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When Dreams Die And Come Again (standard:romance, 4668 words)
Author: Billy Jack BaxterAdded: Feb 09 2002Views/Reads: 2309/1500Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Love is found and lost in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico.

"Do you believe in reincarnation?" she would ask. 

"What about predestination?" 

"I don't know," I'd say.  "Guess I haven't given it much thought." 

"Well, I have, but I can't make up my mind what I'd like to come back
as...I guess I'll know it when I see it." 

Then she'd just sit there on our rock and gaze off into the distance.
She was always full of philosophical questions, and mystery. 

I knew I loved her the moment I saw her.  She was sitting at the bar,
struggling through a bowl of green chili stew.  It was like walking 
into another life. 

I always stopped by the Los Ojos Bar after work; it was a ritual of mine
for as long as I care to remember.  I build custom adobe homes, and for 
once I was building one locally.  I guess if I'd been building in Santa 
Fe or Albuquerque, I might have missed her that evening. I always love 
building local, here in the Jemez Mountains; it gives me more time to 
enjoy this beautiful river valley. 

The bar was deserted that evening when I walked in, which wasn't all
that peculiar for late October.  It gets cold up here sooner that down 
in the desert closer to Albuquerque, and the tourist stay away more. 

She was sitting on a stool at the bar.  Her hair was dark brown, with a
tinge of red that seemed to glow in the late afternoon sun shining 
through the front door of the bar.  It was the color of roasted pinon 
nuts and hung just to her shoulders, and her eyes were brown, sprinkled 
with golden flakes the color of a New Mexico sunset.  She had high 
cheekbones that gave her face a cut, a well-defined wedge.  Her cheeks 
were rosy red, but green chili stew has a way of doing that sometimes.  
I'm not good at describing peoples' clothes, so I'll just say she was 
dressed in a mountain girl sort of way. 

God, she was beautiful. She was about halfway through her bowl of chili;
saltine wrappers cluttered the bar top around her.  I guess I could 
have sat anywhere along the bar, being it was deserted, but I chose the 
stool right next to hers. 

"How's the chili, Don?"  I asked. 

Don grinned and said, "Ask the young lady, she's the one with a mouthful
of it."  He nodded toward the young lady. 

She looked at me, her head cocked sideways in a way that would soon
dissolve every defense I had, and said, "Here, try some of mine; the 
green chili seems awfully hot to me." 

She scooped up a big spoonful, held her hand under it like she was
feeding an infant, and eased it to my mouth, nodding toward the spoon.  
And like an infant being presented with chocolate pudding, my mouth 
opened wide. 

Don was leaning against the bar at his usual spot, taking all this in. 
He must have found it quite amusing that a total stranger was 
spoon-feeding a local because he slapped his grungy-white bar rag on 
top of the old bar and let out a roar that knocked dust off the old 
moth-eaten elk's head hanging over the rock fireplace. 

"Hot damn, I've seen it all now!"  He said.  "Will Davis, being
spoon-fed like a highchair baby." 

I swallowed the chili and quickly realized why the young lady's upper
lip wore tiny beads of sweat. 

"Damn, Don, how come you used so many Barkers in the stew?" I asked. 

"Just trying to get rid of last year's supply.  You know, out with the
old, in with the new. 

"Good, isn't it?" 

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