. That fragile part of her was all That part of her was what wished You never receptive. Katharine took care of her permanent affliction in the best way she could. got rid of that or you’d be dead. for small pleasures and attempted good for others. in a sense. and existed in ample enough amounts to make existence worthwhile. and there are others a lot . she needed to go further. We all get on in the best way we can. Katharine felt herself fairly well-equipped for the job. only of work. was working.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . 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.
Here. it was quite a difficult achievement. King David. Standing on her veranda on the fourth floor of the King David Hotel in the rosy-gold setting sun. It was seventeen to fifty feet high and in places ten . The Romans alone had been here over three hundred years. How ironic that the name Jerusalem meant “foundation of peace.” The hotel’s namesake. she reminded herself. had captured this once humble and now sacred spot from the Jebusites some three thousand years ago. 2. ambitious proprietors coming and going from every corner of the Middle Eastern map. translucent blue hazed with gold above the dense texture of the Old City. the walled city. three centuries longer if one considered the Byzantine Roman Emperor Constantine. Today the sky was an ethereal. for they were powerful symbols of peoples and cultures and spiritual dreams. When not curtained with winter drizzle.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . her room faced the Old City. Although architectural modernity of the most avant-garde stripe existed here. in this exotic That was the place from which Katharine always place of red desert supporting rich treasures of antiquity. everything was light and shadow here. started. her own misery would be readily superceded by a large collective misery which daily accelerated. Sprawling out before her was a collection of ancient buildings representing far more than ornate and long-lived periods of architecture. blood-fed land of dissension and death.7 miles of gated wall which the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent built between 1536 and 1541. the ever-changing. Three thousand years of strife and struggle with swiftly time-threaded moments of peace and hope.117 worse off was the oft-repeated bromide of her self-sacrificing grandmother. she tried to imagine what it would feel like to be the dispossessed. In this starkly beautiful.
then stepped back inside her commodious suite. VCR. The room was a bastion of comfort. An extravagant self-indulgence to soothe her troubled brain. the greatest distance was a deep psychological pathology with no end in sight. the troubling logistics of even negotiating very short distances -. She stood very still.118 feet thick. She well knew the red-tape imbroglios that were the norm. a compact disc stereo system. She could set up her laptop and work from a convenient desk when she returned each day. Muslims and Jews.a separate living room. There were regular Israeli-imposed curfews in this tit for tat world of monstrous acts. Otherwise. She dressed in an olive sweater and skirt and slid her foot . and the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif with its most sacred Wailing Wall dating from the first century. Her squinting eyes could hardly take in a fraction of the encrustations of history and meaning. and fax. She had a guide lined up to visit Palestinian camps and planned to do her own photography when permitted. always it hovered over flawed man’s magnificent achievements. a Jacuzzi. all existing beneath the pervasive spectre of spilled blood.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but instead requested a special entry document for that purpose. a handsome bedroom. Inside its southeastern part were the gray-domed Al-Aqsa Mosque. Off to the west in the Old City was the Places sacred to Christians and Church of the Holy Sepulcher. the stamp would prevent one from entering an Arab country when reportage required that entry. and despite careful scheduling nothing was ever certain.for an American all distances here were very short. the gleaming Dome of the Rock. so close together and yet by historical paths and human nature so very far apart. gave one long sigh as the light faded. One did not even allow an Israeli stamp on one’s passport. If she returned each day. Great care had always to be taken. although she hardly ever worked in such luxury -.
in the lovely old 30s neighborhood of Rehavia. her body at once more his than her own. She would shake off the “A shaking off. the room. her own headquarters. stopping to button his shirt as those dark eyes engulfed her reason. She had stayed there on her last visit. had once again offered her a bedroom. but she had declined. “You’re thinner. holding the other shoe in her hand. wanting her own sanctum. Once seated at her table in the La Regence Grill. smiling at her old schoolmate as she heard once again that familiar Israeli . begun in 1987. the square. she tried to focus on its sumptuous intimations of antiquity. Hittite. and was now held in his powerful sway. isn’t it?” Katharine said. her own coddling cave in which to work absent of any memory at all.” it was what the word intifada meant. she finished her preparations for dinner and went downstairs to meet a friend who lived in an Art Deco apartment not far away. Here were touches of Assyrian. She sat motionless. 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. a violent Palestinian response to suppression and devalued existence. memories over dinner.119 into her chestnut wedge-heeled shoe. she ordered a Manhattan neat and waited for her friend. Judith Stein. summoning up the entire memory. She had thought of Lan. “There you are. scrollsided cream columns and the high ceilings cross-beamed with colorful and interesting motifs. suddenly remembering Green Braes and descending the stairs beside Lan. Katharine. and Phoenician cultures.” Judith said as Katharine stood up to receive and give a hug.” “Thin is good. Striding briskly over the shining floors and through the splendid public halls of the King David.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . But the memories would not leave her. Her heart pounded as if he were about to enter Taking several deep breaths.
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. “Ideally.120 voice.” Judith finally said. although she was not able to finish her meal. Judith?” Judith. Katharine ate chicken croquettes and sauce with wild rice and a mixed green salad. 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. They refuse to consider the plight of the Palestinians.” “There is every shade of sentiment here from rabid hatred of each other to a desire for co-existing states and an aloof. while they slowly spooned into a fruited mousse dessert.” As if to amend her physical condition. leaned back and said. “Come up to my rooms. but it doesn’t. they resumed their discussion of what everyone called “the situation. you will see that they think it does. “Not too thin.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . We can have a little nip of something with coffee and talk in private. If you manage to talk to the far right. Judith. “So you are going to visit Palestinians. “The logistics of doing that could really be dangerous. I wish it all belonged to us.” Katharine emptied her wine glass and said.” “Where do you stand in those shades of feeling. For . “Everyone is equally One of sick of and horrified at the current state of affairs. But it’s so good to see you again. commerce-exchanging peace.” Once seated on Katharine’s comfortable sofa and nursing small glasses of brandy. her smallish body wrapped in a pale blue cashmere sweater and matching slacks.” Judith said. There’s a sort of complimentary bar there. white fish with the same wild rice and salad.
prisoners.” . it seems elementary.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Because they’re under severe stress. would fight.. You’ve made a Why do Arabs I love this city. intelligent and longsuffering and apparently caring..what a sorrow..” “Katharine.this beautiful place here. yours is not a popular view..” “Meanwhile. you’ve shut them in pens.. Their homes..a frustration at the level of mad rage. I believe I. until I died. no They make themselves into respect for even their own lives..” “They want only to fight.all the more amazing that. started.. to kill.. You’ve given them curfews and treated them like bad children or worse.. Yes.. and so many have died. it’s inexcusable that innocent youth are inveigled into those wretched tactics.their land gone.a hopeless place.. human bombs.121 them there is no plight but their own.. land. even with my bare hands..I’m sorry to say very much like concentration camps. It’s a history of their own suffering. You Israelis are so remarkable.you have taken their land. too. want to kill us?” “For me. their villages. something to be proud of in that sense. Don’t get me They have no regard for life. their dreams have vanished.” “We have tried to resolve this. hubris. They kill innocents. an outsider.. But backed into such an inescapable corner.” “Do you ever grieve for Palestinians?” “I’ve been too busy grieving for Israelis.. a willful interpretation of God’s written word and anger. ignorance. their houses gone.rationalization.. And I grieve....” “But human bombs--” “They don’t have tanks or gunships. their dignity assaulted.. It might have been paradise..hunger for a place they believe nearest to God. oh.
122 “What was the Haganah.” Judith flung her hair back with an angry grimace. They just aren’t going away. “I hope I’m not. those radical wings were swallowed up.” I can’t do “And I’ve had this discussion too many times. sides have to ride through all of this killing. slice right through the horrors of the extremists and move without stopping to a place of co-existence. wanted only to fight. think I don’t feel for you. Now we’ve said our say. Innocents don’t have to go on suffering and dying on either side. “The populace doesn’t want to fight when it isn’t necessary. Somehow reason must come into play. Don’t Both “Please sit down. Now let’s talk of something else.. “They wanted only to fight. because neither side is going away.” “How do you know?” Judith asked with irritation. a Palestinian state the same would come to be true. I feel deeply for both sides. Only wrong-thinking leaders with self-serving interests and backed by extremists want that. . with a legacy of Don’t preach to me. I’m sure you’ve had preachment enough. You’re not a Jew. or you’ll never have peace. Judith. Our survival..” Judith stood up. or my country’s representatives? Both sides are mired in rage.” rising out of the Zionist Labor movement. it anymore.” but you don’t live here. too.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the leaders are involved in all sorts of conflicting agendas.you seem to think you can just come here and tell us what to do. brutal mistreatment and vilification. And who were the Lehi and Irgun armies and the Palmach strike force in those early days? They. “So you know something of our history.” “You have no idea. As soon as the well-oiled machinery of a state was With properly in place.” “Me? Do you mean me. even to fight amongst themselves. Judith?” “The Haganah? The beginning of the Israeli Defense Forces. and It’s exactly what you need.
it’s interesting. but Nothing must stop it. my country has proved that. A number of well-intentioned Israelis have seen this. A society only lives freely and comfortably when reason is allowed to supercede the horrors of wild emotion. too. too. state isn’t a leader but a structure. That’s the only solution. warring autocrats. . seen that the killing must stop and how to stop it. a third impartial party to come in here and tell you what to do. I’ve been reading comprehensive reports on the actions of both sides. and it only leads backwards.” “You know. and the more I read and observe the more I realize that you need a persevering mediator.123 some honest and some far from it.” “And you think your American president can do that? all the public posturing. it’s been tried many times.” Judith said. 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. Palestinians and Israelis are too often misrepresented by fanatical.” “I do. but that is what must occur. Innocent Palestinian people are being They have a right to houses That cannot continue.” “They seem to want it all. the trouble is something always stops it. This is their country. and gardens and land.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and if it’s well in place it will survive the sudden loss of any leader. I’ve found that the With Palestinians hate us for being partial to Israelis -. to laugh and sing and eat and dream. it hasn’t happened yet.” Judith chided.and yes. The history of Some strong third party must Oh. and to them it looks quite the reverse. mediate a lasting peace. The A Palestinians need an autonomous state with a sound structure. the right to come and go freely. but I don’t think so. “I know you fear that. oppressed. once again standing with her agitated Surely you see it.
life.. Judith. Katharine?” “Oh. Judith sat down.” “Aren’t reporters supposed to be unbiased?” “I try to be.your private life?” “Oh. “What about you.. But it comes and goes. Now we’ll talk of something else. but it has nothing to do with my conviction. shaking her head as she sat down.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .respect your opinion. for anyone in a position to publicize the futility of constant bloodshed. yes.” You wanted to continue and You’re my friend... Please. “Please don’t be angry. and her gray eyes blazing with a certain indignant anger.. Katharine had stood and touched Judith’s shoulder..try to tell the truth. think your country has committed no atrocities?” “How I wish it were the case.124 fingers sliding through her dark blond hair.” “You weren’t so bad yourself.” Katharine said. leaning forward with her face in her hand and her elbow resting on her knee.. Judith..” Judith said with a sardonic laugh. And you’re here because it has gone perhaps?” Currently. “We were talking about the problem here.. marry as soon as I find a suitable husband.” “I intend to . circumstance that is unconscionable for any compassionate human being. Katharine. If enough people are shown. “You’re a guest in Israel and I’m trying to be polite. “Psychology is definitely your metier.” I think You “You were such an exceptional student.. 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.” And it’s more than opinion. so I did.however unpopular. You have a good mind and I do respect that. “Hmm.ah. it’s one of the reasons I tolerate your audacity. but you have me doing it again.” “Do you have a private life. it’s a conviction.
Envy is expressed as green.” Katharine answered. usually know when it’s needed. Judith.. It could be that I’m far too particular. “Maybe it’s the way to go. “Guess I’d better get back to my place.” It’s in my nature.” I will have you over Going “And I thank you for the good meal.. I’ll check in with you from time to time.” “Yes?” Judith said with an incisive encouragement..” “And to do that I have to do a lot of listening. too.except when this sad. is it not? But your eyes are enviable..those sad green eyes.or I wouldn’t be in this profession.” “So you’re going to be evasive. it? I think you need to. for supper in a few days.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “The nightmare is.. *** Katharine walked a rather sullen Judith to the .. shrugging.” “Thanks for coming and for sharing thoughts with me... to those camps seems to me like a nightmare. I don’t think of futility.” Judith stood up with finality. I’m a listener. You don’t need another one from me..” door.. I’m sure.more a friend than a lover. Katharine. you’re listening to enough sad stories in your practice.opinion. They.in the same way that you need to go about reporting on the state of things.” Do you want to talk about “When you aren’t teaching.rather futile..125 “What? hard. I “But I’ll listen if you want me to.. You can’t find one? You can’t be looking very You have so much to offer. Lovers consume you... for the people living there. I have a very good friend who is really just that. “If you could see your face.” “I don’t know about that. “Just.. Well.. Please be careful. my friend. I have a few things to do before I sleep for the morning rush. let me know if you need a sympathetic ear while you’re here.
drink. and then returned to her room to make a phone call. Ahmed. dabbled in a few items: an orange. The fragile white almond blossoms which Katharine had once seen in February would have blown away. This was the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. the others moving at a The Israeli Defense This snail’s pace and open only to settlers. Many roads were closed. so many little intrigues that melted away with disappointment and physical decline. Forces had placed the camps under twenty-four hour curfew. A large date palm was dripping in the slow drizzle as she passed through the ancient Jaffa Gate and then down through the souk. resulting in two deaths. but rather a desire to stretch her legs and breathe the high cool air of the rain-washed Judean Hills. now often rife with soldiers. . Self-purification Katharine went down early to the tempting miscellaneous breakfast buffet provided by the hotel. sex. a roll. She badly needed mitigating exercise. narrow. a lovely old refurbished hotel slightly north and west of the Old City. involving dawn to dusk fasting. a boiled egg along with coffee.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but the season of rain had tapered off. she walked over to the Old City. no food. so many determined lives.126 In the morning it was raining. Setting off with an umbrella borrowed from the hotel. disheartening news made Katharine nervous and irritable. and currently had no wish to visit the hotel’s fitness room. in front of the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. been another explosion on one of the main roads. or harsh oaths. he told There had once there interpret for her. the now subdued marketplace. her that absolutely nothing was negotiable today. and When she phoned Ahmed. for the Muslim population. He would have arranged a visit to one of the camps. for it was late March and nearing the end of Ramadan. Orient House. She was to meet her contact. and the tight. overhung and winding passageways which held centuries of echoing footfalls. smoking.
oh. Continuing to chastise herself. “This bloody mood. and then heard Lan’s idiom.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She stood letting the rain drift into her face.. A hot bath and then tea might help. pulsing with the world. the present miseries all joining a restless river of sorrow from which she was unable to swim free. and accidentally splashed hot tea on her shaking hands. She realized that she herself was blinking away the moisture of remorseful eyes. Why have I been so hopelessly ineffectual. she thought as she shook off her umbrella and entered the soothing quiet of the King David Hotel. in Hebrew called Rehov Hasharsheret. she rubbed her hands together and held them clasped against her chest a moment then sighed and opened the message. his voice in her soft outcry. mingling with commiserating regret and her own frustration. drinking tea and reading an editor’s email directives appearing on her laptop screen as it glowed like a living entity. Quickly setting down the cup.unable to move on. descended the steps and came out into the northwestern side of the plaza. was itself awash in fierce contention and wild negative emotion. . the rain like the tears of all those who had suffered over this small sacred spot on the troubled planet. she turned right. she caught sight of email registering from long silent Green Braes. such a victim of my sorry self? she pondered... As she was going through the remainder of her messages. There was a lone black-garbed member of the orthodox Hasidim making his way to the Wailing Wall with his dripping umbrella raised high. This sacred place. She had never been there in the rain. presumed to represent man’s triumph over pain and a connection with the Divine. she.” she muttered. ever watchful but resolute. When she had soaked in a warm herb-scented bath..127 Moving along the Street of the Chain. she sat on her sofa in her robe. the past. she turned around and headed slowly back the way she had come.
to obey the wise counsel of her simple grandmother by losing her own story in the grievously disregarded stories of others. wanted no food. but the drizzle had stopped. Coolish Standing on her veranda.128 “I miss you very much. to inform a segment of the world. forgetting. 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.. He was not promising that everything would go according to plan. Kate. Please.” 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. I can’t write this. Apologize to Mary for me. There was a thick dark cloud bursting in a gray column behind a rainbow low in the west.looking it wasn’t really about Rani. Lan. can you help me by being well and by forgiving. down on the whole thing. out in the field. she found the vodka. At least she was at liberty to do this. hugging a pillow until she dozed off. she could go no further and pressed the send button before she could change her mind. air... but would pick her up in the UNRWA van. tossed it down.oh. Ahmed called to say that a road had temporarily opened to Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. Please communicate with me. Please don’t suffer. she checked the weather. I couldn’t see..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . then curled up in her luxurious bed.. I Do you give a damn if I’m suffering? need to know how you are. . this. where you are. Don’t do this to us. She She wanted to work. along with another person with whom he worked in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.” Suffering herself.. At seven in the morning. which needed to hear the other side: always an act requiring a certain amount of risk. trying to work. She was to be in front of Orient House in half an hour. Rattling through small bottles in the conveniently stocked little bar.
” Karima said in careful English. Is that the right thing to do?” Katharine asked with a polite smile.the Never have I seen eyes of this green.” Karima said. She walked through the slightly ajar high gate and stared past the dark green firs. the building was a stone’s throw from the extremely orthodox Hassidim neighborhood of Me’ah She’arim. “Thank you. “It will be easier. green.or jade. but Karima said.. studying the gamariya construction often found in Islamic architecture.” Immediately thinking of Lan. black-. “I’m not Muslim. but heard the quick beep of a car horn.129 A hotel-summoned taxi let Katharine off before the irongated entrance of elegant Orient House.. She sat behind Ahmed and was at once introduced to the shyly smiling passenger beside her named Karima. Karima’s smooth-skinned round face was surrounded by the gossamery white hijab..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine reached for the scarf. Clutching her large purse.. Formerly a hotel and the 1897 villa of Isma’il al-Husseini. white-. “Let me do this for you. “I have brought for you a scarf. Karima. especially on the road. a head scarf which fell to her waist and was a common sight among the women of Gaza. I find your amber-brown eyes .. like the mineral stone malachite.” and brought the scarf gently over her head with quick agile fingers. Katharine felt a weakness in her stomach. Flying the red- triangled. and green-barred Palestinian flags. She considered climbing the stairs to see if she might peek inside.. Katharine hastened outside the gate and climbed into the waiting white UN van. “Your eyes are surprising. the gabled covering over a handsome fan entrance set with colored glass surrounded by stylized plaster latticework. Orient House was now the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in East Jerusalem.very beautiful.
. The army checkpoints at Muraj.” “My husband is dead. human loss.” “Yes.” “Ah. another parent you have?” “My grandmother raised me. My eyes are from the eyes of my mother.good teachers..” “You will be asked this often. They will be wondering what . strife. “the old are wise.” “You’re working. I have three children and my mother.” “She is alive?” “No. “No. a road often closed.130 quite lovely. Elazar. field work.” Karima said. Gone a long time ago. Efrat.. Kfar Darom. the stuff of life and quite a bit more. They were on the tunnel road out of Jerusalem.” “Because I’m a woman. Karima. She was a wise teacher.” 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 the desperate need for sustenance. “We are going almost to Hebron. a story of hours in brutal sun. produce along the road.” “So then. “What route do we take?” Katharine called out loudly enough for Ahmed to hear. When they reached Kfar Etzion the Arab villages began to appear and continued until they reached the Kiryat Arba turnoff. and Netzarim are open to travelers now.. Katharine thought. then to Gaza and south.gone now. Karima had informed her. Arab women were selling Their weathered faces heavily lined.” “Yes. child bearing. you are doing here. “Do you have children?” Karima asked.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I don’t. too. and Neve Daniel... and each line.
“Good lord.131 I must work. we have a single moment of relief. she was hesitant to inquire just how the presumably young husband had died.” “I. waved them on. 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.” Karima responded and fell silent. “I’m sorry. They were on the Gaza road. “and it is never without worry. ID.” “I’m not trying to hide. “just trying to be polite. traversed for thousands of years. Ahmed was ready Katharine with hawiyya. and at which Palestinian travelers were powerless to do anything but suffer whatever fate was decided upon by IDF soldiers. “We go through that every time we reach a checkpoint. and said. “You are not one of them.” In this warring climate. When attention was at last focused on her. “Why the hijab?” the soldier holding an M-16 inquired.” Katharine answered with a smile. trying not to look at anyone.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . his and Karima’s special passes.” Katharine exclaimed. If we are allowed It is very .” The soldier warned her about the dangers of the camps and. intimidating road blockades involving examination and interrogation. Katharine began to experience the anxious feeling of threat that was always present under such uncertain and unequal conditions. 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. to pass. lowered her head and sat very still. too. that’s unnerving. As they drew up to the first checkpoint. because she was with an UNWRA guide. and would now have to deal with checkpoints.” Karima said.
passport and are not subject to curfew. o’clock. “UN workers have red passes. “But curfew for you?” she went on. we must rush to be home by nine And very soon it will return to seven o’clock. Israeli authorities extend curfew from seven o’clock to nine o’clock. worship. you have a U. still it is difficult. stroking her travel purse with camera inside. and immense respect for your great strength in living like this. its eroded remnants were falling to dust . Here fourteenth century Egyptian Mamluk sultans had provided caravan travelers with a khan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . One more very fortunately uneventful checkpoint at the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom. why we often have such anger. where guards in high towers waved them through.” Katharine said in a voice filled with newly heightened emotion. “It is my hope that you will make others understand what is laid upon us. take no picture without first carefully seeking permission from her subject.S. exempting us from curfew. “Officially. and they were soon in Khan Yunis. “Should we worry about the curfew?” Katharine asked.” “I have deep regret for all of this humiliation. but even then it is not easy. During Ramadan. Here. feeling some of the anger that so many innocent Palestinians must feel in very large doses at the severe proscription of their lives. They do not like journalists.” Katharine rode in silence.” Katharine said. can party all night.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. and supplies.” “I try to play that down. She also knew that she could Red tape. My father has experienced this many times. questions. and it is a In some countries Muslims social time. Karima. We can eat after sunset. a sort of castle-like dwelling for rest.” Karima said.
” Katharine said softly. The electrical wiring overhead appeared equally haphazard and fraught with danger.” They entered the house through a narrow and dark makeshift vestibule with another door at the end.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . horses. the Palestinian fighters.000 people looked Donkeys.. the mother of three children. staring through the window at the heavily marked side of a building. too. Omar.” They drove through the town to a cinder block house which looked as though half of it had been cut away. its minaret soaring seventy-five feet into the sky. a wide street dividing the neighborhood to make room for the Israeli soldiers to chase guerrillas who vanish in narrow alleys. the house was cut in half for the Sharon Street. ‘popular journalism..” Ahmed said. “The language of graffiti.133 in the square while nearby a contemporary mosque. flaunted an illegal Palestinian flag. “Yes. They tore apart houses. throwing up mud from the recent rains and plowing through open sewage. “This happened in the 1970s with General It faced a broad Ariel Sharon’s Iron Fist response to the fedayeen.” “We are visiting Amira.” Karima said. This was to protect the . street slicing right through the housing area. If he comes home in time it will be possible to speak with him. This town of more than 80. as though a sudden wind would bring it all down in a snapping tangle. imprisoned people.’ another way of communicating the stress of suppression. “It is called sahafit is-shaab. a lot of shootings. husband. Her “He lost his last job when a long curfew was imposed and the roads were closed.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. and cars were oppressive and jerry-built. has been out looking for work.” Karima said. “For you this will be of interest.
134 entrance from Israeli tear gas canisters. Katharine said. very curious little girl. Karima explained. waving her hands. Katharine had already noticed that the windows facing the street were sandbagged.” “Thank you for letting me come into your home. the settlements were The houses in the walled in and guarded by Israeli soldiers. You have “Where is your husband. Amira brought a tray with tea in small glasses. of you.your children? pictures?” Amira asked with smiling curiosity. pointing to her staring child.. “Our home was invaded last night. “Your daughter. but I must not complain.” . is a very pretty little girl. It is not your way. plump Amira’s shy eyes flashed out from a round face surrounded by the thin cloth of her white hijab.” “No.” Amira said.” Karima translated for Amira.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Karima said as they entered Amira’s house.” Amira said. Generally.” Katharine said. “We do not expect this Please drink. “Laila. “We are not in the best of humor today. When she was introduced. She had heard that Israeli settlers sandbagged the windows of exposed houses in their settlements to protect them from Palestinian snipers.” They sat on large cushions placed on a cold tile floor in a barren square room painted soft blue with a white ceiling. She wore a long-sleeved. Palestinian camps were subject to entry and search at any time by the IDF. “I have neither husband nor children. “Sometimes they get on the roofs of our houses to watch us and shoot at rock throwers.. “I should not drink when you cannot. which she could not herself drink. Fasting is difficult under these circumstances. delicately flowered blue blouse and a long black skirt which was being clutched by a dark-eyed. Laila.
children are so frightened whenever they hear a strange sound. her ravaged neighborhood with its sewage perpetually trickling down the sandy. 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 .” At first Amira was hesitant to speak when Katharine asked to hear an account of her existence. sundown. worry that the fright will damage them. None of us sleep very well. “When my husband lost his job because of the curfew and the closed roads. had met with no success. 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. her home. muddy edges of the cracked sidewalks. I like It’s a different point of view. we had to sell some of our possessions. her withheld emotions rose to the surface and spilled out in a rapid and lengthy harangue of frustration and anger. Omar. but after a period of brief responses to politely orchestrated questions and short voluntary comments of her own. like criminals. to have food. is like to live this way. Most of the time we have no idea who they are A free state. sweet water. returned. I’ve chosen this way of life. even one of my gold bracelets.. ahead of us it is hardly a thought. to be left alone and manage our own Oh. Gradually. what I do. the husband. her children..this after the soldiers have come into our home. Katharine with her tape recorder now readily approved and her note pad scribbled full of descriptive passages of Amira. a different way of living a life.” “Not so sad for me.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” They talked on. that is so far affairs that is hardly a dream anymore. she began to open up. because the new settlements have used so much water that only a few wells still have maaya helwa. looking for.135 “This is very sad for you. Amira.
. and directed his words to Ahmad. There is nothing Her dreams are stronger than even her These young rock throwers. .. yet he accepted Katharine’s role of journalist and even smiled.. Omar’s soft-spoken mother.. displaying teeth in need of dental work.now a new Israeli settlement of fine houses lives there. is like a talisman for a dream that can bear no fruit.no hope for them. of speaking to any woman in this manner. Hanan. for them to do.136 wells of a haggard face flashed with anger as he explained his humiliating plight. want Israeli soldiers in my life. According to Ahmad’s translation. but she will not give up the key. the door and carried away the key.killing us. gone. Omar said. 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 protruded. as he welcomed her into his home. It One evil She locked The house of the key is The village of the house of the key is gone. a country for my people that is free. How else can they retaliate for this hopelessness? What can they do? “I myself do not want Palestinian terrorists. Write that down for the world to read. Katharine glanced at the cold tile floors and wondered if the bare feet were a habit or a necessity.. the shabab. I do not I want a job.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . day she had to close the door of our home forever. get into trouble because they are always angry and restless. a good life for my family.. his smile seemed to Katharine a monumental effort. “My mother wears the key of her former house on a cord around her neck. Her wrinkled face beamed from behind Her full figure was her black scarf at the sight of her son. shuffled quietly into the room to welcome her son. He was unused to speaking to a strange woman. children’s. “This is a sorry place for the young men.
Insha’allah. and the cucumbers. unkind to accept or rude to decline. happy to be eating. the pleasure of the meal. “One day you will have children and they will be in a free place. whose name was Aysha. Young Aysha They tended the flat bread warming on the charcoal brazier. We will share some of the food with you that we were going to eat. call to prayer. drank apple juice. and was content . There were fluffy almond-studded rice and mounds of a minuscule dried fish. which Ahmad had brought from the van along with the containers of the very small fish. This was the fast-breaking dinner.137 “Do you have children?” “No. and they gathered around the meal. and there were a number Katharine considered whether it was She glanced at Karima. They heard the athaan. shyly spread out the covers. olives. Hanan. “Thank you.” he Soon the sun would be setting. but she understood the necessary socializing. sitting on foam cushions as Karima and Amira arranged the food. and beans stirred with olive oil and thyme. Please accept me this way. Amira’s oldest girl.” Karima said and explained her words to Katharine. the “Ask the same for us. entered the room with a bowl of humus and knelt to set it on the cloth. making jokes she couldn’t understand. “Will you stay for iftar with us. of hungry mouths to feed. and Amira asked. God’s will. She chewed slowly and looked at the They were smiling.” Omar said. cucumbers. Omar’s mother.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine answered with a look which she hoped said This is who I am. the bottom one the fiber matt floor covering. Several layers of covering were placed across the floor. surrounding faces. added. the top one a sort of oil cloth upon which the food was laid. tomatoes. a pot of jam. Katharine broke her warm bread and dipped it into the humus as the others were doing.
on her lap being fed.the shabab. With the phone The entirety of it was a story up to his ear. English to Karima and Katharine. The request She tried to frame The wiggling her photograph carefully. Ahmad’s lanky torso rested back on his elbow. They will be finishing off the houses of the suspected shabab in the morning with their . Amira with the baby boy. amazingly cheerful they all looked. his face grew serious and he shook his head and exclaimed softly. one killed. and Omar frowning and reaching for bread. but all was motion. they reclined on their cushions drinking mint tea. was granted. Only Hanan looked at the camera. Katharine asked Ahmad to ask Omar if she might be permitted to photograph the family as they sat at their meal. Heavy explosives. mischievous Aysha teasing her younger sister.. Ahmad’s cellular phone rang. smiling serenely. Such a pose Katharine could not allow to slip away and was quite satisfied as her shutter clicked several times.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Karima was talking softly to Amira. Now we’re in for it. and then she heard a loud explosion which shook the room.138 to watch and listen to the chattering. in itself. Amal. his black-haired head bobbing as he chewed and grinned. They say a jeep was stoned and two soldiers run off the road. “That’s an antitank missile. He stood up and raised his hands for silence. Atif.. My God. Can you hear it?” he said in “Only a mile and a half away. and she reached for her purse. At the finish of the meal. “What?” Katharine asked. perhaps for a moment forgetting their great misfortune. stoned or shot. simply happy to be eating together. children. She bit into a crisp fresh cucumber and smiled How at Hanan who nodded at her and returned her smile. melodic sounds of spirited voices. We won’t get out of here tonight.
