Tim Stephens.cover.J#7B6373Note: this is NEXT WEEK’S forecast. To read the present week’s column, please scroll down to “RECENT POSTS” on the right margin, and click on “August 2 – 8, 2015.”

ALL TIMES/DATES ARE PDT (Pacific Daylight Time Zone). PDT is 8 hours “before” Greenwich (England). (As long as Britain is also on Daylight time.) For example, when it is noon PST, it is 8 pm in England. The “World Clock” in the right margin gives you some clues. (You can also Google “time zone converter.”)


START NOTHING: 4:45 am to 5:08 am Mon., 10:44 am to 1:52 pm Wed., and 9:36 pm Fri. to 0:46 am Sat.


Both Hillary Clinton (U.S.) and Thomas Mulcair (Canada) are running for leadership of their nations. Both are Scorpios. And both will receive a boost in popularity this August to next (2016) September. This could propel Mulcair into the Prime Minister-ship of Canada in the October 19 2015 election. But, unfortunately for Hillary, the “popularity wave” subsides September 10, 2016 – two months before the U.S. election. Still, I’m not predicting at this point – have to look at the charts. As I said before, Gemini Trump should start slumping in the year ahead, while Sagittarian Jeb Bush rises, but again, I want to look at their personal charts.
ALL SIGNS: This week, instead of your weekly message, I’m writing your “Luck Forecast” for the 13 months ahead. In general, though I am focusing on luck, we should all be careful about investing and about starting significant new business or practical projects. Unfortunately the planet of luck, Jupiter, spends most of the year ahead in difficult aspect to Saturn, the planet of “cold reality.” On the plus side, Jupiter is “on top” in this cosmic wrestling match, so good luck will tend to win over bad. Put another way, we should succeed in our endeavours, but with a lot of struggle or perseverance. Still, be wary of backing a losing horse. If you feel despondent about a certain project, or don’t believe fully in what you’re doing, back out and look for a more favourable situation/opportunity. Sorry, folks, but that’s the way it is during this particular luck cycle – believe in your own area of luck, as outlined below for your sign, but be hard-headed, too.
Aries.svgARIES March 21-April 19
At 4:13 am (PDT) August 11, 2015, Aries, Jupiter, your planet of great good luck, leaves your romantic and creative zone, and speeds into Virgo, your sign of work, machinery, daily health, and care of dependents (pets, kids, etc.). Doesn’t sound too exciting, but there will be benefits for the 13 months ahead (to early September, 2016) as Jupiter lights up this “work zone.” For one thing, you usually love machinery, tinkering, inventing – and this year ahead favours all that, as well as the purchase of machines, cars, computers, etc. However, due to a difficult aspect, only certain times will be successful in buying machinery. These are August 12 to September 16, 2015, and June 29 to September 10, 2016. (These are not the only times you can buy, but the only times that you can buy without a potential future disappointment.) If you are going to buy, then repair and then sell a machine, then October 10, 2015 to January 6, 2016, can give satisfying results. It’s not that the periods not mentioned are terrible, for you will succeed any time in the 13 months ahead, but that during the unmentioned periods you will have to struggle harder, against a few headwinds. Sink into thought mid-April through June: what do you really want out of life, and how can you make changes to get it?
The 13 months ahead will also bring rewards from work. More work equals a fatter pay cheque, and also puts you in line for as promotion, either a “field promotion” before September, 2016, or a more formal, prestigious one after this “work year” ends. One thing is certain: whether you want more work or not, you’ll get more. Your health will tend to improve now to Sept./16. In some cases, Aries with severe health disabilities or illness will benefit from visiting a foreign country, going to a doctor who is foreign-born, or visiting a medical school. Travel and colleges or universities (e.g., medical schools) will benefit your health. If you work in the medical field, get ready for a banner year!
You might fall in love with a co-worker. Your job might send you travelling to foreign places. Your employer might even send you to school for a while. In general, the periods mentioned above for buying machinery are also your best periods for work in general.
taurus weekly forecastTAURUS April 20-May 20
The 13 months between August 11, 2015 and September 10, 2016, bring you a once-in-decade flood of luck in romance, creativity, risk-taking, beauty, pleasure, and raising/teaching children. This luck will be highest 1) when the planet of luck, Jupiter, closely “trines” your birth Sun, a stretch of a few weeks which depends on your own birth date; and 2) generally, August 12 to September 16, 2015, October 10, 2015 to January 6, 2016, and June 29 to September 10, 2016. (September/October 2015, January 2016 and May 2016 could bring an old flame back into your life.)
One usually doesn’t have to convince you to chase pleasure or to love art, and this is a splendid time for these pursuits. If single, you will ride a wave of good fortune in romance – and in sexual gratification. You could experience one of the great loves of your life. However, this love might not translate into wedding bells. Be sure you are not attracted to someone for only sexual or financial (security) reasons – and, of course, avoid married lovers. (Such triangles eventually hurt all three people.)
If you’re married, your children will bring you joy this year ahead, as they develop new talents, show new charm, and begin to make more mature decisions. This is a great time for a family “adventure” vacation, whether to Disneyland, camping, or to Europe, etc. Your interest in sports will blossom, and if you are an athlete, your winning side will show, strongly. You might ride a winning streak in gambling also, but be wary here – if you lose at first, you probably will at last, too. This is NOT a particularly good year for business, so be cautious in this zone. It is a good time for students (and writers) though – your creativity and wide-ranging knowledge can combine into an accomplishment that will make you proud!

Gemini.svgGEMINI May 21-June 20
August 11 2015 begins a 13-month period of “slowing down.” Your security, property interests, and retirement options will blossom with luck. Your family will embrace you, and you them. Any family problems can be solved more easily now than at almost any other time. This would usually be a great time to sell and buy real estate – for example, to change homes. It is also a good time to find a better or more luxurious rental. (Pick a place where the sun shines in the windows.) However, your spouse or partner might not agree with your choice, and you could have to compromise or do some real persuading. This will go better if you try to sell a property or your home, and/or buy a new one, August 12 to September 16, 2015, October 10, 2015 to January 6, 2016, and June 29 to September 10, 2016. Avoid trying to buy or sell real estate mid-September to October 8, 2015, January 4-24, 2016 and April 27 to May 21, 2016. (To be really safe, add a few days before and after those dates.) (BTW, if you’re single, you might be attracted to, and attract, someone a bit older or younger than yourself. This person will want to be with you partly because he/she admires your accomplishments – and your domicile.)
Young married folks could celebrate a pregnancy this 13 months ahead. This is a great time to landscape your yard, spiff up your garden, renovate your home (especially to add more window space – or space, period) – but watch your budget carefully. Don’t go overboard, as debts could be very resistant to “paying them off quickly.”
One of the greatest benefits of this 13 months is the deep rest and rejuvenation it offers. Our bodies and psyches progress in cycles, and this is the sweetest and healthiest rest cycle in 13 years. This rejuvenation is important, as autumn 2016 into 2017 will bring one of the luckiest romantic, creative and pleasure periods of your life – but it won’t flower at maximum if you’re exhausted, your eyes are tired, and your brain’s weary. So take every opportunity to nap, to rest in Mother Nature’s bosom (back yard, camping trips, etc.) and to cure any small but nagging health complaints. In some ways, you are about to be reborn!

