This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
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-
Indeed many areas of the city were like unique villages. even harshly. deceptively serene but startling malachite eyes and the ironic smile playing into a smirk of amusement. Out of sight was out of mind Learning that in his bitter world of blame and self-absorption. A few indications of these Maori fortified villages known as pa . from hers. Auckland glimmered in the sun nestled between the blue-green waters of its two harbors. knew that eventually they would tell her she was too smart. Ultimately. Her first view of Auckland with its bustling harbor reminded her a bit of San Francisco. too habitually independent. it was usually an imposition. severely. mistrust had come much earlier. once From that experience she had constructed a marvelous avoidance which involved a brief span of superficial friendliness and a comparatively hasty exit. for Auckland had almost none very tall. blundering into his path. adage saved her many a beating but. restored from Victorian times and retaining their flavor in trendy upscale shops and restaurants. It had happened. without the tall buildings. That recently less frequent transition could be a When this rare condition accompanied her pleasure to observe. some with manicured emerald slopes holding remnants of a thousand-year old occupation. Any longer and they might feel a strong desire to mistreat her. 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. giving it a friendly village-like atmosphere for a city of nearly a million souls. from their point of view. too competent. and sprawling over or beneath some fifty volcanic cinder cones. there were also many she didn’t escape. simply to put her in her place.6 heartedness. She it was a mistake. too unneedful to ever be thought of as a companion for more than a short season.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . certain men were bound to fall in love with her. Waitemata and Manukau.
giving the city a special panache that welcomed Katharine with the promise of a buoyant and rejuvenating stay.a vivid counterpoint to the grand modern Skytower reaching into the clouds and offering a splendid view of near and far islands.” came the swift and. as if she had been lightly struck.. heading over to the outdoor tables of a restaurant and bar called The Loaded Hog. for she had forgotten that she came in to buy a souvenir baseball cap. sporty conviviality. yet with a strange fierceness resembling anger and. “Not ever in the Hauraki Gulf.” she said. accented reply. an indelible stare which left her usual sharp wit stillborn in her throat: gold-ringed black eyes half teasing and amused.7 remained as sacred sites -. as if an argument would be a delight. Yet it was something altogether Her smile faded. “I’ve come for America’s Cup. The hundreds of sailboat masts seen everywhere added an airy. not without Kiwi sailors. a resonant male voice behind her said. in the America’s Cup Village..ah well. different. Before the surprised clerk could mouth the same sentiment as the one which came resoundingly over her shoulder. she had walked into the New Zealand sailing team’s signature store of apparel and gifts. and still feeling cheerfully on holiday. allowing a cursory smile as she made her exit. to her. unrevealing of anything beyond a superficial interest.. She felt a sharp sting of irritation as she swung through the glass doors and walked along Quay Street West. and blithely announced to the clerk in a teasing voice.” Katharine turned around and found herself looking into the rarest of dark eyes..eventually.” The accent of her voice had of course made it clear that she was an American. “Ya will never get it back. . she was cockily certain.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “I think we will get our Cup back. Not long after arriving in this North Island sea town.
and she removed the cream linen jacket that hung unbuttoned over her pale green silk blouse. dark-haired young woman. “Is it?” she said softly and smiled to herself. Finally.” came the arresting voice she had just escaped. Katharine Gordon was always as punctual as she was punctilious in her work relationships. His white shirt sleeves were fastidiously rolled. as it was just down the street from the wharf where most of the sailing syndicates were located. Although. the entire city of Auckland could be described as a lot of sailing folk. and under the present circumstances she was more than a little annoyed. “Please bring me a large Guinness. the neck of the shirt open over a thorax well acquainted with the sun’s searing coloration. and he was quite late.8 It was a noisy. half in the shadow of a spreading umbrella and seated beside an attractive. she had his attention and she said. She sat sipping her beer. She was supposed to meet a news photographer at two o’clock. occasionally glancing at her leather-strapped wristwatch and feeling the eyes. The day was steamy warm. friendly place with all of those New Zealand accents flying back and forth across her table. laying it over the empty chair at her table.” “Good on ya. shaking her head in wonder and looking at her watch. for it was known as the City of Sails and one in ten Aucklanders owned a boat.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She rested her folded hands a bit rigidly in the lap of her tan linen slacks and stared toward the waiter at another table. with what she was beginning to hear as an American accent. which she had . Probably a lot of sailing folk. 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. He leaned on one hand. She turned around and saw the same very tan face and angular body.
when it was handed to her by a tall frame ducking under the umbrella.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Her head at that precise moment began a furious throbbing. As she was taking her last swallow the photographer. who occasionally glanced at her as her name came up.the sound rang in her ears. there were the relentless eyes again. gleaming smile that she could not begin to reciprocate in her now flagging state. knocking her jacket to the cement and offering a lame “Sorry I’m late. She looked away She felt the beginnings of a She looked up. After years of necessary travel. . introducing himself and then remembering to introduce Katharine. boring into her back. Lachlan Manutane. In the next several minutes Katharine had to suffer in silence while her loose-tongued colleague chatted chummily with Lachlan Manutane. Taylor glanced at the man and at her. The air was muggy. “Thank you. headache. which Taylor had made no attempt to pick up. She heard the name for the first time: Muh-nay-ta-neh -. Perhaps this curious Kiwi finds Americans intriguing. an incredibly generous. across the green water. and The man hesitated a moment. slid into the other chair. and Taylor stuck out his hand. He smiled at her. She was about to retrieve her jacket. she was well accustomed to the extreme adoration or hatred Americans could generate.” while talking a mile a minute about having just come off a flash chase boat that would be used in the races. What could possibly be so interesting about me? especially with a lovely woman like that seated nearby. she wondered.” she said. Cash Taylor. She felt the heat in her face. and knew that her voice could not be heard it was so soft and far beneath the ubiquitous chatter driving against her ears. Apparently he was the owner of a large sheep and She heard herself described as a cattle ranch on South Island.9 been unable to make herself meet a second time.
too miserable even to protest Cash Taylor’s vaunting manner and outrageous liberty in describing the way she handled her profession.. “I’m sorry. 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. It’s Perhaps he very mistakenly thought he was doing my head. Rani.. She just managed an apologetic smile to his serious young female companion still seated at the next table and said.. “Yes. no. feeling a little faint and looking at Taylor. “No worries. Just parked around the corner. afternoon. while I get Miss Gordon to her hotel..” Taylor said. “Oh.” Manutane quickly explained as he stepped back to his table and offered her name to his sister: “Katharine Gordon. switching vowels around then biting them off or stretching them almost beyond comprehension and boxing the ears of eloquence. “Gee. I wouldn’t want to interrupt your. her a service.your It was nice meeting you.” What might have been Katharine’s customary reluctance. a taxi.” Lachlan Manutane said in a voice that was the sound of his countrymen and yet a little impatient and capricious to her. or . standing up. dropping her head into her hands. Kate. and then tuned the rest out. Rani. I’ll drop ya.” “This is my sister.but thank you.” she was at last forced to say. pleased with his newly acquired verbiage and glancing at his watch.10 sort of globetrotting Wonder-Woman reporter in town for the races.sometimes the barometric pressure does that.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Wait for me here.” she said.. I think I need to get back to my room. laying out money for their bill and looking a bit forlornly off down the street. can you snag a taxi? I said I’d have some tucker with the mates on the boat..
” “I’m sorry. was overcome with pained urgency as she got into his Range Rover and silently rode the few blocks over to the Hyatt Regency... I think I’m going chair.” She didn’t move. She was leaning against a Otherwise. closed the covering her eyes.. “I. “Need some help.” he said. fumbling for her key.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . He walked her all the way to the door of She had not looked at him once. I’ll get ya some ice. “That’s what we’re doing here. The dark eyes assessing her condition. “Come. better. please?” She lifted her pounding head and felt the weakness in her knees. He took the key out of her trembling hand. She remained silent. He pulled off her sandals. wrapped in a wash cloth.why you’re here..South Island.” “A migraine.” Then they were inside her room. She flung herself on the bed and rolled onto her back.” she said and thought she would swoon or very soon vomit. curtains. I think. dry hot wind. “Where I live it’s better -. and he was bringing ice from somewhere... I don’t know you. muttering in a ragged voice when he returned. her room...” “No.I need to lie down.” Your photographer mate has no manners. “Ya really do have a headache.. opened the door and said. Just let me go in and lie down. then held the bundled ice gently against her forehead. “Will ya look at me. a dark I have some pills.11 possibly even dismissal.. “Can ya hold this while I get a glass of water?” She grasped the cold bundle. Light and sound were becoming unbearable.don’t... to vomit. I’ve “Fortuitous.something cool on my head. . “It is sultry this time of the year in Auckland.” “Please. closed her eyes and moaned softly with the waves of pain.understand.thank you. figuring it out.” room.
watching a tourism station which was touting lovely. There was no sign Perhaps she had imagined him. An essential prescription There was no cure for a migraine but unconsciousness. Take swallow this.” Katharine struggled up from her dream.” he said. What room? Where? She remembered the headache. Here. “I’ll stay with ya until ya fall asleep.12 never seen eyes like yours. Ten o’clock. Suppose they’ll help.. switching on a bedside lamp and staring around the room. it was he who had brought her the two pills which so efficiently knocked her out. she always carried. that anyone else had been there.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She stared in awe at the . Green as the Hauraki Gulf. mama.” “I’m just going away for a little while. She called down for a sandwich and ate it before the television. mama.” “I can’t just leave ya. which was essentially gone. 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. but had no idea what time it was as she squinted at the digital clock. swallowed is working. I won’t ever see you again.. if it could be achieved. Pangs of hunger were at least a sign of returning lucidity. Katie-bird. mama. Then she remembered Lachlan Manutane and sat up. but of course not.” *** “Please..from your kit bag. please.” “No. and then leaping whales off Kaikoura and joyful porpoises choreographing their playful frolicking in the airy world above the sea surface. 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..just leave me.” “No. please don’t leave me. No. crying out and sweating in a dark room. another one.
500 years. Periodically his face. gum was nearly indestructible and much prized. she reminded Still.it would be rather embarrassing to . abused her. in motion. listening to their history. and had also obtained rather interesting comments from their wives. Their extruded Magnificent at two hundred feet and with a massive girth which dwarfed the human figure. this time along with dinner at Gault’s on Quay -. but nothing else must be set It was only a passing kindness. work. powerful. brook no foolishness.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . An intelligent well molded face with high you note.13 giant kauri trees. they reached maturity at the ripe old age of 1. By the end of the following day Katharine. a full firm mouth and a straight Gaelic nose. and now it came to her that it was certainly a generous kindness. Later over a glass of chardonnay. fierce. The tall dark figure leaning over her with the ice. but surprisingly gentle and ministering. with her usual methodical perseverance. having dallied in the Skytower casino. Cash They would More benignant eyes than those had once None of that mattered. The pain had precluded any consideration of this special attention. cheek bones. she decided. and unreadable. but the strange eyes altogether amused. she vetoed herself. black waves of hair above that high. remembering his face. his voice flashed across her mind. an outdoorsman’s tan. I’ll try to find an address and send him a thank No I won’t. just in time to run his shutter for the accompanying photographs. weatherized hands. better to forget about it and get on with her Taylor had arrived late. herself. She had not thanked him and suddenly thought of herself as another ugly American. had managed to interview two of the men who would be crewing on the sleek Kiwi boat. unsummoned and unsettling. tan forehead.
Cash was staring brazenly at her . “Oh come on. with a band in college.” she said. in fact.sort of unusual and a. took another swallow of her chardonnay and studied Cash with her head turned to one side. openfronted violet silk shirt. in a sleeveless chiffon dress. lay-dee.. Cash? Have you lost it completely?” They “I mean. Everything he wore would most certainly have the appropriate label. shoot will you please--” “All right. I’ll get there. “Look.well. She was never at ease with this marvelous superficialty. too.. repulsed by it. “I. 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.. Hey. know your reputation precedes you.14 run into Lachlan Manutane again at The Loaded Hog -. and the gold earring were all of a piece well familiar to her in the world in which she moved.. duchess. white with red flowers. aren’t you?” She put down her fork. swallowing a bite of perfectly seared swordfish. or swill beer somewhere out of range.she complained to Cash about his haphazard attention to business. The brash blue eyes.” The evening was again sultry and this time she was dressed for it. all right.. cut loose. Cash.. and red high-heeled sandals. I can’t keep people waiting while you lounge on someone’s sailboat. do you want to meet some guys I know? have long sailboats and fat wallets. land. gamble away the hours. and some of them might even go for your type: the smart lady journalist who sings rhythm and blues.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . you So in the future when we need a You’re really going to make was often.sexy. have thought this was rather like a holiday. wild and curly bleached blond hair. me work. but when I do business I do business and I’m on time for my appointments.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and she wanted to douse him with her full water glass. private gathering while sojourning in a strange place. a smooth deftness at handling social obligations.15 breasts. grinders. Cash. *** Helmsman Ian Smith was a skilled and experienced man of the sea. She remained standing for a while. and swinging are two different things in my book. in just that mood of alienation and gratitude she decided to turn up. Okay?” She finished her chardonnay. The equator was up north. stood up. Upon their first encounter Katharine felt that she had possibly found a heavy-weather friend. her first impression was augmented by Margaret’s demonstrated perspicacity. And this time you pay the bill. a highly respected sailor familiar with every shiver of water and shifting wind in the mercurial Hauraki Gulf. that you’re on time for the morning shoot with the U. a cool and level head with a genuine interest in others and a much appreciated sense of humor. placed her thinstrapped red leather purse over her shoulder and sauntered out of the restaurant. down. staring out at the sloshing opaque green waters. 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. herself. is the last time I’ll be dining with you. “I’m afraid my type finds your type off the chart.S. and quite adept at dealing with the constant stream of people surrounding their competitive lives. Singing I think this You work a lot Please see better when you’re wearing ear muffs and a parka. As the late afternoon progressed. The Americans would be hard-pressed to wrest their Cup from the savvy crew Katharine had been getting to know. Ian’s wife Margaret was very skilled behind the helm herself. Nearer the water there was a gentle breeze. Her inclusive rather than exclusive manner was especially .
. do. This sultry weather really takes me down. but this did not preclude a generous friendliness toward Katharine.” The caterers will do most .” Katharine laughed. and pointed to the brick walk leading around to the back of the sprawling house. Guess I’m a cold-blooded Northwestern American.16 endearing to Katharine’s lonely heart.” We’re all used to that.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . The large back yard was a veritable jungle of broad-leaved plants and spidery clusters of flowers in various colorful hues. so lush. Ya could arrange some silver on that table at the end of the deck while I answer the phone. “Am I rudely early?” Katharine had asked as she came up the walk of the Smith’s large white bungalow-style house.” “Oh. and the rest of the perimeter pungent eucalyptus trees. “No such thing as rudely early around here. suppose. a veiled loneliness for friendship never very intentionally addressed. everything else.since I’ve had the nerve to arrive early. it is a bit sultry.” “Just call me Kate and I’ll respond to all directives. I Margaret fluffed her feathery hair with quick fingers. The Kiwis were rousingly competitive when it came to the race against the Americans..” “Yeah. “Oh. I’m flattered that you’ve come early. Katharine followed the trim young woman. “Although I might have put ya to work if ya hadn’t worn such a lovely dress.” “Really. “I travel light and this chiffon thing is cool. Please tell me what I can It I’d like to make myself useful. Katharine. it was perched on a cinder cone hill in a suburb of Auckland. this is lovely. was partially ringed with a thick stand of golden-trunked bamboo. focusing on her tan shorts and blue shirt and the enviably long tan legs.” Margaret assured her.
same as everywhere else. what a traffic jam looks like. but you have to travel a long way for the diversity you apparently have condensed in these two lovely islands. our narrow little roads get pretty jammed sometimes.” “Yeah. My brother and I learned to sail when we were still practically little anklebiters.and the sailing. Sometimes the freeways are just giant parking lots. “What must it be like to grow up in this beautiful life.. We have our wonky Family politicians and plenty of other troubles.” “But you.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Yeah. any traffic jam.. in this beautiful country so far away from the threat and strife of the troubled world?” Katharine asked..” “At least you don’t yet have a population problem. I didn’t see It looked like clear sailing to me. My country has great beauty. and I hope you never find out. We’re a part of this troubled world.17 Katharine said with cheerful laughter. alcoholism.you must have had a wonderful childhood with all of this incredible variation in nature to play in. Seattle has one of the most congested freeways in the nation. unemployment. Margaret returned with tall frosty glasses of iced tea.. a lot of us have been lucky and we’re heaps proud of our country. “All that being true. but things aren’t always spot on around here.. problems. Margaret. I took a shuttle in from the airport and heard homecoming passengers complaining about the traffic jam on the motorway. and we were lucky enough to have ..or I guess you’d say car parks.” Margaret said. You Kiwis really have no idea Everything was moving just fine. I still have to add that every life and every place has its own sort of strife. and they sat down in lawn chairs on the patio and visited in the few minutes left to them before the others arrived.” “Well.
discursively chatting in journalese with a sports writer for the New Zealand Herald. I’ve only seen videos of your parks on television but they’re a mouthwatering temptation..18 a family that liked to tramp all over the place. your family? What did ya do?” Margaret asked. a guilt which could actually change her chemistry.” Katharine sipped her iced tea with intentional evasiveness and thankfully noticed that people were starting to arrive. She Ultimately. “I didn’t have a conventional one. with her lively. take-charge body already in motion. The end result was always a consuming guilt. Within an hour the spacious back yard had been transformed into a cheering section for the Vulcan’s Fire crew and the entire syndicate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “What about you. It had taken her years to realize what was happening to her and to learn to cope with it.” Margaret said. but I got high marks at school. Darkness slid across the sky. not always successfully. the conflicting aspects of reportage. leaning forward and touching Katharine’s arm. Yes.” Katharine said. her history. something cloudy and vague that would involve puffery somewhere else to counteract an obscure wrongdoing which could never or must never be revealed. and the lights strung through the trees winked on. creating interesting abstract shadows among the lacy. Jennifer says you’re being paged. didn’t like talking about herself. “We’ll talk more later.” “It seems to me that you could hike around North and South Island all of your life and never run out of spectacular places.” a They were well into .. webbed floral bracts and spiky plants. Katharine sat on a bench under arching sprays of vivid pink bougainvillea. it was like pointing the finger at a self which had done something shameful. “Excuse me. I was a worthless child.had a grandmother who took very good care of me when she finally took charge. Phillip.
.headaches. 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.. “Even in this bosky darkness I can tell you’ve no headache tonight... smell of eucalyptus was delicious. saw me.. state that I.. Lachlan Manutane Ya looked more relaxed before ya Ya did say it Do ya go by Kate?” .didn’t mean to sound so.” After Katharine had sat back down.” “I’m careful. “My friends always. “What are you doing here?” The “I might ask the same question..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Yes.19 voice sang out from the dim shadows... “Ian and I were schoolmates. Mr. It’s why I’ve come north. He rose and left to answer his call. You really Well. to see him win.did I say it right?” “I understood how ya were the other day. it cures one thing and causes another.but ya were drinking Guinness.” the sports writer said in a regretful voice.. Still smiling..” “I’m sorry.” “Will ya please sit down. Katharine sat staring at the crowd of buzzing. 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. your kindness. right but I’d rather hear Lan. for he truly seemed to be enjoying their talk.” Lachlan Manutane said.yes.” “You’ve no glass in your hand. With her back against the cooling verdure and the stars coming out she felt almost comfortable.. almost a part of something solid and ongoing and admirable. laughing voices.. I’ve known him just that long. Manutane. surprised me.” came a voice springing out of the recent past..totally lost my manners. the words just audible over the band warming up at the foot of the garden. “Ah. right.” “Ah.
snapping up straight. glowing in the darkness... Another white shirt. and hopeful of keeping her Too close to this man and she seemed to forget distance. placing his empty glass below the bench. a stranger.” She turned toward him for the first time and stared into his face. her head had stiffened and trembled. He moved closer.” “Oh. She was now far from relaxed.not a and her heart began to speed up. He smiled.20 casually settled beside her. of a friendly encounter and yours are two entirely different things.” “When I’m thoroughly interested in something. Careful. it doesn’t translate as casual..or boredom?” “What?” she said.. the dark eyes holding the small sparkling lights that hung above in the trees.. very casual remark. vulnerability in a shared experience evoking a certain affinity. taking in his apparel. “Am I causing nerves. I suppose.someone. Before his hand dropped. raising his hand to thrust his fingers through a lock of hair blown into his eyes. things.” she said. staring off at the band. A cooling breeze brushed against her flushed face. surprised that he would touch her like that. but this time jeans and deck shoes without socks.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . his idea “That’s. Something had ignited inside of her. “What does it cure?” “What?” “Alcohol. Katharine. glint.. nerves. It must have been the intimacy resulting from the headache. She reminded herself that he had watched her as the anodyne carried her from pain into sleep. His wristwatch flashed a gold She watched his allusive lips curve over even white . Her wary head quickly dropped. She couldn’t look away. then reached toward her and lifted her chin until he had her averted eyes fixed on his.
“Why’re ya so skittish. “I think.” “Now you’re insulting me. Margaret. Rani.” she began. It may not look like it at the moment. “Oh for heaven’s sake! I think so. She’ll tell ya I’m direct...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but I’m just here in New Zealand on business.” “I’ve recognized ya.... If only she What knew more people here. Kate? Bloody sure I’m behaving myself. too. and felt a wash of relief. but you’re so.. her eyes searching through the crowd for Margaret.. it occurs to me that you might only be interested in one thing.I’m sorry.” You’re a stroppy little wahine. Ya promised.so direct. but I’m working. Lan.I’m just..” he said. Kate. and said. Come and dance with us. us you’d dance.” She tossed her head with a flash of anger at his accuracy.” “And I’m more?” she said with flippant sarcasm. “I’m trying to find out. without showing anything at all.. .” A pretty young girl with a bouncing black braid and wearing shorts and a halter came hurrying up. “Why should I fool around with inane banter to get where we already are? Ask Margaret.I’m not really who. “Since you don’t know me from Eve. “What? It’s just that you.and I really--” “And ya don’t know me. Come and rescue me...21 teeth.” Ya promised Come on. around for one thing. 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. “There ya are.familiar. Sorry to be so.” I thought I’d heard them all. laughing. Katharine realized it was Lachlan’s sister. and then swallowed slowly as she tried to think how to get away without showing any emotion.... There are plenty of bodies Sometimes more is wanted.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . until she vanished into the somewhat removed but noisily chattering crowd.22 “Haere atu. “You spoke Maori to Rani. waited until ya were free.” “How did you happen to find me hidden away here... I was once. “It’s an expression ya haven’t heard. “Box of birds.” he said.” Rani backed up slowly.” “I don’t understand why you’ve fastened on me.” “Are ya married?” “No.” “Then you’re free to do what ya want.free. “What?” Katharine responded with surprise... “Hello. enjoying her baffled reaction with a thoroughly self-indulgent rush of laughter.. sorry because she was not at all in control of herself.” Lachlan said with a low cool voice.” “I was trying to spare ya that. Once again they were quite alone. being the polite fellow that I am..why you’ve decided to--” “What.” “I’m not. shaking her head and looking very disturbed. and. her eager voice almost desperate.” Rani answered. How are you?” Katharine swiftly chimed in. Rani. You’re acting bloody rude. Nice to see you again. and then I saw ya talking to Phillip. she’s doing just great. Lachlan threw back his head. “It means But she won’t be doing just great if she doesn’t take her little backside out of here right now.. anyway?” “I was watching ya earlier.ya have no self-esteem?” . Rani. and Katharine was sorry she had chosen such an isolated place to enjoy the garden. Even when she turned to walk away.just told her to rack off.. she could be seen looking over her shoulder from time to time.
something you’d like to ask me?” “You really are quite amazing.” Please excuse me.Lan..but ya will.” “Lachlan.” Katharine said... Cross?” He laughed softly then stood up and said.” “Pounamu?” “Greenstone.and pride in my country.. true nephrite. and she felt an electric pulse shooting through her in that touched spot. He pulled her in against his chest and pointed overhead into the myriad .. all with names. many kinds...” “I’ve admired it in the shops.” “Good. please understand that I’m a very independent person. I don’t take well to being ordered around.23 “Yes.means good fortune. Sonsy. “Come away from these lights. almost caving her knees.. I do. there is something I’d like to ask you. I was only Is there But here ya are.” Here. Ya have pounamu eyes and you’re no nonsense.. It’s very beautiful.enough to get by. when your work was finished.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “What?” “It’s an old Scottish expression of my mother’s..the little I’ve seen of it.” “Was I ordering ya around? expressing my pleasure.” “You’ve seen nothing. fortuitous. He put his hand on “Where is the Southern her shoulder.” They walked over into the shadows beside the trunks of bamboo and looked up at the star-filled sky.. I mean I’ve never.” “The day my work is finished is the day I leave. dropping her head back to study the sky. “I didn’t intend to look for ya again until after the races... “Yeah.jade... lucky.” “Ya don’t like my country?” “It must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Yes..
Nothing worked but the desire to go on and on cradled in that powerful surge of commingled longing. She thought she was resisting that overconfident mouth. wanted that drink. then drew her slowly in until their noses just touched. Instead. She was working and in the wrong place for anything like this. closed. the shadowed well at his throat..” she heard him say softly. wanted to do about it. the angle of his chin.. With eyes The gently increasing force of his pliant mouth. sent her floating up into the realm of the Southern Cross. control. beyond even fear. she had thought. I’ve seen the Southern Cross. It was he who drew back. and remembered that nosetouching was a Maori greeting. but. “Follow my hand..yes. intended that her hands push him away. “Hongi. but her hands didn’t work. sliding over her parched lips. part of a ceremony. “A Maori gesture.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “The sharing of life breath. she was looking at his tilted face. but there was nothing she could do about it. At last She really “I don’t. or worse.” He spun her around and stared down into her startled eyes.. Can ya see it? Wonderful. manuhiri.” she said in a whispery voice.. Right there.” How wonderful. then the delicate propriety vanished in unrestrained indulgence. She could feel her entire body trembling out of It frightened her. his refined Scottish nose. looking at her and then catching .” For a few wavering seconds. he perhaps gave her the chance to refuse his embrace.four lovely stars on your flag. she still saw the curl of smile. beyond the ridiculous.oh. She was far beyond any slight anticipation or the barely imagined. His faint scent of Scotch and citrus made her suddenly crave a swallow of her favorite old iced Scotch with its twist of lemon.24 stars.. warm and whiskey-tinged.
good.” “Ah.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . winking at Katharine who blushed thoroughly and was glad for the welcome darkness. “Margie.I don’t think so. .. though.” The expression This is “I only said it was quite all right.when your work is finished.. laughing and pointing through the ginger leaves at Rani who was dancing flamboyantly with one of the grinders. yeah.drinking anything.. but Ian is looking for ya. She had withstood being shot at.” He laughed and said. Now I’ll have here while I toast Vulcan’s Fire and its soon-to-be-triumphant helmsman.” “Excuse me.. Kate. coming up to them.” Lachlan said. ka pai..” “What is a..25 her teetering self. there ya are.I don’t understand.strange little manuhiri. Embarrassed...” “There. and just in time before I lose my head. please talk to my friend He’s “I’m So much for good manners.. “I hope you’re This must be quite a different scene from enjoying yourself.” “I rather enjoy teasing ya. Will ya let me take ya sailing?” “I’m sorry. Lan.. making a toast.” Margaret sat down. “Bloody-hell.thank you.. “You’re drunk on something..” “There you go again.” Margaret said. Ya are going to come sailing with me. She turned back to Katharine and said.” “Oh. have ya really drunk nothing?” “I don’t remember.... but had never been kissed with an effect that folded her body as though she had been shot.a manuhiri?” “Just a visitor. just a visitor. ya see? to insist. please..” “And that’s what I am. she held on to steady herself.. so sorry to interrupt.” “Don’t. also means thanks. That’s confusing..and I do thank ya.
26 your normal work. wanting very much to know more but disinclined to pry. I’m sorry. pulls no punches. He actually came to admire Rang Manutane -.” Katharine said. Even his given name. but I’ll tell ya a few things that I know. although I’ve never thought of any of my work as very normal.” Katharine said. He’s very direct. Mary McGregor. His father was Maori.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . But you. her father had .” “Yes. Lucky me. Margaret. mind ya. a handsome laborer on the station. “Oh. bloody nearly made it into a kingdom. I can see that you’re quite curious about I would not gossip behind his back.” “What a choice compliment. quick to explain her short encounter If with Lachlan and her headache. I’ve I just get the flimsy little ones that can be knocked down with an aspirin.. him. he would probably tell ya himself. “Yeah. but because her father had wanted her to marry the son of adjoining lands and combine their stations. one he ruled all right. and even before Margaret spoke Katharine knew she was thinking of Lachlan Manutane. Donald McGregor.he was named after his He’s a very old friend. “It seems to me that you’ve met Lan before this party.you are so wonderfully normal.” “No. I feel as if I’ve known you all of my life. one of maternal great-grandfather. as they say. When she fell in love with Rang.. They’re beastly I hear.” There was a moment of silence. Rang Manutane.a very different sort of person.the man was a genius with animals -. the heiress of heaps of sheep Her brusque hulk of a father. I’m prying. Ian’s best friends... tell me to shut up. not especially because he was Maori.. She was an only child. of course. he is.. given time. and cattle lands on South Island. never had one. her father threatened to disown her. and his mother is a Scot.” “Lachlan is.and.
..27 no other heir. generous to the Vulcan’s Fire Syndicate.twenty-two.their private language.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... except for a few interests in which he indulges. daughter--” “Oh. a She’s Lan.. so does his mother who learned the language to honor his father.” “So Lachlan Manutane is a prominent sheep rancher?” “Oh... or businesses. He has always gone back and forth between Pakeha. and leans toward the teachings of his father. and Rani was a foundling child... Mary’s ten-year-old daughter drowned in a flood while on horseback. and they ran the place together. but I’ve never heard her Lan was educated at Oxford. I believe. good girl essentially.owns a restaurant here..anyway a recluse. Mary wanted a girl.couldn’t have children after She’s terribly spoiled.” “No. much more... that is white. Maori always have good He’s been quite positions on his places and in his businesses. I really think she stays in that childish mode because she gets so much attention that way... She’s Maori and adopted.for whom he really cared. In the end he left Mary the entire station. and Maori cultures..speaks fluent Maori. older than she appears. Lan treats her like a child. I’ve heard mother and son converse in Maori.has turned his speak much.a very shrewd businessman.. But it wouldn’t have He’s simple in his tastes.. Rani understands Maori.. holdings into a very profitable business.. lovely Rani..spurns most excess. As a boy he went through a rather wild period. He tries to be a big brother to Rani and do what is best for her because it’s the wish of his mother.. I think she’s ill. but quite spoiled. but his wise father soon straightened him out. He’ll always be Ian’s friend. Her She had married Rang. mattered. Rani is no blood kin. yes. and there’s a Thoroughbred stud farm down west of Lake Taupo that belongs to him. whom he certainly adores.
.. She had suddenly thought of the opening line of Pride and Prejudice and was smiling over that: IT IS a truth universally acknowledged.he drank a lot for a while. There are those who thought he might marry Rani. but he’d step over them -.. so sad.really almost a magazine piece in itself. I hope ya aren’t going to write it.” “Good lord.. as I say..to the most beautiful and clever girl ya could ever imagine. he was married.28 His father was fishing at sea with friends when their boat capsized a few years ago in one of those sudden wicked storms.” Katharine said. with ya. But.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .absolutely breathtaking.I’ve seen him do it.” It really pains “Oh. even though.quite a moving story. exactly my professional cup of tea.. although they seem to have little in common. they’re not blood related..the saddest story..” “I’ll say. the daughter of a Maori chief.” “I could.. He likes to do his own choosing. find anyone like that again. my heart to hear that. I really doubt he’ll ever There are any number of women who’d fall at his feet. and then he just suddenly straightened up and went on with empire building. She died of a rare form of leukemia.” Katharine laughed... So now ya have a bit of personal history to take home . “I imagine Lachlan would be considered quite a catch for some worthy girl.” “It certainly broke his. 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. deftly and politely. no. of course. Margaret. that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. but it isn’t “Oh. and I’m sure he’d consider that incestuous. He was never found. “Oh.” “How interesting this all is..
mix it in with theirs. of course.. and walked along with Margaret. I’d take ya to some lovely places. away and explore. shook out the airy skirt of her dress. She took ahold of Margaret’s arm before they reached the others and said. Margaret. and. and I’ve still seen almost nothing of it. I’m so sorry but I have to leave.. and my head feels . Certainly. this kind of nature. Margaret. Perhaps I wish I had time. sandflies. Her head was awash with new She wondered what Lachlan had expected from that ruinous kiss. “Oh.” Katharine said. tragic information which she had just acquired only made her want to run faster -. and you don’t even have anything here that bites. certain it was time to change the subject. Come. make sure the caterers don’t accidentally walk off with my silver. The She had enough misery resulting from her own history. “I did see those incredible They just made me want to run I’m crazy about nature.” Katharine stood up. standing up. and even more unsettling to her: why she had so ardently succumbed when she knew he likely preferred brief encounters on his way to wherever he was headed. he required some more in-depth exchanges from time to time. places on the tourist channel. perhaps he thought she could presently fill that need. I have some early business to attend.her proclivity for empathic sympathy would make her quite vulnerable. let me introduce ya to a few more of the others.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lachlan would step forward and assume that role simply for his own entertainment. we’ll find someone to show ya New Zealand. information.” Margaret said.” “Just one quite rare little poisonous spider: katipo. No thank you.29 “I’m really falling in love with this land. “I’d better go check on a few things. Ya really can’t think of leaving without a good dose of the beauty that exists here. She suddenly realized that if Margaret now asked her friends for a helpful tour guide.
. By the time she recovered from her outrage Good enough to stop tossing and turning it was nearly time to get up..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. We’ll toast the properly seen New Zealand.30 a little punk.damn you!” Katharine shouted at the dead phone. please don’t bother anyone..and a lot pissed-off.. Us. a sealed envelope.. Green Eyes.I’m. I hope we can spend more time together before I leave.” “Sorry. Katharine’s phone rang and once again it took a few seconds to remember where she was. The late breakfast she ordered in her room came with a red hibiscus flower.” “Incredible.. I’ll wait until you’re quite finished with your work. As for the rest.I’m sorry but I’m no good at casual relationships when I’m working.not at all. “Yes? Hello?” “Kate.” *** Very early in the morning.this time you kissed the wrong one. I enjoyed our talk. pounamu eyes. winners. taxi.” “I’ll have someone drive ya back. we’ll just forget about the casual remark right now because I’m too drunk to argue. Kate.. ya could have let me drive ya back.. but I’m a little pissed -. What did Margie say to ya at that piss-up? meet.” “Well. night... And I’ll look forward to getting together.” Margaret frowned.” “Look.that’s drunk to you -. I mean. it’s three o’clock.damn you.” “No.. because I’m bloodyhell not through with ya... She must’ve told ya I don’t kiss every woman I Lan.. Lachlan.can’t risk another headache. I’ll call a Thank you so much for inviting me. and a smallish. God. “And I hope ya won’t leave until you’ve There’s a phone in the hall. gold-covered ..” “What? Who? Oh.
because I was the foolish chap swallowing. never have called and spoken as I did. talking to all sorts of people in and around and involved with the races. Green Eyes. cool feel of it vibrated in her hand. It seemed that no one could talk or think of The races had begun. carved in an oblong convex shape to accent the gorgeous vermilion streak curling diagonally through its green field like a rushing red river. Still. Finally she snatched the envelope The note read: Katharine up in two fingers and broke its seal. and she slipped the black cord over her head and walked to the mirror. I’ll see you after the races.” *** When Katharine wasn’t sitting in her room with her laptop.31 gift box. her hand dangling over the side grasping the note as she stared into space.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “you know you can’t keep this. a very beautiful and mysterious piece of jade. 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. I should I can’t blame Ian for continually filling my glass. and the Kiwis and Americans anything else. Thinking of it even now. remembering precisely how she had celebrated her first view of the Southern Cross. The smooth. . Lan She sat with her arms resting on the chair. The object in the box is called Totoeka. was a large pendant. Please forgive my conduct. She stuck her hands into the pockets of her bath robe and walked slowly around the table which held these items. like a mongoose circling a cobra. Kate.” she said to the moist green eyes in the mirror. typing away and sending back stories to the magazine which held the contract for all of her New Zealand work. I would have sworn that you would not do what you did last night: Leave without saying good-bye. she was talking. and is a rare form of the stuff your eyes are made of. “Oh.
32 were battling it out in well-matched and finely tuned vessels. she concluded that. The smooth starting-point jockeying of the Kiwi helmsman and his crew in their top-of-the-line. There was no lack of material for her deftly written stories. barring strange and unforeseen accidents and exceptional boat design. big twentyseven meter Vulcan’s Fire was consistently perfect to the second. Her only problem was keeping Cash Taylor He did perform his in line for the various shoots she arranged. and she knew it could not be. Whoever maneuvered into the most favorable position at the start more frequently emerged the winner. quite an accommodating space which normally offered a huge and varied buffet but would be turned into a spacious party hall complete with orchestra. The Americans had invited Katharine to a smaller gathering. They were taking over the entire Fortuna Restaurant quarters. I’ll have a ticket sent over to your hotel. articles tailored to captivate the magazine’s carefully researched readership. They made it look as easy as an aerobatic bird on the wing. When they ran into each other on the crowded wharf. but his idea of punctuality was more laid back than she had ever seen it. Watching them fly through the mercurial course out on the green Hauraki Gulf. where she could bite her nails in seclusion. and she intended to put in an appearance there. the win was decided at the starting gun. “You’re invited. Margaret had just enough time to tell Katharine that there would be a large celebration at the Skytower if the Kiwis won. and rewatching later on television each night. and come . and he was pushing her good nature and high spirits to the edge with his frequent tardiness.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . too. and Ian Smith was a master at getting it right.” Margaret said with a congenial flutter of her hand as she spun off toward the syndicate offices. work well.
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. position reigned. inadvertently pondering small details and the intense directness of his gaze. She saw Lachlan Manutane only a couple of times from a distance. What to do about the exquisite jade pendant? decided it must be given back. in another war zone. except previously the misery had been short-lived or nonexistent. sorry for the Americans but. 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. Margaret’s friendly inclusion topped a list of other invitations which Katharine intended to forego. if someone had to beat them. She had It was only the introduction to an assignation that would shortly end with herself in misery. whatever the outcome. Still. Before her. The initial jolt of excitement at seeing him left her foolishly adrift in confusing territory. regret at what might have been was better than suffering over the demise of a deeper attachment. was another rerun in which a beaming Ian Smith raised high America’s . She would soon be back Standing on various brinks of disaster swiftly banished disabling imbroglios of the self. certain she would not be missed. at once more thrilling than offensive. With patriotic anguish. She waved and turned away He had with her briefcase laptop attached to her other hand. the last time. *** The race was over. She desired to know much more about him. For She stared at her television screen. made no attempt to approach her. acing the American’s out of the favored side of good wind and sealing their fate. It was not an unfamiliar pattern.33 late to the Kiwi event. This time was different. as different as the man himself.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . glad that it was the deserving Kiwis.
ferreting for tidbits of useful information -. Katharine thought the Auld Mug was rather generous of itself. I was hoping for unobtrusiveness.and then standing half hidden near a potted palm. *** “Is that really you.34 Cup. full. Evening wear which artfully molded itself over her slender curving body very appealingly and without vulgarity. untouched glass in her hand. It was black with an almost demure. a straight but filmy short skirt below a plain. spaghetti-strapped bodice. having once been smashed at its current residence by a protester wielding a sledgehammer. Indeed. would imagine a New York model... 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.” he was boasting.I . as she habitually found herself doing.she was always in the market for clever and definitive one-liners -. instead of her usual style of French roll. taking it all in in her comforting role of observing journalist. Kate?” Margaret asked with a surprised scrutiny of Katharine when she spotted her standing by a thick yucca spreading above a large jardiniere. Katharine fingered through her closet. ya look like.” Katharine held a “Good lord.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “I’m an observer. 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. slipping out an airy crepe evening dress she had splurged on in a trendy shop in the upscale inner suburb of Parnell. “The Auld Mug seems to like it here. after-five ambience. Just those things She would and a modest pair of opalescent pearls in her ears. Looking in her mirror. probably end up discreetly chatting here and there.
” More determined than ever. some other more needy folks.” Margaret said.” “Well....” “They were no slouches. and he looks as surprised as I did.oh. . course.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . you’ll nivver bring it off with that hair and costume.35 “Well.. white shirt. “Where have ya been? I was looking for ya earlier. her earnest voice carried a sincerity trailing no hint of the false blandishments heard in some other quarters. love. She was consumed with a desire to run.” “I was at an American wake. “You coward. Guess I’ll run off and tend to Spotcha. I see Lan headed our way.” “Wait.” Here in “This bested American is so happy for you all.” she whispered to herself. and gray slacks stride forward. “Isn’t it grand? Ian is several meters off the ground. run in any direction that held a door through which she could escape. tilted “I don’t lifting the glass almost a necessity.” She had not meant to drink even a sip from her flute of champagne. The food is good. but Margaret had already vanished. want ya getting a headache.a lot of long faces. but they’re pretty good sports.” this splendid land and feeling full of good will. at least. Now. “Please don’t drink that. that very assertive accented male voice made She did lift it.” Katharine begged. and laughed with all the fervor of her triumphant mood. of “Have ya had anything to eat.” he said with a grin that she immediately thought of as difficult to work against. That’s certain. standing firm and watching the tall form in navy blazer. She was wearing a tropics-inspired pale blue dress that matched the color of her happily crinkled eyes. Kate? “I’m afraid I ate at the other place.
I was wondering just how ya ever imagined ya could read my mind.. and I want you to take it.. “Will ya give it to me... “There. freeing her hair from the cord without explaining the Maori word.please just take it and say no more.” She reached into her purse. not who ya seem to think I am.. “That spoke volumes. lovely pendant. Nevertheless.. but I’m royally insulted. wonderful. what she had said. “And please don’t insult me with bad manners. I. While ya were running off at the mouth with false assumptions..36 it and drank half.I’m not who you think I am.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ...more than Ya look--” “Lan.whakaturi. I’m going to hand it to you. He looked at it a moment and then at her while he quickly slipped the cord over her head. First of all. not at all. it was a soft word beginning with an f sound and spoken mostly to himself.” His curled mouth reminded her far too much of that Southern Cross moment.I don’t do this. I’m Do ya really think I’d let some wally photographer spot a woman for me... I want to . let me be. Thank you so much for your kindness. but impatient now. Look. ya look wonderful. lifted out the pendant and laid it in the palm of his hand. I’m sorry we have to stand here like this while I tell you. either. the smile stalled. She hated Please just Gold-ringed eyes like tannin-black forest pools pulled her into their depths. Maybe Cash said Really. paused a moment then drank the other half..I have the pendant in my purse. But I can’t do this..” he said in a low voice... I can’t do this... “And I’m not in the mood for a long story. things to you and you’ve mistaken me for.and then I think you should leave me alone.. I can’t accept the lovely. for Christ’s sake? Pardon my language. I know you meant well.” He tossed back his head as if to rid himself of sudden irritation.while I.
and she stared at his hand there. . Outside the Hyatt Regency.37 be alone with ya.” “That’ll make it easy. eternity for that. but the worry was that this time she would be the one to attempt throwing away the key. his voice even sounding commiserating.” “What?” she asked in astonishment.. even while she was saying.” It was what She tossed her hair back in angry frustration. “I said. You’re late. only holding her arm as if she might escape and moving along the sidewalk until they reached his Range Rover.now wait a minute. he told her to stay put while he retrieved her luggage and checked her out. I’ve been very compliantly waiting an Let’s get out of here. was he who would put them there. My luggage is packed in my room and ready to leave with me in the morning.. The unrelenting intensity of Lachlan Manutane encircled her as forcefully as if she were already locked in a room with him.” touch astonished her because of what it did to her body. He said nothing and made no move to console her. and we’ve done all the celebrating here either of us needs to do. afraid of what she herself would do. because I’ve really had enough of this. happened when she became afraid. “What kind of shape is your duffle in?” “My. “Your place?” “I have a house on the harbor in Herne Bay.” He took her arm.. I will let you take me back to my hotel. “All right. angry that he so readily grasped her predicament. angry for abetting a delusion. She could clearly see the end of this.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Very soon I probably will have a headache. stay when I’m in Auckland. let’s get out of here. His It’s where I We’ll haul it over to my place.. She flew into a It jittery tantrum. as if they were both combating something else.this misunderstanding.
It’s comfortable. and begrudging him the architectural beauty of an old treasure very well restored. We’ll sort it out. she found herself standing on a blood-red Turkish carpet running up close to walnut-wainscoted walls. Kate.38 “Please. I’ll cart ya back here Please just give us a chance.” and let ya go. She folded her arms diffidently and said. “Right. will ya stay put. “What a wonderful sense of humor ya have. she sat huddled in her seat while the bellhop stowed her bags. and look at him the way he was looking at her. Maybe we’ll go sailing tomorrow. a breathtakingly beautiful white Victorian house overlooking the bay.or Do ya like to fish?” “I.” she muttered and was silent.I do fish. “This is where you stay when you’re in Auckland?” she said. Certain she had lost her mind. then hesitating as Lachlan stood aside and nodded for her to precede him through the dark. handsomely carved front door. palmy garden and she was climbing the steps. I have a sloop just over in Westhaven Harbour. “Don’t you have to hurry home and dip cows or punch sheep or something?” He set down her luggage. I like it.. too. Ya need to know . knelt on the carpet before her and laughed with his head cocked back and the cords of his throat tight. promise. passing through an elegant but dimly lit foyer.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She thought if he stayed kneeling there she would kneel down. I If ya don’t like the outcome.. slightly amazed. Once inside. she looked straight ahead while Lachlan drove them out to the harbor and up to his Herne Bay house. and amidst fine old pieces of gleaming oak furniture. kneel down or fling herself down.. Her body aroused. her mind in retreat. the next day.. A few halting steps over the stones of a fragrant.
