Excerpt for Once Upon a Time in Navajo by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Once Upon a Time in Navajo

Written by: MacShayne

(2017 re-issue)

Copyright Page

Copyright 2017 by MacShayne. Smashword Edition

Copyright 2015 by MacShayne. Original Edition

Edited by: MacShayne

Coverwork by: MacShayne

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, persons (living or dead) are coincidental.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this eBook. You are welcome to share this story with friends and family, although I’d appreciate it if they would download a copy themselves. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes only, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to your favourite eBook retailer to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

Discover other titles by MacShayne

Mitch Crowne (book series)

1. The Drifter

2. Manhunt

Table of content

Chapter 1: What Happened at the Intersection

Chapter 2: That First Navajo Evening

Chapter 3: Upon the Hill at Red Lake

Chapter 4: Vanilla Sky above Zilditloi Mountain

Chapter 5: An Ever Changing Horizon

About the author

Contact me

Chapter 1:
What Happened at the Intersection

When I was at school, I spend my time thinking about how to respond when my rage would gain the upper hand in me. And I mean at times when there was no solid explanation for it to happen. You see, most people are driven by fear, lot's are driven by love, a few are driven by desire and then there's the small group that mostly exists out of loners like me, they are driven by rage. It's something in our dna, you can't change it only accept it. Life with it. Eventually I fell in love. And that made things for me a lot easier, to contain my rage I mean. No more anger during math classes because I saw her that day. No more anger during gym because I remembered her smile and no more anger during weekends because I imagined me and her together on a plain to Bora Bora. No more anger during lonely hours because I felt something that made me warm up inside. It had the upper hand for nineteen months. Then I decided it was enough. I blocked love out of my system because I was too scared to be denied. It's lame. Because the only person that denied me was me, myself. Rage came back in such a way that I didn't even know where it came from and that didn't matter either. Because I was an adult now. I could live with it. I understood it. Rage…

I was driving in my cabrio MG, wore my ray ban sunglasses while I was getting lost. I decided since I finished my study that it was the right time to find the place where I would find myself. I was born and raised in the Netherlands and had nothing to complain about during my first twenty-two years on this planet. But, something changed everything that made me decide to leave the home country way too abruptly at 21st July. 2017 should have been my year, and in a way it was.

I mean, there's struggle, there's always struggle. It's like happiness, a part of life. We all have to deal with struggle. Some lots more than others. Life is just not fair. And I always liked to think that I was wise enough, there were lots other people that have it much more worse than we. Simply because it's true. Life is dangerous, that’s why no one survives, right?

Damn, I was looking at my watch, I used to say that time was all we have. And that's true. Because it's also the only thing we can't form in the way we want. You can expand it when nature has run its course with you, but you can't outsmart it. Now my watch is a little different than the normal watch. Mine doesn't work. I stole it out of my father's closet just after I received my final grad on Spanish. It was already broken but I liked it. For me, time stood still since that moment.

It made me think about this dream I ones had. A dream about a person that was standing on a mountain. Not too high, about 1500 metres high I guess. Looking over a sunny valley, comparable to the place where I am now at. Arizona. The person was looking at the horizon and didn't see anything that made sense. No future, no expectations and no idea of what was out there. But, there was that beautiful view. That view that attracts you, invites you and only wants you when you feel comfortable.

The person looked back and then I had visions about the small group of people I cherish in my heart. The section that is still operative. The part you decorate with your family and friends. The part I kept when my heart broke. Not by the girl I loved, but by myself. Because I was tired of staying stuck in the middle.

Then he looked up at the beautiful blue sky. His half long brown hair was blown gently backwards by a cold summer breeze. He saw a picture in the sky when he looked at the clouds that were forming just out of nowhere. A picture of his own face with a smile, where he was a little older though, and somewhere in the united states looking at something in his hand. Also a picture I always thought. Than before I snapped back into reality, I remembered this picture about me and my brother. We were in a disco called Swetser. I wore my dark grey blouse and my brother a light grey sweater. He with this big Zlatan smile and me with this George smile where my lips were sealed.

I had no idea where I was. I was in the country I always dreamed about. Not because I wanted to work in the movie business, the country itself always seemed to have its pull on me. No their politics or their so called American dream. Much smaller. The beautiful treasures that this country seemed to have. Treasures like Yellowstone, the Glades, the Rocky mountains, just all the different kinds of area's this country has and of course, Hilary Duff…

But, I was told a few days later where I was at that moment. They remembered me well. The Dutchman travelling in a British car in the United States. Surely, If I were them I would also think that I had lost my mind. And maybe I had. What was I doing here in the first place. Searching for myself? Of course not. I was enjoying everything all around me. The freedom, the careless thoughts and this heart at peace.

I was driving on a road in Arizona called Pinedale road. I was listening to a song, a Johnny Clegg song. He's a musician that is known for his modern folklore South African music. He himself is South African. And his music was at a time pretty mainstream. Especially in France.

The accident happened when I was looking at my map. I am stubborn. Like both my parents are in a way. A good way. And I didn't like this technology of nowadays very much. I did have a phone, a Nokia. But no navigation system for me. I liked to be lost and forced to look at maps. But, like were taught during driving lessons, keep your eyes on the road!