Cancer.svgCANCER June 21-July 22
The upcoming luck cycle, August 11 2015 to September 10 2016, is not a hugely important one for you, Cancer. (That’s probably a good thing, as it’s one of the lowest or weakest luck cycles in a decade.) Mainly, you’ll find luck adds spring to your step as you travel, perform errands, deal with siblings or short-term acquaintances, communicate, do paperwork, or deal with details. It’s a very friendly year, so you might while away many hours just chatting with people. Listen to the news, and be curious. Ask questions. Throw away shyness – it doesn’t belong in these 13 months. It’s a great time to travel around your nation to explore interesting and unfamiliar places. You might visit a town or neighbourhood that you will, in late 2016 to late 2017, move to or purchase a home in. This will have the best outcome if your travels occur August 12 to September 16, 2015, October 10, 2015 to January 6, 2016, and June 29 to September 10, 2016.
This is a great time for students, lawyers, journalists, computer programmers (and all Cancers who work with their fingers) as your communication and writing skills are at a peak, and your ability to find and marshal details is also high. Make sure, though, that you don’t become too verbose, and that you don’t ignore the forest for the trees, nor ignore a significant tree while pondering the whole forest. Find a good balance between details and the big picture. (And, try not to start an important essay, legal matter or similar project mid-September to October 8, 2015, January 4-24, 2016 and April 27 to May 21, 2016.)
Take some care while travelling or exerting – protect your hips and thighs. (E.g., not a good period to run down steep slopes or bump down stairs.) If you’re un(or under)employed, your talkative, curious side will win over potential employers. You’ll be seen as friendly and eager to learn. This influence CAN lead to friendly romance from January to early March and June/July of 2016, especially with a co-worker – but it doesn’t have to. These months are also great for expressing yourself and impressing higher-ups with your creative ideas.

Leo icon, Luck ForecastLEO July 23-Sept. 22
In luck terms, you began a whole new 13-year cycle over the past 54 weeks. You expanded, broke free of limiting conditions, perhaps took a whole new creative or romantic direction. August 11 begins the second “year” of this new direction. (It actually lasts 13 months, to September 10, 2016.) This new phase favours your income, earnings and possessions, your memory, your ability to learn (not concepts so much as facts and figures – rote learning) and your sensual urges. If employed, you’re very likely to earn more money, either through overtime, a promotion, or a new, better job. Try to boost yourself to a new income plateau, because this can be permanent, or a step to even higher rungs on the money ladder. For example, even a small pay raise is probably better than overtime, because the latter will fade in time. Whether employed or not, you can make money by selling unwanted items, wheeling and dealing for yourself, cultivating new clients, etc. The best times for action in all these areas are August 12 to September 16 2015, October 10 2015 to January 6 2016, and June 29 to September 10 2016. During September/October 2015, January and May 2016, you might make money from an old contact, or find a former job is available. You’ll want to spend large sums on travel, education, romance, legal affairs, publishing enterprises and similar things. Okay, but realize this is a lucky earnings year, not an investment year. Be wary of committing your savings to a business proposition.
Now, the news is not super-good. All year, practical restrictions, health limitations and other headwinds tend to “fight” your luck. (Oddly enough, these restrictions can come from romantic partners or pleasure-oriented or creative situations.) If you meet such barriers, assess them realistically – can you overcome them and still succeed? If so, good. But if you determine that the wall is just too high, be smart and change course. Be like water, go where channels, openings exist. (I know, this is hard for you – but a Leonic stubbornness could be your Achilles heel now.)
If you’re single, two “scenarios” exist: in the first one, you might remain involved with a love that began over the last year or so, or you might seek a new romantic love (perhaps at work). In either case, you’ll find things progress slowly, but if your feelings are true, they’ll progress and a deeper bond will grow. In the second scenario, you might be drawn to a sexy person who accepts you quite readily, is easy to talk to and to woo. Your intentions and urges are simply sexual, not romantic. This person will/would become a boring burden to you quite soon – a bad thing if you marry him/her! It’s better to make a little progress with the right person, than an easy conquest of the wrong person.

Virgo.svgVIRGO Aug. 23-Sept. 22
Jupiter, the planet of expansion and great good luck, enters your sign August 11 this year, and stays there 13 months, to September 2016. The gloom, the weariness and in some cases poor luck that has blanketed you for the last 12 months, disappears. Problems that seemed insuperable will, in many cases, dissolve almost magically. It’s like undoing shoe laces – just the right tug on the right string frees your foot. Seek solutions now with a cheerful, optimistic approach. I hardly need to say this, for one thing you will be, over the year ahead, is cheerful and optimistic. This brings many benefits. People are attracted to cheerful people – so is luck. The “glass is half-full” person is much more likely to eventually fill it to the brim, than the “half-empty” sourpuss.
Some of your luck these 13 months ahead might involve, or be dependent upon, a legal, real estate, domestic, parenting, security, food-shelter or retirement situation. For example, this could be the year you finally go over that distant hill and buy the farm or woodland lot you’ve always wanted. (Actually, “distant” is the wrong word, as many of your biggest opportunities will lie very close, perhaps in your own neighbourhood or family connections.) Children will be a joy, and some Virgos will welcome a new little soul into the world. Oddly enough, a child born now will be a reflection of you – you might say an expression of you – in more ways than mere DNA.
However, be careful if investing in real estate, food-shelter businesses, etc. Realize this whole area, if you make a commitment now, will bring you a deep pleasure, but not necessarily monetary or practical success. Many headwinds or delays exist that will call for sacrifice or long, hard work, if you’re to succeed. These can be invoked in anything from child birth (sleepless nights) to agriculture (“oh no, I didn’t think I’d need THAT much equipment”) to real estate (the new home needs a major reno). These won’t surprise you: you’ll see them going in. But make sure you really SEE them. DON’T invest in anything mid-April through June, 2016. Your best times for success will be August 12 to September 16 2015, October 10 2015 to January 6 2016, and June 29 to September 10 2016. Some young marrieds will find a new basis for your mutual love.
No matter what, you’ll emerge from this year ahead feeling more hopeful, successful, outgoing and happy than you have in many years!