” she said and smiled for the first time as her fingers clasped the pendant hanging against her breast.” “I was overcome by the Southern Cross. “Ya really are choice. with an accommodating smile.” .” “With playthings in little black dresses.39 that when I work I work hard and when I play I play the same.” “I’d like to think ya wore it for me.” “And not by the way ya were kissed?” “That too. highly amused. fairly soon.” he said.. tell me why I’m here.” I’ll tell ya any number of things. It means something more when I say it.” she said.” “I haven’t been bought with jade.” “I couldn’t even climb them. He lifted her easily in his arms. “It means love token. Ya do know you’re But I think I’ve got to take it off ya Katharine. irresistible in it. I nearly had ya where we stood. do ya realize ya can do anything You’ve done a hell of a lot already. “When ya smile at me like that I’m not sure I’ll make it all the way upstairs either.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .... if you’ll tell me why ya kissed me back the way ya did at Ian’s. reaching out for her. “We’re going upstairs. What does it mean?” His expression was at once sly and amused.because I never say it. Just sex?” “That too. still with vestiges of a smile and trembling all over. “Before you touch me.” He stood. Green Eyes.Kate.. but for your sake I’ll try. and she stepped back.for this?” “Whakaturi?” “Yes.” Again he threw back his head and laughed. Make it clear to me.. “I’ve come this far. “What was that word you said. Do ya know what that means? I fancy ya want with me? ya.
” “But very soon mine won’t be either. because it only means more pain. because you see I don’t want to want you. pounamu eyes. dove-gray duvet and said.. all this waiting is another kind of pain.” He didn’t hurry after he had removed her dress. and her dress came off quickly in his adroit fingers..oh.Jesus. and that can be very hard on the system. and. and when it’s over we’ll be able to talk.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and if you only had a little compassion you’d--” “Be quiet. 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. laying claim to her body until she couldn’t hold still. then his mouth exploring her. and set her gently on his bed. she was half Who was this man? Who was this orchestrated wildness. “Ya won’t be needing them tonight. all. That was But I can’t My brain isn’t working at He rather deftly parted from his own clothes. a stunned Katharine was in the . my suitcases.roses.. talk now..” she called out in a last desperate attempt at rationality. person doing this to her? A man. “I like your perfume. There followed a sort of beautifully Such fierce wildness. She sank down into the soft. recording every unfamiliar place until she wondered if he expected her to beg. afraid half wild herself.” “Attar of roses. which faced out on the harbor.” her whispery voice confirmed. I can’t talk now... He climbed the stairs to the master bedroom. but his hands went over her flesh like those of a blind man. the thing which surprised her. wait. “I’m in very bad shape here. I don’t want to For you it’s nothing at all. have you. First his hands. but for me it’s another eventual misery.40 “My clothes.
and coming like the expert that he was. .” “Nice try. all that earthshaking sensual play. couldn’t tell him that she wanted more. “You could’ve asked me. “I was always hoping that someday you’d come along. All that unleashed hunger.” he said. kissing her lips one at a time. exacted responses utterly surprising to her. and yet thoughtful. her masterfully tended body rocking in waves of incredible sensation.” he said. By climax. nearly delirious. slowly returning.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” And in a couple of weeks it will all be over. She was dazed.” “I like that better. burning up in stimulated excitement so fulfilling all practiced restraint vanished. And then amazingly enough he said. She couldn’t think anymore or question anymore. given so naturally. along with spontaneous cries at feelings she could hardly withstand. Then he was outside her and coming against her belly with her hand pressed down on him. couldn’t answer. In a couple of days it’ll be nearly perfect. care with his sperm.” she said. His freely offered self.41 act of discovering. she responded. all that uninhibited satisfaction. “What?” “If I was on the pill?” “Are ya?” “Yes. “We’ll get better. His mouth gently touched the lids of her closed eyes. wanted to do it all over again. “Okay?” he said with his mouth in her hair. Aiming for lightness but lost in the airy unreal. if not risk-free. she was out of control. she thought. couldn’t open her mouth. absolutely consumed with giving her deep pleasure.” “Why is that?” “Because I’m so cautious that even when I’m celibate I’m on the pill.
God. but she was with him. it was no use.right here with ya.. physical need yanking her into wakefulness with her breath coming so quickly she was dizzy as she cried out.. please. not green like this. his intelligent hands working so adroitly.yes. Green. Looking at their pairing.” “A little. so that she gasped with a craving all new to her and closed her eyes.” Sleepy hot green.not this close. “I want. not like this. pulling her up against him and driving himself right back into her..42 He held onto her. knowing precisely how to make her rise into the air. his mouth caressing the nape of her neck while his hands stroked down the front of her. his deftly arousing touch turning her into his.oh.. waiting as the tall case clock across the room swung its pendulum. she tried to hold herself still.” “This what ya want? Yeah? Tell me.. moaning and arching her body in sudden quick spasms. tried to think of sinking into nullity. the tawny skin dark against her sun-deprived flesh. ya are sexy.. I’ve never seen eyes that color. A little? Do ya like this a little?” he asked.yes. help me. Green Eyes.oh. Green Eyes.” Oh.... Lan.. God... “Oh. until she turned to him thoroughly aroused again.” Very soon they were too lost in the way they were handling Yeah? ..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Ya like this. Maybe the hills on my place in the heat of Christ.I want. The feeling was so wonderful she thought she could drift off to sleep like that. “Open your eyes. He lay with the back of her body tight against him.help me. spring... I want to see your eyes.” “I’m with ya. had felt his muscular strength irrupting in her willing self. don’t ya?” “A little. Good?” “Yes..
only unmistakable involuntary cries paired with a physical satisfaction she would never have believed possible.43 each other. No sooner had she turned on the water His arms came than she found she was sharing it with Lan. sheepskin carpet. Somehow the full pleasure of it never arrived. When she had relieved herself. gently pulling her head back to find her mouth. Her body was damp. a large bucolic painting. bed was damp. Then he had her pressed up They both came very against the tiles and was inside of her. The She looked around the room and saw a vintage oak dresser and desk. she looked into the oak-edged mirror and saw a rather pale face with large. she felt the She weighted tiredness of her body with a strange erotic throb. and she had to pee. She muttered something unintelligible even to herself and felt his mouth opening over hers. Leaning on the counter. to utter any more words. perhaps of South Island range country. only looking . quickly. Erotic feelings and sensations which drove her to near hysteria were heretofore unknown to her. and her partner never seemed to care very much about what was happening to her. He lathered her and himself with a black bar of aromatic soap and they rinsed off. but she was so exhausted she could barely sit up. The next time she opened her eyes was some time in the morning. and the incredible view facing out on the silvergreen bay. around her and he took hold of her hair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . what they were making happen to each other. Her feet slipped down on a broad and creamy She wandered off. decided to take a shower. moist green eyes that seemed almost startled. including her dysfunctional marriage. in itself a sensual luxury. through a carved-oak door which just happened to lead into the bathroom. and she hung onto him because she was so weak from expended energy and from him. Her previous encounters with men had always been of minimal effect or unsatisfactory or both.
“Ya haven’t had sex in a while... slipping backwards into his arms.” he said.it was. “The innocence.” “Ya think I was buying souvenirs? store. You’re I think it’s back to bed.. picking her up.but ya enjoyed this. and he said..the way ya lost yourself in it.. The way ya I followed ya into the noticed things. the smile it induced lingering on her face.” “What makes you think you know so much?” He smiled and said.. A kind of slow . while he leaned on an elbow and studied her.you cared how I felt. I’d been watching ya for some time.like it was something all new to ya. “Hold it. In a dreamy state of fatigue she turned to open the door. Kate...” “You--” “Yeah. “What? Are you made of steel? I’m so tired that--” “I’ll let ya sleep. I want ya to sleep. I still wonder why you followed me out of the store that day.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the surprise.” “Do “And I think that’s where I get worn out.” she said. I could almost feel the Ya would pick something up and think about it and then put it down and hold your hand on it.. smiling as if it was still in your possession. touched things. and I don’t think ya enjoyed it much when ya did..” “It.44 at each other occasionally with very few words spoken.” She opened her eyes and faced his continuing scrutiny straight on. you have any coffee in this place?” “The coffee is after bed.caring makes it good.. “I like the way ya said that. she lay staring at the ceiling in a half daze.” Her eyes closed as she relived the incredible pleasure of really being with someone.” When he had dried her and himself off with huge navy towels. pleasure ya had in them.. You. All brand new. completely and totally rooted. “Why did you...
one I’m We. I live in a different world.. I’m discovering that you’re very smart--I rather suspected it after Taylor’s grudging praise--and you’re funny. I think ya want more loving..” “And I think you have me mixed up with yourself. You’re not a part of any It’s obvious ya have an open mind.helps make ya who ya are. but I’m no fool. I mean with a sense of humor that is absolutely necessary in this bloody rotten world. And who ya are is the person I find very attractive.” “No.” “All right..” “You think these are such untainted eyes? they’ve seen? Do you know what Not all the time..so fair. I wanted your hands on me that Ya turned toward me once and looked right through me. Lan.. the soles of my feet. You’re fresh. way. Those green eyes shot sparks through totally somewhere else. I tend to be an optimist I’m a journalist.45 contemplation and consideration I found bloody irresistible.maybe even necessary.... a writer of obscene truths.. I think so. and I report on this rotten world. I can see you’re not going back to sleep.” . not all perfection...” “Ah. And as we go along.” “Am I falling asleep yet?” “No.we wouldn’t last..” “You’re awfully good at this.why me?” “Haven’t I been telling ya why? complicated Enzed crowd.but.” “Is it so bloody rotten for you?” “Not always..strangely beautiful.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Yeah. rather like sixty volts..” “Yeah.” “Guess how I got that way. don’t say that.untouched by the history here. so let’s do this instead. going back to... anyway.too bloody cynical..” “Haven’t you ever noticed anyone else doing that?” “Not the way ya did it..
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
” “Yeah. Lan. she exclaimed. huh?” “I imagine you do that very well too.” She was standing there thinking about her former husband.” “What does Waiata Reka mean?” “Sweet Song.” She turned and looked off at the other boats. When Katharine first saw his boat Waiata Reka riding in its slip at Westhaven Harbour.” “In sailing it works this way: ya either know how to sail or ya don’t. Katharine. pretty as an antique jewel box. Richard.. want to sail.that is..” “You’re a sort of poet. “Beautiful. I’ve had the captain’s orders that go along with the sport. I wonder why that is.the water splashing against the bow..51 that might be caught on the way to and from Rangitoto.. thirty-five feet of history loaded with new gadgets to keep ya from drowning. Which is it?” “I’m a Northwesterner. “Changed my mind. I like the sound she makes close-hauled and It’s an moving fast. cleat down that fucking line. old boat.. ten and a half meters. her feet moving a little forward up the dock with the memories still .” “And not a cow puncher. Do I have to knock you off this damn fucking boat again to get your attention?” She jumped back onto the dock. My captain I don’t knocked me in the water when I didn’t move fast enough. 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. and how he used to swear at her: “Goddammit. “Do ya know anything about sailing?” “A little.. Lachlan.so my editors believe. I don’t want to sail.” “And evasive as hell.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
Sweet Green Eyes. “What son of a bitch treated ya like that?” “My husband. unless. or I wouldn’t have this assignment. polished bronze hardware. The perfectly flush lay and rich vertical grain of the shining teak deck. He recleated a line fast and jumped onto the dock. we’re going sailing to have fun... . Someone must come and care for this boat most tenderly when he was away. “All right. I can’t believe it. They were out and ready for sail.” While the auxiliary took them out of port. Please get back on the boat. Right?” I don’t We’re here to enjoy ourselves. moving slowly toward him along the tilted deck and then dropping into the cockpit. The boat yawed slightly. standing up.” she said. I Sometimes I sound a little gruff.about all that. Show me your stuff or take a nap. that’s all.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. but. allowing her to reveal her own capabilities. Bloody-hell.” she agreed.” “I think I do know how to sail.sometimes it was so demoralizing that I--” “We’ll see. and she grabbed a shroud. and down in the galley.. coming up behind her and turning her around in his arms. of course. He said no more to her. I can handle I just have to move a little faster. she stared about her at a very shipshape sloop. he did it all himself.52 burning away in her insides. “All right. this boat. but it’s just the way I am. don’t care whether or not ya know how to sail. give a damn. “Would ya like to take the wheel while I hoist canvas?” he asked with careful politeness. “Sorry. the glinting bright winches and turnbuckles. gleaming cabinets. solid and firmly set over well-joined.” “The bloody fool dumped ya off your own boat? what a wanker.
“Will I have to teach ya how to ride a horse?” he asked as he changed places with her. and the mainsail was climbing into the sky. She stretched out on her stomach opposite the cockpit on the seat above the well and said between her fingers. snapping the jib shackles to the forestay and raising the luffing jib. They beat into the wind for a while. sweet song.. “She’s all yours. Waiata Reka.53 Bent on holding Waiata Reka steady into the wind. “So now we know.. The water rushing against the bow was music. She was laughing and there were joyful tears in her eyes when he reached her side. but the ones I’m thinking of are in Canterbury. he had freed the main halyard tail. sliding his thumb across her wet cheek and kissing her laughing mouth. then he brought the . her eyes went from the telltales to a quick glance at his hands and back to the telltales. “I haven’t seen any horses around here.” was all she would give out. “Okay. When she looked again toward the mast.” he said. “You have such magical names in this land. Her heart began to speed up as she watched him in the bow.” he called.something very important that I won’t have to teach ya.” She turned the wheel and the sails swelled and bit into the mast. she looked up at the whipping telltales on the shrouds. staring out toward Rangitoto.” She was silent. and her heart lunged like that as the boat heeled and strained. Determined not to let the boat fall off as he deftly worked at shaking out the mainsail along the boom.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . nearly leaping into the sky with windpower. swelling and lapping with hunger. Glorious to watch the big sailcloth suck at the wind.” “There are horses around here.
Water reflections danced off his face beneath his cap.54 bow to leeward and slackened sail as the wind fell abeam of them. “Ah. handing her a baseball cap and a tube of sunscreen. lifting the hat from her hand and pulling it down over her shaded eyes.” “I’ll just watch for a while. hook and do some fishing. “Oh. Margaret do a lot of my talking for me? “Oh. she told you. Get some rest.” he said. Kate. She’s a real straight arrow and doesn’t like to say Didn’t “When will Ya know some things. 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. or just keep quiet and try to figure it out contextually with my high intelligence?” .” things behind another’s back without permission. that’s all. mysterious Kate.” “This is something she does for you. “Better put on a hat and some of this.” “Yeah. E whakaaro ana ahau he patai hohore tena.” “Should I tell you whenever you use an Enzed expression that I’ve never heard. I get it off my chest that way without going round the bend. 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. in stillness as a pod of dolphins played off the bow. “Okay. Please don’t get yourself in high dudgeon. You’re still rooted. feeling the heat and finally donning her sunglasses. and the sails jostled Thrilled. I’m going to bait a I understand. tells your women--” “God.” he said. she looked on. Ya have some problems. The boat lurched into a soft glide. You’re rather untrusting. I just said it was absurd. Kate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . talk to me in a language I can’t understand.” “Damn it.
a film or a dream. then laughed softly and shook his head. I like ya that way. on the other hand. puffs of breeze tugging at his hair. but. . cocking his head. I’ll simply try and explain as we go along. doing.” “Yeah? It’s all in the way ya hold your mouth. greatly enhanced by a rhythmic cadence of wind in the attenuated sails and lyrical swashes of water on the hull. His tan fingers moved with a quick and familiar dexterity. and she saw that he concentrated thoroughly on what he was doing. the line he used was light and delicate enough for a fair and artful play with smaller nimble fish. but then all the mysterious dark life in him jolting the perception into a vivid reality of here and now. A perfect blue dome of Canaletto sky. “Green Eyes.” She watched him toss his hat down. as if he were alone. She watched until her eyes burned and she grew soporific and almost dizzy. easing herself down on the teak deck.55 He was walking away and he turned around. his arm casting out over the waves.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’ve been pretty well I think I’ll know what ya schooled in the language department. the intense dazzle of light reflecting off the green sea. aren’t getting. pull off his sunglasses and reach into the chiller for bait.” 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. put his foot up on the taffrail and glanced back at her. That unselfconscious aspect of him was reassurance both exemplary and fascinating to her. you’re a hard case -. He made a smooth long cast. The spinning rod he used looked powerful enough to pull in some hefty sport fish. stared at her thoughtfully for a moment. “Sure ya don’t want to do this?” “I’d rather watch you.there’s one for ya: independent.
all wet. There are sharks around here. She looked up at him and began to laugh. What “I woke up and saw you with that club. and I. You’ll dry out. and he reached for her. He kissed . Her father? Some ominous form chasing her through endless rooms in a strange building and out a small confining window into the sky.. Granted they’re well fed sharks. “This is certainly proving to be a very unusual day. He was throwing a rope ladder over the side. A noise opened her eyes. When she hit the water she was thoroughly awake and sputtering. and dreamed something dark and foreboding. “I thought you were someone who. Someone was after her. “Come out of there. but I don’t like ya in this water. Jesus.” She was struggling forward.” she choked out.I thought you were going to hit me.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . come here ya silly wahine. then she fell into a deep sleep. where she tried flapping her arms to stay above the ground and fly away.” He pulled her against him and pushed her dripping hair out of her eyes.” “I was using my mere to club a big kahawai I just caught. screamed and leapt up and over the side of the boat. “Kate! For Christ sake. What in bloody-hell are ya doing?” Lan shouted at her. “Now you’ve turned your clothes into swimming togs. A couple more times she looked up and saw Lan casting his line out over the realm of unknown fishes.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. 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... Look at ya. She She saw a dark figure standing nearby with a raised club..
I want ya. sweet crazy little ipo. I come below and discover a bare-skinned woman sleeping with her golden-haired self sprawled across my bunk. oh. feeling so at peace that she drifted into sleep almost at once.. Ipo.” “What if I were to start calling you strange names. Deep in the throes of the second kiss her bare feet left the deck and she was up against him in his arms. “I have to go topside before things get out of hand. After a while he said. amazed at his ferocious expression of hunger and need.” .57 her wet mouth. I want ya. you randy devil?” “I just called ya a woman. peeling them away from her cool damp skin. his taut-skinned. “Bloody amazing. Jesus. and she twined around him as they tore into each other in the utter joy of wildly impassioned oblivion. talking and come here. Some time later she opened her eyes to the touch of his hand on her cheek. feeling drowsy and sated. I want ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .please come here. Just when I’m getting over the shock. and she drew herself back away from him. He was crouched on the edge of the bunk. sweet ipo.” She stretched. I’ll Stop lay your clothes out on the deck to dry.” He pulled on his shorts. and ya are very much that.” He pulled her damp hot body down on the tight bunk. Kate. “Get your little arse over here wahine before I come all over my boat. while the boat gently swayed and water sloshed indifferently against the hull.. then his own clothes came off in a wild rush. and she felt his warm solid body hard against her. “My god. “Stay here. ya open your dreamy eyes and I want to dive into those green pools and swim right down to the bottom of ya. heat-flushed naked body leaning over her.” He carried her below and removed her wet clothes.
she put her hands behind his neck and straddled him with her knees pressed into the cover of the bunk.” Turning herself half around. somehow get deep inside that dark enigma and reach the place that made her into a sensual being full of heretofore unknown joy. It had begun with her eyes roving over curves and angles of sun-warmed. “Is this what ya wanted?” She would have said rhetorical if she could have thought clearly. As she quickly sucked in air a startled high note of satisfaction like a short wail issued from her mouth. Nothing of her escaped those tracking black eyes. then her clearing head considered the words of his poetic voice. He laughed and lifted her onto his lap. Then his hands were on her waist. to somehow. She stared up into his eyes. her body swaying. don’t hit your head. “Hey.” She was beginning to moan softly.58 She sat up slowly. could have then said anything clearly. They were almost together then as he coaxed her into a tight . then almost at once her lazy heart lurched forward colliding with her ribs. and felt them crash into the roof of the cabin. not an invasion but a coupling that gave such excruciating pleasure the sweet pain of it knocked her head back. she curled her body against him. don’t hurt yourself. Her throat gave out a garbled breathless acknowledgment as she threw her arms into the air. covering her mouth to suppress a halfgrinning yawn. lifting her up and bringing her down on him. ya wild little wahina. her arms extended forward with her hands anchored on his shoulders as her heart raced and her breath came in quick jagging gasps. walnut-gold flesh and poignantly wind-mussed hair. her gaze captured and held by points of light glittering in diminishing hues of hot darkness. Seized with a desire to touch and touch.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Careful.
The kahawai was about twenty inches long. pointed-nosed fish with a V-shaped tail and nicely attenuated at both ends. “Oh. Jesus Christ. I sometimes fish for steelhead.look out!” “Oh. collapsing against him. Yeah.” she said.. “Okay?” “Uh-huh. “At home.with me.59 weave of heated rhythm. are my clothes?” When she was dressed she came topside and said.. beaked noses and large sad eyes.. bin.. Easy. gutted..” she said.” she cried out. stroking her back.. 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. Jesus. beautiful silvery fish with dark backs.” They lay back with two hands locked together beside their heads.” was issued with a slight gasp. “No.” he finally muttered into her left ear.lovely. The tarakihi were rounder. “Ah! My God... lovely fish. He held her. “Nice. a silvery-green-topped. Careful.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” His fingers clasped her waist. With me.” It’s in the chilly “Where “Are ya hungry? Do ya want to eat first or “Good on ya.oh God. oh.” She lifted the lid and studied the fish. ya remembered its name. Don’t hit your. kissing and stroking one another in lazy oblivion. wait. “We’re anchored off Rangitoto.. “Where is the kahawai? I want to see it.. streamlined ocean-going trout with . tramp?” “I want to eat like a starving tramp. dark-banded raised foreheads.yes. also with forked tails..also two tarakihi..
a stylized ancestor. a common practice.” “Ya did. a tiki. which she declined.. He glanced at her for the certainty of her refusal and then drank from the bottle himself. I always put them back..” she said in a soft voice. staring up He peeled an orange and handed it to her. Do you ever think of yourself as two opposing halves?” she asked with a carefully gentled . but very appropriate for my Maori half -..” he said. “Mau tenei arani.a tattoo on the buttocks.60 tremendous fight.” “Mau tenei arani.” she repeated.” “I’m certain ya do.. offering her another Steinie. at the island.a. big mana. “You said your Maori half. She watched him slice the grainy bread and edge off wedges of cheese then hand an open sandwich to her.fertility.” he said.” She repeated it several more times while he smiled at her. and.” “I doubt it. power. “I. “Ya have a very good ear. They ate in silence..” “What is it?” “A heitiki.. swilling Steinlagers. “What is ipo?” “Ipo is sweetheart or lover.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “I find it choice. really quite wonderful that ya can blush with such innocence after what we’ve done to each other.. They sat on the deck.” “All the more reason to blush.I noticed your tattoo when we were.” His eyes held hers until she began to blush so deeply she could feel the coloration spreading over her face.” “What?” “I said this orange is for ya.” “I see.. did ya? Something that occurred in my wilder days.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . What’s that small-leaved one?” The last part is easy boardwalk and a . They’ve seen it before.. He rowed them to shore in the dinghy with their boot ties knotted and the boots strung around their necks. had a few scraps. I’m comfortable with myself..” “The name is short for Nga Rangi-iotongia-a-Tama-te-kapua. lot of wood steps. thanks to my father.. It’s two hundred and sixty meters high and it’ll take about an hour to reach the top.” “The Arawa canoe?” “It’s rather a long story. It means ‘the days of Tamatekapua’s bleeding. The Scots aren’t much of a problem. They secured the dinghy..61 voice. “I’m what is known as hawhe kaehe in Maori. but the Maori came here in waves of canoes.’ Arawa canoe was wounded here. I don’t think of it much anymore. “the name. “These trees and shrubbery grow right out of the lava. The Arawa canoe arrived in the Bay of Plenty in the That’s where the Arawa Maori settled. The chief of the fourteenth century.. a half-caste.and far too busy. Wouldn’t change anything.. “Rangitoto blasted out of the sea only six hundred years ago and last erupted about two hundred and fifty years ago.everything. I went through a period of being bothered by it. “Tell me about this place.” “Where are those clodhoppers I’m supposed to put on to protect my cute little feet?” she asked. even though there were almost no Maori on the Canterbury plains.have been fairly well accepted among my Maori friends. but I speak the language well enough.” She halted a moment to gaze off at the dark greenery. not for me.” she said as they jogged forward. booted up and headed over the very rough black lava trail.
I know it.. anything.a slightly different species from Australia.Christmas time.still a few Bees love them.. Enzed. talk to me. and she I waited and waited. last words from my mother were a promise that we would pick . Ya had some on your toast this morning. 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. “Kate Green Eyes. I went to live with my grandmother. The I didn’t know that. glanced around and left.your family.62 “Manuka.” “Oh. 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. five. tea tree oil and soap and shampoo.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and medicine to us. a rather all-purpose plant that you might know as the tea tree -. They returned in about half an hour and sat on a bench gazing out to sea. the early settler’s tea substitute.” Lan said as they walked the loop around the crater’s rim. grazed by cattle and sheep. She I couldn’t blame her for that.” “None?” “None that I know of.” They crunched on over the lava in silence. promised me she would come back for me. My mother left my father when I was He was cruel.. their honey here. Another young couple came along. “Motutapu is mostly grassland. your childhood. and honey collectors get lingering red flowers. good stuff.” “I have no family. Finally. and he said.. They sat looking at each other. but I never saw her again.. Always blooms at chrissy.. they were starting up the boardwalks and steps. She was killed in an automobile accident with her lover. stopping now and then to look back through the tunnel of leaves or outward when a sea view was available.
. I found it very easy to go into dangerous places. end of story. Cut loose from everything. She tried to tell me the beating was really She nothing personal because she was afraid it would ruin me. was one of the saddest days of my life. said he was only venting his rage at my mother. her Wild Flower. cut-throat advertising executive.little did I know.” Surprised at having said so much.. took me into her When she died it heart and filled me with sweet old aphorisms. . It just became a habit. That was when I became a journalist.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but I was a little too cerebral and. you “Then I went to Stanford where I became a quillet-tongued wise-ass. until I had my ears knocked back getting shot at. There. She was a Greenhouses in the winter filled with heavenly blue I roamed her woods. grandmother discovered that my father was beating me she took me away. I guess. and developed some humility. When my I sometimes dream that my mother and I are there.. He was the one who made my judgment of another’s character highly suspect.very lovely. My grandmother sometimes spoke French. me to a very good school where I excelled. iris and white and yellow narcissus. lady-slippers. And then?” I always had to. do. not quite. It lasted a little over a year.” “Yeah. she was beginning to regret it.63 flowers together in the meadow of a woods beyond our farmhouse... see. I was eight. I’m beginning to see. End of story. I’m good at writing. possibly even worse than my father. They’re a small wild orchid. I loved my grandmother.. idealistic.decided to make my contribution to the world by exposing its evil underbelly -. and She sent she called me her Fleur des Champs. greedy. and that’s what I I accidentally married Oh. I’d intended a musical career. florist. Richard one cold winter sojourn in New York. hunting wild things. a deceitfully friendly. She saved my life.
“Now. and that’s the part I’m talking about..” “A nice memory. Very soon you’ll be shut of all this. He leaned away and looked at her long and hard in silence..wonderful.. Why are ya here..and.” she said.I guess I opted for a nice memory.. I bloody well knew it would turn into this.but a part of me felt something else. “I wish you hadn’t done this.. as folks in the southern United States like to say. but found herself being led back. . I don’t quite know how it works. was hoping for more..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . yeah. “Well. but to me it’s been. “I simply want to know ya.. smiling..” She sprang off the bench. and touching ya and looking at ya and listening to ya. Jesus. ready to head downhill. 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.” she said in a low voice. looking at her. having ya..” I “I “Fun when you come to Auckland.. guess I can’t argue with that. because I was right about everything I thought when I first saw ya..64 He sat in silence.. Kate?” “I.until now. know you think it’s been a crazy mixed-up day. “Sit down a minute.. more than you ever wanted to know about Katharine Gordon.you see.” “I’m. I’d have sworn it was more than that.” he said. because I’ve discovered I like being with ya.the kind of wonderful that hurts. A part of me thought ya might be fun for a few days. one of the best days I’ve ever--” He had hauled her against him and buried his face in her salty hair.” she said. “That’s good.. recognized ya the exact moment I saw ya wandering down the street.I’m being conservative. clever funny Green Eyes..
after she had turned down the fish.” she said. and they walked down the hill. He scrambled six eggs. I’m just sorry you’re in this sooky state. hardly touching but ranging deep inside of each other. and toast served on blue and white china.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . After showering. I had a wonderful . The day isn’t over yet. tea. then went into the living room which he called the lounge. browsing idly through an array of magazines. he asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner. wearing fresh tan slacks and a blue silk shirt. sliced tomatoes. don’t ya?” Nothing more was said of what had transpired.” “Moody. Maybe you’ll catch some fish on the way back. which went into the freezer. and she declined. Fluffy eggs with a bit of cheese. 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. “Explain please. They returned home late. Ya like to fish. Katharine. it’ll go away. sat on a lovely old striped Victorian chaise lounge. “I’m sorry. you wanted to go out to dinner.” “Is that what I am? Well.” She flashed him the first grin of the evening and said. Recalling parts of my past is like a spurt of bad chemistry.65 Something just clicks and there ya are. and you’ll never be the same. didn’t you?” “Not at all. and ya can’t go back to whatever the hell it was ya were doing before. They cleaned up the kitchen and washed the dishes together. I’ve had articles in here on occasion.” “You’re scaring me. feeling rather unsociable and wanting to simply wander through his house and peer at the books in his library. “Hmm.” “Don’t be afraid. somewhat subdued in mood. both in somber thought.
please.” “Ya have. started to speak and then continued looking in silence.” “You can hurt someone without touching them. Not 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. Don’t worry. but--” “But I might. I suppose. that’s how I feel. easier for ya than taking a chance . how can ya do that and then I’m sorry but I feel like I’ve got a temper Ya refuse to accept it.that’s how I feel. death you’ll get away from me. that’s how I feel. out of my head and can’t think of anything else. Ya know how I feel. I’ll always remember that. He looked at her a long moment with incredulity.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’ll always the way.. “Nothing. and I’m trying to figure out how to do that.. but I’ll never lay any pain on ya. yourself so completely. When ya make love with me ya give Oh Jesus. eyes and--” “Stop it. remember this day. Kate?” Running around the world nearly getting shot is. know ya do. You’re a little coward Is that it? And the sky might fall. The way you do things. Scared to I should be working. yeah. Have I?” “No. Your clever hands. When I get home I’ll be able to close my Please stop it.. unwilling to take a chance.” “Then I feel sorry for ya. What I don’t think ya realize is that ya feel the same. “I’m besotted with ya. and the In what do ya place your trust. Kate.but I loved watching you fish along I can close my eyes and see you. but I’m not going anywhere until I have ya with me. I was a lazy lout. that’s how I feel. earth might cave in. ya must. just chatter on about walking away? smashing something.. I My God.” “Tell me.” Tell me how you feel.66 day.
67 on a close human relationship.. but he caught her and held her and let the tears fall on his shirt.” she said. looking at him with her sad moist eyes and seeing reflected back such obvious misery she had to look away.your Everything you did was like being hit hard.....oh... She had walked away so that he wouldn’t see how badly she was shaking.everything about you. Your mind..” he said. such. coming up behind her..” she cried out and tried to flee with her hands over her face. “At least tell me the truth.. “How could that be when I always.. “Kate..the raw truth... hands...” he said softly.yes.oh.” he said..yes.” “I tried to tell you in the beginning.. “Poor little Green Eyes.what? Way-waya?” “Recently I’ve become What is it? Whatever it is I can’t stand much “It’s..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. She stood up quickly and walked to the window. and. Tell me.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. or tell me it won’t go away.lovesickness.such pain. Tell me something. God.” changed completely. looking out on lights around the harbor. loved you. I just sat there in pain and.rather unstable. you’re--” She turned around rapidly and said.” “Tried to tell me what?” “I guess that I’m. “The truth.. “Tell me it will go away. I was getting sick.. oh such pain. the way we make love. wiping her eyes with his . sharing moments with you.. Today.” he explained. very familiar with it.. He was grinning and his expression had “Lovesickness?” she said with a startled and frightened voice.
“Taku manawa. Soon he lifted her writhing body atop him and watched her pleasure them both. She ran her tongue over his firm nipple. Their first movements. and he threw back his head. taku tau. My heart. lost in a swaying rapture with her head back.” “Are you making fun of me?” He didn’t answer. and to the kitchen to stave off hunger pangs. . He slid his mouth over her lips as she quivered with desire. taku tau. making her cry out. *** Their lovemaking had been so furious and all-consuming that when morning came neither wanted to get up. were slow and languid. even more arousing now. rubbing his chin over the top of her head.” she repeated. staring idly out at the harbor.” He turned her face up.” “Taku manawa. “What was that you said in Maori?” “What?” he asked. She lay with her head on his shoulder. staring into his suddenly intense face. She looked down into his burning Then eyes and saw them glazed with a vulnerable satisfaction. She’s having a good cry. They stayed in bed most of the day. my love. luxuriating in the certainty of the terrible heat to come. “You said you would tell me some day.68 thumb. feeding her from his careful hand. “Tangihanga. kissing him back until he took hold of her. then thrust into her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . In the early evening he brought her a glass of chardonnay and a single slice of bread with salami. only rising for brief visits to the bathroom. merely picked her up and carried her once again up the stairs to his bedroom. sliding her down and fitting her against him. leaned over and looked into her eyes.
nearly deranged with the pleasure shooting and spiraling all through her body and brain until she was limp and senseless.” “When I was twenty-two I was very serious. She saw his face change very subtly.. I’m up for it. Nice plane. much older than I am now. “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 -. a slight frown of impatient annoyance. she threw her arm over her head and lay back. “When they finally do arrive. pulling her head back by a silky hank of hair and opening her mouth with a deep kiss. Overfucked and brain-dead?” What kind of a pilot do ya want? “I’m a very nervous passenger.” she said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and then ya close .” “I can just imagine it. When it abated.” he said. ridiculously so. to make a pun. Kate. “You know when you do that I only want more.just replaced my old Cessna with a new one. panting softly. A Turbo Skylane four-seater. drawing up her knees and curling against him.that will take some time. “You’ve had enough. ya little glutton. I’m rooted. with their bodies drenched in sweat.the little idiot. Cor blimey. if they ever get there. Green Eyes.” “Where is Rani?” Katharine asked.” “All right. We’re flying out of here tomorrow. “Nothing to worry about.69 he rolled them over and made her come very quickly with a ferocity that startled and thrilled her. lassie. her parted legs quivering. if those pikers get in anyone’s way there’ll be hell to pay.. too..” he said laughing. He laughed and said.. I’m fairly interested in living. It was only the beginning of a relentless give-and-take energy which made her cry out over and over.
Katharine saw that the small plane was indeed sparkling new and looked like a very capable and compact form of private transportation.” *** They had taken a taxi south out of town and over to the air strip where his plane was parked. while she sat pondering how she had come to be making this journey and wondering what would happen next. which he had already ordered topped off.70 your green eyes and give me a rest. He gave her a reassuring smile. and gave forth more of the She glanced . she was shaken from her transfixed state when the plane bucked in an unruly current of air. at Lan. wall-to-wall carpeting. “You’re off to Waikikamukau.500 rpms several times. they had to travel only about 600 miles. but at 12. then they rolled down the runway and powered into the sky. At the moment she was too suspended in the narcotic of love to care.500 feet and eighty-eight percent power it could travel 594 knots in a little over three hours. Oxygen for each passenger. range. like a multifaceted brooch set with colored gems of all the earthy hues. depended on the air speed and altitude. then checked the oil and fuel. It had a single piston engine of 235 The horsepower and could fly at an altitude of 20.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Staring dreamily through the window and out into the blue horizon. touched her arm and said. tinted windows. and at a speed of over 180 miles per hour they would arrive in a little over three hours. he revved the engine up to 1. When they were cleared for take-off. Kate Green Eyes. and shoulderharness seatbelts. As the crow flies. Lan loaded in their luggage. She looked down upon this exquisite surprise of clouddappled land pinned between the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Ocean.” “Why kick a moo cow?” she said.000 feet. he told her.
Lan. She looked away and His wife had not entered her For thoughts since the incident with the fish hook pendant.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . this had been a selfish time of falling in love.” he said. He looked at her carefully and said. I rather suspect a lot of it When my father was lost at sea she never Her devotion was very strong and thorough. Collywobbles? Not going to spew breakfast are ya?” “Not if I can help it. thinking that he must be implying that his devotion to his dead wife remained strong. disturbed ya?” “No. too many variables to consider. The runway is on our station. really recovered. Did I say something that . She was trying to remain calm and show how unconcerned she was but her stomach was not cooperating. and slipped back into silence. “Tell me about your mother. “No worries.” “You’ve gone very silent. Once again the plane was going through some turbulence in the mercurial and wild currents of air whipping across New Zealand. A term for the very back of beyond.71 soft giggling laughter which he found so enchanting. very like her in that respect.” she said.” She was silent. “Exactly. stems from depression. and she suddenly felt a little nudge of fear. 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. I’m congenerous. and Lan spoke little of his earlier days. but it was simply impossible. his past was a strange unknown place to her.” She tried to imagine how it would be. not quite a mile. Except for Margaret’s brief history. nothing. Katharine. realized that she felt sad. “How far will we have to drive when we land?” “Hmm.” “My mother is not very well.
“Yes. country does wonders for them. lifting her hand to his mouth. brought Sometimes they have wonderful stories to Their loneliness and.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” he said. They can be like a family. Kate.” “Nothing to be sorry about. the loss of loved ones A visit. even come with me to Christchurch. “I was thinking about your mother. I’m here with ya.. I’ve often chatted with shut-ins. of course. but I’m more impressed with ya than ever. I do.” She fell silent again. that isn’t what I meant. but altogether rather flat. Kate. Realizing that he was hungry. I think you must have been very much so.” she said.” “God. They were coming down over dry rolling- hilled. them small things. Whenever I’m at I like them. tell. After a while she dozed off.72 “I only wanted ya to know that I’m faithful. and was astonished to find that they were in a landing pattern. and the droning engine made her sleepy.are very much so. Does she go out?” “No.. These were called the Southern Alps. tussockland with a river flowing through it and gorgeous snow-capped peaks biting into the sky.” “Yes. “Have any desire for a sandwich?” he asked. home I try to visit with.” “Sorry. Kate.” and reached for the bag with their ham sandwiches in it. a hug. “I didn’t mean to.sorry. When my grandmother died I was so lonely for the company of an elder that I started visiting retirement homes. Lan.. Kate said.with older people... That’s the sort of person you are. When they had finished. show me around while I’m there. . trying to tell ya who I am. I’m so sorry. she neatly folded the wrappers and put them back in the bag while he smiled at her tidiness. I live in the present. and Lan was radioing someone on the ground. a drive in the Maybe I could get your mother to causes serious depression.
ya need a lot of hectares.hmm. “Well.about fifteen thousand. some species of dry smallleaved holly.” They touched down and rolled over a long packed runway. They drove down a gravel road and turned into a lane bordered by thick and low.. and I’m glad. At the end of the lane. He named my mother Mary from Green Braes is named for it. and was soon handing him luggage to be transported to another Range Rover.” “That’s a lot of acres. and I was raised on Robbie Burns. she saw rising before her .acres.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “How many acres do you have?” “Acres?. Katharine asked. My grandfather loved that poem.. “It is..acres. Now you’ll be rested..” she said. not as smooth as the one they took off on. lifted her into his arms and gave her a long warm kiss. “from his poem Afton Water. weathered looking Maori stepped up.” he said with surprise. “The name sounds like something out of Robert Burns.” she said. Eager for more history and facts. Got to concentrate here a minute and we’ll be down. reeking of tobacco that she could smell on the wind coming through the open cabin. the green banks upriver where our property runs around lake preserves and into rugged foothills. Lan came around to her side of the plane. after a few friendly words of introduction. then got behind the wheel of the Rover.” Lan waved Rex off.73 “I can’t have slept that long. “I’ve been thinking about doing that for nearly four hours... When the plane had taxied off the runway. my sleepy Green Eyes. Welcome to Green Braes... but sound and well maintained. an older. Lan greeted him as Rex. ya did. gnarled old trees. astonished.” “For sheep and cattle.
“It’s more like a. “That It sweeps down Many’s the time it’s been a good excuse for a corker of a scrap. perhaps somewhere in her mid-fifties.” “Jesus. snob are ya.Lachlan Manutane. “That’s your--” “My home.. She was slender and almost as She wore tall as Lachlan. “Is that--?” “Green Braes Lodge.” he said. The Lodge.Laird of Green Braes Lodge. with a burst of laughter.” he said.. ya make me laugh. Did you really attend Oxford?” “You’re not a “Oi did. lassie?” Lan teased. nor’wester is the bane of us high plains jokers.” she said. ya cheeky brat... as they rolled to a stop in the circular drive before the steps of the towering Lodge.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” He looked at her and laughed.a sort of castle for a feudal baron.74 what she thought resembled a great stone church.. I love it. Katie Green Eyes?” “No one ever accused me of it. well-cut tan slacks and a white tailored blouse beneath an olive . off the mountains and as such is called a föhn. Stone does very well out here in these extremes of heat and snow. “Testin’ your temper. simply her way of honoring my father. “My mother might greet ya in It’s Don’t worry if ya don’t understand something. Maori.” “I see. 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.” “Big and solid it is.” An attractive woman with short ash-blond hair and a smiling face was standing on the steps.. having stepped off the plane into a hot wind which could hardly be ignored.’ as my grandfather was fond of calling it.” “I certainly feel the heat.
smiling and waiting. . and said.” Mary Manutane said. Katharine.75 green. Katharine also noticed that Mary rolled her r when she said Green Braes. Katharine. and they embraced in a very loving way. Lachlan turned around and said. this graceful specimen of mature womanhood must be Lachlan’s mother. Haere mai.” “She said that was a beautiful remark. immediately that Mary Manutane was not used to being warmly greeted by anyone but her son and probably Rani. She had been practicing it over and over to get the perfect vowel sound and authenticity to the words. Lachlan went forward to meet her. There was a brief moment of Katharine saw restraint and then Mary hugged her back.” She smiled at Mary Both Lan and Mary smiled with appreciation.” Lan said. putting her arms around Mary.” Katharine hung “Welcome to Green Braes. Katharine had been carefully practicing a single Maori phrase--This is a beautiful land--which she had heard another journalist repeat to a coaching Maori speaker. and I agree. Katharine thought. and had rather expensive looking loafers on her comparatively small poised feet. “He whenua kura tenei. Mary laughed and said. That fetching burr must be a prevalent Scottish characteristic of this part of South Island. hesitated a moment and then succumbed to her inclination. both speaking in low voices. boiled wool jacket. “Mamae ana to korero. back. “Tena koe. Good lord. “Mother this is Katharine Gordon. wanting to hug her but uncertain. “Your Scots girl likes the words. Mary Manutane. and Mary quickly replied. my mother. She almost blushed in remembering how she had pictured the woman. Unbeknownst to Lan.” She reached out her hand and Katharine She quickly took it. and Katharine realized she had been hearing the same slight roll in Lan’s speech.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
Of course he had.” she said. the pooling velour drapes at the broad. Kate?” Lan asked.” Lan explained. 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. holding a heavy metal chandelier fixed with opaque glass globes shaped like flames. eager to be alone with her. her senses were infused with the smoky spice of old fires.” Katharine was still considering Mary’s words and wondering how conservative she was in her outlook. “Surely it is.76 Lan. We had a sandwich. I’m fine. Perhaps it was Katharine’s Scottish ancestry which had so favored her in Mary’s eyes. the burgundy walls were met with oak wainscoting. and the gold-edged paintings hanging above rich blond oak. complete with master. “No. The ceiling was very high. “Tea means dinner. “Surely this must be the master bedroom.” The burr of the r in her pronunciation of girl was as much a delight as the way she had phrased the sentence. Midway. the mellow tones of brown and burgundy. Mother didn’t want it without my father.” Lan said as he watched Katharine explore. A well lived in room much enhanced by Lan’s consuming presence. They climbed the broad stairs with its handsome carved thistle newel posts. I can wait. Once in the spacious bedroom. running behind a massive fourposter bed of carved oak overspread with a brown and .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She had never even thought of it until this moment. 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. beveled and leaded windows filled with blue sky and facing out on the river. She wondered if Lan had thought of it. “Ya two can have afternoon tea if ya like. Lani. for apparently she thought little of the two sharing a bedroom.
77 wine duvet. with the strange black eyes still so full of mysteries. that if she ever accompanied him to a Maori setting she might also meet the other half for the first time. Consequentially. flashing the white teeth of an irresistible mouth that could so easily and fiercely consume her. glancing behind her and just avoiding a small oak desk.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Lan affirmed. He grinned.” she said. this tall. At that moment... still smiling and watching her. Green Eyes?” As if a whirling dark cloud of misgiving were rolling toward her. “That must be nice in the winter snows. “Kate? Katharine.” Katharine posed. she remembered even more precisely who he was to her and how he was to her. There were paintings of well- sired horses poised in dressage. “What are ya doing?” “I’m. a strange interlocked repetition of rather abstract violet-topped thistles of muted green on a field of dark umber. she pocketed her hands and backed up slowly toward the wall. and a large stone fireplace with a shining bronze fender at its opening. 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 now realized first time. and portraits of hunting and sheep dogs on the walls. “It is. dark.. surprisingly urbane Maori-Scot male from the back of beyond. was met at its edges by a shining parquet floor patterned in red and blond woods.I don’t know. almost afraid of the emotions flooding through her as she stood looking at him. “Do ya want a shower? What do ya want?” She turned to take in all of him at last.
her so-called friends shunned her. blowing away as if caught on the hot exterior wind of this place.” . When my mother was a young woman. don’t ya?” Is there an “You almost said it’s none of my business.” “Didn’t I say as much?” “She needs to get out.ya really do plunge right in. Jabbing dark thoughts of how to save a shred of herself flew across her divided mind like disturbed hornets.” “Ya don’t understand. so ever since. comfortable and safe and free to roam through her own house and on her own land as she pleases. She knew what he wanted.” “For God’s sake.has done Here. 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.. then you can say it whenever I stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong. When she married my father She avoided them. The only thing wrong with her is that she is lonely and depressed. “Your mother is perfectly well.” “Good.. people around here were far more provincial then they are now. and even now it can be a bit chilly..78 Nearly all of the self-inculcated reason which had for so long facilitated her confined pre-New Zealand journey was swiftly evaporating. expression for that in Maori. too?” “Kaore he wahi o tera ki a koe. she feels She prefers going bush..” “Is that her wish or yours?” “What? Kate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she knew it would temporarily send him in another direction. thing she wanted. 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.
