Hildy left me in St. Louis.† I didnít much blame her.† Frontier life can be hard.† Not like it used to be, what with modern coaches, flat-boats and heavily guarded wagon trains, but still rough.† Truth is, Hildy didnít leave cause life and travel were too hard.† She left because I was so cussed mean.† Takes a lot of gumption for a ninety-eight pound woman to stand up to any man.† But I didnít strike her.† I just let her go.† Probably cause she was so honest.† Hard as it is to say, honesty is one of the most peculiar traits of nature I know.† I grew up one of five boys and I could lie before I got teeth.†
Now here I am up in Chicago and I spot Hildy working as a nurse.† Iíve heard thereís casualties from that war with England and itís so like her to get involved.† I sidle close, hoping I can make amends.† Life has been flat bad without her.†
She sees me and I wave.† Recognition and something like warmth lights up her eyes. †But then she looks away.† I holler.† Just canít stop myself.† A big man, seems like he is a doctor, glances at me, then looks at her.† Then he takes her arm and I can tell she belongs to him now.
I head back to St. Louis that night.† All my life Iíve been getting in my own best way.
First published: February, 2008
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