Libra.svgLIBRA Sept. 23-Oct. 22
The 13 months that begin August 11, 2015 will shift your luck from social zones to very personal, private areas. You won’t have much success in strident, competitive situations. In fact, you’ll find it rather difficult to express yourself fully and smoothly. But your spiritual, contemplative side will blossom. This is a great time to join a meditation group or other divinity-oriented circle. You could, perhaps for the first time, integrate religion and spirit. This is an excellent time to deal with civil servants, institutions and corporate head offices. Hospital stays, if needed, will benefit you – so will spas, resorts, recovery centres, etc. You can solve difficult tax problems, or obtain some dispensation if you owe taxes. Apply for government awards, auctions and aid. Artists and creators will have luck with philanthropic foundations/agencies. (This is a good time to find an agent.) If you’re seeking employment, focus on any of these groups, from government to company administration offices.
One of the prime benefits of this period is solitude and rest – from this can come valuable plans for the future. Use this time for self-examination. Old ghosts and emotional boogey men can be sent packing, for Jupiter shines a bright, healthy and optimistic light on your heart, soul and psyche. Therapy will have solid, beneficial results. Hunker down with your family, get close again. Old friends and allies will gather around you, and offer support if you need it. This is an excellent time to be charitable, volunteer, and to build up some good karma.
Research, management, delegating tasks – all flow easily now. You might be invited into closed door meetings, and could be elevated to management ranks or be placed on policy committees. The one obstacle you might experience during the 13 months ahead seems to lie in travel and communication areas – so if you do have to attend a meeting, prepare ahead of time, think over what you want to say. This is actually a pretty good cycle for “prepared speeches.” Your best times for action in any of the above zones are August 12 to September 16 2015, October 10 2015 to January 6 2016, and June 29 to September 10 2016. Be careful with partnerships in love and business from mid-April to late June. A long, long period that has touched partnerships and relationships in general with a magic wand of negativity finally ends November 12, 2015. (But if you’re single, the really good stuff comes autumn 2016 onward – be willing to wait!)

Scorpio.svgSCORPIO Oct. 23-Nov. 21
August 11 begins 13 months of increased luck in social zones, Scorpio. This is one of the best “places” to feel a surge of benevolence. Your popularity will rise, earnings or monetary dreams can come true (you might buy something you’ve always wanted). Social delights will add a celebratory note to your days. Make and accept invitations. Join groups, from walking clubs to house parties, meditation circles to political conventions. Group affiliations you initiate now to September 10, 2016, will benefit you for years to come. Aim high – associations or circles that might have rejected you before will open their doors much more readily now.
This is a splendid time to make plans for a bright future. You’ll see life as fresh, growing; you’ll be given a clean slate in many ways. Your optimism will hit a 13-year high, which gives plans an extra “come true” or “achievability” factor.
If you’re married, you and your spouse could be making plans around travel, socializing, ideal retirement venues, even education. If you’re single, no matter what your age, these zones can bring more than one romantic opportunity. You can meet a light, friendly love while travelling, in libraries, law offices, at school, or even while attending a retirement seminar. Groups of people are THE prime source for love now – the more social you are, the more likely you’ll meet someone compatible. One thing: don’t seek deep, passionate infatuation now; instead, you’ll entwine best with someone who makes you laugh, whose friends you like. This is an easy, non-embarrassing link, and yet it can lead to a happy marriage.
Some timing advice: Your best times for action in any of the above zones are August 12 to September 16, 2015, October 10, 2015 to January 6, 2016, and June 29 to September 10, 2016. Almost the entire 13 months, you might need to sacrifice a possessive attitude (or an extreme earnings focus) for love. Be careful when forming new associations/partnerships in love or business from mid-April to late June. If you’re male, this time could lead to “flagging” physical prowess; if you’re female, you might inadvertently hurt a man’s ego, and/or merge with someone whose plumbing is a little dysfunctional (or, worse, who is addicted to physical gratification).
Old flames might return in January or May. A beautiful year, Scorpio – you’ll be happy!

Sagittarius.svgSAGITTARIUS Nov. 22-Dec. 21
I hope you had a peaceful, restful year just past, Sage, because the 13 months that start this August 11 will catapult you into some role demanding work, decisions, energy and optimism. In return, you’ll collect outstanding rewards – new prestige, an enhanced reputation, favours from higher ups, even promotion(s). (Yes, the plural is possible!) Parent-child relationships will be important, and could be a source of joy, good fortune, and enhanced self-image. For example, a parent could lend you money to start a new business or to buy a home (less likely). Lawsuits are never fun (unless you’re a lawyer) but this year ahead (to September 10, 2016) you’ll tend to win, mainly because judges and other authorities will tend to give you a break, or a favourable “verdict.” Or, you might become a new parent, or find yourself herding a whole gaggle of kids – as, say, a summer camp counsellor. In any caretaker role, watch for signs of sensitivity, of dreaminess or deep but calm waters in children. Nothing wrong here, but it could indicate this child is psychic, and will benefit from serenity and nurturing.
The economy will struggle during this luck cycle, and I have advised many not to start a business. But you have a unique angle on this, and can make money where others fail. In fact, if you don’t succeed, the only thing holding you back will be yourself, and perhaps some insecurity. Still, some periods are better than others. You might find the road to the top easier August 12 to September 16, 2015, October 10, 2015 to January 6, 2016, and June 29 to September 10, 2016. Avoid seeking co-operation (and, generally, starting any enterprise) mid-September to October 8, 2015, January 1 – 25 and April 27 to May 21, 2016. Don’t get too creative, be too assertive or quick-tempered, or chase romance mid-April through June (unless you’re single and an old flame returns – judge this now as it was then.)