Their mother moved over to comfort them. every Maybe every house Children are martyrs now. 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. but dreamed that Lan was making fierce love to her in a long half-water-filled kayak as it sank. was cold and hard. as she went on explaining to Katharine what they would do.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the meal that would Stuporous. with an RAO friend on his phone. a ‘martyr house.” Omar told Ahmad. crying. It was just after four o’clock. Lights flashed in her eyes.” he directed at Katharine. house will be beit shaheed. her blanket thin.’ will be knocked down. refugee-UNRWA liaisons.’ “As you see. . Katharine wobbled across last them through the day. RAOs were European or North American contractors. a Refugee Affairs Officer. Listen to that artillery. never comfortable. young Aysha and her little sister.139 dynamite and bulldozers. She awoke with the sudden stirring of the others. green in the fluorescent lamp. As the house shook again in a loud and threatening boom of sound.” angrily excited Ahmad said with a dramatic gesture for Katharine.” Karima said. Amal. her damp body still pulsing in the throes of fear and erotic desire. “There are some blankets in the van. a ‘state of Before wadd’a is over. but they monitored human rights. ‘the situation. face looked bone tired and slightly grotesque. only her shoes removed. It was time for suhur.’ what we must live with. This is what I mean when I say nothing He had been speaking is certain. it is really halat harb. pulling futilely at her cover. “This is el wadd’a. wishing for the release of sleep but instead contemplating this life and her own. huddled together in tears. A child was At last she fell asleep.” “You must stay here. The floor She turned back and forth fully clothed. They must eat before sunrise. war.
her escape felt like. as if Mary were simply waiting for her to come along in order to dispense that longed for maternal tenacity. She had managed to get herself away. idea of Mary as her adoptive mother....” “I wish I’d brought my laptop. and were at once greedily asleep. yet.. but I can watch the household. Karima handed her a glass of very strong cardamom coffee. When she awoke the other blankets were put away. slumped down with the silent family and fed flat bread and jam into her mouth between sips of coffee. “Why did you let me sleep?” She was wriggling into her shoes.” Karima answered. and Katharine said. was. We may not “It is good.. security. How long would Lachlan Manutane invade her waking and sleeping dreams? She pondered his perceptive observations. She The groggy Then they all returned to their floor mats.with your help.140 the floor. wrapping themselves in their blankets. avoided the beans but ate a hard-boiled egg. talk to Amira and Hanan.” “Where are Ahmad and Omar?” “They have gone to a neighbor who needed help with a broken door. devotion. some strength of will. that involved some projection of thought. callow in her yearning.and so completely in love with Lan but unable to imagine any sort of future. no victory at all. be leaving today. What a child she now saw herself in this matter. a self-inflicted sort of wound. “Just as well. awake and thinking again. children whimpered and gurgled in complaint. so incisive. just as careless children live in the present with no thought of ensuing dark days..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and Amira and her daughter were mopping the floors. then She had wishfully entertained the Now she was fully those of Mary.write some . spurred on by the nervous idea of how swiftly she might be swallowed up if she stayed.
Later. “Now we are preparing for eid al fitr celebration. It was the amazing endurance of the family that she found so uplifting.” “Then I’ll just watch. but she had existed under far worse conditions in more immediate war zones. while Amira was feeding baby Atif. it was They were able to employ more and more Then they had to lay off half their workers due to an . Karima said. Upon graduation and after their marriage. is there not?” Karima remarked. At first.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and the indulgent and kindly way her inconvenient appearance was accepted into the flow of things. holding his squirming little body on her lap. nothing is ever certain. the end of Ramadan in two days. Amira said. The water was indeed Insha’allah.” “There is much to write. watching the women and girls who were presently making Ramadan atayif. had met Omar at the West Bank Birzeit University. The women are baking bread and cakes. “Ahmad has been talking to his RAO friend and thinks that tomorrow we may get you back to Jerusalem. Katharine had done only minimal ablutions in the crowded household. doing quite well. unpleasantly salty. fried and heavily soaked in honey. If With wadd’a. she talked to Katharine with Karima’s help. nothing else happens. Omar had enlisted the help of both their families to start a door manufacturing business in Gaza. workers. pancakes filled with ground nuts. Wishing to be unobtrusive. which they were able to attend with part-time jobs and the help of their families.141 things.” Katharine leaned against the wall. Katharine learned that Amira actually spoke some Amira English but was shy about using it before a journalist.” Her teeth felt furry and her clothes needed changing. I am afraid they will not have much time to talk to you.
Next their supplies were cut off due to The business could not operate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and goes. half in Arabic. retreating to another room where the men often met to talk. which was stroking nervously over little Atif’s body as she spoke. hope?” Amira said.. Amira’s eyes were moist as she told her story. have done this when they want to find someone. I know they will because they must. He is very.” An elderly bearded man clothed in a long cream jalabeeya and wearing a taghiya or skullcap atop his gray head suddenly entered the room.depressed and tired. too. “Things will improve. . curfews and road closures. they “He has the suspicion. half in English.142 Israeli licensing restriction which allowed businesses no more than ten employees.. Omar’s employees all found themselves jobless.” Karima said. and Omar had to That job. Perhaps he thinks you are Shin Bet. failed after a long curfew which prevented Omar from going out. quickly take a job as a gardener in a settlement. Katharine looked at Amira’s hand. He stared at Katharine with a look of surprise then a grimace. “My uncle. “I guess that’s what I’m saying.” “Disturbed.. He is very. “Uncle Ibrahim stays with us from time to time. Now he was daily searching for work. “Why would he think that?” “They have posed as journalists to catch people. “You are not the first to say so. the Israeli domestic intelligence.” Katharine said. Patting this frantic hand then offering a quick grasp.” “Ah. Ibrahim.” “Are you now to tell me I must have amal.” Amira said.how do you say? He comes Yes. his tall frame moving with a stumbling forward tilt. this has gone on? Do you not know how long We are tired of it.. Katharine said.” Katharine answered...
I do not think the boy is so bad.happy in the blossoms and buzzing bees. 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... Punishment is not the answer.. His good mind is not good anymore. and for this the IDF knocks down Uncle Ibrahim’s house. very disturbed man.. our houses. rewarded.143 “Yes. That is These insane sporadic killings of the blameless on both No sides only create seething hatred. peace.. rows of He loves.what we do not have. this must stop. Look what we have. road because of rocks.perhaps he throws some rocks -..the soldiers taunt the young boys.such perfect rows. past the cacti and the orange groves and the settlements..” “I do not want to punish. our dreams... and I will. Insha’allah.loved to olive and almond trees.bulldozes his orchards. I want peace. thanking Allah for this life. I play in this beautiful place with “Once he has orchards.” Katharine said. you know. but only dead innocents sacrificed for nothing. martyred children.” *** Back through the desert Katharine had finally been driven..... He cannot stay in one place.” Amira said. through the nerve-wracking checkpoints and up into the Judean I want rights for Palestinians. One of his grandsons is sometimes with the shabab. “What I have seen are not This all must stop. other friends.is sometimes going to other relatives. He is always working in his orchards..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .restless man. evil. For this their families are paid.. “Leave us to have a country of . peace or harmony can rest on a foundation so evil. my young sisters.but I myself can only tell your story. Amira.. Who is punished for this?” “Oh. tend these trees.. not the path to freedom. They say a soldier goes off the But even so..
back to Jerusalem to write a portion of her story. As she was perusing her e-mail list a quick gasp escaped her. When she was reasonably satisfied with the result.” where and when to catch a bus for the following day’s visit. With her usual self-demanding perfectionism. “I’ll show you my office. and in pursuit of a few more of the thousands of Palestinian stories which existed in the camps. she had promised to return soon.” Judith said. When this routine task was finished she intended to dress and head out to find the appropriate bus for Mount Scopus. Four days after she had finished her current story. Omar. Another message from Green . writing and rewriting until she had included and excluded all that was necessary to make a moving and flowing story of fact.144 Hills. 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 told them all.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . working long into several nights. posted the accompanying photographs. She had been allowed to photograph quite a bit more than she had anticipated.” “Salamtak. Katharine stretched on her veranda with her coffee in hand. she faxed her work to the contracting magazine. and their children. to see what hectic life was like with a seven o’clock curfew. after the Ramadan eid al fitr celebrations. you. The next morning offered the sweet promise of a fresh early spring day. “Health be with Finding difficulty in saying good-bye. “my tidy She explained to Katharine existence at the center of chaos. staring thoughtfully off at the Old City and thinking of Amira. Blood pulsed into her temples. she asserted silently as she went inside to read her email. she sat at the desk which held her computer. and set out to escape her troubled thoughts by exploring more of Jerusalem before returning to the camps. They must have a better life. Judith left a phone message.
then a wall of blackness. Kate. there was a concussive explosion of sound so loud her ears captured only the first half. but I’ll forget when you do. The world spun around. Nothing. crashing into the earth? There was an instant of stillness. Then. you. going to make it. Katharine had walked a few blocks when she saw a bus pulling up to the shelter. Come back With much A writer who can’t finish her sentences is in pain. a coward in Where are you? I worry about Please come back. no longer existed. Her troubled response to his earlier message had made her assume that Lan would finally give up on her. *** There were short spans of sudden consciousness. trepidation she opened the message and read. She sorely needed warm and understanding conversation with an old friend. the pink limestone buildings all askew and spinning. and cream linen jacket for a lunch that she hoped would not be difficult. but there was nothing more she could say. but even then all was blackness. Or was it her own body spinning. she was catch.145 Braes when she thought they had ended. Lan had said it all. her own body being pushed along by the force of some hard object. at the same moment she thought this. this. Don’t be a hypocrite in this. blue silk blouse.” the initial paralyzing calm after a deep wound. Tell me to my face.” Indeed she was in pain.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . In those times she thought herself . I love you. she thought as she listlessly put on her tan slacks. as such. tumbling. Lan. then a searing red flash of pain. I know you have courage. the spring trees. All in an instant the bus. she clutched her purse and began to run. “Forgiving is easy. if not in anger then in disgust. the moment the Arabs call sargat el sikineh. flying. doing what you do. Certain it was the one she needed to Ah. the blue sky. here and tell me to forget. “knife shock.
Katharine Gordon. or you would be full of shrapnel. Surely he would come..two weeks ago? But I.I could always see.” “Calmly. I’m sure. Where am I?” The strange male voice said....can’t. “Are you fully awake now?” an unknown. She called and called until she felt herself sinking back into timeless nothingness without even comprehension of blackness.. “You are at Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.wait a minute. concussion.” Very good.am I blind then? Oh.146 fallen into the water in complete darkness and called for Lan... hurting quite a bit...” You have been unconscious from a “Quite a normal reaction. well. I. were nearby and sustained some injuries.” “But I..” You It’s When was it broken? “Two weeks ago there was a bomb explosion in a bus. Miss Gordon.. God.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..we brain has caused pressure on your optic nerves...” I don’t remember. heavily accented voice asked. stay calm...are my eyes open?” “Yes.something wrong with my leg. Can you tell me your name?” “My... “Are.I’m....I’m Katharine. He had told her there were sharks.. but you were hit in the head.flying debris. hope that is why you cannot see. She coughed and said in a rasping voice.I don’t remember anything... and she thought that she had opened her eyes.. you cannot. and we will talk to you a little at a time...” “Two. The swelling of your We believe. You were somewhat shielded by a large section of the displaced shelter. You are doing Try to “No.please try to stay calm.. We were certain you would not see at present.. “When? It was broken in two places.” “There’s something. Because you are awake .” “Yes.see.” “But I..
.. The “I’m sorry.” “Katharine. please. were here.. How stupid.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. I swore. Now just wait a few minutes. We.” The explosion killed and maimed--” It’s so horrible. Judith. her thoughts clouded with areas of darkness as she struggled to recall.” When did you last see her?” Katharine’s brain was roiling. good. around on pain killers. too. “I last saw her..” Last time I You should have “I was only teasing.” *** “Daisies. Katharine. I’m glad to see you looking better. and a member of the staff will come and get you.... incredible tragedy of these times..you have a visitor.were. we want to do a few tests.Stein? “Yes.” Judith said as she entered Katharine’s room...” “Judith. She is quite anxious to see you. roadblock.. blinder than a bat.. “I My God.” “I’m sorry... “Yes. I might be dead. that’s good. Katharine..I last saw her. but only for a few minutes a little later. someone who has been waiting to see you.147 now..oh. was here you could hardly talk.your friend.in college together.very good.” “Who?” “Judith Stein.. I last saw her at the King David Hotel. “How have I been?” How have you been?” “Well.. Lying Karima and Ahmad They had to undergo interrogation to get through a I wouldn’t expect them to come again.” “I can’t see the daisies.” “Yes...or you. you know how I’ve been. Then perhaps..swore I would not say anything. but . Katharine. I didn’t think. Someone can put them in a vase. brought something that smells good.and where I’ve been. think daisies are cheerful.
perhaps you understand. Clean breaks. Frenchified use of English conveyed so much. “The doctors say I’m young enough for my leg to mend fairly rapidly.. people I met in Khan Yunis would never have done this... You have changed your opinion maybe a little about Palestinians?” “Absolutely not..” “The people I met wouldn’t have done this to anyone. strongly than ever... I’ll be on crutches for a Therapy. For that.. its leaders and the affluent... angered so many. they . Katharine? How can I help you?” I want it to see I’m too tired. haven’t you?” “Recently I heard Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien on the news. I’m sure. when a civilization is driven to sacrifice its children -.” “The freedoms of America are priceless.” “What are you going to do. probably they wouldn’t hurt you.have to hang around here for a month..148 now perhaps.” “No.’ I like the way his simple. The prognosis isn’t too bad. in considering the world situation.the irritation heals. but us.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .they were horrified.. He said. I hold the same convictions. more The They I’ve had plenty of time to think.” “And. condone the suicide of their children. my dear friend.” “Well. Judith.it has reached the limits of its existence. them condone what is done.” “Judith. They’ve called me. indifferent world must bear some of the blame.. they let their young people do it. the swelling goes down.the very way it perpetuates itself -. Judith. he told a meeting of capitalists in New York city: ‘When you are powerful like you guys is the time to be nice.not anyone. Oh..” Most of “No. aren’t terrorists.. I can’t do this. that others need. they’re watching my eyes. I guess. you have had plenty of time to think. And When while. which they call martyrdom.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 149 think...well, they think it will be awhile before I can see anything. Doctor Berg says it might happen suddenly somewhere
down the road.” “You’ve handled this with such stoicism. have done as well.” “Oh, Judith, I think I almost expect misfortune -- one of the perks of my rather strange childhood.” “We have excellent doctors here.” “Yes, you do, you do...really good doctors. grateful to them. this.” “Katharine, I...oh God. I asked you to take that bus.” A lot of people were on the I feel very I’m not sure I’d
I suppose they’re getting quite good at
“Don’t start that, please. bus. I wasn’t.
I’m one of the few alive.”
“One of your nurses, Rachel, asked me to ask you something personal,” Judith said, quickly changing the subject. “What?” Katharine asked without much interest, sighing and leaning back on her pillows. “She wanted to know who Lan is. they should be getting in touch with.” “What? How do they know of him?” I mean, if he is someone
“Apparently...every once in a while when your brain turned itself on, you called out his name.” “I don’t remember doing it.” “Probably not.” “No, there’s no one I want contacted. But you could bring I
me my laptop and help me read my e-mail, when you have time. know you’re busy.” “Of course, I will do that. Are you crying?”
“I’m really emotional right now...embarrassingly so. little thing sets me off.
The doctors have told me it’s very
common with head injuries, so just ignore it.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 150 “I’m quite familiar with that malady, Katharine. I treat
people with the same problem...so if you...if you want to talk, feel free. It might help you. I would like to do that.” You know, right I haven’t
“Thank you, Judith.
You’re a good friend.
now I wish you’d just tell me something funny. laughed in a long, long time.” “Something funny... asked me to marry him.” “That’s funny? Yes...all right.
My friend, Jacob,
Oh my God, Judith, that’s not funny!”
“Then why are you laughing?” “Because you said it was funny...that’s funny -- the idea that you would say it was funny.” “Well, it’s funny to me. He lives with his mother. I have I could
no wish to be a mother to a grown man, not that mother. never live up to it. mother is like?” “No. Tell me. Maybe it’ll make me laugh.” ***
Do you know what a traditional Jewish
Katharine struggled minute by minute in her new world of darkness, gradually noticing that her hearing was improving -readily detecting intricate subtleties of sound she had never before attended or cared about: a sigh, the slight creek of a door, the distant hum of a machine, a soft gasp, a clicking tongue, rolling wheels, a rustle of starched cloth, tiptoeing feet. The nights were difficult, less activity, more silence.
She could feel the dreaded nights approaching, settling over her, even without the more obvious signals of mitigated staff activities and mentally logged in evening routine. Judith had brought her laptop and gone over her e-mail with her. There were no more messages from Green Braes, and she One afternoon following
found this both a relief and a sorrow.
a particulary vigorous therapy session, she developed a
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 151 nauseating headache. This condition briefly summoned her first
meeting with Lan, and for a few moments she swam above the pain, almost smiling. His concern over her migraine that day in She relived every It
Auckland seemed to her now even more tender.
small effort of assistance, now magnified a thousand fold.
was this wretched new surfeit of emotion taking control, she told herself. Soon thereafter, she called a nurse and was given “What about the pain
an injection for her throbbing head.
here...can you do something about that?” she muttered half coherently to the oblivious departing nurse. clutching her chest. “Oh God, how I wish I were back in Khan Yunis doing my work,” she complained to Judith in the following week. “I do not understand that wish at all.” “Something draws me there...to that sharp edge of life where the mundane lies always just beneath the specter of death. Then death comes...suddenly...over and over again to that center of misery the world covers its eyes not to see. The necessity, She fell asleep
the intensity of sharing it, like...like running your finger very slowly over a sharp knife blade, almost getting cut. They
would not understand my eagerness to return to their degrading prison.” “Nor do I. Obviously, you cannot go back there now. What
will you do when you are scuttling about on those crutches? Where will you go? “Scuttling? Home?” Blundering about in the dark is a more And that will be quite a trick.”
“They say you will be able to see.” “So they say.” “Oh, you must plan on it, Katharine.” “Hmm, May in Seattle. bloomed already. The tulips and lilacs will have My grandmother had
But there will be peonies.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 152 an acre of them. extravagance. Great blowsy globes of pink and white
She and I gathered them in thick bunches, and How I
arranged them in shaved wood round baskets for wholesale.
miss the innocence...a lush field of fresh blossoms bobbing in the wind or drooping with beads of spring rain. I can almost
smell that unique peony fragrance in the fresh rain...probably raining in Seattle now. isn’t there any more. about it. I’m ruined. God, I don’t want to go back. There
I’m so restless.
I can’t do very much
Oh damn it, I’m really useless now.” You’re a mass of unstrung You still have to heal...and But...why are you so...so
“No you aren’t, Katharine. activity, temporarily shut down.
not just your body, your mind, too.
closemouthed about personal matters?” “Why are you so curious, Judith?” “I’m simply trying to help. “What good does it do? You understand that?” Hashing over old wounds.”
“You’ve just discounted my profession.” “Sorry. Can we go over my e-mail now?”
“Of course.” Together they went down the dwindling list of messages. Katharine was in an apathetic mood, expressing a desire to erase unread almost everything. “Here is something from Green Braes. What is that?”
Katharine sat up, rubbing her face in sudden agitation. She dreaded this revelation but had no alternative other than Judith’s help. A crumb to a starving bird was how she thought
of the message itself, and yet she felt herself removed by her condition, as if she were about to weep over an emotional scene in a movie, herself no longer in the picture. “What does it say?” “Katharine, I haven’t heard from you in a long time, and I need to hear. You won’t tell me where you are so, of course, I
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 153 worry. Swear at me. Any bloody thing. Lan.” Surely, you are Please, my ipo, just
answer this communication. “Well.
So, at last the mysterious Lan.
going to answer this.” “No,” Katharine said, groping for her tissues. “What was that he called you?” “Nothing.” “It was not nothing. friend.” “A Maori word. “Maori? It means sweetheart...lover.” Oh, you are so exasperating, my
You mean New Zealand?”
“It’s a beautiful country.” “Exotic, I think. I’ve never been. When were you there?”
“Shortly before I came here.” “Ah, isn’t this where I say, the plot thickens?” “Don’t be cunning with me, Judith...just because you delight in scouring out another’s mind.” “I’ve never heard my work described so. rather adept at that. “This man appears to care for you. “It won’t work. I can’t think why.” You writers are
I’m going to try and rest now, Judith. I’ve really become dependent on you,
Thank you for your help. haven’t I?”
“Not very dependent on me, not you, my friend.” *** One blurry day as uneventful as all other recent days, Katharine was sitting up in bed, listening to the shortwave radio Judith had brought her, when she heard a lusty voice teasing one of the nurses just outside her door. There was a
squeal of female laughter and into the room sailed Cash Taylor. “Hello, duchess. I was in town looking for a roll of film
and thought I’d drop into your temporary digs.”
” Katharine said.remember?. black. I made Katharine Gordon laugh. patrolling I kind of thought he’d be here.” “Ah. “I’m sorry.” “Sorry.. as the British have been known to say: Fucked up more than usual.” Cash said. hugging her. We weren’t on the Those He hated my guts.” “Stop it. laugh. about it. Cash..” “I’ll smell the carnations. broken leg and all.. “What am I wearing? Nike Air. Did you come to gloat?” “No.for you.. your bed to keep guys like me away...154 “I’m speechless.” . You’ve no idea. Cash. I’ve got an idea.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “That’ll be a change.” Come on.. same wave length at all.” “Hardly.umm. the same old Cash..the news business..” “I hear they’ll be working eventually. eyes are what made that big dark Kiwi letch for you. but he was polite You know. I think I could make you famous with just my macro lens. rubbing her eyes. “How did you know I was here?” “I’m in the business. art is a color shoot.” “Same old Katharine. Looks like you’re all FUMTU.. “Good God.” “What are you wearing?” Katharine asked.beautiful as ever -. I came to hold your hand and let you smell these bright red carnations. Those incredible green eyes. “Are they treating you okay? Is there anything you need?” “A working pair of eyes would be nice. Then I’ll go away “Yes.” “I can’t laugh.” Katharine felt the tears sliding down her cheeks.” “My picture is complete. I’ll come back tomorrow with a whole new bedside manner. nice. Calvin Klein jeans and an old black Armani jacket over a white Burberry shirt. please.but the guy was nuts about you. satisfied.
Little did he know what he was doing to her feeble attempts at establishing equilibrium. There must be more or you wouldn’t be here. her very little.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . That’ll put me in dire need of crashing in Kiwi land. then filed it away in her head until the appropriate hour. she asked Judith to get a number from her computer.. “Katharine.” Katharine said with a grin. Margaret in New Zealand. The first thing Margaret said after her initial surprise and delight was. and spent part of his visit extolling the beauties of New Zealand. she called It was only when she heard herself talking that she knew with certainty what she would do.155 “You think that’s all there is?” “No. it doesn’t seem quite the thing.. “Meanwhile. song. assume it’s just a matter of time. with that cast on. and damn soon. 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. “Your bedside manner hasn’t Please be careful out there. promised her nothing.” Katharine shook her head. awhile back I thought I caught the . The doctors told A very mysterious “I’m going to science called wait and see. she had told Judith. recalling Cash’s tantalizing images of New Zealand and in one of her sudden transitions of mood.only somehow. hobbling about on crutches and wondering if she would ever see. Cash.” *** Katharine was in her hotel room now. A day later.” One day. I’d go crazy. improved much. “I’m photographing flying body parts.” “Now that almost makes me laugh.” Cash Taylor did return the next afternoon. If I didn’t.” he informed her.” “I’d prescribe some horizontal exercise.
I guess I just couldn’t come. none of that. He’ll have to find Ya see how much I’d like ya to come?” I don’t want to see anyone at all” -.” “Then I’ll trust you. I’ll need to use my laptop. memories of it. but I don’t want to say anything much. Do you promise to be silent?” “Oh bloody-hell.” “No.. she thought.” “Then I suppose I can’t say anything. maybe in the Bay of Islands or somewhere not too far from Auckland.156 tail end of a news story with your picture attached. except that I want to come to New Zealand.the sort of hideaway you call a bach.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... hear more.. where the weather isn’t so bad this time of year. of how beautiful it is. Margaret.and get back in shape for my next spate of globetrotting. I was hoping you could find me one of those nice little holiday cottages for rent. forgive me please.as if I “This is strictly confidential: I was in a could. I want to thoroughly immerse myself in that wonderful peaceful atmosphere and. Were ya? I tried to I thought ya might have Are ya?” “Margaret. place where you could practically walk in the dark and not get lost.” “I have just a few requirements. I. I have a lot of friends who sometimes let Do you think their vacation cottages. about New Zealand.. but could learn nothing. little accident and I need to heal. please. If I didn’t have your promise of that. ya on his own. the sort of door that opens right onto an easy path. you could?” “Of course. been in the Middle East.” “Oh my God. The place should have a You know.. I’ve been thinking a lot I have such good I really love the place. Then I would need someone to . “Good. Of course I could only do that if I were sure you wouldn’t tell Lan I was coming.I suppose now I must.
and your eyes. my friend. Where did you ever find such a pills?’ she asks me. Actually. jewel. “Absolutely... I’m so well cared for.just you. I’ve come to love all sounds..who could maybe clean things up a bit. Would that be possible?” People are always looking for work around When are ya coming?” I have a few ideas. oh.. This is getting on to our winter. “I might as well be in “Yes. “I worry about ya here. going to make a fine doctor when all those studies are through. could meet me at the airport..’ I answer like an obedient child. I know. all alone.knows when to leave me alone. more pork. Kate.” III “No one told me it could rain like this here.” Ignore that remark. More pork.. accident.” She walks right in here and “Penny is doing a great job. they’re everywhere. and maybe you -. I like the sound of the rain on this noisy tin roof.. I’m glad I’m here.” “I think she’s already a doctor. takes over.” that demanding little owl you have. but it is highly unusual to have so much.or is New Zealand just full of Pennies?” “She’s a real brick.. Last night I heard a Morepork.knows when I need . “I’ll be e-mailing my arrival. ‘Are you remembering to take your anti-inflammatory ‘Yes. recovered yet. I haven’t I Ya told me on the phone it was a little Good God. Seattle. and... here.” “I’m bloody sorry. “Oh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . was just so astonished when ya came off that plane. She has that manner about her. That would be so This all would be so very good of you. Kate. supplies and mail. ya know. Margaret -good of you.” Katharine said to Margaret in a testy voice.157 stop by from time to time with.
throw things. I’m doing a lot of thinking. in which she found herself wandering down a street in the Gaza Strip.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “That was so bad. although that’s hard to believe.still young.. swear a lot. gloomy. and some writing. Perhaps later I’ll write it.” “I’m talking about the grief of the Palestinians. She would awaken whimpering in the darkness she could not escape. crawl away and cover my head. the strange dreams it made her endure.. you’re quite something. I like it. Misery. I can’t. It’s all the misery in the world. Kate. with a lot of pluck.. It’s a frightening powder keg. death. herself a Gaza dweller shuffling through the dust. 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. the other half for six thousand walledin settlers. dragging one aching foot over crumbling debris.” “But he doesn’t even know you’re here.such rotten luck. and it just kills . I feel helpless in that regard. don’t go where I think you’re going.. frustrated. Right now. staring down into a pit of black bodies. “Kate. I’m writing my way out of something else at I just want to Sorry. As to being alone. Some days I don’t do anything.appears to be turning into a novel.158 something. A million Gazans incarcerated in squalor with little hope for much else. really quite brave. girl. I suppose it’s one way of getting over the grief of the Middle East. Margaret. and over sixty percent unemployment. Angry.. the moment.” She didn’t bring up the bizarre things her brain was doing almost nightly.” “Is that what you’re writing about?” “Not now.. and destruction. it looks as if the situation can only get worse. lovely. and tragic road of depredation for them. It looks like a very long. What a I wish--” “Please. herself old and in tatters and bleeding.
sight. less frequently. someone else to live that way.” Not at all. and walked.. to see my new doctor next week.” I’m not material for Furthermore. but clean at least. I suppose. which her doctors had only suggested.” Katharine said. a tight-fitting little Citroen. I don’t One day it’ll stop.” *** Katharine got out of the car.” “He doesn’t need to know..159 me. was a mysterious phenomenon she tried neither to dwell upon nor cast aside. as I can.as well It’s I really and truly do not want anything else. Penny is taking me in We’ll see. I have suspicions that those eye doctors were being kind. unrecognizable forms and nothing more. the darkness had evolved into light filled with obscure shapes. I’ve got to stay off it a while longer. . leaning heavily on Penny. She told herself that if her vision had come this That sudden transition to far it might continue to improve. I’m “I don’t think it’s right. “I can make the tea. as if she had full command of her sight and not merely the shadowy vision that so limited her world. up to her cozy bach.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “For me it has to be. two fractures.” “Doesn’t he send you e-mail?” “Yes. I’m doing my own thing. enough to know that he’s somewhere getting on with his life. Look at me. It would be a disaster. If he finds out. Gradually. Penny reads it to me. answer very often. Lachlan Manutane’s world.” “What about your leg? I’ll have to become When can you abandon the crutches?” “It was a bad break. that sort of talk.” “That’s bloody amazing to me. still trying to deal with what that means.” “So be it. he will kill me. She now knew every angle and obstruction in her comfortable nest and could hobble about freely.
