by DiVoran Lites
Everyone settled in as Enrico and Lia began to sing an aria, which Aldon thought sounded like cats fighting. When he and Ellie played music they had created, however, he knew that his heart was going to burst right out of his body.
Nancy had a piano piece, though none of the other, older folks participated. The German girls and the two-man, oomph band drew raves of applause and laughter as they played, “She’s too Fat For Me,” an old traditional they all knew and thought was hilariously funny.
Some of the people filed into the kitchen, but Aldon and Ellie were inundated with compliments and handshakes. Eventually, more people stepped between them, separating them until they were no longer in the same room. After seeing that all the chairs had been replaced, Aldon went looking for Ellie, but he found Molly instead. She lay in wait in the hallway and when she saw him, she motioned for him to follow her to the door between the kitchen and the back porch. She pointed at the window.
Aldon stared at a scene that he had never expected to witness. There, pressed against the coats, hanging from their pegs, stood Ellie with Enrico leaning against her and holding her wrists above her head. Ellie stood as still as a rabbit with her eyes closed tight. At the sight Aldon turned and made his way out the front door without hesitating or looking back.
The next thing he knew, he was on Chief, urging him to run, which his obedient horse was happy to do. They scrambled up the mountainside until it got so steep that Chief had to slow down. Aldon wanted to ride forever, trying to cool the angry fever inside, but he calmed himself enough to realize he could ride the horse to death. When they arrived at the cabin, he tied Chief to the porch rail and strode through the front door, slamming it behind him.
It was now two A. M. and the night was so dark he wondered why he hadn’t fallen off the shelf road or got stuck in a gully on his way here. He knew he had no chance of sleeping, so he found matches in a tobacco tin, struck one, turned up the wick on the kerosene lamp and lit it. As he laid the King Albert container on the table, he wondered how long it would be before the pack-rats returned and stole it. Was there no safety for anything or anyone? He sat at the table with his head in his hands. Then looking up he saw the Bible tucked under a shelf, picked it up, and opened it to the middle. He began to read Psalm 51.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin,” He paused, calmer now, knowing His heavenly Father was near. Suddenly he recalled Pastor Rudd’s suggestion that people who had something on their minds could write letters to God, who is always waiting to hear from them. That’s it, Aldon thought who better to talk to than my heavenly Father?
He opened a drawer again and found a piece of scratch paper and a stub of pencil. One side of the paper had a list on it. He recognized the writing immediately. It was Ellie’s. She had written the names of the wildflowers he had told her about at round-up: Glacier Lily, which they’d seen growing near an old snowdrift, Monument Plant, that grew only in moist years and then waited between twenty and sixty years for a full rainy season to bloom again. She had listed lemon, rose, and red Indian Paintbrush. She had written down everything he had told her! He felt a tightness in his shoulders as the anger boiled again. Why did she write it all down as if she cared when all the time she planned to run away with Enrico?