Capricorn.svgCAPRICORN Dec. 22-Jan. 19
From August 11, 2015 to September 10, 2016, Cap, most of your luck will reside in the areas of far travel, international affairs, higher learning, science, intellectual pursuits, law, publishing and advertising, religion, philosophy, cultural venues and social rituals, and love. You’ll see further, understand more, and your compassion will deepen. (Understanding always breeds compassion.) Foreign-born people will gravitate to you, and aid you. For example, if you’re at school, a prof born in another country will tend to teach you more or give you better marks, than a prof born in your own nation. Usually, your luck is tied to some sort of burden: for you, luck equals responsibility. (This is why so many Caps are company CEO’s, presidents of their club, etc.) Yet, oddly, being too responsible during these 13 months can hold you back and prevent success. You can also slow your progress by sinking too deeply into governmental or institutional affairs, management roles. Try to skirt civil servants and/or your company’s administrative ranks.
Libraries, law offices, transportation hubs and foreign countries will trigger something lucky. If you want to upgrade your status, or move to a higher pay grade, this is an excellent time to attend classes or even seek a formal degree in your field. New, young students should have a banner year. To succeed most (in any area) combine equal portions of detail and “big picture.” You could meet very compatible people or refreshing new friends – even love – at cultural affairs or social ritual gatherings such as weddings, foreign film fests, etc.
A nice, mellow mood will steal over you. If single, you could fall in love in a broad-based, uplifting way with someone who could make a very understanding, loyal and loving mate. (“Broad-based” = a love that has many supports, for it is romantic, physical and intellectual, and society or your family/friends tend to support you as a couple.) Here, too, travel, schools, law offices, libraries, and cultural venues tend to be rich hunting grounds.
You’ll succeed best – or, seen another way, your strong sense of duty and/or insecurity will be least “interfering” – August 12 to September 16, 2015, October 10, 2015 to January 6, 2016, and June 29 to September 10, 2016. You might become entangled in a real estate or domestic quagmire April through June, 2016. Sidestep these two areas. DON’T start a new business January to June. (In general, wait until October 2016 onward to exercise your ambition.)

Aquarius.svgAQUARIUS Jan. 20-Feb. 18
This August to September 2016 could change your life. It will be a bit of a tricky year, Aquarius, even though you will meet tremendous luck in finances, investments, debt reduction, intimacy and physical gratification, research and investigation, occult matters, health diagnoses, lifestyle changes/choices, commitment and consequences. The complexity comes because the planet of practicality, of business cycles, and of “cold reality” fights your luck in all those zones I just listed. You will tend to succeed anyway, but you might have to struggle through some challenges or headwinds. Oddly, the main headwind consists in your own view of the future, in your optimism and in your social urges/needs. Not that these are overwhelming now, in fact they are a little low and restricted (for example your popularity might click down a notch until 2018). But the very fact that they’re low might spur you to focus on them, and this will curtail success in those financial, intimate and research areas I listed above. These blossom best in privacy, or when your mood is turned inward. Your best times for success are August 12 to September 16, 2015, October 10, 2015 to January 6, 2016, and June 29 to September 10, 2016. Your intuition will deepen this whole 13 months, so listen to it, to that quiet little nudge inside – it will help you time meetings, approaches and actions.
Lust is strong, but if you want true romance, you’d better wait until September 2016 onward. Still, lust has its place, especially for married couples. You could become pregnant, or “give birth” in a different way – to a whole new philosophical system, to an invention or discovery. This will be a banner year for researchers, detectives, accountants, estate planners, investment advisors, psychologists and psychiatrists, and agents or therapists of all kinds. However, if you’re a student, don’t change your major into these fields unless you’ve had them as a life goal. (Next year will bring better subjects/fields.)
Be careful September 16 to Oct. 8, 2015, the first 24 days of January 2016, and late April to May 21, 2016 – these are poor periods to dive into a new investment or love situation, though they can bring excellent results in research.

Pisces.svgPISCES Feb. 19-March 20
The next 13 months (August 11/15 to September 10/16) will bring you some of the best opportunities in a decade. There are likely to be at least two opportunities, perhaps four. These are opportunities to relocate, to divorce or marry, to deal with the public, to snag fame’s fleeting flag, to negotiate or form lucrative contracts, to form business or social partnerships and associations. The world is new and fresh, bright and filled with sudden potential!
Two things to remember: 1) All your luck this year ahead will come from others, from your connections and your ability to promote another’s desires and goals (for really, they’re the lucky ones, but you can jump on their band wagon). And 2) there can be some barriers to success which you will have to face and overcome. (Here, too, you will need others – a partner, for example, will be able to help you move a rock that’s too big or heavy for you alone.) Opposition to your goals (more accurately disapproval) can come from parents, VIPs, bosses, even judges and other authorities. For example, you might want to marry Georgina, and you feel in your bones that this is a bountiful, true love, but your parents say she’s not their type, not from their side of the tracks. Who can help you overcome your parents’ objections? Georgina herself! Once they get to know her, they’ll eventually “succumb” to her charms, intelligence and optimism.
Your best times for success are August 12 to September 16, 2015, October 10, 2015 to January 6, 2016, and June 29 to September 10, 2016. Don’t start new relationships or projects September 16 to Oct. 8, 2015, the first 24 days of January 2016, and late April to May 21, 2016. Others might at times drive you crazy with their focus on details. You like to dream and act on intuition and feelings: but it is these “detail demons” who are luckiest for you – embrace them!
The End.



(There on the table in front of her, was the locket. — this was the last sentence of Chapter Three.)


She saw me see it. She didn’t try to hide it.

Her eyes were wide but sunken, and they seemed to sink even as she stared, and she stood suddenly, tall and rigid, grabbing the locket in white-knuckled fingers. Her energy surprised me, and she stared madly at me.

“Where did you get this?” she said.

I didn’t know what to say. She caught me by surprise. “From a dead man,” I said.

I stumbled back a foot.

“Oh – no – not me,” I said. “No, I found – then it is yours, and so he –”

Her face reddened and collapsed, like a gold plum into a scarlet prune. Her smooth forehead turned into a hundred deep wrinkles, wrinkles filled her cheeks and corrugated her nose and tears wet the whole thing. She threw her hands over her face. I pitied her. I had never seen anything like this. I felt awkward, stupid and sorry, but a helpless sorry.

Her straight and tall body seemed to shrink as she turned away. She stepped outside, through the tent flap, hands still over her face. . Everything smelled of canvas. I sat down, not knowing what to do. Then, frightened – but I don’t know of what – I ran outside. The sky was crystal clear, warm and blue, and the campsite and wood and bushes all around shone in the light, but a small cloud had come across and the light was peculiar, as if it was silently echoing something you can’t quite grasp. She was just beyond the campsite, walking slowly, very slowly and hesitantly. I went after her, quickly, but only to within a few feet of her. Her arms seemed thin, her wrists small. But her neck was soft and thick.