160 “Let me do it.I felt your arm -.” “Now you’re getting it..” “Ah. isn’t it?” “Yeah.” “I’m a bit taller. not for you.” I believe optimism is essential for .. you see I would never use the word dirty. My mother used to call them piano hands. “Well.. “Yeah.” “He’s right in that. a doctor’s hands. sipping her tea and rattling her cup.. try.” “Well.the He pats me on the Katharine heard Penny ophthalmologist didn’t tell me much as usual. shoulder and promotes optimism.. 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. way you look. tried to do it.” “Right. Katharine said. When they were sitting in the small kitchen nook sipping their Earl Grey..a sort of dirty blond. at least my cast is off..” They sat for a moment in silence. fingers.your height is?” “I’m five feet four inches. “I’ve painted you from your voice and manner..at least a jacket of it -. any cure.and probably denim jeans. Good old denim... shoulder length. agile she’s switched to calling them a surgeon’s..the narrow nose. and a small mole on my left cheek.” “Describing myself that way is rather strange. I live in it.” “I hope so.easier for a writer. I would say you are a tawny blond. takecharge voice insisted. Now I know you have long. But my eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . as long as I’m here. Penny.” Penny’s eager. Hospital wear will be quite an adjustment..
and you I’m going to marry Neville. of course not. I have a terrible and constant fear of hitting the wrong key and creating a volume of gibberish. You’ve hardly spoken of him..or what?” “Oh. but I’m certainly working at it... fiancé.. lot of wisdom..” “Really? Could be that ya worry about it too much. Quite good.” “You don’t know how much I appreciate your willingness to give my writing a brief check. you’re relaxed about the way that works. We’ll both be doctors. and the babies will just have to fit in somehow. no. children and all the trimmings?” “Yeah. worry about it.medical. I rather think.try to cheer myself up singing old songs. I mean.all that. We pretty well know who we We don’t are.” “So.simply press on with our goals and let the rest happen. That ought to be your anchor.or. We skipped that.161 “I’ve never been a very patient person..” Katharine gave a sardonic laugh.” “Good on ya... Maybe Ya ya ought to just let it happen. your assurance..just let the rest . Penny? “How do you expect your Are you going to be a strictly professional person with little time for a private life.. Maybe later.” “I didn’t know. life to go. A private life still scares me.. I really Maybe because I’ve done so poorly at the little I’ve had of one..” “I’m enjoying it. then. do know you’re very good at what you’ve been doing. I don’t have time to read Your writing has a much else that isn’t technical.. admire you..quite well established there.guess you’ve had heaps of experiences that are useful in your personal life. my aren’t wearing a ring...” “God...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . don’t dwell on it.” “Yeah.
’ and gorgeous feather vanes that were rather dark and tipped with stunning blue. dropping her crutch and fumbling for it with difficulty. setting was breathtaking. It must have been quite a happy and secure one. which gave it its common name of ‘parson bird. and the late sun welcome. “Well. Penny returned. The air was coolish. Once inside. She tried to recall how a Tui looked: a dark head with a curved beak.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . lapping at the beach sands below were soothing. almost stumbling. heavy studying ahead. a white-tufted throat. Recite that list one more time. “Cheerio. a few startling notes from the lyrical repertoire of the Tui. made Katharine a tuna sandwich and brought it to her at her computer. into it. table and cried with great bawling sobs.” The writing was leading into a mental labyrinth of intricate paths that kept her exploring deeply. That’s the way I do it. thinking hard . Northland beauty. The wavelets She knew her Margaret and Penny both praised this She longed to see it. I’d better dash over to Russell and snatch your mail and some groceries. Returning down the shell path.162 happen.” I’ve got hours of Later. See ya in a couple of days. let it out? No one could hear her. she considered Penny’s very together attitude. then left with her usual upbeat. she broke a tea cup which had just She groped her way to the kitchen Why not throw herself missed reaching the counter. I’ll scribble it down then I’ll be on my way. cleaned up the cup shards that lay scattered around the floor. when Katharine had slowly made her way over the path to her outdoor lounging chair and sat warming in the afternoon sun. She listened to bird calls. she banged the foot of her good leg on an unfamiliar rock at the edge of the path. making a mental note to ask her about her childhood at some leisurely moment.
the rugged furniture with durable. and dozed off thinking of Lan. Still. was. Napping one day in her chair.. Sometimes she lay on it imagining it was from the Green Braes plains. Unless one was long inured to blindness. They knocked first on the front door and then came around the walk to the back. heavier doors. her head turned .. there was a stone fireplace which she was afraid to use for fear she would burn the place down. she was glad for her cozy cave and her world of writing. Lachlan My sister and I were just going fishing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Manutane. Out there. thick-woven upholstery positioned around a huge circle of sheepskin thrown over the floor.163 and focused. a man and a woman. Katharine? I’ll just duck in Kate?” Katharine’s hands were gripping the chair arms so tightly her fingers were numb. she was awakened by the sound of a car. New Zealand was not a country to visit without vision. Her eyes were closed.” a familiar sounding male voice called as they approached. the buzzing insects. When the weather permitted she walked to the foot of the path where her chair was firmly planted. sat down on the foot rest and placed her crutches on the ground then swung her body around and lay back. the breezes. the birds. “Sorry to disturb ya. “Kia ora. for it was a tempting visual paradise. she could easily hear Margaret’s or Penny’s car arriving on the gravel road at the other side of the cottage. and I I remembered that I have a fly kit locked in the closet here. Without it she might have gone mad. Bloody-hell! My God. breathing deeply and listening to the water. She listened to see if she could determine who it She heard two low The car doors slammed. the soft satiny fibers of thick wool so luxurious brushing over her skin. suppose you’ve discovered the locked closet. voices. She liked the way things were unobtrusively placed in the bach. Along with the heater. and. I’m the owner.
I can’t.. what are ya doing “What are these crutches? here? My God. “Oh. She wanted to run screaming into the sea rather than be forced to sit there exposed. “It’s all right. “God. Tell me what’s happened to ya. I wanted to know. Just go. “Leave me alone. “I had no idea. her whole body trembling in shock and the agony of what was to come. Oh.” she cried out with a miserable voice. be out of here by tomorrow evening. So she did it this way.. “One more word out of ya Go back to the Rover and stay there.” Lan exploded. her heart slamming into the pained walls of her chest.just get your fly kit and go.” He lifted her hand in his and she snatched it back and turned her face away. Margaret. astonished. She was trying to be I told her that if she heard from ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Oh. His dark shape loomed before her. emotions boiling over. here. Please. Rani.164 out toward the sound of the waves. I didn’t know. loyal to us both. Believe me.. the bitch is living in our bach. I can’t believe you’ve come.” Rani’s crunching footsteps receded on the shell path. that you’re I’m just so bloody I nearly lost it when I saw ya. sat forward. ya will not. thank you. opened her eyes and turned toward Lan’s voice. and her body trembling. Don’t be mad at her. I’ll She’s angry enough. Please talk to me. almost more than she could bear. left it to chance. Katharine swallowed slowly.” “No. saw ya.” Her head was beginning to throb.. Kate. Just. “Shut up. Please don’t keep Rani waiting out there. and you’ll be walking.” she heard Rani exclaim. I can’t.” She wanted to get away and envisioned herself hobbling off . have ya been hurt?” “An accident.
When she first identified his voice.” He continued to hold her against him in silence. ridiculous..” “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. I don’t want to talk for a while. She drew her The utter silence of the next moment terrified her more than anything that had happened so far.they were here somewhere. “I wish you hadn’t. I can walk with my. so foolish. not my green eyes.. his breathing near her ear.” she muttered.my eyes will improve and--” “Don’t do that.. “Sorry. Gradually. turning The silence went on and on as she tried to focus She could hear the sharp intake of air in his throat. hand back quickly and held it against her mouth. his adamant hands burning through her clothes. Then she felt his hands sliding around her. She turned away and bit her lip. Kate. she had tried to push the crutches away with her hand. won’t cry. find them. Don’t apologize. She listened to his sigh. her head up.. “Where are my. after some minutes of uncontrollable shaking. It kills me. her body began to relax and grow still. Lan.165 on her crutches in the wrong direction... apologetic voice. lifting her up against him.. not your eyes. unable to reach them. turning further away from his shadowy form. and now she groped beside her chair for them.” she said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She felt his hand under her chin... his chin sliding over her hair. “What are you. running her searching fingers over the broken shells beside her chair.. and he was walking with her back up the path.” I’m not going to cry. I “My God. fumbling on in a clumsy. She desperately needed to get up and walk. her eyes.” He carried her inside and settled her on the sheepskin rug. She then realized it was . Christ.
She saw how deep his commiseration went when his voice intoned something low and soft in Maori against her ear.. It was supposed to diminish but I’m not so sure I’m taking anti-inflammatory pills..in a manner of speaking...” “I’ll take ya to doctors in Sydney. I’m working. a nurse wanted to know who Lan was. I did When I I’d try to let you know. uncertain. Really.” “Jesus Christ..166 that stillness for which he had been waiting... her vacant eyes away from his. green eyes. I seem to be writing a novel. Lan?” “Time will heal your pain.” She kept her head Her voice was light and soft. anymore.” “What. His mouth was against It felt as if he were reading her mind.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .sort of.a little spacey sometimes. but the scent that was Lan made her almost dizzy.... I don’t remember doing it.. Apparently.. down against his shirt. “What happened. her hair. almost like an incantation: “Ma te wa e whakaora to mamae.” “No.” “And seen this?” Christ.. “I was unconscious for a couple of weeks.. or at least The silent holding of her had a calming her nervous feelings.. Why didn’t ya let me know?” Apparently. been calling your name..my same Kate. effect.. I’m all right..swelling in my brain and pressure on the optic nerves. They said I was agitated from time to time. I’m tired of doctors.perfect green eyes..a bit thinner. Why don’t they work?” I see “The concussion.a few strange aches. Kate?” “I was near a bus that blew up in Jerusalem. I would “I see only Kate.” “Then why didn’t ya tell them to call me? have come. rejoined the living.far too emotional..” “In which place?” .
straightening her hair and waiting for the next scene in this sudden surreal drama.167 “All places. please. care of the child. but she’s growing up.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Hello. you please find my crutches on your way?” She crawled across the rug and pulled herself up onto the couch. Apology accepted. She screamed it at me one night after ya left and I’d been refusing to talk to her.” “I’m taking Rani back to Russell where she can catch the Paihia ferry. I’m still taking “Lan. She finally told me the She knows the way home. she is.” “No. or three. . She will apologize. Rani. back.” After a while. I’m sorry I said what I did. thoughtless and I ought not to’ave said it.” “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be back in a minute. She’s been making amends. just leave her alone. helping Mary. Stay here.” Katharine reminded him. or I thought she was until a few minutes ago. knowing Rani She had a few times felt probably didn’t want to hear any more.” “Hello. followed by Lan.” “I’ve ruined your fishing trip. After several minutes. I’ll come straight truth: that the father of the child is some wanker she hates. succinctly.” It doesn’t matter.” “She’s a very young twenty-two.” Katharine said rather She didn’t know what else to say. Katharine.” “My fishing trip was a reward for Rani’s good behavior. I’ll see she apologizes.” “Yeah. she roused herself to face the here and now. “You can’t just leave Rani sitting in the Rover. the door opened and Rani entered the room.” Rani “It was stupid and “Could offered in a quick rush of words.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 168 like slapping Rani soundly, but now she felt consoling. Folding
her hands on her lap, she tried to offer a comforting smile. “I’m sorry to hear of your horrid accident and I hope ya enjoy the bach,” Rani finished, retreating back through the door. “Your crutches are here, against the arm of the couch,” Lan carefully explained. “Thank you. You don’t have to come back. It’s...I think
it must be getting late,” Katharine said in nervous uncertainty. “My God, Katharine, will ya stop this...this damned niceness. Do ya really think I wouldn’t come back?”
He sat down beside her, massaging those evocative fingers over her taut back, striving to keep her calm, to relieve her tenuous struggle for restraint, surely so obvious. “I’m sorry, Kate, sorry...but for Christ’s sake, tell me the truth for a change.” “Oh, yes, the truth,” she said, trying to smile. truth,” she repeated, sighing. “The
“All right...if you don’t come
back, I’ll...I’ll walk into the sea...without my crutches.” “Ya won’t even have to walk across the room.” His mouth “Not
touched the back of her neck, causing shivers of joy. going to kiss ya properly now...couldn’t stop. both awake in the meantime. nap.”
That’ll keep us
On second thought, better take a
She heard the door close and gave a long sigh and a jittery laugh, wiping at her wet cheeks. grateful, or is it all love? Why, oh why do I feel so
This damned emotion. ***
Lan was building a fire, crumpling old newspapers from the wood box and carrying in chunks of wood from a pile which existed somewhere outside. “I have a short maze I run, like a wary little mouse,” she
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 169 said. “I didn’t know there was wood, but I wouldn’t have built
a fire anyway, because I might have burned down your bach.” “I’m staying here with ya for a while, Kate. think of something else.” “I have Penny coming in.” “Every couple of days isn’t enough. happen. Something could Then we’ll
I’m not leaving ya, in any case...not until you’re no Ya have to learn to trust me.”
longer confused about us.
“I just can’t interrupt your life like this.” “Ya interrupted my life months ago, Kate. previous life permanently interrupted. Consider my
I’ll fish and work.
I’ll set up a computer in the other room where there’s another phone jack, and that’s it. to the house in Auckland. When you’re tired of this we’ll move Ya like it there.
“And a...there’ll be a young woman showing up around here, Nina, my secretary. I sometimes speak Maori to her, but I’ll Don’t want to--” I’m not as thin-skinned as all that.
try not to do it around ya. “It won’t bother me. Is she attractive?”
“Yeah, she’s attractive, smart, hardworking and the mother of two little anklebiters. How’s your skin doing?” Lan asked
with the utterly captivating warm burr of laughter which had echoed in her head for so long. “You tell me. You’re the one who can see my skin.” My hands remember all of ya.
“Like cream...no tan at all. I love this body...this head.”
His fingers moved from her arms “I’m
to the back of her neck, stroking up through her hair. glad they didn’t cut your hair.” “I guess there was no point in cutting my hair.”
He carried her to the sheepskin rug then eased her down to a sitting position and placed a stemmed glass in her hands. “Champagne. Don’t drink it all at once the way ya did that
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 170 night at Fortuna.” “I can sort of hobble on my own, you know.” “Yeah, waste of time. I like having ya in my arms.”
She laughed and sipped, feeling the pleasant warmth of the crackling fire and the slight euphoria of the champagne. her glass was empty she held it out to him. When
He took it, and his
arms came around her, letting her down into the long-fibered silky wool, kissing her until she thought her eyes were merely closed and she was whole and well and nothing had come in between this moment and their first lovemaking. “What is it, Kate?” he asked at her shy responses. “I feel...as if we’ve just met.” “We did...second time...ka pai.” Her slow fingers explored his face, sliding across the warm lids of his eyes and over his responding mouth. “I wish I could see you...I want to see you.” “Ya will. way. Just close your eyes and pretend ya like it that
Tell me if your leg hurts...if anything hurts.” “Nothing hurts...oh, not quite true. I have...this ache.”
“Yeah...the same...ever since ya left.” His deep kiss sent her reeling. “Ending it right now.” and tossed it somewhere. “Are ya warm enough?” “Oh, I’m warm, Lan, but I--” “No worries, I’ll be careful with ya...do whatever ya want however ya want, until ya tell me to stop.” “What if I don’t tell you to stop?” “Then we’ll both die happy.” She awoke in the early morning and lay with her eyes open. Did I ever tell him to stop? No, I think we both just passed His warm body lay He lifted her gown over her head
out, sated with pleasure, exhausted.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 171 peacefully sleeping beside her. She would like to have gotten
up, slipped out and walked on the shore below, perhaps singing some old love song. Where were her crutches? Not propped by the bed where they She rolled
should be, because he had carried her there. carefully to her side and sat up slowly. “Where ya going?
Ya haven’t got your crutches.” “I’m going nowhere. Sorry I woke
“Nowhere,” she said. you.”
She sat on the edge of the bed and began to cry, softly
and quietly. “Carry ya to the loo again?” “No thank you.” “What is it, Kate?” he asked, sliding his arms around her and stroking his fingers through her hair. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” “Nobody does. Ya can’t have the certainty of that. Ya
expect everything to work like a schedule.
It isn’t that way.
You’re smart enough to know that but...full on emotional right now. Try to let it be.” “I hate...hate being so helpless.” “Come on, we’re all just fooling ourselves that we’re spinning this planet. writing a story.” “I’m sorry. “I do not. You must think I’m awfully self-centered.” Ya aren’t.” What did you do all this Ya can’t control your life the way ya do
“You’re a man who loves sex. time?” “Ah. subject.
When ya change the subject ya really do change the Is that your interview technique? What did ya do
yourself?” “Thought of you and suffered...and you probably--” “Remembered us...” He laughed. “Got ahold of myself.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 172 “Oh, Lan... You really believed I was coming back?” We
“If I ever doubted it I thought how ya were with me. really do turn each other on, but it’s more than that. necessity for both of us. A
Ya never had it that way before and Not
ya won’t get it quite like that anywhere else.
understanding what we have, leaving that way was such a damned...ah, never mind. to need me.” “You’re a man of basic principles.” “Ya do make me laugh...and at four in the morning after so much sex I could hardly stand up long enough to piss. ya really are something, ya sexy little cracker. to sleep now?” “I guess...if I can’t get up and walk along the water.” “Do ya want to do that?” “Sort of, but what’s the use? I can’t see much. I think Christ, Ya need me and I want ya. I want ya
Can we go back
I’ll just curl up against you and drift off like a little child rescued from the big bad dark.” “Good on ya,” he said, wrapping his arms around her. “Lan?” “Yeah?” “When you get tired of me, will you--” “Stop it, Kate. start over. When we get tired, we’ll take a nap and
Ehara toku aroha i te kiri moko, engari he aroha no
te whatumanawa. “What?” “My love for ya isn’t shallow...but a love of deep passion. Go to sleep, tau aroha...my loved one.” *** When Penny arrived she was astonished to find Lan cooking breakfast. Katharine liked the way Lan accepted Penny into his Penny immediately pitched
life as if he’d known her for years.
” “Afraid to be that much in love?” Were ya that . “Is that friendly manner something all Kiwis have? I’ve encountered it over and over. She leaned We haven’t been I mean. Yank. After a short...173 in with the preparations. “Oh. wishing she could see Lan’s expression.” Lan interrupted.well. are you?” She sat frowning while Lan exclaimed over the silliness of her remark.still fairly nice to each other.” “You’re never wrong. forward in her lawn chair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . scolded. you are. Ya know I’m right. I am. pondering silence he said. I flew up to the Nelson She could imagine him shaking his head as he winery and left ya in misery. we’re fairly nice to each other. “Population. Kate?” “I don’t think so. and they laughed and talked about everything from New Zealand beer to aubergines and how the national rugby team. and if your eyes haven’t improved I’m taking ya to a Sydney specialist. Kate. stricken by rat poisoning yet. “The last wrong thing I did was a heap of stupidity. Compared to you. Too many rats and they all turn killer.. more afraid of myself. was in a fiery win streak.” Katharine said later.. we’re a small population..” “Actually I feel a little like a rat right here.” “Rat poisoning?” Katharine said with surprise.. afraid of me. “Yeah. I’ve always been so active that this is--” “I’m giving ya a couple more weeks..so disturbed ya ran off in a bloody sheep lorry. the All Blacks..as if ya were a prisoner. are you?” “Yeah. running my fixed path from bach to outdoor chair and back to the computer.
I felt so drawn to this I I didn’t expect to encounter you.supposing I might be here as a last resort. or wandered out to sit in her chair and listen to the sounds of nature. because I’m here?” “That’s what you’d like to believe. It surely came from his self-determined mother. “Right.. you’re so far from helpless.” *** Nina had a musical.here because I’m.. but Katharine could also hear fondness and respect for Lan in her voice. placating voice and a strong will which was clearly evident..two more weeks. People even drove out in schedule.. to think for themselves.. Katharine. I’m teasing a little. healthy ego.your country...174 “Yes. Lan was rather quickly drawn back into his busy The phone rang incessantly.” “Lan.” I love New Zealand. to heal. place.” “And now?” “I wanted to be here. I might confess everything to you. you are New Zealand. Katharine knew how Lan liked his women: able to take charge. look into those rare black eyes. Trying to stay out of their way. opinion of things as they worked together.” “So now we’re back to that. groups to find him. couldn’t stand to think of you dealing with this..” “Oh. She was not afraid to tell Lan her own I’m taking ya to Sydney.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she worked at her computer.helpless..” You have such a Ya came back “Then in a roundabout way I get loved. 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. For me. “This place is too small for your peace of mind and all of .. Christ. if only I could see you.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 175 my business affairs,” Lan said one rainy day. with your creative self.” “So this is a prelude to what?” Katharine asked. going away?” “I have to drive over to Auckland and then fly to Green Braes. Will ya come?” “Are you “I’m interfering
“You said you wouldn’t leave me.” “Yeah, I know I did say that. “I was only teasing. ordered. Go on. I want ya to come with me.” Get out of here,” Katharine
“You must be going crazy trying to work in this It’s all starting to get me, too.”
“Then you’ll come?” “No. this. I don’t want to be with Mary like this, Lan, not like
I was hoping--” “Mary adores ya. She wants to see ya, Kate.” I’m sorry Lan. Just go on about your
“I’ll wait a little. business and let me be.
I’m doing well at my computer.”
“I can’t do my work and worry about ya, Kate.” “You don’t have to. I’ll be fine. I originally intended
to stay here by myself anyway.” “Penny told me she worries about ya, too...when she’s not here.” “Oh, nonsense. What can happen to me?”
“A bloody lot of things can happen to ya.” “Nothing will.” “All right. in Auckland. I’ll be at Green Braes for two days, then back Ya do know
I’ll be back here as soon as I can.
I’m going to hear it from Mary when I turn up without ya?” Only when Lan and Nina had driven off the next day did Katharine realize how she had come to appreciate the busyness going on around her. After all, they had left her alone when She stood in silence, regretting her
she was at her computer.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 176 own willfulness. night. How she would miss Lan’s arms around her at
She drank some leftover coffee while nibbling on a
blueberry muffin, and didn’t even bother to eat the rest of the day. The next day Penny drove her to the doctor, the two of them setting out quite early. She was thrilled to be told she could
dispense with her crutches. Penny, happy with Katharine’s progress, was more voluable than usual and eager to discuss Katharine’s improved life. Back
at the bach, she ladled mutton stew into a bowl for Katharine and said, “Looks like you’ve settled into New Zealand and availed yourself of the best we have to offer.” “Lan, you mean,” Katharine said. “Yeah. He’s really choice, Kate...lucky to find a fella
like him, one who cares so much for ya.” “How’s Neville?” Katharine asked, changing the subject. “Neville? Neville is Neville, nearly always the same. He’s the one for me all right. Easier to I
can depend on him for that.
He’s found a larger place so I can move in with him. study together.”
Katharine detected a slight embarrassment in Penny’s voice. “I hope it doesn’t turn into the sort of commotion that’s been going on around here,” Katharine said. “Ya don’t miss Lan when he goes?” “Oh, yes,” Katharine said with a half-hearted laugh. The following morning, Katharine was alone again and working at her computer with intense concentration. she began to notice the initial signs of a headache. “Oh, God,” she muttered, “I hope it’s not one of those.” She poured the rest of her coffee into the kitchen sink, rinsed the cup and went to stand on the sill of the opened door. She could feel the sunlight on her skin, her pained eyes taking Gradually
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 177 in the brightness of it. She carried a towel to the foot of the
path, moving with counted steps, glad to be without her crutches. Wiping off her damp lounging chair, she lowered Her head felt very strange, but the sun was
herself onto it. warming.
Worrying over the pain of a full-blown migraine, she
managed to doze off. Mary was standing before her speaking. Was it a dream? It
must be a dream; she could see Mary’s soft but admonishing visage, one arm resting on her red-sweatered hip. “What will ya do now, Kate? your selfishness?” “Oh, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do Are ya going to hurt Lan with
about us, and my head hurts so, Mary,” Katharine answered. “I thought ya were my girl, but you’ll never be that without him. Never,” Mary called out as she grew smaller and
smaller, disappearing amidst a vast herd of sheep until Katharine couldn’t make her out but only hear her emphatic voice at the center of a rapid swirl of woolies. Kate.” Katharine awoke with a cry of protest, looking up at the soft cerulean sky and then out at the water. Clouds were flying “Never. Never,
above the rippling waves, making racing shadows over the opaque green water. Racing white clouds. The intense light. The
bright sparkle of sun-spangled water. of verdure above the sands.
The rolling emerald rise She could see The perfect See
All so startling.
the delicate shapes of leaves, blades of grass. form and color of everything. everything. “Oh God.
She could see it all.
Oh, my God!” she cried, jumping out of her chair “It’s more beautiful than I could ever Everything.
and spinning around.
have imagined, so much more beautiful. Everything.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 178 She hurried back to the bach, pausing for a moment to look around her, and then reaching for the telephone. “Penny, it’s Kate. I need you to drive me to Auckland.
Oh, I’ve got to get there right away.” *** “Oh lord, this place is gorgeous,” a jubilant Penny had said when she left Katharine off at the elegant old Victorian house. “Wish I could live here.”
“It is a nice place,” Katharine agreed, “very well kept.” She soon found the key and settled herself in the Herne Bay house like a respectful guest, but adding a few welcoming touches of her own. At the final hour, she donned her little
black dress with her freshly washed hair curving above her shoulders and the Totoeka pendant hung around her neck. Waiting
at the window, peeking through the curtains, at last she saw Lan sauntering up the walk. He was carrying his briefcase, his
sleeves rolled, his tie flapping in circling marine air, and his jacket slung over his shoulder. His thoughtful face looked just
a bit tired and worried, ready for the glass of wine waiting for him on the coffee table in the lounge where a fire was burning in the fireplace. key. The door opened as he was reaching for the
He looked Katharine up and down in shock, his eyes going
quickly to hers. “Why don’t you call me Green Eyes anymore?” she asked in a soft, rather sultry voice. She was looking directly at him, her eyes traveling over his face and then staring into the startled dark eyes she had waited so long to see. He tossed his briefcase inside on the floor and pulled her into his arms. “Jesus Christ. Is life repeating itself?”
“We’ll get better.
In a couple of days it’ll be nearly
perfect,” Katharine teased, smiling and continuing to look into
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 179 his eyes. She could hardly bring herself to look anywhere else. “Cor blimey.”
His head went back in laughter. “Into the lounge, please. your favorite Nelson winery.
I have some wine there, from
I’m sure you’ll like it...looks
especially nice in your Waterford crystal goblets.” “I don’t need any bloody wine to cheer me up, Green Eyes, and I haven’t called ya that because I thought it might upset ya.” “Well, it won’t upset me now.” “How? When did it happen?” I had a headache, dozed off in my chair,
dreamed a certain dream, then awoke and discovered I was in a very beautiful place.” They sat sipping their wine and gazing into the fire, occasionally staring at each other and bursting into laughter, as if neither could believe this most fortuitous development. Finally, Lan sighed and said, “I’m afraid I invited Margie and Ian over for drinks, and they’re just about--” Across the room, the oak tall case clock chimed as its little full-sailed ship rocked back and forth above the face, and then the doorbell gave forth a tuneful announcement of company. “Are ya still pissed at Margie?” Lan asked quickly. “I wonder how I could be,” Katharine replied, bracing herself. She stood in the background while the three others cheerfully greeted each other, then Margaret stared toward her with a startled face and took a step backwards, pulling at the hem of her gold turtleneck and smoothing her hands over her long black skirt. Katharine went forward and reached out her hand. Then
“Hello, Margaret, I haven’t seen much of you lately.” she added with a laugh, “Well, I haven’t really seen much of
But do ya know what. Margaret.. could have seen Lan when ya left. He tried to keep it to himself. “So you two are back together again. and it. “Do ya hate me?” When Lan walked up to me floundering blindly in my lawn chair.” you’re together. with Lan there next to ya..can ya--” Nice outfit. ... I could feel what’s between ya.” When they were seated back in the lounge with glasses in hand.” Margaret exclaimed.” Margaret added in the way of apology. “Come up to my study a minute.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine said. have I?” “Kate! But ya.. glancing at Katharine. Sorry. “What do I say now?” Margaret asked.180 anything... with a complete lack of the exceptional subtlety and finesse he showed on the water. “Why. “I think he’s He and tactician Colin are racing in heavy weather. Kate.. absolutely wonderful.” Margaret said. “It wasn’t a very nice thing to do.how did ya? I mean are ya. it’s none of my business. Lan. Kate? Just a moment ago. I did that.” Lan and Katharine looked at each other and smiled without making any comment.can’t say I regret it. “At least If ya “That’s a rather cool explanation.but if ever I saw a man in pain--” “Margaret--” “Right. “Ah. for heaven’s sake.we resolved the matter..” I know. including you. and you’re looking great.. Ian remarked. anyone.want to show ya something. that’s wonderful. But I was in no condition to throttle I recovered and we. I could have throttled you with my bare hands. I know. bring your glass.” Lan said to Ian. I believe we’ve been left to recover our dignity. rooted...” “Yes.it simply curls my toes. “Ian. I’ll shut my mouth. as if it were high summer. She held up her hand. “I think I need a drink.....
