Copyright Karlene Kubat 2002

Careless Child by Karlene Kubat

I would I were a careless child, Still dwelling in my highland cave, Or roaming through the dusky wild, Or bounding o’er the dark blue wave; . . . .Byron

I

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-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nearer the water there was a gentle breeze. The Americans would be hard-pressed to wrest their Cup from the savvy crew Katharine had been getting to know. a cool and level head with a genuine interest in others and a much appreciated sense of humor. Singing I think this You work a lot Please see better when you’re wearing ear muffs and a parka. Upon their first encounter Katharine felt that she had possibly found a heavy-weather friend. The equator was up north. herself. stood up. and she wanted to douse him with her full water glass. And this time you pay the bill. Cash. staring out at the sloshing opaque green waters. down. a smooth deftness at handling social obligations. As the late afternoon progressed. and quite adept at dealing with the constant stream of people surrounding their competitive lives. she reminded Strolling along slowly she came to a bench and sat The wife of the Kiwi crew’s helmsman had invited her to a It felt good to be invited to a barbecue the following evening. Okay?” She finished her chardonnay. that you’re on time for the morning shoot with the U. her first impression was augmented by Margaret’s demonstrated perspicacity. Ian’s wife Margaret was very skilled behind the helm herself. “I’m afraid my type finds your type off the chart.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . a highly respected sailor familiar with every shiver of water and shifting wind in the mercurial Hauraki Gulf. private gathering while sojourning in a strange place.15 breasts. is the last time I’ll be dining with you.S. in just that mood of alienation and gratitude she decided to turn up. and swinging are two different things in my book. She remained standing for a while. grinders. *** Helmsman Ian Smith was a skilled and experienced man of the sea. Her inclusive rather than exclusive manner was especially . placed her thinstrapped red leather purse over her shoulder and sauntered out of the restaurant.

” The caterers will do most ..since I’ve had the nerve to arrive early. focusing on her tan shorts and blue shirt and the enviably long tan legs. Ya could arrange some silver on that table at the end of the deck while I answer the phone. “Oh. I’m flattered that you’ve come early. This sultry weather really takes me down.” We’re all used to that. Katharine followed the trim young woman. and pointed to the brick walk leading around to the back of the sprawling house.16 endearing to Katharine’s lonely heart.” Margaret assured her. everything else.” “Just call me Kate and I’ll respond to all directives. I Margaret fluffed her feathery hair with quick fingers.” “Oh.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . “Although I might have put ya to work if ya hadn’t worn such a lovely dress. suppose.” Katharine laughed. so lush. The Kiwis were rousingly competitive when it came to the race against the Americans. but this did not preclude a generous friendliness toward Katharine.” “Really. do. “Am I rudely early?” Katharine had asked as she came up the walk of the Smith’s large white bungalow-style house. it is a bit sultry. and the rest of the perimeter pungent eucalyptus trees. Guess I’m a cold-blooded Northwestern American. “No such thing as rudely early around here. a veiled loneliness for friendship never very intentionally addressed.” “Yeah.. Please tell me what I can It I’d like to make myself useful. this is lovely. was partially ringed with a thick stand of golden-trunked bamboo. Katharine. “I travel light and this chiffon thing is cool. it was perched on a cinder cone hill in a suburb of Auckland. The large back yard was a veritable jungle of broad-leaved plants and spidery clusters of flowers in various colorful hues.

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

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

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

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

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

Rani.” Rani backed up slowly.. Once again they were quite alone.” “I’m not.. enjoying her baffled reaction with a thoroughly self-indulgent rush of laughter. waited until ya were free.” he said.” Lachlan said with a low cool voice.. anyway?” “I was watching ya earlier. shaking her head and looking very disturbed.why you’ve decided to--” “What.just told her to rack off. “You spoke Maori to Rani.” “I don’t understand why you’ve fastened on me.22 “Haere atu. I was once.” “I was trying to spare ya that.. her eager voice almost desperate.ya have no self-esteem?” . “It’s an expression ya haven’t heard. You’re acting bloody rude. “What?” Katharine responded with surprise. being the polite fellow that I am.. How are you?” Katharine swiftly chimed in.” “Are ya married?” “No.” “Then you’re free to do what ya want.” Rani answered. Lachlan threw back his head. she’s doing just great.. and.” “How did you happen to find me hidden away here. Even when she turned to walk away.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Rani. “It means But she won’t be doing just great if she doesn’t take her little backside out of here right now. “Box of birds. Nice to see you again. “Hello.. and then I saw ya talking to Phillip. she could be seen looking over her shoulder from time to time. until she vanished into the somewhat removed but noisily chattering crowd. sorry because she was not at all in control of herself.free. and Katharine was sorry she had chosen such an isolated place to enjoy the garden..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 46 He ran his hand down the length of her body, stroking between her thighs until she quivered with need, then rolled atop her and drove himself into her until her legs clasped around him and she tore her fingers through his hair, her exhausted body trembling uncontrollably while she cried out for more. Finally, they lay on their backs simply breathing for several minutes, until she turned on her side and said, “I’ve been wondering what that is you have around your neck. shower with it on. Does it represent a fish hook?” You even

He stared at her a long moment without answering, then his fingers slid across his chest and cradled the pendant in his hand without looking at it. He gazed quietly into space.