“Can’t I -”

“Please leave me.” She wouldn’t look at me.

“You mean – forever? I mean, totally, away?”

She shook her head vigorously, as if she was saying no, but I knew it was not a no, it was a dismissal, an urging me to leave her alone. She turned away from me, face in her hands.

I hesitated, then walked away. I got my jeans and jacket down outside and began to pull them on. They were still wet, painfully cold and hard to pull over my limbs. I went into the tent-cabin and put my boots on. My socks and underpants, still wet, I shoved in my back pockets.

She slipped in through the tent flap.

“No,” she said quietly, looking at me, “Don’t leave. I’m sorry. Don’t leave.”

I exhaled loudly. I wasn’t going to leave – that is, I couldn’t really leave under my own power. She’d have to lead me by the hand to the road, like she had yesterday to the tent. It was like when I threw myself on the ground earlier. In a queer way I had no direction without her. If she hadn’t said “Don’t leave,” if she had said, “Do leave,” I would have just sat outside the tent, forever.

She smiled wanly at me. I stayed, of course. She walked absently to the camp table and sat down, as if still stunned a little. I felt trapped. Not by her, and not in an unpleasant way. I enjoyed being trapped like this, but still, it was a trap, I sensed that. I groped around with my eyes, wondering what the trap was, where it was.

I went to the camp table and sat down. She stayed sitting as if her mind was elsewhere,  her arms hanging by her sides, her hands in her lap. We must have sat there five minutes. Then she flung her head up and looked at me and smiled and reached out and took my left hand. She clutched it so tightly it was painful, and her knuckles stood out, white and boned.

“How old are you?” she said softly but with a kind of terrible happy force, staring at me with a kind of false smile. That almost made me run out of there, whether I’d passed the point of no return or not.


“Ah. You -” she stared into me, then laughed.

“You couldn’t kill anybody, could you?” she said lightly and brightly.

“No,” I said.

“No, of course not.” She laughed. “Of course not! You silly thing! You… poor silly boy, you silly boy… You’ve never killed anyone… what? Do you want me?”

My eyes must have blossomed to big like a jelly fish swimming.

“ Do you want me?”

She stared sharply at me now, perceiving, appraising with shining eyes and now a smile that wasn’t false, but wasn’t really warm either. I thought in some ways I was seeing the real her for a moment. But I didn’t know how that made me feel. It didn’t make me feel warmer or desire; it confused me.

“You saved my life. So you can have me. Have me, anytime. Here I am! Sixteen! Well, you’re brave and intelligent and” – she peered – “yes, you’re good hearted too.” She waited, it seemed she almost did it as a joke – she leaned forward and peered intently at me.

“Well, are you? Good hearted? Are you gentle and kind and wouldn’t hurt a woman, any woman, and you’d always cherish her and respect and never ever hurt or hit her.” She didn’t end this as a question; instead her voice grew softer and I felt she was in my heart.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t leave her.

“Isn’t that right?” she said impatiently now. “You’re as brave and strong as any man, aren’t you? I’ll bet you are!” She laughed. Then she turned away swiftly, her face red.

She got up with a fierce sort of speed, and stood there, and then, I imagine from embarrassment, she stomped out of the tent flap. I sat, not knowing what to do. I was getting very hungry. It was a lot easier to chase something like food, than to return to her or chase her outside. I had had enough feeling and emotion for one day; I just wanted to go away from the last few minutes. In a way, I had triumphed; she’d said something – I was so confused I couldn’t even remember what she’s said a minute ago. Had she said she loved me? Or that I loved her? No, that couldn’t be. That I could have her? I couldn’t remember one word. I only felt that something had happened, and it was favorable for me, and I was scared to ruin it by chasing after her. I saw the food box. I went to it and opened the Styrofoam lid. Inside were a lot of things floating in water, some pop cans, some lettuce that had started to rot and had a green slime on it, a loaf of bread in a steamy plastic bag, and a large chunk of cheese in saran wrap. I picked up the cheese. It was soft and had started to go a bit bad. I peeled the wrap and took a huge bite. My mouth smarted from the sudden taste of food, as if my taste buds had sprouted acid. But God, it felt good, filling my stomach. I bit off another big chunk, then went outside with it.

She was sitting at the cold fire circle. I sat near her. I held out the cheese. “You need to eat something.”

She stared at the cheese. “Oh, yes,” she said, her hand fluttering about her cheek. “We’ll go shopping. We’ll go shopping soon,” she said. “We need lots of food.” She stared at me. It was one of those stares that has nothing to it. “Where is he?” she asked.

“Who?” I said stupidly. Her changing of moods and tones, lickety-split like that, had caught me off guard.

She said nothing.

“Him,” I said, slowly. It was embarrassing to say it; it meant I wasn’t hers – I mean she wasn’t mine. I looked around, hoping she didn’t see me doing it.

“Who is he?” I said finally, weakly.


But she ignored me, she ate only a little and then she started talking, in a light-hearted, conversational, rapid way. None of what she said really made sense to me. The words didn’t seem to refer to anything. But I didn’t care. The sunlight, her magic flesh, the beauty of her blonde eyes, her shoulders, her neck, the freshness of the woods and the sunlight, it was all like a subtly strange, alluring fairy tale I’d wandered into and was content to stay in for the rest of my life, in a sort of amused, mildly fascinated way. Had the fascination been any stronger, I would have been afraid – of madness, I guess – and I might have recoiled. But that hour or two was strange and absorbing in such a numbed, joyful way, that I didn’t care. Maybe if I could have followed what she said, if her words had been clear and understandable, it might have broken the spell. It was the lilt, the music of her words, which spun a bright cocoon around me. I breathed in the cedar and alder and the sweet earth odours, and the sun dappled down on us.

I think I fell in love. In a different way than the last 20 hours or so. It was about five ways so far. I kept getting an erection while she talked, but this was a peaceful erection. It would come so I would secretly push on it with my fist, then it would subside, then come again. It was like lying in bed in the sunny weekend morning, luxuriously, wondering if you should get up, smiling because you didn’t have to, except that I lay in her words, in her presence.

She seemed to be reassured, by the end of our meal, our time of conversation, as if she drew some comfort merely because it had happened.

I called our time together that day “our picnic.” And later that night and even a week later, I said, “I really liked our picnic,” and she nodded with smiling eyes. It’s funny how we both forgot the other part, that occurred right after the “picnic.” 