. stood . They like ya. Katharine surmised. and Margaret and Ian left earlier than they had intended -. Katharine sat gazing into the fire in silence while Lan removed glasses and put away bottles. dropped in unexpectedly with the news.some day.this..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Lan just found out tonight about my eyes. Perfect timing. “I’ll carry ya and right now.. Can ya walk up the stairs?” Katharine furrowed her brow a little in “Never mind. laughing at her serious frown. because I.” “Good on ya.I suppose something like the way things have gone. And. I don’t know how things would have gone -.” Once floated up the stairs. not just because I’m happy to see anyone at all. Margaret.” speculation.181 sorry. “They really are nice people. “I think so. I’m I. her. that.. And I like you. little of that kind of loyalty too. really happy to find ya so improved... due to the whisperings of Margaret to her husband.” “Oh lord. no more crutches..maybe you did the right thing.” The evening went rather well after that.” Lan said.” “Margaret.and be happy he has such friends. Green Eyes.. either. she stood beside the bed. Kate. You’ve He came to sit beside “Ya look just like the night I met ya at Fortuna.just to put a cap on this.” “From now on you’ve got it.” “Thanks..I sort of “I see that you’re walking without crutches. “Ya okay?” “I did my best..” she responded in a thoughtful voice. and then we arrived. God..anyway I’m happy to see you. I I can only admire you for I hope I can earn a understand that you’re loyal to Lan..
inside. lifting her head with one hand while he guided himself into her with the other. still enthralled with simply staring into her intensely focused eyes.” Ya are mine..just you. “I’m bloody sorry ya had to go through all of that horror in Jerusalem. She was half afraid of how completely she was coming apart. my Green Eyes.. Tell me. I don’t want to think of then initiated her own deep kiss and felt his body sliding over hers.don’t want ya away from me. everything. beginning to move with unleashed pleasure.. still amazed at the return of her vision.” He ran his thumb across her lips and kissed them with intense concentration. “Yes.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.oh. curling mouth or tan cheek or ear or beloved lock of black hair. “Déjà vu. looking back at me. losing herself.. Ya rarely get two of the same of this... “Look at us..” Lan said as he stood up to strip off his clothing. yours. anything. He lay down beside her already thoroughly aroused body. “I’ve been wanting ya all night.” she cried.” She moaned softly. The joy of it was in her laughter as she drew back. don’t talk about it.. for her. Lan... and then a second time. let it out. “Let go. deep kiss. Come on. All.” “No. was very different from those others at the bach. are ya not? “Yes. biting her lip to hold herself quiet as he drove himself against her.Jesus.all that wildness Tell me.” She couldn’t talk and feel . a kiss that. as if repairing something broken..” he said. my Kate. her eyes rejoicing in glimpses of taut skin..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .when I saw ya at my door.
in his. “Look at me. the mouth which so quickly and easily took possession of her. stalled life. “Oh. saw her eyes. or is it yourself you’re afraid of?” . Half an hour later. Kate?” As familiar as his directness was. she watched him pour coffee from the glass pot into a white mug and lift it to his questioning mouth. her nerves beginning to fire and jump beneath her skin. “Are ya thinking of leaving me again. In the consuming heat of post-orgasm there was nothing of her wounded self. joining the hot dark river of pleasure that was Lan. overtaking her again. squinted at a close-hauled sloop in the bay. only that dreamy and dazed stare of languid satisfaction. With one discerning look and the nudge of past experience. desiring him even now in her sexually sated. all doubt and grief gone. his solid dark body wrapped in a navy blue wool robe.183 the way she felt. God. thinking Somewhere else. *** Katharine eased out of bed and curled up in a large gray wingback by the windows.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . very close. in the attentive and demanding force of Lan’s liberating body. anywhere. I want to see your eyes looking at me. She threw up her arms and felt his hands closing over hers. all anxiety.” She. he said. of vanishing in a haze of indecision? She sat desiring him. all self-awareness. 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. “Are ya afraid of me. God.” All past horror was swept away in that powerful dominion of love. too. Still silent. How could it be? Was she thinking that. thoroughly dissolved in physical need. Lan found her staring into space in the kitchen nook. the question itself startled her. managing only one last cry.
I love ya. that means..” he Ya do it with your body when you’re having me.” “Ya love me?” I just can’t see what “I love you. Jump. but I--” “I can’t do this.. Lan. demanded.” .. “Then look into my eyes and tell me ya don’t love me and that you’re going away. Have ya forgotten When I found ya I didn’t say.” “Come with me to Green Braes and Mary’ll gladly tell ya what it means. I felt how right it was.so you can possess me.” “I can’t. Is that what you’ve been doing...” “Bloody-hell what self-deception.” she said. “You always tell me to look at you. My God. I want ya. “I want you.’?” “No.. ya do.I in love with a journalist.oh God. Kate. to suit your fancy..take--” “Jesus Christ.” she said.” “I’m a journalist. Do ya want me?” I’ll catch ya. I can’t give myself to Lachlan Manutane and ten thousand sheep.....right?” “Don’t. that? Stop this shit and tell me what ya Ya know Look at me.” “Yeah.. Kate.even if I expected a far milder version of the kind of trouble we’re having now. I love you. looking away. Ya can’t straddle that high fence This is us together. “Got to run like bloody hell from the possibility of bad fate. ‘Jesus I can’t fall I went after what I wanted.184 “Both.I always want you... feel. ‘God.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .’ knew. I nearly lost ya. saying. so you can. ya ambivalent woman. dropping her head into her hands. Lan. Ya went away and were miserable.
if ya don’t want to come to Green Braes...185 Looking at him with sudden resolution. “I’ll get ya one of my jumpers -. “Did ya bring anything with ya besides that wicked little black dress?” “I was in a hurry.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and I’ll help ya in any way I Ya can stay here in Auckland and write.” “You said I must be with you always. You tell me now.I want to see Mary.” It means we It means ya are with me always.if that’s what I have to do to have ya. I know ya have to do that. she pulled her white satin robe around herself and folded her arms. I thought as much. help each other always.. “Oh God. There’s snow on the ground at Green Braes.... but I’d be willing to do that. but yes.” Lan laughed. Half of ya wants to run away from me and the other half never wants to leave my side..today. what it means.” “Then go put them on.” “Yeah. ya schizoid little wonk. I can’t leave all of this. we’ll fly to Green Braes.” Lan took her in his arms with “So some impatience and stroked his fingers through her hair. so it means Ya can ya have to want me enough to make it part of your life. let ya stay here and write.ya call them sweaters. “You tell me.slacks and a shirt..” “I’ve heard that before.. here. can. Which is it?” Katharine felt herself coming apart.” “Yeah. “Jesus.” “You certainly are a bossy bloke. as surely as if she were crumbling before Lan’s eyes. Ya can borrow more We’re heading out of here now. I...” “Snow? Isn’t it difficult to land?” .” “But I want to be with you all the time. clothes from Mary. write.from the same irresistible mouth.. pounamou eyes. “All right.
the idea of it thrilled her. was a chance to have a loving.. To have Lan It was Here At least it’s reliable.. “There’s so much I don’t know about you.” Katharine pointed to the hand guiding the and to have a mother.pretty good.” “Made sandwiches while ya were dressing.. “It’ll take ya a long time to find out. understanding mother. the woolen Swan-Dris shirt-like jackets worn everywhere in New Zealand. rattle your dags.. help them both.186 “Not very.” “Uh. plane.sheep talk.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” *** In the air.” She dropped her head back and thought of his remark. Green Eyes. knowing he was counting on Mary to help him..ya can find out for yourself. reaching out to hold Katharine’s hand as they winged through the clear sky....behind my seat under my jacket when ya get hungry. “Come on. She looked . yes. what everyone needed.prosperity sells in the marketplace.breakfast. Lan was more patient.” she said.. “Is that a Rolex always appearing there?” “Yeah. please..” “Can you cook. I’ll check with them and make sure it is. Lan?” “Haven’t ya already experienced some of my cooking?” “Some. the sooner you’ll see Mary... even dreamed of her. sorry.” “Explanation. I’m sure. The gold The sooner we’re out of here on his left wrist flashed beneath the cuff of a green plaid Swannie. Rex and his mates keep the runway clear. She had thought of Mary a great deal.. craved until the day they died.but there’s a limit to what I’ll do. powerful persuasion and Lan knew that very well. “Oh. cocking her head with scrutiny..
“Brrr. playful thing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . The runway was almost clear. Katharine’s heart beat with excitement as she stepped out . We line our hats and coats with ’em.” They were soon moving down the holly lane over packed snow. “Oh. stepping out of the plane and quickly donning his big leather jacket. Yank.” “On livestock. Waving to Rex. What is this? It’s so thick and furry. yeah. He reached for a heavier coat. I suppose that’s a more noble death than just getting flattened on the highway. looming stone house now cloaked in white. Australia. coming down on a world of white.” “Yeah. Kiwi bear. I’ve always thought of it as a sort of whimsical. but once again awoke to find them in a landing pattern.” “Well.” We’re overrun with the little creatures. She had thought she would sleep only a few minutes.187 over at his concentrating profile and wished she could know what he was thinking at that precise moment.” They ate ham and cheese sandwiches and then Katharine dozed off.. “Let’s get ya into the Rover fast. “Do ya like snow?” “It’s never treated me badly.” “A blend of possum and wool. Lan was off the radio and very soon rolling to a stop.. but I suppose it can be very brutal. those poor brownish critters I saw squashed all over the roads.” “Possum?” “Not the kind you’re thinking of.” Katharine said. Lan came around to Katharine’s side and helped her out.from Warm fur. He turned to her and said. up to the always impressive. “My jumper warm enough?” “It’s wonderful.
Sheb and Wooly. He His lips were cold She but growing warm as she held onto his leather jacket. shaking her head and smiling. her face softer than the last time Katharine had seen her. gingerly packing it tight with iceburned fingers. were in from their station duties. handful of snow and strode toward her. hunched inside a heavy red cardigan and standing on the steps. Then he pulled himself away from her and lifted her to a sitting position. quickly packing another snowball and barely getting it airborne before he grabbed her again and plowed her into a snowdrift. *** 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. Your clothes are wet. straddled her and kissed her laughing mouth. Lan sat with his arm Mary sat around her. once again forgot everything but the caressing mouth and the dark eyes made fierce from taunting. their brown. “Come on. grabbing her and rubbing it over her face. occasionally reaching for his hot tea. They turned toward the house and saw Mary. Its drumming warmth quieted their .188 of the Rover. forgot where she was. Two huntaways. before ya freeze your arse. As Lan was coming around the side of the Rover He scooped up a she let fly and hit him soundly in the chest.” He helped her up and brushed her off while she stood laughing. For her it was a setting which took her back to her childhood. hounds she had once seen from a distance. and white fur gleaming as they dozed by the fire. Her feet crunched in the snow. ya wild little brat. black. she whirled away. Screaming with laughter. forgot the cold.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . to the snowy fields of her grandmother’s flower farm. She bent down and gathered a handful of snow. across from them in a wingback.
doused from rolling in the cold snow like naughty little bairns. Lan said.” Katharine said. “Ya won’t shut me up when it’s good. “Your hair is still damp. Katharine could only smile.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . quiet. Her body was still glowing from its effect.189 normally loud and nervous manners.” As Mary slipped out of the room. reaching up to run her fingers through Lan’s snow-wetted black waves. 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. “I was perfectly ready to come in but the child needed her playtime.” “I napped on the plane. It’s time for our nap. twisting a hank of her drying blond hair around his fingers. Lan.” “Shhh. Green Eyes. Mary.” Ya heard “Then it’s up the stairs. “I’ll have ya here if ya want. There’s a fire laid in your room if you’d like to rest until tea is ready. almost teary-eyed with gratitude for the firm hug of welcome she had received from Mary.” “Good on ya. “Look at the two of ya.” The blond hair wound around his fingers received a sharp tug.” “Shh. ya finish me off. ya little primrose. Mary stood up. “I’m going to help Mattie with baking.” I’ve still got enough life left in me to help . “You’re blushing.” Katharine begged.” Mary scolded in a teasing voice. Ya know what that does to me. “So is yours.” he countered. Oh. straightening her black wool skirt.
wrong with you at all. her eyes began to sting and burn. with Katharine pausing to greet the noble glass stag poised over the landing. watching Lan kneel to light the neatly arranged dry wood.” “Right. maybe I’m around the bend over ya but I’m good for You’re. grasping a brown woolen afghan Mary had knitted.. Maybe my “Stop it..” “When I was a little blighter I thought of it. You knew me much better than I realized... Kate?” around.what I did to you.. “What’s wrong with ya now.” “What are you making me?” “Yeah.” “I am sorry about that. “He never tires of standing there..” She sat on the edge of the high bed.make me divine while you’re at it.here. arm in arm..190 They climbed the stairs slowly... But why now?” “I was thinking of last time. motive is just a form of selfishness.. I’d give a lot to have seen you then..never used to. “That.. “What?” he asked. “Just come and hold me.that horror in Jerusalem did strange things to my head. She closed them and let the burning tears roll down.” He tossed off his clothes. Their shoulders were propped Lan asked when he turned against a bank of square pillows as they stared at the flames.us..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Oh.. Let’s make love.I can’t think of anything .really--” Stop all of that. yeah?” “You’re not selfish. I’m always crying. been shot. I was terrible. pulling it out from the foot of the bed and over their cooling bodies.. As she watched the logs I’m surprised he hasn’t catch hold and the flames climb. removed her robe and drew her shivering body into his warmth.. You’ve been so good.
” Tea was thin slices of tender roast leg of lamb with mint jelly. and freshly baked oatmeal rolls light as air. Green Eyes. lassie. just drink a lot of wine and go to bed. irresistible lovemaking in the shower.and right now.” she added. You’ll forget. I’ve told her about ya and she understands. Trust what ya feel like this.” *** Descending the stairs was a replay. am I laughing?” “See how useful I am. can count. “and the happiness of it.191 it.. and more sheep than ya You’re done for.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. sprinkled with spicesugared nuts. Katharine wore a skirt and sweater of But I’m a greedy bastard.” “You look good in anything. . Tomorrow I’m meeting my “These manager down at the sheds.” “Oh God. They did drink several glasses of the pleasant wine. they rushed down the stairs. I want Mary’s. communicating with the bloody muddy sheep while ya talk to Mary. wahina. Haven’t I given ya Mary? I’ll keep ya happy. Lan. “even only a small tattoo. flushed from lovemaking and a warm shower. all drizzled with sweet dressing. “Speaking of which. Lan uncorked two bottles of a chilled tart rosé from his winery and filled their generous-sized goblets.” “Careful with the loose tongue.” Mary said. all of ya. “To Lachlan and Katharine. match your hair. served with an acorn-stamped mound of newly churned butter. “Ya look good in my mother’s clothes. lifting her goldedged crystal goblet.” Lan said.” Katharine remarked. we won’t do any heavy talking tonight. roasted. a soft golden wool. Both of us. herbed potatoes. There was a crisp salad made with pale leaves of Belgian endive and dark green cress.
God. unblemished snow. world involving myself in constant misery was starting to get me. Lan?” she asked as they lay together fitted like spoons. Come back to bed. “More so when ya can share it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .192 chatting amiably.” she whispered. and after such a wonderful evening.” “I think the wine did a little damage. running around the equivocate as I’ve been doing. I really want to stay in one Why then am I so worried. her humor far dryer than the vanishing wine. 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.. Lan’s arms came around her from behind. Snuggled in Mary’s soft robe. “Ya don’t have to get up yet.” “I’ve been thinking. “Beautiful. His chin edged down against her shoulder as he gazed out with her. The next morning she awoke with a tight wrap of depression that threatened to unfold itself in all directions. often laughing over Mary’s ample and pointed witticisms. Katharine’s head was whirling with bonhomie as she climbed the stairs leaning on Lan’s arm.. What’s wrong with me.” “Drink a large cup of black tea later and you’ll be right as rain.” he said in a warm sleepy voice. Then the explosion. She tried to blame it on the wine. so indecisive now? place and write... Oh. Dessert was a kiwi custard tart served with a sweet liqueur and demitasses of rich coffee. she stood by the windows. soothed by his touch. unpredictable even to herself. . Somehow she would have to head off the ensuing downward spiral which could so easily make her very poor company. In my work I almost never And yet.
And you really want me to?” If you’re mine.” “I’ve cursed myself a hundred times that I ever told ya about Rani. It’s just the way ya started out. “That proposition nearly killed ya.she’s with my former in-laws.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .until Mary stepped in to save the poor bloke.... a rather extended family. and your violent father was a bloody poor excuse for a human being... Ya think we’ll come to a sad end.just the excuse ya needed to I bloody near fired the lorry run away and hurt yourself.” “And maybe I could have convinced ya of that... quite a bit of yourself to the world.where is she?” Ya need some happiness “Rani is. for yourself.” “I’d have found some other excuse. your grandmother. all I can say. “Yeah.” “Ultimately. 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.. cared for ya. died and left ya with no family. It wasn’t necessary.. driver who took ya away from me.. trying to learn how to care for her little girl.. Your mother went away and never came back..impossible..so. I didn’t realize I was really running away from myself.” “Rani. I would.much...hope so. I’ve tried to do that.” . they’ll accept ya. The world is a very frightening place.193 “Nothing.” “She’s finally paying attention to the child?” “I think so. Maori half?” “Oh. Ya can have mine. I think I had to go and do what I did. Ya expect it. Ya were so full on hungry for The only person around who love ya married an abusive liar.. “Where is Rani?” Ya can have them all.” I think you’ve given That’s The wrongs have to be exposed.
He chuckled and kissed I didn’t even think of Were ya including yourself in that last “Yeah.” Come here. it until I said it...with you..why I’m blushing. “You’re wanting children...194 Katharine turned over and looked into Lan’s eyes.” She Any woman carrying your child would have She had suddenly stopped herself. ya mean. eyes. Lan.. And Yeah.kind of early in the morning to be blushing. and the caring. my little ipo. “I strongly suspected the baby wasn’t yours. It’s the softness that I see. “Maybe it would have green staring at the ceiling and laughing.” “And now that ya have thought of it?” She put her hand under her cheek and against the pillow and continued looking into his dark questioning eyes.. We’ll talk about it later. and ya can talk to Think about the rest. yourself focusing on something besides personal loss. “You think so?” “I do. “Mary would go bloody nuts.inside this plucky little package. I’d be It would be good for ya. Lan.a man about town like you?” “A man about Katharine.now I’m fully awake and I want ya any which way.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” “You wouldn’t like it if it had your rare dark eyes?” “What do ya think? on the pill?” “Now wait a minute. “You’re blushing..” the tip of her nose. wanted... I’m getting dizzy.. Then it’s off to the sheep pens for me. Four . Wait. Green Eyes. her surprised thoughts turning over in wonder... good for ya. remark?” “I guess it’s. Mary.” after a little anklebiter or two. Are ya still “All right.” He rolled on his back. would have wanted it... pounamou eyes. Then I’d go bloody nuts.the mother in ya.
he grabbed her escaping body and fit her to him.. Mattie had relinquished her reign there to set about They vacuuming in the upstairs bedrooms. My heart He’s entertained some rather interested women since the loss of.” At least. hoping I could. I’m quite ashamed of the way I ran off I really threw without saying good-bye.. The sudden appearance of Katharine Gordon said more to me than any inadequate words could have. didn’t I? How ironic that it took a knock in the head and blindness to make me see a little better.” *** Mary refilled Katharine’s cup with more black tea. kissing her astonished mouth. Two with green and two with..” “I dreamed about you. “Ya could have come sooner..” “Your own conscience is in good working order then. her warm..of the way I was. Your condition wouldn’t have I’ve looked after a few in my life.but never did he bring a single one of them here. I’m not so sure I know what ya intend.and yet.. softly lined Scottish face radiating a momentary relief that was not without uncertainty. was breaking for Lachlan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. I was “I wanted to be able to see you. were sitting at the long wooden work table in the big old kitchen..195 of them maybe? “Lan?” Reveling in his own laughter. You were scolding me. quite a fit. Katharine. Mary. Mary..whatever.” Katharine stared into Mary’s gray-blue eyes. Kate. or am I overstepping .” “It’s a miracle that you’re here at all. the good of it is that you’re here now. Still. a sparkling neat pale green arena of warmth and activity.. mattered to me.” “I certainly agree. “May I ask why ya did come back.” “Well.
you’ll never forget. Returning to Seattle to recover seemed so. That’s why ya came back. it’s loss... All I have to do is remember and I can go right on -.. taste. what that means? You’re Lan’s chosen one.not always.. Do ya not?” Mary leaned back with her hands folded on the table and her sharply focused eyes waiting. I have some friends there but I--” “Ya really have no family?” “No.. a softer version of his angular jaw and well-molded chin. “A person can’t live very well without love. as lucky as can be.and yet the Ya had a taste of something that I was inundated with.” “Of course I did.. and you’re To my way of thinking you’re the one receiving that attention. Do ya not know You were Surely ya do.. And I think I had to finally admit to myself that this place was so especially wonderful. because Lan was here. good to me and you didn’t have to be that way at all..and. all of its touted beauty notwithstanding..and you.not enough. I have periods of depression...” “Oh. I felt so drawn to this place. . Oh. Mary.196 myself?” “It’s sort of complicated. I’ve failed at everything else.” “Ya were never loved. Katharine began to identify more of the facial features given to Lan.” I had enough That isn’t failure.” “And satisfied then?” “No.. He loves so hard.the kind of love only Lachlan can give ya..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. “I’m a professional person. It was much more than a And yet. you are right about that..with Lan. but I think ya still have some problems to resolve.. of it to last me to my grave.hunger.so depressing to me. but It’s all I’ve ever been.” “But at least I’m good at what I do.
husband. My dad sent me to the best schools. Lachlan has suffered make that change ya talk about. There I’ve said it. He could do with a good partner. and he’s made it into something much larger..” “I’m a writer.play the piano for my own joy of it.enough to deny himself what he ought to have. For him it works that way.197 thought of such a complete change in my life is. too. because I can’t stand it.” “Please understand. he or she is born to. but you. the stewardship of these lands.” “Oh.see it and feel it..” “A successful career is a powerful thing. somehow ya do resist. He doesn’t know that I heard him swear an oath one bitter night. no right to--” “It’s not that so much.. I do. Now he’s done it. I don’t resist.. to happiness. I must be craving Oh. It’s why I’m here..... “Your frowning at me.. He loves ya too much. Kate.. My career was here with my Now it We ran this place together and we ran it well. and I taught But when I found Rang I was quite content to I have loved music for a while.the way it feeds your ego.” “Nobody could take that from ya. you’re wrong. an intelligent woman like yourself. I know I have unconditional love. Mary. You’re a lovely girl with a right It’s just that I don’t know if you’re able to Ya see.. Mary. belongs to Lachlan.frightening. without completely . He knows that very well but he’ll never ask it of ya.that he would never give himself like that again.” “For a while he drank a great deal.yes.. Mary..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Kate. Each has to do what But I can’t help feeling that if ya loved him enough we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Do ya see that?” “Yes. He couldn’t help himself any more than I could when I fell in love with Rang. leave off. Somehow..
” Mary said. pondering her situation. She could certainly . environment.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and off in the distance hung the Southern Alps. windows the hardened snow crystals glittered like faceted diamonds. was dazzling in the bright sun. if she were to betray her presumed commitment. I have to fit into your world.because I love him far more than I think you realize. 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. she could easily assert that she had miraculously escaped the jaws of death and was now sitting at the pinnacle of all beauty.198 losing myself. all good fortune. piercing the hard blue winter sky. but alongside this was a somewhat anxious speculation of how she would live the rest of her life.. like Lan’s? A part of Lan -. She stopped to position herself on a large rock.” “And for that ya have all my devotion. the crisp air biting into her lungs.. first brushing it off briskly with a gloved hand. There was ice along the bank but the freezing The snow water burbled with a lyrical sound rather comforting.” “Then I’ll get ya some warm clothes. because I love Lan. Leaning back. she gradually drifted In this pristine off in thought. Did she want a little child clinging to her skirt. the rush of warm feeling. a world Probably she could learn. reassuring hug. “I’d like to take a walk in the snow. standing up and giving Katharine a steady.how she would Could she help to run a place like this. Katharine basked in the ensuing release of tension.” *** Katharine was walking along the river. With her arms gratefully wrapped around Mary. Along with this went a huge sense of relief that Mary What had always quietly been there and was there now for Lan. very likely with lovely black eyes? cherish it.
“For as long as you want me I’m yours.” “Then what in bloody hell are we talking about?” “I guess. Of course there Love didn’t conquer all. to make you happy.” No more sadness.199 write about it. It would be a necessity She wasn’t indifferent to the cornucopia of good things spilling into her life. is it?” “I have to learn to live well with you.” His kiss warmed her whole body and she kissed him back until he leaned away and looked into her revealing eyes. about so many things.” “Oh. No more. We’ve both had . enriching her self. Ya hear “Bloody hell it is.” “No. would be difficulties..in a way.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . feeding her creative needs with endless titillating themes.and about the end of something and the beginning of something else. Lan. “But that isn’t the end of the problem.” “That decision is the one I get to make..... even though she was totally and inescapably in its grip.. It’s I who have to figure out how to make ya satisfied.have made. she knew this. with her? Wasn’t that the irrefutable answer? What was wrong She began to see that deep down she felt inadequate She for Lan..” “Forever?” “I don’t know if. but I’m so satisfied with you. sliding into his arms.if I’m the right person for you. Katharine? I found ya and ya found me. I’m already happy just having ya. me. decided to give me up?” “Have ya She turned around and couldn’t bear the uncertainty on his face for even a second after discovery...so happy.. could no longer imagine being otherwise. It’s kind of sad. “What is it now?” Lan’s voice suddenly intoned. her old insecurity always just within reach.. there were always those.I guess we’re talking about a special sort of competence. for her.. lowered her head and sighed.
Over there.” There was a pause of heavy silence while her taut face softened then bloomed with amusement. if you so decree it. Wasn’t her body forever trying to launch itself.” him. 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. pasted over her gasping. certain nothing could stop her. . before ya drown yourself in it.” “Can’t have ya in the snow. up away from the river and into an open field where the whiteness rose in smooth hillocks.200 enough of sadness.. ya unpredictable wahina -. tapping at the heavy sheepskin jacket. “Another thing about ya. I won’t steal ya from your rare self. but not from cold. She was beginning to tremble. slowed Lan down when he stopped to pick it up. to fly away in dreams? “Kate. “Well.” impatience. what I love. He caught hold of her and swung her around against Please be careful.too bloody cold. She ran over the powdery snow in quick bursts of speed.” She slid her hand down the front of his jacket and looked up into his eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but the thought blew away behind her as she ran on. savoring her humor as his mood drifted away from the heat of protest. He hesitated. great god Manutane.” It was the thing that had Her hair was in His fingers “Be careful with your leg. her eyes.. lifted it and smoothed it back as he replaced her hat. It’s That’s the end of all this equivocation. “Do ya know what your eyes do to me when ya smile like that?” “Just pounamou for my lover. Her woolen hat had come off. his lids closed down to a narrow darkness that was just her. He clicked his tongue with “Now I want ya bad and we’re in the snow.the way ya suddenly eat up life. laughing mouth.” She laughed with an expansive surge of joy and began to run.
“Oh. ipo. Anything.for either of us..only here.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... feeling so much and knowing so little. the rich deliquescence. Even in this condition. “Leave your jumper on. intense with lust. “Oh.. in its path motes of whirling dust.” A bolt of white light streamed through the high snow-framed old glass. “There’s straw on the floor. Lan.only here with me. No one will.” While their partially cold bodies joined in heat. first time she encountered fully the translucent mahogany grain of his eyes. unfathomed. I want to know--” “It’s no good knowing everything. discover more than enough. ipo.what if someone--” “No.” He eased her down upon his open jacket. She gripped him tightly.. it turned their quick breath into rising white clouds of vapor.. perhaps not . with his tongue in her mouth and his hands fitting her against him..anything. Come on. brr. craving much more. The straight For the shaft of dazzle ignited part of this man having her. that to wish for or acquire even a partial revelation of the mystery behind the windows of the eyes was to finish something. I want ya. fastening her legs around him as they became one tortuous element of hot energy in a still space of heavy cold. Jesus. something which should never be finished until the eyes closed for the last time.. “Oh.. “Ah. I want ya. heightened the agony of being that close.” Katharine said. snow-etched window. but let me get my hands inside.” We’ll His words were tinged with regret. she let her frenzied self cry out his name and heard his soft response. Shout at me..201 he jerked his head toward a stone shed with a small.” The pale blond straw was fresh and sweet beneath them as they pulled off their gloves and tugged at their clothes. far beneath her momentous longing she knew that he was right.
