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It isn’t given to everybody to be able to identify the precise moment when they fall for the love of their life…
It was Saturday night and the drifter drove his beat-up truck into just one more trail-end town. Truth to tell he would have preferred somewhere livelier as he had money in his pocket, but he was tired and hungry. He parked the Dodge outside a tiny diner only to see the closed sign go up on the door as he swung to the ground. An old timer and his equally ancient dog stopped and looked at him.
“Food at Belle’s Bar over the street’s better than the slop they serve here. Can even get decent coffee if’n you don’t want beer with your meal.”
The drifter tipped his hat in a grateful salute and made his way to Belle’s.
The old timer hadn’t lied about the food or the coffee. By the time the stranger had got outside of a huge plate of savoury stew, a generous helping of peach pie, and three large mugs of steaming hot coffee he was feeling almost human. He decided he might as well stay for a beer while he chewed over his options.
His usual Saturday night agenda involved picking up some lonely woman in a bar and getting invited back to her place for the night. He got bed and breakfast and his lady hostess got what he reckoned to be some pretty hot sex. Something for everybody, and no offence taken if his advances were spurned. However, he had worked for the better part of two months helping a group of dirt farmers plough and weed and build fences, so he was bone weary and he had money enough to get his own room. He’d have that beer and think. He bellied up to the bar and the woman tender stopped polishing glasses.
“I get you, bro?”
“Bro?” the drifter was amused and that made him look closer at the woman. She was maybe thirty years old, and plain of face, but with an infectious grin and the light of intelligence in a pair of strange bi-coloured eyes. She chuckled.
“Yup. Bro. Saves me trying to learn the names of all the damned fools that come in here looking for beer and sympathy.”
He found himself laughing too, and for some reason that felt good.
“I’ll take a beer please, and one for yourself.”
Somehow or other, he was still by the bar when it was closing time. He watched the bartender take off her apron and hang it on the beer pumps before he spoke.
“Anywhere I can get a room in these parts?”
She looked at him for a long moment then seemed to come to a decision.
“I got a bed too big for one woman.”
The drifter felt his smile flow across his cheeks. This one, he thought, would be a real pleasure. He held out a hand and the woman came around the bar and put her own hand in his.
“Hi, pretty lady,” he said, “my name’s…”
She put the fingers of her free hand across his mouth.
“Let’s just keep it to bro, shall we? This time tomorrow you’ll be gone and your name’ll be no manner of good to me.”
He nodded his understanding and they walked out of the bar shoulder to shoulder.
It wasn’t early when she slid from his embrace and padded out to the kitchen. He watched her go, marvelling at how comfortable she was in her own nakedness and how much he had enjoyed that nakedness. He put his hands behind his head and stared at the ceiling. He was still deep in thought when a voice floated in from the next room.
“I’m sorta making breakfast. What do you want on your toast?”
“A couple eggs would be good,” he responded without thinking.
Almost instantaneously a laughing face appeared in the doorway.
“Eggs bro? Sheesh. The sex wasn’t that good.”
And he knew at that moment that his fate lay in a one-horse trail-end town with this woman by his side.