Tuesday, January 16, 2024

109- The Moose Jaw- The Ending to White Dreams ( Young Adult Version Of The Lure Of The Mountain King, Uncle Albert's Mountain}

There have been many endings over the years. Leaving the mountain alone has always been my favorite, but as the the years have progressed I have experimented with Tom and Sara being together in some form. Since I had always wanted this to be a young adult work my first go at togetherness was for simplicity. I published it in May of 2022 but then deleted it. I once again offer it up in it's simplicity. Which one is better is for you the reader to decide.

                                                     The Moose Jaw



       Sara was sitting at the end of the bar. She was unconsciously twisting the end of her auburn hair, between her thumb and forefinger. Her head buried in a novel, reading short stories and good writing was her favorite pastime. There were only a handful of customers this afternoon. The season had ended and business would be slow until autumn winds brought another winter to the Rocky Mountains. A new song drifted over the sound system. The front door slowly opened and a black Stetson appeared. Sara felt her body involuntarily shiver. She quickly buried her head back into her book,

     “When are you going to wake up?” Sara said to herself. “You can’t hide from the world forever.”

She stared blankly at the pages. Lifting her hands she turned them upright, they were covered with black smudge marks from the print. She realized that was exactly what she was doing. Hiding from Tom and hiding from herself. Year after year she sat with her books. She listened to others talk of their adventures. Standing at the bar mixing their drinks and collecting their spare change. Spare change to make her ends meet. Always buried in another book, she thought she would probably grow old and grey with a book in her hands.

     “Hi,” he said cautiously. He was hoping it would go well. She had this incredible knack for avoiding him.

     “Hi,” she smiled radiantly. Sara’s eyes softened as they met his. She jumped off her chair and ran to him. She grasped his hand and held tightly to his big fingers.

     ”I’m sorry this all happened. I was wrong to try and force you into something you weren’t ready for. If nothing else you taught me the value of freedom and the courage to spend it"

Tom looked deeply into her eyes.

     “No, I’m sorry, I’m sorry I can’t settle in one place. My first reaction to life is to bolt when things get tough, to run away instead of fighting. I want to be with you, without you I’ll probably always be a drifter. You are the only stability I’ve ever known.”

He saw the same spark that was there the first time they had met. It had never left, even when he thought it would never return.

     “Listen, I can’t explain my feelings, when I’m near you. I’m trying to find the words to explain how much I care. It’s just that I’ve got this crazy dream. Maybe I can make a difference. Maybe I can -----.”

She gently put her fingers to his lips.

     “I’ll make you a deal. No more talk of commitment. You give me a taste of real freedom.”

He loosened the straps of his knapsack and slid his arm around her waist. He slapped his hand on the bar.

     “There’s this little saloon in Targhee called ‘Wild Bills’,” he scratched the stubble on his chin. “You could work on the mountain with me and learn to ski or tend bar there.”

     “Only if you shave,” she laughed wrapping her arms tightly around his neck.

Tom gently pulled her closer. He felt the warmth of her body next to his. He knew it was right. He would give her everything possible for him to give. Sara was the serenity he found among the jagged peaks. It was meant to last forever. The balance between man and nature in the mountains is fragile and extremely delicate. Life hangs precariously by a taught golden string, stretched sometimes almost to the breaking point. A balance that was as tender and tight as that between a man and a woman. Tom always pushed toward the edge. Someday he would push too far. He would regret many things in his life. He would never regret giving his love to Sara.

     “No promises.”

     “No promise,” he agreed.

She tore off her apron, and threw it behind the bar. She grabbed her blue knapsack and stuffed her book into it. Pulling on her ski jacket, she flipped her hair outside. It would be an exciting change for her. They started for the entrance.

     “Hey Sara, How about another?” one of the customers yelled.

She turned gracefully, her hair flowing in a wide arc. It gently came to rest, tight under her chin. Tom waited his throat dry. He watched every move she made.

Sara glanced back at him. She carefully studied his features cautiously for a sign, any answer. Tom said nothing.

Sara turned and reached for Tom’s hand. They walked out the door.

     “What’s Targhee like?” she said.

     “I’ll show you,” he replied.

The Ring Song, Jaya Sia Ram, Krishjna Das, Flow Of Grace