Because then, just as the sunlight and her voice and the smooth, translucent shine of her cheeks was most gentle and magic, in a cool moment as we both fell silent, like an idiot, I spoke. Maybe the gentle spell of our picnic had given me the energy and courage to ask the questions, I had a bucket full of questions – but as soon as I spoke the sweet gentle spell vanished; I broke it. This was when the “other part” started. I was bursting with all the questions that had bubbled up since she had dropped into the pool. I hadn’t had the opening to ask before this; at first I was too cold, shivering like crazy, then she seemed too fragile, but now that we had had this wonderful, relaxed couple of hours, this bliss, it gave me confidence, so I let my curiosity out. But it was the wrong time, it brought us back to some clear, anxious, tense place, I regretted it almost at once, but I couldn’t stop. 

“Are you Beryl, or Berry? I mean like on the locket.”

She looked far away.


“Was he your husband?” I meant by that was he anyone who had been – I could hardly think of it.


She stared at me, a mild, unspeaking stare. The fairy tale was over; I’d ruined it.

Her eyes said no, don’t ask any more questions. But, because I’d already ruined it – and because it was unfair to keep me out of her – out of her – knowledge – I pressed the point:

“Your boyfriend?”

She looked away quietly, refusing to let me into her confidence.

“Well, they caught the murderer,” I said. It was a big, bold lie, a complete lie. I didn’t know they’d caught anybody; I was virtually certain they hadn’t.  In fact I didn’t see how they could have. But I spoke cruelly, to pay her back for dismissing me like that. I wanted to see her reaction. And I still smarted about the “Him,” the hint that someone else –. So I lied to her and watched her intently.

She stared at me, completely surprised by my “information.” She seemed speechless.  I stared back, but it was an unfeeling stare. I wasn’t giving her anything. I was angry, and a bit tired of all this – this day. And my cold, wet clothes. The thing was, I felt so intensely toward her that I had to get away from her, or I sank into a resentful privacy, I had to, to rest from the intensity. I couldn’t bear it all day long. So this grilling was my way of distancing myself, not letting her surround me.

“They… caught somebody?” she almost begged me with her tone of voice and her eyes. I didn’t answer, so after awhile she softened, pulled back like one of those flowers you touch and they shrink, but she continued to gaze at me. My erection returned.

After a long few moments, she said softly, “Of course, of course, it couldn’t just …the body. Of course.” Then she looked at me with a horrified, seizing look. “Did you see him die?”


“Was he dead? All dead? Was everyone dead?”

“Everyone? No, just him. He was dead alright. His guts were out everywhere. He said to go find the girl. So I figured it was you. I mean now. I mean, you know, now that I’ve found you. He said, ‘Get her.’”


I misunderstood. “That Dieter guy. Just before he died.”

She looked at me. Her eyes widened. “How do you know that name – who told you?”

“I saw him get shot. He died, so I looked in his wallet,” I said, making a long story short.

I should have caught it right then, when she said “everyone.” What did it mean? But I was still caught up a bit in my lie to her, and something on the periphery of my consciousness agreed with that, because if I’d said they caught someone (my lie) of course that meant at least three people, Dieter the dead guy, her sitting before me, and someone else.

“The girl? The girl? Just… `the girl’?” she asked me anxiously, in a close, intimate and wondering voice, taking my arm in her hands and leaning close to me, looking in my eyes with her round, wondering ones, almost childlike, and it made me feel a strange sad fear. I thought she was a little insane. The locket was still in her hands, even when she grabbed me.

“With Dieter? No, he said her. Get her.”

I rose straight on my knees. She had stopped looking at me. She looked at the sky and there seemed to be huge, hanging bags under her eyes. Her face seemed to flow blue and green shades. I walked restlessly around the cold fire pit awhile, getting my courage up.

“Can I sit beside you?” I said. It meant a lot more than when a few minutes ago, during our “picnic” I’d just been sitting beside her, but with a respectful space in between.

She looked at me, like a horse looks at a snake, but softer. If she’d kept looking at me, I’d never have moved, but she looked away in a way that let me. I shuffled over and sat on the ground at her feet, beside her right leg. She was still sitting on the log, but I sat on my knees on the ground and I stayed there a second, frozen. Then I laid my left arm on her leg and leaned my side into her thigh. I knew what I was doing, but also I just wanted to get warm. A major erection pushed up against my wet jeans, and hurt. I hunched forward a bit to hide what I was doing, then I slid my hand into my jeans and pulled it straight up against my belly, so it wouldn’t  hurt so much. I crooked my legs and leaned my left leg against hers. She was quiet and I was quiet, just staring at the bushes. Before I knew it some stuff gushed out and wet my stomach and my erection and made it all sticky. Thank God I had my jeans on. I hoped she hadn’t noticed. I pretended nothing had happened, and I stared at the bushes. I slowly tried to wipe the sticky stuff off my belly and then my hand was filled with it, so I secretly rubbed my hand on the ground, which made it worse, as everything on the ground stuck to my hand.

She grabbed my hair and pulled my face up so she could see me, and my face crawled with embarrassment. She frowned. Then she laughed. “You certainly are vigorous,” she said. I said nothing, deep in shame.

“Listen, my – what can I call you? My guard? Are you my guard? Will you protect me always?”

“Always,” I mumbled husky, as if I’d been eating dry crackers, because I was still in the shameful ecstasy of the sticky stuff.

She stroked my hair. So she accepted me. I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world, anywhere.

“I owe you my life, that’s a matter of fact,” she said. Now her voice was slow, matter-of-fact, but soft. “And you can have me. Really, you can. But you should go away. You can’t really have me. You’ll never know what I was or where I am,” she said. “I’m somewhere you can never be. I’ve done things you can never do – and that no one can ever do to me again.” She dropped her hand from my hair and sat softly back, quietly, I think even kindly, abandoning me.

“So you can’t affect me,” she said. She looked into my eyes. “Please don’t get your hopes up, my Mr. Guard. You think you want me, but I can’t be affected. I’m free in some ways, or I’m …effectively locked away from you.” She stared quietly. “That’s… just the way it is. Leave me, sweet boy. Go away.” She said softly, “Go away now.”

I watched her, puzzled, not knowing exactly what she said, or how seriously she meant it. I was already starting to see she did some things –well, I think to flirt, to get me excited. I don’t know. I still don’t know, two years later. Did she really want me to go?

She smiled at my bewilderment. “Don’t worry, I’ll just disappear.”