“Get up. Beds are for lying down. white-tiled shower. except that Lachlan Manutane was here.79 “I certainly agree. “Oh. thoroughly aroused and gathering her up.” She kissed his throat and ran her fingers down his firmmuscled body and along his groin to play in the soft black curls. and she cried out and moaned softly while they flung themselves together until she bit into his shoulder to prevent a rising scream. if we shower together we’ll likely both go right down the scuttle. Will ya get your clothes off. he leapt out of bed and raced across the room and into the shower with Katharine close behind him.. stretching languorously. Instead.” He was beginning to laugh and then Katharine was trying to let go once again. so much more than she had ever known. He was in a rough hurry.” Katharine said. “Ya are choice.” he said and then pulled her into the steaming. Jesus.” *** “We have to get up. Kate.please. my frowning I need to make ya smile.” “I’ll have my tea in the drawing room. “My god. yeah? wahine. It’s nearly time for tea.Jesus. She thought it would have been so perfect to drift slowly into sleep then.. then bringing himself atop her and sliding into her yet one more furious time. She could never have explained what she was doing here anyway.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Have we just met? Again? A little No worries. and hard against his slippery wet . more of us. ya randy little wench. casting aside all the weighty speculation of an unreadable future because the here and now of freewheeling emotion was more.” he muttered. or shall I do it? I fancy ya like nothing else. Green Eyes. Come here. locked together as they were...
There was grainy bread hot from the oven. “Taste and tell me what ya think. The dining room was large with a fireplace on one wall. who sat with them. and with chestnut wedge-heeled shoes on her tripping feet. Sauvignon blanc from a winery I own up near Nelson. and a very fresh salad with a delicate dressing unfamiliar to Katharine. the jade pendant hanging around her neck. cold roast beef.” she cried. Lan. now at a lower stage. Tea included an airy red wine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .80 body. Before it was served Lan went to the sideboard and He poured some into Katharine’s It’s a uncorked an icing white wine. sliding against him. How long have you . “Oh Lan. 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. her voice amazed. 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. oh. Lan wore gray slacks and Spanish cordovan loafers and another well-tailored. goblet and said. with Katharine laughing and stopping to button a missed space in Lan’s shirt while he kissed the top of her head. Dessert was a frothy vanilla pudding topped with slices of kiwifruit. She was dressed in a plain olive skirt and beige silk blouse. and Mary. *** They rapidly descended the stairs arm in arm. A Maori cook named Mattie bustled and clattered in the kitchen. crisp white shirt. and occasionally engaging in tittering laughter with her longtime cook and housekeeper and friend. It was a very lovely environment for a meal.” “It’s good. “very good. sometimes went back into the huge old kitchen where her low voice could be heard speaking indistinguishable words.” Katharine said.
besides horses?” Katharine asked. That’s the best introduction to sheep and cattle and anything else on the hoof.” Lan answered.” “What kind of relish?” Katharine said. the U.81 been a vintner?” “A few years. plenty of them. Katharine saw Mary watching them.” “I see ya two have not been talking about wine. exported to Germany where venison is eaten with relish. “We have not. Green Eyes.” Lan said. 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.” “What else is on the hoof around here. after all. and ya can get a feel of hard leather and a whiff of down and dirty on the plain. that they were in love and that it was an excruciatingly fragile time of foolishness and great joy and anguish. “Up at the north end of the property we have red deer.” Mary said with a twinkle in her eye.. We export to I think these innocent whites are becoming a bit more sophisticated. mother. It’s working out well enough.S. “We’ll simply ride out among ’em. “Very amusing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine said. “If this is where I’m supposed to launch into a discussion of sheep you’ll find the conversation wanting. and knew what Mary knew about them.or snails or puppy dog tails.” Lan said with the quick wit that Katharine was growing to love. “So you aren’t going to ride off punching cows. they lingered at the table while Mary brought Lan up to date with the mundane happenings at Green . When tea was over..
“Oh no. unassailable. the mountains.” Her answer had been so absolutely tactful.” “Can ya imagine yourself living here?” Mary asked with the very same directness she had apparently passed on to her son. with a softening smile.. she was deeply enough in love to punish herself and everyone around her for the loss of will that it involved.a blustery northwest sea town made more attractive by the beauty of its setting. I love to listen. 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. and she went upstairs to put on her jeans and tennis shoes while he remained talking with his mother. although I now live in a city. one or both of them would certainly be disappointed. Katharine was surprised and a little embarrassed but tried to answer in a serious and thoughtful way.. requiring a very special and single-minded devotion. Lan suggested that they go for a walk along the river.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She knew very well that within a matter of seconds. Lan could make the coolly firm observation she had just delivered evaporate and fall like rain. Katharine sat listening in silence until Mary apologized for boring her.. Seattle. I would think it quite a challenge..82 Braes... and aloof that she couldn’t look at Lan. Green Braes must involve a great deal of work and constant attention. nature and made that a necessity.. “I think I prefer nature to the city. If she was expected to gush and say how she could hardly wait to settle in. She heard them begin a . as if she were a distant relative come for a visit. but with all the problems of congested cities. and Katharine said.from time to time at least.all the little details. She felt a little mean-spirited and stared out at Habitually independent. knowing he wouldn’t like it..really very interesting to me.
83 conversation in Maori. today because of road repair. Careful what ya say. Wheeler. and then paved roads. Our manager. they’ve held up rather well.” Lan answered.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .and periodically oversees some repair work. “From the 1st Duke of Wellington. He kissed the nape of her neck. until she reminded herself it was something they regularly did and none of her business. usually at five in the morning. headed for the port of Timaru..” The wind had abated a little. mostly headed for the Middle East. They were on a very well-worn path . “Hmm. and almost resented that very private way of saying anything they wanted. ready?” *** “Where were those trucks going. Are ya These old boots are bloody essential to me. impish Green Eyes. 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. 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.early nineteenth century.. then left her to put on his jeans and slip into a pair of old Wellingtons. “Are those Wellingtons from Wellington?” she asked in a teasing voice. where the woolies are shipped out..” “You’ve drunk just enough of my wine to foolishly criticize my favorite boots. “They leave every Thursday.. 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. that is gravel. Let’s walk. but the evening was warm and the river quite refreshing. keeps an eye on road erosion. 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.
but I’m not sure ya know what you’re in for.” “I simply will. I think. “All right. that isn’t true.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “But God how I love having ya with me. I have to go to Christchurch. You’re unpredictable.. when he turned around and took hold of her arm and drew her against him. can try a little of your friendly persuasion on my mother. “Well.restless.” “What does that mean?” “Just what I’ve said. It’s so nice here.. and I thought ya could try to get Mary to come with us.. hesitation. “Ya were happier in Auckland. very tall blond grasses.... Katharine was listening for unusual bird sounds and asking Lan about one she thought she was able to distinguish.. I’ve gotten ya this far and now I’m wondering about the next obstacle. “Kate.or are you busy?” “Yeah.” “Neither am I. advice. pushover. do.” “That I well know. I was about to say. Ya see how I’m following your I wonder if ya could get her out. I don’t know myself. I appreciate your determination.uncertain when you I only know that I--” We’d better go back.84 through the tough and.. his penetrating eyes and serious manner a sudden explicit revelation of concern. in places. so ya No more tonight. 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. Lan.” “And how I love being with you.” “No more?” “Please don’t press me.a bit complicated.” “No. complicated but--” “And so are you. this place. I become. I’ve barely seen Can we go riding tomorrow. the lovely bellbird.” .” Katharine said.
and I’m afraid I’ll do all the wrong things. and I know nothing about the town.I mean. She had only to think of her life without a family for a minute. while Katharine went in search of Mary and found her in the library reading in her favorite red leather wing chair.persuasive and Will you take pity on me I’ll probably hang onto your arm like a lost It would be so wonderful to have you show me hard to put aside. You’re a very fetching girl. and come along? schoolgirl. “Am I bothering you?” she asked. Mary.. I have almost no idea anymore what it feels like to walk down the street with one or the other and share experiences. “I’m hoping you’ll come with me to Christchurch tomorrow. I really have no idea where to begin there but I’ve heard it has lovely gardens and parks.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . her eyes swimming with moisture that was not so very difficult to summon. I’ll be all alone. Katharine Gordon. “I’ve had to go everywhere alone most of my life. Lan is flying over on some busines. but I don’t go out. a grandmother who left me too soon.” “I certainly do see why Lan has taken a fancy to ya. “For you.” Katharine said. go to the wrong places. Katharine decided to be the same and said.” Katharine dropped her head.. but it’s not so easy in a .85 *** Lan went into his study to answer some e-mail.. I guess I can do it. “No. and she would soon be weeping in earnest for the desired effect. “always longing for a mother. Katharine. I expect you’re here to have a little talk about something. things.” Mary said.” “It’s an easy town to get around in if ya don’t mind the river. but not for me. Are ya not?” If Mary had chosen to be direct..
I’m almost never a tourist. He and stood quietly with her hands crossed behind her back. I’ll come.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Poor Lan.” Katharine went into the study looking like the Cheshire cat..” I just can’t. I’m not so selfish as to deny It was nothing against ya. I can’t Will you tell him him happy to have you there beside me. I don’t go out.. “Get off the grass. I’m Katharine wrung her hands and said.” she said. I’ll show ya whatever ya want to see.” He told me Nevertheless. please. sorry.” “Are ya not the same fearless girl who goes around the world covering wars and looking into the troubling affairs of others?” “Oh. first. “What are ya grinning at now. looked up and said.. He’s in his study. “He’s had too much of that already. or Lan would never You’re the first since. He said you would come with me because it would make I’m sorry.” “Well. tell him how mistaken he was. Lan anything like that.. Are ya serious?” . totally immersed in what I’m doing.” she said.. She went up to Lan.you’re the have brought ya here. who was heavily into e-mail responses.because it’s such a lonely proposition. tugging at the edges of her blue cardigan.a good girl. and I nearly always have a photographer or a guide with me.86 strange place. I hope ya You’re a clever girl. you would. that’s very different. Go tell him I’ll come. Mary. Mary rose from her chair and stared at Katharine with a half disbelieving expression that began to look like concession.. There I’m playing the role of journalist. that’s one I haven’t heard. “I think ya know I would never tell Lan anything that would make him unhappy. know. ya devious imp?” “Mary will be coming with us tomorrow.
“That’s enough of cyber space for tonight.and.” Let’s go “You certainly think highly of yourself. Looking in her guidebook Katharine had a clever idea concerning the location of this restaurant.” “What the devil did ya say to her to get her to do that?” “Every bloody thing I could think of. I was thinking rather highly of a greeneyed phenomenon.” “Then ya would lose the bet. to bed.. Green Eyes. He had promised to meet them later in the day at a popular riverside restaurant called Thomas Edmonds. but first she suggested they go inside the towering and ornate Christ Church Cathedral.” she mused. I think. ipo.” “At the moment.” “How on earth does that translate?” she asked with surprise.” *** Katharine and Mary were on their own in this flat. It’s time for your reward. which she intended to broach later.. it was located in a former band rotunda on Cambridge Terrace. Lan. “I just thought of something. I like that expression. yes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . laughing with such conspiratorial delight that Katharine was feeling quite heady with her success. She was thinking wistfully of having a .” she said in a wondering voice as she stared at the computer. riding in the car of the business associate who picked them up from the airport. Sort of like your brain.” “How ingenious. and hiko for lightning. I am serious. consecrated in 1881. “I’d be willing to bet there’s no Maori word for this modern machine.87 “Hmm. It’s rorohiko. had left them in the heart of the city at Cathedral Square on Colombo Street.” Katharine answered. Lan turned to her. “Roro for brain. very English city of Christchurch known as the city of gardens. giving him a teasing kiss.
“Since we both like gardens and plants we’ll probably enjoy ourselves in that green environment.not once. I do remember the view.are you sure. Do ya know It’s been damaged several times in them. It has a restaurant.” Katharine invited.. Mary was not even winded. shrugging and laughing at her caution. The view was a wonderful way to study the layout of the city. slipping on her sunglasses. “It’s a white light that makes Oh..” I’m not that far gone. “This spire actually fell into the square once during an earthquake. it’s a lovely place.” Come “Oh. .” “Oh. but. “There’s something about the intense light down in this southern hemisphere that’s different to me. let’s climb the stairs.” “Then let’s have lunch there. “I’ll probably be in worse shape than you at the top.. but not about to suggest that Mary climb the 133 steps.88 look at the splendid view and the cathedral bells in the viewing balconies of the sixty-three meter high spire. When they were back on the ground they looked at the historical display. when Mary spoke up. Mary?” “What? Ya think I’m incapable? I ride a horse and walk A few steps are all over Green Braes.” Katharine noted.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. everything startling and sharp. They ambled down Gloucester Street and into the well established and very luxuriant Botanic Gardens. and they stood together while Mary pointed out places of interest. “At least this is one thing that hasn’t changed.” Katharine said. Mary. nothing to me. and then Katharine suggested they walk over to the Botanic Gardens beside the cool Avon River meandering through the city. said.” Mary I’ve never eaten there. look at those lush roses. When they reached the top. with which Mary seemed quite familiar.
“That’s very amusing. “Rang and I came to Christchurch on business from time to . I’m paying. That’s the way of it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . nursed me through many a tummy ache and bruised knee and unrequited teen-aged crush. “Those little carts carrying the visitors are called Toastracks. joining in the laughter..” Mary shook her head. before my grandmother. She was so good to me.. about every growing thing. “I’m sorry.89 So many colors. Katharine..exotic..” Mary set down her fork and stared out the window. grandmother was French.” Katharine laughed. broad-needled fir gilded a shimmering gold in the sunlight. and Katharine encouraged Mary to indulge herself.all of these wonderful trees.” Mary’s smile faded as she stared at Katharine and said. My maternal grandfather died long My How my She was a florist and curious Both he and my father were Scots.” “No. riding about when they ought to be walking.” Mary said. girl. “And the people are the toast. It served a popular smorgasbord. “I’m paying. dazzling in the sunlight. her faraway eyes roving over a tall.” The Gardens Restaurant was a six-sided flat building with a sloping roof and wide viewing windows. And everywhere. grandmother would have loved it.” And a number of other unmentioned things: bouts of depression and moodiness. to me at least. “Incredible variety here. Odd little motor-towed carts with green-canvassed canopies kept arriving and depositing visitors at the restaurant. bought me my first lovely prom dress--it was soft pink toile over pink taffeta--.” They sat by a window looking out at rare flora in every direction. sent me to school. “Ya have no family alive then?” “Perhaps somewhere.
except that.” “Well.” Katharine agreed. he’s the coming together of two kinds.. Mary. hopeful of having her meaning go beyond her own desire.” Katharine said.. that he’s the rarest. And Lan is like that. Lan is not hurt again. Finally. leave it at that and go on with our day. although we more often went to Dunedin for pleasure. insisting upon it once again. When Mary had paid the bill. so we’ll leave it at “We’ll just “It that. we two.” she said observing Katharine’s discomfort. It’s too soon. and he’s so wonderful.” Mary said. or else how can life go on? Without understanding that there can only be strife. they rested on a bench while Katharine consulted her guidebook. not an easy thing. but he wouldn’t be who he is without it.. both felt more comfortable there. hard. not at all.. that’s settled in my mind at least..I don’t think you’ve made up your mind about anything. him so. looking at various plantings and blooming flora. staring at Katharine..that it’s not a frivolous thing. “Sometimes he’s a mystery even to me. But I hope to heaven.” “Oh. seems to me. “Would you mind if we walked to the visitor center and . and I know him so well. so very wonderful. Katharine.” she didn’t hesitate in adding. I don’t know if I could do that. better than anyone.” “Will you go there with me sometime?” “I don’t know.. really a sort of refinement which must be respected in the human condition. they walked over paths thickly lined with collections of verdure mostly unknown to Katharine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .that mix of Scot and Maori was not an easy thing. “But what I did to him with my own selfish love.” “Of course. you do..no. I miss He loves We We loved hard. “I can see how ya feel about my son.90 time.” Mary said. cupping flowers in their hands and sniffing sweet aromas as they went along.
I wouldn’t mind. “Oh look. Katharine Gordon. A neat “Lucky we have such a clear day. and even a fresh sprig of some bright blue flower in a white vase on the shiny black table top. but the truth is it’s yourself doing the showing.” They caught Bus number 28.” 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.” Mary said with a quick sip of tea. 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. “You’re a good girl. a pretty white tea service. Soon they were gliding up Mount At the top they walked about. very different from anything she had ever seen. “I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself nearly as much without you.” Katharine protested.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 it says here the view is stunning.” . catching a hint of Mary’s fatigue. having quite a treat.” “No. Mary. Inside the quiet. We’re open room with a splendid wrap-around view. there are your snowy Southern Alps way off in the distance. The barren. almost like a purely stylized storybook painting. and made the quick and restful twelve kilometer journey. Cavendish in a little gondola.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Yes. I haven’t done that in years. “I’m supposed to be showing ya around.” “And I’m going to treat you to tea inside at the restaurant. and Katharine found the windy vistas breathtaking.” Katharine said.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . When they were almost to the restaurant.. “when I’ve no sense left at all. what a lovely idea. “Oh.” she said.” . the burbling Avon River cooled and assuaged their fatigue and lifted their spirits even higher than the previous hours. you should have tried it. Mind ya. Apparently punts will take you right to the Thomas Edmonds. “Lord. outlook. Katharine pulled off one of her tan walking flats. Mary dragged her hand through the refreshing waters and hummed from time to time.” Mary said. laughing and pointing and with Katharine occasionally singing. no offense. Katharine.92 Katharine glanced once again into her guidebook and then looked up with a mischievous smile.” Mary said. giggling.” Katharine said.why. Kate of doused foot. it’s the undipped one that’s clammy. Isn’t your foot a bit clammy?” “It’s given me a whole new “No. One foot in the Avon and nothing will ever be the same. *** They floated along in utter delight and lethargy. Katharine. As they were skillfully poled to their destination.” “Perhaps another day I’ll try it. that is for tea. and Mary began to laugh while Katharine was drying her foot with a tissue from her purse and putting her shoe back on. and ya have nylons on. “I want us to get into a punt at the Antigua Boatsheds and have ourselves punted all the way over to Cambridge Terrace.” “What? I don’t think. rolled her beige linen pants leg and stuck her foot into the water. I needed that. reversing her doubtful opposition with a carefree smile which rendered her face almost girlish. “Really.. and we can time it so we arrive just in time to meet Lan for dinner. what if ya’d dropped your shoe into the water.” The punter shook his head and whistled.
reveling in the camaraderie. Then Katharine looked up and saw Lan watching them as they came toward him. thinking she would wait until Lan was asleep and then creep into bed and fall asleep simply thinking about the day. perhaps even a motherly friend. but remained in the library reading. She didn’t go up to their room right away. and I know ya must be tired. She had embarrassed him by Her arriving at the restaurant acting like a madcap child. It was I like her very much. It wasn’t as if Katharine didn’t know Although sometimes preferring to revel in lively unconventionality. She had rapidly come to adore attentive Mary with her slightly sodden whimsy and very dry wit. I’d want--” “I’ll be up in a little while. “Aren’t ya tired after all that running around?” “I thought I’d just read for a while to calm down.guess I ended up pretty excited about the whole thing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..93 They both began to laugh at this splendid title until they could hardly get out of the punt. Glancing at Lan in trim slacks and a t-shirt which clung to . what good deportment was. laughter abated and her face went soft and quiet. so much fun being with Mary. Katharine. but the look was quite serious and soon she interpreted it as censure. she certainly knew when the proper conduct was necessary.. He was looking at her with an expression she couldn’t read at all. She remained that way all through dinner and on the plane ride back to Green Braes. while Mary chatted with Lan in English about the pleasant day she had experienced. hanging onto each other in stitches. Lan found her in the library and said. of transforming her into a confiding friend. It was only that she had so delighted in bringing Mary out of herself.” “Please come to bed.” Katharine interposed. I’ve gotten rather used to Didn’t ya think having ya there.
“I thought you were mad at me because I was acting like a child.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katie Green Eyes. An a’ the lang night as happy’s a king! . merry hae I been teethin a heckle An merry hae I been shapin a spoon! O.” “Lan. here’s to thee. Katharine had Ka pai.I’ve never heard anything so--” she exclaimed. “Lan. she was hardly able to restrain herself. Katie. 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. for it was the voice of Robbie Burns: O... a’ the lang night I cuddle my kimmer.94 his muscular diaphragm. An kissin my Katie when a’ was done! O. An a’ the lang day I whistle and sing! O. then left the room. merry hae I been cloutin a kettle. Kate? ya strange sulky lass.Come to my arms.” “Ya thought wrong. her voice smothered by an impatient mouth. “Will ya kiss me now. Very soon she heard a lilting voice that astonished her. An come to my arms. Half an hour later she crept into the bathroom and then into bed.” *** It was a little after seven in the morning and at last they were going to ride out onto the Canterbury plain. my Katie. about to thank ya properly for today. a’ the lang day I ca’ at my hammer. He stood looking at her a few more seconds in silence..” I’ll never sleep until ya do.. she whispered as his body fiercely tangled with hers. ipo. no one ever. and kiss me again! Drunken or sober. staying carefully on her side and lying still. I’m . closing the large heavy door behind him. my Katie.
looking very cowboyish to her. on.. stop it Lan.. Lan sprawled across from her in no great hurry.” “I was raised on quarter horses. I really want to know. a great breed for herding livestock. let’s go down to the stable and saddle up.” “Well Good on ya. Really?” Come “God. That means we can hang out here all day and I won’t have to worry about your tired little arse. “What kind of horses do you have?” she asked. “I’ll give ya a leg up. wahina. My grandmother had I belonged to a horse club and rode in funky little shows when I was just a nipper of ten. Lan?” “No. cowgirl. because Rex had already taken care of that necessity by the time they arrived. then gave a little flick of the reins and galloped off just clearing a fresh pile of stockade poles while Lan stared after her. placed her foot in the stirrup and leapt into the saddle.” They didn’t really have to saddle up. sipping coffee and dressed in old jeans and an open-necked blue shirt and wearing scuffed boots.” . several of them. but Katharine had already run over to her mount. and said. Ben.” Lan said. “All right.. the way ya slide into things.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. “We have quarter horses. cowgirl. another part of your past I know nothing about.you’re a cracker on a horse.95 on her jeans and a t-shirt and sat over her half-finished oatmeal eager to be off. ya make me laugh. fast and strong.” “Get off the grass.” “Would ya know if I told ya?” “Do you think I’m completely stupid. Lan caught up with her on his big stallion. “Ah. I think you’re very nearly completely smart. She edged her moccasined feet gently back into the flank of a horse named Jangle.we have red ones and black ones and white ones and--” “Oh.
They stood in the warm wind on a slight rise and looked at the clouds rolling in great billows along the Southern Alps. cowgirl. please. I just need to have my space.” “I’ve heard the other expression: the land of the wrong white crowd. reached into his saddle bag and pulled out a rolled felt hat.” “Then ya can have all of this: Aoteoroa. surveying the sheep-dotted landscape. “I’ve never seen so many sheep. watching him frown and immediately regretting it.” “We’ll dismount by the river and take care of both requirements. “Why do ya do that?” “What? I don’t know.” she said. 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. safe.. looked hard at her and said. “I collect clouds. dismounting once when Katharine intended to adjust her stirrups but then let Lan do it for her.where Green Braes got its name. then leaned over and arranged it on Katharine’s head. “nothing else but clouds.” They were up on a slight rise.” she said.” “There are ten sheep for every Kiwi in New Zealand.” “What if I get thirsty?” “For me or water?” “Either. regretting how she had ruined the moment. just follow me. He pushed his hat back.” They rode on. need . “Come on. while. “This is to keep your brains from frying. and Katharine said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .96 Lan. the land of the long white cloud.. who was wearing a rather handsome oiled leather hat.” “But are you?” “Don’t get me thinking about it.
do what I want. going to hurt ya. Lan.” He turned around in his saddle and looked at her. I scare ya bloody bad because I want ya. the tender rich bright grasses had all charged her senses with a restless hunger. her own words. needed very much. straying explanation that was She did need. babbling words.. They remounted and rode side by side in silence until he said..” come and go.” “Yeah? Until ya want me a little too much. myself and I don’t really need much else. Zealand clouds had been left to evaporate like the clouds themselves. . “What in bloody-hell are ya doing? She was silent.” They were climbing slightly with Lan ahead. then lay on their bellies. drinking. “Then get down. that of change. “Ya don’t have to be afraid of me.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . frothing in a rushing white foam with the grasses greening up all around them. It was why she had spoken in Now she was cringing at that frenetic and dismissive manner. The roaring water.” “Yeah.I don’t know. and it must be so obvious.97 to have. Lan..” I’m not “I’m happy with you..” They tied their horses’ reins in branches and walked to a level opening where they could reach the river’s low bank. The promise of New not even true and completely off the point. I’ve always maintained my freedom to I’ve made a sort of life for I don’t need--” Listen to yourself. ya are.” “I’m not afraid of you. Katharine. and an entirely different subject overtaken her. “I’m thirsty. the wind and clouds. following the river until it was squeezed between raised green banks. He was right to make her hear her own A disconnected. drastic change.
. The fear was rising in her. She put her arm around his waist and said..yeah. but I. unable to escape the steady jet gaze. “This is as good a place as any. “Oh. throwing it on the ground. wiping the dripping water from her mouth with the back of her hand.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but he startled her with his words. “Look at me.” “Lan. “I can’t right now.. a fear of leaving herself.” He squatted at the edge of the blanket. “Please. She curled against him and lifted his hand to her cheek..98 “It’s so quiet and pure and clean here. What I have to say is.I have to talk to ya.” “Better?” His adept fingers eased smoothly inside of her. running his fingers through his hair and looking at her with an unreadable question. Lan. “Give me back your beautiful eyes.” “I never want to deny ya anything. sooky green.... it’s so beautiful here.” “Ya like that?” She opened her eyes and stared elatedly into eyes of covert blackness.” 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.. gently working his fingers against her while she moaned softly with closed eyes. until a tremor of fear made her look away. a long speculation in his troubled dark eyes. I want. “Lan.” She knew he understood that she wanted only to be in this arousing moment with him. . He went to his horse and returned with a blanket..” “For what?” “I want to..” she cried.” she said. God..” He took off his hat and threw it down. you hypnotize. with an unsmiling mouth and eyes lost in the shadow of his hat but looking away from her.” he said.I want. “Yes.. of falling helplessly through space.
I was twenty-five and drunk most of the time. drunk for quite a while.. “Wait. “When I saw how ya were with my mother yesterday.I have a child..Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..99 With a serious mouth.. I love ya.. “God. wife’s parents.” She reached for him. her head twisting helplessly against his shirt in spasms of pleasure. Lan?” she asked with a new fear sweeping over her. confused and suddenly frightened again. please. a daughter. I want to meet her. I turned into a. “Let me finish...” I mean.I’ve never seen anyone so afraid of loving..” “But she would have wanted you to--” . I realized how very right I was about ya.and God. except. I have. He tamaiti taku.” “Lan.. even enough to override the ruinous fear.” he said.. giving in to the truth which he spoke for both of them..” “That’s nice. wanting him more than any other professed or contingent need..when Ani. “My ipo... He zipped her jeans and lifted her still excited body up to a sitting position... he watched her come.” “What?” she said. my Green Eyes.. I’d like to.. Kate. Ya want me and ya want my mother and you’re so bloody scared of that.. then folded his arms and stared at her.but.... this is.” “What.do ya even know how much ya are? Exactly what I want..” “Why? Why don’t you have her with you?” Jesus. kissing her and pushing her hair away from her eyes. “That was practice for this: Apparently.what I have to say has my guts in a knot and the rest of me useless.I want to have ya.who Katharine Gordon really is.. I doubt ya know yourself. she lives with my.my late “Ya can’t meet her.died.
. too.. I would never have opened my mouth..Kate. I’m telling ya now.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. he jumped up.” “But I don’t. It came later. I don’t even remember how I accomplished I regretted it so much I guess I had her.. it was the thing that sobered me up.. with his fist coiled at his side in a sudden heat of frustration. Kate. always wanted. really necessary. in-laws for anything she needs.I didn’t. flawless and I’ve disappointed ya.100 “Please. But Rani got pregnant.. “What? You liar!” I’ve never lied to ya. Mistrust.we gave the baby I pay my to my in-laws to raise and sent Rani away to school. Nothing is perfect. waited until I was. Ya want me I think you’d like to see me . “Liar. and that’s what you’ve done. She came into my room and. I don’t know why.. I regretted it the next morning. How can I believe anything? “Life isn’t perfect. Rani doesn’t care Rani acts like such a reckless child. was just my little sister.” Seeing her distraught state.. The child isn’t hers. You and Rani.. Kate. telling It wasn’t ya everything. Rani had She was sixteen. drunk.wait!” She had jumped up with her heart flying out of her chest. I. don’t. that... “You can lie by omission. but I was afraid Rani might ruin us. I visit her.she fancied me. I couldn’t take care of it.. dead I had no idea. can’t stand hearing that because of your past.” She was remembering how he sat with his arm over Rani’s chair at The Loaded Hog when first they met.whose?” “One night I came home off-my-face drunk.crawled into my bed naked.. a child herself.you.. and because of my guilt I treat her like a child.. Ya see. and to me she I was haurangi. about her.waited. Please. She was a wild little bird. suspicion made easy by past experience was “How do I know anything anymore? You!” I know ya already corroding her thought.. and didn’t want the baby..
tugging at her fruit-stained apron. alone. She rode fast and hard. Jesus. getting a headache. Come let’s get ya into He’ll get to me. I can’t be Please let me stay in your I’ll get a cool flannel for your head.” “Of course ya can stay in my room. He’s told ya. Please. I told him it was water He loves ya so.” Please don’t let him I’m under the bridge. Do ya know that? Please.” Mary brought Kate a washcloth with lumps of ice gathered inside and held it on her head.101 as a symbol of some perfect circle that doesn’t exist -. There was Rani newly arrived with a busload of mates who were laughing and joking and exploring the grounds of the Lodge. bringing her rather swiftly to the stables. Kate. Please understand. Come along. but Jangles had an excellent sense of direction and knew exactly where to go. please let me stay in your room.we all join hands and sing hallelujah. my head is beginning to ache.. “Please come here.” “I’ll put ya in one of the guest rooms. my Green Eyes.” She turned and ran. I told him not to. Mary. I couldn’t stand it. ya love me.” she called. Please. packed her things into her suitcase and took it into Mary’s room. “Oh no. near me. . “Mary? here. “No. don’t let him near me. Oh God..and In my bed ya do. Please come with ya?” Mary cried. room. Katharine? What in heaven’s name is wrong Mary. She hastened to her room. The sight of Rani made Katharine sick. I just couldn’t stand it.” “No. jumping on Jangles and whacking his rump. twice certain she had lost her way. Then Mary stared at Katharine’s face and said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Mary!” “What is it. oh no. know what love is. I want ya. I’m not perfect but I I found ya and I love ya. but he had to do it. bed. He will.
her spiteful young face gloating.” “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.” Please.” he demanded. my selfish fault. Very soon Katharine heard loud voices outside the door. dragging Rani out of the .102 “I spoiled Rani. of here. “Mary?” Rani turned on the light and moved toward her.” Lan called. and then put her head under the pillow. “I’m sorry. could you get “I have pills in my little blue bag.” I’ll pull the curtains and bring the pills. that someone was in the room. She was laughing with triumphant delight. “Lie quietly. me two?” Katharine asked. “Get the hell out I’ve had enough of ya. Just try to sleep.” She had taken two pills and finally they knocked her out. Try to sleep.” “Get out!” Katharine shouted. “Rani!” Lan hollered. please get out of here. Mary and Lan speaking in Maori and English back and forth. She awoke and looked at the clock.ya phony American bitch. entering the room. He really loves me and he knows it. Not you. “Leave me alone. I spoiled her badly. She started to sit up and saw “He’ll never marry ya. but Mary was nowhere in sight. to straighten her out. ya emotionally retarded little Out. “Katharine. stirrer. Now. Not you. here. paleface. little self run wild. It was ten in the evening.” “Rani.. She cringed and pulled the covers up to her throat.. I shouldn’t be talking. So much of it was my fault.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine begged.” Mary said. “Go away. her eyes pained by the light.” she cried. “I just wanted to tell ya what I really think of ya.
103 room. 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. It was a soothing gesture. Oh God. door and called to her. “Oh God. The disclosed incident with Rani had jolted her out of paradise and back to reality. good-bye. few days and maybe you’ll feel better by that time. poor little Katharine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine was shaking badly and had momentarily decided she was in a madhouse. stroking the hair away from her eyes. anyway. Green Eyes.” “Yes. not There was a him. like a coddled sick child. Katharine apologized for her histrionics and said she was feeling a little better. When Mary came into the room. but she knew it .” Her eyes filled with tears. I’ll see ya soon. Then Lan tapped on the E noho ra. girl. herself for her inability to resolve anything. until she remembered yesterday. so very motherly she felt a small comfort. if only I can last until Thursday. She wanted only to have her arms around She hated herself. Please remember that I love ya. “Will you sleep here tonight. I’m a fearful mess.” Katharine agreed. Lan. but Sliding in and out of agony. and she thought.” Mary said. how?” I’ve got to get out of here right away. huge lump in her throat. tramp over at Milford. incapable of judging anything. thinking how well this would fit in with her own plans. “I love ya. “I’ve told Lan to leave ya alone until ya calm down. sent Rani and her friends packing. Mary?” “Yes. and she shook her head with anger and frustration. In the morning she found Mary gone. one pitiful mess. He They had planned to go on a And tomorrow he’s flying up to He’ll be back in a Nelson to check on business at the winery. it came to her how that might be accomplished if she could last until Thursday morning.
. Oh. again opened up with a special softness. along with her briefcase laptop. I thought she was more I like a worshipful sister. They talked over tea and in the evenings spent together in the lounge after their meal. “Even I didn’t realize how much Rani fancied Lan. the fear of losing herself in Lan. smiling She sadly as she looked at Mary who was softly snoring.” “If only his Ani hadn’t died. too. Mary. Katharine had planned carefully. You had your own problems. downstairs. I realize now there were problems all over this place.” At last Thursday arrived.” Probably his fine Ani “No. dressed.104 wasn’t the real problem. She crept Slipping a few wrapped oatmeal cookies into her . Mary. where Mary wouldn’t immediately find it. You can’t go on castigating yourself. I’m sure you’re right. laying out her clothes the night before and putting her packed suitcase downstairs at the back of the foyer coat closet.. attempting to commiserate with Katharine.been far more careful. looking up to her big brother. the real problem was herself. using Lan’s bathroom.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. the pain shooting all through her as she relived their hungrily indulgent showers. the real problem went far beyond Rani. That was My head is off today. She had placed the note in an unobtrusive but well-used place in the kitchen. Mary. “Let’s talk of something else now.this lovely place. since they aren’t blood related and it was too easy. gone riding. would have kept everything on an even keel. Then Mary might suppose she had At four o’clock she slipped out of bed.. quite the wrong thing to say. I’m sorry. should have seen it. She had written Mary a thankful and loving and apologetic note. and decided that it would be a sufficient good-bye for Lan. although a taciturn person not given to personal revelations.” Katharine put down her fork and said. or I’d have put a stop to that soon enough.
she bought a ticket then walked about the town. lurching.” “I’ll keep this. the Southerner.500 people. left Timaru each morning at 10:35 going south through Dunedin. “There are plenty of four-wheel drives around here. hanging onto the laptop. gear-grinding drive to Timaru. which. it was said to have a very nice beach and a statue of Robbie Burns. Mr. “I need to get to Timaru. Timaru. I’ll leaving in a few minutes. I’ll stow these.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . . bouncing. Manutane pays for all the petrol around Climb up then. Right.” she said. *** In her guidebook.” “No problem. from the Maori word Te Maru. she preferred not to look upon. had some coffee and departed on the Southerner for the Scottish town of Dunedin. she taunted herself. Down at the stockades and sheds the large trucks were warming up their engines for the haul to Timaru. Quite a I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. “meaning the place of shelter. And so it was. in her present condition.105 purse. her clandestine and ignominious departure from Green Braes in a sheep lorry. blowsy driver looked her up and down in her fine linen slacks and jacket and laughed. here. and the several hours long. still numb with pain.” was a busy port city of 27. “No. she retrieved her things from the closet and went out the door. can you give me a lift?” The hulking. We’ll be They’re needed here. difference from the way she had arrived. if that’s a problem.” he suggested. Miss. grimacing bitterly and frequently clenching her teeth. where she could get off and rent a car. Katharine discovered that a train. When the kindly driver left her off at the train station. pay you. She went up to one of the drivers and said. I can’t take any of those.
Too many memories. Way up north. maybe even some of my folk. She stayed in a comfortable bed and breakfast with a balcony that overlooked the sky-reflecting lake. Upon looking around at this lovely Scottish town. right-hand-drive Honda and had to keep reminding herself to drive on the left side of the road. drive across one of the passes on the map and head up the West Coast. It was heavy stone. Rang. and she was going to be She drove quickly through the sick with longing for Lachlan. with buildings studding the hills and tumbling down to the esplanade at the edge of expansive and serene Lake Wakatipu. which she found was Celtic for Edinburgh. keep driving until she reached Auckland and fly out of there. which had seen greater days of glory but had a certain Midlothian charm and splendid beaches. From Dunedin she could aim for Queenstown. and there discovered an innocent bruise from Lan’s lovemaking. and began to feel ill. she decided to leave. old and fine. Strewing her things around the room. and she decided to drive until she was exhausted. and the place is full of her folk. she showered. I’ve never been here but I Mary came here with her lover. student-filled old university town and headed south. have all of these memories. she rented a white. she thought. She slid down upon the .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. She immediately came across another statue of the ubiquitous Robert Burns. On and on through green flat sheep country and over one-lane bridges and broad rivers. In Dunedin. 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.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . on and on with tears streaming down her face. Queenstown was high and cooler. cutting west near Milton and heading for Queenstown.
she nibbled around the edges of a generous plate of rice with chunks of meat and vegetables. have three of them or four? wear and tear on recovery. and suddenly there was the message from Green Braes: “Please come back to me. Katharine. my love. She paid her bill and left. less Swallowing several aspirin. she lay back and said aloud. Please. Finally. she dressed and went out. Vodka. she woke up sweating but with only a slight headache. looking from time to time out at the lake. Drying herself off in a slow daze. but had never been quite this drunk alone. forking food into their smiling mouths and sipping wine -perhaps some of it was Lan’s wine. my Green Eyes. At last she regained her sense of direction. the warm water pouring over her. walking down uncluttered streets and peering into small restaurants until she grew tired. oh. The drinks were strong. They were all in flagrantly amorous twos.” New Zealand. and another. A list of her e-mail was displayed. She had experienced this condition before. a deceptive little ache that promised to bloom fully later.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Having reached the end of endurance. In late morning. In the middle of the night.107 tile floor and sat with her head on her knees. will I?” She fell into a disturbed sleep. standing outside and wondering for a moment how to get back to her room. Did she Vodka was the best. . Lan. Lan. I’ll never see you again. She had been all over the world and hardly ever got lost. oh. She ordered another drink. “Lan. but no more hungry. We’ll resolve this Please don’t leave Please come back. she then began to pace. Ordering a drink. leaning on her hand for a while and discreetly watching the convivial diners. she sat cross-legged on her bed with her laptop screen glowing before her. she sat down at a blond wood table in a tiny cream-walled bistro which was supposed to remind one of Morocco. together.
the white tassels dipping in the wind. too piercingly beautiful.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . spanking past golden islands like a proud swan. *** She had decided to skip Milford Sound. she told herself. No finicky little fly would bite into this poisonous body. the red river flowing through the green like blood gushing from her heart. She stood gasping. She ordered a drink and sat in the broad bow in a sumptuous. Staring at it she tried to will herself to fall asleep or fall into a trance or fall into some insensitive state. Maori for “quick path. what she needed. The rainy West Coast had offered a few sunny spots. scrambled down to the beach and ran barefoot on the gray sand until she couldn’t breathe. a place for lovers. anything but consciousness.” just Nothing like her tame Seattle ferries. Once she parked the car.cool. she would be inclined to jump off a bridge without a bungy cord. finally driving aboard the huge interislander ferry which plied the waters to Wellington. totoeka jade pendant and held it in her hand -. slumping forward in tears. If she encountered many more couples holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. it even She took the elevator up to the plush bar. staring at the spiky dark flax growing on the cliffs. At Picton she bought a ticket for the 10:30 sailing and got into the long line that wound through the town. but the sun shined at the beach town of Hokitika. where all the splendid jade was made into jewelry. Really nice. had a movie theater. It rained half way up the West Coast.108 “Oh God. violet-padded chair as the ferry plunged through the misty waters with hardly a tremor. In three and a half hours windy Wellington . It was named Aratere. oh God.” she cried. long sparkling beaches. She never acquired a single sandfly bite. She stayed near Westport before crossing the That night she took out her mountains on her way to Picton.
and almost fainted. Katherine Mansfield had spent the teenaged years of her short life. attractive? Back in her room. why didn’t she just turn the car around? The message from Green Braes read: I am yours and always “You belong to me. giving the driver the name of a restaurant on Queens Wharf called Shed 5. . 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. After checking into the Novotel Wellington. the room going black. New Zealand had stifled Public places reveled in the land’s exotic nikau Off to the sophisticated cities of Europe she had sailed. She drove by the famous executive office building of the parliamentary complex known as the Beehive. her. and he was right. If it was going to continue this way. and looked the opposite direction from two staring men seated at a nearby table. So tranquil had she been rendered by the lulling ferry and her Scotch.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .109 came sliding into view. and thick slices of Parmesan cheese bread. and she had to turn on her wipers. could accommodate: fresh bluenose bass. then dressed in a white suit and pumps and called a taxi. checking her e-mail. She swallowed generous amounts of wine. So this was where the writer. palms. she sat on her bed in her silk slip. Waves were crashing over the motorway in a howling gale that was apparently the norm for Wellington. a large bowl of crisp salad. She felt the top of her head growing cold. were some kind of game. which was just what it resembled. She had no desire to drive herself to dinner. A journalist she knew had raved about the It was far more than her appetite food there. rested. Pounamu Eyes. breath. she took a shower. her heart racing. Paradise was far too provincial. pesto mashed potatoes served home style. a little woozy from the wine.
Eyes. ipo. . rolling from side to side. iridescent-silver trout. very clean for so much tourism. it had once belonged to the rogue actor Errol Flynn. together. very large lake. to Auckland. dark green forests. had drunk too much at a restaurant. cold. formed by one of the largest volcanic upheavals the world has ever seen. 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. with tidy modern dwellings in Taupo at the lake’s northeast edge. Katharine crashed in a lakeside motel in Taupo. 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. Once there. especially for those living in 186 A.110 will be. disappointed because there was no trout on the menu. clear. The Barbary. and she felt the crispness of the snowy peaks that partially surrounded the lake. The lake teamed with famously large and gleaming. and was touted to offer a popular tourist cruise. crying softly and sliding her empty hands over the moist center of her body.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Kate Green She drove over sweeping empty landscapes and miles Lake Taupo was a of carefully manicured. Remember how we are No one else will ever have you like that.D. It was 375 meters above sea level. There was She no message on her computer that night or the morning after. cry. She wanted to Even to think of fishing made her want to There was a large old racing yacht floating around the lake. rainbow trout that all originated in California’s Russian River. stop and fish there. and the lake itself a high.” She lay back on her bed. the largest lake in all of New Zealand. popular place. she was more than half way Remember how I hold you. built in 1926.
