Since I last saw her ride off, black hair, windblown- wild and the same length of her horse's tail, I've had this recurring question, wondering if I ever had what it took to really understand why she stayed as long as she did. The closeness and the distance intensified the clash of cultures we shared, the ice and fire of our marriage. For now, I'll not say or write her name, since the pain it would bring; I cannot imagine. She, who was my whole world...

We met quite young, as awkward teens, but I'll never forget the exact moment. It was summer, brutally hot, end of a day of celebrating the birth of a new male infant to the now, long dead Chief; both of us just trying to get a simple drink of cool water, our cupped fingers touched in the red dust by the river. In that brief instant, we might as well have been struck by lightning, joined forever by thirst. She had a scar on her left cheek, which in the thirty four years of life together, was never explained. In my eyes, it made her all the more mysterious and perfect. I can't count the thousands of times my eyes and fingers traced that streak of light across her dark face in loving acceptance of all her secrets, her odd ways, her need to be as free as possible. I was and still am just an outsider, not born on the Reservation, not one of the People. Probably the worst man to love her, son of Christian missionaries. But she chose me and fought with her family and in the end; they reluctantly gave in. She had that much determination, if one word could really come close to describing the fierce spirit she possessed.

Our days were full of hard work; our nights hard lovemaking. Desperate, out of control, we could never get enough of each other, night after night. Mountains were eroding, desert plants and animals living and dying, the moon phasing in and out, rivers running dry, stars colliding, meteors showering us. All around us, everything and everyone being born and dying, the Arizona dust blowing;
we existed in this private paradise and hell, two becoming one. Time passed and she bore no children. My parents moved back east. Her parents died. We participated in the traditional ceremonies, but I sensed each time, she was already riding away, black hair and scar, her proud back saying what could not be talked about any longer. It seems so important now to write down forever these words because all of our night sky conversations, hopes, and dreams of family never happened.

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