“Yeah...it’s...a very finely carved, stylized fish hook...bone.” She wanted to take it in her hand and examine it, but something in his manner forestalled a closer inspection. “It looks very beautiful. I’ve seen them in the stores.”

“This was never in a store.” “Your wife gave it to you,” she said with a quick intuitiveness. He lay in silence, his eyes continuing to stare up at the turning ceiling fan. “I never had any such relationship with my husband, or any other man. You’re lucky, very lucky to have had it.”

He sat up, slipped the thong over his head, wrapped the cord around his fingers, then opened the drawer of a stand beside his bed and dropped the pendant gently inside. “Please don’t do that because of anything I’ve said.” “I should have done it before I had ya...since I... been with me so long I didn’t think of it.” “I wish I hadn’t said anything. I feel sad for you...I’m It’s

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 47 sorry, I shouldn’t say so...but very sad. I wish that you could

have been happy for a long time...that it never happened to you.” Her nervous fingers smoothed over the sheet. He picked up her restless hand and kissed the palm. “Ya are choice, Green Eyes. choice. Come here. I didn’t really know how

Let’s go to sleep.”

In a few hours she awoke and found herself held close against Lan, who was breathing softly in her ear. her face toward him. She turned

He opened his almond-shaped black eyes and

blinked at her with a slow smile. “Say something to me in Maori.” “Something to me in Maori,” he muttered. “No, come on, humor me. Maori?”

He shook the sleep out of his head and stared at her. “Why? You’re not a speaker and ya won’t understand

me...but...you’ll probably hear plenty of it from me anyway.” “Yes, you’ve said things to me before.” “Tourist words,” he said in a grainy sleep voice. “Pounamu eyes?” “All right...couldn’t help myself.” “I’ve listened to the language on the radio. beautiful lilt to it. it from you. Rather like Hawaiian. It has a

I’d like to hear

Please, will you speak to me?” The black,

Lan raised up on one arm and leaned over her.

gold-ringed eyes seemed even more black when he began to think in Maori. His smooth Maori-Scots face looked daggers at her,

and she was beginning to wish she had kept her mouth shut. “Noku ka pakeke, katahi ano toku hinengaro ka huri ki te ao Maori i tipo aki ai ahau. “Lovely. What did you say?”

“A...didn’t think about the Maori world of my childhood until I became an adult.”

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 48 “Oh, Lan, is that so? me the way you change. language. head?” “And in your head, Green Eyes? Ya strange woman.” Please tell me more. It fascinates

I love to see you thinking in that Oh, how does it work in your

How does it work?

He stared at her while a slow, appreciative smile altered his serious mouth and crept over his transformed face. It was a

Maori smile, she thought, one that she could feel as from another frame of reference. The singularity of language, the

rare forms of communication began to overwhelm her as she stared off, frowning in contemplation. Then she felt his fingers

smoothing the serious furrow in her brow, followed by delicate, carefully made kisses over her face and throat until she, too, was smiling. “Taku manawa, taku tau,” he said in a soft voice. “Which means?” “I’ll tell ya some other day...maybe.” His voice, his manner had returned to the other part of him she sought to know, just now a titillating, unbridled humor. “Now either sleep or more fucking or we get up and go sailing. Which is it?” *** She was sitting in the breakfast nook, holding her yellow mug with two hands and staring dreamily out at the waters of the harbor. Her body felt light, perhaps slightly bruised but not

unpleasantly affected, as if she had been rolled over and over by warm waves and tumbled onto a beach. “What kind of shoes do ya have with ya?” Lan asked. boots? I suppose not.” “Any

“You mean like hiking boots?” she asked, turning her languid green eyes on him and making him smile as he reached out to touch her sleep-flushed cheek. “I don’t carry hiking boots

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 49 with me unless I expect to go hiking.” “Ya sure’s hell didn’t plan on staying long in Enzed, did ya? No one with any sense comes here without tramping boots.

We’ll have to buy ya some.” “I thought we were going sailing.” “We are. the top. We’ll sail over to Rangitoto Island and tramp to Choice view. Good exercise.”

It’s rough lava.