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. 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.” the two couples said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . When her picture was developed the trout looked wonderful but she did not. so fine that she invited people over to her table to share the large meal. her moist green eyes sad and larger looking than ever in her drawn face. only the laughter and the heart-rending accents and the very welcome camaraderie of their rosy smiling faces. They insisted on buying the drinks. for she appeared thin as a reed. Returning that evening at an appointed hour. and everyone was thoroughly and happily soused by the end of the evening. and catching your lovely fish to boot.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 -. She She couldn’t remember their names or very much of what they had said. As soon as she had dropped it into the . She hired a Maori fishing guide and he took her out on the lake to a spot guaranteed to produce trout. as if to say. She was quite surprised. herself was quite soused.111 “I will go fishing. See. the other a delicately spicy red sauce which did not detract from the flavor of the fresh fish. although not quite as happy.” she said aloud from her bed. but she was smiling proudly with her two excellent fish. On a sudden impulse she decided to send the photograph to Green Braes. she found the proprietors had done two expert and tasty presentations of the fish.vivid descriptions of rambunctious steelhead trout fishing. one in a light soy and green onion sauce. laughing and joining in.
her fear and mistrust. the open area in front of the Maori meeting house. she was in Rotorua. She stayed one night in Rotorua and in the morning drove the three hours to Auckland. the Maori spot tourists seemed to love most on North Island. but the dense Maori history here was quite fascinating to investigate. She had wanted to visit a marae. One quick immersion in one of these would cure her of everything. unfit to be welcomed or so tenderly treated. the welcoming and acceptance of a guest. and she was the person who had failed. searching for a place to land. either. but perhaps another excuse to run. and bubbling mud ponds. and she did walk through Te Whakarewarewa.112 mailbox she regretted her foolishness. failed in her smallness. After having sent her photograph she felt an ill wind nipping at her heels. was no place to land. Perhaps some day she would return with enough humility and understanding of herself to deserve a marae welcome. Katharine checked into a small. a thermal reserve filled with famous geysers. Driving eighty-two kilometers the next day. spectacular aquamarine pools. because she had failed to forgive Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a very unlikely place in which to be found. The place reeked of hot springs. Kate?” Where are ya. and that she ought to get on in a hurry. and called Margaret. . It was a physical and a spiritual act which she thought of as a profoundly beautiful ceremony. obscure hotel. I’m so happy to hear your voice. It seemed to her that he was the symbol of what must be accomplished. but she felt unclean. She was like a foreign There It bird flying over the land. wasn’t all a matter of forgiveness. for it was cloaked in a terrible lie and only drew her back to Green Braes. Too much pungent sulfur and too many tourists for her. “Good lord.
can’t. Please.. what Oh God.I mean.I hope..but I should have known..” “Kate. I’m sorry. That would destroy us And you see I’ve always run like mad from. Margaret.and there are other assumes too much importance.... because ya really are quite a girl. I think you’re making a terrible mistake.. and I don’t know what the problems are. can’t. Really sorry. not that ya aren’t.from whatever And. up. but Lan is my I can’t believe it myself..oh. both...” “Kate. and no good to anyone this way. a long. Margaret..” What a long way it is.the. Margaret.. What I do now is at least familiar to me. Lan knows who ya are.because it Can you understand? I’m far too much of a stranger to myself already.. I’m so sorry we never got to spend much time together. problems. because I’m leaving New Zealand almost at once. romantic for someone who’s always out there in the world’s bad parts. I don’t know what this is all about.. I know I shouldn’t say anything to ya but I’ve got to.the annihilation of my miserable self before I even straighten myself out. I just never thought. ya found each other. respects who ya are... Kate.. Kate..or if you come to Seattle..but I suppose you won’t. please. independence..too much of an idealist.. bloody-hell.. “I can’t... friend.I think I could totally disappear into Lachlan Manutane. but when ya love each other they can be worked out.. He’s going out of his mind. please call him.” I just wanted to thank you for being a I’ve got to go..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .113 “I’d rather not say. I know he respects your Don’t ya care enough to--” “Oh God. friend. Isn’t that rather amazing? You’re bloody Perhaps you’re too. wouldn’t be me calling. long way. Maybe I’ll be back some day. I’ll go to pieces if I don’t hang .” “I don’t really understand this.” Can’t. I mean.
is that Lan cares for ya Please think as I’ve never seen him care for anyone in years.114 “Wait. Thank you for sending the picture.” Please come back. “It just wasn’t in the cards. even though she couldn’t Doubt recall a single memory of Lan without nearly passing out. had never felt so alone. My final word to ya. of that on your long flight home. She knew there was something missing in her frame of reference. “Good-bye. you look so sad with your two handsome fish. She could not envision it. It tells me something very important about you. and if that is so then you love me.” Katharine hung up and bawled in a loud rush of grief. Say good-bye and cheers to Ian. It tells me that It doesn’t you’ve suffered.. One day you’ll look up and It’s Think of your childhood.” We are one . She She didn’t even want to contemplate what her life might have been like if she had stayed at Green Braes. You know I love you. Margaret. beautiful country. my ipo.” She had confirmed her plane reservations and called a It was a sad way to leave such a taxi for the morning. and the familiarity of an undefined and chaotic way of life had been allowed to rule. “Green Eyes.. spirit.anything. Kate. continuing to believe she must go out and do something about it. why you can’t forgive and why you run so hard. continuing to feel small and unworthy.” “Good-bye. She tried to assume a stoic posture.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . to soothe herself with a trite and meaningless cliché that came into her head as she was standing in her tacky little room. Kate. Lan. just keep in touch. there I’ll be. matter how far away you go. Think deeply. 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. my friend. I treasure it. Katharine. or call. E-mail me or write me.
like . this heavy sickness being dragged around in her body until she could hardly withstand the weight. only the thought of an easy assignment. Occasionally. The interlude was over and she had refused to think of anything. but had made not the slightest change in a single uncertainty. to engage in any form of self-evaluation. There was an ache that came into her wrists and ankles. was as congenital as an arm or a leg. 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. Victoria had been an interlude equivalent to a state of shock. and now here it was. The condition Her intellect told her this predetermined fate assigned by an enraged parent was ridiculous. never mind trying to correct anything. seeing instead a tall sail unfurling over aquamarine water and feeling a sudden heat on her skin. 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. Her nerves told her it was straight overhead. The next day she returned to Seattle with something more engulfing and monumental in mind: work. exacting work requiring full concentration. would always be tainted. she walked around the verdant city distractedly peering into sleeping wet gardens. had told her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . she said. standing in the rain in Beacon Hill Park and listening to the peacocks’ mournful cries. a bittersweet misery that at times almost sent her to her knees. shivering in the sea mists and looking at stucco English cottages and quaint old wooden houses which reminded her of New Zealand. she would fall into a vacuous stare and wonder what she had been looking at.115 II It was cold early spring in Victoria. When at last she could leave her room.
got rid of that or you’d be dead.116 a dark cloud pregnant with doom. and existed in ample enough amounts to make existence worthwhile. because it was counterproductive. would attempt a viable encapsulation and dispersion of a long and legitimate history of pain. and there are others a lot . you did you were going to be beaten. just as she had lied by slight implication to Lan about her happy post-father childhood. By the time she was eight. was working.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . at first with outrageous arrogance and then by lying. This time she was so far gone that. In this resumed role of journalist. soft and hopeful. in a sense. and her mind must stay focused on inflamed Palestinians and Israelis in a very dangerous place. strived to act as if it existed. the rules of conduct were familiar. probably very quickly and by your own hand. she could listen with an ear and mind that she hoped would retain a controlled compassion. asserting that everything was wonderful. she needed to go further. Katharine felt herself fairly well-equipped for the job. the damage thrived. 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. her well-meaning but parochial grandmother could have done nothing to erase this emotional conviction. 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 a world gone deaf this one pair of ears would listen carefully. Beneath this self-deception. only of work. No matter what Why expect a positive Of course. Katharine took care of her permanent affliction in the best way she could. for small pleasures and attempted good for others. That fragile part of her was all That part of her was what wished You never receptive. even in herself. We all get on in the best way we can. she didn’t distract herself with unassociated fear.
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. everything was light and shadow here. for they were powerful symbols of peoples and cultures and spiritual dreams. it was quite a difficult achievement. in this exotic That was the place from which Katharine always place of red desert supporting rich treasures of antiquity. Here.117 worse off was the oft-repeated bromide of her self-sacrificing grandmother.” The hotel’s namesake. ambitious proprietors coming and going from every corner of the Middle Eastern map. she tried to imagine what it would feel like to be the dispossessed. started. had captured this once humble and now sacred spot from the Jebusites some three thousand years ago. Standing on her veranda on the fourth floor of the King David Hotel in the rosy-gold setting sun. In this starkly beautiful. Today the sky was an ethereal. translucent blue hazed with gold above the dense texture of the Old City. 2.7 miles of gated wall which the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent built between 1536 and 1541. It was seventeen to fifty feet high and in places ten . Although architectural modernity of the most avant-garde stripe existed here. King David. she reminded herself. the walled city. the ever-changing. Three thousand years of strife and struggle with swiftly time-threaded moments of peace and hope. How ironic that the name Jerusalem meant “foundation of peace. The Romans alone had been here over three hundred years. her room faced the Old City.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . three centuries longer if one considered the Byzantine Roman Emperor Constantine. When not curtained with winter drizzle.
a handsome bedroom. VCR. the greatest distance was a deep psychological pathology with no end in sight. so close together and yet by historical paths and human nature so very far apart. and fax. a Jacuzzi. She could set up her laptop and work from a convenient desk when she returned each day. Her squinting eyes could hardly take in a fraction of the encrustations of history and meaning. Inside its southeastern part were the gray-domed Al-Aqsa Mosque. The room was a bastion of comfort. Otherwise. the stamp would prevent one from entering an Arab country when reportage required that entry. all existing beneath the pervasive spectre of spilled blood. She stood very still. always it hovered over flawed man’s magnificent achievements.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . An extravagant self-indulgence to soothe her troubled brain. There were regular Israeli-imposed curfews in this tit for tat world of monstrous acts. a compact disc stereo system. the troubling logistics of even negotiating very short distances -. Off to the west in the Old City was the Places sacred to Christians and Church of the Holy Sepulcher. One did not even allow an Israeli stamp on one’s passport. Great care had always to be taken. the gleaming Dome of the Rock. Muslims and Jews. although she hardly ever worked in such luxury -. gave one long sigh as the light faded. She dressed in an olive sweater and skirt and slid her foot . If she returned each day. and the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif with its most sacred Wailing Wall dating from the first century. then stepped back inside her commodious suite. She had a guide lined up to visit Palestinian camps and planned to do her own photography when permitted.118 feet thick.a separate living room. and despite careful scheduling nothing was ever certain. She well knew the red-tape imbroglios that were the norm. but instead requested a special entry document for that purpose.for an American all distances here were very short.
But the memories would not leave her. Judith Stein was a teacher at Hebrew University on Mount Scopus north of the Mount of Olives in the northeastern part of Jerusalem. Judith Stein. holding the other shoe in her hand. isn’t it?” Katharine said. Once seated at her table in the La Regence Grill. “There you are.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “You’re thinner. and Phoenician cultures. she tried to focus on its sumptuous intimations of antiquity.119 into her chestnut wedge-heeled shoe. Katharine. a violent Palestinian response to suppression and devalued existence. She had thought of Lan. Hittite. she finished her preparations for dinner and went downstairs to meet a friend who lived in an Art Deco apartment not far away. she ordered a Manhattan neat and waited for her friend. and was now held in his powerful sway. She sat motionless.” “Thin is good. smiling at her old schoolmate as she heard once again that familiar Israeli . Here were touches of Assyrian. but she had declined. She would shake off the “A shaking off.” it was what the word intifada meant. her body at once more his than her own. the square. She had stayed there on her last visit. suddenly remembering Green Braes and descending the stairs beside Lan. her own coddling cave in which to work absent of any memory at all. had once again offered her a bedroom. begun in 1987. in the lovely old 30s neighborhood of Rehavia. Striding briskly over the shining floors and through the splendid public halls of the King David. Her heart pounded as if he were about to enter Taking several deep breaths. her own headquarters.” Judith said as Katharine stood up to receive and give a hug. the room. summoning up the entire memory. memories over dinner. stopping to button his shirt as those dark eyes engulfed her reason. scrollsided cream columns and the high ceilings cross-beamed with colorful and interesting motifs. and the friend. wanting her own sanctum.
white fish with the same wild rice and salad.” Judith said.” Katharine emptied her wine glass and said. her smallish body wrapped in a pale blue cashmere sweater and matching slacks. I wish it all belonged to us. They refuse to consider the plight of the Palestinians. “Everyone is equally One of sick of and horrified at the current state of affairs. while they slowly spooned into a fruited mousse dessert.” “There is every shade of sentiment here from rabid hatred of each other to a desire for co-existing states and an aloof. leaned back and said. There’s a sort of complimentary bar there. For . “The logistics of doing that could really be dangerous.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “So you are going to visit Palestinians. 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. Judith?” Judith. “Come up to my rooms.120 voice. you will see that they think it does. Katharine ate chicken croquettes and sauce with wild rice and a mixed green salad. commerce-exchanging peace.” “Where do you stand in those shades of feeling. “Not too thin. “Ideally. but it doesn’t. although she was not able to finish her meal.” Judith finally said. 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.” As if to amend her physical condition. But it’s so good to see you again. Judith. If you manage to talk to the far right. We can have a little nip of something with coffee and talk in private. they resumed their discussion of what everyone called “the situation.” Once seated on Katharine’s comfortable sofa and nursing small glasses of brandy.
.a frustration at the level of mad rage.” “Meanwhile. Don’t get me They have no regard for life..their land gone. And I grieve... You Israelis are so remarkable.. hubris. to kill......I’m sorry to say very much like concentration camps. want to kill us?” “For me.. yours is not a popular view..” “But human bombs--” “They don’t have tanks or gunships. You’ve made a Why do Arabs I love this city... an outsider..you have taken their land. ignorance.hunger for a place they believe nearest to God.” “We have tried to resolve this.what a sorrow.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . it’s inexcusable that innocent youth are inveigled into those wretched tactics.all the more amazing that.” “They want only to fight.” “Katharine. oh. even with my bare hands.” “Do you ever grieve for Palestinians?” “I’ve been too busy grieving for Israelis.rationalization. their dignity assaulted. until I died..121 them there is no plight but their own.” “Because they’re under severe stress. But backed into such an inescapable corner. something to be proud of in that sense. no They make themselves into respect for even their own lives. would fight. their dreams have vanished.” .... I believe I. You’ve given them curfews and treated them like bad children or worse. too. their villages. They kill innocents. their houses gone...prisoners. human bombs. It’s a history of their own suffering. Their homes. you’ve shut them in pens. started. Yes. It might have been paradise. land.a hopeless place. and so many have died.this beautiful place here. intelligent and longsuffering and apparently caring. a willful interpretation of God’s written word and anger. it seems elementary..
too. Our survival. or my country’s representatives? Both sides are mired in rage. I’m sure you’ve had preachment enough.122 “What was the Haganah. “They wanted only to fight. Now let’s talk of something else.” rising out of the Zionist Labor movement. “I hope I’m not. those radical wings were swallowed up. slice right through the horrors of the extremists and move without stopping to a place of co-existence. “So you know something of our history. They just aren’t going away. it anymore. brutal mistreatment and vilification.you seem to think you can just come here and tell us what to do.” Judith flung her hair back with an angry grimace. You’re not a Jew.” Judith stood up.” but you don’t live here.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . because neither side is going away. Judith?” “The Haganah? The beginning of the Israeli Defense Forces. .. Judith. I feel deeply for both sides. a Palestinian state the same would come to be true. Don’t Both “Please sit down. the leaders are involved in all sorts of conflicting agendas. Somehow reason must come into play.. Innocents don’t have to go on suffering and dying on either side. with a legacy of Don’t preach to me. “The populace doesn’t want to fight when it isn’t necessary.” “You have no idea. sides have to ride through all of this killing. Now we’ve said our say. and It’s exactly what you need. And who were the Lehi and Irgun armies and the Palmach strike force in those early days? They. Only wrong-thinking leaders with self-serving interests and backed by extremists want that.” “Me? Do you mean me.” “How do you know?” Judith asked with irritation.” I can’t do “And I’ve had this discussion too many times. think I don’t feel for you. wanted only to fight. even to fight amongst themselves. As soon as the well-oiled machinery of a state was With properly in place. or you’ll never have peace.
The A Palestinians need an autonomous state with a sound structure. A number of well-intentioned Israelis have seen this. state isn’t a leader but a structure. it hasn’t happened yet. and the more I read and observe the more I realize that you need a persevering mediator. That’s the only solution. I’ve been reading comprehensive reports on the actions of both sides.” Judith said. Palestinians and Israelis are too often misrepresented by fanatical. oppressed. and if it’s well in place it will survive the sudden loss of any leader.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . mediate a lasting peace. it’s interesting. it’s been tried many times.” “And you think your American president can do that? all the public posturing. and gardens and land. seen that the killing must stop and how to stop it. This is their country. the right to come and go freely. . to laugh and sing and eat and dream. my country has proved that. Innocent Palestinian people are being They have a right to houses That cannot continue.” Judith chided. but that is what must occur.and yes. I’ve found that the With Palestinians hate us for being partial to Israelis -. a third impartial party to come in here and tell you what to do. and it only leads backwards.” “You know. and to them it looks quite the reverse.123 some honest and some far from it. The history of Some strong third party must Oh.” “I do. the trouble is something always stops it. but I don’t think so. but Nothing must stop it. “I know you fear that.” “They seem to want it all. warring autocrats. A society only lives freely and comfortably when reason is allowed to supercede the horrors of wild emotion. once again standing with her agitated Surely you see it. too. too. 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.
shaking her head as she sat down...ah. for anyone in a position to publicize the futility of constant bloodshed.” Judith said with a sardonic laugh. If enough people are shown. Judith sat down.” I think You “You were such an exceptional student.your private life?” “Oh. “We were talking about the problem here. Katharine.” “Do you have a private life. marry as soon as I find a suitable husband.however unpopular... “You’re a guest in Israel and I’m trying to be polite. so I did.” You wanted to continue and You’re my friend. Katharine?” “Oh. You have a good mind and I do respect that.respect your opinion. “What about you. Katharine had stood and touched Judith’s shoulder. I haven’t much of a private life. think your country has committed no atrocities?” “How I wish it were the case. But it comes and goes. life. it’s one of the reasons I tolerate your audacity. 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. leaning forward with her face in her hand and her elbow resting on her knee. And you’re here because it has gone perhaps?” Currently. “Psychology is definitely your metier... circumstance that is unconscionable for any compassionate human being..try to tell the truth.” “You weren’t so bad yourself.” “I intend to . Judith.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . it’s a conviction. “Hmm. and her gray eyes blazing with a certain indignant anger. Judith.” “Aren’t reporters supposed to be unbiased?” “I try to be. but it has nothing to do with my conviction.” Katharine said.. Please. but you have me doing it again. “Please don’t be angry. yes.. Now we’ll talk of something else.124 fingers sliding through her dark blond hair.” And it’s more than opinion..
you’re listening to enough sad stories in your practice. I have a very good friend who is really just that..... for the people living there.” “The nightmare is. for supper in a few days.” Do you want to talk about “When you aren’t teaching. too. You don’t need another one from me. Lovers consume you.more a friend than a lover.rather futile..those sad green eyes. usually know when it’s needed..” I will have you over Going “And I thank you for the good meal.” It’s in my nature. is it not? But your eyes are enviable. to those camps seems to me like a nightmare. it? I think you need to. I’m a listener. They. Judith. It could be that I’m far too particular..” door.. “If you could see your face. “Maybe it’s the way to go. *** Katharine walked a rather sullen Judith to the .. I have a few things to do before I sleep for the morning rush.opinion.” Judith stood up with finality. “Guess I’d better get back to my place..” “So you’re going to be evasive. Envy is expressed as green. Well. Katharine. shrugging.” “Thanks for coming and for sharing thoughts with me..except when this sad.. my friend. You can’t find one? You can’t be looking very You have so much to offer. I don’t think of futility. let me know if you need a sympathetic ear while you’re here. I’ll check in with you from time to time.125 “What? hard..” Katharine answered.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Yes?” Judith said with an incisive encouragement.. I’m sure.” “And to do that I have to do a lot of listening.in the same way that you need to go about reporting on the state of things. Please be careful. “Just..” “I don’t know about that. I “But I’ll listen if you want me to.or I wouldn’t be in this profession..
She was to meet her contact. but the season of rain had tapered off. Setting off with an umbrella borrowed from the hotel. This was the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Self-purification Katharine went down early to the tempting miscellaneous breakfast buffet provided by the hotel. a lovely old refurbished hotel slightly north and west of the Old City. disheartening news made Katharine nervous and irritable. so many determined lives. dabbled in a few items: an orange. and currently had no wish to visit the hotel’s fitness room. He would have arranged a visit to one of the camps. A large date palm was dripping in the slow drizzle as she passed through the ancient Jaffa Gate and then down through the souk. for it was late March and nearing the end of Ramadan. so many little intrigues that melted away with disappointment and physical decline.126 In the morning it was raining. or harsh oaths. smoking. resulting in two deaths. he told There had once there interpret for her. the others moving at a The Israeli Defense This snail’s pace and open only to settlers. overhung and winding passageways which held centuries of echoing footfalls. but rather a desire to stretch her legs and breathe the high cool air of the rain-washed Judean Hills. a roll. no food. the now subdued marketplace. her that absolutely nothing was negotiable today. Many roads were closed. and then returned to her room to make a phone call. and the tight. now often rife with soldiers. . Orient House. for the Muslim population. Ahmed. She badly needed mitigating exercise. a boiled egg along with coffee. sex. she walked over to the Old City. Forces had placed the camps under twenty-four hour curfew. involving dawn to dusk fasting. narrow.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . been another explosion on one of the main roads. in front of the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. drink. and When she phoned Ahmed. The fragile white almond blossoms which Katharine had once seen in February would have blown away.
she caught sight of email registering from long silent Green Braes. .unable to move on.. presumed to represent man’s triumph over pain and a connection with the Divine. As she was going through the remainder of her messages. in Hebrew called Rehov Hasharsheret. pulsing with the world. This sacred place. She stood letting the rain drift into her face..127 Moving along the Street of the Chain. was itself awash in fierce contention and wild negative emotion. Why have I been so hopelessly ineffectual. she sat on her sofa in her robe. Continuing to chastise herself. she turned right. she. When she had soaked in a warm herb-scented bath. his voice in her soft outcry. she thought as she shook off her umbrella and entered the soothing quiet of the King David Hotel. descended the steps and came out into the northwestern side of the plaza. such a victim of my sorry self? she pondered. Quickly setting down the cup. she rubbed her hands together and held them clasped against her chest a moment then sighed and opened the message. and then heard Lan’s idiom. drinking tea and reading an editor’s email directives appearing on her laptop screen as it glowed like a living entity.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . mingling with commiserating regret and her own frustration. A hot bath and then tea might help. She realized that she herself was blinking away the moisture of remorseful eyes. ever watchful but resolute. There was a lone black-garbed member of the orthodox Hasidim making his way to the Wailing Wall with his dripping umbrella raised high. the rain like the tears of all those who had suffered over this small sacred spot on the troubled planet. she turned around and headed slowly back the way she had come.. “This bloody mood.” she muttered. the past. She had never been there in the rain. 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.oh..
then curled up in her luxurious bed. Ahmed called to say that a road had temporarily opened to Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. I can’t write this. but the drizzle had stopped. hugging a pillow until she dozed off. forgetting. I couldn’t see. He was not promising that everything would go according to plan.” Her uncooperative hands barely allowed her to hit the right keys as she finally succumbed to a distraught answer: “Please go on with your life. At seven in the morning.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. Coolish Standing on her veranda. to obey the wise counsel of her simple grandmother by losing her own story in the grievously disregarded stories of others. wanted no food. she checked the weather. Please communicate with me. Kate. tossed it down. this. Please don’t suffer. down on the whole thing.oh.” Suffering herself.128 “I miss you very much. There was a thick dark cloud bursting in a gray column behind a rainbow low in the west... but would pick her up in the UNRWA van. Please. can you help me by being well and by forgiving. she could go no further and pressed the send button before she could change her mind. I Do you give a damn if I’m suffering? need to know how you are. to inform a segment of the world. out in the field. which needed to hear the other side: always an act requiring a certain amount of risk.. 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.looking it wasn’t really about Rani. along with another person with whom he worked in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. air. Lan. At least she was at liberty to do this. . where you are. trying to work. Rattling through small bottles in the conveniently stocked little bar. Don’t do this to us. She was to be in front of Orient House in half an hour. Apologize to Mary for me.. she found the vodka.. She She wanted to work.
I find your amber-brown eyes ..very beautiful. Karima’s smooth-skinned round face was surrounded by the gossamery white hijab. and green-barred Palestinian flags. Katharine felt a weakness in her stomach. She sat behind Ahmed and was at once introduced to the shyly smiling passenger beside her named Karima. Clutching her large purse. but Karima said. the gabled covering over a handsome fan entrance set with colored glass surrounded by stylized plaster latticework.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .the Never have I seen eyes of this green.. “Let me do this for you. like the mineral stone malachite.129 A hotel-summoned taxi let Katharine off before the irongated entrance of elegant Orient House.” and brought the scarf gently over her head with quick agile fingers.” Karima said in careful English. She considered climbing the stairs to see if she might peek inside. “Thank you. especially on the road. Is that the right thing to do?” Katharine asked with a polite smile.. “I have brought for you a scarf. Flying the red- triangled.. black-.. Karima. “Your eyes are surprising. Katharine hastened outside the gate and climbed into the waiting white UN van. Formerly a hotel and the 1897 villa of Isma’il al-Husseini.” Karima said. Orient House was now the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in East Jerusalem.or jade. the building was a stone’s throw from the extremely orthodox Hassidim neighborhood of Me’ah She’arim. a head scarf which fell to her waist and was a common sight among the women of Gaza.. studying the gamariya construction often found in Islamic architecture.” Immediately thinking of Lan. Katharine reached for the scarf. green. She walked through the slightly ajar high gate and stared past the dark green firs. but heard the quick beep of a car horn. “It will be easier. “I’m not Muslim. white-.
Elazar. child bearing. Kfar Darom.” “So then.good teachers. They were on the tunnel road out of Jerusalem.” “You’re working. and Neve Daniel.” 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.” “Yes. strife. When they reached Kfar Etzion the Arab villages began to appear and continued until they reached the Kiryat Arba turnoff. field work.” “Yes. human loss. Gone a long time ago.130 quite lovely. Arab women were selling Their weathered faces heavily lined. produce along the road. “the old are wise. I don’t. another parent you have?” “My grandmother raised me.” Karima said. “Do you have children?” Karima asked. Karima had informed her.. Katharine thought. and each line. Karima. you are doing here.. the stuff of life and quite a bit more. I have three children and my mother. Efrat.” “Because I’m a woman.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . then to Gaza and south. a road often closed..” “Ah. She was a wise teacher. My eyes are from the eyes of my mother.” “She is alive?” “No..gone now.” “My husband is dead. “What route do we take?” Katharine called out loudly enough for Ahmed to hear... The army checkpoints at Muraj. They will be wondering what . too. “We are going almost to Hebron.” “You will be asked this often.and the desperate need for sustenance. and Netzarim are open to travelers now. “No. a story of hours in brutal sun.
traversed for thousands of years. waved them on.” Karima said.” Katharine answered with a smile. lowered her head and sat very still.” The soldier warned her about the dangers of the camps and.” Karima responded and fell silent. and at which Palestinian travelers were powerless to do anything but suffer whatever fate was decided upon by IDF soldiers.131 I must work. Katharine held out her passport and explained that she was simply going to visit with some Palestinian women and had the required approval to do so. we have a single moment of relief. If we are allowed It is very . “You are not one of them. As they drew up to the first checkpoint. because she was with an UNWRA guide. “and it is never without worry.” In this warring climate. “I’m sorry. too. Ahmed was ready Katharine with hawiyya. and would now have to deal with checkpoints.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Good lord. his and Karima’s special passes. trying not to look at anyone. They were on the Gaza road. and said. Katharine began to experience the anxious feeling of threat that was always present under such uncertain and unequal conditions. to pass. 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. ID. that’s unnerving. she was hesitant to inquire just how the presumably young husband had died. “Why the hijab?” the soldier holding an M-16 inquired. “We go through that every time we reach a checkpoint. intimidating road blockades involving examination and interrogation.” Katharine exclaimed. When attention was at last focused on her.” “I’m not trying to hide.” “I. “just trying to be polite.
S. we must rush to be home by nine And very soon it will return to seven o’clock.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. take no picture without first carefully seeking permission from her subject. “Should we worry about the curfew?” Katharine asked. Israeli authorities extend curfew from seven o’clock to nine o’clock. Karima. questions. My father has experienced this many times. still it is difficult. and it is a In some countries Muslims social time. and immense respect for your great strength in living like this.” Karima said. where guards in high towers waved them through. “Officially.” “I try to play that down. exempting us from curfew. stroking her travel purse with camera inside. why we often have such anger. and supplies. feeling some of the anger that so many innocent Palestinians must feel in very large doses at the severe proscription of their lives. We can eat after sunset. can party all night.” Katharine said in a voice filled with newly heightened emotion. o’clock. She also knew that she could Red tape.” “I have deep regret for all of this humiliation. a sort of castle-like dwelling for rest.” Katharine rode in silence. you have a U. “UN workers have red passes. During Ramadan. “But curfew for you?” she went on. and they were soon in Khan Yunis.” Katharine said. Here fourteenth century Egyptian Mamluk sultans had provided caravan travelers with a khan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . They do not like journalists. but even then it is not easy. Here. One more very fortunately uneventful checkpoint at the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom. passport and are not subject to curfew. its eroded remnants were falling to dust . “It is my hope that you will make others understand what is laid upon us. worship.
Her “He lost his last job when a long curfew was imposed and the roads were closed. throwing up mud from the recent rains and plowing through open sewage.. the house was cut in half for the Sharon Street. has been out looking for work.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. They tore apart houses.” Katharine said softly. husband.” They entered the house through a narrow and dark makeshift vestibule with another door at the end. the mother of three children.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Karima said. imprisoned people. a lot of shootings. If he comes home in time it will be possible to speak with him. flaunted an illegal Palestinian flag. This was to protect the .133 in the square while nearby a contemporary mosque. “It is called sahafit is-shaab. its minaret soaring seventy-five feet into the sky. “This happened in the 1970s with General It faced a broad Ariel Sharon’s Iron Fist response to the fedayeen. “For you this will be of interest. ‘popular journalism. as though a sudden wind would bring it all down in a snapping tangle.000 people looked Donkeys. horses. “The language of graffiti. “Yes. street slicing right through the housing area.” They drove through the town to a cinder block house which looked as though half of it had been cut away..” Karima said.’ another way of communicating the stress of suppression. The electrical wiring overhead appeared equally haphazard and fraught with danger.” Ahmed said. and cars were oppressive and jerry-built.” “We are visiting Amira. a wide street dividing the neighborhood to make room for the Israeli soldiers to chase guerrillas who vanish in narrow alleys. Omar. This town of more than 80. too. staring through the window at the heavily marked side of a building. the Palestinian fighters.
134 entrance from Israeli tear gas canisters. plump Amira’s shy eyes flashed out from a round face surrounded by the thin cloth of her white hijab.” Amira said. waving her hands. which she could not herself drink. “Our home was invaded last night. Karima explained. When she was introduced. delicately flowered blue blouse and a long black skirt which was being clutched by a dark-eyed.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” They sat on large cushions placed on a cold tile floor in a barren square room painted soft blue with a white ceiling. Amira brought a tray with tea in small glasses. You have “Where is your husband. “We do not expect this Please drink. “Laila.. Katharine had already noticed that the windows facing the street were sandbagged. Generally. She had heard that Israeli settlers sandbagged the windows of exposed houses in their settlements to protect them from Palestinian snipers. It is not your way. very curious little girl. of you.” Amira said. Palestinian camps were subject to entry and search at any time by the IDF.” “Thank you for letting me come into your home. “Sometimes they get on the roofs of our houses to watch us and shoot at rock throwers. “I should not drink when you cannot.” Katharine said. Katharine said. but I must not complain.” . is a very pretty little girl. “We are not in the best of humor today.” Karima translated for Amira. “I have neither husband nor children.your children? pictures?” Amira asked with smiling curiosity. the settlements were The houses in the walled in and guarded by Israeli soldiers.” “No. pointing to her staring child. Fasting is difficult under these circumstances.” Karima said as they entered Amira’s house. “Your daughter. She wore a long-sleeved. Laila..
looking for. her withheld emotions rose to the surface and spilled out in a rapid and lengthy harangue of frustration and anger. her children. to have food. had met with no success. because the new settlements have used so much water that only a few wells still have maaya helwa. is like to live this way. that is so far affairs that is hardly a dream anymore. to be left alone and manage our own Oh. her home. children are so frightened whenever they hear a strange sound. sweet water. Most of the time we have no idea who they are A free state. we had to sell some of our possessions. worry that the fright will damage them.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Not so sad for me.this after the soldiers have come into our home. even one of my gold bracelets. Katharine with her tape recorder now readily approved and her note pad scribbled full of descriptive passages of Amira. her ravaged neighborhood with its sewage perpetually trickling down the sandy.” They talked on. I’ve chosen this way of life. 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. muddy edges of the cracked sidewalks. Omar. None of us sleep very well. a different way of living a life. Gradually.135 “This is very sad for you. Just before His attempts to find work The dark eyes set deep in shadowed . she began to open up..” At first Amira was hesitant to speak when Katharine asked to hear an account of her existence. returned. the husband. what I do. You cannot imagine what it Our water tastes of salt from sea water. ahead of us it is hardly a thought. “When my husband lost his job because of the curfew and the closed roads. Amira. sundown. but after a period of brief responses to politely orchestrated questions and short voluntary comments of her own. like criminals.. I like It’s a different point of view.
. It One evil She locked The house of the key is The village of the house of the key is gone. shuffled quietly into the room to welcome her son. a good life for my family. Katharine glanced at the cold tile floors and wondered if the bare feet were a habit or a necessity. as he welcomed her into his home. With his tall figure gaunt and stooped by fatigue and his hair already thinning. but she will not give up the key. displaying teeth in need of dental work.136 wells of a haggard face flashed with anger as he explained his humiliating plight. I do not I want a job. Hanan.. and directed his words to Ahmad.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . How else can they retaliate for this hopelessness? What can they do? “I myself do not want Palestinian terrorists.no hope for them. his smile seemed to Katharine a monumental effort. Write that down for the world to read. a country for my people that is free. the door and carried away the key. . According to Ahmad’s translation. the shabab..now a new Israeli settlement of fine houses lives there.killing us. “This is a sorry place for the young men. Her wrinkled face beamed from behind Her full figure was her black scarf at the sight of her son... want Israeli soldiers in my life. children’s. yet he accepted Katharine’s role of journalist and even smiled.. of speaking to any woman in this manner. Omar said. swathed in a long black kaftan from which her bare feet protruded. “My mother wears the key of her former house on a cord around her neck. There is nothing Her dreams are stronger than even her These young rock throwers. day she had to close the door of our home forever. Omar’s soft-spoken mother. for them to do. He was unused to speaking to a strange woman. get into trouble because they are always angry and restless. is like a talisman for a dream that can bear no fruit. gone.
“Thank you. She chewed slowly and looked at the They were smiling. Katharine broke her warm bread and dipped it into the humus as the others were doing. shyly spread out the covers. tomatoes. God’s will. call to prayer.137 “Do you have children?” “No. They heard the athaan. the bottom one the fiber matt floor covering. entered the room with a bowl of humus and knelt to set it on the cloth.” Omar said. and Amira asked. “Will you stay for iftar with us. Hanan. of hungry mouths to feed. happy to be eating. “One day you will have children and they will be in a free place. and beans stirred with olive oil and thyme. and was content . whose name was Aysha. drank apple juice. making jokes she couldn’t understand.” Katharine answered with a look which she hoped said This is who I am.” Karima said and explained her words to Katharine. We will share some of the food with you that we were going to eat. This was the fast-breaking dinner. Young Aysha They tended the flat bread warming on the charcoal brazier. which Ahmad had brought from the van along with the containers of the very small fish. olives. and there were a number Katharine considered whether it was She glanced at Karima.” he Soon the sun would be setting. There were fluffy almond-studded rice and mounds of a minuscule dried fish. the “Ask the same for us. surrounding faces. Several layers of covering were placed across the floor. a pot of jam. Amira’s oldest girl. and the cucumbers. the top one a sort of oil cloth upon which the food was laid. added. the pleasure of the meal. Omar’s mother. sitting on foam cushions as Karima and Amira arranged the food. unkind to accept or rude to decline. Insha’allah. Please accept me this way. and they gathered around the meal. but she understood the necessary socializing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . cucumbers.
. stoned or shot. smiling serenely. Katharine asked Ahmad to ask Omar if she might be permitted to photograph the family as they sat at their meal. simply happy to be eating together. children. one killed. “That’s an antitank missile. Can you hear it?” he said in “Only a mile and a half away. in itself. At the finish of the meal. Karima was talking softly to Amira. With the phone The entirety of it was a story up to his ear. his black-haired head bobbing as he chewed and grinned. mischievous Aysha teasing her younger sister. but all was motion. was granted. melodic sounds of spirited voices. English to Karima and Katharine. We won’t get out of here tonight. Amira with the baby boy. they reclined on their cushions drinking mint tea. and then she heard a loud explosion which shook the room.. She bit into a crisp fresh cucumber and smiled How at Hanan who nodded at her and returned her smile. his face grew serious and he shook his head and exclaimed softly. and she reached for her purse. Heavy explosives. My God.the shabab. Ahmad’s cellular phone rang. Such a pose Katharine could not allow to slip away and was quite satisfied as her shutter clicked several times. He stood up and raised his hands for silence. amazingly cheerful they all looked. and Omar frowning and reaching for bread. Atif.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . on her lap being fed. perhaps for a moment forgetting their great misfortune.138 to watch and listen to the chattering. Amal. Ahmad’s lanky torso rested back on his elbow. The request She tried to frame The wiggling her photograph carefully. “What?” Katharine asked. They say a jeep was stoned and two soldiers run off the road. Now we’re in for it. They will be finishing off the houses of the suspected shabab in the morning with their . Only Hanan looked at the camera.
A child was At last she fell asleep.’ will be knocked down.” “You must stay here. every Maybe every house Children are martyrs now. it is really halat harb.’ what we must live with. but they monitored human rights. a ‘martyr house. It was just after four o’clock. Amal. a Refugee Affairs Officer.” he directed at Katharine. wishing for the release of sleep but instead contemplating this life and her own. She slept in a roomful of women and children. ‘the situation.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . This is what I mean when I say nothing He had been speaking is certain. Katharine wobbled across last them through the day. She awoke with the sudden stirring of the others. . Lights flashed in her eyes. young Aysha and her little sister. The floor She turned back and forth fully clothed. only her shoes removed. “There are some blankets in the van. a ‘state of Before wadd’a is over. RAOs were European or North American contractors. with an RAO friend on his phone. house will be beit shaheed. face looked bone tired and slightly grotesque. her blanket thin. They must eat before sunrise. never comfortable. crying. war. but dreamed that Lan was making fierce love to her in a long half-water-filled kayak as it sank. “This is el wadd’a. green in the fluorescent lamp. It was time for suhur. Listen to that artillery. refugee-UNRWA liaisons. was cold and hard. as she went on explaining to Katharine what they would do. the meal that would Stuporous. huddled together in tears.” Omar told Ahmad.” angrily excited Ahmad said with a dramatic gesture for Katharine.139 dynamite and bulldozers.” Karima said. Their mother moved over to comfort them.’ “As you see. She sat up as Hanan placed a The old woman’s shrouded glass of cardamom coffee in her hand. her damp body still pulsing in the throes of fear and erotic desire. pulling futilely at her cover. As the house shook again in a loud and threatening boom of sound.
be leaving today. a self-inflicted sort of wound. idea of Mary as her adoptive mother. Karima handed her a glass of very strong cardamom coffee. was. no victory at all. yet. She The groggy Then they all returned to their floor mats.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Why did you let me sleep?” She was wriggling into her shoes.” “Where are Ahmad and Omar?” “They have gone to a neighbor who needed help with a broken door.. and Katharine said. callow in her yearning. so incisive. How long would Lachlan Manutane invade her waking and sleeping dreams? She pondered his perceptive observations. slumped down with the silent family and fed flat bread and jam into her mouth between sips of coffee. then She had wishfully entertained the Now she was fully those of Mary. but I can watch the household.. and were at once greedily asleep. children whimpered and gurgled in complaint. We may not “It is good.. some strength of will. talk to Amira and Hanan. She had managed to get herself away. When she awoke the other blankets were put away. as if Mary were simply waiting for her to come along in order to dispense that longed for maternal tenacity. devotion. “Just as well. her escape felt like. just as careless children live in the present with no thought of ensuing dark days. avoided the beans but ate a hard-boiled egg. security.” Karima answered.. What a child she now saw herself in this matter.” “I wish I’d brought my laptop. wrapping themselves in their blankets. and Amira and her daughter were mopping the floors..and so completely in love with Lan but unable to imagine any sort of future.write some ..with your help. spurred on by the nervous idea of how swiftly she might be swallowed up if she stayed. awake and thinking again. that involved some projection of thought.140 the floor.
nothing else happens.” “There is much to write. I am afraid they will not have much time to talk to you. had met Omar at the West Bank Birzeit University.” “Then I’ll just watch. the end of Ramadan in two days.” Katharine leaned against the wall. pancakes filled with ground nuts. Omar had enlisted the help of both their families to start a door manufacturing business in Gaza. doing quite well. watching the women and girls who were presently making Ramadan atayif. holding his squirming little body on her lap. Amira said. workers.141 things. 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. fried and heavily soaked in honey. it was They were able to employ more and more Then they had to lay off half their workers due to an . “Now we are preparing for eid al fitr celebration. Upon graduation and after their marriage. Katharine had done only minimal ablutions in the crowded household. nothing is ever certain. Later. It was the amazing endurance of the family that she found so uplifting. she talked to Katharine with Karima’s help. Karima said. but she had existed under far worse conditions in more immediate war zones. is there not?” Karima remarked. which they were able to attend with part-time jobs and the help of their families.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . If With wadd’a. unpleasantly salty. Katharine learned that Amira actually spoke some Amira English but was shy about using it before a journalist. Wishing to be unobtrusive. while Amira was feeding baby Atif. At first. The water was indeed Insha’allah.” Her teeth felt furry and her clothes needed changing. and the indulgent and kindly way her inconvenient appearance was accepted into the flow of things.
which was stroking nervously over little Atif’s body as she spoke.. and goes.. He is very.. this has gone on? Do you not know how long We are tired of it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine looked at Amira’s hand. Next their supplies were cut off due to The business could not operate. Perhaps he thinks you are Shin Bet.” Katharine said. He is very. hope?” Amira said.” “Ah. have done this when they want to find someone. failed after a long curfew which prevented Omar from going out.” “Disturbed. Amira’s eyes were moist as she told her story. retreating to another room where the men often met to talk. I know they will because they must..” “Are you now to tell me I must have amal. “You are not the first to say so. Now he was daily searching for work. half in English. quickly take a job as a gardener in a settlement.” Katharine answered. “My uncle. too.142 Israeli licensing restriction which allowed businesses no more than ten employees.. “Uncle Ibrahim stays with us from time to time. Patting this frantic hand then offering a quick grasp. “I guess that’s what I’m saying. Ibrahim. “Why would he think that?” “They have posed as journalists to catch people. He stared at Katharine with a look of surprise then a grimace.” Amira said. curfews and road closures.depressed and tired. Omar’s employees all found themselves jobless. Katharine said. and Omar had to That job.how do you say? He comes Yes. his tall frame moving with a stumbling forward tilt. they “He has the suspicion. . “Things will improve..” Karima said. the Israeli domestic intelligence.” An elderly bearded man clothed in a long cream jalabeeya and wearing a taghiya or skullcap atop his gray head suddenly entered the room. half in Arabic.
perhaps he throws some rocks -. our houses. I do not think the boy is so bad. but only dead innocents sacrificed for nothing.bulldozes his orchards. One of his grandsons is sometimes with the shabab.. through the nerve-wracking checkpoints and up into the Judean I want rights for Palestinians. not the path to freedom. martyred children.” Amira said. very disturbed man.... peace or harmony can rest on a foundation so evil. They say a soldier goes off the But even so.. and I will.” “I do not want to punish. Punishment is not the answer. He cannot stay in one place... you know..is sometimes going to other relatives. Who is punished for this?” “Oh. His good mind is not good anymore... our dreams.. rewarded. my young sisters..” *** Back through the desert Katharine had finally been driven. other friends.. I want peace. He is always working in his orchards. “Leave us to have a country of .” Katharine said..... tend these trees. this must stop. For this their families are paid. evil.. past the cacti and the orange groves and the settlements.loved to olive and almond trees. Insha’allah.but I myself can only tell your story.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . road because of rocks. peace. “What I have seen are not This all must stop.restless man. thanking Allah for this life.the soldiers taunt the young boys. 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. rows of He loves. I play in this beautiful place with “Once he has orchards. Amira. and for this the IDF knocks down Uncle Ibrahim’s house.such perfect rows. That is These insane sporadic killings of the blameless on both No sides only create seething hatred.what we do not have.143 “Yes.happy in the blossoms and buzzing bees. Look what we have.
“my tidy She explained to Katharine existence at the center of chaos. she asserted silently as she went inside to read her email. she faxed her work to the contracting magazine. posted the accompanying photographs. Another message from Green . They must have a better life.” “Salamtak. back to Jerusalem to write a portion of her story. and their children. “I’ll show you my office. working long into several nights. she had promised to return soon. you. she sat at the desk which held her computer.” where and when to catch a bus for the following day’s visit. “Health be with Finding difficulty in saying good-bye. The next morning offered the sweet promise of a fresh early spring day. Blood pulsed into her temples. with still more heavy uncertainty on the horizon.” she had told them all. Omar. She had been allowed to photograph quite a bit more than she had anticipated. after the Ramadan eid al fitr celebrations. When she was reasonably satisfied with the result. writing and rewriting until she had included and excluded all that was necessary to make a moving and flowing story of fact. Judith left a phone message. and in pursuit of a few more of the thousands of Palestinian stories which existed in the camps. Katharine stretched on her veranda with her coffee in hand. Four days after she had finished her current story. With her usual self-demanding perfectionism. staring thoughtfully off at the Old City and thinking of Amira.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .144 Hills. to see what hectic life was like with a seven o’clock curfew. When this routine task was finished she intended to dress and head out to find the appropriate bus for Mount Scopus. and set out to escape her troubled thoughts by exploring more of Jerusalem before returning to the camps. As she was perusing her e-mail list a quick gasp escaped her. instructing her to catch a bus to Mount Scopus and meet her in the cafeteria of Hebrew University for a chatty lunch.” Judith said.
Don’t be a hypocrite in this. this. crashing into the earth? There was an instant of stillness. blue silk blouse. there was a concussive explosion of sound so loud her ears captured only the first half. In those times she thought herself . the blue sky. I love you. no longer existed. tumbling. if not in anger then in disgust. *** There were short spans of sudden consciousness. she clutched her purse and began to run. the pink limestone buildings all askew and spinning. Tell me to my face. her own body being pushed along by the force of some hard object. she thought as she listlessly put on her tan slacks. “Forgiving is easy. the spring trees. but I’ll forget when you do.” the initial paralyzing calm after a deep wound. The world spun around. but there was nothing more she could say. I know you have courage. doing what you do. Lan. Kate.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine had walked a few blocks when she saw a bus pulling up to the shelter. but even then all was blackness. Lan had said it all. Nothing. All in an instant the bus. then a wall of blackness. going to make it. and cream linen jacket for a lunch that she hoped would not be difficult. Come back With much A writer who can’t finish her sentences is in pain. She sorely needed warm and understanding conversation with an old friend. Her troubled response to his earlier message had made her assume that Lan would finally give up on her. flying. at the same moment she thought this.145 Braes when she thought they had ended.” Indeed she was in pain. as such. “knife shock. the moment the Arabs call sargat el sikineh. trepidation she opened the message and read. she was catch. then a searing red flash of pain. Or was it her own body spinning. Then. here and tell me to forget. a coward in Where are you? I worry about Please come back. Certain it was the one she needed to Ah. you.
wait a minute.Katharine Gordon.. “Are. Where am I?” The strange male voice said.I could always see.” I don’t remember..” You It’s When was it broken? “Two weeks ago there was a bomb explosion in a bus.” You have been unconscious from a “Quite a normal reaction. hurting quite a bit..are my eyes open?” “Yes... She called and called until she felt herself sinking back into timeless nothingness without even comprehension of blackness. Because you are awake . Surely he would come.can’t..two weeks ago? But I. were nearby and sustained some injuries..something wrong with my leg.I’m Katharine.. well.. hope that is why you cannot see...I’m.see. “When? It was broken in two places... “You are at Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. and she thought that she had opened her eyes.. Miss Gordon. I.please try to stay calm. He had told her there were sharks.” Very good.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’m sure.. You were somewhat shielded by a large section of the displaced shelter.” “Calmly.flying debris.146 fallen into the water in complete darkness and called for Lan.we brain has caused pressure on your optic nerves. but you were hit in the head.... or you would be full of shrapnel. concussion.” “But I. “Are you fully awake now?” an unknown..am I blind then? Oh..” “Two.” “But I. The swelling of your We believe. heavily accented voice asked. and we will talk to you a little at a time. you cannot.. stay calm. You are doing Try to “No.. Can you tell me your name?” “My..” “There’s something. God.......” “Yes.. We were certain you would not see at present.I don’t remember anything. She coughed and said in a rasping voice.