I love having ya.” His hands slid down her waist and pressed her into him until her skin was his.liked those words. “Jesus. E tino aroha ana ahau ki a koe. “Get your arms where I can.. From his brusque response she inferred a similar longing. the dust of it rising as she was thrown backwards and pinned there in throbbing heat.” His voice sounded soft and slow with satisfaction while his fingers held the back of her neck. so good. She wanted it to go on but thought it powerful enough to stop her heart.” she managed with gasping voice.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . his thumb rubbing the damp hollow of her throat.and. already studied and abandoned as dangerously destructive and useless. “Oh God!” Above her.don’t move while I help ya feel this..” Their bodies rocked hard into the crunching straw. he leaned away. “I. eyes briefly closed then opening as he lifted her shaking body up against him. “Hold still.” Forward deep inside she felt a pleasure that was so excruciating it was almost a searing pain.... recovering for a moment until the harsh cold .good.. head back.look at ya. “Will ya tell me if I hurt ya?” “Y-yes....” Lan said softly.” “I said I adore ya. “Okay?” “Yes..202 even then.” They lay back..oh.” “Good?” “Oh. stroking her back. and heard herself screaming. “Ata noho..
Kate. but mostly it’s a land of sunshine and good beaches.tend to do that more when I come here. looking around.. both silent and lost in the thrall of each other.” I’ll . Lan occasionally staring down at her as if astonished to find her there looking back. 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. wehi.. Lan glanced at her and said a word to himself. Reka Winery for Lan.. Gus. gentle rain. “The wind blows and it rains a bit this time of year in Nelson. then pulled on what little they had removed. They walked home along the rushing river..” Kai te pai matau. “What is this for?” Katharine asked.203 began to creep over them. They’ll like ya.. We’re all right. shaking his head. “Are you going to speak a lot of Maori?” “I’m sorry. she remotely hearing its warbling winter song. Need that rain. “Just a place where Mary nurses her culled weakling newborns from time to time. arm in arm. my tau aroha..lambs who’ve lost their mothers like her newest pet.” Lan said. Quickly sitting up they knelt to pick the thin golden stalks of straw from each other’s hair and clothing.keeps everything rich and green. his father’s younger brother. They turned down a long lane and drove up to a large old stone house set back before a stand of Red Beech trees. try to help ya understand. “Don’t be afraid.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” He smiled at her and led her through the cobwebbed heavy wooden door into the cold bright sun. *** 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. and Katharine put her hands tightly together in her lap.
had done hongi with her. easy to tell when ya blush. The You’re fair and it’s four adult children of Gus and Mea sat below. but when it’s my own life on review I’m like this. too. wahina.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . with which she didn’t want to deal. both with graying hair. and eight of their older grandchildren sat at two separate smaller tables. . but they were polite in that. and she heard Maori words. studied her with polite curiosity. and quite ready to converse in welcome New Zealand English. 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. Gus was saying something to his wife in Maori: “Ka mumura ona papering i te whakama. smoothly planked hardwood dinner table placed in a rimu-wainscoted. brick-red dining room.” They sat down at a long. Would this be in deference to Lan. 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. She felt a little clumsy and didn’t look at Lan for fear she would encounter a certain keen assessment. You’re mine. isn’t it?” *** They had all greeted her. their eyes twinkling with a slight teasing amusement at her rather shy responses. Just stay cool.” “I know. deciding she should save her analyses for some other time and simply let things happen. Green Eyes. Nobody will do anything to make ya feel bad.” Katharine then gave Lan a questioning look. When it’s my job I can stick my nose into people’s lives quite easily. Mea. “Just your chemistry.204 “Will there be hongi?” “Maybe. Gus and his wife. giggling and teasing one another. Pathetic.
“Oh.” Katharine said with a cheerful smile. Katharine..” she said.can keep myself from starving.” and everyone. Then Lan squeezed her hand and winked at her..” “Lan will teach you only good things. Gus laughed and threw up his hands. “Kumara. his flat and robust dark face lined with humor. which held for Katharine a lovely earthy warmth. “He said ya are attractive..” Good. “Kina. sea urchin.” “What needs to be excused?” Katharine muttered. discerning voice.” Lan said.” Katharine smiled. she was trying hard to remember everyone’s name.. “Can she cook?” Gus asked.I’ve helped smuggle food to a starving African village under siege. “I’ve. faintly defensive voice. “Yes.” Lan said. “Lan is teaching me bad things.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” maternal dark-eyed Mea offered in a slow. Ya see that excuses a lot.. a different texture. focused on his mouth as he repeated the phrase which she then tried to say. “Tell him: E whakaaro ana ahau he patai hohore tena.” Now don’t get yourself in high dudgeon. sweet potato. “I really have no idea. Lan was putting food on her plate as the serving dishes went by. Can ya cook?” “I. including Lan.” “Oh. does that count?” she added in a soft.” Katharine answered. who was now blushing deeply.205 With her hands held motionless in the lap of her gray wool pantsuit.” . Gus looked at Katharine and said. a quick study in pronunciation. “I’m not. Try it. I’m sorry. “He ataahua te kotiro ra. “Nothing. Lan turned to Katharine. laughed with great enjoyment. “What did I say?” “Ya simply told him ya thought it was an absurd question.yes.
explained. “I do love these plump green-lipped mussels. fascinated. Lan was taking other things She tasted and he and putting them on her plate again.or bottles. laughing and waving her hand.” “They are the best. “The men are counting barrels..” the young mother called out. which included some things she recognized: green-lipped mussels. . holding up a shell and admiring its dark. “Some of the best I’ve ever tasted.206 Katharine lifted her glass of the white wine taken from their own Wai Reka Winery and said. fishing in various rivers and lakes. then got up and stepped slowly around the room..” Lan asserted.” Mea said. there was a loud crash. emeraldedged beauty.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Later when dessert was finished and the table cleared. Katharine found herself with Mea in a sort of study. Mea heard one of the babies screaming and went to see what happened..messy.. “Here’s to all of you and thank you for this delicious food. tutua shellfish. photograph of Lan. “Nothing too serious. fireroasted pork. opalescent. a small dark blue room with a shiny black hardwood floor. and filled with photographs. that this pastime was soothing and good for digestion. She was enjoying the pictures. Then her eyes fell upon an earlier She stared at his cocky grin. so many of the growing family at work and play.choice.” Everyone drank while Katharine took a sip and stared out over the many full serving dishes. Katharine sat listening a moment to the voices discussing whatever cleanup was necessary. eating and celebrating. and colorful salads.. Just as they were beginning a conversation about Lan’s father’s childhood.” she said.. They were both rocking slowly in old. very Mea had explained to her large and satin-grained wood rockers.
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.. and growing children running in and out. “Ah. Finished. a couple satisfied to be just themselves together. They were all trying to carry on rather truncated conversations.not this foreign Pakeha journalist. A pain That was spiked through her heart and her knees almost buckled. Mea moved closer to Katharine and said. Stop this. Once again and very swiftly the old insecurity assailed her. She left the room and went into the kitchen. but she found it very difficult to obey. her mouth smiling with unmistakable possession. the voice inside her head She wondered insisted. “May I help?” she asked. Before they left to come here. her manner evinced a secure sense of self. Sticky orange juice. tamariki.” Mea Perhaps they didn’t want her with Lan at all. how Mary had felt when she met Rang’s family. This time they settled in the lounge. or some other Maori woman. and toys. Adored and coddled by her father. What had Mary’s mother been like? She didn’t She would seek an opportunity to ask her. punctuated by the antics of the children together with their puppies. with the other young women and babies surrounding them. intelligent eyes. mopping something up.so . The children were quite apparently foremost in all of their minds. Mary had spoken of the family with admiration and warmth.. kittens. her face turned toward him..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine. precisely what a man looked like who was content with the love of his life. Mary had such a different childhood from her own. said.207 His arm was around an exquisite young woman with long black hair and large moist eyes. staring at Mea bent over the floor. should they? They might have been far more satisfied if he were with Rani. “No. know..
the bathroom?” she said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . like patronizing flattery. these children.. is this? “I like this big friendly house.full of wild spirit. Mea pointed and she hurried off in that direction... too. “Are ya going to learn to speak like Mary? “What?” Katharine asked. “Please. Then it happened.. 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. and in the next few minutes she had seriously begun to think of vomiting. She saw two of Gus’s daughters staring at her from across the room. and that. She could feel the back of her head begin that constricting sensation. 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.a part of us. love the sound of your language. disgusted.. she thought.I would. pregnant. . stumbling into the massive old white tile bathroom. Oh God. She was on her knees over the toilet bowl and could hear the women giggling down the hall. for a moment taken aback. no.of--” “Yeah. ask. standing up with her hand against her mouth.” she said. They bent their heads together to whisper something while a little boy tugged at one of their skirts. sounded false. fumbling and miserable. it.. I I wish I could chatter away in There’s an expansive thing about learning a language that makes you a part of. throbbing.” Katharine said. Ya would like that?” “I would.. the forewarning of a migraine. 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..208 much life.
put me in the.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ...209 “What?” she heard a voice say and then Maori words.just want ya to get over this. Katharine. remembered where she was and Beneath her lids the Slowly she drifted off . He held it to her lips and she tried to drink as agreeably as possible. some of them Lan’s.plane like this? “No. She awoke with a start.. couldn’t speak.. he started to lead her out of the room.. When the door had closed she said. pricks of ice. “Mea is making ya something to drink. The top of her head was like ice.I could..” “Don’t think I can.” “Hold me.” “No.. to sleep. the pain in it was so consuming.” “Sorry. Oh God. bed in a dark room.haven’t any pills. Absolutely not.” Mea came into the room with a warm cup of strong herbs and handed it to Lan. sliding down as he caught her and lifted her into his arms. his fingers rubbing at the base of her skull. then knelt and wiped her face. colorful squiggles of pain writhed on.” “Try at least.sleep on the plane. swallowing about a third of the cup.. He leaned over the sink..sorry. Lifting her She wetting a washcloth. up against him. “Are you mad at me?” “Jesus.” I could--” “Maybe. She was through with vomiting but could hardly stand to raise her head. She regained consciousness lying on a Lan had his massaging fingers in her hair..” “Doesn’t matter.” “Can you. “Oh. I’m so bloody sorry ya hurt..” He lay down beside her and held her in his arms..” she muttered. small pin Shivering.. she felt a sudden flash of white heat and tried to take a step. He tapped on the door and came inside. Ya have to sleep..
resting on a hardwood cabinet one photograph which seemed to resonate with life. more life than her breathing could ever bestow. You will never be able to give enough of yourself to have this. Its perfection had all the You will never have this... then another and she was back in the dark blue room of photographs. I want to apologize and thank everyone.just needed some air. She fled past him.usually it takes a long time. She closed her eyes. She turned around and saw Lan standing before her in the open door.” “Will ya come back in?” “Yes.” *** Flying back in the early morning she was very quiet. “I’m glad you’re feeling better.” the room.” “Yes. Finally they screeched down on the frozen runway.. and hoped that Lan would assume she was still recovering. Stealing down the hall she tried a door knob. and sat up in the darkness.210 whispered. the picture seemed to call out to her. through the kitchen and out the back door into the dark night. got into There was no way she could discount ... better. pretending to sleep. Stumbling over the She grass. Lan’s shadow stretched toward her in the lights from the house. thank you. so perfect she could actually grieve for Lan instead of herself.those herbs were good. because you are a divided self. “They think I’m pregnant. power to censure and accuse.. reaching for the bedside lamp.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . There was no one else in She heard bursts of laughter. but saw only the perfect black and white photograph. would like to have thrown herself on the ground but heard the soft rustle of footsteps in the grass. she leaned against the trunk of a Red Beech tree. inhaling a strange sweet dampness which smelled completely unfamiliar to her. There was one small lamp lit. that photograph.
who--” “Ya don’t love him then?” “Oh God. yes.. I think they wanted me to know. girl. “In the beginning it wasn’t so bad. like a frantic child with a bleeding wound in search of its mother..” “They understood.. running wild.. complete. “It was easier when I did it. Mary sat patiently stroking her hair... “Here. letting the anxious words flow against Mary’s dressing gown..211 the Rover and crunched over the snow. take a sip of my tea..disaster. ...love.not until Lan. I can’t. no. but then. liked them all and.something happened. She uttered a I Poor Kate. really hoped they’d like me... Mary.I never knew what it was.” regretful sigh. Mary. I’m not the person so beautiful.” “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. want so to be liked. I knew I’d lied..but I can’t.” Katharine lifted her head... Then I got a wretched migraine. to No sooner had they come a stop then she had wrenched open the door and raced inside. She found Mary in her bedroom having tea before a crackling fire.. “Careful.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .loved.could do this... When I saw the photograph of the two of them... Kate!” She went through the great house room by room. I thought I could. laughing with them.. took a single long swallow of the strong black tea and thought a moment. but I was Rang’s only wife and quite headstrong with the daring of my deed. Katharine.. almost falling on the steps while Lan shouted. ya “I was eating the food.” Mary said. “I did have a bit of worry with that first visit.was thoroughly sick..and that was the end of it. and dropped down with her head in Mary’s lap.and.. Your imagination is Ya have such strong feeling that--” “Oh.
“Now it’s my turn.” he said.. “If I didn’t love ya so I could almost choke ya to death. Mea told me: ‘She has plenty of common sense.” with your bloody great imagination. Lan stood there staring at both of them. 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. Lachlan.” She lowered her head and sat in confusion. and how can I blame Mary’s door burst open. yourself than this?” “Just more proof that I’m no good at a private life.’ They thought your green eyes were fascinating. tona atamai.nearly as much as I do. girl. rubbing her temples with extended fingers. to God ya were.” “I saw what really--” “I know what ya saw! Ya saw the past and set it blazing This is the present. yeah. ya do? Ya understand that? They thought ya were smart and beautiful and polite. talk to ya later.. and you’ve got to consider that too. accident your girl was in. mother.” he said as he walked out with Katharine in his arms..” “Oh. heading straight for his bedroom. And I wish .. his face displaying an obvious and fuming agitation.” “Careful now.212 I know ya aren’t a coward. They were bloody sorry ya were He tino nui They thought I was damned lucky.and. “Oh. them after--” They Have ya no more faith in They don’t like me. Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . yet.. He set her down on the bed. “All right you’ve had your tea and sympathy. dragging Katharine from Mary’s lap and lifting her into his arms.except that part of this is my own fault. they thought ya were pregnant. crook as a dog. Her thoughts were in a jumble.” “Thank ya. ran his fingers slowly over her throat and said.. don’t want me anyway.
“I’m taking ya away to Rarotonga. Small waves lapped Round and round one way and then The poor bus drivers must go out gently up over the smooth shore incline. and I should have seen it. I have a place there. their force broken by . Ya need to heal. “Please pack a few light clothes.” “Right. a Margaret told me you Kiwis like to dependency of New Zealand.” “Rarotonga? That’s way north in the Cook Islands. Lan.” IV “You could go round and round on this little green jewel in the sea until you were dizzy. hear nothing but wind and water and birds. Ya need to lie in the sun and do This has nothing. She looked up at him. and that’s what I’ve been doing while ya were talking.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . if ya have any. of their minds. Mary knows it too. damned good at living with misery none of us have fully understood what you’ve been through.213 Never had she felt so bewildered. making flight reservations from Auckland. aren’t well. round and round the other way.” “Are ya worrying about something again?” Lan asked. vacation there. I just didn’t--” I’ll be “My Green Eyes. shifting in his beach chair and reaching for his Steinie. better. You’re not over any You’re so of what happened to ya. Katharine dug her toes into the warm beige sand and stared at the startling shades of aquamarine water.” Lan said in a softer voice. Ya I realized it flying back. If she were truly that mistaken then she must really be in a distracted state.” he said. all been too much for ya. please don’t send me away right now. holding her face in his hands. her eyes wide with disbelief. Very relaxing. “Oh.
“This morning there were thousands of ants on the kitchen counter. She rolled over and lay on her back. Out on the reef’s edge waves boiled up in a line of high white foam. she felt happy and playful. so tiny I could hardly see them. went straight to the cottage and slept. straightening her new navy bathing suit. Don’t even try. The next afternoon Katharine had gone into town with Lan and done some quick shopping. They arrived late at night.. realizing that her lungs needed more exercise.” “They’ve always been here.” “I’m going for a swim. 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. hadn’t found one?” “I’d have enjoyed that. . laughing and swilling his beer.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . swimming toward her with powerful strokes. and silver and black striped ones darting all around them.” “No. almost transparent. “Avarua is the kind of town I like.” Lan said. look flash. splashing into the sky and crashing down with a constant roar.” They had departed from the airport without even going into Auckland first. Katharine stood up. No problem making up your mind about fashion. what if I tired.” She observed that Lan got up rather quickly and followed her into the water. but so many they could carry the place away.a few miles down the road and there is very nearly the only store with a suitable suit..214 the distant reef. and with no time to buy anything. blue. “The scar on my leg isn’t so bad. yellow. and felt a little Watching Hmm. Lan’s dark body in the clear water. She swam out to the reef. There were small colored fish. Ya can’t get rid of them. whitey. it’ll mellow out.
pulling her suit away from her breasts to wash away the sand. That’ll be fun. Lan flung his head back in a spiral of spraying droplets and stripped water from his arms.” She lay on her mat while he slathered lotion onto her body. She walked away. Turning over she stretched out her arms to him. Ya smell like a coconut cocktail. “Want something to drink?” Lan asked. When she had rested awhile in weightless drifting. she rolled over and started back. I love your skin.” In the shallows she stood up and shook out her hair. “God. remained kneeling. His fingers slid over her as the hot sun beat down on them. “You keep referring to my floury skin. motionless.” Under the outside shower nozzle her oiled skin beaded as she rid herself of salt water. “Let’s go inside.” “I’m covered with lotion.” “Good. swinging open the door of the refrigerator in the dark-green-tiled kitchen. Lan surged up from beneath the water and held her by the waist.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . giving her a slippery wet kiss. looking at her. Aren’t you embarrassed to be seen with this pale creature?” “Seen by whom? There’s no one around. “A white sea nymph. trying to get out of her clinging wet suit . Need some more lotion or you’ll burn like toast. your eyes are like the water. Whether observed or not he was never self-conscious. They grabbed the huge striped beach towels flung over a chair. She loved to study him closely when he wasn’t noticing. dried themselves and went inside.” He glanced toward the He dark orange stucco bungalow nestled in the rippling palms above the sand.215 staring at huge white cumulus clouds fastened to the horizon. doing whatever needed to be done in the most natural and direct way. my hot little sex object.
She reached for the juice and drank with his fingers sliding over her pulsing throat. lay in her beach chair. please.” His body was hot to her touch.” “I was thinking of a family in Khan Yunis. that dark moist flesh her entire boundary as they tangled together atop the flowered coverlet on the bed. calm now after a week of rest and lovemaking. Lan. *** Katharine. kissing firmed nipples and stroking his hands over her as she shivered in the sultry heat.216 and calling out. “This is really good for us.” He came into the shadowy bedroom with the juice and set it on a low. Lost in this disturbing recurrence she was surprised by Lan reaching over her head and sliding the paper out of her hands. isn’t it?” “You’re the only one who has ever made me want to stay forever in the present moment. I’m spoiled by all of this I’ll keep ya in the present moment. ya oily sweet wahina. “Where in bloody-hell did ya get that?” “Even in Rarotonga they receive bad news it seems. of--” “When you’re there ya want me and when you’re with me ya want to be there. Lie down. What can I do with ya?” Lan. Kate. browsing through a newspaper where she came across reportage of another severe flare-up in the Middle East. Grinning at her ongoing struggle.” “If ya could see your face you’d know why I don’t want ya reading that gloomy gore. glass-topped bamboo table. right now I feel so happy “Lock me in your castle? . “Yes.” “Cool damp skin. You’re on holiday. guava juice.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Ah. he grasped the suit and pulled it down away from her cool body. solid and faintly salty against her mouth. attention.
Kate.. “You want to give me ultimatums. brain..” She looked at Lan. “Do ya know it isn’t all a crusade with ya? has been trying to run away from me since the beginning.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “What would you do if I went away. and felt fear spring up. Kate. Her heart was beating so rapidly it felt as if it were in her throat.would just let me go?” “That would never be my decision.” She got up from the chair and went to lean against the trunk of a shady palm. be a concerted effort to--” “Katharine. Lan?” “Forever? Suffer badly. And what would ya do yourself?” . The more the world knows about There has to Ya won’t get very much in that situation the less it will tolerate. but I’m trying to make ya tell me what ya want.I hope.” “I can’t think that way. at his very serious expression. Eyes? Do I let ya keep running then. I don’t want to be anywhere else. She dropped her gaze. staring at his brown hand It will..217 with you. You--” It I’ll force ya into nothing..” He knelt in the sand and put his hand on her thigh. would ruin us both. Life gives ya those. It’s moving even faster than your quick A part of ya on her white flesh and shivering with the truth of his words. the fear of loss.. It’s only that I feel a little guilty.” “Guilty enough to die of it? exchange. do ya want any life of your own?” “Yes. “Look at me.. “No. my Green Is that what ya want?” “You would.because ya think if ya keep moving life won’t disintegrate. looking into her eyes.
. “Will ya marry me. feeling her knees dug into warm sand and his dark eyes on her. The thought of no Lan in her life made her He body go limp. putting disconnected parts of her together. Kate?” She responded with sudden disbelief. .or.. no longer able to stand without support.. much required body and laid her mouth against his flesh. pleasure each other in the doing. “one who could do this to me.or for me.. “Mary seems to think you need a. more recently having contemplated those words and yet amazed at the sound of his voice saying them.. she knew how she looked.” she said in a slow dreamy voice against his shoulder.a sort of business partner.when ya go to sleep and when ya wake up. Yeah? Marry me?” “Yes. knelt down too and lifted her chin.. if I wake up?” “Ya will wake up and there I’ll be.... Her swimming eyes were filled with the love of him. staring out at the ultramarine blue of deep sea.wife?” He cocked his head and laughed. made her slide down and kneel in the sand. She would remember this day and hour. Is that why you’re marrying me?” She offered a playful smile to keep the question from any other implication. knew he could see a force so powerful it could never be hidden or laid aside..218 She leaned against the trunk.. “I didn’t think the world had a Lachlan Manutane. “Be your.” “And will ya be reasonably happy in that condition?” She clasped her arms around his solid.. hearing the palm fronds rustle overhead.but what “That’s what it means. We’ll do this bloody life together and Yeah?” I haven’t much choice.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
and green slopes of the ever-present central volcanic mountains flew by as they turned to each other and laughed at nothing. and slipped down on the wet sand. and Gauguinstyle watercolors. hedges of crimson bougainvillea. his mouth sliding over hers until she uttered some small sound coinciding with his complete preoccupation. finally settling at a bistro table on a .but think and. my love. palms. the wavelets lapping at their oblivious embrace. He came after her and dragged her under. Her laughter drifted into a surfacing with her in his arms.” In the morning they stood at the roadside in their sandals.” he said. still in each other’s arms. waiting for the circling bus to carry them into the town. pulling him down into the water with her then managing to wriggle out of his careful grasp and swim away.. deeper emotion when she saw his altered face. They walked down the street hand in hand.oh. and I’d rather have ya without getting ya drowned.” to her feet.. azure lagoons. at the wind in their faces. falling in with her levity. Very soon cottages. Lan pulled her You’re making me crazy all awash here. at the bus driver making humorous comments to break the monotony of his endless revolutions.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . you’ve sussed the lay of things. of the benefits. batik prints.” She grabbed the back of his neck.. Katharine in a yellow sun dress and Lan in shorts and a black tropical shirt. no. “Come on. “Let’s get ourselves back to the cottage.wait! I’m all nice and dry now “Just needed a top level employee. peering into touristy little shops with shells. They sloshed to the water’s edge. He lifted her up and held her tight against him. “Lan? Are you going to... developments. white beaches.219 “Ah.” He picked her up and started toward the water. shacks.. a face full of proprietary rapture.
A slender brunette with tanned skin. “Yes. The interloper sat down at her table. even amusing. took a swallow of his beer and leaned forward. no rings on his fingers. having made a decision to be courteous.” “No. They know their stuff. and khaki shorts and shirt with bare feet in expensive looking deck shoes. wondering if he was simply being friendly or actually engaged in that old routine of getting to know you. laughing and Lan bent to her and said Katharine could just tilting her head back with surprise. a leather-strapped watch of the style she liked. . Lan. Haven’t I’d remember that.” Katharine said. but you have to come. They dipped their heads beneath broad sun- infused banana leaves and sipped overfull glasses of cool beer. “I’ve been sportfishing big time.” I’ve She was straining to hear more when a man carrying a pint of beer blocked her view.” Katharine said and was pondering a further comment when the man relieved her of any speculation by going on. You like this place?” I’m Frank It’s just the right size and shape. He laughed heartily at that. rugged tan. “Hey. When Lan got up to find Katharine a napkin for her spilled foaming beer.just a small party.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Out beyond the reef you Good can find some pretty hefty prey for even a heavy line. make out her words. missed you. He was rather nice looking. guides around here.. and for the moment completely diverted her attention. Not many tables available..” Katharine drew herself up and angled her head. she saw a woman across the deck exclaim and grab his arm. I’m talking your head off. “Mind if I join you? seen you in town. something and the woman laughed again. I do. “Oh.220 grayed wood deck. blue eyes. aren’t I? McGregor from Chicago. sandy hair.
“Yeah?” Lan said. Huh. I really thought this sort of thing I think you’d better stick I’m through with my beer. “She isn’t wearing a ring. she realized. fella. only happened on television soaps. We’ll let Mr. and ya won’t be catching any fish tomorrow. grinning. Lan. “but I sure will miss those green eyes. was that his first beer. to swordfish.221 “Mind telling me your name?” “I--” Katharine said.” Frank said. but Lan had sauntered up to the table. McGregor get on with his sportfishing. McGregor. Lan stepped between her and Frank McGregor with a cool smile and said. “Yeah?” Lan said. but well built and apparently more familiar with this sort of braggadocio contest than Katharine had thought. He’s been sportfishing. He was perhaps an inch shorter than Lan. I was here first. “This is very amusing. mate. but he was apparently not a quitter. sport?” not when I’ve got a real trophy on the line.” Katharine tapped her fingers on the table. “Ah. Frank. “About five minutes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” The narrowed eyes leveled at Lan for a moment.” Frank stood up and moved near her.” Katharine and Lan left Frank McGregor sulking over his .” “Then you’re out of the running. mate.” Frank said. what the hell. raising one eyebrow and remaining on his feet. mate. sit down. “Might as well unclench the fist and settle down. Lan. because when I scrap it’s for results not appearance. “Ya haven’t got anything on the line.” “Oh for heaven’s sake.” This is Frank “How long ago was that?” Katharine noticed that Frank’s face registered considerable disappointment. Come on. nor. I don’t give up that easily. “Sorry.
“Ya didn’t have to encourage the bloody wanker. protection.222 beer.. he probably would have. I really couldn’t believe. if you’re in the human race you’re always moving in those circles.. some of them ego.” “Yes.” “I didn’t mean to. but I’m bloody-hell not letting any pissed bastard put his hands on ya. They stopped at the corner and Lan said. My. he was.Patsy.” “Hmm.” “Okay.” “Yeah.. that.do something?” I’ve had enough practice with wankers like “Bloody right. his mind clearly in the process of switching subjects. I’ll try and remember that.” “Oh..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Oh.” Lan turned to Katharine..” “I’m sorry.” “What does that mean?” he asked. is still burning. from her point of view.. took her arm and gently backed her against a plate glass window while his still enlarged feral black pupils held her firmly.. thank you. I hope it’s simple I’m not crazy about scrapping over ya like a possession.. Patricia Leonard. “Sweet Green Eyes.I guess..one that.well.. We do that for various With me.I just thought he was being friendly.” “Yeah. and walked down the street in silence.. reasons. “Who was that woman?” Lan thought a moment. I guess I just don’t move in those circles. Were you really going to..my husband slapped me around but I doubt that he would have fought anyone else for me. I think so. “Very obviously an old flame. grinning.. and said.” .” “I knew her once..
Nice breeze on the water and I’m ready for a bit of tucker. I’m going to buy ya something. diamonds. please. “Here. merely walked along staring at hibiscus blossoms across the street.” “No. clasping the pendant and smiling appreciatively at Lan. the men holding remote controls. Katharine stood with quickening heart while Lan took the ring from the smiling male clerk and lifted her hand. “If you’re trying to make me feel good it’s working. I don’t think--” “No. try this on your ring finger. He laughed at her engrossed antics.it’s something very nice.and for which this place is famous.. and Lan was fastening a chain holding a large iridescent black pearl set in white gold around her neck. scrap over ya.. making watchful adjustments of her wayward steps.” Upon leaving the store Katharine nearly stumbled as she studied her new ring from various angles. Lan.” They were soon standing at the counter of a rather upscale jewelry store. She would have to show up in my town.. “Wait a minute.” While they were drinking their beer and waiting for their food they observed two men standing below on the beach. Green Eyes.” “Yeah.223 “I’m sure. “Come on.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “And now ya have a black pearl pendant.” “Kate. “Lan. about this ya don’t have to think. guiding a pair of authentically equipped miniature sailboats over the gentle waves of the small . are ya jealous?” He was laughing. sit up on the deck and have lunch.” “You’ve already given me a lovely jade pendant. my choice little possession. She didn’t answer. Let’s go over to Trader Jacks.” Right? Let me see that pearl ring with the Lan tapped the glass counter.. Then I won’t have to You’ll be doing me a favor.
standing up and throwing his money over the check. Frank McGregor drifted in with a telling swagger. Just as they were finishing their pesto fish sandwiches and beer.and fishes.” Lan admonished. nice pearl showpiece on your pretty little hand. After a while the men brought their sturdy little boats to rest on the gravelly shore and stood animatedly talking and smoking.” “I’m ready for you. Do they have any with fishes?” How many beers did ya have? I wasn’t When her laughter subsided “Are ya drunk? counting. Except I’d have bought her a great big emerald to match You want the real thing. “Oh. you come with me. from Trader Jacks she had to sit down on the weather-beaten steps of a large old gray building. They heard the bilious Frank McGregor hurling steadily more indistinguishable words after them as they left. heading toward the bus stop. mate. Very soon she had tears in Not far her eyes. As they walked through the graveled lot. Katharine began to laugh. I like cheap T-shirts with local names on them. fella. McGregor. “Happy as two little boys. which looked like a barn but turned out to be a T-shirt store. “Well..” “Not enough.. walking right up to their table. kia orana. “Go haul on a ton of northbound marlin and leave us to our pleasures. you beautiful little babe. and Lan was laughing right along with her.” “Look me up when you’re not off yer face.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Isn’t that just dandy? He’s got you a Smart move.” Katharine remarked.” Not nearly enough to fully appreciate Frank . she began to look around. Kiwi. you want emeralds those green eyes.” Lan suggested.224 harbor.” “Rack off.