“My God, I’ve just had plenty of exercise.” “Well, this tramping bit will get ya in better shape for the kind ya just had, Green Eyes. head out.” “You certainly are a bossy bloke,” she said, staring at him sitting there in his Windsor chair, wearing tan bush shorts and an open-necked blue shirt and smiling as if he owned the world. He laughed. not at all. “I don’t mean to be. I don’t want to boss ya, Finish your coffee and let’s

I’m just the leader here because it’s my country.

When I come to your country, ya can tell me what to do.” “Have you seen much of America?” “A fair amount. Ya have a lot of nice wild there, but it’s I like it better here.” *** Lan drove with an impatient self-assurance, one hand on the wheel the other doing other things, tuning the radio or touching the bare leg below her shorts to point out something. They

crazy...too many people.

drove out Jervois Road to the Herne Bay shopping center. She squinted down the street at some English words too far away to read and said, “What does that sign say?” “He putu, he hu, we nga whakamaunga waewae katoa e hokona ana i konei,” he translated into Maori and winked at her. “Now you’re getting back at me.” “What’s the matter, do ya need glasses?” “Is that what you said?”

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 50 “No, I said boots, shoes, and all other footwear sold here. Do ya need glasses, perhaps?” “No, I need lessons in Maori.” “When was the last time ya had your eyes checked?” “When was the last time you spoke Maori to an American woman with no boots?” “My god, I’m going to have a royal smash-up here if ya go on like that,” he said, laughing so hard that it was fortunate they were just pulling into a parking space. In the store she said, “I like these. They’re cute.” She

smacked together the toes of the boots she had just tried on. “Cute doesn’t cut it. These are better. Give them a try,”

Lan said, handing her a heavier pair of dark leather boots. “You will have your way, won’t you?” “I’m thinking of your feet, Green Eyes. cute, and ya ought to keep them that way. They’re what is

Please try these.”

“I would but I’m afraid they’ll sink your boat.” “Oh, Christ, I can just see what sort of day we have ahead of us.” At the register a slight disagreement occurred as to who would pay for the heavier boots which had been decided upon. “Expensive,” she said. “I’m buying,” he quickly replied. “Certainly not. I’m wearing so I’m paying.” “It’s not your fault

“I’m paying,” he said with finality.

you’re getting the kind of boots ya expect to sink my boat.” *** They drove back to his place for two ice chests, one filled with sweating green bottles of Steinlager beer, from an ample supply in the refrigerator, and a hunk of Stilton with a loaf of uncut bread. oranges. Lan tossed in a broad-bladed knife and two

The other ice chest held bait and was for any fish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and at a speed of over 180 miles per hour they would arrive in a little over three hours. depended on the air speed and altitude. like a multifaceted brooch set with colored gems of all the earthy hues. Oxygen for each passenger. then checked the oil and fuel. “You’re off to Waikikamukau. but at 12.” *** They had taken a taxi south out of town and over to the air strip where his plane was parked. then they rolled down the runway and powered into the sky.70 your green eyes and give me a rest. touched her arm and said.” “Why kick a moo cow?” she said. he revved the engine up to 1. and gave forth more of the She glanced . It had a single piston engine of 235 The horsepower and could fly at an altitude of 20. she was shaken from her transfixed state when the plane bucked in an unruly current of air. She looked down upon this exquisite surprise of clouddappled land pinned between the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Ocean. at Lan. wall-to-wall carpeting.500 feet and eighty-eight percent power it could travel 594 knots in a little over three hours. When they were cleared for take-off.000 feet. Kate Green Eyes. range. Lan loaded in their luggage. he told her. As the crow flies. they had to travel only about 600 miles. tinted windows.500 rpms several times. Katharine saw that the small plane was indeed sparkling new and looked like a very capable and compact form of private transportation. while she sat pondering how she had come to be making this journey and wondering what would happen next. which he had already ordered topped off. He gave her a reassuring smile. Staring dreamily through the window and out into the blue horizon. and shoulderharness seatbelts.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . At the moment she was too suspended in the narcotic of love to care.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll be all alone.” Katharine said. and I’m afraid I’ll do all the wrong things. a grandmother who left me too soon.. I really have no idea where to begin there but I’ve heard it has lovely gardens and parks.. Katharine decided to be the same and said. and come along? schoolgirl. her eyes swimming with moisture that was not so very difficult to summon..” “I certainly do see why Lan has taken a fancy to ya.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .85 *** Lan went into his study to answer some e-mail. go to the wrong places. “I’m hoping you’ll come with me to Christchurch tomorrow. “I’ve had to go everywhere alone most of my life. “always longing for a mother.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. I expect you’re here to have a little talk about something.I mean. but not for me. 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. but it’s not so easy in a . “Am I bothering you?” she asked. I have almost no idea anymore what it feels like to walk down the street with one or the other and share experiences. things. Lan is flying over on some busines. Are ya not?” If Mary had chosen to be direct. You’re a very fetching girl. Katharine Gordon.. Katharine.” Katharine dropped her head. and I know nothing about the town.” Mary said. but I don’t go out. “No. I guess I can do it. “For you. Mary. and she would soon be weeping in earnest for the desired effect.” “It’s an easy town to get around in if ya don’t mind the river.