” When did you last see her?” Katharine’s brain was roiling..your friend.” “I’m sorry.. Katharine... I swore. Katharine.... The “I’m sorry.you have a visitor. but only for a few minutes a little later.” Last time I You should have “I was only teasing. “I last saw her..” *** “Daisies.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .swore I would not say anything. too. blinder than a bat..” “Katharine. think daisies are cheerful. and a member of the staff will come and get you.” “I can’t see the daisies..and where I’ve been... I might be dead.or you. were here.” “Judith. roadblock. Lying Karima and Ahmad They had to undergo interrogation to get through a I wouldn’t expect them to come again. How stupid. we want to do a few tests. I last saw her at the King David Hotel. incredible tragedy of these times. “How have I been?” How have you been?” “Well.. around on pain killers.147 now.” “Yes. I’m glad to see you looking better.. but ....in college together. good. you know how I’ve been.” “Who?” “Judith Stein. that’s good.. She is quite anxious to see you.. Katharine. We.oh. brought something that smells good.” Judith said as she entered Katharine’s room. Judith. her thoughts clouded with areas of darkness as she struggled to recall.Stein? “Yes. someone who has been waiting to see you.very good..were. Then perhaps. “I My God. Now just wait a few minutes. I didn’t think.” The explosion killed and maimed--” It’s so horrible. Someone can put them in a vase. “Yes. please. was here you could hardly talk..I last saw her..
more The They I’ve had plenty of time to think...” “What are you going to do. people I met in Khan Yunis would never have done this. they let their young people do it.not anyone. condone the suicide of their children. in considering the world situation..” “The people I met wouldn’t have done this to anyone. The prognosis isn’t too bad. Clean breaks.” “And. I’ll be on crutches for a Therapy.” Most of “No. that others need. You have changed your opinion maybe a little about Palestinians?” “Absolutely not..have to hang around here for a month. but us. which they call martyrdom.it has reached the limits of its existence. Judith. Frenchified use of English conveyed so much...” “The freedoms of America are priceless. For that.. they .the irritation heals.. they’re watching my eyes.” “Judith.the very way it perpetuates itself -. you have had plenty of time to think. indifferent world must bear some of the blame. And When while. my dear friend.perhaps you understand. Judith.they were horrified. angered so many. them condone what is done. aren’t terrorists.148 now perhaps. He said. I guess. he told a meeting of capitalists in New York city: ‘When you are powerful like you guys is the time to be nice.. I’m sure. They’ve called me. “The doctors say I’m young enough for my leg to mend fairly rapidly.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . probably they wouldn’t hurt you. I can’t do this. strongly than ever..” “Well.’ I like the way his simple.. haven’t you?” “Recently I heard Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien on the news. Oh.. the swelling goes down.” “No. Katharine? How can I help you?” I want it to see I’m too tired.. when a civilization is driven to sacrifice its children -. I hold the same convictions.. its leaders and the affluent.
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.”
. We weren’t on the Those He hated my guts. rubbing her eyes. same wave length at all. your bed to keep guys like me away.. “What am I wearing? Nike Air.” “Stop it.” “I’ll smell the carnations.. You’ve no idea. laugh. hugging her. broken leg and all...” “My picture is complete. about it. as the British have been known to say: Fucked up more than usual..remember?.” Cash said. I made Katharine Gordon laugh. the same old Cash. Cash.umm.beautiful as ever -.” “Hardly. patrolling I kind of thought he’d be here. “Are they treating you okay? Is there anything you need?” “A working pair of eyes would be nice. Did you come to gloat?” “No.” “Ah.” “Sorry. art is a color shoot.” Katharine said. Looks like you’re all FUMTU.” “What are you wearing?” Katharine asked. I’ve got an idea. please.” Come on. nice. satisfied. I came to hold your hand and let you smell these bright red carnations. Those incredible green eyes. “How did you know I was here?” “I’m in the business. “That’ll be a change. eyes are what made that big dark Kiwi letch for you.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. Calvin Klein jeans and an old black Armani jacket over a white Burberry shirt.” “Same old Katharine.. Then I’ll go away “Yes.the news business.but the guy was nuts about you.” . “I’m sorry. Cash.” Katharine felt the tears sliding down her cheeks. “Good God.” “I hear they’ll be working eventually.” “I can’t laugh. I’ll come back tomorrow with a whole new bedside manner.for you. I think I could make you famous with just my macro lens. but he was polite You know. black.154 “I’m speechless...
That’ll put me in dire need of crashing in Kiwi land. The doctors told A very mysterious “I’m going to science called wait and see. song. Margaret in New Zealand. assume it’s just a matter of time. hobbling about on crutches and wondering if she would ever see. promised her nothing.. she had told Judith. “I’m photographing flying body parts.155 “You think that’s all there is?” “No.” *** Katharine was in her hotel room now. 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. then filed it away in her head until the appropriate hour. A day later. “Your bedside manner hasn’t Please be careful out there. There must be more or you wouldn’t be here. she asked Judith to get a number from her computer. with that cast on. “Meanwhile.” Cash Taylor did return the next afternoon.. I’d go crazy. and damn soon. improved much.” he informed her.only somehow. If I didn’t.” “I’d prescribe some horizontal exercise. awhile back I thought I caught the . “Katharine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine shook her head.” Katharine said with a grin. her very little. Little did he know what he was doing to her feeble attempts at establishing equilibrium. she called It was only when she heard herself talking that she knew with certainty what she would do. it doesn’t seem quite the thing. The first thing Margaret said after her initial surprise and delight was. Cash. recalling Cash’s tantalizing images of New Zealand and in one of her sudden transitions of mood.” “Now that almost makes me laugh. and spent part of his visit extolling the beauties of New Zealand.” One day.
I suppose now I must. Were ya? I tried to I thought ya might have Are ya?” “Margaret. I’ve been thinking a lot I have such good I really love the place. I want to thoroughly immerse myself in that wonderful peaceful atmosphere and.the sort of hideaway you call a bach.. the sort of door that opens right onto an easy path. hear more. of how beautiful it is. He’ll have to find Ya see how much I’d like ya to come?” I don’t want to see anyone at all” -. ya on his own. I have a lot of friends who sometimes let Do you think their vacation cottages.. I. please. you could?” “Of course. place where you could practically walk in the dark and not get lost. Of course I could only do that if I were sure you wouldn’t tell Lan I was coming. except that I want to come to New Zealand. none of that.as if I “This is strictly confidential: I was in a could. I was hoping you could find me one of those nice little holiday cottages for rent. been in the Middle East. I guess I just couldn’t come.” “I have just a few requirements. forgive me please. I’ll need to use my laptop. little accident and I need to heal. maybe in the Bay of Islands or somewhere not too far from Auckland. but could learn nothing. If I didn’t have your promise of that.. Then I would need someone to .. she thought.” “No.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Margaret. where the weather isn’t so bad this time of year. memories of it.” “Then I suppose I can’t say anything. The place should have a You know. about New Zealand.and get back in shape for my next spate of globetrotting...” “Oh my God. but I don’t want to say anything much. Do you promise to be silent?” “Oh bloody-hell. “Good.” “Then I’ll trust you.156 tail end of a news story with your picture attached.
I like the sound of the rain on this noisy tin roof.” Katharine said to Margaret in a testy voice.who could maybe clean things up a bit. “Absolutely. jewel. accident. here. “I’ll be e-mailing my arrival.’ I answer like an obedient child. recovered yet. takes over...or is New Zealand just full of Pennies?” “She’s a real brick. Kate. “Oh. they’re everywhere.just you. Where did you ever find such a pills?’ she asks me. ‘Are you remembering to take your anti-inflammatory ‘Yes. could meet me at the airport. going to make a fine doctor when all those studies are through.. oh. “I worry about ya here.. I know. was just so astonished when ya came off that plane.157 stop by from time to time with.. I’m so well cared for..” “I’m bloody sorry.” Ignore that remark.” III “No one told me it could rain like this here. supplies and mail.knows when to leave me alone.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Margaret -good of you.” that demanding little owl you have..” She walks right in here and “Penny is doing a great job. Kate.. This is getting on to our winter. Would that be possible?” People are always looking for work around When are ya coming?” I have a few ideas. I’ve come to love all sounds. I’m glad I’m here. She has that manner about her. my friend. but it is highly unusual to have so much. More pork. That would be so This all would be so very good of you.. all alone.and your eyes. more pork. Actually. Last night I heard a Morepork.knows when I need . ya know. and.. and maybe you -. Seattle. I haven’t I Ya told me on the phone it was a little Good God. “I might as well be in “Yes.” “I think she’s already a doctor.
death. Half of Gaza for the million penned-up Palestinians. and over sixty percent unemployment. Angry.. dragging one aching foot over crumbling debris. Some days I don’t do anything.” “Is that what you’re writing about?” “Not now.” “That was so bad. “Kate. swear a lot. Margaret.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and tragic road of depredation for them.such rotten luck. Right now. you’re quite something. I can’t.still young. but the settlers are free to come and go and living in new homes with lawns and sprinklers. staring down into a pit of black bodies. I’m doing a lot of thinking. It looks like a very long. I’m writing my way out of something else at I just want to Sorry. really quite brave. It’s all the misery in the world.158 something... It’s a frightening powder keg. the moment. I suppose it’s one way of getting over the grief of the Middle East. She would awaken whimpering in the darkness she could not escape.. Misery. and some writing. frustrated. throw things.. girl.” She didn’t bring up the bizarre things her brain was doing almost nightly. in which she found herself wandering down a street in the Gaza Strip. and destruction. crawl away and cover my head. don’t go where I think you’re going. although that’s hard to believe. the other half for six thousand walledin settlers. lovely. it looks as if the situation can only get worse. herself a Gaza dweller shuffling through the dust. As to being alone. Kate. the strange dreams it made her endure. and it just kills .” “I’m talking about the grief of the Palestinians. with a lot of pluck. I like it..” “But he doesn’t even know you’re here. gloomy. herself old and in tatters and bleeding.appears to be turning into a novel. I feel helpless in that regard. What a I wish--” “Please. Perhaps later I’ll write it. A million Gazans incarcerated in squalor with little hope for much else.
” “That’s bloody amazing to me. leaning heavily on Penny. I suppose. Penny reads it to me. I’m “I don’t think it’s right.” “What about your leg? I’ll have to become When can you abandon the crutches?” “It was a bad break. I’ve got to stay off it a while longer. It would be a disaster.” “So be it. Look at me. as I can. unrecognizable forms and nothing more.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . two fractures. which her doctors had only suggested.. but clean at least.. a tight-fitting little Citroen. “I can make the tea.as well It’s I really and truly do not want anything else. less frequently.” Not at all. “For me it has to be. as if she had full command of her sight and not merely the shadowy vision that so limited her world. still trying to deal with what that means. . If he finds out. Gradually. up to her cozy bach. the darkness had evolved into light filled with obscure shapes.159 me.” “Doesn’t he send you e-mail?” “Yes. someone else to live that way. She told herself that if her vision had come this That sudden transition to far it might continue to improve. I’m doing my own thing. that sort of talk. to see my new doctor next week. Lachlan Manutane’s world.” *** Katharine got out of the car.” “He doesn’t need to know. I have suspicions that those eye doctors were being kind. I don’t One day it’ll stop. and walked. enough to know that he’s somewhere getting on with his life. was a mysterious phenomenon she tried neither to dwell upon nor cast aside.” I’m not material for Furthermore. answer very often. he will kill me. She now knew every angle and obstruction in her comfortable nest and could hobble about freely. Penny is taking me in We’ll see.” Katharine said. sight.
. Katharine said. agile she’s switched to calling them a surgeon’s.” “And you’re wearing denim. at least my cast is off.” They sat for a moment in silence.I felt your arm -.and probably denim jeans..” “I hope so.easier for a writer. shoulder and promotes optimism. as long as I’m here. isn’t it?” “Yeah..a sort of dirty blond.your height is?” “I’m five feet four inches..” I believe optimism is essential for . “I’ve painted you from your voice and manner. Hospital wear will be quite an adjustment. “Yeah. tried to do it. you see I would never use the word dirty.. not for you...the He pats me on the Katharine heard Penny ophthalmologist didn’t tell me much as usual. Good old denim. But my eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Now I know you have long.the narrow nose.. a doctor’s hands. 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.160 “Let me do it. way you look.” “Well.” “Right. When they were sitting in the small kitchen nook sipping their Earl Grey. shoulder length. try. Penny.. takecharge voice insisted. fingers.. any cure. I would say you are a tawny blond. and a small mole on my left cheek. I live in it.” “Now you’re getting it..” “He’s right in that.” “Ah.” “I’m a bit taller. My mother used to call them piano hands. “Well.” “Describing myself that way is rather strange.at least a jacket of it -.. sipping her tea and rattling her cup.” Penny’s eager.
my aren’t wearing a ring..simply press on with our goals and let the rest happen. admire you. no.” Katharine gave a sardonic laugh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Good on ya..medical. Maybe Ya ya ought to just let it happen. Maybe later.” “So.or what?” “Oh. and the babies will just have to fit in somehow. That ought to be your anchor. life to go...” “I didn’t know. your assurance. don’t dwell on it.. fiancé.” “I’m enjoying it. do know you’re very good at what you’ve been doing.” “Really? Could be that ya worry about it too much. worry about it. I have a terrible and constant fear of hitting the wrong key and creating a volume of gibberish. then. and you I’m going to marry Neville.. You’ve hardly spoken of him.” “Yeah..161 “I’ve never been a very patient person.... I really Maybe because I’ve done so poorly at the little I’ve had of one. but I’m certainly working at it.try to cheer myself up singing old songs.. Quite good. I mean..quite well established there. children and all the trimmings?” “Yeah. you’re relaxed about the way that works.” “You don’t know how much I appreciate your willingness to give my writing a brief check.all that. of course not.or.. We skipped that.... Penny? “How do you expect your Are you going to be a strictly professional person with little time for a private life.guess you’ve had heaps of experiences that are useful in your personal life.just let the rest . I don’t have time to read Your writing has a much else that isn’t technical.. lot of wisdom.” “God. A private life still scares me.. I rather think. We pretty well know who we We don’t are. We’ll both be doctors.
Northland beauty. when Katharine had slowly made her way over the path to her outdoor lounging chair and sat warming in the afternoon sun.” The writing was leading into a mental labyrinth of intricate paths that kept her exploring deeply. She listened to bird calls. table and cried with great bawling sobs. she considered Penny’s very together attitude. which gave it its common name of ‘parson bird. It must have been quite a happy and secure one. See ya in a couple of days. setting was breathtaking. She tried to recall how a Tui looked: a dark head with a curved beak. she broke a tea cup which had just She groped her way to the kitchen Why not throw herself missed reaching the counter.162 happen. The wavelets She knew her Margaret and Penny both praised this She longed to see it. then left with her usual upbeat. I’d better dash over to Russell and snatch your mail and some groceries.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .’ and gorgeous feather vanes that were rather dark and tipped with stunning blue. dropping her crutch and fumbling for it with difficulty. Penny returned. thinking hard . That’s the way I do it. cleaned up the cup shards that lay scattered around the floor. let it out? No one could hear her. The air was coolish. lapping at the beach sands below were soothing. “Cheerio. a few startling notes from the lyrical repertoire of the Tui.” I’ve got hours of Later. Recite that list one more time. a white-tufted throat. she banged the foot of her good leg on an unfamiliar rock at the edge of the path. heavy studying ahead. made Katharine a tuna sandwich and brought it to her at her computer. Returning down the shell path. into it. almost stumbling. Once inside. making a mental note to ask her about her childhood at some leisurely moment. “Well. and the late sun welcome. I’ll scribble it down then I’ll be on my way.
voices. she was glad for her cozy cave and her world of writing. she was awakened by the sound of a car. there was a stone fireplace which she was afraid to use for fear she would burn the place down. Without it she might have gone mad. Napping one day in her chair. and I I remembered that I have a fly kit locked in the closet here. “Kia ora. Unless one was long inured to blindness. Manutane. sat down on the foot rest and placed her crutches on the ground then swung her body around and lay back. breathing deeply and listening to the water. a man and a woman. She liked the way things were unobtrusively placed in the bach.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .163 and focused. New Zealand was not a country to visit without vision. the breezes. the birds. Along with the heater. heavier doors. Still. was. and. suppose you’ve discovered the locked closet. They knocked first on the front door and then came around the walk to the back. her head turned . Lachlan My sister and I were just going fishing. and dozed off thinking of Lan. Out there. Sometimes she lay on it imagining it was from the Green Braes plains.. Her eyes were closed. She listened to see if she could determine who it She heard two low The car doors slammed. “Sorry to disturb ya. the buzzing insects. Bloody-hell! My God. When the weather permitted she walked to the foot of the path where her chair was firmly planted. the rugged furniture with durable. Katharine? I’ll just duck in Kate?” Katharine’s hands were gripping the chair arms so tightly her fingers were numb. for it was a tempting visual paradise. I’m the owner.” a familiar sounding male voice called as they approached.. thick-woven upholstery positioned around a huge circle of sheepskin thrown over the floor. she could easily hear Margaret’s or Penny’s car arriving on the gravel road at the other side of the cottage. the soft satiny fibers of thick wool so luxurious brushing over her skin.
” 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. So she did it this way.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . be out of here by tomorrow evening. Oh. here. emotions boiling over.” He lifted her hand in his and she snatched it back and turned her face away. “Oh. “Leave me alone. Don’t be mad at her. Believe me. ya will not.. “It’s all right. and her body trembling. almost more than she could bear. opened her eyes and turned toward Lan’s voice. loyal to us both.” “No. the bitch is living in our bach.” she cried out with a miserable voice. Oh. “I had no idea. She wanted to run screaming into the sea rather than be forced to sit there exposed. I can’t. I didn’t know.” she heard Rani exclaim. Please talk to me. His dark shape loomed before her. Tell me what’s happened to ya. I’ll She’s angry enough.just get your fly kit and go.” Lan exploded.” She wanted to get away and envisioned herself hobbling off . “God. Kate. her heart slamming into the pained walls of her chest. Rani. and you’ll be walking. “One more word out of ya Go back to the Rover and stay there.. saw ya. “Shut up. Please..I can’t. sat forward. She was trying to be I told her that if she heard from ya. I wanted to know. her whole body trembling in shock and the agony of what was to come. astonished. Katharine swallowed slowly.164 out toward the sound of the waves. Just go. Just. Margaret. what are ya doing “What are these crutches? here? My God. left it to chance.” Her head was beginning to throb. Please don’t keep Rani waiting out there. I can’t believe you’ve come. thank you.. have ya been hurt?” “An accident.
. Gradually. “What are you. her eyes. find them. “Where are my.they were here somewhere. Lan... “I wish you hadn’t. so foolish. She drew her The utter silence of the next moment terrified her more than anything that had happened so far. dropping down beside her and holding her against him in silence... Kate. “Sorry. Christ. unable to reach them. She turned away and bit her lip. his chin sliding over her hair. his breathing near her ear. She felt his hand under her chin. Then she felt his hands sliding around her. not your eyes. ridiculous. turning The silence went on and on as she tried to focus She could hear the sharp intake of air in his throat.” she muttered.. hand back quickly and held it against her mouth.my eyes will improve and--” “Don’t do that. I don’t want to talk for a while. she had tried to push the crutches away with her hand.” I’m not going to cry. won’t cry.” He continued to hold her against him in silence. I “My God.. her body began to relax and grow still. running her searching fingers over the broken shells beside her chair. and he was walking with her back up the path. Don’t apologize.” “Rani’s in the--” “I bloody well know where Rani is and I don’t give a fucking damn. lifting her up against him. and now she groped beside her chair for them. fumbling on in a clumsy.. She listened to his sigh. She then realized it was . I can walk with my... When she first identified his voice.165 on her crutches in the wrong direction.” He carried her inside and settled her on the sheepskin rug. his adamant hands burning through her clothes.” she said. turning further away from his shadowy form. apologetic voice. her head up.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . She desperately needed to get up and walk. not my green eyes. It kills me. after some minutes of uncontrollable shaking.
.” “In which place?” .swelling in my brain and pressure on the optic nerves. His mouth was against It felt as if he were reading her mind.. her vacant eyes away from his. Really. Kate?” “I was near a bus that blew up in Jerusalem. uncertain.” “Then why didn’t ya tell them to call me? have come. been calling your name. I don’t remember doing it.” “No. anymore. rejoined the living. “I was unconscious for a couple of weeks..far too emotional.. I would “I see only Kate. I’m working... down against his shirt.perfect green eyes. or at least The silent holding of her had a calming her nervous feelings. green eyes..” She kept her head Her voice was light and soft.a bit thinner. I’m all right..” “And seen this?” Christ...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . It was supposed to diminish but I’m not so sure I’m taking anti-inflammatory pills.. Why don’t they work?” I see “The concussion. They said I was agitated from time to time.. “What happened. She saw how deep his commiseration went when his voice intoned something low and soft in Maori against her ear.. effect.166 that stillness for which he had been waiting. I did When I I’d try to let you know... I’m tired of doctors. Apparently.a little spacey sometimes.in a manner of speaking.. her hair.my same Kate.. I seem to be writing a novel.. but the scent that was Lan made her almost dizzy.” “I’ll take ya to doctors in Sydney. almost like an incantation: “Ma te wa e whakaora to mamae. a nurse wanted to know who Lan was.sort of. Lan?” “Time will heal your pain.” “What. Why didn’t ya let me know?” Apparently.a few strange aches...” “Jesus Christ.
” “My fishing trip was a reward for Rani’s good behavior. back.” “I’ve ruined your fishing trip. Apology accepted.167 “All places. Katharine. Rani. followed by Lan. but she’s growing up.” “Hello. Stay here. She’s been making amends. or three.” It doesn’t matter.” “I’m taking Rani back to Russell where she can catch the Paihia ferry. She screamed it at me one night after ya left and I’d been refusing to talk to her.” “Yeah. thoughtless and I ought not to’ave said it. care of the child. you please find my crutches on your way?” She crawled across the rug and pulled herself up onto the couch. She will apologize.” “She’s a very young twenty-two.” After a while. or I thought she was until a few minutes ago.” Rani “It was stupid and “Could offered in a quick rush of words. please. the door opened and Rani entered the room.” Katharine reminded him. She finally told me the She knows the way home.” “No.” “I’m not going anywhere. I’m sorry I said what I did. succinctly.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’ll see she apologizes.” Katharine said rather She didn’t know what else to say. she roused herself to face the here and now. I’ll be back in a minute. . she is. “Hello. After several minutes. I’ll come straight truth: that the father of the child is some wanker she hates. knowing Rani She had a few times felt probably didn’t want to hear any more. just leave her alone. “You can’t just leave Rani sitting in the Rover. helping Mary. I’m still taking “Lan. straightening her hair and waiting for the next scene in this sudden surreal drama.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 168 like slapping Rani soundly, but now she felt consoling. Folding
her hands on her lap, she tried to offer a comforting smile. “I’m sorry to hear of your horrid accident and I hope ya enjoy the bach,” Rani finished, retreating back through the door. “Your crutches are here, against the arm of the couch,” Lan carefully explained. “Thank you. You don’t have to come back. It’s...I think
it must be getting late,” Katharine said in nervous uncertainty. “My God, Katharine, will ya stop this...this damned niceness. Do ya really think I wouldn’t come back?”
He sat down beside her, massaging those evocative fingers over her taut back, striving to keep her calm, to relieve her tenuous struggle for restraint, surely so obvious. “I’m sorry, Kate, sorry...but for Christ’s sake, tell me the truth for a change.” “Oh, yes, the truth,” she said, trying to smile. truth,” she repeated, sighing. “The
“All right...if you don’t come
back, I’ll...I’ll walk into the sea...without my crutches.” “Ya won’t even have to walk across the room.” His mouth “Not
touched the back of her neck, causing shivers of joy. going to kiss ya properly now...couldn’t stop. both awake in the meantime. nap.”
That’ll keep us
On second thought, better take a
She heard the door close and gave a long sigh and a jittery laugh, wiping at her wet cheeks. grateful, or is it all love? Why, oh why do I feel so
This damned emotion. ***
Lan was building a fire, crumpling old newspapers from the wood box and carrying in chunks of wood from a pile which existed somewhere outside. “I have a short maze I run, like a wary little mouse,” she
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 169 said. “I didn’t know there was wood, but I wouldn’t have built
a fire anyway, because I might have burned down your bach.” “I’m staying here with ya for a while, Kate. think of something else.” “I have Penny coming in.” “Every couple of days isn’t enough. happen. Something could Then we’ll
I’m not leaving ya, in any case...not until you’re no Ya have to learn to trust me.”
longer confused about us.
“I just can’t interrupt your life like this.” “Ya interrupted my life months ago, Kate. previous life permanently interrupted. Consider my
I’ll fish and work.
I’ll set up a computer in the other room where there’s another phone jack, and that’s it. to the house in Auckland. When you’re tired of this we’ll move Ya like it there.
“And a...there’ll be a young woman showing up around here, Nina, my secretary. I sometimes speak Maori to her, but I’ll Don’t want to--” I’m not as thin-skinned as all that.
try not to do it around ya. “It won’t bother me. Is she attractive?”
“Yeah, she’s attractive, smart, hardworking and the mother of two little anklebiters. How’s your skin doing?” Lan asked
with the utterly captivating warm burr of laughter which had echoed in her head for so long. “You tell me. You’re the one who can see my skin.” My hands remember all of ya.
“Like cream...no tan at all. I love this body...this head.”
His fingers moved from her arms “I’m
to the back of her neck, stroking up through her hair. glad they didn’t cut your hair.” “I guess there was no point in cutting my hair.”
He carried her to the sheepskin rug then eased her down to a sitting position and placed a stemmed glass in her hands. “Champagne. Don’t drink it all at once the way ya did that
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 170 night at Fortuna.” “I can sort of hobble on my own, you know.” “Yeah, waste of time. I like having ya in my arms.”
She laughed and sipped, feeling the pleasant warmth of the crackling fire and the slight euphoria of the champagne. her glass was empty she held it out to him. When
He took it, and his
arms came around her, letting her down into the long-fibered silky wool, kissing her until she thought her eyes were merely closed and she was whole and well and nothing had come in between this moment and their first lovemaking. “What is it, Kate?” he asked at her shy responses. “I feel...as if we’ve just met.” “We did...second time...ka pai.” Her slow fingers explored his face, sliding across the warm lids of his eyes and over his responding mouth. “I wish I could see you...I want to see you.” “Ya will. way. Just close your eyes and pretend ya like it that
Tell me if your leg hurts...if anything hurts.” “Nothing hurts...oh, not quite true. I have...this ache.”
“Yeah...the same...ever since ya left.” His deep kiss sent her reeling. “Ending it right now.” and tossed it somewhere. “Are ya warm enough?” “Oh, I’m warm, Lan, but I--” “No worries, I’ll be careful with ya...do whatever ya want however ya want, until ya tell me to stop.” “What if I don’t tell you to stop?” “Then we’ll both die happy.” She awoke in the early morning and lay with her eyes open. Did I ever tell him to stop? No, I think we both just passed His warm body lay He lifted her gown over her head
out, sated with pleasure, exhausted.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 171 peacefully sleeping beside her. She would like to have gotten
up, slipped out and walked on the shore below, perhaps singing some old love song. Where were her crutches? Not propped by the bed where they She rolled
should be, because he had carried her there. carefully to her side and sat up slowly. “Where ya going?
Ya haven’t got your crutches.” “I’m going nowhere. Sorry I woke
“Nowhere,” she said. you.”
She sat on the edge of the bed and began to cry, softly
and quietly. “Carry ya to the loo again?” “No thank you.” “What is it, Kate?” he asked, sliding his arms around her and stroking his fingers through her hair. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” “Nobody does. Ya can’t have the certainty of that. Ya
expect everything to work like a schedule.
It isn’t that way.
You’re smart enough to know that but...full on emotional right now. Try to let it be.” “I hate...hate being so helpless.” “Come on, we’re all just fooling ourselves that we’re spinning this planet. writing a story.” “I’m sorry. “I do not. You must think I’m awfully self-centered.” Ya aren’t.” What did you do all this Ya can’t control your life the way ya do
“You’re a man who loves sex. time?” “Ah. subject.
When ya change the subject ya really do change the Is that your interview technique? What did ya do
yourself?” “Thought of you and suffered...and you probably--” “Remembered us...” He laughed. “Got ahold of myself.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 172 “Oh, Lan... You really believed I was coming back?” We
“If I ever doubted it I thought how ya were with me. really do turn each other on, but it’s more than that. necessity for both of us. A
Ya never had it that way before and Not
ya won’t get it quite like that anywhere else.
understanding what we have, leaving that way was such a damned...ah, never mind. to need me.” “You’re a man of basic principles.” “Ya do make me laugh...and at four in the morning after so much sex I could hardly stand up long enough to piss. ya really are something, ya sexy little cracker. to sleep now?” “I guess...if I can’t get up and walk along the water.” “Do ya want to do that?” “Sort of, but what’s the use? I can’t see much. I think Christ, Ya need me and I want ya. I want ya
Can we go back
I’ll just curl up against you and drift off like a little child rescued from the big bad dark.” “Good on ya,” he said, wrapping his arms around her. “Lan?” “Yeah?” “When you get tired of me, will you--” “Stop it, Kate. start over. When we get tired, we’ll take a nap and
Ehara toku aroha i te kiri moko, engari he aroha no
te whatumanawa. “What?” “My love for ya isn’t shallow...but a love of deep passion. Go to sleep, tau aroha...my loved one.” *** When Penny arrived she was astonished to find Lan cooking breakfast. Katharine liked the way Lan accepted Penny into his Penny immediately pitched
life as if he’d known her for years.
She leaned We haven’t been I mean. “Yeah.....” “You’re never wrong. and they laughed and talked about everything from New Zealand beer to aubergines and how the national rugby team. Ya know I’m right. running my fixed path from bach to outdoor chair and back to the computer. wishing she could see Lan’s expression.well.” Lan interrupted.” “Afraid to be that much in love?” Were ya that .as if ya were a prisoner. we’re fairly nice to each other.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . scolded. the All Blacks.. “The last wrong thing I did was a heap of stupidity. “Oh. pondering silence he said. was in a fiery win streak. Yank. you are. “Population. we’re a small population..still fairly nice to each other. are you?” She sat frowning while Lan exclaimed over the silliness of her remark. “Is that friendly manner something all Kiwis have? I’ve encountered it over and over. I’ve always been so active that this is--” “I’m giving ya a couple more weeks. more afraid of myself. stricken by rat poisoning yet. After a short. Kate?” “I don’t think so. Too many rats and they all turn killer..so disturbed ya ran off in a bloody sheep lorry.” “Actually I feel a little like a rat right here.173 in with the preparations.. Compared to you. I am.” “Rat poisoning?” Katharine said with surprise.” Katharine said later. Kate. I flew up to the Nelson She could imagine him shaking his head as he winery and left ya in misery. are you?” “Yeah. and if your eyes haven’t improved I’m taking ya to a Sydney specialist. forward in her lawn chair. afraid of me.
” *** Nina had a musical. Lan was rather quickly drawn back into his busy The phone rang incessantly. placating voice and a strong will which was clearly evident. because I’m here?” “That’s what you’d like to believe. People even drove out in schedule. For me. Katharine knew how Lan liked his women: able to take charge.” “So now we’re back to that. or wandered out to sit in her chair and listen to the sounds of nature.” You have such a Ya came back “Then in a roundabout way I get loved. “This place is too small for your peace of mind and all of ..supposing I might be here as a last resort. I’m teasing a little. but Katharine could also hear fondness and respect for Lan in her voice..174 “Yes. and Katharine found herself thinking that it was not at all what she had in mind when she had first settled into her cozy bach in peace and quiet. you’re so far from helpless. groups to find him. Katharine.. couldn’t stand to think of you dealing with this.” “Oh.” “Lan. look into those rare black eyes.two more weeks. Christ.” “Oh..here because I’m. I felt so drawn to this I I didn’t expect to encounter you. to heal. “Right.. She was not afraid to tell Lan her own I’m taking ya to Sydney. place.helpless. you are New Zealand. she worked at her computer. to think for themselves.” “And now?” “I wanted to be here... Trying to stay out of their way..your country. It surely came from his self-determined mother.. healthy ego. I might confess everything to you.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . if only I could see you.. opinion of things as they worked together.” I love New Zealand.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 175 my business affairs,” Lan said one rainy day. with your creative self.” “So this is a prelude to what?” Katharine asked. going away?” “I have to drive over to Auckland and then fly to Green Braes. Will ya come?” “Are you “I’m interfering
“You said you wouldn’t leave me.” “Yeah, I know I did say that. “I was only teasing. ordered. Go on. I want ya to come with me.” Get out of here,” Katharine
“You must be going crazy trying to work in this It’s all starting to get me, too.”
“Then you’ll come?” “No. this. I don’t want to be with Mary like this, Lan, not like
I was hoping--” “Mary adores ya. She wants to see ya, Kate.” I’m sorry Lan. Just go on about your
“I’ll wait a little. business and let me be.
I’m doing well at my computer.”
“I can’t do my work and worry about ya, Kate.” “You don’t have to. I’ll be fine. I originally intended
to stay here by myself anyway.” “Penny told me she worries about ya, too...when she’s not here.” “Oh, nonsense. What can happen to me?”
“A bloody lot of things can happen to ya.” “Nothing will.” “All right. in Auckland. I’ll be at Green Braes for two days, then back Ya do know
I’ll be back here as soon as I can.
I’m going to hear it from Mary when I turn up without ya?” Only when Lan and Nina had driven off the next day did Katharine realize how she had come to appreciate the busyness going on around her. After all, they had left her alone when She stood in silence, regretting her
she was at her computer.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 176 own willfulness. night. How she would miss Lan’s arms around her at
She drank some leftover coffee while nibbling on a
blueberry muffin, and didn’t even bother to eat the rest of the day. The next day Penny drove her to the doctor, the two of them setting out quite early. She was thrilled to be told she could
dispense with her crutches. Penny, happy with Katharine’s progress, was more voluable than usual and eager to discuss Katharine’s improved life. Back
at the bach, she ladled mutton stew into a bowl for Katharine and said, “Looks like you’ve settled into New Zealand and availed yourself of the best we have to offer.” “Lan, you mean,” Katharine said. “Yeah. He’s really choice, Kate...lucky to find a fella
like him, one who cares so much for ya.” “How’s Neville?” Katharine asked, changing the subject. “Neville? Neville is Neville, nearly always the same. He’s the one for me all right. Easier to I
can depend on him for that.
He’s found a larger place so I can move in with him. study together.”
Katharine detected a slight embarrassment in Penny’s voice. “I hope it doesn’t turn into the sort of commotion that’s been going on around here,” Katharine said. “Ya don’t miss Lan when he goes?” “Oh, yes,” Katharine said with a half-hearted laugh. The following morning, Katharine was alone again and working at her computer with intense concentration. she began to notice the initial signs of a headache. “Oh, God,” she muttered, “I hope it’s not one of those.” She poured the rest of her coffee into the kitchen sink, rinsed the cup and went to stand on the sill of the opened door. She could feel the sunlight on her skin, her pained eyes taking Gradually
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 177 in the brightness of it. She carried a towel to the foot of the
path, moving with counted steps, glad to be without her crutches. Wiping off her damp lounging chair, she lowered Her head felt very strange, but the sun was
herself onto it. warming.
Worrying over the pain of a full-blown migraine, she
managed to doze off. Mary was standing before her speaking. Was it a dream? It
must be a dream; she could see Mary’s soft but admonishing visage, one arm resting on her red-sweatered hip. “What will ya do now, Kate? your selfishness?” “Oh, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do Are ya going to hurt Lan with
about us, and my head hurts so, Mary,” Katharine answered. “I thought ya were my girl, but you’ll never be that without him. Never,” Mary called out as she grew smaller and
smaller, disappearing amidst a vast herd of sheep until Katharine couldn’t make her out but only hear her emphatic voice at the center of a rapid swirl of woolies. Kate.” Katharine awoke with a cry of protest, looking up at the soft cerulean sky and then out at the water. Clouds were flying “Never. Never,
above the rippling waves, making racing shadows over the opaque green water. Racing white clouds. The intense light. The
bright sparkle of sun-spangled water. of verdure above the sands.
The rolling emerald rise She could see The perfect See
All so startling.
the delicate shapes of leaves, blades of grass. form and color of everything. everything. “Oh God.
She could see it all.
Oh, my God!” she cried, jumping out of her chair “It’s more beautiful than I could ever Everything.
and spinning around.
have imagined, so much more beautiful. Everything.”
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 178 She hurried back to the bach, pausing for a moment to look around her, and then reaching for the telephone. “Penny, it’s Kate. I need you to drive me to Auckland.
Oh, I’ve got to get there right away.” *** “Oh lord, this place is gorgeous,” a jubilant Penny had said when she left Katharine off at the elegant old Victorian house. “Wish I could live here.”
“It is a nice place,” Katharine agreed, “very well kept.” She soon found the key and settled herself in the Herne Bay house like a respectful guest, but adding a few welcoming touches of her own. At the final hour, she donned her little
black dress with her freshly washed hair curving above her shoulders and the Totoeka pendant hung around her neck. Waiting
at the window, peeking through the curtains, at last she saw Lan sauntering up the walk. He was carrying his briefcase, his
sleeves rolled, his tie flapping in circling marine air, and his jacket slung over his shoulder. His thoughtful face looked just
a bit tired and worried, ready for the glass of wine waiting for him on the coffee table in the lounge where a fire was burning in the fireplace. key. The door opened as he was reaching for the
He looked Katharine up and down in shock, his eyes going
quickly to hers. “Why don’t you call me Green Eyes anymore?” she asked in a soft, rather sultry voice. She was looking directly at him, her eyes traveling over his face and then staring into the startled dark eyes she had waited so long to see. He tossed his briefcase inside on the floor and pulled her into his arms. “Jesus Christ. Is life repeating itself?”
“We’ll get better.
In a couple of days it’ll be nearly
perfect,” Katharine teased, smiling and continuing to look into
Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 179 his eyes. She could hardly bring herself to look anywhere else. “Cor blimey.”
His head went back in laughter. “Into the lounge, please. your favorite Nelson winery.
I have some wine there, from
I’m sure you’ll like it...looks
especially nice in your Waterford crystal goblets.” “I don’t need any bloody wine to cheer me up, Green Eyes, and I haven’t called ya that because I thought it might upset ya.” “Well, it won’t upset me now.” “How? When did it happen?” I had a headache, dozed off in my chair,
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 if ever I saw a man in pain--” “Margaret--” “Right. Ian remarked.” I know.. “Ah. have I?” “Kate! But ya. as if it were high summer. Kate. But I was in no condition to throttle I recovered and we.” Margaret said. “What do I say now?” Margaret asked. But do ya know what. Margaret.. with a complete lack of the exceptional subtlety and finesse he showed on the water...” Margaret added in the way of apology.180 anything. She held up her hand. “Why..can’t say I regret it. that’s wonderful. Kate? Just a moment ago. .it simply curls my toes.can ya--” Nice outfit.how did ya? I mean are ya. “Do ya hate me?” When Lan walked up to me floundering blindly in my lawn chair.want to show ya something.. and it. Lan. “Come up to my study a minute. I could have throttled you with my bare hands. Sorry.we resolved the matter. rooted.” Margaret exclaimed. “I think I need a drink. “I think he’s He and tactician Colin are racing in heavy weather.. it’s none of my business. including you.. I could feel what’s between ya. for heaven’s sake. with Lan there next to ya.” Katharine said.” When they were seated back in the lounge with glasses in hand. I’ll shut my mouth.... “It wasn’t a very nice thing to do. “So you two are back together again. bring your glass..” “Yes. absolutely wonderful... I did that. glancing at Katharine. could have seen Lan when ya left. “Ian.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. I believe we’ve been left to recover our dignity. I know..” you’re together.” Lan said to Ian. and you’re looking great.” Lan and Katharine looked at each other and smiled without making any comment. anyone. He tried to keep it to himself. “At least If ya “That’s a rather cool explanation.
that. Margaret.. “I’ll carry ya and right now. and then we arrived. stood . And I like you..181 sorry. either. “They really are nice people.” she responded in a thoughtful voice. God. really happy to find ya so improved.. I I can only admire you for I hope I can earn a understand that you’re loyal to Lan. Kate.maybe you did the right thing.” “Lan just found out tonight about my eyes.” Once floated up the stairs.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine surmised. dropped in unexpectedly with the news. due to the whisperings of Margaret to her husband.” Lan said.” “Oh lord..” “Margaret. 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. little of that kind of loyalty too.this.anyway I’m happy to see you.. I’m I..” “From now on you’ve got it.. “Ya okay?” “I did my best.. no more crutches.and be happy he has such friends.. They like ya. laughing at her serious frown.just to put a cap on this.I sort of “I see that you’re walking without crutches. because I. not just because I’m happy to see anyone at all. Perfect timing..some day.” speculation.” “Good on ya.” “Thanks.I suppose something like the way things have gone. her.. she stood beside the bed. And. Can ya walk up the stairs?” Katharine furrowed her brow a little in “Never mind.” The evening went rather well after that. I don’t know how things would have gone -.. “I think so. Green Eyes. You’ve He came to sit beside “Ya look just like the night I met ya at Fortuna.
.. inside.Jesus. He lay down beside her already thoroughly aroused body.. deep kiss. Come on. beginning to move with unleashed pleasure. anything.” He ran his thumb across her lips and kissed them with intense concentration.. curling mouth or tan cheek or ear or beloved lock of black hair.. let it out.. still enthralled with simply staring into her intensely focused eyes...” Lan said as he stood up to strip off his clothing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . still amazed at the return of her vision.. “Let go. biting her lip to hold herself quiet as he drove himself against her. I don’t want to think of then initiated her own deep kiss and felt his body sliding over hers.oh.” She moaned softly. Ya rarely get two of the same of this. was very different from those others at the bach. lifting her head with one hand while he guided himself into her with the other. The joy of it was in her laughter as she drew back. my Kate.” She couldn’t talk and feel .don’t want ya away from me. her eyes rejoicing in glimpses of taut skin. losing herself..when I saw ya at my door... “Déjà vu. looking back at me.just you.” “No.all that wildness Tell me. are ya not? “Yes. don’t talk about it. a kiss that.” he said. as if repairing something broken. She was half afraid of how completely she was coming apart. Lan. and then a second time.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. Tell me. my Green Eyes. “Yes. everything. “Look at us. “I’ve been wanting ya all night.” she cried. “I’m bloody sorry ya had to go through all of that horror in Jerusalem. for her.” Ya are mine. yours. All.
I want to see your eyes looking at me. Kate?” As familiar as his directness was. joining the hot dark river of pleasure that was Lan. “Look at me. “Are ya thinking of leaving me again. overtaking her again. managing only one last cry. he said. Lan found her staring into space in the kitchen nook.183 the way she felt. in the attentive and demanding force of Lan’s liberating body. *** Katharine eased out of bed and curled up in a large gray wingback by the windows. the question itself startled her. a cup of coffee held in both trembling hands. Still silent. With one discerning look and the nudge of past experience. Off to her left the sun was just She rubbed her eyes lightly and The fear was rising over the pink water. saw her eyes. her nerves beginning to fire and jump beneath her skin. “Oh. She threw up her arms and felt his hands closing over hers. all anxiety. thinking Somewhere else. too. very close. she watched him pour coffee from the glass pot into a white mug and lift it to his questioning mouth. squinted at a close-hauled sloop in the bay. thoroughly dissolved in physical need. How could it be? Was she thinking that. his solid dark body wrapped in a navy blue wool robe.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Are ya afraid of me.” She. the mouth which so quickly and easily took possession of her. or is it yourself you’re afraid of?” .” All past horror was swept away in that powerful dominion of love. in his. only that dreamy and dazed stare of languid satisfaction. all self-awareness. In the consuming heat of post-orgasm there was nothing of her wounded self. anywhere. stalled life. of vanishing in a haze of indecision? She sat desiring him. desiring him even now in her sexually sated. God. God. Half an hour later. all doubt and grief gone.
Lan.’ knew.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I love you. ‘God. I can’t give myself to Lachlan Manutane and ten thousand sheep.I in love with a journalist. Have ya forgotten When I found ya I didn’t say.. feel... but I--” “I can’t do this.” “Bloody-hell what self-deception. saying.. I want ya..” . Kate. I nearly lost ya. that means.” “I can’t..” “Ya love me?” I just can’t see what “I love you.... dropping her head into her hands. “Got to run like bloody hell from the possibility of bad fate..” she said. ya do. Lan. “Then look into my eyes and tell me ya don’t love me and that you’re going away.” she said.184 “Both. ‘Jesus I can’t fall I went after what I wanted. ya ambivalent woman.. Jump. “You always tell me to look at you.I always want you. “I want you..so you can possess me. Ya went away and were miserable. My God.take--” “Jesus Christ. I felt how right it was.” “I’m a journalist. Kate. demanded.” he Ya do it with your body when you’re having me.oh God.right?” “Don’t. that? Stop this shit and tell me what ya Ya know Look at me. looking away.” “Yeah..’?” “No. so you can.even if I expected a far milder version of the kind of trouble we’re having now. to suit your fancy. Do ya want me?” I’ll catch ya. I love ya.” “Come with me to Green Braes and Mary’ll gladly tell ya what it means.. Ya can’t straddle that high fence This is us together. Is that what you’ve been doing.
There’s snow on the ground at Green Braes. write. I thought as much.” It means we It means ya are with me always. help each other always. “Oh God.. You tell me now.if that’s what I have to do to have ya.” “But I want to be with you all the time. Half of ya wants to run away from me and the other half never wants to leave my side. I know ya have to do that.” “Then go put them on..if ya don’t want to come to Green Braes.” Lan laughed.” “You said I must be with you always. “I’ll get ya one of my jumpers -. let ya stay here and write. clothes from Mary. Ya can borrow more We’re heading out of here now.. “All right... and I’ll help ya in any way I Ya can stay here in Auckland and write. so it means Ya can ya have to want me enough to make it part of your life.” Lan took her in his arms with “So some impatience and stroked his fingers through her hair. but yes. I..” “Snow? Isn’t it difficult to land?” . “Jesus. but I’d be willing to do that... she pulled her white satin robe around herself and folded her arms.ya call them sweaters.. can.” “Yeah. Which is it?” Katharine felt herself coming apart.. as surely as if she were crumbling before Lan’s eyes.185 Looking at him with sudden resolution. “Did ya bring anything with ya besides that wicked little black dress?” “I was in a hurry.today. “You tell me.. here.” “I’ve heard that before..slacks and a shirt.from the same irresistible mouth. we’ll fly to Green Braes. I can’t leave all of this.” “Yeah.I want to see Mary. ya schizoid little wonk. what it means.” “You certainly are a bossy bloke. pounamou eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lan was more patient. Rex and his mates keep the runway clear. even dreamed of her. “Come on. please.. knowing he was counting on Mary to help him. “There’s so much I don’t know about you.. I’ll check with them and make sure it is. sorry.” Katharine pointed to the hand guiding the and to have a mother. Green Eyes.” “Uh. Lan?” “Haven’t ya already experienced some of my cooking?” “Some.186 “Not very. She had thought of Mary a great deal. plane. She looked .” She dropped her head back and thought of his remark. what everyone needed. was a chance to have a loving. help them both.but there’s a limit to what I’ll do.. the woolen Swan-Dris shirt-like jackets worn everywhere in New Zealand. craved until the day they died.” “Explanation.” “Can you cook.. I’m sure.prosperity sells in the marketplace..pretty good. the sooner you’ll see Mary. To have Lan It was Here At least it’s reliable. the idea of it thrilled her.sheep talk.... The gold The sooner we’re out of here on his left wrist flashed beneath the cuff of a green plaid Swannie..behind my seat under my jacket when ya get hungry. understanding mother. rattle your dags. cocking her head with scrutiny. powerful persuasion and Lan knew that very well. “Oh. “Is that a Rolex always appearing there?” “Yeah..” she said.” “Made sandwiches while ya were dressing... yes.” *** In the air..ya can find out for yourself..breakfast. “It’ll take ya a long time to find out. reaching out to hold Katharine’s hand as they winged through the clear sky.