” But I “I should think the serious ones barely have any idea of it..” “Oh..” “Somewhat. otherwise. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.. I’m dreaming those detestable dreams again.” *** Mary was leaning over Green Braes’ kitchen table while cradling her brick-red and white porcelain tea cup in both hands and studying Katharine. But. “Why I think ya do have a bit of a tan. he wouldn’t want ya looking And there I go again. Green Ya can cart them back to Enzed as a strange reminder of how not to get engaged.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I must be in a manic phase. but Lan won’t tell me what I’ve done if I happen to wake him.. It’s the sudden changes in your life doing this. Mary. Lan likes me “It doesn’t matter.” Nothing could bring me down “Apparently.” “He likes ya in your natural state is the proper way of putting it.. that. things going round and round in my head with no form of expression but fragmented distortion. Kate.” I . today.precious to me. white. Lan. I suppose.oh. a silly and shallow one at It’s been a sort of roller coaster.” “Ya do look at sixes and sevens.” “Why not be trying for a nice little evenness? suppose writers have a difficulty with that. I’ll buy ya a stack of T-shirts..225 “Let’s go inside.. This is one of those memorable days..a day I’ll never ever forget.” “Oh dear. think I’ve actually been moaning or muttering. drawing clenched fingers over her forehead with mock seriousness. As for myself. Mary. Eyes.putting my foot in it. tea.or whimpering. darn it... If ya were Maori. I probably shouldn’t be drinking this I’m more nervous than usual.” Katharine said.
Come back and share this with us. not have left us. too. He still considered Katharine Now off with ya. “Put me to work. and with Lan gone it’ll help to fill your nights. Explosions. the restaurant.226 Mary rubbed at her gray-blue eyes.” “All right. and the stud farm. but ya need to engage your mind.” With visits to the winery.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Middle Eastern horrors had translated into electric impulses shooting through her brain. here?” “Everything that needs doing is being done. Mary. war. I think ya Can’t I help do something around should work on your novel. Katharine. You should She was painfully convinced that her selfish happiness had precipitated a reverse outpouring in her dreams. calling her back to scenes she had not meant to escape in such a drastic manner.” 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. certain she was vexing Mary with the ups and downs of her fluctuating nature. She thought of the recent times she had felt Lan’s hand on the back of her neck. Your work isn’t finished. Katharine was experiencing once again what it was like to sleep alone. Lan had been gone a week. stroking up through her hair when she knew she had been crying out in her sleep. beneath which were slight dark circles.” “I think ya capable of doing most anything. Having felt the need to bring up her dreams Katharine was experiencing a sharp twinge of guilt. But please let me know if you need any help you think me capable of giving. wave of her hand. to write and think and go about a daily routine without interruption or the emotional interplay of a . tea. I’m off to my computer then. Blood-spattered hands reaching out to her.
.227 paired life.. evening.. It was her nightly call from Lan.. Kate?” “I. “No. “Where are you. Do ya mind. Please forget that I said Mea told me they’ve everyone else with no difficulty at all..feeling like I’ll be on display.” “I’m deeply ashamed of myself. but she knew that her trust in Lan and her respect for his sound judgment must also be manifested by patience..” . arranged for a family ceremony at the meeting house near Nelson. handed her the phone with a nod and a smile and left the room. In the evening after tea Mary called her into the study. I’ll smile at you and It’s your own wedding. Lan?” “Tamaki-makau-rau -.wanting to be only with you and Mary.. Green Eyes?” “Do exactly what you intended.no. without that engagement she felt adrift and aimless.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . What shall I do. When her eyes grew tired she paced. 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. anything at all. It was incumbent upon her to agree with him in considering her still in recovery.. She was restless.” “Ya have a right.” “Ya do. The usual assignments which came under Alone and her purview were placed on hold or turned down.” She heard the regret in his voice.Auckland. been hoping a long time for this. I’ll be home tomorrow I’ve All the legalities have been taken care of.it’s just a selfish thing. an unpleasantness that made her set to work especially hard on her novel.
.” “Home? I like it when ya say that.. 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.228 “Ya are choice. ipo.” I’ve still got some Katharine went into the library where Mary was reading by a noisily snapping pine log fire. She turned it back and forth then looked over her glasses at Katharine.” “Please come home. 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.” Katharine averted her face. but it isn’t necessary. work to do. Oh a few friends in Seattle.” “My grandmother would have loved to come. It’s a long way to come.” Mary laid aside her book and studied Katharine a moment.sorry.sorry. girl. disgust with herself.” Mary took up a piece of needlepoint which lay on the lamp table and held it up to the light. isn’t it? this long.” “It’s a shame ya have no family at all.. Good night. I know she would have adored him. have ya no one you’d like to be there at Nelson to share your wedding?” “No.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Kate.” “Don’t get me thinking on it too much. She simply couldn’t last How quickly it all. I believe. . and to burden Mary so. would have loved to see me marry Lan.. Lan.. “But not so much yourself. Our span of life is so short. and I don’t see them that often. It seems everyone is looking forward to it.. running her fingers over folded arms held taut against the soft boiled wool robe Mary had given her. half finished pink roses on a sky-blue background.
most wonderful of all.” Katharine felt a needy childishness overtake her. Kate? ya. and she waved as he parked near the small office. she . Come here to me. with the motor running and the heater on and the radio playing Frank Sinatra. I do see why Lan loves You’ll always be a Both of us are Do ya not think?” ya so. Mary.. When the plane touched down and rolled to a stop. Yes.229 “Are ya crying.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . about. quite fortunate to have each other and Lan. have a family now. Thank you for making me feel so welcome. Slipping back in time as her hair was gently stroked. Kate. I do. caring girl.so lovely. This is a time To me ya are sometimes like a lost child. many years.. my poor lamb. with your eagerness to be accepted. Lan has told Ya me ya were a mistreated child and I’m heaps sorry for that. “Ya wriggled your way into my heart from the first day I met ya. she gave in to the coddling she so often craved. Rex pulled up in a muddy-snow-spattered black pickup. concern to me.. for all of your loving generosity. put her head on Mary’s lap. a desire for release.and. and how easily I still cry from that damnable explosion. no matter how worldly and traveled ya are. I’ll be a part of that family to ya as long as I’m around. it’s a part of ya that needs attention. After a while..especially when I scold ya. Nestled inside soft sheep’s wool slippers her feet She knelt down and I’m sorry. A rather large one. thank you for raising such an amazingly patient son. I didn’t mean to upset shuffled slowly across the dark blue carpet. if ya want. How shamelessly adept I am at turning into a deprived child. “I do. ya clever..” *** So eager for Lan was Katharine that she drove the Rover to the airstrip and waited there for his arrival. to be especially happy. I’ve really nothing to complain I did have my grandmother for It’s just my soppy head..
speaking a lot of Maori lately.probably won’t even make you sick. made with sheep’s cheese in rich cream sauce and praised by Lan who ate several helpings. brave one. “Are you hungry? “Ya have? I’ve fixed you something to eat. yeah? “Yes. and Katharine decided to help Mattie in the kitchen. take my laptop and get back in the waka.” she cried. I’ve missed ya. I need to talk to Rex for just a minute.. “Tena koe. who had already taken her meal. cold.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . deciding .” “The waka?” “Oh.” When they had eaten Katharine’s zesty macaroni casserole. it’s not going to kill you. she wanted them to have that time. They started back along the snowy road in the shadowy blue dusk. and he turned around and laughed with surprise as she jumped into his arms. But they were a She was restless and unable to engage herself in either writing or idleness.” “Well. It’s too “I’ve been A waka is any form of transportation from an auto to a kayak. He reached over and gave her a deep kiss. he went into the library to talk with Mary.” I’ll eat whatever it is...” she teased. with a mischievous grin.” Very soon Lan was in the driver’s seat. sorry.230 opened the Rover door and ran over the snow. They needed to talk about the weekly business and anything else that occurred to them.” Did ya drive over here?” “Here. to continue on with the routine normal to them. What a choice welcome. ya cheeky wahina. Lan was putting on his leather jacket when she came up behind him. Maybe I should go away more often.. “God. Green Eyes. Despite her eagerness for Lan.or whatever. long time in their discussion tonight. the smell of his leather jacket delicious to her as it creaked beneath her fingers. “Haere mai.” he said.
that’d turn it into a bloody piss-up.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “I want Penny to come.” “No.231 to take a warm shower to calm the excitement of having Lan home. mentioned that.. I never talked about it. won’t you?” “Yeah. That must hurt. turning around and leaning against him. finally bringing herself to say. He really is a good photographer. I thought at the time it was only a joke. and ya don’t want the I’m sorry. Lan. too.I promised Cash Taylor he could do the pictures of my wedding. “I understand about the wedding. “Ya feel like it’s just you. “Me..” he said. Kate. If there’s others noticing no one there.” “Ah. “You aren’t going to like this.. anyone at all ya want at Nelson I’ll send them airfare.” “He didn’t understand about us..” She suspected Mary’s intervention. I suppose he And he’s very unobtrusive .” she said..good to wash the travel off.. “too many friends and associates for anything else. and you’ll invite Margaret and Ian.” He took a soapy rag and drew it slowly across her back.” Ya want that snarky lens-popper at our wedding?” “What? “He came to see me when I was in the hospital in Jerusalem. “It isn’t necessary.” he said between kisses..all the rest on the other side and none of your own to celebrate with ya.” She laid her head against his chest in the steamy spray.and I wasn’t even there myself. Her head was back and water pouring over her hair when she felt Lan’s arms come around her... then his kiss at the nape of her neck made her tremble.. surprising her with his desire to talk instead of make love.” “What?” “I. but mostly only family.
We’ll talk more later.. ya strange beautiful thing. the power of simply looking without blinking. languid. Oh. “Come here. Don’t make me . she was finally beginning to realize what her own eyes could do to him. have me.. Lan. laughing and holding her by the wrists. I’m crazy for ya. don’t make me scream. Green Eyes. “Jesus. Falling slowly into his startling almond eyes.232 when he’s working. You might not even notice--” Invite the bloody wanker. isn’t it?” “Is it?” “No. too. “All right. They toweled dry.. Ya know how to My God. Lan. Green Eyes? I want in ya. don’t ya.and at my own wedding? probably won’t see anyone but yourself. ending up sitting on the bed. “Wet as the day I fished ya out of the Hauraki Gulf.” he said. warming stare. mainly for Mary and the others.. her slender white form straddling his much darker skinned body. with a shy. with Lan lifting the edge of his large towel and flinging it over her dripping hair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She continued to gaze at him in a thrilling silence until he pulled her down against him. of course. “Let’s get out of here.. Us. she scrutinized all of what she had been missing.now.right now.” “You won’t--” “Ya think I’m an uncouth sod. a lazy. the joy of seeing.” he said as he worked at her hair. I It’s all I’ve waited all week for ya.” “Oh.. wahina.” “The talking was your idea. it’s for us. She sat very still above him.” she said. flirtatious delight. She pulled the towel out of his hands and dove against him. watching him yank two large white towels off the linen shelf. pushing him back on the bed and kissing his steamy warm mouth. Carefully.
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.Mary will--” “Bloody-hell with that. slowly and with a secretive shiver of pleasure.” she whispered. She ran her palm lightly over his irresistible arm.. now seriously trying not to awaken him. “In the shopping center on Quay Street East. “The thing ya do. until he clasped them tight above her. It’s These walls have heard Mary’s own been an entire week. wild voice. . the hand just touching her shoulder as she thought of the blood coursing through the strong curled fingers.... Ya want me?” Her arms rose over her head with a nervous exuberance. He threw his arm out. “That’s what I first saw ya doing. not even the sound of her own wild cries. “What?” she asked after a start of surprise.visiting a friend in Devonport. sweet woman..233 scream. wanting him to sleep yet at the same moment longing for another unspoken message imparted from his dark gaze.” “Where did you really see me doing that?” she asked with disbelief. give and take with the only one who had ever suspended her in the timeless heat of such effusion.exploring something with your hands. Katharine lay watching Lan sleep. over from. “Come on..” his sleepy voice informed her. *** Pink light reflecting off the snow came through the high windows. headed for coffee at the Paneton Bakery. “I want you.. Not tonight.. How she needed to give and take in this way. don’t tease me.I’m so bloody hungry for ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” I’d just come I was on the wharf. When he turned over his eyelids moved and she wondered if he would awaken.
nice... maybe I ought to thank that rude jerk.” “But.love--” “Ipo. melting into the buttery warmth their hungrily conjoined bodies generated.. I did. I’d have picked up your jacket.hold still.nothing in the world which could approach that lofty pinnacle of love. then all at once her body and brain were flooded with the astonishing. my green Green Eyes.. this.. will it--” “No worries. Let’s wake up slow. some time to kill....” “Lan.... it’s so good the way we do this. the front of it.like “Come here...just. She was melting.. ya later at the Loaded Hog.yeah?” Her opened mouth gave an affirmative gasp against his shoulder and went silent...the center. Ya held it up to yourself and ran your hand down I leaned against the wall.” “Oh.God. Then ya looked up. *** Katharine awoke the second time to find the sun whiter and ..I love...easy.Jesus.234 “What was I doing?” “A.. I’m okay with it. If she could have answered she would have said there was nothing else.... bloody fascinated. We might never have--” I might have found I just had “I don’t even want to think about it.those dreamy eyes went right through me..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .so good.you followed me from there all the way over to the gift store?” “Yeah... looked at ya and....” “What?” “I wasn’t even going in there. pulsing explosion of sweet pain... right?” “Funny.fondling a red jersey from a sale bin outside a shop in the center. Slow this time.you must have.....obviously I did.. my ipo.
once quite a hautulu. “I do think he needs to be out there sometimes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . another pen.has a raised him with so much love.” Mary told her over tea and toast. Kate. even in the meanest weather. “He’s ridden off with the men to look for some missing sheep.” Katharine said. She was still The excruciatingly joyful details of their consuming encounters were permanently catalogued in her mind. are no match for those clever hounds. Lan grew up wild as the wildest föhn blowing over the The poor woolies Sheep are not very bright They’ve gone along. but to think of them in succession would have caused a desire debilitating enough to leave her prostrate.235 higher on the snow. 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. sufficient one.. happy to spark another’s most treasured memories . We knew he’d return to decent values because we He looks out for others. running her finger around the edge of her cup and smiling dreamily... good many mates.. not to their cozy shelter but scattering into the snow. getting into it. too. “How did that happen?” “Oh.. and Lan gone. animals.just like yourself. in a daze over Lan’s most recent lovemaking.” “What about the huntaways?” “They were walking backs in the big pens. but there are still his sooky times. too. Retrieval shouldn’t be too difficult. They were being moved to The herder stepped into an icy hole. Mary smiled and shook her head with clearly discernible recollections and a vicarious pleasure which made Katharine happy. lost his footing and off that little batch went. a hell raiser.. plain. as his father said it.” “What a pair we make. always going off without a thought of it. it happens on occasion.
tea was finished for Mary -. never think it.236 with the prevailing mood of her own passion.” Katharine said. I learned to get over He’s not Lan knows the plain. Lan had shaken the snow from his oilskin hat and coat and hung them in the sun room.” “Mary’s eaten.” Lan warned his dogs.Katharine couldn’t eat -. “Bog-standard hunting sheep.” “What about yourself?” he asked. that anxious state long ago.” “Why not? It’s late. *** It was snowing. then threw themselves before the fire and stretched out. “You’ve been gone all day without any food. to Katharine’s touch. “I’m a bit knackered from the saddle and I could eat the shelves of a dairy clean.” . a bit embarrassed at her foolishness. Again she had to admit that the explosion in Jerusalem had increased her fears a thousand fold.” Katharine said. water. “Ya should have had your tea. Here’s a measure of your Glenlivet with hot His hands and face were quite cold I’m going to feed you right now.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . appearing to understand a frequently given command. In another quarter of an hour the unruly huntaways Sheb and Wooley bounded ahead of Lan into the lounge.” Lan answered with a grin.and still Lan had not returned. Kate. swirling the Scotch in the steaming mug handed him and then taking a long swallow. “I haven’t eaten. after doing anything to harm himself. They snorted and stared up at him with wet-matted coats. The fire in the lounge was burning high. “Don’t shake yourselves in here.” “I just thought I’d eat with him.
. Lan lifted her up and backed her against a countertop. He set her down. laying her hands against the buttons of his navy Swannie and rising on her toes to straighten his tousled hair.” Katharine said.” “Come here and kiss me properly first.237 “I thought I’d wait. many of them in . Why don’t you go take a It seems like I sleep too warm shower while I get the food on the table.. late.” “That’s because ya don’t sleep well. kissing her so thoroughly it seemed that she herself had been sipping his Scotch.” Katharine laughed and said.” “By whom?” “Me.” “You’re very spoiled.” “I don’t want ya anxious. library. I can do it.even with all the exercise ya get in bed.” Lan followed her into the kitchen and asked.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . cocked his head with a She stood a transcendent wink at her and left the kitchen. “Where’s Mattie?” “Mattie’s retired to her room. *** It was a bleak desert she walked through. 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.” “Ya weren’t worried about me were ya?” “Just. still with throbbing mouth. moment. Kate.a little anxious.. but I didn’t want to wake ya.. Mary’s reading in the I’m neither incompetent nor an invalid. bodies piled together and strewn over the bloody dust.” “I thought I was sleeping. I’d have told ya not to worry Ya don’t sleep very well. “We’re talking about my sleep while you’re standing here starving.
having rushed straight from her bed and now looking upon the scene with a worried frown. raising her head in surprise.. Lan caught her at the edge of the stairs and held her struggling body tight against him until she went limp. holding her hand beneath the soothing coldness and staring at the tile floor.” “What?” she asked. then struggling up.sorry. all the while crying out with revulsion. There A body Oh. “Leave it there a minute.” He picked Katharine up and carried her back to their bed. “Ya hurting anywhere else?” . “I don’t think so. I’ll take trembling...” “It isn’t your fault. her hands dangling. knocking jars.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . He led her into the bathroom and held her wrist beneath the cold water faucet..my God. Bodies everywhere. wearing her long flannel nightgown. wrapping her in her robe.” Katharine screamed and rose from the bed. “A nightmare. combs. “Look at us. mother. flying across the room and into a chest.sorry. fumbling and falling. raised up suddenly and cried.. “What is it?” Mary stood outside the door of her room. I couldn’t. “What’s this?” Lan said.. and grimacing severed heads. silence until finally she whispered. Maybe some of it’s my fault. leaning back against the counter and looking at her. and brushes to the floor.238 pieces: arms.” She dropped her head to one shoulder. her arms half raised. look at us. lifting her wrist where a blue bruise was swelling. out the door and across the balcony headed blindly toward the stairs. torsos. legs. She tried to keep herself from Lan continued to hold her in Please go back to bed. among them she saw faces she knew. care of this. “I’m sorry. mute and ashamed. her head back moaning. and began to weep. that was so bad.” he said.
Kate.. almost dizzy. kissing her temple and stroking her hair.. your fault.as much as ya had written when I left. “Please don’t.” he said. but it isn’t finished yet.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . You can’t possibly think any of this is “He ngakau e hahaetia ana e te whakaaro papa. That’s how ya see yourself. case.” A fear was rising in her as she lay back against the pillows and looked at him. “I’ll never leave you. Stop it. Kate.” “Yeah. your self-esteem. my ipo..” He dried her wrist carefully. Over those years of work it was your security. simple... when she lifted her head she saw that they were filled with pity.the way ya got around the harm done to ya in the past. I love ya. She felt his eyes on her. That’s your Ya Without realizing it I took that identity away. I’m not ever going to part from ya.239 small white octagonals. about a journalist is really all about Katharine Gordon. need it back.for. identity. But.” “What?” She was beginning to shake.I’m going to let ya go for a while. easier than looking up. easy to look at..read it at night when I had time... apprehension. if ya want. I loaded it into my laptop. Your story “On the flight back I did a lot of thinking..” .a while longer. it is. Some of it. the way ya dealt with. “I read your novel. I love ya. “Käti ake. Come back to bed and let me tell ya something I should have already said...neither the novel nor your quest to be who ya think ya must be. Very quickly he discerned her Ya really are a hard “Don’t be afraid. I wanted to find out what was coming out of this head.. “Ya write very well.... Lan..” “What?” “You’re torn in two directions.” Tears were rolling down her face.if ya need to. not ever.
You. tau aroha.. It was Green Braes that must be in his skin. Now I have to let ya go for the same reason. ya will.” Katharine placed her head against his chest. when ya finally decide to chase down another story. the She placed her male scent of him which she found so arousing. immediately inhaling a faint admixture of scents: Scotch. “Do I understand ya well enough.that it’s not gone.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . At least ya need to know that you’re still what ya worked so hard to become.. my beloved journalist?” “I think I love you more at this moment than I ever.. until ya see--” “You fulfill me. arms tight around him. spicy herbal shower soap. and these mingled with a fresh outdoor scent hinting of leather and hay and shearling. You’ve tried so hard to please me I feel some guilt along with all the pleasure of it.... That’s what I need to have.unless ya want to kill me in the doing. back because I love ya so. then we’re of the same mind. that you’ll always come back. . Now all ya have to do is prove it.let ya go until ya suss how to love yourself.. just remember this: ya can’t stay away too long or get yourself in harm’s way. wood smoke. of the river and the plain and musky-sweet growing things.” “Ah.240 “Yeah.” “Well.” V..some of the peace ya need: that ya can go on doing what fulfills ya.by sleeping peacefully with me. 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. ever thought possible.. I want to stay here with you.anyway. But you’ll come back.” I know ya love me... my choice little journalist. scents that never seemed to leave him.. “Don’t be nice.” “I’m not going anywhere.
It pained her that she could not even promise to marry Lan. she came to ponder what held a family together.. Happiest in Lan’s company. so intertwined with her self. because Mary was thinking mainly of Lan’s loss. in leaving. “You’ve had years to figure it out.. of holing up again and again in barricaded homes in the middle of ongoing war. and that conclusion did ring in Katharine’s head. the comfort was in knowing that Lan was there for her. “We’ve gotten ourselves into this situation where we know we need to have each other. there which made her ponder her own condition. Yet the answer was somehow tied Something she had seen up with the unfinished work in Israel. until she connected the disjointed parts of herself and felt complete while alone and standing still. not until she understood this mystery of her nomadic striving. she could barely comprehend how she could go away. It was more difficult trying to make Mary understand. how did it work with strife all around that was so much worse . perhaps even disgust. This time. this. and we have to resolve it in our own way.” was Mary’s final comment.” she tried to explain to a disgruntled and grieving Mary who only waved her hand in disappointment.as best we can. that he wished for no other but her. In those lonely nights of writing more Khan Yunis stories. 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. just as she would have no other but Lachlan Manutane. she could never be as whole and at peace as she needed to be for herself or for him. “I love him so and I can’t burden him with He deserves so much better.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” she tried to explain to Mary.241 So it was that Katharine went away from Lan to finish the work she considered unfinished. She knew only that until she completed that unfinished portion of her work.
what she looked for from her work. and yet the lingering guilt required a solid explanation before it could be expelled.. . understand that I haven’t given up Lan.been the cause of anything that happened to them all? The thought seemed so ridiculous. Please Ya can’t She was thinking of Mary. Could she possibly have driven her parents apart. give up Lan so easily and be my girl. no. until her redeeming grandmother. Her stories continued to win recognition and praise. Mary.so difficult. bona-fide acts implementing human rights. of It isn’t easy to go. The hatred and vengeance went on. their last conversation.. “The answer isn’t out there.. and were willing to do so even in the face of death and destruction.242 than anything outside the violent house of her own childhood? For all those formative years she had no real family. One evening in a state of exhaustion. Oh. it’s in yourself. Her ultimate conclusion was that it would never stop until both sides suddenly and firmly ended it with sincere mutual tolerance and respect. was some effect. Her stature in the business was never more unassailable. and from the endeavors of like-minded others.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a moral recognition that would help bring to an end the carnage. The killing went on.” “You said that to me in a dream once. No mother and father who struggled together to make a home. Perhaps not. back in her hotel room and just having managed to get there before the roads once again closed. her careful depiction of individual lives and their miseries and strivings had made some others see this. Kate. her unseeing eyes cast out toward the Old City. but that mattered little to her.. I claim you I won’t give you up either. Perhaps. Perhaps her small contribution. she sat focused on nothing. her tired self unable even to rise from her chair for a glass of water.
looking at her in total silence. straight and rigid as stone. . well apart from each other: her mother and father. do it? It was you. no..sick. There was nothing wrong with me. she thought. But for what? If only she could forgive herself. Her rage was seething. Mother. I can remember only the and I’ve wanted you all these years. I have I think you were beautiful. such beautiful little nodding flowers. even more distilled. Yes. other.. like a I have your green eyes.. You are my family. I suppose. They sat expressionless. offering nothing. it didn’t feel like one. We could have comforted each You hurt me. You were bitter and I could cruel. or I’d be dead too.innocent.” Forgiveness.hopeful. half dreamy. so Gran said. You. transfixed state. child’s..243 as my family..please forgive me. falling into a half wakeful.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “But you.. You would hold them up to the sun. I hear your carefree laughter. My mother. loveliest thing: picking lady slippers in the woods meadow. But you hurt me badly. it must Had she fallen asleep in her chair? be a dream but. exploding. colliding with the tender yearning inside of her. rage coming from a volatile place so deep and wild it took a minute to speak..what’s your excuse? what you had? I was a good girl. mother. You hurt me.. You were good to me in our short time I think you intended to come back and get together.loved me. Why didn’t you know I Couldn’t you see that? tried so hard to please you. She was startled to find two figures sitting across the room. me. Why did you I was good.. Why did you have to hurt me? And you made me believe there was something wrong with me.. I wanted to have you and know you. but I might have had far worse memories of you... its light coming through their delicate pink shapes.please... “I guess it was a good thing you didn’t take me with you. so little of you to keep. hold them up and laugh. father.
She answered.. Morris.wangle for... letting her editor ramble on while she considered the dream and its powerful effect. Katharine...” “Mmm.. something I could never even define. thickly padded white floral chair as she watched Katharine pack. the garbled cries of rage still echoing in her head..but I’m really tired. *** “I’m sorry you’re leaving.almost ruined me.. “you can probably get what everyone else has to wait for.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .and you’re just the person who can--” “I’m going home.” “What you need is a change of scene..244 withstand the beatings but what you did to my mind. untrammeled areas of the planet.” she heard herself saying. You hurt me!” I could be but I never believed in myself. You hurt me. “Yes.” her editor was saying. But at least you got to know Jacob while you She was resting comfortably in a were here.. page-turning style of yours.turn over the stones and expose the mess beneath in that gripping. Katharine awoke with a start. You sure as hell know how to turn over the right stones. She had the right. as though a fierce wind of change had swept her mind clean of all uncertainty and indecision... You taught me to hate myself.. where Lan was. “After that last piece.. Kate. You once implied that Jacob was a mama’s boy... It was In New Zealand it would be late spring.experience.” Judith said. Home.she had made it so. it so. the effects of free trade on ecologically sensitive. Hurt me. to fear that others would find out something terrible about me. I wanted to show you how good I never believed. Her phone was ringing. She She had the right to love and She had made be loved. had the right to her own family. Kate. and I’m sorry you missed my wedding. I wanted to punish you. He . We’d like some solid pieces on the pros and cons of global trade.
with only Yeshiva students and the destitute. partake of it?” “Yes. will you really leave too?” “Jacob and I may have to go. What good is this place if we can no longer move through it. It is getting too Frightened professional people.. 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 . we’re even.245 isn’t at all.. orthodoxy in the ascendant. I’m afraid you’re right.more of my black Jewish humor. I know.my home. come on. One can hardly find anything to joke about anymore. educated people are departing.that is terrorist -. too. Judith. studying her suitcase as she ran her fingers through strands of hair falling over her eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” “Oh. Judith. “You can’t imagine how happy I was to see you so well restored. Judith. Katharine. my friend.” “Oh. Life is getting difficult.I really didn’t think you were going to marry him.” “There was less to know.. Fanaticism reigns in religion The heartbeat of this With only extreme and secular Jews are in a minority.. I wasn’t certain about your eyes.problems.” “You’ve become very dear to me. Where will you go?” “Perhaps Tel Aviv. although it has its pigu’a -. dangerous to live in Jerusalem..” “I know. I always thought you were a terrific person.. miss you terribly.” “You mean like yourself?” “All right. refolded it. beautiful old place is slowing -.maybe a little too serious.. I’ll I don’t think I really knew you well enough in college to fully appreciate your droll self. with only bombings and shootings. You made all of those silly jokes.so dedicated. “Oy vey.” Katharine said. perhaps beautiful Jerusalem as we have known it will soon die.
thought. Oh. readily than I understood myself.... if you really think. yes.” “Jacob too.would you?.. we’ll see.clever strategy He even seemed to know that I’d come back He teased me. We never did have anything resembling a honeymoon. Maybe we could--” “Yes..” “I’d like to meet this astonishing Kiwi.” Katharine looked up. that mysterious place I’ll probably never see. rising from the overstuffed bedroom chair and pulling impatiently at her beige sweater. focusing on Judith.” “We’ll see.after agreeing to marry someone you love that much.more That’s sort of wonderful.246 left off. ‘Ya left your tramping too. isn’t it? I’ve never seen anything like it.’ he said in his irresistible accent.. I’ll certainly have a very enthusiastic talk with Jacob about it.hmm.” “Well. gazing off.. needed to finish my work here.. New Zealand. Few would put up with me It was Lan who first suggested that maybe I He understood so well..very clever. boots in my Auckland house. “I know I’m difficult.” Katharine stopped her meticulous packing and stood still for a minute. the first time I ran off. “Hmm.you wouldn’t.. “Would you come to my wedding? “Me? Please? Oh. Judith. I really don’t understand how you could have left New Zealand. It’s a long way and Jacob--” Please..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. What a delight to have you there. Judith. could you?” “I’ve just Ah. get him to--” “What do you mean? You’re a psychologist. for very long..” “Maybe he’ll be more agreeable when you tell him that a ... Yes. Put your I wonder if I could special gift to good use and get him to come..” “What?” Judith demanded.