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

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

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

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

. But I hope to heaven. leave it at that and go on with our day.” Katharine agreed. and he’s so wonderful.I don’t think you’ve made up your mind about anything.no. seems to me. “Sometimes he’s a mystery even to me. looking at various plantings and blooming flora. although we more often went to Dunedin for pleasure. so very wonderful. so we’ll leave it at “We’ll just “It that. but he wouldn’t be who he is without it. hopeful of having her meaning go beyond her own desire.” “Will you go there with me sometime?” “I don’t know. they walked over paths thickly lined with collections of verdure mostly unknown to Katharine. him so.” Katharine said.” she didn’t hesitate in adding. or else how can life go on? Without understanding that there can only be strife.” Mary said..Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Finally.” Mary said.. and I know him so well. I miss He loves We We loved hard. they rested on a bench while Katharine consulted her guidebook.that it’s not a frivolous thing. not an easy thing. I don’t know if I could do that. And Lan is like that... insisting upon it once again. that’s settled in my mind at least. cupping flowers in their hands and sniffing sweet aromas as they went along. except that.. you do. Lan is not hurt again.that mix of Scot and Maori was not an easy thing. he’s the coming together of two kinds. Katharine. that he’s the rarest. both felt more comfortable there. Mary. really a sort of refinement which must be respected in the human condition.. It’s too soon.” she said observing Katharine’s discomfort. hard.” “Oh.” “Well.90 time. not at all.. better than anyone. we two. staring at Katharine. “Would you mind if we walked to the visitor center and . “But what I did to him with my own selfish love.” “Of course. “I can see how ya feel about my son. When Mary had paid the bill.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As soon as she had dropped it into the . one in a light soy and green onion sauce. She She couldn’t remember their names or very much of what they had said. I don’t need your love or any part of your mixed up life and I’m having a wonderful time in your country without you. for she appeared thin as a reed. Returning that evening at an appointed hour.” she said aloud from her bed.” the two couples said. She hired a Maori fishing guide and he took her out on the lake to a spot guaranteed to produce trout.111 “I will go fishing. See.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . 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. She was quite surprised. she found the proprietors had done two expert and tasty presentations of the fish. When her picture was developed the trout looked wonderful but she did not. as if to say. the other a delicately spicy red sauce which did not detract from the flavor of the fresh fish. but she was smiling proudly with her two excellent fish. so fine that she invited people over to her table to share the large meal. 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 -. and catching your lovely fish to boot.vivid descriptions of rambunctious steelhead trout fishing. although not quite as happy. laughing and joining in. They insisted on buying the drinks. and everyone was thoroughly and happily soused by the end of the evening. On a sudden impulse she decided to send the photograph to Green Braes. “Good on ya.above the noise of the boat motor -. He photographed her with the fish then left her at a restaurant which he assured her would prepare her trout very nicely. herself was quite soused.

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

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

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

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

she needed to go further. We all get on in the best way we can. at first with outrageous arrogance and then by lying. By the time she was eight. got rid of that or you’d be dead. she could listen with an ear and mind that she hoped would retain a controlled compassion. her well-meaning but parochial grandmother could have done nothing to erase this emotional conviction. asserting that everything was wonderful. and her mind must stay focused on inflamed Palestinians and Israelis in a very dangerous place. Katharine felt herself fairly well-equipped for the job. In this resumed role of journalist. 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. strived to act as if it existed. soft and hopeful. and existed in ample enough amounts to make existence worthwhile. and there are others a lot . you did you were going to be beaten. the damage thrived. In a world gone deaf this one pair of ears would listen carefully.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . because it was counterproductive. No matter what Why expect a positive Of course. in a sense. even in herself. Unlike a lot of pols with agendas. was working. would attempt a viable encapsulation and dispersion of a long and legitimate history of pain. Katharine took care of her permanent affliction in the best way she could.116 a dark cloud pregnant with doom. the rules of conduct were familiar. only of work. probably very quickly and by your own hand. 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. a part of outcome if you were congenitally no good? her always wanted to believe in good. just as she had lied by slight implication to Lan about her happy post-father childhood. she didn’t distract herself with unassociated fear. Beneath this self-deception. This time she was so far gone that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