A car came from my left (on Country road 566) and I had to respond quickly. I manoeuvred to my right and nearly hit the old blue Ford pick-up that had precedence. I sighed deeply of relief but ended up off-road before I hit the brakes. It was above thirty degrees at the time but I felt cold as ice when I hit the wheel with my forehead…

I woke up what felt like hours later after a long night hitting the clubs in Groningen. I saw that my white shirt was spilled with red. That could be a nosebleed. I opened my eyes a little further and noticed that I wasn't on the road anymore. I sighed and couched a few times. I wiped away some blood as I reached for the door handle. What the f*ck just happened?

Then when I tried to reach for my sunglasses it occurred to me that my shoulder muscles hurt like hell. I fell out the car like a drunk and laughed. I remembered myself when I was with a woman during a night were I was also drunk. She was kind and didn't deserve a knucklehead like I was during New year's eve, but I had no control. I even introduced her to my parents who were also around. But then again, I got back on my feet and stumbled to the back of my car and opened the trunk.

There it was, a bottle of Cointreau. The only medicine I had at hand. And maybe it helped fighting the pain in my shoulder's a little. As I hit the bottle for a fourth time I figured out that my car wasn't damaged. The wheel was covered with blood, that was a fact for sure.

I decided to get back behind the wheel and try to find a clothing store. I hit the car in reverse, back towards the road. When I tried to use the brakes, nothing worked… I quickly put the car in the first transmission to stop the car and ended with my front up north. That was at the same time when Beautiful by Eminem started to play at the radio ( I put a CD of mine in it). I laughed again, like I always do when I have this feeling that I want to set the world on fire. Just to cover the rage. Then I heard that noise of a car pulling over. I drank a little more Cointreau while begging it wasn't the cops. A white foreign in this area that was drinking while driving, bad situation.

'What have you done, had a little fight with yourself?', a female voice, a gentle voice, but not American type of voice said…

'What can I say', I responded, 'I love our flag', wearing a white shirt, blue shorts and covered with red blood.

'You're not from around, I can hear that perfectly', she joked.

'How did you know, am I that good looking?', I almost said while I almost choked. Why would I say that? 'Pardon me, didn't intend to…'

She interrupted me. ‘Don’t try so hard to make people dislike you. What happened really out here?'

I got out of my car and sighed. 'Well, things escalated quickly when I looked a the map.'

'The map…?', she said while I turned around.

She was nothing like the Americans I had pictured in my mind. She was much more different. By Americans, no offense, I see those Hollywood type in my imagination. You may laugh now, those Hilary Duff, Beyonce types. When it comes to women…

'Well.. Lost your tongue?', she asked. God bless him that my yaw couldn't drop.

'Uhm eah. I use a map to find the right way.. I looked at it and then there was this intersection and… well.. then I had to improvise…'

She was a cop???

She smiled and must have thought off me as a joke. 'So nothing to do with the liquor?'

'Absolutely not', I answered and we both laughed. 'You're a cop?'

'Don't worry. I'm not a cop in this county.'

'Does that mind?', I dared to ask.

'Of course it does. I live in a place called Navajo. I'm heading back now Mr.?'

'Call me Marc', I said and offered my hand.

'Aimee', she said as we shake hands.

'So no police but carrying a gun?'

'I am police, Navajo Police.'

Aimee had dark brown hair, even darker than my hair was. She was about 1.64 metres long and very well in shape. Her beautiful brown eyes had this look, like she could see right through the bullshit. She wore light "cantaloupe" shorts with a black belt. She also wore a white top and a beautiful tribal bracelet. And some used brown boots with two inch heels. I didn't know the inch exactly, but I'd like to think that I do. She kept starring at me and I felt like I was nuts. I felt naked because I had this feeling she could sense every time when I thought about saying bullshit…

'Is that real police, or just…'

'Is this a real gun you think?', she interrupted me again and showed me her fire weapon.

I was a little flabbergasted, but I liked her spirit! Damn. I prefer women that are confident, it's not only sexy but they earn respect without "displaying" anything. They know how to keep the best of them for those who earn it. It's a shame that as of now most of their egos clashes with mine. Else why, I would definitely already been hooked.

'Now that's! A weapon…', I said in a deep voice.

'So, since we are here to serve and protect, how can I protect you before I serve you?'

'Well, I can't drive safely with this car, so it needs to be fixed.'

'Now, since you are so understanding, I give you a ride to Navajo and ask someone to pick up your car. And maybe, if you stay polite I'll even arrange someone that may be able to fix this piece of British wreck', she said with a wink.

'Deal', was all I had to add…

We went into her car after I checked three times that I locked the doors of my car and drove away. Heading towards Navajo. Never heard of the place…

Chapter 2:
That First Navajo Evening

2097 people are living in this small populated town where I'm at. The coming days that number will be plus one. Today I had a little accident at an intersection. I was found on the road with booze in my right hand by a woman named Aimee. She told me that I could use some protection from myself. Later in our conversation in her car she told me about how she tried to join an FBI programme and how she ended up as a Navajo police officer.

'So the FBI. That's something different', I said when she told me about her "dream job." 'Why the FBI?'