“You’re talking crazy,” I said. The earth seemed to change character around us, as if we were both bound in a strange bubble, and around us the sunlight could race or the trees talk or angels could shimmer, outside the bubble. I began to realize what she was saying. She didn’t want me. After all this, she didn’t want me.

“What kind of things can’t I do?” I said, grasping for some way to get back, some way to hook onto her.

“No things.”

“I mean, what kind of things do you mean you did that I can’t ever do? I can do anything. I’d – “ and I almost said what I’d said last night, that I would do anything for her.

“Very bad things,” she said softly. “Very bad things.”

I stared at the ground; well, really, at her lower legs. Very bad things. All it meant to me was she didn’t want me. A sadness began to crawl all over me.

“You will never reach where I am,” she said. “You will never come here – you can’t. It’s already set. You can’t change yourself. And it’s better that way. For you, it’s way better.”

“No,” I said. “I don’t want any better way. I can do anything.” I was starting to panic, trying to find a way to stop her, to make her respect and want me.

But I didn’t have a chance. I didn’t even have three  seconds. She looked directly at me, her face stone:


Of course she didn’t speak in capital letters like that, but it’s how I heard it. It burned into my mind, like a picture.

I sat there awhile, sad. A terrific loneliness come over me. I must have sat there for five minutes, feeling this strange, powerful loneliness. It was like a madness, everything sort of buzzed. There was nothing in the entire world that could help or cure it. Only her. I was stunned, I couldn’t move or think. What place had she thrown me into? Then I realized: only her – or death. Only her, or death. Only her, or death. This was the only thought I could have. It seemed almost desirable. It was better than this weird, twenty-ton sadness. I was actually a little surprised at myself. I’d never thought of suicide before. Besides, I was Catholic, and suicide meant eternal hell. Yet now, how easy it was to want it! It was as if, I could just walk down to the sea, and throw myself in. I stood and stumbled away from her, half from anger, but wanting to die, that was anger, too.

But just the act of getting up and stumbling away was shameful, and it kind of erased the suicide thought. She would think I was weak now. I would never impress her now. Instead, the shame came back stronger, now that I’d made a display of everything and walked away like a coward. I didn’t deserve her! How could a cowardly suicide deserve her? Why hadn’t I seduced her, just then? She’d said did I want her. But now everything was too late. How did I lose her? Lose that – it was all just a moment, a minute, and it flowed by me when she talked, and now – what had she led me to? By her clever talk and my weak replies she’d virtually got me to sign a declaration that I couldn’t, wouldn’t be anyone serious to her now. She’d managed to reduce me to this. For some reason I saw myself throwing myself down on the ground yesterday, a sharp, clear image. How stupid that had been, how ridiculous I’d acted! Of course she didn’t want someone who acted like that.

Still, one part of me hoped, even expected her, even so, to follow me and apologize, or put a hand on me. I didn’t really walk straight away, I went here, then there, then I stopped, without thinking, a strange trance came over me, then I walked again, a few hopeless steps. But as the minutes passed and she didn’t even break her silence or pursue me, I began to feel trapped. The twenty-ton sadness now wasn’t only in me, but all around.  At first, all sorts of images went through my head. I imagined going back to the fireplace, and throwing her to the ground. (This was somewhat how I imagined men and women made love. I’d never seen it, so I had some idea from movies or something – that men just stood over the woman and forced them to have sex just by the force of their desire or their willpower or something. And that the women somehow agreed to this, that they liked the “forcing” or the hot willpower or whatever. Of course I also had heard of the hippies, had even seen a few in town, and knew about “free love.”) But thinking about this just made me more miserable, because I knew I couldn’t go back there and act like that, either way, like the he-men or the hippies. I didn’t even know where that kind of style and heat and charm and determination came from, and she’d just laugh at me again. No, she wouldn’t laugh. It would be even worse.

Because it all made me less, and her more, but not more in a good way. I couldn’t stand it. My body did a kind of weird dance around itself, as if it would go one way, and then the other, and on each pendulum it hesitated, slowed, and then finally it broke, I ran, I ran into the scramble of salal and scattered logs and ferns and cut branches. I ran until I smashed my shin and kept running until I stumbled over a log and went down. My face scraped against a broken stub and my arms were caked with wet slime. But I didn’t hit my head, so I got up and ran again and I fell again, ripping something off my hip, and again and again, stumbling and running and falling, but I scrambled up and ran again, until I smacked my face but good, and my right eye exploded into red and white fireworks and I fell. My mouth watered and a kind of weakness crawled down my face, my chest, and my legs. I was in the dirt, and finally I thought I was at peace, though it was a painful and throbbing peace.

Slowly, though, I began to hear the screaming. I pulled myself up and half lay over the log. With my good eye I could see she was making her way across the mess of logs. She wasn’t screaming now. “Oh, fuck you!” I yelled, standing up. “Fuck you! I know you probably killed him! So fuck you!” I turned and tried to run away again, but I tripped in weariness and to tell the truth I was through with this running and bashing myself, and after only a few paces and I went down again, into a dark, earthy place full of sweet rotted ferns. I just put my face in my hands and hoped she would not come, not now.

Later I wondered why I had said that, I know you probably killed him. Why did 1 even think that?

I knew she was there. She tried grabbing my arm and pulling. Then she was silent for a long time but I knew she was there. I wished she would go away. Then she tried pulling me up again. This embarrassed me, so I got up quickly, without her help, and leaned my back against a log.

She was crying, silent tears — of frustration? I felt sorry for that frustration, I felt sorry for her. Why should she have to cry? But I couldn’t make myself say anything. I crossed my arms and stared at my knees.

“Oh my God,” she said, “You’re a mess.” She reached out and put her fingers on my cheek. I would have brushed her hand away, except she did it with such a combination of doctor-like professional no-nonsense manner, and – why  was she crying?

“Why are you crying?” I said, without looking at her. “You don’t want me so why are you crying?” I said it as cruelly as I could.

And, damn it, I began crying too, just silent tears. Something was happening, I didn’t know what, but it had been happening since I met her (hah, saved her!). The crying had something to do with this strange “point of no return” thing again, this sliding into her, into everything that surrounded her, her gestures, her mannerisms, her spell, and I would never get out again. The crying wasn’t sorrow, or it was a delicious kind of sorrow, I think maybe it was a kind of signal,or a gate, or a boundary.

I looked up at her. She wasn’t crying now,  it was replaced by a sort of worry, maybe. But no, it was a question in her eyes, it was a surprised question that she was in a way biting on and refusing to let it speak, it was the same look as on the dead man when he came running down the road and stopped, bewildered. As if the whole world was a question. When I saw this in her, my eyes must have widened, so she looked at me with a new surprise.