displaying teeth in need of dental work. his smile seemed to Katharine a monumental effort.136 wells of a haggard face flashed with anger as he explained his humiliating plight. “This is a sorry place for the young men. 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. gone..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. “My mother wears the key of her former house on a cord around her neck.no hope for them. Katharine glanced at the cold tile floors and wondered if the bare feet were a habit or a necessity. and directed his words to Ahmad. According to Ahmad’s translation. I do not I want a job. Her wrinkled face beamed from behind Her full figure was her black scarf at the sight of her son. as he welcomed her into his home..now a new Israeli settlement of fine houses lives there. for them to do. yet he accepted Katharine’s role of journalist and even smiled. With his tall figure gaunt and stooped by fatigue and his hair already thinning. children’s. the door and carried away the key. How else can they retaliate for this hopelessness? What can they do? “I myself do not want Palestinian terrorists. get into trouble because they are always angry and restless. shuffled quietly into the room to welcome her son. is like a talisman for a dream that can bear no fruit. a country for my people that is free. but she will not give up the key. the shabab. He was unused to speaking to a strange woman. Omar said. swathed in a long black kaftan from which her bare feet protruded. It One evil She locked The house of the key is The village of the house of the key is gone. Write that down for the world to read. a good life for my family. Hanan. of speaking to any woman in this manner. want Israeli soldiers in my life.... Omar’s soft-spoken mother.killing us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

” Katharine said..bulldozes his orchards. not the path to freedom. One of his grandsons is sometimes with the shabab.the soldiers taunt the young boys.happy in the blossoms and buzzing bees. through the nerve-wracking checkpoints and up into the Judean I want rights for Palestinians... Look what we have. thanking Allah for this life. evil. They say a soldier goes off the But even so.” *** Back through the desert Katharine had finally been driven. our houses.. “What I have seen are not This all must stop. Punishment is not the answer.. He cannot stay in one place. His good mind is not good anymore.but I myself can only tell your story. this must stop. peace or harmony can rest on a foundation so evil.perhaps he throws some rocks -.143 “Yes.. peace.such perfect rows.. rows of He loves. I do not think the boy is so bad.. my young sisters..” Amira said.. That is These insane sporadic killings of the blameless on both No sides only create seething hatred. I play in this beautiful place with “Once he has orchards. and for this the IDF knocks down Uncle Ibrahim’s house.. past the cacti and the orange groves and the settlements. Who is punished for this?” “Oh.. and I will. tend these trees. He is always working in his orchards.. Insha’allah..restless man.. very disturbed man... rewarded. you know. martyred children. I want peace. road because of rocks. “Leave us to have a country of . but only dead innocents sacrificed for nothing. For this their families are paid.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . 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.. our dreams. Amira.is sometimes going to other relatives. other friends.loved to olive and almond trees.what we do not have.” “I do not want to punish.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Every

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.”

accurate description.

“They say you will be able to see.” “So they say.” “Oh, you must plan on it, Katharine.” “Hmm, May in Seattle. bloomed already. The tulips and lilacs will have My grandmother had

But there will be peonies.

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 152 an acre of them. extravagance. Great blowsy globes of pink and white

She and I gathered them in thick bunches, and How I

arranged them in shaved wood round baskets for wholesale.

miss the innocence...a lush field of fresh blossoms bobbing in the wind or drooping with beads of spring rain. I can almost

smell that unique peony fragrance in the fresh rain...probably raining in Seattle now. isn’t there any more. about it. I’m ruined. God, I don’t want to go back. There

I’m so restless.

I can’t do very much

Oh damn it, I’m really useless now.” You’re a mass of unstrung You still have to heal...and But...why are you 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.”

Really?

“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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dropping her crutch and fumbling for it with difficulty. lapping at the beach sands below were soothing. and the late sun welcome. It must have been quite a happy and secure one. almost stumbling. She tried to recall how a Tui looked: a dark head with a curved beak. setting was breathtaking. Northland beauty. cleaned up the cup shards that lay scattered around the floor. That’s the way I do it.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . Returning down the shell path. Penny returned. let it out? No one could hear her. table and cried with great bawling sobs. which gave it its common name of ‘parson bird. a white-tufted throat.” I’ve got hours of Later. making a mental note to ask her about her childhood at some leisurely moment. heavy studying ahead. “Cheerio. thinking hard . I’d better dash over to Russell and snatch your mail and some groceries. “Well. a few startling notes from the lyrical repertoire of the Tui. She listened to bird calls. into it. made Katharine a tuna sandwich and brought it to her at her computer. The air was coolish.” The writing was leading into a mental labyrinth of intricate paths that kept her exploring deeply. I’ll scribble it down then I’ll be on my way. The wavelets She knew her Margaret and Penny both praised this She longed to see it. she considered Penny’s very together attitude. when Katharine had slowly made her way over the path to her outdoor lounging chair and sat warming in the afternoon sun. Once inside. 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. Recite that list one more time.’ and gorgeous feather vanes that were rather dark and tipped with stunning blue. she banged the foot of her good leg on an unfamiliar rock at the edge of the path. then left with her usual upbeat. See ya in a couple of days.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

environment.

