So I spent much of the day reading, napping, and making a sketch of my room.
I also joined the doctor and Marisa for proper meals, eaten at conventional times in the dining room. There isn’t a lot of variety here, like there would be in a city or a rail town. But the food is prepared well, and it was nice to have eggs, cheese, meat, bread, and honeyed desserts for the asking. I don’t know what this is all costing, but the doctor insists it isn’t much and he will pay for it all.
I guess love makes people generous!
I spent a little time this afternoon working on my gear, making sure everything was in good shape. Marisa knocked on my door while I was mending a tear in one of my blankets. “John is out doing some bartering,” she said. “Would you like company?”
She settled into one of the chairs by the window, and we worked in comfortable silence for awhile.
“So where are you going next?” she finally asked.
This seemed to take her by surprise. “I thought after your success the other day. . .”
“I’m through with the wars and all that. Or at least, I’ve been trying to be through for awhile now.”
More silence. Then, “Is Robert going to join you in Kentucky?”
“I doubt it. I’ve never told him that’s where I’m going, and I’ve never invited him, either.”
“Why not? Love is too important to throw away.”
I set down my mending. “I’m happy for you, Marisa. I really am. But this isn’t the right time for me and Robert.” When she seemed to not understand, I went on. “I’ve been wrong about things in the past, and people have died because of it. If I tell Robert I’m ready to make a life with him, I have to be completely sure that I’m not mistaken.”
“You sure seem in love to me. You were positively glowing when you talked about seeing him.”
“But how am I supposed to know if what I feel will last forever?”
Marisa shrugged and returned to her knitting. “Not every love has to be forever.”
“That may true for you and Dr. Ruston. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. But Robert would have to leave Unitas and give up everything he’s worked for, to be with me. I can’t ask that of him unless I’m ready to follow through.”
Marisa nodded as if she understood, and we returned to our work. About an hour later there was a tap on the door. It was the doctor, and after he checked me for symptoms and expressed satisfaction about my temperature, he told me he had heard a rumor that Unitas was doing a major purge of infiltrators after our mission the other day. He said they were now negotiating a joint mission with Hispanos Unidos against México Lindo.
“That’s nice,” I said.
Before he could say any more, Marisa made a silencing motion with her hand. “Did you happen to find out what’s for supper tonight? I swear there’s something about being cooped up indoors all day with nothing to do that makes me hungrier than if I were working.”
I guess the doctor got the hint, because he agreed it was time for supper, and they went to get dressed for dinner. While they were gone, I changed into my dress. And since they seemed to be taking a lot longer than was necessary, I spent some time in front of the mirror, brushing out my hair and trying to style it.
I was beginning to think Marisa and the doctor had given up all thoughts of dinner, when finally they knocked on the door. Marisa was blushing, but Dr. Ruston offered no apology, and we went down to the dining room with them smug and smiling like a couple of teenagers. I felt suddenly old, and more than just a little jealous.
At supper, the doctor said I was well enough to continue my journey. He seemed uneasy, though, and suggested it would be best to wait another day or two, if I could.
But he and Marisa need to head home, and I can’t go with them because it would blow their cover. And I sure don’t want to stay here. So tomorrow, I’ll start heading south again. As soon as I reach the southern boundary of Don Reymundo’s lands, I can turn east, then eventually northeast. And then I’ll finally be on my way to Kentucky.
It’s about time!
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