'I grew up in a small place like Navajo. First I dreamed that I would become the president of the United States. The first female president. My father was harsh when I talked about my dream. But he also said that politics wasn't good enough for me, instead of saying I wasn't good enough for politics. I didn't understand back then, but I do now.'

'What changed?'

'Everything. You know, politics are important for our way of life. But it's a world that includes lying, pretending and even domination in some sort of way. Well, I like to dominate, I mean I'm not a submissive kind of girl you know. But all the other things weren't carved in me. I like telling the truth and finding out the truth. Then my mother mentioned that I should become a detective. So when I was twelve years old, I began to lean towards the FBI as my ideal career.'

'For what it's word. I thought you would make an hell of an FBI agent.'

'Now you're trying to make me feel better, don't! I feel complete as the person I am today.'

'Maybe you are, maybe you aren't. I'm your age and I'm the family screw-up. So, I accept the fact that you think that I'm always talking bullshit.'

I looked at the surroundings while I heard her breathing in and out. She wet her lips with her tongue, I could see that in the corner of my eye. It was warm and dry this day. I believed her, she was a complete person and found her place in society. I didn't.

Aimee was accepted into the programme, she had no trouble passing the first selecting rounds, later on she explained that she didn't pass an eye test. The operation to fix this little problem was too expensive for her to pay. So, instead of joining the police in a big city, she chose to find herself in a small town. Thereafter, we talked about different places that I have passed since my arrival in the United States. She was surprised when I told her that I actually have a degree in Economics and wasn't a real alcoholic.

'So here I was only thinking that you're here to get wasted. But now that you say, you have a smart set of eyes. Aren't you intoxicated?', she asked while looking at the hand I held my bottle of Cointreau with.

'No, I just had a moment you know. A moment where things don't go quite as well as you would like them to be. So instead of being angry with the situation, I thought let's make the best of it.'

'I can't say that I agree with what you did. I'm police and from my point of view you were about to drive again. But let's put it this way, I like that kind of attitude.'

We continued our journey towards Navajo. We didn't say much about our private life's anymore. We kept our conversation about historic stories in this neighbour. When we were eight miles away from Navajo I wondered why Navajo was such a small place.

'You mentioned that this town has a population of just a little more over two thousand people, does that have a reason? I mean I grew up in a small town called Harkema back in the Netherlands and we had twice that number and I always thought that my hometown was a small town.'

'You're right. This town has two schools but isn't very populated. But a lot of children come here for school from smaller communities. Not town's or villages but even smaller. And before the mill was closed down in the previous decennium, the population was much higher. A lot of locals worked for the mill and when it was closed down, well, those people needed a job to feed their children.'

'They left for a place with more chance of getting a job.'

'Exactly. But still, this place is very remote. And a number of people encounter difficulties to pay their bills. Thankfully we're a close society where everybody knows each other. We like to help each other out when it's necessary.'

'So the economy isn't what it was.'

'We do fine. We manage to survive because of our schools, our hometown market, the gas station with garage and our homes.'

'You're the only cop?'

'I'm not just a cop for Navajo only, I have a bigger jurisdiction than just this little place. But I like to life here. My office is in Gallup, that's why I encountered you.'

'What can I say, lucky me.'

'Don't you have questions about my appearance. Most of the times when white people come across this part of the country, they think they are in a different country than the United States.'

'Oh no, I don't have any questions about race. I don't see colours when it comes to people. I'm more of an eyes man', she didn't say anything while we entered the village. 'For the record, you did understand me, right?'

'Since there are no hotels or motels in Navajo, I will offer you a place in my barn. But when your car is fixed, you're on your own again. Understood?'

'May I ask you why?'

'I don't do this often, it's just that you seem like a good person. And you won't stand very well against a complete village.'

'Well, how can I repay you then?'

'Do not cause any trouble. Some locals aren't very fond of tourists.'

'Why will they repair my car then?'

'I said some, not all of them.'

Later that evening

When it became evening I decided to scoop the neighbourhood for myself. Navajo has a small population, but the village or town itself was larger than a comparable village in my country. The houses in Navajo were spread over a larger piece of land. I discovered the gas station with the garage at Cleveland boulevard. I saw my car parked outside and had a look. Luckily for me I didn't damage the car's painting. Then I continued my journey forwards until I heard some music playing in a distance. Did this place have a bar?

The music came from what appeared to look like a normal house in this village. But this house was surrounded by cars, most of them pick-ups. I didn't intend to go out for a drink, but I couldn't resist this time. I was too curious not to have a look. When I was about to enter the house/bar I was met by two tribal guards. One seemed to be unpleased with my visit, the elder one nodded at me with a smile and I nodded back… with a smile…

This place was filled with locals of course. It was now when I figured out that Navajo was indeed a place that mostly existed out Navajos. I just saw two Hispanics and I was the only one with a red coloured skin. I burned myself two days ago. I found my way to the handmade bar and ordered myself a Corona. I finished quickly and ordered a second. The bartender had no problem serving the tourist it appeared. I wondered why Aimee mentioned that.

So, after another Corona I went to an empty booth and seated myself. I was trying to grab my Marlboro cigarettes but my pockets were empty. Wait… Did someone robbed me while I was at the bar? I scratched the top of my head and panicked a little. But then again, panic is for me a little different. When I panic I get angry, I'm angry all the time, but not like you want to hit something.