“Then you’ll come?” “No. this. I don’t want to be with Mary like this, Lan, not like

I was hoping--” “Mary adores ya. She wants to see ya, Kate.” I’m sorry Lan. Just go on about your

“I’ll wait a little. business and let me be.

I’m doing well at my computer.”

“I can’t do my work and worry about ya, Kate.” “You don’t have to. I’ll be fine. I originally intended

to stay here by myself anyway.” “Penny told me she worries about ya, too...when she’s not here.” “Oh, nonsense. What can happen to me?”

“A bloody lot of things can happen to ya.” “Nothing will.” “All right. in Auckland. I’ll be at Green Braes for two days, then back Ya do know

I’ll be back here as soon as I can.

I’m going to hear it from Mary when I turn up without ya?” Only when Lan and Nina had driven off the next day did Katharine realize how she had come to appreciate the busyness going on around her. After all, they had left her alone when She stood in silence, regretting her

she was at her computer.

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 176 own willfulness. night. How she would miss Lan’s arms around her at

She drank some leftover coffee while nibbling on a

blueberry muffin, and didn’t even bother to eat the rest of the day. The next day Penny drove her to the doctor, the two of them setting out quite early. She was thrilled to be told she could

dispense with her crutches. Penny, happy with Katharine’s progress, was more voluable than usual and eager to discuss Katharine’s improved life. Back

at the bach, she ladled mutton stew into a bowl for Katharine and said, “Looks like you’ve settled into New Zealand and availed yourself of the best we have to offer.” “Lan, you mean,” Katharine said. “Yeah. He’s really choice, Kate...lucky to find a fella

like him, one who cares so much for ya.” “How’s Neville?” Katharine asked, changing the subject. “Neville? Neville is Neville, nearly always the same. He’s the one for me all right. Easier to I

can depend on him for that.

He’s found a larger place so I can move in with him. study together.”

Katharine detected a slight embarrassment in Penny’s voice. “I hope it doesn’t turn into the sort of commotion that’s been going on around here,” Katharine said. “Ya don’t miss Lan when he goes?” “Oh, yes,” Katharine said with a half-hearted laugh. The following morning, Katharine was alone again and working at her computer with intense concentration. she began to notice the initial signs of a headache. “Oh, God,” she muttered, “I hope it’s not one of those.” She poured the rest of her coffee into the kitchen sink, rinsed the cup and went to stand on the sill of the opened door. She could feel the sunlight on her skin, her pained eyes taking Gradually

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 177 in the brightness of it. She carried a towel to the foot of the

path, moving with counted steps, glad to be without her crutches. Wiping off her damp lounging chair, she lowered Her head felt very strange, but the sun was

herself onto it. warming.

Worrying over the pain of a full-blown migraine, she

managed to doze off. Mary was standing before her speaking. Was it a dream? It

must be a dream; she could see Mary’s soft but admonishing visage, one arm resting on her red-sweatered hip. “What will ya do now, Kate? your selfishness?” “Oh, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do Are ya going to hurt Lan with

about us, and my head hurts so, Mary,” Katharine answered. “I thought ya were my girl, but you’ll never be that without him. Never,” Mary called out as she grew smaller and

smaller, disappearing amidst a vast herd of sheep until Katharine couldn’t make her out but only hear her emphatic voice at the center of a rapid swirl of woolies. Kate.” Katharine awoke with a cry of protest, looking up at the soft cerulean sky and then out at the water. Clouds were flying “Never. Never,

above the rippling waves, making racing shadows over the opaque green water. Racing white clouds. The intense light. The

bright sparkle of sun-spangled water. of verdure above the sands.

The rolling emerald rise She could see The perfect See

All so startling.

the delicate shapes of leaves, blades of grass. form and color of everything. everything. “Oh God.

She could see it all.

Oh, my God!” she cried, jumping out of her chair “It’s more beautiful than I could ever Everything.

and spinning around.

have imagined, so much more beautiful. Everything.”

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 178 She hurried back to the bach, pausing for a moment to look around her, and then reaching for the telephone. “Penny, it’s Kate. I need you to drive me to Auckland.

Oh, I’ve got to get there right away.” *** “Oh lord, this place is gorgeous,” a jubilant Penny had said when she left Katharine off at the elegant old Victorian house. “Wish I could live here.”

