Saturday, January 14, 2012

Outback Love, Part 2 by Neale Sourna_short story

Outback Love, Part 2
by Neale Sourna

Coober Pedy, South Australia; 1919

Green. I miss the color green. Green trees, both evergreen and deciduous, and green azalea bushes ready to spring bloom, dripping with rainwater or glistening with morning's kiss. There is no green or dew kisses here because in this dry, hard place, "like the lifeless moon, after Armageddon", we never had our honeymoon, Pete and I.
"I'm not him, I'm not Joe, Maddy, not the man who sent you those letters that brought you here, but … but, if you'll h-have me—?"
"Yes. Without question," I'd said, and he'd blushed horribly, nodded mutely, and we were betrothed.
We were married by a great talkative preacher on hostile and diligent mission to convert and subvert the kind aborigines to his God. Then, Pete and I spent an uncomfortable, unconsummated wedding night lying side by side, and then he'd risen early, but I'd finally convinced him to sit still for breakfast only to have him seem increasingly guilty about dawdling his day away with me.
So, a half day into our honeymoon week, he returned to mining the opal, and that lonely way was our way for too long.
"Are y'happy here, Maddy, with me?" I'd wanted to say a bold, unquestioning "yes" again, but my nod was not so doubtless.
He's a fine man, but this is a daunting new world—this post Great War, Australian outback, this barren place of castaways. Pete was clearly avoiding any marital intimacy with me; a fine start that. Shouldn't a man be happy and take relish in his new wife, especially if he truly loved?
Still your mind and heart, Maddy girl. Mama always said I should curb such harsh, unfeminine thoughts and keep all such masculine tones of disappointment or...

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