'Lost something?', the only familiar voice in this place that I recognized asked me.

I sighed deeply, like blowing off steam. I lowered my ass back on the seat while she sat down on the other side in this booth. 'Did you find something?', I responded as gently as I could.

'You know what is strange these days?', she asked.

'No, I am used to lots of strangeness.'

'Why?', she asked interested.

'Well, when it comes to crazy, I can set the bar pretty high you could say', I said calmly.

'I'm a cop Marc, I know your just joking. You keep pretending like your this adventurous, self-destructive macho that tries to hide a real little but oh so fragile heart. You can't play me, I see right through the bullshit.'

I smirked and looked at the table where she lay my wallet. 'Speaking of which, what did you find lately?'

'Everything, and it's all connected to this educated fool that is appealing like a sandwich early in the morning.'

'So, you like sandwiches?', I joked as I waved at the bartender that I wanted two coronas.

'Who are you really Marc? What is hiding behind your blue eyes. Why do I feel your warmth while your skin feels cold as ice?'

I choked in another zip of beer…Then I re-established myself into my coolness, 'When did you touch me exactly?', I answered with a grin.

We continued our conversation after the two coronas arrived. Eventually a song was playing that I recognized. The song was called Church in Ruins. I'm a huge fan of True Detective, this song was included in the second season's soundtrack.

'Shall we leave? I'm tired and you're getting drunk', Aimee said to me.

'Don't you want just on more. The last one?'

'Let's go..', she slightly demanded.

I stood up and I acted like I felt a little dizzy. I wasn't drunk. I never get drunk, especially when I'm in a bar filled with strangers. But, she liked the idea I guessed, and I didn't mind to play along.

Almost at her house…

We walked next to each other towards her house, where I was supposed to sleep in her barn. It was almost a three miles walk but it didn't bother me. I relied a little on her, like she was taking her almost drunk boyfriend back home. She should know every inch in this area, she was a hardworking, intelligent police officer. Yet, she stumbled on something and fell forward. Well, almost. I have such fast reflexes that I once almost broke my arm when I fell out of a tree. Not because I fell on it. I tried so hard to grab something that my arm hit the three rather than that my hand was able to grab something. Keeping it short, I did catch her, with ease

As she lay in my arms and looked into my eyes I saw how her glance changed. From startled to impressed. 'You were pretending all along?', she asked with a sharp tone.

'You tell me, you're the officer here', I said as I pulled her up. 'Did you hurt yourself, Aimee?'

'No, shall we go inside then?', she said. Her face only a few inches away from mine. 'You can take the couch.' Our noses almost touching each other. I leaned forward like I wanted to make out with her but moved towards her left and I gently whispered the word "Beautiful" in her left ear.

As I leaned back she had this look like she could erupt. I smiled and looked above, to the sky. The stars and the moon, they shone brightly. She followed my example, I felt it. 'It's beautiful tonight', she said.

'You know what a wise man once said?', I asked while looking at her again. I got her attention immediately. 'All that I can taste is this moment, and all that I'll reach is the stars. But just for you to know, there's a world out there where no one wants to walk alone. Add some colour to this big, bad, grey world of ours.'

'Who was that wise man then?', she asked.

'Now that's the million dollar question', I answered. Then I walked towards the front door and entered her house. I always like to leave after I made some kind of statement. If I would wait for her response, she would just think again that I simply tried to seduce her…

When I already laid on the couch, I could sense her presence. She sank to her knees just behind my head. Her hands brushing gently through my half long hair. It was relaxing. I sighed deeply as a memory popped up in my mind again. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins.

'Sleep well', she said.

I relaxed immediately and yawned. I watched her walking to her bedroom door. 'Goodnight', I answered. She looked one more time back at me and I saw her brown eyes smiling, not only her mouth. If my car was fixed by now and ready to go, I would be gone before she woke up. Like I always do…

Chapter 3:
Upon the Hill at red Lake

The next day in the evening

'A lot of times I'm asking myself what I want to do the next day, the next week or even the next month. Because, that's what we should be accustomed to. Planning, foreseeing the future in the details until we life each and every day exactly all over again. The first day of vacation we do nothing, the second day we want to do something nice but can't think of much. Than the last day of vacation, oh what a pity, it's all over. Next day you start at work again and you'll have that common conversation about your vacation with one or two colleagues. It won't last longer than three minutes until you all have summarised your vacations. That was it, all the joy you've experienced lasted three minutes, didn’t it?'

I saw how Aimee was thinking about an answer. Thinking about what I just came up with. Two days ago I had this little incident at an intersection which resulted in my car becoming not that much driveable. Aimee offered me a place to stay at her home while a childhood friend of hers that owned the only garage in a town called Navajo, was repairing my car, an MG F Cabrio build in 1997.

My name is Marc and I travelled with all the money I had towards the country I always dreamed about. Not for a small vacation, but forever. As soon as I arrived, I bought myself this dark MG F, almost the same as I owned in my home country, the Netherlands. Soon I got rid of my passport and almost everything I had. Except a photo of my parents, brother and dearest friends, a visa card and drivers licence. I had no plan or job and also didn't start thinking about the future. I just started the car and drove away.