He reached for a heavier coat.” “On livestock.from Warm fur. up to the always impressive. “Oh.” “Possum?” “Not the kind you’re thinking of. stepping out of the plane and quickly donning his big leather jacket. playful thing. Kiwi bear. Waving to Rex. “Do ya like snow?” “It’s never treated me badly.” “A blend of possum and wool. What is this? It’s so thick and furry.” We’re overrun with the little creatures. He turned to her and said. Lan came around to Katharine’s side and helped her out. Australia. “My jumper warm enough?” “It’s wonderful. Lan was off the radio and very soon rolling to a stop. coming down on a world of white. but once again awoke to find them in a landing pattern. I suppose that’s a more noble death than just getting flattened on the highway. those poor brownish critters I saw squashed all over the roads. looming stone house now cloaked in white. yeah. Yank.. We line our hats and coats with ’em. but I suppose it can be very brutal.” They ate ham and cheese sandwiches and then Katharine dozed off.. Katharine’s heart beat with excitement as she stepped out . “Brrr.187 over at his concentrating profile and wished she could know what he was thinking at that precise moment.” “Well.” They were soon moving down the holly lane over packed snow.” “Yeah. I’ve always thought of it as a sort of whimsical.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Katharine said. “Let’s get ya into the Rover fast. She had thought she would sleep only a few minutes. The runway was almost clear.
” He helped her up and brushed her off while she stood laughing. hounds she had once seen from a distance. her face softer than the last time Katharine had seen her. before ya freeze your arse. grabbing her and rubbing it over her face. shaking her head and smiling. once again forgot everything but the caressing mouth and the dark eyes made fierce from taunting. He His lips were cold She but growing warm as she held onto his leather jacket. their brown. For her it was a setting which took her back to her childhood. They turned toward the house and saw Mary. Your clothes are wet. handful of snow and strode toward her. straddled her and kissed her laughing mouth.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . gingerly packing it tight with iceburned fingers. Screaming with laughter. She bent down and gathered a handful of snow.188 of the Rover. black. As Lan was coming around the side of the Rover He scooped up a she let fly and hit him soundly in the chest. occasionally reaching for his hot tea. quickly packing another snowball and barely getting it airborne before he grabbed her again and plowed her into a snowdrift. Then he pulled himself away from her and lifted her to a sitting position. she whirled away. Her feet crunched in the snow. forgot the cold. were in from their station duties. Two huntaways. across from them in a wingback. Its drumming warmth quieted their . forgot where she was. Sheb and Wooly. ya wild little brat. and white fur gleaming as they dozed by the fire. *** 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. “Come on. hunched inside a heavy red cardigan and standing on the steps. to the snowy fields of her grandmother’s flower farm. Lan sat with his arm Mary sat around her.
” he countered. “Ya won’t shut me up when it’s good. straightening her black wool skirt. “I’ll have ya here if ya want.” Mary scolded in a teasing voice. reaching up to run her fingers through Lan’s snow-wetted black waves. “I’m going to help Mattie with baking.” I’ve still got enough life left in me to help . Mary. doused from rolling in the cold snow like naughty little bairns. “Look at the two of ya. Oh.” “Shhh.” Katharine said.189 normally loud and nervous manners. almost teary-eyed with gratitude for the firm hug of welcome she had received from Mary. mended leg? Do I carry ya up the stairs?” How’s your little “Aren’t you comfortable right here?” Katharine said in a half teasing voice. Lan. Mary stood up. ya little primrose.” “Shh. Katharine could only smile. “You’re blushing. Green Eyes. Ya know what that does to me.” Katharine begged. There’s a fire laid in your room if you’d like to rest until tea is ready. quiet.” “I napped on the plane.” The blond hair wound around his fingers received a sharp tug.” Ya heard “Then it’s up the stairs. “Your hair is still damp. “So is yours.” “Good on ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . It’s time for our nap.” As Mary slipped out of the room. Her body was still glowing from its effect. ya finish me off. Lan said. twisting a hank of her drying blond hair around his fingers. “I was perfectly ready to come in but the child needed her playtime.
.. I’m always crying.” “When I was a little blighter I thought of it. “What’s wrong with ya now. Kate?” around.190 They climbed the stairs slowly. I was terrible.what I did to you.” “Oh. I’d give a lot to have seen you then. But why now?” “I was thinking of last time....here..” “What are you making me?” “Yeah.never used to. maybe I’m around the bend over ya but I’m good for You’re. wrong with you at all. removed her robe and drew her shivering body into his warmth.that horror in Jerusalem did strange things to my head.” He tossed off his clothes. As she watched the logs I’m surprised he hasn’t catch hold and the flames climb. “He never tires of standing there. arm in arm.” “I am sorry about that. “Just come and hold me. watching Lan kneel to light the neatly arranged dry wood.. motive is just a form of selfishness.” She sat on the edge of the high bed. “What?” he asked.I can’t think of anything . Maybe my “Stop it. with Katharine pausing to greet the noble glass stag poised over the landing. her eyes began to sting and burn.. been shot. You’ve been so good. Let’s make love..really--” Stop all of that. You knew me much better than I realized.. yeah?” “You’re not selfish.. grasping a brown woolen afghan Mary had knitted. Their shoulders were propped Lan asked when he turned against a bank of square pillows as they stared at the flames..us. “That...Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Right.. She closed them and let the burning tears roll down.make me divine while you’re at it. pulling it out from the foot of the bed and over their cooling bodies..
“even only a small tattoo. sprinkled with spicesugared nuts. match your hair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . lifting her goldedged crystal goblet. I’ve told her about ya and she understands. irresistible lovemaking in the shower.” Lan said. served with an acorn-stamped mound of newly churned butter. we won’t do any heavy talking tonight. am I laughing?” “See how useful I am. they rushed down the stairs. Haven’t I given ya Mary? I’ll keep ya happy..” *** Descending the stairs was a replay. Trust what ya feel like this. Tomorrow I’m meeting my “These manager down at the sheds. lassie. I want Mary’s. wahina.” she added. Lan uncorked two bottles of a chilled tart rosé from his winery and filled their generous-sized goblets. all drizzled with sweet dressing. You’ll forget. flushed from lovemaking and a warm shower. communicating with the bloody muddy sheep while ya talk to Mary..and right now. “To Lachlan and Katharine. and freshly baked oatmeal rolls light as air.” Tea was thin slices of tender roast leg of lamb with mint jelly.” “Careful with the loose tongue.” “You look good in anything.” Katharine remarked. Green Eyes. all of ya. roasted. and more sheep than ya You’re done for. herbed potatoes. “Speaking of which. There was a crisp salad made with pale leaves of Belgian endive and dark green cress. Both of us. They did drink several glasses of the pleasant wine. Lan. can count. Katharine wore a skirt and sweater of But I’m a greedy bastard. .191 it. a soft golden wool. “Ya look good in my mother’s clothes.” “Oh God. just drink a lot of wine and go to bed. “and the happiness of it.” Mary said.
. her humor far dryer than the vanishing wine. I really want to stay in one Why then am I so worried. In my work I almost never And yet. The next morning she awoke with a tight wrap of depression that threatened to unfold itself in all directions. His chin edged down against her shoulder as he gazed out with her. often laughing over Mary’s ample and pointed witticisms. 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. Come back to bed.” she whispered. she stood by the windows. soothed by his touch. and after such a wonderful evening.” “Drink a large cup of black tea later and you’ll be right as rain. “More so when ya can share it.. What’s wrong with me.” he said in a warm sleepy voice. Dessert was a kiwi custard tart served with a sweet liqueur and demitasses of rich coffee. unpredictable even to herself. “Beautiful. Lan?” she asked as they lay together fitted like spoons.” “I think the wine did a little damage. Somehow she would have to head off the ensuing downward spiral which could so easily make her very poor company.192 chatting amiably..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . running around the equivocate as I’ve been doing.” “I’ve been thinking. God... She tried to blame it on the wine. Oh. Katharine’s head was whirling with bonhomie as she climbed the stairs leaning on Lan’s arm. so indecisive now? place and write. “Ya don’t have to get up yet. unblemished snow. world involving myself in constant misery was starting to get me. Then the explosion. Snuggled in Mary’s soft robe. Lan’s arms came around her from behind.
” “I’ve cursed myself a hundred times that I ever told ya about Rani..” “She’s finally paying attention to the child?” “I think so.so. I’ve tried to do that. “Where is Rani?” Ya can have them all.much.where is she?” Ya need some happiness “Rani is..” “I’d have found some other excuse..” I think you’ve given That’s The wrongs have to be exposed..just the excuse ya needed to I bloody near fired the lorry run away and hurt yourself.hope so. It’s just the way ya started out.. quite a bit of yourself to the world.. driver who took ya away from me. 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. “That proposition nearly killed ya. And you really want me to?” If you’re mine.” “And maybe I could have convinced ya of that.. “Yeah. trying to learn how to care for her little girl. Ya think we’ll come to a sad end..she’s with my former in-laws.. Ya expect it.. and your violent father was a bloody poor excuse for a human being.” “Ultimately. for yourself. It wasn’t necessary. Your mother went away and never came back. I didn’t realize I was really running away from myself..” “Rani. all I can say. they’ll accept ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . died and left ya with no family. Maori half?” “Oh... your grandmother. Ya were so full on hungry for The only person around who love ya married an abusive liar. I think I had to go and do what I did.until Mary stepped in to save the poor bloke. Ya can have mine. The world is a very frightening place. I would.” ...impossible.193 “Nothing.. a rather extended family.
. Green Eyes. Four . Then I’d go bloody nuts. wanted.a man about town like you?” “A man about Katharine.” Come here. remark?” “I guess it’s. It’s the softness that I see.” “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..now I’m fully awake and I want ya any which way.. “You’re blushing. We’ll talk about it later. Are ya still “All right.kind of early in the morning to be blushing. And Yeah. Then it’s off to the sheep pens for me. Lan.inside this plucky little package. “Maybe it would have green staring at the ceiling and laughing.why I’m blushing.” after a little anklebiter or two. would have wanted it. eyes.” the tip of her nose. her surprised thoughts turning over in wonder. yourself focusing on something besides personal loss..the mother in ya. pounamou eyes.” “You wouldn’t like it if it had your rare dark eyes?” “What do ya think? on the pill?” “Now wait a minute.. “I strongly suspected the baby wasn’t yours.. good for ya.. I’d be It would be good for ya. He chuckled and kissed I didn’t even think of Were ya including yourself in that last “Yeah. and ya can talk to Think about the rest.” She Any woman carrying your child would have She had suddenly stopped herself.. “Mary would go bloody nuts.. and the caring. ya mean.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lan. Mary. “You’re wanting children.” He rolled on his back.... my little ipo. Wait. “You think so?” “I do. I’m getting dizzy.with you. it until I said it.194 Katharine turned over and looked into Lan’s eyes.....
” “Your own conscience is in good working order then. was breaking for Lachlan.. Mattie had relinquished her reign there to set about They vacuuming in the upstairs bedrooms. her warm. a sparkling neat pale green arena of warmth and activity.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . didn’t I? How ironic that it took a knock in the head and blindness to make me see a little better.” “It’s a miracle that you’re here at all..” At least.. were sitting at the long wooden work table in the big old kitchen. Mary. mattered to me. I’m quite ashamed of the way I ran off I really threw without saying good-bye.but never did he bring a single one of them here. I’m not so sure I know what ya intend.. The sudden appearance of Katharine Gordon said more to me than any inadequate words could have. You were scolding me.and yet.whatever. quite a fit. Kate. “May I ask why ya did come back.” *** Mary refilled Katharine’s cup with more black tea...” Katharine stared into Mary’s gray-blue eyes. hoping I could.” “Well.. Still. I was “I wanted to be able to see you. kissing her astonished mouth. Katharine. he grabbed her escaping body and fit her to him.. My heart He’s entertained some rather interested women since the loss of. or am I overstepping .. softly lined Scottish face radiating a momentary relief that was not without uncertainty.” “I certainly agree. Mary.of the way I was..” “I dreamed about you.195 of them maybe? “Lan?” Reveling in his own laughter. Two with green and two with. the good of it is that you’re here now. Your condition wouldn’t have I’ve looked after a few in my life. “Ya could have come sooner.
All I have to do is remember and I can go right on -. I have periods of depression.” I had enough That isn’t failure. as lucky as can be. That’s why ya came back.. Katharine began to identify more of the facial features given to Lan. all of its touted beauty notwithstanding. Mary. I felt so drawn to this place.” “Of course I did. a softer version of his angular jaw and well-molded chin. you are right about that..not enough. It was much more than a And yet. Oh..” “But at least I’m good at what I do. “I’m a professional person.. what that means? You’re Lan’s chosen one..” “And satisfied then?” “No. He loves so hard. and you’re To my way of thinking you’re the one receiving that attention. of it to last me to my grave.. good to me and you didn’t have to be that way at all. but It’s all I’ve ever been..” “Ya were never loved. Do ya not?” Mary leaned back with her hands folded on the table and her sharply focused eyes waiting.and. Returning to Seattle to recover seemed so..hunger. you’ll never forget... because Lan was here.and you. And I think I had to finally admit to myself that this place was so especially wonderful. but I think ya still have some problems to resolve.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “A person can’t live very well without love....” “Oh.with Lan.and yet the Ya had a taste of something that I was inundated with.. I have some friends there but I--” “Ya really have no family?” “No. taste. Do ya not know You were Surely ya do.not always.so depressing to me..196 myself?” “It’s sort of complicated. it’s loss. .. I’ve failed at everything else.the kind of love only Lachlan can give ya.
“Your frowning at me.. to happiness. husband. My dad sent me to the best schools.the way it feeds your ego.. Do ya see that?” “Yes.. but you. Kate.. I know I have unconditional love. He doesn’t know that I heard him swear an oath one bitter night. My career was here with my Now it We ran this place together and we ran it well.. Each has to do what But I can’t help feeling that if ya loved him enough we wouldn’t be having this conversation. leave off. Mary. Now he’s done it.197 thought of such a complete change in my life is. somehow ya do resist... without completely . I must be craving Oh....” “Nobody could take that from ya. Lachlan has suffered make that change ya talk about.frightening.that he would never give himself like that again. and he’s made it into something much larger. There I’ve said it..enough to deny himself what he ought to have.” “For a while he drank a great deal. Mary. you’re wrong. belongs to Lachlan.. He couldn’t help himself any more than I could when I fell in love with Rang. Somehow.” “I’m a writer. no right to--” “It’s not that so much.play the piano for my own joy of it. He could do with a good partner.. I do. because I can’t stand it. an intelligent woman like yourself. he or she is born to. He loves ya too much. For him it works that way.yes.. He knows that very well but he’ll never ask it of ya. Mary. Kate. and I taught But when I found Rang I was quite content to I have loved music for a while.” “Please understand. You’re a lovely girl with a right It’s just that I don’t know if you’re able to Ya see. It’s why I’m here. the stewardship of these lands.see it and feel it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “Oh.” “A successful career is a powerful thing. too. I don’t resist.
all good fortune. She stopped to position herself on a large rock. windows the hardened snow crystals glittered like faceted diamonds.. She could certainly .because I love him far more than I think you realize. first brushing it off briskly with a gloved hand. she could easily assert that she had miraculously escaped the jaws of death and was now sitting at the pinnacle of all beauty. There was ice along the bank but the freezing The snow water burbled with a lyrical sound rather comforting. pondering her situation. 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. and off in the distance hung the Southern Alps. “I’d like to take a walk in the snow. because I love Lan. the rush of warm feeling. I have to fit into your world. if she were to betray her presumed commitment. but alongside this was a somewhat anxious speculation of how she would live the rest of her life. Katharine basked in the ensuing release of tension.” “Then I’ll get ya some warm clothes. reassuring hug. she gradually drifted In this pristine off in thought. the crisp air biting into her lungs.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Along with this went a huge sense of relief that Mary What had always quietly been there and was there now for Lan.how she would Could she help to run a place like this. Leaning back. Did she want a little child clinging to her skirt.” “And for that ya have all my devotion.198 losing myself. was dazzling in the bright sun. very likely with lovely black eyes? cherish it. like Lan’s? A part of Lan -. a world Probably she could learn. piercing the hard blue winter sky.” *** Katharine was walking along the river. standing up and giving Katharine a steady. environment..” Mary said. With her arms gratefully wrapped around Mary.
It would be a necessity She wasn’t indifferent to the cornucopia of good things spilling into her life.” His kiss warmed her whole body and she kissed him back until he leaned away and looked into her revealing eyes... It’s I who have to figure out how to make ya satisfied.if I’m the right person for you. about so many things. with her? Wasn’t that the irrefutable answer? What was wrong She began to see that deep down she felt inadequate She for Lan. me.have made. her old insecurity always just within reach. Katharine? I found ya and ya found me. Ya hear “Bloody hell it is. “For as long as you want me I’m yours.” “Oh..and about the end of something and the beginning of something else.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” “That decision is the one I get to make. Lan. for her.” “Then what in bloody hell are we talking about?” “I guess. We’ve both had . there were always those..” “Forever?” “I don’t know if.” No more sadness.I guess we’re talking about a special sort of competence.. sliding into his arms. No more. Of course there Love didn’t conquer all. “What is it now?” Lan’s voice suddenly intoned.. enriching her self... feeding her creative needs with endless titillating themes. even though she was totally and inescapably in its grip. is it?” “I have to learn to live well with you. to make you happy. 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. could no longer imagine being otherwise. It’s kind of sad.. “But that isn’t the end of the problem. lowered her head and sighed..199 write about it.. I’m already happy just having ya.so happy. she knew this. would be difficulties.in a way.” “No. but I’m so satisfied with you.
his lids closed down to a narrow darkness that was just her.” Her coy mouth offered a teasing smile as she pushed her fingers into his chest. up away from the river and into an open field where the whiteness rose in smooth hillocks.” him.. to fly away in dreams? “Kate.” She slid her hand down the front of his jacket and looked up into his eyes. slowed Lan down when he stopped to pick it up. Over there. He hesitated. but not from cold. He clicked his tongue with “Now I want ya bad and we’re in the snow.too bloody cold. what I love. certain nothing could stop her. savoring her humor as his mood drifted away from the heat of protest. if you so decree it. Her woolen hat had come off. I won’t steal ya from your rare self. Wasn’t her body forever trying to launch itself. pasted over her gasping.the way ya suddenly eat up life.” impatience. but the thought blew away behind her as she ran on. . It’s That’s the end of all this equivocation. lifted it and smoothed it back as he replaced her hat.200 enough of sadness. tapping at the heavy sheepskin jacket. ya unpredictable wahina -.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” She laughed with an expansive surge of joy and began to run.” It was the thing that had Her hair was in His fingers “Be careful with your leg.” There was a pause of heavy silence while her taut face softened then bloomed with amusement. before ya drown yourself in it. For a second she wondered if her leg was really up to this. her eyes. He caught hold of her and swung her around against Please be careful. laughing mouth. “Well. “Do ya know what your eyes do to me when ya smile like that?” “Just pounamou for my lover. She ran over the powdery snow in quick bursts of speed. “Another thing about ya.” “Can’t have ya in the snow. She was beginning to tremble.. great god Manutane.
something which should never be finished until the eyes closed for the last time. “Leave your jumper on.for either of us. it turned their quick breath into rising white clouds of vapor. with his tongue in her mouth and his hands fitting her against him. The straight For the shaft of dazzle ignited part of this man having her. Shout at me. feeling so much and knowing so little. I want ya. Lan... perhaps not . intense with lust. unfathomed.” We’ll His words were tinged with regret.. fastening her legs around him as they became one tortuous element of hot energy in a still space of heavy cold. “Oh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the rich deliquescence... Jesus. that to wish for or acquire even a partial revelation of the mystery behind the windows of the eyes was to finish something.” He eased her down upon his open jacket.only here. “There’s straw on the floor.” A bolt of white light streamed through the high snow-framed old glass. I want ya.. heightened the agony of being that close.only here with me. first time she encountered fully the translucent mahogany grain of his eyes.. Anything. Even in this condition.anything.201 he jerked his head toward a stone shed with a small. I want to know--” “It’s no good knowing everything. ipo. ipo.” While their partially cold bodies joined in heat.” The pale blond straw was fresh and sweet beneath them as they pulled off their gloves and tugged at their clothes.. “Oh. in its path motes of whirling dust. “Oh. discover more than enough.” Katharine said. far beneath her momentous longing she knew that he was right. but let me get my hands inside.. craving much more. snow-etched window.what if someone--” “No. Come on. brr. she let her frenzied self cry out his name and heard his soft response. “Ah. No one will.. She gripped him tightly.
“Will ya tell me if I hurt ya?” “Y-yes. “Jesus. I love having ya.” “I said I adore ya. From his brusque response she inferred a similar longing... he leaned away.good...don’t move while I help ya feel this. and heard herself screaming. so good.” “Good?” “Oh. “I. recovering for a moment until the harsh cold .and. eyes briefly closed then opening as he lifted her shaking body up against him.. the dust of it rising as she was thrown backwards and pinned there in throbbing heat.. stroking her back.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” she managed with gasping voice.. head back. She wanted it to go on but thought it powerful enough to stop her heart...202 even then. “Ata noho.” They lay back. “Get your arms where I can..look at ya.” Their bodies rocked hard into the crunching straw. “Okay?” “Yes.” Forward deep inside she felt a pleasure that was so excruciating it was almost a searing pain.liked those words. already studied and abandoned as dangerously destructive and useless.oh..” His hands slid down her waist and pressed her into him until her skin was his.” His voice sounded soft and slow with satisfaction while his fingers held the back of her neck. his thumb rubbing the damp hollow of her throat.. “Oh God!” Above her. E tino aroha ana ahau ki a koe.” Lan said softly. “Hold still.
his father’s younger brother.” I’ll . try to help ya understand. Lan occasionally staring down at her as if astonished to find her there looking back. *** 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. Lan glanced at her and said a word to himself. 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. both silent and lost in the thrall of each other... Gus. “The wind blows and it rains a bit this time of year in Nelson.lambs who’ve lost their mothers like her newest pet..keeps everything rich and green..203 began to creep over them. “Just a place where Mary nurses her culled weakling newborns from time to time. “What is this for?” Katharine asked. gentle rain. Kate. Reka Winery for Lan. arm in arm.” Kai te pai matau. she remotely hearing its warbling winter song. They walked home along the rushing river. They turned down a long lane and drove up to a large old stone house set back before a stand of Red Beech trees. “Are you going to speak a lot of Maori?” “I’m sorry. shaking his head. looking around.” Lan said. They’ll like ya.. and Katharine put her hands tightly together in her lap. Quickly sitting up they knelt to pick the thin golden stalks of straw from each other’s hair and clothing. then pulled on what little they had removed. wehi. but mostly it’s a land of sunshine and good beaches.” He smiled at her and led her through the cobwebbed heavy wooden door into the cold bright sun.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..tend to do that more when I come here. “Don’t be afraid. We’re all right. my tau aroha. Need that rain.
studied her with polite curiosity. When it’s my job I can stick my nose into people’s lives quite easily.204 “Will there be hongi?” “Maybe. Green Eyes. Would this be in deference to Lan. 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. smoothly planked hardwood dinner table placed in a rimu-wainscoted. easy to tell when ya blush. with which she didn’t want to deal. The You’re fair and it’s four adult children of Gus and Mea sat below. She felt a little clumsy and didn’t look at Lan for fear she would encounter a certain keen assessment. Pathetic. too. but when it’s my own life on review I’m like this. . and quite ready to converse in welcome New Zealand English.” They sat down at a long. You’re mine.” Katharine then gave Lan a questioning look.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . wahina. Gus and his wife. Just stay cool. 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. and she heard Maori words. had done hongi with her. both with graying hair. Nobody will do anything to make ya feel bad. their eyes twinkling with a slight teasing amusement at her rather shy responses. deciding she should save her analyses for some other time and simply let things happen. Gus was saying something to his wife in Maori: “Ka mumura ona papering i te whakama. brick-red dining room. Mea. but they were polite in that.” “I know. “Just your chemistry. isn’t it?” *** They had all greeted her. and eight of their older grandchildren sat at two separate smaller tables. giggling and teasing one another.
205 With her hands held motionless in the lap of her gray wool pantsuit. “He said ya are attractive.. including Lan.” “What needs to be excused?” Katharine muttered.can keep myself from starving.” Katharine said with a cheerful smile. she was trying hard to remember everyone’s name.” Katharine answered. which held for Katharine a lovely earthy warmth. a quick study in pronunciation. “He ataahua te kotiro ra.. Lan turned to Katharine. sweet potato.” “Lan will teach you only good things. who was now blushing deeply.” Good. “I’ve.” Katharine smiled.yes. laughed with great enjoyment. Can ya cook?” “I. Lan was putting food on her plate as the serving dishes went by.” she said. “Oh.” maternal dark-eyed Mea offered in a slow. Gus looked at Katharine and said. “Kumara. discerning voice. “What did I say?” “Ya simply told him ya thought it was an absurd question. “Nothing.” . “Yes. a different texture.” Lan said.” and everyone. Ya see that excuses a lot. Katharine.I’ve helped smuggle food to a starving African village under siege..” Now don’t get yourself in high dudgeon. I’m sorry. Try it. “Kina.. faintly defensive voice.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” Lan said.. “I really have no idea. “Tell him: E whakaaro ana ahau he patai hohore tena. “Can she cook?” Gus asked. Gus laughed and threw up his hands. sea urchin. his flat and robust dark face lined with humor. does that count?” she added in a soft. “I’m not. focused on his mouth as he repeated the phrase which she then tried to say.” “Oh.. Then Lan squeezed her hand and winked at her. “Lan is teaching me bad things.
Lan was taking other things She tasted and he and putting them on her plate again. .” “They are the best.” the young mother called out. fishing in various rivers and lakes. fireroasted pork. “I do love these plump green-lipped mussels.. a small dark blue room with a shiny black hardwood floor.” Everyone drank while Katharine took a sip and stared out over the many full serving dishes.206 Katharine lifted her glass of the white wine taken from their own Wai Reka Winery and said. then got up and stepped slowly around the room. explained. “Nothing too serious. so many of the growing family at work and play.or bottles. holding up a shell and admiring its dark. opalescent. very Mea had explained to her large and satin-grained wood rockers. emeraldedged beauty. photograph of Lan. Katharine sat listening a moment to the voices discussing whatever cleanup was necessary. “The men are counting barrels..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . that this pastime was soothing and good for digestion. there was a loud crash. “Here’s to all of you and thank you for this delicious food.. Katharine found herself with Mea in a sort of study. She was enjoying the pictures.” she said. They were both rocking slowly in old. and filled with photographs.choice. laughing and waving her hand.” Lan asserted. eating and celebrating. and colorful salads. fascinated.. which included some things she recognized: green-lipped mussels. Later when dessert was finished and the table cleared. Then her eyes fell upon an earlier She stared at his cocky grin. “Some of the best I’ve ever tasted.” Mea said.. Just as they were beginning a conversation about Lan’s father’s childhood.messy. Mea heard one of the babies screaming and went to see what happened.. tutua shellfish.
know. Mary had such a different childhood from her own. and growing children running in and out. staring at Mea bent over the floor. “Ah. Mary had spoken of the family with admiration and warmth.. how Mary had felt when she met Rang’s family. Once again and very swiftly the old insecurity assailed her. 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.. Mea moved closer to Katharine and said. “May I help?” she asked. her face turned toward him.not this foreign Pakeha journalist. This time they settled in the lounge. Stop this. or some other Maori woman. Katharine. and toys.. “No.” Mea Perhaps they didn’t want her with Lan at all. She left the room and went into the kitchen. a couple satisfied to be just themselves together. with the other young women and babies surrounding them. Finished. Before they left to come here. The children were quite apparently foremost in all of their minds.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . A pain That was spiked through her heart and her knees almost buckled. tamariki. What had Mary’s mother been like? She didn’t She would seek an opportunity to ask her. said. Adored and coddled by her father. her mouth smiling with unmistakable possession. but she found it very difficult to obey. kittens. They were all trying to carry on rather truncated conversations.207 His arm was around an exquisite young woman with long black hair and large moist eyes.so .. intelligent eyes. should they? They might have been far more satisfied if he were with Rani. her manner evinced a secure sense of self. Sticky orange juice. punctuated by the antics of the children together with their puppies. mopping something up. precisely what a man looked like who was content with the love of his life. the voice inside her head She wondered insisted.
Ya would like that?” “I would. sounded false.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .full of wild spirit. stumbling into the massive old white tile bathroom. pregnant. 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.. throbbing. and in the next few minutes she had seriously begun to think of vomiting. I I wish I could chatter away in There’s an expansive thing about learning a language that makes you a part of. the forewarning of a migraine. Mea pointed and she hurried off in that direction. She saw two of Gus’s daughters staring at her from across the room.. Oh God. 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. fumbling and miserable. the bathroom?” she said. it. like patronizing flattery.a part of us. She was on her knees over the toilet bowl and could hear the women giggling down the hall.” she said. disgusted.. no.. for a moment taken aback.. is this? “I like this big friendly house. Then it happened. bitter half-digested food. these children. she thought.. ask. “Please.208 much life. “Oh.I would. “Are ya going to learn to speak like Mary? “What?” Katharine asked. She could feel the back of her head begin that constricting sensation.” Katharine said.of--” “Yeah.. . standing up with her hand against her mouth. and that. They bent their heads together to whisper something while a little boy tugged at one of their skirts.. too. love the sound of your language. 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.
sleep on the plane.” “Try at least..” “Can you. She regained consciousness lying on a Lan had his massaging fingers in her hair. then knelt and wiped her face. She awoke with a start. He held it to her lips and she tried to drink as agreeably as possible. She was through with vomiting but could hardly stand to raise her head. Lifting her She wetting a washcloth..” she muttered.. He leaned over the sink..” “Doesn’t matter. I’m so bloody sorry ya hurt.I could. When the door had closed she said. Katharine. she felt a sudden flash of white heat and tried to take a step.” “No... “Are you mad at me?” “Jesus. pricks of ice. “Oh.put me in the.” “Sorry. he started to lead her out of the room. He tapped on the door and came inside.haven’t any pills.. remembered where she was and Beneath her lids the Slowly she drifted off .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . sliding down as he caught her and lifted her into his arms.. The top of her head was like ice. Ya have to sleep.sorry.” He lay down beside her and held her in his arms.just want ya to get over this.. “Mea is making ya something to drink.” I could--” “Maybe.. colorful squiggles of pain writhed on. swallowing about a third of the cup.” Mea came into the room with a warm cup of strong herbs and handed it to Lan. Oh God. the pain in it was so consuming. to sleep. some of them Lan’s.209 “What?” she heard a voice say and then Maori words. up against him.. couldn’t speak.. small pin Shivering. Absolutely not.plane like this? “No..” “Hold me.” “Don’t think I can.. his fingers rubbing at the base of her skull. bed in a dark room.
just needed some air.those herbs were good. pretending to sleep. Its perfection had all the You will never have this. would like to have thrown herself on the ground but heard the soft rustle of footsteps in the grass.usually it takes a long time. she leaned against the trunk of a Red Beech tree.. thank you. and sat up in the darkness. “I’m glad you’re feeling better. Stealing down the hall she tried a door knob. She closed her eyes.. Lan’s shadow stretched toward her in the lights from the house. There was no one else in She heard bursts of laughter.210 whispered.. She turned around and saw Lan standing before her in the open door... Stumbling over the She grass. You will never be able to give enough of yourself to have this. that photograph. because you are a divided self. then another and she was back in the dark blue room of photographs.” *** Flying back in the early morning she was very quiet. and hoped that Lan would assume she was still recovering. power to censure and accuse. “They think I’m pregnant. better. so perfect she could actually grieve for Lan instead of herself. Finally they screeched down on the frozen runway. inhaling a strange sweet dampness which smelled completely unfamiliar to her. got into There was no way she could discount .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . reaching for the bedside lamp.” “Will ya come back in?” “Yes. through the kitchen and out the back door into the dark night.” the room. resting on a hardwood cabinet one photograph which seemed to resonate with life.. She fled past him. more life than her breathing could ever bestow. I want to apologize and thank everyone. but saw only the perfect black and white photograph.” “Yes. the picture seemed to call out to her. There was one small lamp lit.
Mary.and.” regretful sigh. but I was Rang’s only wife and quite headstrong with the daring of my deed.. yes. I think they wanted me to know..love..but I can’t. almost falling on the steps while Lan shouted....was thoroughly sick.. “It was easier when I did it.” Mary said. girl. ya “I was eating the food. liked them all and. Kate!” She went through the great house room by room. but then.could do this... . take a sip of my tea. I thought I could.. running wild.and that was the end of it. I can’t.disaster. I knew I’d lied. laughing with them.... Then I got a wretched migraine...Careless Child Karlene Kubat . took a single long swallow of the strong black tea and thought a moment. “Careful. no.” “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.something happened. She uttered a I Poor Kate. want so to be liked. letting the anxious words flow against Mary’s dressing gown... “Here. “I did have a bit of worry with that first visit..” “They understood. to No sooner had they come a stop then she had wrenched open the door and raced inside. “In the beginning it wasn’t so bad.. When I saw the photograph of the two of them. like a frantic child with a bleeding wound in search of its mother. Your imagination is Ya have such strong feeling that--” “Oh..I never knew what it was.. who--” “Ya don’t love him then?” “Oh God.. I’m not the person so beautiful..not until Lan.” Katharine lifted her head. Mary sat patiently stroking her hair. complete. really hoped they’d like me.211 the Rover and crunched over the snow. and dropped down with her head in Mary’s lap. Mary.loved. Katharine. She found Mary in her bedroom having tea before a crackling fire..
” “Careful now. them after--” They Have ya no more faith in They don’t like me. I understand why they don’t want you to have me. They were bloody sorry ya were He tino nui They thought I was damned lucky.” he said as he walked out with Katharine in his arms. Mea told me: ‘She has plenty of common sense. heading straight for his bedroom.’ They thought your green eyes were fascinating. mother. Lachlan. yet. Lan stood there staring at both of them. and you’ve got to consider that too.and. don’t want me anyway.” with your bloody great imagination. accident your girl was in.except that part of this is my own fault.” “Thank ya.. crook as a dog. and how can I blame Mary’s door burst open.. “Now it’s my turn.” he said. talk to ya later.” “I saw what really--” “I know what ya saw! Ya saw the past and set it blazing This is the present. yeah.. they thought ya were pregnant. ran his fingers slowly over her throat and said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . tona atamai...212 I know ya aren’t a coward. ya do? Ya understand that? They thought ya were smart and beautiful and polite. rubbing her temples with extended fingers. “Oh.” “Oh. Her thoughts were in a jumble. his face displaying an obvious and fuming agitation. Lan. yourself than this?” “Just more proof that I’m no good at a private life. girl.. “If I didn’t love ya so I could almost choke ya to death. dragging Katharine from Mary’s lap and lifting her into his arms.nearly as much as I do. He set her down on the bed.” She lowered her head and sat in confusion. to God ya were. And I wish . Ya know she isn’t completely well That was a terrible I do think her head’s still confused. “All right you’ve had your tea and sympathy.
Very relaxing. vacation there. their force broken by . I have a place there. round and round the other way. You’re not over any You’re so of what happened to ya.213 Never had she felt so bewildered. “Oh.” “Are ya worrying about something again?” Lan asked.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . holding her face in his hands. She looked up at him. Small waves lapped Round and round one way and then The poor bus drivers must go out gently up over the smooth shore incline.” “Rarotonga? That’s way north in the Cook Islands. Ya need to heal. “Please pack a few light clothes. damned good at living with misery none of us have fully understood what you’ve been through. making flight reservations from Auckland. and I should have seen it. please don’t send me away right now. shifting in his beach chair and reaching for his Steinie. aren’t well. a Margaret told me you Kiwis like to dependency of New Zealand. Lan. if ya have any. Ya I realized it flying back.” he said. hear nothing but wind and water and birds.” IV “You could go round and round on this little green jewel in the sea until you were dizzy. all been too much for ya. and that’s what I’ve been doing while ya were talking. “I’m taking ya away to Rarotonga. Ya need to lie in the sun and do This has nothing. of their minds. I just didn’t--” I’ll be “My Green Eyes.” Lan said in a softer voice.” “Right. her eyes wide with disbelief. better. Katharine dug her toes into the warm beige sand and stared at the startling shades of aquamarine water. If she were truly that mistaken then she must really be in a distracted state. Mary knows it too.
went straight to the cottage and slept.” Lan said. They arrived late at night. There were small colored fish. what if I tired. laughing and swilling his beer. yellow. splashing into the sky and crashing down with a constant roar. . it’ll mellow out. hadn’t found one?” “I’d have enjoyed that. Ya can’t get rid of them.a few miles down the road and there is very nearly the only store with a suitable suit. look flash. Katharine stood up. “The scar on my leg isn’t so bad.214 the distant reef. Don’t even try.” “They’ve always been here. 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. she felt happy and playful.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. swimming toward her with powerful strokes. almost transparent. and felt a little Watching Hmm. whitey.” She observed that Lan got up rather quickly and followed her into the water.” “I’m going for a swim. and with no time to buy anything. so tiny I could hardly see them.” “No. No problem making up your mind about fashion. blue. Lan’s dark body in the clear water.. The next afternoon Katharine had gone into town with Lan and done some quick shopping. and silver and black striped ones darting all around them. but so many they could carry the place away. realizing that her lungs needed more exercise. Out on the reef’s edge waves boiled up in a line of high white foam. straightening her new navy bathing suit.” They had departed from the airport without even going into Auckland first. She rolled over and lay on her back. “Avarua is the kind of town I like. She swam out to the reef. “This morning there were thousands of ants on the kitchen counter.
Whether observed or not he was never self-conscious.” “I’m covered with lotion. Turning over she stretched out her arms to him. “You keep referring to my floury skin. my hot little sex object. looking at her. That’ll be fun. “God. swinging open the door of the refrigerator in the dark-green-tiled kitchen. motionless. Need some more lotion or you’ll burn like toast. She walked away. doing whatever needed to be done in the most natural and direct way. giving her a slippery wet kiss. I love your skin. pulling her suit away from her breasts to wash away the sand.” She lay on her mat while he slathered lotion onto her body.” In the shallows she stood up and shook out her hair. she rolled over and started back.” “Good. Lan flung his head back in a spiral of spraying droplets and stripped water from his arms. Ya smell like a coconut cocktail. your eyes are like the water.” He glanced toward the He dark orange stucco bungalow nestled in the rippling palms above the sand. “A white sea nymph. “Want something to drink?” Lan asked.” Under the outside shower nozzle her oiled skin beaded as she rid herself of salt water. “Let’s go inside. His fingers slid over her as the hot sun beat down on them. Lan surged up from beneath the water and held her by the waist. dried themselves and went inside.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . When she had rested awhile in weightless drifting. She loved to study him closely when he wasn’t noticing. Aren’t you embarrassed to be seen with this pale creature?” “Seen by whom? There’s no one around. They grabbed the huge striped beach towels flung over a chair. remained kneeling. trying to get out of her clinging wet suit .215 staring at huge white cumulus clouds fastened to the horizon.
“Yes. calm now after a week of rest and lovemaking.” “If ya could see your face you’d know why I don’t want ya reading that gloomy gore. please. isn’t it?” “You’re the only one who has ever made me want to stay forever in the present moment. You’re on holiday.” “I was thinking of a family in Khan Yunis. Lie down. kissing firmed nipples and stroking his hands over her as she shivered in the sultry heat. of--” “When you’re there ya want me and when you’re with me ya want to be there. guava juice. solid and faintly salty against her mouth.” He came into the shadowy bedroom with the juice and set it on a low. that dark moist flesh her entire boundary as they tangled together atop the flowered coverlet on the bed. Lost in this disturbing recurrence she was surprised by Lan reaching over her head and sliding the paper out of her hands. I’m spoiled by all of this I’ll keep ya in the present moment. glass-topped bamboo table. browsing through a newspaper where she came across reportage of another severe flare-up in the Middle East. lay in her beach chair. attention. Kate.” “Cool damp skin. She reached for the juice and drank with his fingers sliding over her pulsing throat. “This is really good for us. *** Katharine.” His body was hot to her touch. Lan. “Where in bloody-hell did ya get that?” “Even in Rarotonga they receive bad news it seems. Grinning at her ongoing struggle. Ah. right now I feel so happy “Lock me in your castle? . What can I do with ya?” Lan. ya oily sweet wahina. he grasped the suit and pulled it down away from her cool body.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .216 and calling out.
“Look at me. She dropped her gaze.I hope. I don’t want to be anywhere else.would just let me go?” “That would never be my decision. the fear of loss.. be a concerted effort to--” “Katharine. at his very serious expression. staring at his brown hand It will...” She looked at Lan. It’s moving even faster than your quick A part of ya on her white flesh and shivering with the truth of his words. brain. “Do ya know it isn’t all a crusade with ya? has been trying to run away from me since the beginning. Life gives ya those.” She got up from the chair and went to lean against the trunk of a shady palm.” “I can’t think that way. Kate. my Green Is that what ya want?” “You would. “You want to give me ultimatums. It’s only that I feel a little guilty. looking into her eyes. Her heart was beating so rapidly it felt as if it were in her throat.” “Guilty enough to die of it? exchange. and felt fear spring up. do ya want any life of your own?” “Yes..” He knelt in the sand and put his hand on her thigh.” “What would you do if I went away. but I’m trying to make ya tell me what ya want. “No..217 with you.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . would ruin us both.. Kate. The more the world knows about There has to Ya won’t get very much in that situation the less it will tolerate. Lan?” “Forever? Suffer badly. Eyes? Do I let ya keep running then. And what would ya do yourself?” .because ya think if ya keep moving life won’t disintegrate. You--” It I’ll force ya into nothing.
. staring out at the ultramarine blue of deep sea.. if I wake up?” “Ya will wake up and there I’ll be.a sort of business partner. hearing the palm fronds rustle overhead.... “Be your.” she said in a slow dreamy voice against his shoulder. Is that why you’re marrying me?” She offered a playful smile to keep the question from any other implication...218 She leaned against the trunk.or for me. no longer able to stand without support. We’ll do this bloody life together and Yeah?” I haven’t much choice.when ya go to sleep and when ya wake up. Kate?” She responded with sudden disbelief. she knew how she looked.but what “That’s what it means.or.. “one who could do this to me. “I didn’t think the world had a Lachlan Manutane. “Will ya marry me. feeling her knees dug into warm sand and his dark eyes on her. Yeah? Marry me?” “Yes.. Her swimming eyes were filled with the love of him.” “And will ya be reasonably happy in that condition?” She clasped her arms around his solid.wife?” He cocked his head and laughed. The thought of no Lan in her life made her He body go limp. “Mary seems to think you need a.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . knew he could see a force so powerful it could never be hidden or laid aside. more recently having contemplated those words and yet amazed at the sound of his voice saying them. knelt down too and lifted her chin. . putting disconnected parts of her together.. pleasure each other in the doing. made her slide down and kneel in the sand.. She would remember this day and hour. much required body and laid her mouth against his flesh..
at the bus driver making humorous comments to break the monotony of his endless revolutions.wait! I’m all nice and dry now “Just needed a top level employee. He came after her and dragged her under... batik prints. falling in with her levity. hedges of crimson bougainvillea. and Gauguinstyle watercolors. “Let’s get ourselves back to the cottage.” He picked her up and started toward the water.” She grabbed the back of his neck. white beaches. azure lagoons. still in each other’s arms. developments... “Lan? Are you going to. shacks. pulling him down into the water with her then managing to wriggle out of his careful grasp and swim away.219 “Ah. you’ve sussed the lay of things. his mouth sliding over hers until she uttered some small sound coinciding with his complete preoccupation. waiting for the circling bus to carry them into the town. Her laughter drifted into a surfacing with her in his arms. Very soon cottages.oh. and I’d rather have ya without getting ya drowned.but think and.. and slipped down on the wet sand. the wavelets lapping at their oblivious embrace. no. He lifted her up and held her tight against him.” he said. my love.. deeper emotion when she saw his altered face. of the benefits. and green slopes of the ever-present central volcanic mountains flew by as they turned to each other and laughed at nothing. Lan pulled her You’re making me crazy all awash here. palms.” In the morning they stood at the roadside in their sandals. They walked down the street hand in hand. at the wind in their faces. They sloshed to the water’s edge. finally settling at a bistro table on a . a face full of proprietary rapture. peering into touristy little shops with shells. Katharine in a yellow sun dress and Lan in shorts and a black tropical shirt.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” to her feet. “Come on.
even amusing. . Out beyond the reef you Good can find some pretty hefty prey for even a heavy line. blue eyes.” “No. took a swallow of his beer and leaned forward. laughing and Lan bent to her and said Katharine could just tilting her head back with surprise.” I’ve She was straining to hear more when a man carrying a pint of beer blocked her view. They dipped their heads beneath broad sun- infused banana leaves and sipped overfull glasses of cool beer. You like this place?” I’m Frank It’s just the right size and shape. she saw a woman across the deck exclaim and grab his arm. “Oh. rugged tan.just a small party. He was rather nice looking. “I’ve been sportfishing big time.” Katharine said and was pondering a further comment when the man relieved her of any speculation by going on. Lan. aren’t I? McGregor from Chicago..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . missed you.” Katharine said. something and the woman laughed again. I’m talking your head off. and for the moment completely diverted her attention. having made a decision to be courteous. “Hey. make out her words. sandy hair. but you have to come. They know their stuff. He laughed heartily at that. and khaki shorts and shirt with bare feet in expensive looking deck shoes. Haven’t I’d remember that. guides around here. Not many tables available. “Yes. The interloper sat down at her table.” Katharine drew herself up and angled her head.. I do. When Lan got up to find Katharine a napkin for her spilled foaming beer. “Mind if I join you? seen you in town. no rings on his fingers. wondering if he was simply being friendly or actually engaged in that old routine of getting to know you. A slender brunette with tanned skin. a leather-strapped watch of the style she liked.220 grayed wood deck.
and ya won’t be catching any fish tomorrow. “Yeah?” Lan said. what the hell. Come on. but he was apparently not a quitter. to swordfish. fella.” Frank stood up and moved near her.” Frank said. He was perhaps an inch shorter than Lan.” Frank said.” “Oh for heaven’s sake. because when I scrap it’s for results not appearance. but Lan had sauntered up to the table. sit down. only happened on television soaps. We’ll let Mr.” The narrowed eyes leveled at Lan for a moment. Frank. was that his first beer.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . mate. “Might as well unclench the fist and settle down.221 “Mind telling me your name?” “I--” Katharine said.” Katharine tapped her fingers on the table. Lan. He’s been sportfishing. “About five minutes. Huh. “Sorry. grinning. she realized. McGregor. mate. I was here first. sport?” not when I’ve got a real trophy on the line. nor. raising one eyebrow and remaining on his feet. “Ah. “but I sure will miss those green eyes. “She isn’t wearing a ring. McGregor get on with his sportfishing. “Ya haven’t got anything on the line. Lan. but well built and apparently more familiar with this sort of braggadocio contest than Katharine had thought. I really thought this sort of thing I think you’d better stick I’m through with my beer.” Katharine and Lan left Frank McGregor sulking over his . I don’t give up that easily. mate. “This is very amusing. Lan stepped between her and Frank McGregor with a cool smile and said.” “Then you’re out of the running. “Yeah?” Lan said.” This is Frank “How long ago was that?” Katharine noticed that Frank’s face registered considerable disappointment.