“It is a nice place,” Katharine agreed, “very well kept.” She soon found the key and settled herself in the Herne Bay house like a respectful guest, but adding a few welcoming touches of her own. At the final hour, she donned her little

black dress with her freshly washed hair curving above her shoulders and the Totoeka pendant hung around her neck. Waiting

at the window, peeking through the curtains, at last she saw Lan sauntering up the walk. He was carrying his briefcase, his

sleeves rolled, his tie flapping in circling marine air, and his jacket slung over his shoulder. His thoughtful face looked just

a bit tired and worried, ready for the glass of wine waiting for him on the coffee table in the lounge where a fire was burning in the fireplace. key. The door opened as he was reaching for the

He looked Katharine up and down in shock, his eyes going

quickly to hers. “Why don’t you call me Green Eyes anymore?” she asked in a soft, rather sultry voice. She was looking directly at him, her eyes traveling over his face and then staring into the startled dark eyes she had waited so long to see. He tossed his briefcase inside on the floor and pulled her into his arms. “Jesus Christ. Is life repeating itself?”

“We’ll get better.

In a couple of days it’ll be nearly

perfect,” Katharine teased, smiling and continuing to look into

Careless Child Karlene Kubat - 179 his eyes. She could hardly bring herself to look anywhere else. “Cor blimey.”

His head went back in laughter. “Into the lounge, please. your favorite Nelson winery.

I have some wine there, from

I’m sure you’ll like it...looks

especially nice in your Waterford crystal goblets.” “I don’t need any bloody wine to cheer me up, Green Eyes, and I haven’t called ya that because I thought it might upset ya.” “Well, it won’t upset me now.” “How? When did it happen?” I had a headache, dozed off in my chair,

“This morning.

dreamed a certain dream, then awoke and discovered I was in a very beautiful place.” They sat sipping their wine and gazing into the fire, occasionally staring at each other and bursting into laughter, as if neither could believe this most fortuitous development. Finally, Lan sighed and said, “I’m afraid I invited Margie and Ian over for drinks, and they’re just about--” Across the room, the oak tall case clock chimed as its little full-sailed ship rocked back and forth above the face, and then the doorbell gave forth a tuneful announcement of company. “Are ya still pissed at Margie?” Lan asked quickly. “I wonder how I could be,” Katharine replied, bracing herself. She stood in the background while the three others cheerfully greeted each other, then Margaret stared toward her with a startled face and took a step backwards, pulling at the hem of her gold turtleneck and smoothing her hands over her long black skirt. Katharine went forward and reached out her hand. Then

“Hello, Margaret, I haven’t seen much of you lately.” she added with a laugh, “Well, I haven’t really seen much of

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

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

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

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

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

can.if that’s what I have to do to have ya. clothes from Mary. Ya can borrow more We’re heading out of here now. write. and I’ll help ya in any way I Ya can stay here in Auckland and write.” “I’ve heard that before. There’s snow on the ground at Green Braes. ya schizoid little wonk.” “You said I must be with you always. “Oh God.....from the same irresistible mouth..” “Yeah.” Lan laughed.slacks and a shirt. we’ll fly to Green Braes. here.. so it means Ya can ya have to want me enough to make it part of your life.185 Looking at him with sudden resolution.if ya don’t want to come to Green Braes.. “You tell me.” “Snow? Isn’t it difficult to land?” .” “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. let ya stay here and write. “Jesus. Which is it?” Katharine felt herself coming apart. “I’ll get ya one of my jumpers -.” “Yeah.” Lan took her in his arms with “So some impatience and stroked his fingers through her hair...” “Then go put them on. what it means. I.. “Did ya bring anything with ya besides that wicked little black dress?” “I was in a hurry. I know ya have to do that.I want to see Mary.” “You certainly are a bossy bloke. but yes. pounamou eyes. but I’d be willing to do that. I can’t leave all of this. help each other always.today. You tell me now.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” It means we It means ya are with me always. as surely as if she were crumbling before Lan’s eyes. she pulled her white satin robe around herself and folded her arms.ya call them sweaters. “All right... I thought as much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

had done hongi with her. She felt a little clumsy and didn’t look at Lan for fear she would encounter a certain keen assessment. You’re mine. and she heard Maori words. isn’t it?” *** They had all greeted her. 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 eight of their older grandchildren sat at two separate smaller tables. their eyes twinkling with a slight teasing amusement at her rather shy responses. . both with graying hair.” Katharine then gave Lan a questioning look. wahina. Green Eyes. The You’re fair and it’s four adult children of Gus and Mea sat below. When it’s my job I can stick my nose into people’s lives quite easily. Nobody will do anything to make ya feel bad. too. but when it’s my own life on review I’m like this.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .” They sat down at a long. with which she didn’t want to deal. Mea. Would this be in deference to Lan. Gus and his wife.204 “Will there be hongi?” “Maybe. “Just your chemistry.” “I know. Just stay cool. giggling and teasing one another. studied her with polite curiosity. deciding she should save her analyses for some other time and simply let things happen. and quite ready to converse in welcome New Zealand English. Katharine noticed that no one sat at the head of the table but that Gus and Lan sat across from one another at its end. easy to tell when ya blush. but they were polite in that. brick-red dining room. Gus was saying something to his wife in Maori: “Ka mumura ona papering i te whakama. smoothly planked hardwood dinner table placed in a rimu-wainscoted. Pathetic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

