Wait For My Signal

Here’s this week’s Inspiration Monday.

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His lips taste like the dust of the desert when he wakes me in the mornin’. The night before, they flavored mine with whiskey and cinnamon. I ain’t never known a better combination. The next time I bake cinnamon cookies I’m fittin’ to add a splash of whiskey.

“Darlin’, you better git before that papa of yours finds yer bed missin’ its sleeper.” He raises himself on one elbow and squints in the morning sun, one eye closed tighter than the other.

I gather my skirts, but he pulls me against him. The muscles of the man movin’ under me and I about lose my knickers all over again.

“I ain’t fibbin’ what I said,” he says, his lips grazing mine. His horse whinnies, and he lets me go.

I hightail it all the way home. I plum fall through my window when I get there, right at Mama’s boots.

“Couldn’ta picked better timin’. I’m fresh outta lies for your papa. Now get out there before he loses his head again.”

I stand and brush off my fanny. “Sorry, Mama.”

“Ain’t it just like my girl to fall for the first stranger who rides into town.”

“He ain’t no stranger. He’s from Lexy. An’ he wants to take me there and marry me.”

She puts her hands on her hips. “Trustin’ strangers ain’t no good. No good at all.”

“I spent the night with him, Mama.”

“Better let him marry you then. Oh Lord. Papa’s gonna lose his head.”

“If I ain’t by the waterin’ hole at sundown, he’s comin’ to call on Papa.”

“Lord oh lord. That shotgun’s gonna find us all tonight.”

The sun wanders the sky all day while I work my chores. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was slidin’ backwards. Mama slips a bag of gold in my hand when Papa ain’t lookin’, then hugs me ’til I cry for mercy.

“My lil girl, off to have lil girls of her own. You stay out here an’ wait ’til I get Papa inside. When it’s clear, I’ll come out back an’ wave my apron. You run like the devil’s chasin’ you and don’t look back.”

“I’ll come visit, Mama. I promise.”

“Scoot.”

The sun’s about touched the farthest trees when Mama comes outside. She waves her apron, and I turn and run. My skirts kick the dust all the way to the hill where I see his gang waitin’ on horseback. He’s dead center, his smile brighter than my heart, which ain’t no easy feat.

Another cowboy in his gang whoops and throws his hat in the air. I stop at my fella’s horse. He sweeps me up, behind him. The horses buck and charge away. I hold his waist tight as our horse takes off. First stop, I gotta ask my fella his name.