My..I just thought he was being friendly.one that.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . some of them ego... is still burning.well. from her point of view.I guess...” “Okay. he was. “Oh. I think so.. protection. reasons.. if you’re in the human race you’re always moving in those circles. Patricia Leonard.” “I didn’t mean to.do something?” I’ve had enough practice with wankers like “Bloody right.” “I’m sorry. and said. his mind clearly in the process of switching subjects. but I’m bloody-hell not letting any pissed bastard put his hands on ya..” Lan turned to Katharine.my husband slapped me around but I doubt that he would have fought anyone else for me. that. I hope it’s simple I’m not crazy about scrapping over ya like a possession. I’ll try and remember that.” “Yes. “Who was that woman?” Lan thought a moment.” . “Ya didn’t have to encourage the bloody wanker.” “Hmm.. and walked down the street in silence.” “Oh. They stopped at the corner and Lan said.” “What does that mean?” he asked..Patsy.” “Yeah.” “I knew her once.. took her arm and gently backed her against a plate glass window while his still enlarged feral black pupils held her firmly..222 beer.” “Yeah. I really couldn’t believe. I guess I just don’t move in those circles. Were you really going to.. thank you. grinning. “Very obviously an old flame.. “Sweet Green Eyes. We do that for various With me. he probably would have.
making watchful adjustments of her wayward steps. and Lan was fastening a chain holding a large iridescent black pearl set in white gold around her neck.. clasping the pendant and smiling appreciatively at Lan. please. “If you’re trying to make me feel good it’s working. are ya jealous?” He was laughing.” “You’ve already given me a lovely jade pendant. “Here. guiding a pair of authentically equipped miniature sailboats over the gentle waves of the small .” While they were drinking their beer and waiting for their food they observed two men standing below on the beach. scrap over ya. Let’s go over to Trader Jacks.223 “I’m sure.” They were soon standing at the counter of a rather upscale jewelry store.” “And now ya have a black pearl pendant. He laughed at her engrossed antics. try this on your ring finger. I’m going to buy ya something. She didn’t answer.” “Yeah. diamonds.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “No. I don’t think--” “No.it’s something very nice. the men holding remote controls..” Right? Let me see that pearl ring with the Lan tapped the glass counter. Katharine stood with quickening heart while Lan took the ring from the smiling male clerk and lifted her hand.. my choice little possession. Green Eyes.” “Kate. “Come on. Lan. “Lan. “Wait a minute. about this ya don’t have to think.and for which this place is famous. Nice breeze on the water and I’m ready for a bit of tucker. Then I won’t have to You’ll be doing me a favor. merely walked along staring at hibiscus blossoms across the street. She would have to show up in my town.. sit up on the deck and have lunch.” Upon leaving the store Katharine nearly stumbled as she studied her new ring from various angles.
standing up and throwing his money over the check.” “Not enough.” Katharine remarked. you beautiful little babe. They heard the bilious Frank McGregor hurling steadily more indistinguishable words after them as they left. Isn’t that just dandy? He’s got you a Smart move. Except I’d have bought her a great big emerald to match You want the real thing. she began to look around. heading toward the bus stop. “Happy as two little boys. you come with me. and Lan was laughing right along with her. 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.” Not nearly enough to fully appreciate Frank . McGregor. fella. “Well. Katharine began to laugh. “Go haul on a ton of northbound marlin and leave us to our pleasures.” “Rack off. Just as they were finishing their pesto fish sandwiches and beer.224 harbor. Very soon she had tears in Not far her eyes.” “I’m ready for you.and fishes. As they walked through the graveled lot. Frank McGregor drifted in with a telling swagger. mate. I like cheap T-shirts with local names on them.. Kiwi.” Lan suggested. kia orana. which looked like a barn but turned out to be a T-shirt store.. “Oh. from Trader Jacks she had to sit down on the weather-beaten steps of a large old gray building. Do they have any with fishes?” How many beers did ya have? I wasn’t When her laughter subsided “Are ya drunk? counting.” “Look me up when you’re not off yer face.” Lan admonished. you want emeralds those green eyes.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . walking right up to their table.
Lan... If ya were Maori.” “Why not be trying for a nice little evenness? suppose writers have a difficulty with that. that. As for myself. today. But..” “Oh dear.a day I’ll never ever forget.. think I’ve actually been moaning or muttering.225 “Let’s go inside. “Why I think ya do have a bit of a tan. a silly and shallow one at It’s been a sort of roller coaster. I’m dreaming those detestable dreams again. Lan likes me “It doesn’t matter. Mary. white.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Kate. drawing clenched fingers over her forehead with mock seriousness.precious to me. I suppose. but Lan won’t tell me what I’ve done if I happen to wake him. Mary.. he wouldn’t want ya looking And there I go again.” “He likes ya in your natural state is the proper way of putting it.” “Oh.” “Somewhat.... This is one of those memorable days. darn it. Eyes. I must be in a manic phase. It’s the sudden changes in your life doing this. tea. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.or whimpering.putting my foot in it.” Katharine said. I’ll buy ya a stack of T-shirts. I probably shouldn’t be drinking this I’m more nervous than usual. otherwise. Green Ya can cart them back to Enzed as a strange reminder of how not to get engaged.” Nothing could bring me down “Apparently.oh.” I ...” *** Mary was leaning over Green Braes’ kitchen table while cradling her brick-red and white porcelain tea cup in both hands and studying Katharine.” “Ya do look at sixes and sevens.” But I “I should think the serious ones barely have any idea of it. things going round and round in my head with no form of expression but fragmented distortion.
He still considered Katharine Now off with ya. but ya need to engage your mind. But please let me know if you need any help you think me capable of giving.” “I think ya capable of doing most anything. certain she was vexing Mary with the ups and downs of her fluctuating nature. Come back and share this with us. She thought of the recent times she had felt Lan’s hand on the back of her neck. Your work isn’t finished. Explosions. calling her back to scenes she had not meant to escape in such a drastic manner. Blood-spattered hands reaching out to her. not have left us. wave of her hand. here?” “Everything that needs doing is being done.226 Mary rubbed at her gray-blue eyes. “Put me to work. Having felt the need to bring up her dreams Katharine was experiencing a sharp twinge of guilt.” With visits to the winery.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . too. Mary. Katharine was experiencing once again what it was like to sleep alone. I think ya Can’t I help do something around should work on your novel.” “All right. stroking up through her hair when she knew she had been crying out in her sleep. tea. Middle Eastern horrors had translated into electric impulses shooting through her brain. to write and think and go about a daily routine without interruption or the emotional interplay of a . I’m off to my computer then. You should She was painfully convinced that her selfish happiness had precipitated a reverse outpouring in her dreams.” 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. Lan had been gone a week. the restaurant. and with Lan gone it’ll help to fill your nights. war. and the stud farm. Katharine. beneath which were slight dark circles.
without that engagement she felt adrift and aimless. It was her nightly call from Lan. Do ya mind. In the evening after tea Mary called her into the study.. been hoping a long time for this.” “I’m deeply ashamed of myself. What shall I do.. an unpleasantness that made her set to work especially hard on her novel. I’ll smile at you and It’s your own wedding. anything at all.. Green Eyes?” “Do exactly what you intended.. “No.” “They do love a bit of celebrating. Within this temporary solitary existence there was a gaping exclusion: the habitual demands of a profession which had now become dormant. Kate?” “I..wanting to be only with you and Mary. When her eyes grew tired she paced. handed her the phone with a nod and a smile and left the room.. I’ll be home tomorrow I’ve All the legalities have been taken care of. The usual assignments which came under Alone and her purview were placed on hold or turned down. It was incumbent upon her to agree with him in considering her still in recovery.Auckland.. arranged for a family ceremony at the meeting house near Nelson. Lan?” “Tamaki-makau-rau -. She was restless.no.” .227 paired life. evening..” She heard the regret in his voice. “Where are you.” “Ya do.” “Ya have a right.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .it’s just a selfish thing. but she knew that her trust in Lan and her respect for his sound judgment must also be manifested by patience.feeling like I’ll be on display. Please forget that I said Mea told me they’ve everyone else with no difficulty at all.
sorry. Good night.” “It’s a shame ya have no family at all.” “Home? I like it when ya say that. have ya no one you’d like to be there at Nelson to share your wedding?” “No.” “Please come home. and to burden Mary so. She turned it back and forth then looked over her glasses at Katharine.” “My grandmother would have loved to come.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “But not so much yourself. Are ya resting up for tomorrow night?” “For you.” Mary took up a piece of needlepoint which lay on the lamp table and held it up to the light. would have loved to see me marry Lan..” “Don’t get me thinking on it too much..” Katharine averted her face. It’s a long way to come. but it isn’t necessary.. I know she would have adored him.228 “Ya are choice. disgust with herself. “Lan just told me that we’ll be going up to Nelson for our wedding ceremony. and I don’t see them that often. “Kate. I believe. isn’t it? this long.” Mary laid aside her book and studied Katharine a moment.sorry.” I’ve still got some Katharine went into the library where Mary was reading by a noisily snapping pine log fire. girl. Oh a few friends in Seattle. Our span of life is so short... She simply couldn’t last How quickly it all. It seems everyone is looking forward to it. ipo. running her fingers over folded arms held taut against the soft boiled wool robe Mary had given her. .. work to do. Lan. 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. half finished pink roses on a sky-blue background.
and.. I’ll be a part of that family to ya as long as I’m around. if ya want.. Come here to me.so lovely. “I do. caring girl. I do. Mary.especially when I scold ya. ya clever. Kate? ya. quite fortunate to have each other and Lan. put her head on Mary’s lap. about. How shamelessly adept I am at turning into a deprived child. my poor lamb. When the plane touched down and rolled to a stop. and she waved as he parked near the small office. Thank you for making me feel so welcome. it’s a part of ya that needs attention.229 “Are ya crying. I didn’t mean to upset shuffled slowly across the dark blue carpet.” *** So eager for Lan was Katharine that she drove the Rover to the airstrip and waited there for his arrival. for all of your loving generosity. thank you for raising such an amazingly patient son. no matter how worldly and traveled ya are. Nestled inside soft sheep’s wool slippers her feet She knelt down and I’m sorry. concern to me. most wonderful of all.. After a while. I do see why Lan loves You’ll always be a Both of us are Do ya not think?” ya so. a desire for release. This is a time To me ya are sometimes like a lost child. Kate.. she gave in to the coddling she so often craved. with your eagerness to be accepted. with the motor running and the heater on and the radio playing Frank Sinatra.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. “Ya wriggled your way into my heart from the first day I met ya. Yes. I’ve really nothing to complain I did have my grandmother for It’s just my soppy head. to be especially happy.. many years. A rather large one. Slipping back in time as her hair was gently stroked. Lan has told Ya me ya were a mistreated child and I’m heaps sorry for that. she .” Katharine felt a needy childishness overtake her. Rex pulled up in a muddy-snow-spattered black pickup. have a family now. and how easily I still cry from that damnable explosion.
I need to talk to Rex for just a minute..” “The waka?” “Oh. deciding . Green Eyes.230 opened the Rover door and ran over the snow. They started back along the snowy road in the shadowy blue dusk. the smell of his leather jacket delicious to her as it creaked beneath her fingers. take my laptop and get back in the waka.or whatever. “Haere mai.. to continue on with the routine normal to them. yeah? “Yes. What a choice welcome. speaking a lot of Maori lately. “God.” “Well.” she cried. It’s too “I’ve been A waka is any form of transportation from an auto to a kayak. made with sheep’s cheese in rich cream sauce and praised by Lan who ate several helpings. Lan was putting on his leather jacket when she came up behind him. ya cheeky wahina. I’ve missed ya. But they were a She was restless and unable to engage herself in either writing or idleness..” Very soon Lan was in the driver’s seat.probably won’t even make you sick. “Tena koe. he went into the library to talk with Mary. brave one. sorry.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and he turned around and laughed with surprise as she jumped into his arms. who had already taken her meal.” Did ya drive over here?” “Here.” When they had eaten Katharine’s zesty macaroni casserole. “Are you hungry? “Ya have? I’ve fixed you something to eat.. she wanted them to have that time. it’s not going to kill you. long time in their discussion tonight.” he said.” she teased. Despite her eagerness for Lan. Maybe I should go away more often. cold. They needed to talk about the weekly business and anything else that occurred to them.” I’ll eat whatever it is. and Katharine decided to help Mattie in the kitchen. with a mischievous grin. He reached over and gave her a deep kiss.
” Ya want that snarky lens-popper at our wedding?” “What? “He came to see me when I was in the hospital in Jerusalem. I thought at the time it was only a joke.good to wash the travel off. then his kiss at the nape of her neck made her tremble.that’d turn it into a bloody piss-up. anyone at all ya want at Nelson I’ll send them airfare.” “No. “too many friends and associates for anything else. too.” she said. finally bringing herself to say.” he said. “I understand about the wedding. turning around and leaning against him.all the rest on the other side and none of your own to celebrate with ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. “I want Penny to come. “Me. and ya don’t want the I’m sorry.231 to take a warm shower to calm the excitement of having Lan home... That must hurt. surprising her with his desire to talk instead of make love.” “He didn’t understand about us...” She laid her head against his chest in the steamy spray. I never talked about it. but mostly only family.. and you’ll invite Margaret and Ian.I promised Cash Taylor he could do the pictures of my wedding. “Ya feel like it’s just you.. won’t you?” “Yeah. If there’s others noticing no one there.” “What?” “I. “You aren’t going to like this. He really is a good photographer. Kate.” He took a soapy rag and drew it slowly across her back. I suppose he And he’s very unobtrusive . Her head was back and water pouring over her hair when she felt Lan’s arms come around her.and I wasn’t even there myself. “It isn’t necessary..” She suspected Mary’s intervention.” “Ah.” he said between kisses. mentioned that. Lan...
“All right. it’s for us. Green Eyes. Lan.. They toweled dry. We’ll talk more later. She sat very still above him. with a shy. Oh. flirtatious delight. languid. don’t make me scream. Carefully.right now. have me.” she said.. She pulled the towel out of his hands and dove against him. with Lan lifting the edge of his large towel and flinging it over her dripping hair. “Let’s get out of here. warming stare. Ya know how to My God. “Jesus.and at my own wedding? probably won’t see anyone but yourself. Don’t make me . the joy of seeing. Lan.” “You won’t--” “Ya think I’m an uncouth sod.” “Oh. of course. “Wet as the day I fished ya out of the Hauraki Gulf.” he said as he worked at her hair. wahina. laughing and holding her by the wrists. Green Eyes? I want in ya.” “The talking was your idea. “Come here. too. Falling slowly into his startling almond eyes. mainly for Mary and the others. ending up sitting on the bed.. watching him yank two large white towels off the linen shelf.. isn’t it?” “Is it?” “No. she scrutinized all of what she had been missing.now. She continued to gaze at him in a thrilling silence until he pulled her down against him.” he said. her slender white form straddling his much darker skinned body.232 when he’s working.. ya strange beautiful thing. I It’s all I’ve waited all week for ya. Us. don’t ya. pushing him back on the bed and kissing his steamy warm mouth. I’m crazy for ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . You might not even notice--” Invite the bloody wanker. the power of simply looking without blinking.. a lazy. she was finally beginning to realize what her own eyes could do to him.
When he turned over his eyelids moved and she wondered if he would awaken. “I want you.. “That’s what I first saw ya doing. “Come on. “In the shopping center on Quay Street East. give and take with the only one who had ever suspended her in the timeless heat of such effusion. He threw his arm out. sweet woman. How she needed to give and take in this way. wanting him to sleep yet at the same moment longing for another unspoken message imparted from his dark gaze... . Ya want me?” Her arms rose over her head with a nervous exuberance. Katharine lay watching Lan sleep. the hand just touching her shoulder as she thought of the blood coursing through the strong curled fingers. “What?” she asked after a start of surprise. over from. not even the sound of her own wild cries. don’t tease me....I’m so bloody hungry for ya. *** Pink light reflecting off the snow came through the high windows.” his sleepy voice informed her. wild voice. “The thing ya do.233 scream..” I’d just come I was on the wharf. slowly and with a secretive shiver of pleasure. It’s These walls have heard Mary’s own been an entire week. until he clasped them tight above her.” she whispered. headed for coffee at the Paneton Bakery. She ran her palm lightly over his irresistible arm. now seriously trying not to awaken him. Not tonight.” “Where did you really see me doing that?” she asked with disbelief.visiting a friend in Devonport.exploring something with your hands.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .Mary will--” “Bloody-hell with that.. 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.
. the front of it. maybe I ought to thank that rude jerk. Ya held it up to yourself and ran your hand down I leaned against the wall.yeah?” Her opened mouth gave an affirmative gasp against his shoulder and went silent.nothing in the world which could approach that lofty pinnacle of love.obviously I did. *** Katharine awoke the second time to find the sun whiter and .. She was melting.hold still. I did.. Then ya looked up. will it--” “No worries... pulsing explosion of sweet pain. some time to kill. We might never have--” I might have found I just had “I don’t even want to think about it.234 “What was I doing?” “A..Jesus..... Slow this time....easy...just.. bloody fascinated.so good...God.... then all at once her body and brain were flooded with the astonishing..... right?” “Funny.” “Oh.. my ipo.. ya later at the Loaded Hog..like “Come here..” “But. my green Green Eyes.I love. If she could have answered she would have said there was nothing else. I’d have picked up your jacket.” “Lan. it’s so good the way we do this..you followed me from there all the way over to the gift store?” “Yeah... I’m okay with it. this. melting into the buttery warmth their hungrily conjoined bodies generated.you must have.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ...nice.fondling a red jersey from a sale bin outside a shop in the center.” “What?” “I wasn’t even going in there. looked at ya and.those dreamy eyes went right through me.love--” “Ipo..the center.. Let’s wake up slow.
and Lan gone. as his father said it. even in the meanest weather. They were being moved to The herder stepped into an icy hole.235 higher on the snow. animals.. “How did that happen?” “Oh.” Mary told her over tea and toast.just like yourself. I worried that he’d be too much of a loner far He’s a self- more than that he’d meet with an accident.. plain.has a raised him with so much love.” “What a pair we make. She was still The excruciatingly joyful details of their consuming encounters were permanently catalogued in her mind. Kate. running her finger around the edge of her cup and smiling dreamily. Retrieval shouldn’t be too difficult. getting into it. good many mates. Lan grew up wild as the wildest föhn blowing over the The poor woolies Sheep are not very bright They’ve gone along. another pen. a hell raiser. “I do think he needs to be out there sometimes. but there are still his sooky times. happy to spark another’s most treasured memories ...once quite a hautulu. always going off without a thought of it. in a daze over Lan’s most recent lovemaking. not to their cozy shelter but scattering into the snow. but to think of them in succession would have caused a desire debilitating enough to leave her prostrate. We knew he’d return to decent values because we He looks out for others.” Katharine said. it happens on occasion. sufficient one.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ... are no match for those clever hounds. Mary smiled and shook her head with clearly discernible recollections and a vicarious pleasure which made Katharine happy.” “What about the huntaways?” “They were walking backs in the big pens. “He’s ridden off with the men to look for some missing sheep. lost his footing and off that little batch went. too. too.
“I haven’t eaten. after doing anything to harm himself. “I’m a bit knackered from the saddle and I could eat the shelves of a dairy clean.” “Why not? It’s late. Kate. I learned to get over He’s not Lan knows the plain. Again she had to admit that the explosion in Jerusalem had increased her fears a thousand fold.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a bit embarrassed at her foolishness. “You’ve been gone all day without any food. never think it.” Lan warned his dogs. Lan had shaken the snow from his oilskin hat and coat and hung them in the sun room. *** It was snowing. that anxious state long ago. then threw themselves before the fire and stretched out.” Lan answered with a grin.” Katharine said. water. “Bog-standard hunting sheep. The fire in the lounge was burning high.and still Lan had not returned. “Don’t shake yourselves in here.” Katharine said. “Ya should have had your tea. appearing to understand a frequently given command.” . They snorted and stared up at him with wet-matted coats.” “Mary’s eaten.” “I just thought I’d eat with him. In another quarter of an hour the unruly huntaways Sheb and Wooley bounded ahead of Lan into the lounge. to Katharine’s touch.” “What about yourself?” he asked. Here’s a measure of your Glenlivet with hot His hands and face were quite cold I’m going to feed you right now. swirling the Scotch in the steaming mug handed him and then taking a long swallow.Katharine couldn’t eat -. tea was finished for Mary -.236 with the prevailing mood of her own passion.
.” Katharine laughed and said.” “Come here and kiss me properly first. “Where’s Mattie?” “Mattie’s retired to her room.” Lan followed her into the kitchen and asked. He set her down. “We’re talking about my sleep while you’re standing here starving.” Katharine said.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . library. many of them in .” “Ya weren’t worried about me were ya?” “Just. Why don’t you go take a It seems like I sleep too warm shower while I get the food on the table. I can do it.” “I thought I was sleeping.. *** It was a bleak desert she walked through.” “I don’t want ya anxious. laying her hands against the buttons of his navy Swannie and rising on her toes to straighten his tousled hair. bodies piled together and strewn over the bloody dust.. I’d have told ya not to worry Ya don’t sleep very well.” “You’re very spoiled. Lan lifted her up and backed her against a countertop.” “That’s because ya don’t sleep well. cocked his head with a She stood a transcendent wink at her and left the kitchen.237 “I thought I’d wait.even with all the exercise ya get in bed. moment.. 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. but I didn’t want to wake ya.a little anxious. Mary’s reading in the I’m neither incompetent nor an invalid. Kate. still with throbbing mouth.” “By whom?” “Me. late. kissing her so thoroughly it seemed that she herself had been sipping his Scotch.
” He picked Katharine up and carried her back to their bed.238 pieces: arms.. her arms half raised. “I don’t think so. Bodies everywhere. flying across the room and into a chest.sorry. “Leave it there a minute. Lan caught her at the edge of the stairs and held her struggling body tight against him until she went limp. He led her into the bathroom and held her wrist beneath the cold water faucet. lifting her wrist where a blue bruise was swelling.. wrapping her in her robe. There A body Oh. having rushed straight from her bed and now looking upon the scene with a worried frown. “Ya hurting anywhere else?” .. and began to weep. torsos. combs.” She dropped her head to one shoulder. among them she saw faces she knew. all the while crying out with revulsion. that was so bad. mute and ashamed. wearing her long flannel nightgown. leaning back against the counter and looking at her. her hands dangling.sorry.” “It isn’t your fault.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . mother. care of this. She tried to keep herself from Lan continued to hold her in Please go back to bed. then struggling up. raising her head in surprise. “A nightmare. “I’m sorry.” Katharine screamed and rose from the bed. look at us. out the door and across the balcony headed blindly toward the stairs. raised up suddenly and cried. silence until finally she whispered. “What’s this?” Lan said.my God.. and brushes to the floor. “Look at us.” “What?” she asked. “What is it?” Mary stood outside the door of her room. I couldn’t. and grimacing severed heads. I’ll take trembling. legs. knocking jars. holding her hand beneath the soothing coldness and staring at the tile floor.. fumbling and falling.. Maybe some of it’s my fault. her head back moaning.” he said.
” . I’m not ever going to part from ya.. She felt his eyes on her.. Your story “On the flight back I did a lot of thinking. I love ya.if ya need to.... Lan. need it back..... I loaded it into my laptop. the way ya dealt with. I wanted to find out what was coming out of this head.I’m going to let ya go for a while. if ya want. That’s how ya see yourself. my ipo. But. Stop it. Very quickly he discerned her Ya really are a hard “Don’t be afraid. “Ya write very well.” He dried her wrist carefully.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . case. about a journalist is really all about Katharine Gordon. apprehension. identity. your self-esteem.for.as much as ya had written when I left.239 small white octagonals.read it at night when I had time. but it isn’t finished yet. Over those years of work it was your security.. easier than looking up. “Please don’t. Come back to bed and let me tell ya something I should have already said.the way ya got around the harm done to ya in the past. That’s your Ya Without realizing it I took that identity away. “I’ll never leave you. Kate. Kate. when she lifted her head she saw that they were filled with pity. not ever. Some of it. your fault. “Käti ake..” “Yeah.neither the novel nor your quest to be who ya think ya must be.. You can’t possibly think any of this is “He ngakau e hahaetia ana e te whakaaro papa...” “What?” She was beginning to shake. “I read your novel.a while longer..” “What?” “You’re torn in two directions. easy to look at.” A fear was rising in her as she lay back against the pillows and looked at him. kissing her temple and stroking her hair..” Tears were rolling down her face. almost dizzy. it is. I love ya. simple.” he said.
. You’ve tried so hard to please me I feel some guilt along with all the pleasure of it. when ya finally decide to chase down another story. arms tight around him. It was Green Braes that must be in his skin.let ya go until ya suss how to love yourself. I want to stay here with you. 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. until ya see--” “You fulfill me.some of the peace ya need: that ya can go on doing what fulfills ya. ever thought possible.” Katharine placed her head against his chest.. But you’ll come back.” “Well. ya will. “Do I understand ya well enough.” I know ya love me.. that you’ll always come back. back because I love ya so. of the river and the plain and musky-sweet growing things. scents that never seemed to leave him.” “Ah.unless ya want to kill me in the doing.240 “Yeah. my beloved journalist?” “I think I love you more at this moment than I ever.anyway. and these mingled with a fresh outdoor scent hinting of leather and hay and shearling.that it’s not gone..” V. spicy herbal shower soap. immediately inhaling a faint admixture of scents: Scotch. tau aroha. At least ya need to know that you’re still what ya worked so hard to become.. just remember this: ya can’t stay away too long or get yourself in harm’s way. “Don’t be nice. my choice little journalist.. Now all ya have to do is prove it. ... You.. Now I have to let ya go for the same reason.” “I’m not going anywhere..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . the She placed her male scent of him which she found so arousing. then we’re of the same mind. That’s what I need to have.by sleeping peacefully with me. wood smoke...
“We’ve gotten ourselves into this situation where we know we need to have each other. not until she understood this mystery of her nomadic striving. until she connected the disjointed parts of herself and felt complete while alone and standing still. Yet the answer was somehow tied Something she had seen up with the unfinished work in Israel. because Mary was thinking mainly of Lan’s loss. It pained her that she could not even promise to marry Lan. 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. perhaps even disgust.. how did it work with strife all around that was so much worse . It was more difficult trying to make Mary understand. this. and we have to resolve it in our own way. In those lonely nights of writing more Khan Yunis stories. “I love him so and I can’t burden him with He deserves so much better. there which made her ponder her own condition.” she tried to explain to a disgruntled and grieving Mary who only waved her hand in disappointment.” was Mary’s final comment. she could barely comprehend how she could go away. the comfort was in knowing that Lan was there for her. in leaving. This time. of holing up again and again in barricaded homes in the middle of ongoing war.” she tried to explain to Mary. and that conclusion did ring in Katharine’s head. so intertwined with her self. that he wished for no other but her. she came to ponder what held a family together.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .as best we can. “You’ve had years to figure it out.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. Happiest in Lan’s company.
The killing went on. One evening in a state of exhaustion. back in her hotel room and just having managed to get there before the roads once again closed. it’s in yourself. and were willing to do so even in the face of death and destruction. Perhaps. was some effect.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Could she possibly have driven her parents apart. “The answer isn’t out there. The hatred and vengeance went on. understand that I haven’t given up Lan..242 than anything outside the violent house of her own childhood? For all those formative years she had no real family. their last conversation.. until her redeeming grandmother. but that mattered little to her. and yet the lingering guilt required a solid explanation before it could be expelled. bona-fide acts implementing human rights.so difficult. I claim you I won’t give you up either.been the cause of anything that happened to them all? The thought seemed so ridiculous.. No mother and father who struggled together to make a home.” “You said that to me in a dream once. a moral recognition that would help bring to an end the carnage. Kate. . what she looked for from her work. she sat focused on nothing. Her stature in the business was never more unassailable. Perhaps not. her careful depiction of individual lives and their miseries and strivings had made some others see this. her tired self unable even to rise from her chair for a glass of water. no. her unseeing eyes cast out toward the Old City. Please Ya can’t She was thinking of Mary. Perhaps her small contribution. Her stories continued to win recognition and praise. and from the endeavors of like-minded others. Her ultimate conclusion was that it would never stop until both sides suddenly and firmly ended it with sincere mutual tolerance and respect. Oh. of It isn’t easy to go.. Mary. give up Lan so easily and be my girl.
. colliding with the tender yearning inside of her. half dreamy.. But you hurt me badly. They sat expressionless.. rage coming from a volatile place so deep and wild it took a minute to speak. You hurt me.243 as my family. But for what? If only she could forgive herself. so Gran said.. such beautiful little nodding flowers... You were bitter and I could cruel. or I’d be dead too.” Forgiveness. Mother...hopeful. I wanted to have you and know you. Yes. We could have comforted each You hurt me. transfixed state. me. You were good to me in our short time I think you intended to come back and get together. “But you. “I guess it was a good thing you didn’t take me with you. even more distilled. My mother. so little of you to keep. There was nothing wrong with me. . offering nothing. she thought. You would hold them up to the sun. Why did you have to hurt me? And you made me believe there was something wrong with me. like a I have your green eyes.. She was startled to find two figures sitting across the room. it didn’t feel like one..please forgive me. it must Had she fallen asleep in her chair? be a dream but. I hear your carefree laughter. well apart from each other: her mother and father. looking at her in total silence. exploding. straight and rigid as stone..innocent... I suppose.loved me.. mother.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . hold them up and laugh.sick. You are my family. Her rage was seething. father.please. Why didn’t you know I Couldn’t you see that? tried so hard to please you. falling into a half wakeful. its light coming through their delicate pink shapes. but I might have had far worse memories of you.what’s your excuse? what you had? I was a good girl. loveliest thing: picking lady slippers in the woods meadow. no. I can remember only the and I’ve wanted you all these years. do it? It was you. other. I have I think you were beautiful. You. Why did you I was good. child’s.
It was In New Zealand it would be late spring. You sure as hell know how to turn over the right stones.. “you can probably get what everyone else has to wait for..” her editor was saying. Kate. letting her editor ramble on while she considered the dream and its powerful effect. She had the right... Katharine awoke with a start..almost ruined me. Kate.. Morris..turn over the stones and expose the mess beneath in that gripping. I wanted to show you how good I never believed.experience. But at least you got to know Jacob while you She was resting comfortably in a were here. to fear that others would find out something terrible about me. *** “I’m sorry you’re leaving. untrammeled areas of the planet.” “What you need is a change of scene. Hurt me. “Yes. something I could never even define... He .. She answered. thickly padded white floral chair as she watched Katharine pack.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . page-turning style of yours. Home. the garbled cries of rage still echoing in her head. You hurt me!” I could be but I never believed in myself. as though a fierce wind of change had swept her mind clean of all uncertainty and indecision..and you’re just the person who can--” “I’m going home.wangle for. We’d like some solid pieces on the pros and cons of global trade. and I’m sorry you missed my wedding. it so. Her phone was ringing.. You taught me to hate myself.. “After that last piece.but I’m really tired.244 withstand the beatings but what you did to my mind.” Judith said. the effects of free trade on ecologically sensitive..she had made it so. had the right to her own family. She She had the right to love and She had made be loved. You hurt me..” “Mmm. Katharine..” she heard herself saying. where Lan was. I wanted to punish you. You once implied that Jacob was a mama’s boy.
It is getting too Frightened professional people.245 isn’t at all.maybe a little too serious. Judith. with only bombings and shootings. miss you terribly.my home. Life is getting difficult. What good is this place if we can no longer move through it.. studying her suitcase as she ran her fingers through strands of hair falling over her eyes. educated people are departing. “Oy vey.so dedicated.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . perhaps beautiful Jerusalem as we have known it will soon die.that is terrorist -..” “Oh. we’re even. I’m afraid you’re right. I wasn’t certain about your eyes. “You can’t imagine how happy I was to see you so well restored. will you really leave too?” “Jacob and I may have to go. orthodoxy in the ascendant.” “You’ve become very dear to me. 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 . Fanaticism reigns in religion The heartbeat of this With only extreme and secular Jews are in a minority. Where will you go?” “Perhaps Tel Aviv.... although it has its pigu’a -. Judith. dangerous to live in Jerusalem.problems.” “Oh. I know.” “I know. with only Yeshiva students and the destitute. come on. I’ll I don’t think I really knew you well enough in college to fully appreciate your droll self. I always thought you were a terrific person.more of my black Jewish humor. Katharine. One can hardly find anything to joke about anymore. partake of it?” “Yes.. refolded it.I really didn’t think you were going to marry him.. You made all of those silly jokes. my friend. too. beautiful old place is slowing -..” Katharine said.” “There was less to know. Judith.” “You mean like yourself?” “All right.
if you really think. could you?” “I’ve just Ah... readily than I understood myself..” “Jacob too.” “Maybe he’ll be more agreeable when you tell him that a . Maybe we could--” “Yes.you wouldn’t. ‘Ya left your tramping too. We never did have anything resembling a honeymoon. boots in my Auckland house.” “I’d like to meet this astonishing Kiwi.” “What?” Judith demanded. I really don’t understand how you could have left New Zealand. thought.more That’s sort of wonderful. rising from the overstuffed bedroom chair and pulling impatiently at her beige sweater. Few would put up with me It was Lan who first suggested that maybe I He understood so well. It’s a long way and Jacob--” Please. “Would you come to my wedding? “Me? Please? Oh. “Hmm. I’ll certainly have a very enthusiastic talk with Jacob about it. Oh. isn’t it? I’ve never seen anything like it..246 left off..clever strategy He even seemed to know that I’d come back He teased me. for very long. gazing off.. Yes.very clever. that mysterious place I’ll probably never see. New Zealand. yes.. What a delight to have you there. Put your I wonder if I could special gift to good use and get him to come..hmm. the first time I ran off.after agreeing to marry someone you love that much.. we’ll see.” Katharine looked up. get him to--” “What do you mean? You’re a psychologist. Judith...” “We’ll see.” “Well.. needed to finish my work here.’ he said in his irresistible accent. Judith. “I know I’m difficult.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ...” Katharine stopped her meticulous packing and stood still for a minute.would you?. focusing on Judith...
yes. I want you there. early enough for Katharine to consider it still night. either to the Herne Bay house or to Margaret’s.” Margaret said with an excited welcoming voice.. anything. wait. so put yourself in a party mood. See ya soon. Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Meanwhile.” “But Margaret.yes.” “God. you surprising little female mensch. She had been so tired she had not even removed There was a rather exotic green evening dress she had bought in Jerusalem. where is--” The phone had gone dead. “I’ll tell ya everything when ya get here. “I think you’re likely to get your wish. She phoned Margaret at once. a slim Asian looking frock with a high collar and short sleeves. she checked into a hotel out at the She wanted to be fully rested before she had airport and slept. but now I’ve changed my mind. to wear to an embassy party. Searching through the layers she pulled it out and held it up while her . she hadn’t told him she was coming. and decided she would call Margaret at a reasonable hour and find out. Wanting to surprise She wasn’t sure whether he would be in Auckland or at Green Braes or somewhere else.. Katharine got up with a sigh and went to look in one of her suitcases.” *** The plane arrived very early in the morning.247 generous Lachlan Manutane will provide you both with airfare. “Come straight here. jet lag having thoroughly caught up with her.” An excited Judith threw her arm over Katharine’s shoulder. We’re having a little gathering of friends tonight. That was unusual for Margaret. my friend. Can he afford to do that?” “He offered to fly anyone to our wedding I wanted and I declined. herself driven into town. When Katharine awoke she found that she had slept until late afternoon.
have a couple of inches cut.” Margaret soothed.. “He’s been in town all week.” she whispered to the face looking back at her. word to him. “Are there a lot of people out there?” “Only about Twenty. Margaret clasped her tight and quickly dragged her off to the kitchen where she handed Katharine a flute of champagne.” Margaret pressed her hands together against the tiny pearls covering the front of her white Angora sweater... sleepy yawn. The driver carried her luggage to the door and Ian whisked it inside while she paid her fare. 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. *** 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.absolutely bursting This is so choice.” . believe your timing. I’m so hyped on all this drama you’ve created that now I’m a nervous wreck.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” with excitement.a little thinner but really gorgeous.” “Ya look beautiful..248 face contorted in a wide. “Oh God.. I’m glad ya got some rest.. “Lan is here. Kate.. Margaret.. “Think I’ll go to the beauty salon. What a flash dress. last time she had paid very close attention to it? to need a trim.feels good to be fussed over.and one of the nicest black pearl pendants I’ve seen.. opening another I can’t restaurant... I haven’t said a I feel heaps conspiratorial. with a more critical eye she focused on her hair. so of course we planned a celebration. I just can’t believe it.blow dry a nice soft roll just above the shoulders. wrinkles..
ya didn’t mean to interrupt?” Lan said with an explosion of laughter.. smiled at her.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . folding her arms across her midriff. There That’s just good was a slight hesitation then Lan turned his head again. She immediately saw Lan’s dark head bent a little above the others in a cluster of attentively leaning bodies.. but of course we’re giving the clientele a chance to choose what they want from the usual varied list of high end stock. Lan offered a quick glance at the green dress to his right then started to say something more. rather holding in a rising excitement while forcing herself to concentrate on his remarks.” Katharine swallowed. He continued to look at her. “Hello.I didn’t mean to interrupt. as if to verify her actual . walk right in. Making her way across the room she stood slightly behind and beside Lan.249 “Well. Noticing the exchange. we are featuring our wines.” Katharine said. I guess I’ll just go in then. brushed her hands slowly down the front of her dress and preceded Margaret into the big noisy lounge. surely of Maori descent. “Yeah. perhaps the new restaurant manager. He’s in the lounge with most everyone else. dark-suited man. Here goes. “Please.. His jet eyes blinked as his serious expression registered disbelief then softened in a surprised welcome.” 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. “Oh.” “All right.. looking directly at her. probably because she had just come upon the scene. business... ya didn’t?.” Across from Lan a very focused.” “Yeah.the new manager too.
“Jesus. his grinning single focus evoked a gaping interest from everyone.” he said to the little gathering. “Perfect. She smiled at this and at having him within the grasp of her hand. While a few whistled and clapped. Kate. cradling her head...250 existence. put on his robe and went into the bathroom. you’ve made this “Can’t believe it. down at her.” *** It was late morning and they were lying in bed in the Herne Bay house. She felt the Simply In harsh transition of mood but was herself imperturbable. no longer out of reach. I thought I was delusional. the effect of it just beginning to answer a long neglected need. “Excuse me. I was wishing for ya and here ya are. 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. Lan got up. a while he returned and stood looking at her. holding hands and staring at each other.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. extended kiss.” “I’m sorry.. by the joy of being where she was and knowing what she knew her patience with his displeasure remained impervious.” She heard the word made soft against her ear. Her hand smoothed out the turned edge of the gray and white striped top . night perfect.once so far away that even the thought of such distance was now unbearable. most important missing part. He led her out of the room and down the hall into a small study. Lan.the My God. The touch of him Her eyes went He stared from their clasped hands to his rapidly altered face. Her arms came tight around him. then took her hand firmly in his. a flashing reflected glint of her green dress in his eyes. after so long made her body begin to tremble. her mind and body reveling in their deep.
. She saw that her misunderstood light-heartedness would only continue to infuriate him. such self-satisfaction. She plucked them from the covers and walked across the room. clever. Kate? I’m sorry but I can’t.what. these? Birth Control pills. “Is this a break in your schedule.” he said....” He tossed them to her and rubbed his hand over his chin.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . of--” I’ve thought and thought of this.. “Jesus.251 sheet while she offered Lan’s stormy countenance a curled mouth of contentment. You’ve stayed away too long. He stood looking at her in speechless surprise. “That certainly makes two of us.. She removed her robe and got back into bed.or. in a self-contained serenity swiftly melting into considerable hunger. “Are ya sure ya want this? bend just now?” It wasn’t my going round the . Do you think I could get pregnant? of you. “Please hand me those pills on the dresser.” learn to love your own existence? Katharine sat up and pulled her silk robe from the foot of the bed.. and you have a perfect right to all that impatience..or what. Later I’ll tell you about a dream I had. Lan.just as you intended.. sliding his fingers through his tousled hair in frustration. Lan.” “Why won’t ya.I know what I’ve told ya but I don’t think I can stand to give ya up again. Kate. 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. yanking off his robe and coming to her side. and directed her gaze to the misty waters beyond the tall windows.. making certain that his eyes followed her as she threw them into the waste basket. did I miss something? When did this happen?” You’re so very “It happened.
” *** In the evening Lan took her to the new restaurant.. 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. He grinned and said...ya grew for a while without cultivation and it made ya into a wildflower. “My other place is big and noisy.” The smiling manager swung open the brass-edged glass door and stepped aside with a bow. Jesus. enjoying her as she assessed the room with a roving discerning gaze. “Your gran was right.. he sat back and said. clasping her shoulders and playfully grappling with her laughing. 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. Kate. Green Eyes. a handsomely appointed bistro-style establishment overlooking the water and not far from the Herne Bay house. hold still and let me love ya.. When they were seated in a private booth at a white-clothed and candlelit table near a corner window..” he exclaimed.but only if you want it. I know what I want.. smiled. ever remember that? mentioned it briefly that day on Rangitoto.that I would--” “A small version of yourself.. Then the laughter died.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Katharine wore black velvet slacks....” “I remember the day. This is smaller and Lan I only ..252 “No.” “But how did you ever. tau aroha. his voice thick with arousal. Once you did tell me you thought it was a good idea. unpredictable wahina.give ya everything.. and Lan had ordered drinks and told the manager not to fuss over them.it’s what ya are to me..at last.every detail of it. little belly? Ya want a sprog in your sweet I’ll give ya that and more.. just “My strange. dodging body.home..
.. that’s why I’m asking ya...like your cheeky self.” “I mean one that would go with a wedding ring?” “This would go with a.and do that?” “Yeah.like you. the night is just a chit..oh...” He lifted her hand and studied the diamond-encircled black pearl.. She had “Very good.” “I know that. that rich mahoganygrained paneling.. I’d like to have it the way you want it. Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” She looked at him and was suddenly shy. Green Eyes.the etched glass is a nice touch.253 intimate. wondering how she I I nearly always know what ya mean.uncluttered and elegant.... What do ya think?” “I like the décor: burgundy and black..” “Well. I prefer your wine.” “I know what ya meant.” His appreciative dark eyes burned into her heart. Are we going to do that? Go up to Nelson and. . ring? I love this ring. Why would I want another “Another. However ya want it.all the necessary fittings polished and gleaming. love pleasing you. sophisticated but warm and friendly.a wedding ring.” “I meant.sort of a marvelous extension of Waiata Reka.more class.. smoothly relaxed mouth.. Kate... loyal. it’s such pleasure.... “Careful. one way or another we’re going to do it.” “Is the wine good?” She held her goblet of wine up to the candlelight to enjoy its ruby glow.. If we’re making anklebiters we’re definitely going to do that.. I’m quite Very an overwhelming desire to kiss his wry..” “And I’m thinking the same. Her eyes told him this but he only grinned and said. “Do ya want another ring?” Absolutely not.the ceremony.