Aimee was about to answer my question, at least I thought so. But then she looked to the ground while a smile appeared on her pretty face. Aimee had a long history where I had none, she was a strong woman with an old soul, she knew what and who she was and what she wants. I respected that. Two nights ago there was this little connection we had when I was about to fall asleep. I experienced a horrible event until she laid her hand on me. The next day we had spend like two normal friends. Which brings us to this very moment on our third day together.

'Of course not, all the best things, all the memorable things, the little things, that is what should be joy. Unfortunately, it's also the things you don't see, you don't experience to the max or share to the fullest with your loved ones because of this planning thing we do. We can't let it go because we're too afraid of the unexpected. Like we build this wall around us and think that everything we need is in this circle. Well that might be truth, but then again, don't you feel the eagerness to discover what's behind it on the other side? Does it matter, we all life in circles. That's called the circle of life. Everything has been forecast, we only don't know it yet until we're grey and old.'

I stood up without looking at Aimee. We were sitting on a hilltop with this remarkable view over red lake, a lake near Navajo. The sun was slowly going under in the far horizon. Another sunset. I ran towards Aimee's pick up that was parked downhill forty metres away. I ran, like I ran to catch a bus that brought me home when it was Christmas 2013. Just to have more time with my family. I didn't miss the bus, I never missed anything as long as I was willing to do whatever it takes to get where I wanted.

Earlier that day

While Aimee had to work all day long until six in the afternoon, I spend my day in the city where she dropped me. The first thing I did was buying a backpack. The rest of the day I tried to buy things to fill the bag. But I couldn't find anything I was willing to carry the rest of the day.

That brought me towards a bar in Gallup that was named Goodfells Bar. I blended in like your common outsider. The biggest part of the other customers were Navajos, but there were also Hispanics and Caucasian people.

So, I found myself a seat with a view over the street. Gallup was not a big city or something where there's a lot of people in all of the streets. But, this part of the city was crowded. And like a lot of you, I don't mind looking at others passing by. Then a waitress came to me, she was Navajo. Wearing black pants with black shoes and a blue top. I thought that this place had ugly clothes for the waitresses to wear while serving customers. She wore her hair in a ponytail and asked gently if I wanted a drink.

'What would you recommend me If I said that I have a preference for sweetness, my favourite colour is red and don't care about labels. Do you have something that meets those characteristics?'

The waitress may have felt a little uncomfortable, especially if she was a beginner. So I smiled a little before I wet my lips. Just because they were desert dry. She seemed to be more comfy though and replied.

'I'll have a look in the back and see If I can find something', she answered with a gentle voice.

'Don't worry, I'll wait', I said to the waitress whose name was Tasha.

While Tasha disappeared in the back of the bar, I already saw that group of Western looking "gentlemen" were pointing fingers at me. As long as they stayed right at where they were, it was fine by me. One of the Navajo's took a sit next to me. He was a forty year old man, probably owner of a garage since he had oil under his fingers and over his blue work shirt. Another waitress put two Coronas on his table. Within a minute he was joined by a colleague. They seemed to be in a conversation about the future. The person that joined him was Hispanic. They both wore the same outfit. The Hispanic was my age, around 27/28 years old. He looked at me a few times while they were talking about promotions et cetera. And the big city.

Tasha returned with a bottle filled with rosé. She was good. Right there she sold a bottle of rosé just by doing her job as good as she can. She put the bottle in front of me with two glasses. I gave her twenty five dollars immediately, knowing she would also have a good tip out of it.

'So, Mr. Shayne, I think you'll enjoy this just as much as your neighbours enjoy their Corona's', she said as she poured in a glass.

'If you are so sure about that, I think you should have a taste of this sweetness', I replied while she put the bottle on the table after filling my glass. 'I mean, you did bring two glasses, right?'

'One is such a lonely number Mr. Shayne. '

'Totally agree, so join me for a drink', I told her. She sat down while I had my eyes on the bottle, filling the second glass. To be honest, I was really surprised she accepted my offer. So were my friends that kept starring at me since my first brief encounter with Tasha, began a conversation with Tasha.

'You're sure your boss won't mind?', I asked her.

'Pretty sure', she said.

'Well, to all what we have left behind and to all that we have to encounter.'

'Saludcita', she said.

After we chatted a little and she finished her glass, I poured in another but she rejected a second glass. While she stood up I had to ask her why she joined me. I mean, this didn't happen all the time as you'll agree with me.

'You have these eyes, they smile. So, I felt like if I declined, I would regret it. What if you were the love of my life that slipped away like that ha?'

'So I'm not?', I asked jokingly.

'I'm sorry, my heart does not belong to you. But, is there anything else I can serve you with?'

'Another bottle, or two.'

'Having wild plans Mr. Shayne?'

It felt like a cold breeze blew over my shoulders. Was I beginning to lose it? Was I planning? That's when she lowered herself and touched my left hand. 'You're okay?', she asked with a smile.

I sniffed and smiled back. 'I hope not, I'm not a planner you know.'