I want you there. you surprising little female mensch. so put yourself in a party mood. to wear to an embassy party. Meanwhile.yes.. “I think you’re likely to get your wish. but now I’ve changed my mind.” An excited Judith threw her arm over Katharine’s shoulder. She had been so tired she had not even removed There was a rather exotic green evening dress she had bought in Jerusalem. See ya soon. When Katharine awoke she found that she had slept until late afternoon. jet lag having thoroughly caught up with her. Wanting to surprise She wasn’t sure whether he would be in Auckland or at Green Braes or somewhere else. herself driven into town. Can he afford to do that?” “He offered to fly anyone to our wedding I wanted and I declined.” Margaret said with an excited welcoming voice. early enough for Katharine to consider it still night. Lan. either to the Herne Bay house or to Margaret’s. “Come straight here. She phoned Margaret at once. Katharine got up with a sigh and went to look in one of her suitcases. a slim Asian looking frock with a high collar and short sleeves.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” *** The plane arrived very early in the morning.” “But Margaret. my friend. and decided she would call Margaret at a reasonable hour and find out.” “God. wait. where is--” The phone had gone dead. she hadn’t told him she was coming. yes. Searching through the layers she pulled it out and held it up while her . “I’ll tell ya everything when ya get here. she checked into a hotel out at the She wanted to be fully rested before she had airport and slept. That was unusual for Margaret..247 generous Lachlan Manutane will provide you both with airfare. We’re having a little gathering of friends tonight. anything.
sleepy yawn.. “Think I’ll go to the beauty salon.” “Ya look beautiful.feels good to be fussed over. “Are there a lot of people out there?” “Only about Twenty. What a flash dress.” Margaret soothed. “Lan is here.a little thinner but really gorgeous. believe your timing.” with excitement. “He’s been in town all week. “Oh God.have a couple of inches cut. Margaret. The driver carried her luggage to the door and Ian whisked it inside while she paid her fare.. Kate.absolutely bursting This is so choice.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” ....248 face contorted in a wide.. I just can’t believe it.. 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.” Margaret pressed her hands together against the tiny pearls covering the front of her white Angora sweater.. word to him. with a more critical eye she focused on her hair.and one of the nicest black pearl pendants I’ve seen. I’m so hyped on all this drama you’ve created that now I’m a nervous wreck.. wrinkles.. last time she had paid very close attention to it? to need a trim. *** 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.blow dry a nice soft roll just above the shoulders. Margaret clasped her tight and quickly dragged her off to the kitchen where she handed Katharine a flute of champagne.. so of course we planned a celebration. I haven’t said a I feel heaps conspiratorial. I’m glad ya got some rest..” she whispered to the face looking back at her. opening another I can’t restaurant.
His jet eyes blinked as his serious expression registered disbelief then softened in a surprised welcome. brushed her hands slowly down the front of her dress and preceded Margaret into the big noisy lounge. walk right in.. perhaps the new restaurant manager. Lan offered a quick glance at the green dress to his right then started to say something more.” Katharine said. surely of Maori descent.. folding her arms across her midriff.the new manager too. smiled at her. we are featuring our wines. business. “Please.. Noticing the exchange.” Her expression was apologetic as her hand inadvertently moved over the bodice of her emerald dress and for a moment clasped the glowing black pearl. I guess I’ll just go in then.” “Yeah. Making her way across the room she stood slightly behind and beside Lan. dark-suited man. looking directly at her. Here goes.ya didn’t mean to interrupt?” Lan said with an explosion of laughter. He’s in the lounge with most everyone else..” “All right. as if to verify her actual .I didn’t mean to interrupt.. She immediately saw Lan’s dark head bent a little above the others in a cluster of attentively leaning bodies.” Katharine swallowed. ya didn’t?.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Oh.249 “Well. He continued to look at her. “Yeah. “Hello. rather holding in a rising excitement while forcing herself to concentrate on his remarks. but of course we’re giving the clientele a chance to choose what they want from the usual varied list of high end stock.” Across from Lan a very focused.. There That’s just good was a slight hesitation then Lan turned his head again. probably because she had just come upon the scene.
down at her. Her hand smoothed out the turned edge of the gray and white striped top . by the joy of being where she was and knowing what she knew her patience with his displeasure remained impervious. I was wishing for ya and here ya are. Her arms came tight around him. 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. his grinning single focus evoked a gaping interest from everyone.” *** It was late morning and they were lying in bed in the Herne Bay house. a while he returned and stood looking at her. a flashing reflected glint of her green dress in his eyes. Lan. night perfect. the effect of it just beginning to answer a long neglected need. While a few whistled and clapped. The touch of him Her eyes went He stared from their clasped hands to his rapidly altered face.” She heard the word made soft against her ear. Lan got up. then took her hand firmly in his. most important missing part.” “I’m sorry.250 existence. Kate. after so long made her body begin to tremble. put on his robe and went into the bathroom.. “Excuse me. “Perfect.. extended kiss.” he said to the little gathering. her mind and body reveling in their deep.once so far away that even the thought of such distance was now unbearable. He led her out of the room and down the hall into a small study. “Jesus. She smiled at this and at having him within the grasp of her hand. She felt the Simply In harsh transition of mood but was herself imperturbable.the My God. you’ve made this “Can’t believe it.. no longer out of reach.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . holding hands and staring at each other.. I thought I was delusional. cradling her head.
251 sheet while she offered Lan’s stormy countenance a curled mouth of contentment. “Is this a break in your schedule.” He tossed them to her and rubbed his hand over his chin.. sliding his fingers through his tousled hair in frustration. did I miss something? When did this happen?” You’re so very “It happened. clever. and directed her gaze to the misty waters beyond the tall windows. such self-satisfaction. Kate.what.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” he said. Lan. these? Birth Control pills. making certain that his eyes followed her as she threw them into the waste basket. “Are ya sure ya want this? bend just now?” It wasn’t my going round the .. and you have a perfect right to all that impatience.. leaning back against the pillows and folding her arms. are ya listening? How much time does it take to I bloody-hell can’t do this. Later I’ll tell you about a dream I had..just as you intended.or. He stood looking at her in speechless surprise.. Lan. yanking off his robe and coming to her side. She plucked them from the covers and walked across the room.. You’ve stayed away too long..” learn to love your own existence? Katharine sat up and pulled her silk robe from the foot of the bed... Do you think I could get pregnant? of you. of--” I’ve thought and thought of this. in a self-contained serenity swiftly melting into considerable hunger.. She saw that her misunderstood light-heartedness would only continue to infuriate him. “That certainly makes two of us. She removed her robe and got back into bed.or what.I know what I’ve told ya but I don’t think I can stand to give ya up again.” “Why won’t ya. “Jesus. “Please hand me those pills on the dresser. Kate? I’m sorry but I can’t.
.. “My other place is big and noisy...ya grew for a while without cultivation and it made ya into a wildflower.but only if you want it.” *** In the evening Lan took her to the new restaurant.at last.every detail of it.. a handsomely appointed bistro-style establishment overlooking the water and not far from the Herne Bay house... and Lan had ordered drinks and told the manager not to fuss over them. Katharine wore black velvet slacks.” The smiling manager swung open the brass-edged glass door and stepped aside with a bow. Once you did tell me you thought it was a good idea. unpredictable wahina.. 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. When they were seated in a private booth at a white-clothed and candlelit table near a corner window.. This is smaller and Lan I only . just “My strange.. smiled.home.it’s what ya are to me.give ya everything. Kate. dodging body. Green Eyes. Jesus. he sat back and said. clasping her shoulders and playfully grappling with her laughing. tau aroha. “Your gran was right... 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.that I would--” “A small version of yourself..” he exclaimed. ever remember that? mentioned it briefly that day on Rangitoto. little belly? Ya want a sprog in your sweet I’ll give ya that and more.” “But how did you ever..252 “No.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “I remember the day. his voice thick with arousal. I know what I want. enjoying her as she assessed the room with a roving discerning gaze. Then the laughter died... He grinned and said.
one way or another we’re going to do it. love pleasing you. However ya want it. If we’re making anklebiters we’re definitely going to do that..” His appreciative dark eyes burned into her heart.. loyal. Lan. .more class. it’s such pleasure.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She had “Very good.” “I mean one that would go with a wedding ring?” “This would go with a..the etched glass is a nice touch. Are we going to do that? Go up to Nelson and...and do that?” “Yeah.like you.. Her eyes told him this but he only grinned and said.” “I know what ya meant.. What do ya think?” “I like the décor: burgundy and black.... wondering how she I I nearly always know what ya mean.” “Well.” She looked at him and was suddenly shy. I prefer your wine. Green Eyes.. “Do ya want another ring?” Absolutely not. Why would I want another “Another.....the ceremony. “Careful. I’d like to have it the way you want it.” “I know that....sort of a marvelous extension of Waiata Reka.” “And I’m thinking the same.” “Is the wine good?” She held her goblet of wine up to the candlelight to enjoy its ruby glow.a wedding ring.all the necessary fittings polished and gleaming.253 intimate. smoothly relaxed mouth.like your cheeky self. ring? I love this ring.” “I meant. that rich mahoganygrained paneling.. Kate.. the night is just a chit.. sophisticated but warm and friendly. I’m quite Very an overwhelming desire to kiss his wry.” He lifted her hand and studied the diamond-encircled black pearl..oh.. that’s why I’m asking ya..uncluttered and elegant.
to do?” “Bloody little if you’re growing a sprog. wahina.. is this an interview? What would I have look at me and smile and tell me when I’m veering off course. my friend in Jerusalem.” “Well. businesswise.” “I like to help others. For a time just Oh. “My grateful compliments to the chef. newly married..but I might make ya earn your keep.” Her bluenose bass basted in lemon Their food arrived. have more freedom to create in his own close domain..” “Yes. Aotearoa never disappoints the manuhiris. “Just the way I like it.....with your good head. “I don’t want ya hesitating with me.I’m afraid I told Judith.” “What?” He lifted her hand to his mouth.. wrinkling her nose and . Later. 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.” “Good on ya. “Ya are paying it. “Good. grass butter was delicious. mine is yours. yourself before we leave.. A heap of opportunity for that too.. “Earn my. “Lan.. unappreciated. I. that you’d--” “I’ll give ya an account at the bank and ya can take care of it yourself. What’s You’re a part of everything I have.” he added with a wink. Katie Green Eyes. Kate.” His face registered surprise. ya can do as much or as little as ya want. A husband too?” They’d love to see New Zealand.” She looked up from her plate.there’ll be plenty of opportunity.” “Now that I think of it I should be the one to pay their airfare.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .254 could tell him what she had said to Judith in Israel..
“What’s that?” Katharine asked in a hushed and fascinated voice. Katharine Gordon. you really do love the way ya wrinkle your nose.but I like it. touching his glass to hers.. “To Lachlan and Katharine Manutane. tramping and kayaking Abel Tasman National Park. having my name?” “Katharine Gordon Manutane. yeah?” *** They were walking hand in hand on the golden sands of Kaiteriteri Beach. a wood pigeon.” he said. Lan.. For three days they had been “Just a little coffee. a red pine. or high above tramping along rugged winding trails with spectacular vistas and strange bird calls.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . We haven’t had dessert. gliding over the opaque green shore waters along creamy-white sand beaches and into jewel-like azure coves nestled in black lava.” “Ya say the wackiest things. . not far from their camp above a hidden beach cove in the Nelson region. amaze me. Let’s have dessert at home. “Fewer calories and a lot more satisfaction. Ya know I Are ya “Canterbury cowboy. “Jesus.255 teasing him with her eyes. and said after a soft ruffle of laughter. adding a slow thrill to her suggestion. Yes. I like your name. caressing him with her eyes.” She smiled and lifted his hand. rubbing it across her cheek. “Kereru.” He arched an appraising black eyebrow. the only species that belongs here. don’t start that again.” she responded.” “Here’s to the two of us. 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.
” Sort of a loner like you.” She stepped back and stared at Lan in his bush shirt and shorts and bare feet. “Yes.” Katharine was watching a sloop unfurl its sails against a cerulean sky as it rode the blue-green water of the bay.” “I wanted ya.256 Beautiful. Preferably after the ceremony so ya won’t be chundering ..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ya little imp.the beginning of what’s between us. knew it then too. of only one for so long. sun-defined body shone with the warm color of richly creamed coffee... I’m glad ya like to do it. “Is this all real? She spread her Why didn’t you tell me?” I said ya hadn’t seen anything “I did tell ya. camping out in the wilds of our station and every other bloody place in Enzed. laughing.didn’t ya?” “I guess the very first time I looked at you.remember? yet but ya would. He slid his hand “I want to know as soon as ya find out. Kate.” arms. Two nature-loving loners. “I’ve gone off alone in the outback since I was a little anklebiter. How do you wish to be addressed if you find yourself in the role of papa?” “Ya can tease all ya want.” “What a lovely thing.” “And that was the end of the matter.” she said.when I first kissed ya at Margie’s. The skin of his sinewy. Lachlan Manutane? How about yourself..” “No.” Are ya “And one choice day you’ll be thinking of three. yeah? Like your eyes at night the iridescent green. “The sand beneath these happy toes is truly golden. but I bloody well like the idea of my offspring growing here. “You were so sure of yourself. I’d thought Ya Suddenly I was thinking of two. sooner or later I always have to bond with nature somewhere.. Green Eyes.. as you like to say. still good with that intention?” “No worries..” beneath her waist..
It’s one of the reasons I take pleasure in at least putting a few people to work. with social programs slipping away and redundant workers -.257 breakfast on the day we marry. family problems. “It’s only because I like taking wet clothes off ya. but you see I’ve been in such far worse off places that to me this looks like--” “Don’t say paradise. having just removed her squishy boots and now searching through her backpack for a comb. With very few words they had put on their boots and hiked thoughtfully back to their camp.” In a desultory manner they were approaching a goldenfloored cove angled back into high black rocks. I didn’t think you would. Watching the water swirl up and spill over the bubbling sand.” she cried out.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . alcoholism among the unwaged.” “Good on you. I love it. but New Zealand has its problems: not the greatest economy. love it here. and found herself flung into the water. Yank.” . “I’m not living in a dream. Your hair is a tangled mess.that means laid off. grabbing her up and striding into the water. “Oh. ya little rat. “Look at ya. struggling up drenched and with streaming wet hair. death on the motorway. she cried out. It If ya say paradise I’ll drop ya flat in and turn your clothes into swimming togs.” he said. Manutane.” Lan exhorted again. Katharine was kneeling on her sleeping bag. Dodgy characters like everywhere else. This entire country is--” Granted our nature is wonderful to behold and this looks like paradise to the manuhiris. “Oh. screaming with the shock of it.” “But why wouldn’t you love to hear me call this beautiful land of penguins and palm trees paradise?” she asked. “Don’t say paradise. although on a smaller scale. not always the highest standard of living. doesn’t work that way. laughing and lifting her dripping hair away from her eyes. You mean thing. Mr.
” . you threw me into “Get away. speaking in the low voice she had come to recognize as highly aroused. “Let me.. She lay back a little nervously.” “Now you’ll never--” “Yeah.sorry.. “Oh God..” “Not too serious.” he assured her. ya stroppy little wahina..” she suddenly cried.. what am I doing? I’m sorry.. ipo. his questioning jet eyes narrowed in surprise. staring at chinks of bluest sky through the lacy spiraling dark fronds. big silver tree ferns nearly ten meters high.that it was like being tossed I was teasing ya. Cocking his head. my trusted companion. “There’s no one here but us. Kate. peeling away her shorts and kissing her shivering breasts. Before she sank into the unabashedly erotic oblivion she had come to crave. She smiled Thiaz na one heeya. “You’re not thinking.” He reached for her.” “No. Hastily undressing he grasped her shoulder and rolled her supine body over..” she said slapping at his hand.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . for Christ’s sake? She lifted her head and looked into his eyes. the water. at the emphatic accent in his voice.” “Yeah. let me--” You.258 “Your fault. she glanced in all directions with an habitually modest caution.I’ll help ya get your clothes off.” off a bloody boat. I will.” “Don’t touch me.. “On your tummy.” “No I’m the sorry one. Lan. Here. hovering over them like giant umbrellas. I’ll go right on teasing ya and you’ll bloody-well have to bear up. They were in a private sheltered area beneath a grove of ponga ferns. unbuttoning her shirt.
the prosaic position linked with it unimaginative and faulty. “Going to get us both wet now. Turning her head back to focus on his dampened face. could send a woman into wild paroxysms of joy.yeah. then stretched out above her. They were headed into the feverish rhythm of steadily intensifying pleasure. “Okay?” he softly intoned. That first night I changed the sheets before I joined ya in the shower.. my tau aroha. “Choice position.. an action which elicited from her a questioning look. my love.” Her flushed diffidence dissipated.” She rested her chin on her folded arms and asked. “How do you know that?” “I want ya to enjoy this and I’ll see to it. She felt a shivering thrill as his firm warmth came against her coolly damp. when properly stimulated. balanced form eased down upon her in a slowly choreographed cadence. elevated backside. As she yielded to the inflaming touch of his coaxing mouth his long. head a bit more so I can.. she found his limpid eyes swimming with her. her arousal deepening with his allusion to the incredible Gräfenberg spot which. “Ya aren’t used to G spot orgasm. making himself weightless. His hungrily anticipating expression broke into a soft grin.make ya feel very. very good.” Lifting her hair from her eyes he lowered his head to the side and kissed her mouth as he slid into her. She moaned Turn your softly and tried to raise herself enough to keep her head turned into his kiss.259 He grabbed the pillows from their opened and layeredtogether sleeping bags.” He raised her up and slid the towel-covered pillows beneath the joining of her thigh and abdomen.. locking them in to ecstatic heat. throwing a large doubled towel over the pillows.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . The weightless. Until Lan its reputation had been only wistful conjecture. deep . He smiled at her with teasing eyes and said. rhythmic.
.. “God. her body striving to give back. wild cries of release escaped her gasping mouth as her senses rose on waves emanating from a hot zone deep inside.” “And..you....Careless Child Karlene Kubat . an earthshaking exultant immolation. Her fingers remained clenched in his as she tried to focus on whirling fern fronds. Still. 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. a rapture that shook her body and blurred her mind. Gasping in amazement and with her insides still throbbing.” He pressed his hand against her groin and changed the angle of his position very subtly with almost clinical precision.you. gushing waves of nearly unbearable ecstasy. Now she was immersed in his repeated caresses and that climbing pulse of love..260 penetration had so enveloped her senses she was incapable of anything but a blink of dazed exhilaration.love... ya are so good.. impassioned voice managed as she responded to his demanding mouth with increasing desire.love..” her throaty.you.” he prompted. “Sweet Green Eyes. repeated on raggedly expended breath: “I. her trembling hand held against her moist cheek went rigid. She lay beside him with their hands still locked.look at me now. her earlier inhibitions had been completely displaced by a thoroughly aroused state.” Above all she wanted to impart that certainty.. breathing . Her eyes opened wide. the silence of nearing climax was broken by an urgent need to say what she had often refrained from saying in lovemaking: “I. she rubbed the driest edge of the soaked towel against herself and flung it aside then rolled over onto her back. As if from a distant place his low groan of satisfaction slowly registered in her vertiginous head.
but ya haven’t said a word in nearly half an hour. driving back to Lan’s cozy little cottage. did feel very. He was quite accurate -. “I like to drive and think.and it isn’t really a deal. she curled against him with a long.” .” “Never enough Katharine. and there’s the problem of. Lan. very good. He turned his skyward-gazing eyes upon her.. “Too much. then realized her cheeks were already damp with spilling emotion. Katharine was contemplative. You always manage to do that... staring out the window and pondering a certain neglected sticking place.oh yes. which she had only recently discovered he owned in Nelson. until him.” he said softly. “Yes. venting sigh and drifted into sleep.of--” “Rani. guess it’s another one of those areas that I dread venturing into. too. slowly reclaiming enough of her reason to consider his earlier assertion.” he answered with a low chortle of pleasure.” Lan remarked..” It’s bloody near the only problem around.....too much of a good thing. she had He knew exactly where her felt. “Hmm. She thought of crying. running his thumb across her wet cheek. His understanding of her was almost bewildering.. *** In the Rover.... so precisely foreknowing yet so spontaneously implemented by pure ardor. In that sated phase of exhaustion.261 deeply.” “How do you do that? “Not too difficult. she had never experienced or could have imagined. center of pleasure resided and exactly how to get her to that potent and excruciatingly sensuous place which.but I’ve become a part of your family.too much.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .too much Lachlan Manutane.
I think I’ve straightened the matter Rani is beginning to take responsibility for think I’ve tried to be decent to her. Katie Green Eyes..in petty little ongoing dramas. She treated ya badly.of what I told ya. admits her hand in that.I always have.” . but it isn’t all my mother’s fault.” “And that wasn’t all your fault.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .it’s really too much. because--” “Bloody-hell.and that was the grief of the matter for me.. If I were dead drunk and suffering with loss and a beautiful hunk crawled into my bed--” “I don’t care for your analogy.. ever get near ya.. in fact. keep it.” “Speaking of charitable--” “All right. No one will I think of Rani as my little sister.” “Well. I just don’t like what she did to you. I managed that. her daughter. Lan..has a job working for a pol in Wellington. know I’ve been over-tolerant because of.. isn’t that charitable?” “Kate?” “To produce a child.” “I was trying to make a point. Competition? That’s a laugh...” She grudgingly admires ya.” “Ya made it....262 “Oh? She despises me. always will. but it’ll be up to her to Mary I She’s not stupid just spoiled and immature.. messing about and bludging on the family.” “Ya have and she knows it.. out sufficiently. I laid into her over that until she cried. rather long talks with Rani while ya were away.” “Am I going to have to compete with her in. drunk or sober I’m the only one crawling into your bed. I Anyway. I had several She’s through “She does not. lie about its father and then cast it aside.hardly any of it..
but eloquence isn’t really my cup. Mary loves ya.” she went on after a short stretch of silence.. “My Maori-Scots love scholar.my teacher. Lan. “I have to win Mary back.. Is she still angry with me for leaving you?” “No worries.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . my wily cowboy entrepreneur. lifting his hand against her cheek with the giggling laughter which so clearly delighted him.send her round the bend with happiness. and in a sultry voice which brought his caressing fingers to her neck.and you’ve come back and agreed to marry the mystery of her life. That’s all she cares about... What I have of it comes from my days at Oxford. “My very literate.. both worldly and innocent green-eyed addiction. Who could Ya deal with others very well.” “Maybe sooner than ya think. Any child of ours will be a chrissy bonus. sorry.especially the troubled ones.my sophisticated shepherd.” “Oh.. You’re mine for a start. Maybe some day we’ll even be friends.” “You’re a corker. I’m I’m flying her up She’ll be staying at .” “Is that a catty--” “No. you silver-tongued charmer. I’m dead serious. ya clever fox..” “My modest Oxford bushman.. I want peace with Rani.. will ya--” “Sorry. please.” “And so do you... I’m so glad she’s coming? That’s wonderful.” he countered with an amused voice.263 “On your shoulder?” “Kate.” she intoned. I really love her. resist ya? You’ll have her eating from your hand.almost convincing. “Anyway ya can find out for yourself. I’ll gladly extend the olive branch whenever she’s capable of understanding what that means. for the party Margie and Ian are giving us Herne Bay.. keeping his eyes on the narrow road as a huge lumber truck sped past them.
Katharine was listening from a deck chair on the patio.. at singing? I don’t know..still do. forgot about everything. “What. We were sort of reactionary renegades.” “Where did ya perform?” “We played all over Palo Alto and San Francisco. out. We had such a good time.” I was really shy but when I sang I “I know.” Katharine smiled with that thought.” Although ya don’t seem like the type.too cerebral. “Oh. and grabbing Katharine’s ankle with a quick jerk of affection. I used to sing R and B with a small band in college..” laying her head against Lan’s shoulder.264 eager to see her.that sultry soulful music.. Nobody was doing that kind of music anymore and we thought of ourselves as preservationists. setting down her glass of iced tea and coming alive with memories. I finally quit because it was People . How good are ya?” Someone heard me in a music class and hustled me into that hard-working little band. wheel and stroked her knee with the other. “I imagine. which she called jandals. *** While Mary rested at Herne Bay Katharine was visiting with Margaret at her sunny home above the city. She’s happier with ya around. Margaret.and the torch songs. Katharine’s lolling head raised in She leaned forward in her chair. seemed to like my voice.. I loved the old blues songs. Kate. Kate. After flying Mary up Lan had departed again on a fishing trip with Ian and some other mates.” “You’ve done a heap of good for Mary. He kept one hand on the You’ve brought her “And I with her...” Margaret sat up..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . as Margaret began describing the rhythm and blues quartet she had engaged for the party. slipping her feet back into her ejected thongs. “You’re full of surprises. surprise at this news.
. “Ya could rehearse a few songs with the band and surprise everyone by singing at your own party.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Oh.. Margaret.265 interfering with my work on the school paper. Sing. no. something right now. I was I craved that heady game of trying to get a factual answer. she knew her heartfelt rendering of those very moving lyrics must be eliciting some pleasure... The only singing I’ve done of late is to myself and mostly in the shower. a very difficult choice without background music. but she had chosen it because the lyrics were so lovely and fit her personal experience so precisely.so. As she watched Margaret listening with an expression of astonishment.” Sing “But I.” “What? “Yeah. interviewing politicians.there. “Well. but that means your cords are in good shape. She hummed a few bars then turned to Margaret and began to sing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. A heady joy swelled her lungs and when she finished Of course it’s easier singing to she said.” “A wonderful idea is taking shape in my head. the ensuing pleasure of hitting her stride rising in her throat and resonating across the garden.” Margaret said with a cunning expression of delight.. passion-driven song was tricky to sing a cappella.” Katharine stood up and walked to the edge of the patio.. myself but I’d forgotten how good that feels.well..” “Ah. The slow.. remembering how Lan had kissed her there beneath the Southern Cross. I was stretching myself pretty thin. Now?” I’m the only one here.singing to . staring off into the golden trunks of bamboo..I can’t just--” “Sing. Within a stanza she had begun to take command of her old voice..
The escaped bustle of the street where bright sun prevailed.” Katharine suggested. I mean.that was very. In the process Mary had come across a dress she intended to buy for herself.. but rewarding Katharine with the frissons of happiness she had learned to capture in such moments. girl. “You can leave the little bolero jacket off for the party and drape a pretty scarf over your shoulders. Margaret.. The band is always rehearsing. the hushed rose-scented shop of gleaming dark wood. the silk-tasseled windows. then wear the jacket for the wedding.. I’m glad for your opinion.. “I haven’t bought a fancy dress in so long I’ve no idea what’s fashionable. They were looking at dresses for the party. and Mary’s softly earnest face all flowed together in a mellow interstice between much larger events. the luxurious fabrics.” “My God.” “If I did sing it would only be this one song.266 someone else.. They both agreed that it might be worn on various occasions by dressing it up or down. I certainly wouldn’t expect to impress an audience.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . very professional.thanks to you and Ian. What a treat everyone has in store... delighted at having assisted circumspect Mary in finding something which . bloody-well knock them dead. which pleased prudent Mary immensely.just to celebrate a nice evening with our family and friends. I’m giving them a Oh this is really You’ll ring right now. running her fingers over the smartly cut navy evening dress she had just selected. *** Mary was shopping with Katharine in a handsomely appointed Parnell shop. and speculating on a dress or gown for Katharine’s wedding ceremony.” Mary said.maybe drive ya over there.. going to be choice. that was so good. and now that you’ve heard it you know why. Katharine.