. A husband too?” They’d love to see New Zealand. A heap of opportunity for that too. For a time just Oh.there’ll be plenty of opportunity. newly married....” “I like to help others.. to do?” “Bloody little if you’re growing a sprog.254 could tell him what she had said to Judith in Israel.. I. 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.” he added with a wink. What’s You’re a part of everything I have. “I don’t want ya hesitating with me. mine is yours. “Good. “Just the way I like it. Kate. yourself before we leave. “Ya are paying it.... grass butter was delicious.” Her bluenose bass basted in lemon Their food arrived.” “Now that I think of it I should be the one to pay their airfare. wahina. businesswise..” She looked up from her plate. “Earn my.” His face registered surprise. that you’d--” “I’ll give ya an account at the bank and ya can take care of it yourself.but I might make ya earn your keep.” “What?” He lifted her hand to his mouth.” “Good on ya. Later. ya can do as much or as little as ya want.. wrinkling her nose and . “My grateful compliments to the chef.” “Well.with your good head.” “Yes. is this an interview? What would I have look at me and smile and tell me when I’m veering off course. “Lan.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. unappreciated.I’m afraid I told Judith. my friend in Jerusalem. have more freedom to create in his own close domain. Katie Green Eyes. Aotearoa never disappoints the manuhiris.
the only species that belongs here. Let’s have dessert at home. having my name?” “Katharine Gordon Manutane. adding a slow thrill to her suggestion. “Jesus. caressing him with her eyes.” he said. a red pine. “Kereru. I like your name. . you really do love the way ya wrinkle your nose.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . For three days they had been “Just a little coffee. Ya know I Are ya “Canterbury cowboy. Yes. gliding over the opaque green shore waters along creamy-white sand beaches and into jewel-like azure coves nestled in black lava. touching his glass to hers. don’t start that again. “What’s that?” Katharine asked in a hushed and fascinated voice.” “Here’s to the two of us. and said after a soft ruffle of laughter.but I like it. Katharine Gordon. rubbing it across her cheek. tramping and kayaking Abel Tasman National Park.. “To Lachlan and Katharine Manutane.” “Ya say the wackiest things. “Fewer calories and a lot more satisfaction. 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. yeah?” *** They were walking hand in hand on the golden sands of Kaiteriteri Beach.” He arched an appraising black eyebrow.255 teasing him with her eyes. Lan.” She smiled and lifted his hand. a wood pigeon. not far from their camp above a hidden beach cove in the Nelson region. or high above tramping along rugged winding trails with spectacular vistas and strange bird calls. amaze me.. We haven’t had dessert.” she responded.
still good with that intention?” “No worries. knew it then too. sooner or later I always have to bond with nature somewhere.” “What a lovely thing. “Is this all real? She spread her Why didn’t you tell me?” I said ya hadn’t seen anything “I did tell ya. Green Eyes. “I’ve gone off alone in the outback since I was a little anklebiter. Lachlan Manutane? How about yourself.” “And that was the end of the matter.” She stepped back and stared at Lan in his bush shirt and shorts and bare feet..” Sort of a loner like you. “You were so sure of yourself.. but I bloody well like the idea of my offspring growing here..” arms.when I first kissed ya at Margie’s..” Katharine was watching a sloop unfurl its sails against a cerulean sky as it rode the blue-green water of the bay. How do you wish to be addressed if you find yourself in the role of papa?” “Ya can tease all ya want.” “I wanted ya.the beginning of what’s between us... of only one for so long.didn’t ya?” “I guess the very first time I looked at you.” “No. The skin of his sinewy. I’d thought Ya Suddenly I was thinking of two. “The sand beneath these happy toes is truly golden. “Yes.. camping out in the wilds of our station and every other bloody place in Enzed. ya little imp. yeah? Like your eyes at night the iridescent green. Kate. I’m glad ya like to do it.” she said. Two nature-loving loners.256 Beautiful. laughing.” beneath her waist. Preferably after the ceremony so ya won’t be chundering . as you like to say.remember? yet but ya would. He slid his hand “I want to know as soon as ya find out.. sun-defined body shone with the warm color of richly creamed coffee.” Are ya “And one choice day you’ll be thinking of three.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .
death on the motorway. Manutane. Yank.” he said. love it here. not always the highest standard of living. “Oh. Katharine was kneeling on her sleeping bag. I love it.” “Good on you. having just removed her squishy boots and now searching through her backpack for a comb.” “But why wouldn’t you love to hear me call this beautiful land of penguins and palm trees paradise?” she asked. doesn’t work that way.” she cried out. although on a smaller scale. This entire country is--” Granted our nature is wonderful to behold and this looks like paradise to the manuhiris. and found herself flung into the water.257 breakfast on the day we marry. I didn’t think you would. laughing and lifting her dripping hair away from her eyes. “I’m not living in a dream. “It’s only because I like taking wet clothes off ya. It If ya say paradise I’ll drop ya flat in and turn your clothes into swimming togs. “Don’t say paradise. grabbing her up and striding into the water. but you see I’ve been in such far worse off places that to me this looks like--” “Don’t say paradise.” . Your hair is a tangled mess. With very few words they had put on their boots and hiked thoughtfully back to their camp.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . family problems. Dodgy characters like everywhere else. screaming with the shock of it.” In a desultory manner they were approaching a goldenfloored cove angled back into high black rocks. Watching the water swirl up and spill over the bubbling sand. “Look at ya. You mean thing. struggling up drenched and with streaming wet hair. Mr. she cried out. It’s one of the reasons I take pleasure in at least putting a few people to work.that means laid off.” Lan exhorted again. alcoholism among the unwaged. “Oh. with social programs slipping away and redundant workers -. ya little rat. but New Zealand has its problems: not the greatest economy.
Kate.” “Not too serious.. She smiled Thiaz na one heeya.” He reached for her. peeling away her shorts and kissing her shivering breasts.” off a bloody boat. “Let me. Lan.. his questioning jet eyes narrowed in surprise. for Christ’s sake? She lifted her head and looked into his eyes. unbuttoning her shirt. They were in a private sheltered area beneath a grove of ponga ferns. She lay back a little nervously. staring at chinks of bluest sky through the lacy spiraling dark fronds.. I will.” “No. “Oh God.” “Now you’ll never--” “Yeah. she glanced in all directions with an habitually modest caution. Here...” he assured her.” “No I’m the sorry one.sorry. what am I doing? I’m sorry.” “Yeah. I’ll go right on teasing ya and you’ll bloody-well have to bear up.. you threw me into “Get away. ipo. “On your tummy.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Cocking his head. Before she sank into the unabashedly erotic oblivion she had come to crave. Hastily undressing he grasped her shoulder and rolled her supine body over..” she said slapping at his hand. at the emphatic accent in his voice.. speaking in the low voice she had come to recognize as highly aroused. “There’s no one here but us. ya stroppy little wahina. the water. big silver tree ferns nearly ten meters high. “You’re not thinking.that it was like being tossed I was teasing ya. hovering over them like giant umbrellas.” .I’ll help ya get your clothes off. my trusted companion. let me--” You.258 “Your fault.” “Don’t touch me.” she suddenly cried.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . rhythmic. an action which elicited from her a questioning look. making himself weightless. His hungrily anticipating expression broke into a soft grin. “Ya aren’t used to G spot orgasm. Until Lan its reputation had been only wistful conjecture. She moaned Turn your softly and tried to raise herself enough to keep her head turned into his kiss.” He raised her up and slid the towel-covered pillows beneath the joining of her thigh and abdomen. balanced form eased down upon her in a slowly choreographed cadence. her arousal deepening with his allusion to the incredible Gräfenberg spot which.yeah.. “Choice position. elevated backside.259 He grabbed the pillows from their opened and layeredtogether sleeping bags. throwing a large doubled towel over the pillows. Turning her head back to focus on his dampened face.” Her flushed diffidence dissipated. my love. head a bit more so I can. she found his limpid eyes swimming with her. then stretched out above her. They were headed into the feverish rhythm of steadily intensifying pleasure. my tau aroha.” She rested her chin on her folded arms and asked. could send a woman into wild paroxysms of joy. As she yielded to the inflaming touch of his coaxing mouth his long. She felt a shivering thrill as his firm warmth came against her coolly damp.make ya feel very. He smiled at her with teasing eyes and said. the prosaic position linked with it unimaginative and faulty. locking them in to ecstatic heat. deep .” Lifting her hair from her eyes he lowered his head to the side and kissed her mouth as he slid into her. That first night I changed the sheets before I joined ya in the shower. “Okay?” he softly intoned.. “How do you know that?” “I want ya to enjoy this and I’ll see to it. The weightless.. “Going to get us both wet now. when properly stimulated.. very good.
her body striving to give back.” He pressed his hand against her groin and changed the angle of his position very subtly with almost clinical precision. wild cries of release escaped her gasping mouth as her senses rose on waves emanating from a hot zone deep inside.” her throaty.you.. a rapture that shook her body and blurred her mind... Her eyes opened wide. She lay beside him with their hands still locked.. Her fingers remained clenched in his as she tried to focus on whirling fern fronds. she rubbed the driest edge of the soaked towel against herself and flung it aside then rolled over onto her back. repeated on raggedly expended breath: “I. an earthshaking exultant immolation.” Above all she wanted to impart that certainty. Now she was immersed in his repeated caresses and that climbing pulse of love. the silence of nearing climax was broken by an urgent need to say what she had often refrained from saying in lovemaking: “I.” “And.. 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.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Sweet Green Eyes..love.” he prompted.. “God. her trembling hand held against her moist cheek went rigid. ya are so good. gushing waves of nearly unbearable ecstasy.. her earlier inhibitions had been completely displaced by a thoroughly aroused state. Gasping in amazement and with her insides still throbbing.260 penetration had so enveloped her senses she was incapable of anything but a blink of dazed exhilaration. Still. As if from a distant place his low groan of satisfaction slowly registered in her vertiginous head. breathing .you.. impassioned voice managed as she responded to his demanding mouth with increasing desire...love..look at me now.you.
Katharine was contemplative... and there’s the problem of.” “Never enough Katharine. “Too much. very good.261 deeply. “Yes. she curled against him with a long. driving back to Lan’s cozy little cottage. but ya haven’t said a word in nearly half an hour.” he answered with a low chortle of pleasure. He was quite accurate -.. she had He knew exactly where her felt. You always manage to do that..” . venting sigh and drifted into sleep..” It’s bloody near the only problem around. until him.but I’ve become a part of your family. which she had only recently discovered he owned in Nelson. His understanding of her was almost bewildering.. slowly reclaiming enough of her reason to consider his earlier assertion.and it isn’t really a deal.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . so precisely foreknowing yet so spontaneously implemented by pure ardor. too. center of pleasure resided and exactly how to get her to that potent and excruciatingly sensuous place which.too much of a good thing.” “How do you do that? “Not too difficult. He turned his skyward-gazing eyes upon her. “I like to drive and think. Lan.of--” “Rani. In that sated phase of exhaustion.oh yes. then realized her cheeks were already damp with spilling emotion. “Hmm. She thought of crying. *** In the Rover.” he said softly. running his thumb across her wet cheek. guess it’s another one of those areas that I dread venturing into. she had never experienced or could have imagined... did feel very.too much Lachlan Manutane...” Lan remarked...too much. staring out the window and pondering a certain neglected sticking place.
I always have. She treated ya badly. rather long talks with Rani while ya were away.has a job working for a pol in Wellington. Katie Green Eyes.” “Ya made it. drunk or sober I’m the only one crawling into your bed. I laid into her over that until she cried... I had several She’s through “She does not. know I’ve been over-tolerant because of..” “Speaking of charitable--” “All right.. I Anyway. ever get near ya. If I were dead drunk and suffering with loss and a beautiful hunk crawled into my bed--” “I don’t care for your analogy. always will. keep it.of what I told ya...” “Am I going to have to compete with her in. her daughter.. admits her hand in that. but it isn’t all my mother’s fault. but it’ll be up to her to Mary I She’s not stupid just spoiled and immature.it’s really too much.” “I was trying to make a point. messing about and bludging on the family. I think I’ve straightened the matter Rani is beginning to take responsibility for think I’ve tried to be decent to her. Competition? That’s a laugh. I just don’t like what she did to you.and that was the grief of the matter for me..hardly any of it.” “Well. No one will I think of Rani as my little sister.. I managed that.. out sufficiently.in petty little ongoing dramas.” .Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. lie about its father and then cast it aside.” “And that wasn’t all your fault. in fact.. isn’t that charitable?” “Kate?” “To produce a child. because--” “Bloody-hell..” “Ya have and she knows it. Lan.” She grudgingly admires ya..262 “Oh? She despises me.
Maybe some day we’ll even be friends.263 “On your shoulder?” “Kate. please. keeping his eyes on the narrow road as a huge lumber truck sped past them.” “Maybe sooner than ya think.” “My modest Oxford bushman.my teacher.. sorry.and you’ve come back and agreed to marry the mystery of her life.especially the troubled ones. ya clever fox.. I’m I’m flying her up She’ll be staying at .. I’ll gladly extend the olive branch whenever she’s capable of understanding what that means.. will ya--” “Sorry.almost convincing..” “Is that a catty--” “No.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. Is she still angry with me for leaving you?” “No worries.. my wily cowboy entrepreneur. both worldly and innocent green-eyed addiction.” “And so do you. but eloquence isn’t really my cup. I really love her. resist ya? You’ll have her eating from your hand. “My very literate. Mary loves ya. Lan.” he countered with an amused voice. You’re mine for a start.. That’s all she cares about.. I want peace with Rani. for the party Margie and Ian are giving us Herne Bay. Who could Ya deal with others very well. I’m so glad she’s coming? That’s wonderful.” she went on after a short stretch of silence. lifting his hand against her cheek with the giggling laughter which so clearly delighted him.” she intoned. and in a sultry voice which brought his caressing fingers to her neck. “Anyway ya can find out for yourself. “My Maori-Scots love scholar. “I have to win Mary back. Any child of ours will be a chrissy bonus.” “Oh. you silver-tongued charmer.my sophisticated shepherd...” “You’re a corker.send her round the bend with happiness. I’m dead serious. What I have of it comes from my days at Oxford..
We were sort of reactionary renegades. which she called jandals. Kate. forgot about everything. Katharine was listening from a deck chair on the patio. We had such a good time.. out. How good are ya?” Someone heard me in a music class and hustled me into that hard-working little band.that sultry soulful music. She’s happier with ya around. seemed to like my voice..” “You’ve done a heap of good for Mary. at singing? I don’t know.. and grabbing Katharine’s ankle with a quick jerk of affection. I loved the old blues songs. as Margaret began describing the rhythm and blues quartet she had engaged for the party. I finally quit because it was People .too cerebral. setting down her glass of iced tea and coming alive with memories.” laying her head against Lan’s shoulder. Kate..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . surprise at this news.” Although ya don’t seem like the type. “What. slipping her feet back into her ejected thongs.and the torch songs.” Margaret sat up. *** While Mary rested at Herne Bay Katharine was visiting with Margaret at her sunny home above the city.still do. “You’re full of surprises. wheel and stroked her knee with the other. I used to sing R and B with a small band in college. “Oh.” Katharine smiled with that thought..264 eager to see her. Margaret. “I imagine..” I was really shy but when I sang I “I know. After flying Mary up Lan had departed again on a fishing trip with Ian and some other mates.. Nobody was doing that kind of music anymore and we thought of ourselves as preservationists. Katharine’s lolling head raised in She leaned forward in her chair.” “Where did ya perform?” “We played all over Palo Alto and San Francisco. He kept one hand on the You’ve brought her “And I with her..
there. I was stretching myself pretty thin. but that means your cords are in good shape. Margaret. a very difficult choice without background music. Within a stanza she had begun to take command of her old voice. interviewing politicians.” Margaret said with a cunning expression of delight.” “Oh.. A heady joy swelled her lungs and when she finished Of course it’s easier singing to she said.” Sing “But I.” “A wonderful idea is taking shape in my head..so.I can’t just--” “Sing. Sing. “Well.. Now?” I’m the only one here.. passion-driven song was tricky to sing a cappella. remembering how Lan had kissed her there beneath the Southern Cross. no.” Katharine stood up and walked to the edge of the patio. the ensuing pleasure of hitting her stride rising in her throat and resonating across the garden...” “Ah.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but she had chosen it because the lyrics were so lovely and fit her personal experience so precisely.. myself but I’d forgotten how good that feels. She hummed a few bars then turned to Margaret and began to sing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face..” “What? “Yeah. As she watched Margaret listening with an expression of astonishment.well. The slow.. The only singing I’ve done of late is to myself and mostly in the shower. something right now.265 interfering with my work on the school paper. staring off into the golden trunks of bamboo. “Ya could rehearse a few songs with the band and surprise everyone by singing at your own party. she knew her heartfelt rendering of those very moving lyrics must be eliciting some pleasure.singing to . I was I craved that heady game of trying to get a factual answer..
Katharine. but rewarding Katharine with the frissons of happiness she had learned to capture in such moments. girl. that was so good.thanks to you and Ian.. “I haven’t bought a fancy dress in so long I’ve no idea what’s fashionable. the silk-tasseled windows.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. bloody-well knock them dead.266 someone else. The band is always rehearsing. The escaped bustle of the street where bright sun prevailed. delighted at having assisted circumspect Mary in finding something which . They both agreed that it might be worn on various occasions by dressing it up or down.maybe drive ya over there. then wear the jacket for the wedding. I’m giving them a Oh this is really You’ll ring right now...that was very. which pleased prudent Mary immensely. 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.” “My God.just to celebrate a nice evening with our family and friends. the hushed rose-scented shop of gleaming dark wood. *** Mary was shopping with Katharine in a handsomely appointed Parnell shop. “You can leave the little bolero jacket off for the party and drape a pretty scarf over your shoulders.” “If I did sing it would only be this one song... I’m glad for your opinion. and speculating on a dress or gown for Katharine’s wedding ceremony.” Katharine suggested. the luxurious fabrics. What a treat everyone has in store. and now that you’ve heard it you know why. Margaret. In the process Mary had come across a dress she intended to buy for herself. running her fingers over the smartly cut navy evening dress she had just selected.. going to be choice. I mean. very professional. I certainly wouldn’t expect to impress an audience.” Mary said..
She couldn’t think of it for long. The rehearsal session had started out with a rather grim-faced band. Mary and Katharine completed their purchases and strolled to a cozy tearoom. which sprang to life when Katharine began to sing. dusty-rose velvet gown for the party. wanting only to fish with him. to agree to this? Was she out of her mind Margaret had introduced her to the noticeably doubtful quartet of young musicians. love.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . choice thing on your lovely self. who were clearly bent on keeping their music viable (piano. “Have a biscuit. do ya know that skittery velvet goes from silvery pale pink to shady rose when ya move under the light. was walking around brimming with the delight of favorable collusion.” Oh. of course. strapless. He was there and she was here. “I think you may be enjoying yourself at my expense. Margaret. Kate. A flashing image of Lan casting a fast-darting line over the riffle of a silvery flat river flew across her mind.” Katharine had teased. bass. The moment she tried it on Mary was “Ya look Katie wild about it and insisted she look no further. Once seated Katharine leaned on her hands and stared through the plate glass window. and drum) and far from enthusiastic about accompanying an unknown voice.267 satisfied her rather particular taste. 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. it’s a Katharine was merely thinking that its bare simplicity would perfectly accommodate her beloved jade pendant. Kate. “Absolutely ravishing. squinting between the fronds of a fan palm out into the busy street. ravishing!” she had exclaimed.” She began pondering the days ahead while Mary poured Earl . Gray. saxophone. Katharine had chosen a slender.
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.” “Ya could give it your own signature. You may have solved my I always have such a Oh. like New Zealand itself. ivory lace bodice was a sort of rectangle of plaid.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . I’m still full from our outrageous lunch. ya know. You’ve seen these celebrations before. Kate.” “You’ve no idea how much it all means. I don’t want a traditional white dress and it wouldn’t be appropriate anyway. problem.” “Well. idea. by putting a small swatch of the Gordon plaid in that bodice. the border could be of black velvet.” “Mary. It sounds interesting. “Ya can do anything ya want. Mary.” “I just don’t know what to wear. A lovely airy thing I’m imagining. “I’ll have to go look. we haven’t made much progress on your wedding dress. that sounds wonderful. was still fly-fishing with his mates down on several of the scenic rivers feeding into Lake Taupo. Katharine. and pastoral at the same time.268 “No thank you.” Mary said with cheerfully moist eyes. a bit of your own heritage: black squares edged in yellow it is. 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 . no idea at all. that with your slender waist. good time with you. ivory lace. I’m so glad we’ve done this. who had been glad to give Mary and Katharine these busy days together. *** Lan. The skirt part was a simple affair of gathered I never would have thought how well it could work I was thinking ya could have something like until I saw it. like taffeta. tapered to the waist and bordered in wine velvet on three sides.
.sexy enough for any man.. Katharine arrived early. with which Rani seemed quite familiar. I hope we can get along. greeted her in a friendly manner and then suggested they go into Ian’s study to have a sort of ameliorating talk. wearing a bright blue party dress of which there was very little. The band had even suggested that she She had declined. and ya--” . but with a dash of confidence at their disappointment.. as she imagined them. *** The first surprising occurrence at the party was not a good omen. “Rani.. casting over their wild. “Ya look very nice. It’s quite clear that you don’t like me but maybe with time--” “You’ve been through some hell. Katharine.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . and while she stood in the She was garden talking to the band Rani suddenly appeared. This fit in well with her plans. She didn’t know what he would think of her intention to sing at their party and had decided not to tell him. Margaret still seemed to think the idea was a splendid one. not wanting to taint his happy days with fishing pals. and Katharine really wanted to offer that special song to him. but you’re a bloody clever woman and ya get what ya want.. sing a few more songs. if she could muster the skill and courage to do it well. with her lustrous black hair piled high atop her head and more makeup than she needed applied to her lovely young face.sorry for that. and then added. desirous of a pleasant evening. and thence into Ian’s cool dark study where they remained standing. “That’s a choice gown. although she was missing him more than she would say..” Katharine frowned and said.all that sophistication is just what Lani likes.269 the party. could hardly refuse and so followed her into the house.” Rani said. trout-filled rivers in devoted abandon. Without hesitating she came straight to Katharine.
Lan. “Then tell him that and relieve his grieving heart. for others for a change.. Do you even realize?” but look what you did to him. her voice catching on fire and her adrenaline pumping.simply to extricate yourself from the mess you made. “Oh. will she?” Lan said in a resignedly firm voice.. I only let him think. please stop it.. “What are ya talking about?” “You know what I’m talking about. The study door had slowly swung shut and Lan was standing there with folded arms.” He never touched me. Do you think Mary hasn’t suffered You still don’t see it..simply to suit yourself.I didn’t think he’d--” “My God. bush? Why beat around the When he was sick with grieving and thoroughly inebriated you took advantage of him...” They heard a soft click and both turned around startled.. . “If you really love a person how could you ever do anything so cruel. Lan has always thought of himself as your big brother.. and how did you By making him--” “I didn’t make him do He was too bloody haurangi. anything.. did you--” “Yeah.selfishly wound them when they’re down and suffering? deeply over this too? “I see that ya--” “Oh Rani..270 “Rani.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” “It was just. I heard most of it and since it pertains to He was looking at Rani. “Rani won’t have to tell me anything now. He was there for you all of your life. Please try to have some compassion You profess to care so much for Lan..without a thought to his condition or his pain.” Rani protested.” Katharine exclaimed.. do you?” return his devotion? “I didn’t. He never even tried to touch me. staring at them. Kate.. out differently.to make it all come out in your favor.. I thought it would all come I swear.
but at least How would Lan deal with this? She didn’t their party? the truth was out. And I love your dress. Mea gripped Let’s take a I love to see all these Someone is giving them tender loving care. Mea.. want to think about it anymore and went briskly down the walk. closing the door behind her. the long hair swept back in a handsome French roll. smiled and said. stretching out her arms to greet Gus and Mea who had just ventured into the garden. then tried to blink the tears onto her hand without ruining her face.” Katharine’s arm.” “Excuse me. pretty girl. softly lined face..rose velvet and totoeka with those rare eyes. as briskly as her slender gown would allow. who worked in the winery.” Katharine said. how nice ya look. as this smart wahine pono will do for Lan. placed a hand on his shoulder and he turned to speak to Gus’s son.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .just I see the devotion. Over Mea’s shoulder Katharine saw Lan entering the Their eyes met briefly and then one of his cousins garden. “Oh. I’m so happy to see you both.” “Kate. Her That soft silvery color matches your gorgeous hair. and slipped out of the room.” They strolled with soft laughter. The band was warming up and still Katharine had spoken no .. garden. I wäna nei -. “Will you ever forgive what happened at your wonderful dinner?” “A migraine is no one’s fault. She held her hand to her mouth. She hurried away back into the Why did she have to reopen this serious old wound at She regretted her unchecked wrath. happy plants.” Mea said as she gathered Katharine into her arms. tramp through this friendly garden..the way it is.” fingers just touched Mea’s silver-gray hair done in thick waves around her smiling. her eyes brimming. kia ora.271 me I won’t apologize for listening. “Gus and Mea. “Come with me.
so handsome in his charcoal dinner jacket. Margaret was pointing to the seat beside Lan. As Margaret was indicating the seat where Katharine should have been she lifted her head. Then the band began a slow rhapsodic Gladness flowed through her body melody and her heart softened. with herself. gleam of gold cufflink flashed as he talked to another cousin seated next to him. his dark frame tinted rose bronze under the colorful hanging lanterns. Mea has one saved. Perhaps she should decline the invitation to sing. hadn’t ruined his arrival by bringing up that grievous subject with Rani. Please find yourself a seat down there. She was explaining the virtues of steelhead fishing. somewhat raffish Was he going been avoided.272 more with Lan.” . On his other side was that empty chair. “Oh God. She was breathless and thoroughly disgusted At his wrist a Lan had a drink in his hand. away from ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . But with Rani’s surly conduct it could hardly have Rani was with someone. which She saw Margaret arm Margaret was scheduled to make very soon. a dark. A shiver swept through her as she watched the drummer adjust the microphone she would use. looking for Katharine who had ducked into the bamboo in a cowardly fashion. and then saw that people were starting to settle in chairs placed before the small platform on which the band sat. to carry that with him all evening? Katharine went around warmly greeting the Maori half of Lan’s family.ostensibly quite deep into a conversation with Gus.” she muttered. How strange. The band was already into its second melody when Margaret found Katharine -. young man with a motorcycle helmet under his arm. This party was for them and yet If only she they were still at opposite ends of the garden. I need to steal Katharine I think “There ya are. Excuse me. Gus. in arm with Lan and leading him to a seat below the platform. as she saw Mea and Mary strolling arm in arm to their seats.
superimposing its own dubious routes. Get your lovely I’m after introducing an entirely new side of ya to your new family. and you’ll soon see what a choice treat it is. She could hardly bring herself . I’m sure.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .and to be able to celebrate your upcoming marriage to this amazing woman. as if she didn’t exist. but the rest of us are bloody-well going to share in the treat. and after having been away from her for nearly a week. and now it’s time for our little songbird to make her appearance. in this enchanting garden Lan couldn’t reach her side quickly enough. “Hello.” Katharine had anticipated such a different sort of evening. Now he was sitting down there chatting with his family and drinking Scotch.. Katharine?” Just pretend like it’s another band gig out of the past. you’re one of my and Ian’s oldest friends. a celebration of love in which she and Lan would stand side by side and greet the party guests while overflowing with mutual happiness. When first they met making treacherous detours without warning.” “Margaret. not after all my efforts. Katharine Gordon. Margaret said.273 When Gus had taken himself off. She looked up to see Margaret insistently beckoning to her over her shoulder as she made her way to the bandstand. “Kate. she was certain it was Scotch. I don’t think--” “Oh no ya don’t. occasion. and how lucky we are for that. everyone. are ya giving up on me at the last moment? Lan has been wondering where ya are.. self down to the foot of my garden. Hope you’re all enjoying this special Lachlan Manutane. She’s about to come up here and sing to ya. A maudlin wave of self-pity swept over her. Katharine said to herself as she took Margaret’s hand and carefully mounted the platform. road. The vicissitudes of life simply refused a smooth Fate stepped in. and right now. She was certainly in a wonderful mood to sing a love song.
washing away all decorum.. the very moon and stars of the lyrics. Thank ya for . When she had completed the final long- held note she bowed low with an attempt at a modestly beatific smile. fearful of sliding to the ground. Never had she given so much in a She felt drained. her face. There was his riveted face. feeling them ripple and rise in warm waves up into the realm of the Southern Cross. then the softened voice against her ear... supportive anticipation clearly written across her proudly expectant face. especially Lan. she was startled by Lan’s arms catching her up and coming tight around her. your song. absolutely wiped out all of her strength and restraint. steady voice sending the impassioned words straight out to the love of her life. Tears streamed from performance.. The band was keyed.all for you. never had she wished to. Whistling and loud clapping pursued her. then stepped carefully down and hurried off to lose herself in the bamboo grove.. He was still holding the glass in his hand but he set it down beneath his chair without taking his eyes off her.those lyrics. my tau aroha.. Katharine’s heart began to fill with rapidly coursing blood.were. “Thank ya. what do I say in return? How do I Thank ya for Rani. A shifting glance yielded a beaming Mary. the memory that infused the words lovingly tendered by her voice.274 to look at anyone..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . but her eyes drifted in that direction anyway. limp body and bent head she hung onto a tender young stalk of bamboo.” “Lan. the memory of their first night together.” “My beautiful wahina. She no longer cared how she With looked or how she would present herself to the others. The song had finished her.. offering the memory of their first kiss. Slumping lower as her body shook with the forceful aftermath of what she knew had been a sort of catharsis.for your love. her eyes fastened on Lan and she heard her own slow.
Oh Jesus. I certainly thank ya for that.. and when she tried it on she was well satisfied -.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Kate? said something. Please stop the crying.. “Whatever did ya say to Rani. leaving them to their insatiable upstairs lovemaking. I your velvet gown. eyes..and here ya are.ya know I love ya. one she had half feared would never occur. thought often of the night after the party. want to lie with ya.. Green All I saw on the rivers were these I’ve missed ya. and. 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.275 tell ya what ya mean to me? Eyes. Kate. with her own and Mary’s artful suggestions.. my spoiled little girl. Mary had said.. thought. Ya have. all mine and choice in Your song was perfect. I thank ya for so much. the way you’ve set things right here.” Katharine turned off the heat under the smoking frying pan and turned to Mary. rolling his shirtsleeves as . ya know.. terrible things she did. She apologized to me for the She I told her to apologize to Lan. when she and Lan drove Mary back to the Herne Bay house and wise Mary took herself swiftly off to a comfortable downstairs bedroom. In these days her eyes were filled She with dreams of the future and memories of the recent past.the way you’ve made Lan so happy. and while Lan was in his study on the phone.. Perfect. The following morning as Mary helped Katharine cook a late breakfast.” Lan sauntered into the kitchen.she said ya had a beautiful voice.” *** It had taken very little time to alter Katharine’s wedding dress. said that she already had. He’s a changed man.a unique and lovely dress stitched into a symbol of the rarest event. I believe ya made her look into the mirror.
276 he came and walking up to Katharine to whisper in her ear. inhaling all the familiar scents that were so arousing. always reading the moment so swiftly flashes of sharply indelible consciousness juxtaposed with flashes of blurring mystery. She glanced politely over where Mary had been standing and saw her back disappearing down the hall.and this kiss is for having a mother like Mary.no shoe.. Struggling with a recalcitrant shoe she said. Penny and Margaret and. Her jittery nerves necessitated mitigation by self- deprecating acid bons mots and continual laughter with her friends. nill you.. giggling and chattering with a boisterous lot of noise and soaking up her emotional spillover.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . obstinate 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. The desire was overwhelming.. “My benumbed brain has disconnected my foot -.. “Anything edible in here yet besides yourself?” Primed with joy Katharine wanted to kiss Lan in a very private way. “This kiss is for you. Will you. and precisely. any more of this and brekkie will be out the bloody window. these as if emanating from an unconscious brain romping in REM sleep. She laid her head against Lan’s shirt.and this kiss is for--” “Jesus.” *** The wedding itself was a remarkably colorful and singular event. “What? Should I drink that?” . hence no wedding. Green Eyes. drink this. I’ll marry Petruchio in bare feet. then lifted her head and said in a slow voice. The day transposed into a swift parade of images: Dear Mary.” “Here. handing her a flute of champage. Mary.” Penny ordered.
walked up to Katharine and handed her a bouquet of orchids. stuck out their tongues. “Oh.” “Nor would he wish to. their eyes meeting with a mutual understanding which seemed to hint at something positive. he’s not after taming ya.” Mary soothed. “Yeah.277 “Absolutely. wearing a chocolate silk dress. and they all burst into yet another effusion of laughter. was continually popping up everywhere and capturing everything. looked so handsome that at first glance her worried frown softened into pure pleasure. having made a tenuous peace with Lan.” Judith encouraged. As the proceeding began.” “No worries.” Mary assured her. but the anxiety had not entirely escaped his notice. but he’ll never bring me from a wild Kate to a Kate comfortable as other household Kates. “Or they’ll have to peel ya off the ceiling of the marae meeting hall. Katharine and Lan stood before the marae where they were initially met by tattooed and sparsely clothed warriors who yelled at them. then stepped back into the line of guests. He was wearing a smartly cut. curtsied ever so slightly. He at once attempted to lift her spirits He . The ceremony was a different sort of affair.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . No paternal Cash Taylor. Before this lively but abbreviated war dance ensued she had been joined by Lan on the path leading up to the marae. pale gray Italian suit of shot silk with a healthy green sprig of some unfamiliar local plant affixed as a boutonnière. Rani. 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. Amidst their laughter she went on with her Taming of The Shrew allusion. chanted and waved clubs in a primally fierce demonstration of haka. Your wild self is what he fancies. Lan will take care of any headache that comes along.” Margaret chimed in. figure would give her away. Katie love.
After this It seemed to her that Lan was not only in a state of self-assured control but in quiet.278 with a swift offering of humor. The hall smelled of spicy-sweet ginger combined with numerous other scented flowers of New Zealand. The meeting hall was adorned with gleaming pillars of wood carved in the form of tikis and other earthy motifs. Seated at either side of their advancing They passage were all the members of the wedding party. and wearing large jade pendants around his neck. delicate and airy feathers. The pungent smell of abundant floral arrangements swirled around Katharine’s head in the warm.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “No worries. the other an elegant twining vine which represented eternity.” In her volatile condition she found this so amusing that she had to place her hand over her mouth to suppress the giggling laughter. She turned her His calm dark eyes looking . one of a tiki. leaning down and muttering in her ear. they were greeted with a loving display of hongi and some words in Maori which Lan answered in Maori. and the walls rose in striking patterned designs. they were led inside. Oh God. or so she read his easy composure and knowing anticipation. which he so often strove to elicit. The highly polished hardwood floors shimmered in honey tones of gold and brown. Soon this will all be over and I’ll put ya out to pasture herding sheep. running to the peaked and cross-beamed ceiling. a reading from her own nervous frame of reference. Following the clamorous intimidation of the threatening warriors. 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. approached the low wood dais where the official who was to marry them stood cloaked in a robe covered with tiny. As Maori words flowed past her a sudden jab of fear darted through her chest. body-filled hall. unspoken control of everything.
began to ponder the effect this man standing bedside her had and would always have on her life. Katharine were flying to Rarotonga. She smiled and. More than anything she wanted to please him. Sliding into that sealing kiss all else momentarily dissolved. that she could stand alone. emblematic grasp traveled through her body with a ministering relief at once comforting. until she heard sighs and mutterings of appreciation traveling through the hall. In this rushing span of time when she found herself amidst sharp transition so unfamiliar. proven over and over.279 down at her seemed to read her mind. and Ian and Margaret were sailing home on a friend’s boat. and then Lan was laughing and they were spilling out into the sunlight. please not ever boredom. to bring him peace and happiness and. capturing From Auckland Lan and . visit with Gus and Mea. Everyone wanted to hang onto Lan and Katharine. promising and thrilling. it was especially exhilarating to have at once received Lan’s understanding assurance. they tried to make their way to Gus’s car. and he took hold of her arm. The firmness of his supportive. 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. such a long time she had been her own strength.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . He was to drive them to Lan’s plane. she demanded of herself. and one of his flying mates was winging her home to Green Braes in the morning. Finally there were English words exchanged and they made their vows and kissed. From the For moment of his first grasp she had never let go of his arm. After a whence Lan would fly himself and Katharine to Auckland. without ever acknowledging it. Mary was staying in Lan’s cottage. Judith and Jacob were heading south to visit Milford Sound and other points of interest. never. because she couldn’t understand the words.
Once out of earshot of everyone Lan exclaimed. *** “You were right. the ubiquitous Cash Taylor.. let’s get the hell out of here. But when I look back on it I suppose I’ll be very amused..” They made a dash to the car where Gus was just transferring their luggage from another car into his trunk.” “Yeah? it off. I spent half the day laughing hysterically and now I’m doing it again. with joyful teasing and offerings of food and drink. “Katharine Gordon Manutane.” “Looks as though we’ll have plenty of photographs to go along with our memories.or an idyllic fairy tale. flying off over New Zealand. They edged their way to the back door. having already said good-bye three times and been hugged by Mary. and Katharine would drink nothing because she feared a headache. 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. I had to bloody-well tell him to rack off. Their heartening life-affirming aura held a magnetism so alluring they were continually restrained from departure. continuing to giggle with Lan’s smiling encouragement. I’ll probably .Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lan would drink nothing because he was flying. “I’m actually glad we didn’t bother to change..280 the spilling radiance emanating from their highly charged mutual devotion. Lan...” Katharine said when they were finally aloft in the plane.. Your bloke. especially in her exhausted and over-stimulated condition. Here I am Well.” Katharine said. on your suit. “I think it was for everyone else. whose eyes were filled with tears of love and relief.like magic.” “I’m looking forward to it. even invaded the guest bedroom and tried to snap me putting on my suit.amused and deeply moved and even sorry it ended so soon.” “Oh.
just in case. *** Rarotonga was a time of love and lethargy. They drank at a thatched- roofed bar on the beach and ate diced raw fish prepared with coconut cream. 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. I want ya happy. about an hour away. While there they flew over to Aitutaki. we still have a ways to go before we lie down together. too. and cavorting in . Lan..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” he added with a wink.” “What if I’m too tired. moray eels.281 never wear it again. they encountered giant clams.” “Not this one. teasing. blissfully free from the prosaic alterations of a workaday existence. Kate. and myriad darting fish the Day-Glo colors of the rainbow.” “Careful. Diving in shoreline conservation areas called raui. onions and bits of tomato. Playing. affording further investigation and uninterrupted enjoyment of one another. But take a bit of a nap now. my darling Maroi-Scot lover. How I wish my grandmother “Weddings are sad. Green Eyes. a delicious meal called ika mata. wife. how sad.not for me. The days passed in a luxurious idleness.. could have--” “Please don’t. husband?” “Then I’ll hold ya until I can have ya in the morning. They swam to the motus in the lagoon and made love on those uninhabited white sands beneath the shade of coconut palms. Green Eyes.” Oh. away from the world and growing familiar with each other’s needs and desires and habits in a slow awakening. painting the surface waters of dusk with dazzling hues of crimson and gold. reef sharks. lime juice.” “And not for me.
Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Ben. caressing or talking softly in a soporific state of contentment while the palm fronds rustled overhead in warm fluky winds. they returned to Green Braes. She was glad to be here at this moment. chased thousands of ants around their kitchen. he might be concerned that she was thinking of Jerusalem or Gaza or some other troubled place in the world forebodingly calling to her. redress of all the relinquished assignments. cut up fresh fruit. she was thinking very close to home. had arranged it. Katharine swam. and from time to time she did think of those places. 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. She would see to it. They were in her. She thought. where he used his laptop to check into his business affairs. however. when he studied her that way. to have addressed those places of strife in her nearly completed novel. but not total. Lan was beside her on the roan stallion. would always be in her.282 mutually generated situations of comic entertainment. They lay together in their ample hammock. looking out over the myriad grayed-white tufts of grazing sheep. with a regenerated eagerness to face the world. of all the forgone obligations. “Why don’t you ever take me fishing. and it brought considerable. Just now. created her own ika mata. leaning on the pommel of his saddle and glancing at her reflective face from time to time. but never at his expense. and mixed large tropical drinks. hoping to correct that other horribly failed ride when Lan had professed such love only to be cruelly abandoned. Finally. *** Katharine sat astride Jangle. Lan?” . This event would unfold quite differently. After a week they returned to Lan’s orange beach cottage on Rarotonga.
because they’re only . “Yes.sometimes. mainly to keep her overactive mind from brooding on an insurmountable problem. We’ll ride up along the green banks and eat our sandwiches there by the river. “The Israelis have no idea how to fight that kind of war.” “I haven’t said much on the subject but I’d like to be able to talk to ya about it. something all on my own. “Sometimes I do.” he answered. plenty of time for that. will. There’s I’ll drag ya around everywhere at a moment’s notice and you’ll be asking me the opposite. Green Eyes. Every time an Swatting at atrocity occurs they rush in with guns and tanks. eager to hear his answer. clouds of sandflies only gets ya more bites..” she said.. They’re used to force..” “How should they fight it?” she asked in a rhetorical manner. Ya want to fish. a form of insanity that could stop at once with the right leadership. bringing Jangle to a halt. “They shouldn’t fight it at all. heavy retaliation. I won’t say that. “I’ve finally taught ya to tell me what ya want in lovemaking. Kate?” She was surprised that he would ask the question. now ya have to learn to do it the rest of the time. No worries. I would..” As they rode along Lan asked. ‘Why do we suddenly have to go fishing?’ you’ll be saying soon enough..when I took ya sailing.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . ya hard case. since he had always preferred not to bring up that subject. why didn’t you just think of it on your own?” “I did once.I’ll take ya fishing.” “But I mean.” “I love fishing. Would ya have an opinion from me?” Yes. Lan. Kate..” Right now I’ve thought of Come on. “Have ya been thinking of the fighting in the Middle East. “Ya. It’s there and going on. smiling with good-natured ease.283 “Ya never asked me.
I lease it to a grower. concerted support from their own people -. Ignoring the need for a Palestinian state is the whole crux of the Middle Eastern problem... clicked his tongue and ordered the big horse to walk on. He reached over and brushed her windblown hair away from her eyes.. Turning aside to glance down at her as they moved slowly forward.I can go back there any time I want. firepower. “What happened to your grandmother’s farm?” “Oh. say. only it takes a bloody keen mind to see that.. But it’s really a form of winning.” Lan’s broaching of the subject.and feeling threatened. It would relieve a lot of tension in the world. She was glad to find herself I agree with everything you positioned beside an understanding mind.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . A free unified state is the only answer. real courage.” ... the farm? I still own it..284 inviting more human explosions.” “I’d like to see it.” “You’re absolutely right. Why don’t they see that?” They “Wrong leaders. his accurate perception was like a pressure release.for instance.. he asked. a companion who could share her thoughts so precisely. Now it’s become important for the whole world. the strength.. smiled at Lan. then eased his boot into Ben’s belly. She gave a long sigh and The house I’ve kept just as it was. They’re the ones with all the They’re the ones who have to bring it to an end.pull out their settlers and give the Palestinians a free state.war-minded.” “I think you’re right. need a strong peacemaker who sees total stoppage as an honorable solution..that’s the tough part. all the troublemakers always hark back to the Palestinian problem for their ammunition against your country. the best way to win.
white Mount Rainier floating on the horizon -.. making her realize that she didn’t have to remain cut off from her homeland..stay in the house. It would Thanks. He swung off his horse.. Déjà vu. From the house It was never quite the same but still lovely.when you have some time.. “I’m thirsty. I’d like to. after Lan. who rode slightly ahead of her. Lan. with his head angled over his shoulder... smoothing out one more wrinkle of worry. your spring. They rode on in silence for half an hour. make some plans to do that.” Once again Lan had surprised her with his perceptive thoughtfulness. keep the good part of your past alive. of course. you can see massive.” “Yeah. lifted the sandwiches out of the saddlebag and pulled the rolled blanket from behind the saddle.285 “We could go there. even.oh.. dauntless grandmother... until they could hear the rushing river and see its emerald banks... be wonderful sharing it all with you.” “Yeah.but not Gran. “Then get down. The dazzle of An sunlight on the climbing green slopes swelled her heart.it’s over two thousand feet taller than Mount Cook.” A vision flashed in her mind as she dismounted. looking at her with a slight smile . if you want. He stood a moment in silence.the place where ya grew up. yes. Kate..” She stared He turned in his saddle and pushed back his hat.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Lan. bringing her peace of mind. Nice to I’d love it..and the spring fields of flowers. steamy greenhouses in winter snow. times. We’ll do it this fall. And. my After she died I went there so many I could still have the wonderful flowers. Do ya miss it?” We’ll “The fragrant..thank you for suggesting it. epiphany of joy like a sweet pain shot through her.
this with an incisive expression of encouragement beginning to astonish her. “For me or for water?” “For you. happy with myself and--” He bent toward her and stopped her words with a long and dissolving kiss.so lucky to have you.” .. Lan.. She dropped down. For a long moment she feasted on his eyes as they traveled over her face and fastened upon her appraising gaze.so relieved and full of hope. what if Why were ya so bloody afraid of a ngakau joker like me?” he asked. then leaned back a short distance. “Well. I’d never found you?” “Ya didn’t.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . balancing her knees upon the tan square of soft wool and watching him crouch beside her.I thought you would consume me. Oh God.... the fear I had was... Reaching out she pulled off his hat......286 and a penetratingly soulful gaze that evoked a certain memory.” “Exactly what you have.I was giving myself a kind heart. so much more than I was. his voice full of amused irony. Lan.. I went so crazy. running her fingers through his tousled thick black hair. When they were finished he spread the blanket. “Ngakau?” He laughed.. catching both her arousal and her intention to reveal something.most definitely for you..and ya didn’t trust me at all..and a little water.you’re Mary’s son. I found ya.. tau aroha?” “Yes. you’ve made me feel so alive... His eyes held hers. “Do ya have something ya want to tell me.” They tied the horses and walked to the river where they found a flat place between the rocks and lay on their bellies drinking..” “And have I consumed ya?” “No. “I’m so lucky.so... “Oh.I thought.
my urbane cowboy. but I’m not going to let ya hurt yourself or get in harm’s way if I can help it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. Jesus. “I just knew it.” He stretched out his legs and lifted her onto his lap then rubbed his chin over her hair. bloody little Gordon-Manutane.ka mutu pea -. Ya don’t know that expression? happy. wondering if you’d ever..” “Come here. Kate. What? Let’s be Braes. How did you know?” I feel a lot when I look at ya. and you stole all the wind from my sails.that’s the best... because I feel the same about you...or whinge or. Kate. and let’s not dwell on that.. Ah. Green Eyes.are you afraid of losing me. let’s..and ya get to have me. I want ya now. felt it.” “I won’t do that either.” “Yes..287 “Are ya pregnant?” “Yes.. but--” “You’ll never lose me.because--” “Bloody right.. ya here this way.because.” He began to ... You’re a tough little journalist.. you’ll never lose me either.” “Now don’t start treating me like fragile glass.here at the heart of Green Once I denied ya that... staring off at the rushing white river and finally speaking in a wondering voice.” “I understand.” “I thought so.. Loving It means to complain. except by something unforeseen.. A I’ll have to watch ya. “Jesus.. ipo...” “Lan..” “How did you know? I was about to say that this time I was the one with the shocking news.yeah I am. a part of me is growing in ya. Come here.can’t run around on horses like a wild wahina much longer. I wouldn’t have done anyway. I was beginning to worry about that.
.. “Ya know all the right ways to have me. in one extraordinary sense the richness had turned out to be the fortune of green eyes.. “Later we’ll eat our sandwiches. of course I want to tell Mary.” “I’m sorry.Careless Child Karlene Kubat ..” There came a sudden vision of her lost mother’s eyes. get back on She’ll go round the bend.or wait awhile or--” “Oh. wait a I think that I want to watch you tell Mary. Lan..bloody amazing these bottomless pounamu eyes.. don’t ya. foxy Kate? It’s why I love ya so much. gave her an appreciative kiss and said... the gift of this rich and varied life.do ya want to our horses and go tell Mary. mother. Katharine smiled as a voice inside her head whispered. He paused and looked at her.in Maori. THE END .. minute. tell Mary right away?. full of all the greens of our countries.that and your green eyes. just perfect.288 undo her jeans..” He pulled her down against him on the blanket. of her incredible gift. would be just delicious. No. Thank you.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.