'The question Mr. Shayne, is what are you?', she said while going to the back of the bar. Before she came back something drastically changed. The boys that were pointing fingers at me and were getting drunk, walked towards my direction. I spotted them in the corner of my right eye. The two mechanics left at the same time. I stood up, knowing that this was getting out of hands soon. I met a lot of natives here and Hispanics and there were almost no frictions. Now these three fellow western looking men were going for the long run.

'You tryna seduce my girlfriend outsider? Huh? Punk?', one of them said. They were brothers. They didn't look like twins, but all three of them had little similarities with the others.

I looked at one of the Navajo's, he already knew what was about to happen. 'Call the police', I said gently. Then I faced the dirt bags who tested my manners. 'I don't think so, I don't like pizza', I said to the brothers.

'What the f*ck your saying? Are you saying that she's not hot?!', the longest of them said.

'Do you like pizza?', I said.

'For f*ck sake are you tupid?', the fat one said.

'It's spelled with a s. Stupid. Didn't went to school? I believe you. You probably spend your childhood in the taco bell', I said.

'You're going down motherf*cker!', the leader yet again said.

'It is rage, that turns good men cruel pawl. Do you feel it? Do you feel rage?!', I answered.

'What is this, tryna scare us? Stall time?', the leader asked while stepping forward. A step too far.

Nine minutes later sheriff Aimee and two deputies arrived to arrest me and the other three. Aimee handcuffed me and we pretended like we didn't know each other. It lasted fifteen minutes to get testimonials. When she asked me if I wanted to press charges I said "no", which resulted in the other three being "let off the hook." Three broken noses, a broken rib and bruised limbs, two ko's. I didn't have a scratch, which you could say was pure luck. If they weren't drunk I probably had to visit the dentist. In the meantime, Tasha had given me two bottles of the delicious rosé we drank earlier. At least, I didn't return with an empty bag.

Back to the hill at Red Lake

I opened the trunk of her pick up and opened my backpack. I found the two bottles and her coffee cups left of the backpack. I would lie if I also had two wineglasses. But when there's a high demand, I'll improvise the shit out of every situation. With my hands full I ran like lightning back to the top where Aimee was still waiting for me. The sun was still visible for god's sake. When I was back at the top I felt something wet on my arm but didn't bother to look. I opened the bottle with my teeth and out of breath I arrived at the top. Aimee was standing, looking at the lake, looking at the sunset. I sighed deeply as I filled the cups. Just before the sun disappeared I offered her a cup.

'Would you have a drink with me? I mean, I don't do this very often. But I feel like I want to drink during this beautiful moment… with you…'

'No Cointreau?', she responded while she looked at the bottle.

'No, you deserve a far more better taste than that.'

'You have no idea.'

'You're right, I haven't', I said as she grabbed one of the cups.

While the sun disappeared I felt her putting an arm around my waist. She pulled my side against hers. At first I felt, a little uncomfortable. Then, I stepped behind her and pulled her to my waist. We drank both the rosé at the same time while the sun completely disappeared. While we finished our first drinks she dropped her cup, I followed her example. She then grabbed my hands. Then she took my hands of her waist and turned around to face me. If it wasn't for the full moon that shined brightly in the darkness the sun just had left behind, I wouldn't have seen anything of her gorgeous appearance.

'Why don't you stay?', she asked as I felt hw my shirt pasted to hers.

'I'm running out of time', I said thinking about the reason why my shirt pasted to hers.

'I don't understand. Don't you feel anything?', she said as she leaned forward putting her hands on my shoulders. I bowed a little until her tender lips met mine. Our lips touched gently as we began to make out in the moonlight.

Eventually she took off my blouse as I helped her out of her black tank top. My god, she was so in shape that it was almost a shame that I didn't care about being in shape like she does. While she helped me out off my shirt, it popped into my head what happened earlier. Would she notice why my shirt was soggy? I unbuttoned her bra as she unbuckled my belt. My shorts fell to the ground while I unzipped her pants. Now she was standing in her panties while I got out of my shoes. We made out for a second time while our bodies were clinched to each other. But then I abruptly ended "our first moment." This didn't felt right, could it? I let her go and put my shorts back on. I couldn't see what Aimee was doing, but I almost sensed her disbelief.

'What is it? Don't you find me attractive?', I heard her asking me almost whispering and sarcastically.

'You're right. I don't feel anything', I answered. And lied.

'F*ck you!', she yelled. Then she sighed deeply and regained her posture. 'I know when you lie Marc. Why can't you just give in and enjoy? I'm a grown up for f*ck sakes, I can make my own decisions.'

'I'm no good to you Aimee. The day after tomorrow I'll be gone. I don't want you to feel used.'

'Shut up', she said harsh. 'You make me feel like I'm a teenage girl. I'm not.. And I'm also not specifically looking for a relation. I don't see you as the great white hope.. I just like your company. Even if it lasts for a few small days.'

I walked back to her and lay my hands on her thighs while pulling her against me. She turned around and we made out again and this time I did give in. Like I loved her with all my heart. And I did like her much, that's why I didn't undress her for a second time. Like I said, I was running out of time. I kissed her on her left cheek and put my blouse around her. I didn't want her to catch a cold. And I hoped that there were no blood stains in it because of my nose bleed earlier.