“I think you may be enjoying yourself at my expense. He was there and she was here. it’s a Katharine was merely thinking that its bare simplicity would perfectly accommodate her beloved jade pendant. Margaret.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and drum) and far from enthusiastic about accompanying an unknown voice. love. wanting only to fish with him.” She began pondering the days ahead while Mary poured Earl . The rehearsal session had started out with a rather grim-faced band. squinting between the fronds of a fan palm out into the busy street. of course. choice thing on your lovely self. who were clearly bent on keeping their music viable (piano. to agree to this? Was she out of her mind Margaret had introduced her to the noticeably doubtful quartet of young musicians. which sprang to life when Katharine began to sing. A flashing image of Lan casting a fast-darting line over the riffle of a silvery flat river flew across her mind. do ya know that skittery velvet goes from silvery pale pink to shady rose when ya move under the light. Once seated Katharine leaned on her hands and stared through the plate glass window. She couldn’t think of it for long. Kate. “Have a biscuit. 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. Gray.267 satisfied her rather particular taste. dusty-rose velvet gown for the party. was walking around brimming with the delight of favorable collusion. Katharine had chosen a slender. saxophone. ravishing!” she had exclaimed. bass.” Katharine had teased. The moment she tried it on Mary was “Ya look Katie wild about it and insisted she look no further. “Absolutely ravishing.” Oh. Kate. strapless. Mary and Katharine completed their purchases and strolled to a cozy tearoom.
ivory lace. 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. like New Zealand itself. we haven’t made much progress on your wedding dress. Mary. *** Lan.” “Ya could give it your own signature. You may have solved my I always have such a Oh. I’m still full from our outrageous lunch. the border could be of black velvet. I don’t want a traditional white dress and it wouldn’t be appropriate anyway. tapered to the waist and bordered in wine velvet on three sides. A lovely airy thing I’m imagining. no idea at all.” “Well. Kate. “Ya can do anything ya want. idea.” “Mary. “I’ll have to go look. ivory lace bodice was a sort of rectangle of plaid.268 “No thank you.” “You’ve no idea how much it all means. and pastoral at the same time.” “I just don’t know what to wear. You’ve seen these celebrations before. that sounds wonderful. problem. who had been glad to give Mary and Katharine these busy days together. ya know. like taffeta. a bit of your own heritage: black squares edged in yellow it is.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . good time with you. Katharine. 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 .” Mary said with cheerfully moist eyes. was still fly-fishing with his mates down on several of the scenic rivers feeding into Lake Taupo. that with your slender waist. 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. I’m so glad we’ve done this. It sounds interesting. by putting a small swatch of the Gordon plaid in that bodice.
sexy enough for any man.269 the party.sorry for that. if she could muster the skill and courage to do it well. desirous of a pleasant evening. with her lustrous black hair piled high atop her head and more makeup than she needed applied to her lovely young face. could hardly refuse and so followed her into the house. but you’re a bloody clever woman and ya get what ya want. with which Rani seemed quite familiar. Without hesitating she came straight to Katharine. greeted her in a friendly manner and then suggested they go into Ian’s study to have a sort of ameliorating talk. and then added.. Margaret still seemed to think the idea was a splendid one. and while she stood in the She was garden talking to the band Rani suddenly appeared.all that sophistication is just what Lani likes.. “Rani. casting over their wild... *** The first surprising occurrence at the party was not a good omen. not wanting to taint his happy days with fishing pals.. and Katharine really wanted to offer that special song to him. sing a few more songs. Katharine. “That’s a choice gown. wearing a bright blue party dress of which there was very little. She didn’t know what he would think of her intention to sing at their party and had decided not to tell him. trout-filled rivers in devoted abandon. Katharine arrived early. The band had even suggested that she She had declined. It’s quite clear that you don’t like me but maybe with time--” “You’ve been through some hell. and ya--” .” Rani said. I hope we can get along. although she was missing him more than she would say. “Ya look very nice.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but with a dash of confidence at their disappointment. and thence into Ian’s cool dark study where they remained standing.” Katharine frowned and said.. This fit in well with her plans. as she imagined them.
. I only let him think.to make it all come out in your favor.simply to extricate yourself from the mess you made. do you?” return his devotion? “I didn’t.without a thought to his condition or his pain..” “It was just.” Rani protested.. for others for a change.270 “Rani.. “Rani won’t have to tell me anything now. out differently. will she?” Lan said in a resignedly firm voice. I thought it would all come I swear. Please try to have some compassion You profess to care so much for Lan. He never even tried to touch me. Lan has always thought of himself as your big brother...” Katharine exclaimed..I didn’t think he’d--” “My God..” They heard a soft click and both turned around startled. The study door had slowly swung shut and Lan was standing there with folded arms. He was there for you all of your life. “What are ya talking about?” “You know what I’m talking about. Do you think Mary hasn’t suffered You still don’t see it... bush? Why beat around the When he was sick with grieving and thoroughly inebriated you took advantage of him.. her voice catching on fire and her adrenaline pumping. please stop it.selfishly wound them when they’re down and suffering? deeply over this too? “I see that ya--” “Oh Rani. did you--” “Yeah. I heard most of it and since it pertains to He was looking at Rani...simply to suit yourself. . “Oh. and how did you By making him--” “I didn’t make him do He was too bloody haurangi. Kate. “If you really love a person how could you ever do anything so cruel.” He never touched me. Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. anything. Do you even realize?” but look what you did to him. staring at them. “Then tell him that and relieve his grieving heart.
how nice ya look.” “Kate. then tried to blink the tears onto her hand without ruining her face. kia ora..” Katharine’s arm. happy plants. Over Mea’s shoulder Katharine saw Lan entering the Their eyes met briefly and then one of his cousins garden.. Mea.” Katharine said. the long hair swept back in a handsome French roll.rose velvet and totoeka with those rare eyes. as this smart wahine pono will do for Lan. who worked in the winery.” Mea said as she gathered Katharine into her arms.” “Excuse me. stretching out her arms to greet Gus and Mea who had just ventured into the garden. “Come with me. tramp through this friendly garden.” fingers just touched Mea’s silver-gray hair done in thick waves around her smiling.” They strolled with soft laughter. smiled and said. want to think about it anymore and went briskly down the walk. garden. softly lined face. I wäna nei -. She hurried away back into the Why did she have to reopen this serious old wound at She regretted her unchecked wrath. placed a hand on his shoulder and he turned to speak to Gus’s son. Mea gripped Let’s take a I love to see all these Someone is giving them tender loving care. but at least How would Lan deal with this? She didn’t their party? the truth was out. closing the door behind her. and slipped out of the room.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . pretty girl.the way it is. her eyes brimming. And I love your dress. as briskly as her slender gown would allow. The band was warming up and still Katharine had spoken no .just I see the devotion. “Will you ever forgive what happened at your wonderful dinner?” “A migraine is no one’s fault. She held her hand to her mouth. I’m so happy to see you both.. “Oh.. Her That soft silvery color matches your gorgeous hair.271 me I won’t apologize for listening. “Gus and Mea.
272 more with Lan. The band was already into its second melody when Margaret found Katharine -. How strange. Margaret was pointing to the seat beside Lan. I need to steal Katharine I think “There ya are. Mea has one saved. looking for Katharine who had ducked into the bamboo in a cowardly fashion.” . Perhaps she should decline the invitation to sing. and then saw that people were starting to settle in chairs placed before the small platform on which the band sat. Then the band began a slow rhapsodic Gladness flowed through her body melody and her heart softened.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Excuse me. As Margaret was indicating the seat where Katharine should have been she lifted her head. On his other side was that empty chair. Please find yourself a seat down there. She was breathless and thoroughly disgusted At his wrist a Lan had a drink in his hand.ostensibly quite deep into a conversation with Gus. young man with a motorcycle helmet under his arm.” she muttered. She was explaining the virtues of steelhead fishing. in arm with Lan and leading him to a seat below the platform. which She saw Margaret arm Margaret was scheduled to make very soon. his dark frame tinted rose bronze under the colorful hanging lanterns. with herself. hadn’t ruined his arrival by bringing up that grievous subject with Rani. Gus. “Oh God. to carry that with him all evening? Katharine went around warmly greeting the Maori half of Lan’s family. so handsome in his charcoal dinner jacket. a dark. somewhat raffish Was he going been avoided. This party was for them and yet If only she they were still at opposite ends of the garden. gleam of gold cufflink flashed as he talked to another cousin seated next to him. But with Rani’s surly conduct it could hardly have Rani was with someone. away from ya. as she saw Mea and Mary strolling arm in arm to their seats. A shiver swept through her as she watched the drummer adjust the microphone she would use.
Get your lovely I’m after introducing an entirely new side of ya to your new family.and to be able to celebrate your upcoming marriage to this amazing woman. are ya giving up on me at the last moment? Lan has been wondering where ya are. and you’ll soon see what a choice treat it is. not after all my efforts. Margaret said. superimposing its own dubious routes. She could hardly bring herself . When first they met making treacherous detours without warning. a celebration of love in which she and Lan would stand side by side and greet the party guests while overflowing with mutual happiness.. but the rest of us are bloody-well going to share in the treat. Katharine said to herself as she took Margaret’s hand and carefully mounted the platform. She looked up to see Margaret insistently beckoning to her over her shoulder as she made her way to the bandstand. She was certainly in a wonderful mood to sing a love song. road. Hope you’re all enjoying this special Lachlan Manutane. “Kate. occasion. Katharine?” Just pretend like it’s another band gig out of the past. Now he was sitting down there chatting with his family and drinking Scotch. and after having been away from her for nearly a week. I’m sure. she was certain it was Scotch.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine had anticipated such a different sort of evening. everyone. A maudlin wave of self-pity swept over her. I don’t think--” “Oh no ya don’t. and now it’s time for our little songbird to make her appearance.273 When Gus had taken himself off. you’re one of my and Ian’s oldest friends. Katharine Gordon. in this enchanting garden Lan couldn’t reach her side quickly enough.” “Margaret. self down to the foot of my garden.. as if she didn’t exist. and right now. “Hello. She’s about to come up here and sing to ya. and how lucky we are for that. The vicissitudes of life simply refused a smooth Fate stepped in.
. Katharine’s heart began to fill with rapidly coursing blood. She no longer cared how she With looked or how she would present herself to the others. Slumping lower as her body shook with the forceful aftermath of what she knew had been a sort of catharsis. fearful of sliding to the ground. washing away all decorum. limp body and bent head she hung onto a tender young stalk of bamboo.. but her eyes drifted in that direction anyway. The song had finished her. her face.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .274 to look at anyone. the memory of their first night together. Never had she given so much in a She felt drained. Thank ya for .. The band was keyed. absolutely wiped out all of her strength and restraint. the very moon and stars of the lyrics..those lyrics. When she had completed the final long- held note she bowed low with an attempt at a modestly beatific smile. she was startled by Lan’s arms catching her up and coming tight around her. “Thank ya. your song. supportive anticipation clearly written across her proudly expectant face. especially Lan. Tears streamed from performance. A shifting glance yielded a beaming Mary. my tau aroha. steady voice sending the impassioned words straight out to the love of her life.” “Lan. never had she wished to. what do I say in return? How do I Thank ya for Rani..were. then stepped carefully down and hurried off to lose herself in the bamboo grove. her eyes fastened on Lan and she heard her own slow.. then the softened voice against her ear. offering the memory of their first kiss. feeling them ripple and rise in warm waves up into the realm of the Southern Cross.. the memory that infused the words lovingly tendered by her voice.” “My beautiful wahina. Whistling and loud clapping pursued her. He was still holding the glass in his hand but he set it down beneath his chair without taking his eyes off her..all for you. There was his riveted face.for your love.
said that she already had. one she had half feared would never occur.a unique and lovely dress stitched into a symbol of the rarest event. Perfect. Mary had said.” Katharine turned off the heat under the smoking frying pan and turned to Mary. the way you’ve set things right here. leaving them to their insatiable upstairs lovemaking.” *** It had taken very little time to alter Katharine’s wedding dress. want to lie with ya. and when she tried it on she was well satisfied -. with her own and Mary’s artful suggestions. when she and Lan drove Mary back to the Herne Bay house and wise Mary took herself swiftly off to a comfortable downstairs bedroom.. rolling his shirtsleeves as . The following morning as Mary helped Katharine cook a late breakfast. I certainly thank ya for that. 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.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..the way you’ve made Lan so happy. thought. I your velvet gown..and here ya are. He’s a changed man. Ya have. all mine and choice in Your song was perfect. terrible things she did. Oh Jesus. Kate.. ya know. and while Lan was in his study on the phone. thought often of the night after the party. I thank ya for so much. In these days her eyes were filled She with dreams of the future and memories of the recent past. “Whatever did ya say to Rani.. I believe ya made her look into the mirror. Green All I saw on the rivers were these I’ve missed ya.. eyes. and. my spoiled little girl..she said ya had a beautiful voice..” Lan sauntered into the kitchen.ya know I love ya. Kate? said something.275 tell ya what ya mean to me? Eyes. Please stop the crying. She apologized to me for the She I told her to apologize to Lan.
I’ll marry Petruchio in bare feet. “My benumbed brain has disconnected my foot -. of course. 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. “What? Should I drink that?” . and precisely. then lifted her head and said in a slow voice. Mary.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. handing her a flute of champage. obstinate foot. hence no wedding. Struggling with a recalcitrant shoe she said. She laid her head against Lan’s shirt.and this kiss is for--” “Jesus. any more of this and brekkie will be out the bloody window. She glanced politely over where Mary had been standing and saw her back disappearing down the hall. drink this. The desire was overwhelming. Will you. The day transposed into a swift parade of images: Dear Mary.” *** The wedding itself was a remarkably colorful and singular event. always reading the moment so swiftly flashes of sharply indelible consciousness juxtaposed with flashes of blurring mystery. Her jittery nerves necessitated mitigation by self- deprecating acid bons mots and continual laughter with her friends. Penny and Margaret and. “Anything edible in here yet besides yourself?” Primed with joy Katharine wanted to kiss Lan in a very private way. giggling and chattering with a boisterous lot of noise and soaking up her emotional spillover. Green Eyes...” Penny ordered. nill you.and this kiss is for having a mother like Mary..” “Here. inhaling all the familiar scents that were so arousing. “This kiss is for you.no shoe.276 he came and walking up to Katharine to whisper in her ear. these as if emanating from an unconscious brain romping in REM sleep.
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. wearing a chocolate silk dress.” “No worries. then stepped back into the line of guests. walked up to Katharine and handed her a bouquet of orchids. but he’ll never bring me from a wild Kate to a Kate comfortable as other household Kates. Amidst their laughter she went on with her Taming of The Shrew allusion. chanted and waved clubs in a primally fierce demonstration of haka. having made a tenuous peace with Lan.” Mary soothed. Rani. was continually popping up everywhere and capturing everything. and they all burst into yet another effusion of laughter. “Yeah. As the proceeding began.” Mary assured her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . stuck out their tongues. “Or they’ll have to peel ya off the ceiling of the marae meeting hall.” “Nor would he wish to. He was wearing a smartly cut. The ceremony was a different sort of affair. Katie love. curtsied ever so slightly. “Oh. 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.” Judith encouraged. their eyes meeting with a mutual understanding which seemed to hint at something positive.” Margaret chimed in. Lan will take care of any headache that comes along. pale gray Italian suit of shot silk with a healthy green sprig of some unfamiliar local plant affixed as a boutonnière. He at once attempted to lift her spirits He . Before this lively but abbreviated war dance ensued she had been joined by Lan on the path leading up to the marae.277 “Absolutely. figure would give her away. he’s not after taming ya. but the anxiety had not entirely escaped his notice. No paternal Cash Taylor. looked so handsome that at first glance her worried frown softened into pure pleasure.
or so she read his easy composure and knowing anticipation. the other an elegant twining vine which represented eternity.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Following the clamorous intimidation of the threatening warriors. As Maori words flowed past her a sudden jab of fear darted through her chest.” In her volatile condition she found this so amusing that she had to place her hand over her mouth to suppress the giggling laughter. The hall smelled of spicy-sweet ginger combined with numerous other scented flowers of New Zealand. leaning down and muttering in her ear. approached the low wood dais where the official who was to marry them stood cloaked in a robe covered with tiny. body-filled hall. they were led inside. unspoken control of everything. delicate and airy feathers. 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. one of a tiki. 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. After this It seemed to her that Lan was not only in a state of self-assured control but in quiet. and the walls rose in striking patterned designs. Soon this will all be over and I’ll put ya out to pasture herding sheep. She turned her His calm dark eyes looking . Oh God. “No worries. which he so often strove to elicit.278 with a swift offering of humor. The pungent smell of abundant floral arrangements swirled around Katharine’s head in the warm. and wearing large jade pendants around his neck. The highly polished hardwood floors shimmered in honey tones of gold and brown. a reading from her own nervous frame of reference. The meeting hall was adorned with gleaming pillars of wood carved in the form of tikis and other earthy motifs. running to the peaked and cross-beamed ceiling.
and then Lan was laughing and they were spilling out into the sunlight. and he took hold of her arm. to bring him peace and happiness and. From the For moment of his first grasp she had never let go of his arm. they tried to make their way to Gus’s car. and one of his flying mates was winging her home to Green Braes in the morning. She smiled and. without ever acknowledging it. it was especially exhilarating to have at once received Lan’s understanding assurance. Finally there were English words exchanged and they made their vows and kissed. More than anything she wanted to please him. never. Everyone wanted to hang onto Lan and Katharine. In this rushing span of time when she found herself amidst sharp transition so unfamiliar. After a whence Lan would fly himself and Katharine to Auckland. that she could stand alone. because she couldn’t understand the words. such a long time she had been her own strength. began to ponder the effect this man standing bedside her had and would always have on her life. please not ever boredom. He was to drive them to Lan’s plane. promising and thrilling. Judith and Jacob were heading south to visit Milford Sound and other points of interest. The firmness of his supportive. and Ian and Margaret were sailing home on a friend’s boat. capturing From Auckland Lan and . Sliding into that sealing kiss all else momentarily dissolved. she demanded of herself. 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. Mary was staying in Lan’s cottage. emblematic grasp traveled through her body with a ministering relief at once comforting.279 down at her seemed to read her mind. Katharine were flying to Rarotonga. until she heard sighs and mutterings of appreciation traveling through the hall. proven over and over. visit with Gus and Mea.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
*** “You were right.280 the spilling radiance emanating from their highly charged mutual devotion..” “Oh.” “Looks as though we’ll have plenty of photographs to go along with our memories. on your suit. I spent half the day laughing hysterically and now I’m doing it again.like magic. and Katharine would drink nothing because she feared a headache. Lan would drink nothing because he was flying.” “I’m looking forward to it. I had to bloody-well tell him to rack off.or an idyllic fairy tale.” Katharine said. They edged their way to the back door. Your bloke. Their heartening life-affirming aura held a magnetism so alluring they were continually restrained from departure. flying off over New Zealand. with joyful teasing and offerings of food and drink. “I think it was for everyone else.. Once out of earshot of everyone Lan exclaimed.” They made a dash to the car where Gus was just transferring their luggage from another car into his trunk.. “I’m actually glad we didn’t bother to change. especially in her exhausted and over-stimulated condition.. “Katharine Gordon Manutane. Here I am Well.” “Yeah? it off. I’ll probably .amused and deeply moved and even sorry it ended so soon. But when I look back on it I suppose I’ll be very amused. 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..” Katharine said when they were finally aloft in the plane. whose eyes were filled with tears of love and relief. Lan.. having already said good-bye three times and been hugged by Mary.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the ubiquitous Cash Taylor. even invaded the guest bedroom and tried to snap me putting on my suit. let’s get the hell out of here. continuing to giggle with Lan’s smiling encouragement.
lime juice. away from the world and growing familiar with each other’s needs and desires and habits in a slow awakening.. Playing. *** Rarotonga was a time of love and lethargy. blissfully free from the prosaic alterations of a workaday existence. moray eels. husband?” “Then I’ll hold ya until I can have ya in the morning. They drank at a thatched- roofed bar on the beach and ate diced raw fish prepared with coconut cream.” “And not for me. Lan. a delicious meal called ika mata. my darling Maroi-Scot lover. how sad. reef sharks.” “Not this one.” Oh. wife. and cavorting in .281 never wear it again. painting the surface waters of dusk with dazzling hues of crimson and gold. just in case. could have--” “Please don’t. How I wish my grandmother “Weddings are sad.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I want ya happy. Kate. But take a bit of a nap now. They swam to the motus in the lagoon and made love on those uninhabited white sands beneath the shade of coconut palms. The days passed in a luxurious idleness. they encountered giant clams. Diving in shoreline conservation areas called raui. Green Eyes. and partook of the remote village life on this quiet atoll of such startling sea and sand colors. They watched the startling sunsets bleed into dark palm-fringed horizons..” “What if I’m too tired. too. onions and bits of tomato.” “Careful. we still have a ways to go before we lie down together. affording further investigation and uninterrupted enjoyment of one another. Green Eyes. While there they flew over to Aitutaki. teasing.” he added with a wink. about an hour away. and myriad darting fish the Day-Glo colors of the rainbow.not for me.
Katharine swam. they returned to Green Braes. of all the forgone obligations. created her own ika mata. cut up fresh fruit.282 mutually generated situations of comic entertainment. where he used his laptop to check into his business affairs. Finally. leaning on the pommel of his saddle and glancing at her reflective face from time to time. chased thousands of ants around their kitchen. and it brought considerable. Ben. and from time to time she did think of those places. She was glad to be here at this moment. looking out over the myriad grayed-white tufts of grazing sheep. however. and mixed large tropical drinks. with a regenerated eagerness to face the world. but not total.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . hoping to correct that other horribly failed ride when Lan had professed such love only to be cruelly abandoned. Lan was beside her on the roan stallion. They were in her. Lan?” . This event would unfold quite differently. caressing or talking softly in a soporific state of contentment while the palm fronds rustled overhead in warm fluky winds. Just now. but never at his expense. she was thinking very close to home. 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. had arranged it. redress of all the relinquished assignments. They lay together in their ample hammock. to have addressed those places of strife in her nearly completed novel. *** Katharine sat astride Jangle. when he studied her that way. “Why don’t you ever take me fishing. She thought. he might be concerned that she was thinking of Jerusalem or Gaza or some other troubled place in the world forebodingly calling to her. She would see to it. After a week they returned to Lan’s orange beach cottage on Rarotonga. would always be in her.
” Right now I’ve thought of Come on.” she said. ‘Why do we suddenly have to go fishing?’ you’ll be saying soon enough.sometimes.” he answered.” “But I mean.. There’s I’ll drag ya around everywhere at a moment’s notice and you’ll be asking me the opposite. “The Israelis have no idea how to fight that kind of war. bringing Jangle to a halt. It’s there and going on. Lan.” “How should they fight it?” she asked in a rhetorical manner. I would. heavy retaliation. Green Eyes.. “Sometimes I do. because they’re only . “Yes. smiling with good-natured ease. mainly to keep her overactive mind from brooding on an insurmountable problem.. Kate. a form of insanity that could stop at once with the right leadership. something all on my own.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “They shouldn’t fight it at all. why didn’t you just think of it on your own?” “I did once.when I took ya sailing. Kate?” She was surprised that he would ask the question. No worries.” As they rode along Lan asked. will. I won’t say that. We’ll ride up along the green banks and eat our sandwiches there by the river.283 “Ya never asked me. since he had always preferred not to bring up that subject.. now ya have to learn to do it the rest of the time. Ya want to fish. “I’ve finally taught ya to tell me what ya want in lovemaking. plenty of time for that.” “I love fishing. Every time an Swatting at atrocity occurs they rush in with guns and tanks.. “Ya..” “I haven’t said much on the subject but I’d like to be able to talk to ya about it. “Have ya been thinking of the fighting in the Middle East. Would ya have an opinion from me?” Yes. ya hard case.I’ll take ya fishing. clouds of sandflies only gets ya more bites. They’re used to force. eager to hear his answer.
real courage..war-minded.” “I think you’re right. Now it’s become important for the whole world. “What happened to your grandmother’s farm?” “Oh.” “You’re absolutely right.for instance. smiled at Lan. all the troublemakers always hark back to the Palestinian problem for their ammunition against your country.. say. A free unified state is the only answer.pull out their settlers and give the Palestinians a free state. He reached over and brushed her windblown hair away from her eyes. the farm? I still own it.284 inviting more human explosions. then eased his boot into Ben’s belly. his accurate perception was like a pressure release..” Lan’s broaching of the subject.” “I’d like to see it. Turning aside to glance down at her as they moved slowly forward.that’s the tough part.I can go back there any time I want. She was glad to find herself I agree with everything you positioned beside an understanding mind. he asked. Why don’t they see that?” They “Wrong leaders. clicked his tongue and ordered the big horse to walk on. a companion who could share her thoughts so precisely. They’re the ones with all the They’re the ones who have to bring it to an end.. only it takes a bloody keen mind to see that. She gave a long sigh and The house I’ve kept just as it was... the strength.” .. the best way to win.. I lease it to a grower. Ignoring the need for a Palestinian state is the whole crux of the Middle Eastern problem. firepower.and feeling threatened.. But it’s really a form of winning. concerted support from their own people -. It would relieve a lot of tension in the world. need a strong peacemaker who sees total stoppage as an honorable solution.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..
until they could hear the rushing river and see its emerald banks.. who rode slightly ahead of her.. He stood a moment in silence. bringing her peace of mind.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . you can see massive. your spring.oh...when you have some time. He swung off his horse.. From the house It was never quite the same but still lovely. times. I’d like to. “I’m thirsty. even.” “Yeah.. smoothing out one more wrinkle of worry. Do ya miss it?” We’ll “The fragrant. looking at her with a slight smile . Kate. The dazzle of An sunlight on the climbing green slopes swelled her heart. be wonderful sharing it all with you. with his head angled over his shoulder.” Once again Lan had surprised her with his perceptive thoughtfulness.” She stared He turned in his saddle and pushed back his hat. “Then get down..285 “We could go there. keep the good part of your past alive. It would Thanks.” A vision flashed in her mind as she dismounted. yes. dauntless grandmother. making her realize that she didn’t have to remain cut off from her homeland.. And. Déjà vu. steamy greenhouses in winter snow..and the spring fields of flowers.. if you want. Lan. lifted the sandwiches out of the saddlebag and pulled the rolled blanket from behind the saddle. after Lan... We’ll do it this fall.stay in the house. my After she died I went there so many I could still have the wonderful flowers... Lan. of course. white Mount Rainier floating on the horizon -. They rode on in silence for half an hour.” “Yeah. make some plans to do that. Nice to I’d love it. epiphany of joy like a sweet pain shot through her.but not Gran.thank you for suggesting it.the place where ya grew up.it’s over two thousand feet taller than Mount Cook.
“I’m so lucky. this with an incisive expression of encouragement beginning to astonish her.so. “For me or for water?” “For you. She dropped down.” .286 and a penetratingly soulful gaze that evoked a certain memory. When they were finished he spread the blanket..” “Exactly what you have.I thought you would consume me. I found ya.. I went so crazy..and a little water.....I was giving myself a kind heart...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . balancing her knees upon the tan square of soft wool and watching him crouch beside her. his voice full of amused irony. “Well... the fear I had was. so much more than I was. Oh God. “Oh. you’ve made me feel so alive. catching both her arousal and her intention to reveal something.. His eyes held hers. Lan.. then leaned back a short distance..” “And have I consumed ya?” “No... happy with myself and--” He bent toward her and stopped her words with a long and dissolving kiss.so lucky to have you.you’re Mary’s son.I thought. I’d never found you?” “Ya didn’t..” They tied the horses and walked to the river where they found a flat place between the rocks and lay on their bellies drinking. what if Why were ya so bloody afraid of a ngakau joker like me?” he asked. “Ngakau?” He laughed.most definitely for you. running her fingers through his tousled thick black hair. “Do ya have something ya want to tell me. Lan.. Reaching out she pulled off his hat.. tau aroha?” “Yes.. For a long moment she feasted on his eyes as they traveled over her face and fastened upon her appraising gaze.and ya didn’t trust me at all...so relieved and full of hope.
. felt it... Ya don’t know that expression? happy. What? Let’s be Braes.” “I understand.. and let’s not dwell on that.. “I just knew it. Loving It means to complain. and you stole all the wind from my sails. A I’ll have to watch ya. ipo.or whinge or.yeah I am. Come here... “Jesus.” “Now don’t start treating me like fragile glass..” “Yes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ...287 “Are ya pregnant?” “Yes. ya here this way. wondering if you’d ever.. How did you know?” I feel a lot when I look at ya.” “Come here.can’t run around on horses like a wild wahina much longer..and ya get to have me.here at the heart of Green Once I denied ya that. Kate..” He began to . let’s.that’s the best. Ah...because. Jesus. Green Eyes. I want ya now. you’ll never lose me either. I was beginning to worry about that. except by something unforeseen. but I’m not going to let ya hurt yourself or get in harm’s way if I can help it.. my urbane cowboy..because--” “Bloody right.. staring off at the rushing white river and finally speaking in a wondering voice. bloody little Gordon-Manutane..” “I thought so.” He stretched out his legs and lifted her onto his lap then rubbed his chin over her hair..ka mutu pea -.” “Lan..are you afraid of losing me.” “I won’t do that either. a part of me is growing in ya. I wouldn’t have done anyway. because I feel the same about you. Kate.” “How did you know? I was about to say that this time I was the one with the shocking news.. You’re a tough little journalist. but--” “You’ll never lose me.
Thank you.. get back on She’ll go round the bend.. mother. gave her an appreciative kiss and said. of her incredible gift. don’t ya.. “Ya know all the right ways to have me. THE END . tell Mary right away?.288 undo her jeans.in Maori. the gift of this rich and varied life..bloody amazing these bottomless pounamu eyes. wait a I think that I want to watch you tell Mary. No.that and your green eyes. in one extraordinary sense the richness had turned out to be the fortune of green eyes... He paused and looked at her.or wait awhile or--” “Oh. minute.” There came a sudden vision of her lost mother’s eyes. of course I want to tell Mary. just perfect.” He pulled her down against him on the blanket..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . full of all the greens of our countries.. Lan. “Later we’ll eat our sandwiches.do ya want to our horses and go tell Mary. foxy Kate? It’s why I love ya so much.. would be just delicious.” “I’m sorry.. Katharine smiled as a voice inside her head whispered.
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