a Different Way
- By Gilmoradict
- Send feedback to: 12nostalgia77 @ gmail.com (without the
- Just got to thinking, that MAYBE Steele and Laura just
can't make marriage work. Would that really be so bad?
- A lone horse and rider ambled down a steep trail through
the hills of a ranch outside LA. The air buzzed with the irritated
whine of insects in the late afternoon heat, as if they were
trying to cool themselves with the thrumming of their wings.
The rider used her well worn cowboy hat to fan a particularly
pesky swarm of gnats away from her horse's ears. A car drove
up to the ranch buildings at about the same time as the rider,
it's occupant smiling as she leaned against a fence to watch
the approaching figure.
- "Hey, You. Thought you were going to wait for me to
go out riding."
- "Sorry, Mindy. It's after four though, thought you'd
be here long ago. I wanted to get Buck here out - he doesn't
get ridden enough as it is."
- "Yeah, I couldn't get away. That project for NorCo
is making me crazy. Can't seem to pull all the pieces together."
- "I understand. Sorry dear. Neither of the kids could
- "No - soccer, school, you name it. Joe's got them this
weekend anyway. Just me, Aunt Laura. Can you stand it?"
- "Of course. Go on inside if you like, let me get Buck
settled and I'll be right in."
- "Sure - how about I put together a salad for dinner/"
- "Fabulous - you know I'd rather eat food ANYONE but
me made." Laura smiled at her niece as she slid nimbly from
the horse's back and led him to a small stable.
- "There's nothing more lovely than the late afternoon
sun from your porch, Aunt Laura."
- "Can't disagree with you. I've never regretted buying
this place, only not spending more time here. Seems as if there
are always more cases to work on , problems to solve, than there
are days in the week. I'm getting better though about putting
them aside and saying the weekend is mine. Self preservation
of old age I guess."
- "Who's old!? Not you certainly."
- "Mindy, you're sweet. I'm not under any delusions about
how old I am. It makes me more aware of how I want to spend
each day, though."
- "Well, this seems like near perfection today."
Mindy sighed and stared across the hills beyond the ranch. "Mom
said she talked to you on your birthday."
- "Yep - she and Donald seem to be having a great time
on their cruise - do you know she tried to talk me into going
with them?" Laura shook her head wonderingly.
- "She worries about you being alone, Laura." Mindy
looked at her aunt, measuring her response.
- Laura smiled at her niece. "She's always tried to mother
me - even before your grandma died. I wish I could convince
her that I'm happy, but sometimes people have trouble looking
beyond their own measure of happiness. For your mom, you kids,
her grandkids, Donald; it doesn't get any better for her, and
she can't quite imagine that I could be happy without those same
things." There was a pause, as Laura stared out at the
shadowed hills. "I'm not saying it wouldn't have been nice
to have kids, one special person, but it didn't work out for
me. It doesn't for lots of people. There are other things that
I've found make me contented."
- "Lot's of us have trouble with the marriage thing."
Mindy said soberly. "Things don't work out the way they
did in those old Hollywood movies very often."
- "No, they don't." There was a sad edge to Laura's
voice as well. "But still, we fill our lives with people
we love, right? I have Frances and you, your brother and sister,
and your kids. I have good, good friends, Gus, Scrub and the
horses, this place, and work that I still love. It's all good."
- Laura reached down as she spoke to scratch the ears of a
sleeping dog of uncertain lineage that lay near her feet. A
plump tabby cat was keeping watch from inside the double doors,
safe there from any coyotes that might view her as a snack.
- "Did you hear from Uncle Remington on your birthday?"
Mindy asked, regretting her question almost at once, for fear
the answer would be no.
- "Of course, Mindy. He's very good about those sorts
of things. He called the day before, to make sure his package
arrived - a lovely book with prints from the Monet exhibit at
the Louvre. I'll show it to you later." Laura smiled thinking
of the gift, and the letter that had accompanied it. "Harry's
coming by in a few weeks, sometime after the holidays. He likes
to catch up on West coast culture now and then."
- "You're so civilized about things. I can't quite imagine
Joe and I ever reaching that point."
- Laura was silent for quite some time, holding her glass of
rapidly warming ice water without drinking it. "Harry and
I had so many things going against us. Sometimes love isn't
enough to make things work. There were moments, but we couldn't
keep it up day by day. For a week here and there...."
- "So you'll get your week, huh?" Mindy asked.
- "I'll get a visit with a dear old friend. And you'll
keep talking to Joe. Who knows? Maybe there's a Hollywood ending
planned for you two yet. And Casablanca - as I remember Ilse
left in the end, and Bogart was alone. He didn't fall apart.
I won't, and you won't either. How about we clear the dishes
and take a swim. It's late enough in the day that there's absolutely
no chance of getting burned."
- The End