I sat down where we began the evening and filled the cups for a second time. Aimee joined me and took place in my lap. We we're drinking a second cup of rosé. And for the first time since a vacation in Spain, I felt a heart beating. Goodbye Claudia, I thought. Aimee meant even more to me than her.

'You know, it's delicious', she said while drinking the rosé. 'Where did you get it?'

'Where you arrested me'.

'That was very romantic. Me arresting you. Never experienced such an arrest before.'

'Thank you', I replied while we both slipped into laughter. She pulled herself more tightly against me while we were laughing. Then she asked me one more question before I poured in a third round.

'Where are you going?'

After a while I responded. The single most perfect answer I had. 'I don't know. Not much.'

'What do you know?', she asked directly.

I thought about it for a while. It was a good question. I could tell her all the dramatic shit what led me towards here. Or all the good stuff that still enlightens the best of me. I was once a writer, so I can tell a story. I once was an actor, so I can pretend. But she knew when I lied somehow. I don't want her to think that I'm a liar.

'I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be', was the most perfect answer that I had. I felt her grip on my hand tighten up as her head relaxed more against my chest. One thing I was sure about, Aimee, was the real deal.

Chapter 4:
Vanilla Sky Above Zilditloi Mountain

The next day late in the morning

When I say 8543 feet high or 2604 metres high, it's just a random number. It could give you this interpretation of an average mountain. This mountain was the place where she brought me. Number 512 of the highest mountaintop's in the state New Mexico. Which means that this mountain is nothing different than 510 others in the same state. If you also know that there are 7780 mountain tops higher than Zilditloi Mountain, you might agree with me that I'm wondering why this top is so damn special.

'So you want to take me to the mountain top? Do you mind if I ask why?', I said a little uncomfortable. I mean, I am not fat or have some kind of condition that might stop me from getting to the top. But, I was afraid that my stamina these days was so bad that I would faint or collapse halfway. Maybe I had a condition, perhaps my downfall already began.

'You have been the strangest and kindest person I have met in my life. People that know me, or at least more than your average person, keep telling me that I should open myself to someone', she said convincingly. 'This is my way of opening myself to someone?'

'Last week, you didn't even know that I lived. And now you brand me to be the person you want to share with? That's odd. I mean, sure, we have a connection. But why shouldn't you share what you have on your sleeve with someone you know a little better.'

'You're a safe bet Marc. Like you said, you'll be gone very soon. Your car is fixed by tomorrow, I feel like you disappear soon after. And something deep inside me makes me feel a lot more comfortable telling you than anybody else.'

'Is it because I didn't want to have sex with you?', I asked baldly. Before she could answer I sensed the feeling of regret in my stomach. 'I'm sorry, shouldn't have put it that way', I said while walking towards her backdoor.

She followed me after a little hesitation and hugged me from behind. Then I felt her lips near my right ear as she whispered something I did not understand. Then she whispered again. 'You feel like you are so close to me, yet there's this distance. Every time you feel like someone special, you seem to pull away. Every time when I try to make you fall in love with me, you push me away. I can't lay a finger on it. Keep asking myself why? Why Marc? Why you make it yourself so hard to be loved? To love, love someone. Not me, but I don't think you're much different with someone else. Then again, has it something to do with you running out of time? Like your dying or something?'

I sighed deeply and processed what she just said. 'You didn't say all of that in that other language you spoke', was what I came up with.

She lay her hands on my hips. This alpha woman I met just a few days ago seemed like a whole different person to me now. I knew that I was pushing the right buttons. It's what I do. My strangeness and more important understanding character that still listens to people has caused a lot of heartbreaks.

'That was me saying what you are. In a language you do not understand.'

'Why, why do you want to keep it a secret?', I asked a little persuasive. I turned her around and looked her deep in her eyes while holding her by her tights.

'Because you are a curious man Marc. And I want you to go up with me. So, why don't we make a deal?'

I didn't answer immediately. The reason was simple. I hesitated, I hesitate a lot. It's one of my weaknesses. But a grin appeared on my face as I looked away. She pushed me away as she walked towards her barn.

While I had no clue at all what she was going to do, I was thinking about the moment. We, and I don't mean all of us, tend to make life more dramatic than it is. We create these fake projections of our life's by having an excuse for every mistake we make. We lie to cover the truth. And they are not even for other people! We lie for ourselves. So that we eventually start to believe in our own lies.

What I'm saying, most of the times ,it's ourselves that creates the walls that eventually make you feel stuck. And I am one of the few people that knows this and always tried to prevent myself from building a wall, again. Because ever since I fell in love for the first time.. To get over her, I did build a wall, a large one… And I figured that one wall was more than enough. But what if, what if I'm building a wall again by ignoring my feelings again. I didn't ignore them with Claudia and that ended up great. But now, I wasn't so sure about it. Aimee was a person I could fall in love with. Would I allow myself to fall in love with her? Would life allow me too? Would it safe my life? I needed to know, like she already seems to know.

She returned with a map. A map of which I figured would lead us to the top of mountain Zilditloi. Aimee was this down to earth type of woman. She lived a life that was laid out for her from the beginning. She didn't complain, she enjoyed and she didn't seem to care too much about what could happen. She lived in the now. When we met, I figured her to be an einzelganger like me. In a few days it appeared that we both had good influence on each other.