“What’s wrong?” Her voice was quiet, as if something snaked around her senses.


“You were going for the pool,” she said.

I said nothing. It was news to me. I raised myself a bit and looked. She was right. About thirty big steps away (or more small steps, through this tangled brush and branches) and about the size of a big bedroom, the smooth grey rock lay like a belly of the Earth, and in the middle, like a mouth, was the same pool I’d pulled her from. The ten-ton sadness had lifted, but I saw it on the horizon. She had stopped ministering to me. I sank slowly down and looked up at her, the sky was bright blue behind her. She was so extremely beautiful at that moment, and yet she almost glowed with ugliness, too, and one part of me was terrified, I thought I was experiencing some sort of mad hallucination – where all the world was the same, the leaves and granite rocks and the tall cliffs over the tent cabin, I could see the tops of the cliffs, the sky and her cheeks and eyes, none of these had changed a bit, and yet they all had taken on a strangeness, potent and powerful, more powerful than anything human, anything so puny – and yet it was her face that “glowed” most terrifyingly, more than the cliffs or trees, and yet another part of me was rejoicing at all this, for her face was like an angel’s, and I was glad now, so glad to be soaking up her radiant beauty, rejoicing that I was falling deeper in. So I was entering some strange land, and yet I heart-achingly just wanted to be with her, to hold her and say don’t cry, and then of course that damn erection came back now. At my “nothing,” she had tightened her lips and looked away.

“Are you scared too?” I asked.

“Why? Why do you say that?” she said, looking at me intently. The wind lifted her hair and riffled against her blouse, making waves. She’d taken off her sweater. Here she knelt, I sat, both still, facing each other, as if frozen. It was weird.

“Because. It’s – scary.”

“What’s scary?”

“This feeling. It’s like God’s hovering around us.”

I saw her chest subside, and something went quiet in her face.

But slowly, slow and gradual as milk turns yellow, my shame had subsided, and now my sadness had eased, but I still owed her my anger. It was almost dead anger, just resentment.

“So go kill yourself,” I said, glaring at her. “I don’t give a damn. I saved you and you’re mine. But I don’t care, so go kill yourself.” This of course made no sense, but it was all I found to say.

“You’re right,” she said. “You saved me. You saved me.” She went quiet. She stood and pulled her white blouse over her head and pulled down her corduroy jeans and kicked them free. She only had a dusky rose pair of panties on. Her breasts and her long abdomen and her long thighs were bare.

“Here,” she said.

I stood up, a bit sore, but amazed. But it was all wrong. I couldn’t do this. I wanted her to love me. This, this was only contempt. Then I felt tears coming down my cheeks again. And for the first time, I realized why I kept crying. It wasn’t for myself, it was for her. I threw myself on the ground in front of her and threw my arms around her thighs. Of course my erection was digging into my stomach, but it was separated from my mind, or my heart. I looked up at her, wet faced. She lifted both hands to stroke my hair, but one hand only opened two fingers, and I realized she still had the locket pressed in her palm. She opened her hand slightly; it appeared, then she grasped it even more tightly. I looked away, pressing my right ear to her belly.

We fell into a silence. I could smell the alder saplings and the ferns, cooking in the April sun. I looked up at her and thought how beautiful she was, how softly and solidly beautiful. She watched me gazing at her. Was there really something there, in those eyes, in that mind, that I could never see or know, like she said? I didn’t care. I turned my head away. I could feel her beauty whether I looked or not.

She pulled my hair again and looked down at me. “You mustn’t cry.”

The women on the coast said, “you can’t” or “don’t,” not “mustn’t.”

“Yes,” I said.

She slowly peeled me away from her legs. I felt awkward and abandoned, almost like I was the naked one; I blushed at the bushes. But she reached down and squeezed my arm, then she walked away with her clothes in her hand, and for a long time I sat there. Finally I rose, and not seeing her anywhere, I returned to the tent, just in time to see her entering it. When I followed she was on the sleeping platform, lying facing the tent wall with a blanket over her. Her clothes were on the floor. I had picked up the sleeping bag outside, so I shook it and laid it over her, too. Then I lay down beside her. After all, we’d already been almost intimate outside. I left the sleeping bag and blanket between us because my clothes were still wet. The nape of her neck was soft and covered with almost invisible blonde fuzz. I touched it, cupped it in my hand for a few moments. I don’t know if she wanted to sleep or not, but she must have slept. I mean if she wasn’t sleeping, then she must be waiting for me to do something. But I didn’t know, and I didn’t want to be unwanted. I lay there all noon and into the afternoon, with that erection pressed against her back (I couldn’t help pressing it, my body made me) my hand lightly on her back, suspended in ecstasy. If I’d been older, maybe, I would have tried something more. But this was enough. This was total and prolonged. I wanted to hug her but my clothes were wet. I lay for awhile. Then I stood up, ripped off my jacket, and lay down again, this time sliding my bare upper half under the sleeping bag. I pressed my chest against her back, I wrapped my arm around her, I felt her small solid breast on the other side. I held it like a treasure.  I stared at the light as it progressed over the noon and afternoon, I saw her hair, shining in the light, and the top of the sleeping bag and a bit of the canvas wall and some dirt, and how they all slowly glowed in different ways as the sunlight changed. I didn’t think to move my head. I was content. I just watched what I could see. At one point her hand came up and grasped mine, the one I held her baseball breast, and it was so good to hold her hand, and I felt the locket in it, pressed  against my palm. (And the whole ecstatic afternoon, feeling so warm and comfy and the sunlight’s beauty, every once in awhile like someone far away speaking, thin, I Glimpsed the words: GO AWAY. I DON’T WANT YOU.)

I heard her softly snoring, like you hear a bear in the woods sometimes, that soft snuff, snuff as it blows through its chest. I got up and drank two pop and gobbled down mouthfuls of cheese, then slid back under the sleeping bag. Then I immediately got out, took off my almost dry jeans, and slid under the cover again, this time naked against her. That was a different ecstasy, new and with a hundred feelings and promises.

Then out of the blue, maybe at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, she said, “They didn’t really arrest anybody.”

“No,” I said.


“You’ve fallen in love with me, haven’t you?”

“Yes,” I said. “I think so.”


Then I heard her softly snoring again. About eight o’clock, as I was watching the Moon, she woke and turned to me with big eyes in the dark and grasped my erection and guided it into something soft and warm and like paradise.