233 scream. It’s These walls have heard Mary’s own been an entire week. “I want you. Katharine lay watching Lan sleep. “That’s what I first saw ya doing.visiting a friend in Devonport.” “Where did you really see me doing that?” she asked with disbelief. He threw his arm out. . sweet woman. not even the sound of her own wild cries.” his sleepy voice informed her. “The thing ya do. give and take with the only one who had ever suspended her in the timeless heat of such effusion. wanting him to sleep yet at the same moment longing for another unspoken message imparted from his dark gaze. When he turned over his eyelids moved and she wondered if he would awaken. the hand just touching her shoulder as she thought of the blood coursing through the strong curled fingers.” I’d just come I was on the wharf.exploring something with your hands. Not tonight.. until he clasped them tight above her. *** Pink light reflecting off the snow came through the high windows. “Come on. now seriously trying not to awaken him. over from. How she needed to give and take in this way. slowly and with a secretive shiver of pleasure.. “What?” she asked after a start of surprise.” she whispered. wild voice. don’t tease me. She ran her palm lightly over his irresistible arm. “In the shopping center on Quay Street East..Careless Child Karlene Kubat .. headed for coffee at the Paneton Bakery.I’m so bloody hungry for ya.... Very quickly he brought her to a sensuous feeling so high she neither thought of anything else nor heard anything but his few soft words of pleasure.Mary will--” “Bloody-hell with that.. Ya want me?” Her arms rose over her head with a nervous exuberance.

it’s so good the way we do this.. maybe I ought to thank that rude jerk.. bloody fascinated.fondling a red jersey from a sale bin outside a shop in the center.. will it--” “No worries.easy. Then ya looked up..you followed me from there all the way over to the gift store?” “Yeah. some time to kill.” “But.love--” “Ipo.. looked at ya and...like “Come here.” “What?” “I wasn’t even going in there.so good... my ipo.. I did.. 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. I’d have picked up your jacket... Slow this time..hold still.obviously I did..” “Lan.. ya later at the Loaded Hog. then all at once her body and brain were flooded with the astonishing. this..those dreamy eyes went right through me.... *** Katharine awoke the second time to find the sun whiter and ....yeah?” Her opened mouth gave an affirmative gasp against his shoulder and went silent....Jesus.. Let’s wake up slow.. right?” “Funny. I’m okay with it..I love..the center. melting into the buttery warmth their hungrily conjoined bodies generated.” “Oh.nice. Ya held it up to yourself and ran your hand down I leaned against the wall.God.Careless Child Karlene Kubat .just.you must have... pulsing explosion of sweet pain.. She was melting.... the front of it. If she could have answered she would have said there was nothing else. my green Green Eyes.nothing in the world which could approach that lofty pinnacle of love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

she was startled by Lan’s arms catching her up and coming tight around her. the very moon and stars of the lyrics. offering the memory of their first kiss. her eyes fastened on Lan and she heard her own slow. Tears streamed from performance.Careless Child Karlene Kubat . There was his riveted face.were. supportive anticipation clearly written across her proudly expectant face. what do I say in return? How do I Thank ya for Rani. my tau aroha. 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.all for you. Never had she given so much in a She felt drained. She no longer cared how she With looked or how she would present herself to the others... but her eyes drifted in that direction anyway. fearful of sliding to the ground.. absolutely wiped out all of her strength and restraint. A shifting glance yielded a beaming Mary.” “My beautiful wahina. the memory that infused the words lovingly tendered by her voice.. When she had completed the final long- held note she bowed low with an attempt at a modestly beatific smile. steady voice sending the impassioned words straight out to the love of her life.. washing away all decorum. The song had finished her. your song. the memory of their first night together. limp body and bent head she hung onto a tender young stalk of bamboo. never had she wished to. especially Lan. Whistling and loud clapping pursued her.those lyrics. her face.” “Lan.. Katharine’s heart began to fill with rapidly coursing blood. feeling them ripple and rise in warm waves up into the realm of the Southern Cross.274 to look at anyone. The band was keyed.. “Thank ya.. then the softened voice against her ear.for your love. Slumping lower as her body shook with the forceful aftermath of what she knew had been a sort of catharsis. Thank ya for .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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