And because of what we already experienced together with each other, because of my desire to find out why this mountain was special for this great woman, because I needed to know why I was making her feel so good I already decided to take my chances. I mean, it may become the end of me, climbing this thing. Small mountain my arse. If the doctors were right, I wouldn't come much higher than 1500 metres high.. where the chances were above average that my lungs would give up. She was worth it I figured. I would hate myself If I at least didn't get to know this woman as good as I could. Maybe it's because I'm naive enough that I still believe in soul mates. Maybe she was mine and I was hers? Was that even a thought in my head? I laughed while she stood next to me and punched me on my left shoulder.

'Where was that good for?', I asked, rubbing my shoulder like I was just punched by Klitschko himself.

'Don't do that. It's not sexy when you try to be sensitive like a normal male.'

'Normal male?'

'Yeah, you're a complete idiot. But it works for me. Can you believe that?', she said with a grin.

'I'm a dreamer. I've got this whole thing where I'm Always the third person. I live by the seat of my pants, but I'd like to think that I'm also pretty sensible.'

'Well, you're definitely not. But have you made up your mind?'

'Of course I'd like to join you.'

'Good!', she almost said like the stereotype General in a Hollywood movie. 'You gave me a more than perfect yesterday Marc, I want to show you the best today I can.'

I looked at her smile of joy. It almost felt like I couldn't control myself. I must have looked like a moron. I didn't come to America to fall in love. I came here to give up…

'What's on your mind now? I can feel something's wrong.'

'There's nothing wrong love, I just want to see so badly that this can last a little longer.'

'I'm going to spend my one day free of work in two weeks with you, don't give me that stereotype romantic bullshit. Just keep it as it is. An ocean in between waves.'

I wanted to kiss her, right there and now. But I knew she wasn't going for that sort of thing. Not now, only at the perfect moment. I ask myself a lot of things the last two days, but now I also wondered if I just ran into my first real match. It seemed like we had so much in common, but still we're so different. She changed her clothes. Short hot pants with a red sleeveless shirt that ended above her belly button. Light brown safety shoes completed the look with sunglasses. Her hair tied in a ponytail.

Trail to the top

Aimee drove in her private truck towards Indian Service route 31. We passed the supermarket, the garage and the gas station before she took a right. I remembered this road immediately since it was the direction we came from during the first day. After a couple of miles, we left the main road for a dirt road. When she pulled over, we were standing on a dry mountain river bank. This was the spot she told me she started to hike the mountain for the first time. So would we.

I sighed and drank some water before Aimee started to hike uphill in a dry river that possibly would go all the way to the top. I asked myself when in time there would be so much rain that this would actually be a river at all. Or wasn't it a river for water. Perhaps for lava? Was this a freakin' volcano I was about to climb?

'For god's sake, why did I agreed to do this', I said out loud.

After three minutes Aimee and I we're walking side by side. I wore a baseball cap she had hanging in her living room while she wore glasses of course. By the start of this hike I already described Zilditloi mountain as the ugliest mountain I've ever seen. I hoped that the view was worth the while. After twenty minutes I stumbled on a rock. of course I did, somehow I always managed to step on the wrong spots.

'Wow, didn't you see that one, should have seen it coming.'

'You know, I'm beginning to sweat to death. Are we there yet?', I asked childish-like.

'Don't you feel alive when you do something sportive?', she asked warm.

'I feel like I'm literally dying inside', I said after I sighed a few times deeply. It was ove thirty degrees but somehow it wasn't the height that made breathing harder.

'The first time I climbed this lady, was when I was twelve.'

'How long ago?'

'About fifteen years or so I guess.'

'You forgot about it?' Thought you had lots of brain? Which you have to have if you were really FBI material.'

'You make a mistake. You know, you share a lot of deepness in your way of talking. So let me try to do what you always do.'

'That is?', I wondered.

'Just listen. Life should not be about remembering everything. Not everything that is bad and not everything that is good. You should remember from both.'

'Do I sound like that?', I asked while I laughed.

She also began to laugh and walked towards me. I was leaning fore over while she put her left hand on my back. 'No, not all. You would end your sentence with a one liner.'

'I thought that already was a one-liner', I said as I relaxed and stood up.

'You would continue that sentence with.. for instance.. remember from both and make so much memories that there it's never going to be a possibility to remember everything.'

'That doesn't sound like me.'

'No, your far more complicated, I know. Shall we continue grandpaps?'

We both began to laugh. 'Of course babe', I responded. I knew she hated it when guys called her babe. It made her feel like a helpless girl she told me at our second day together. She punched me on my shoulder. So I took a sprint for like five seconds and grabbed her from behind. I lifted her up and kept her in my shoulders. 'Did I hurt you..? Babe?', she said with a grin. I kissed her. It lasted for about five seconds before I put her back on her feet.

Eventually we reached a split where we took a right. Somehow, I didn't feel my lungs anymore. By now, I expected to feel like my lungs would be on fire. I never really checked them out at the hospital. The doctor in Harkema told me to do a check in the hospital. Of course he didn't mention what it could be. But after another five minutes of deep conversation, he finally told me what it could be. And what it would mean… So, without going to the hospital I decided to take that trip to the United States that I always talked about. That's where I met Aimee eventually.

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