More Thoughts on Copper
For several days he went around frowning and silent, mulling things over and acting surprised whenever someone tried to talk to him about ordinary farm things like barn doors and fences. Then he disappeared for a whole day and returned with dark circles under his eyes, avoiding everyone and being even more quiet than before.
Yesterday evening as I was trying to figure out 3 + x = 12 on the porch after supper, he came over to me.
“You told me once you fought in the civil war back in your country.”
“You ever kill a man? On purpose, not in a combat situation.”
I set the book down, not at all sure I liked where this was going. I answered vaguely, to give myself time to think how much I should admit.
“Look,” he said, not at all his usual nice self, “I need to know if I can count on you. If I put together a plan to confront the scrap metal dealer, can I trust you to carry out your end?”
“That depends on what my end is. I came here to get away from having to kill people, not to do more of it.”
He stared at me for what seemed like forever. It was plenty long enough for me to remember Tanner, the hobo on the train, and the man who was holding Vince’s gang members hostage. It was long enough for me to remember Strecker and the man nearly two years ago who raped me. Oh, yes, I was quite capable of killing, if it had to be done. But over copper wire? “If you think it’s really necessary…”
To my relief, Lee shook his head. “It shouldn’t be. But I don’t make promises I can’t keep. And that goes for threats, too.”
I understood. “If you think we should confront the guy and you have a solid plan, I’ll go and I’ll do whatever has to be done. It’s my phone company, too.”
He smiled like I had just solved all his problems and sat down next to me. We then spent a pleasant hour adding letters to numbers, as if we had never discussed anything more unpleasant than algebra. Lee really is very nice. Sometimes I think I should just cut my losses and let him be my boyfriend. Love can grow from like, can’t it?
I just hope whatever Lee is planning, it all works out peacefully. Maybe I should have Sam contact Robert and see if he can help. He’s done so much work in the copper mining towns of my country that maybe he’ll have an idea how to get us what we need without our having to fight for it. I’ve worked really hard to get to this peaceful place, and I don’t want to do anything to mess it up.