CHAPTER 7 (Sharing Air Space)
"Arty, stand still for a moment," she instructed and slowly moved her essence into the space occupied by his spirit. To the delight of both of them, they realized they could feel one another's being. It was a wonderful feeling. Ten times that of making love.
"Andorra, I can feel you," Arty stammered. He didn't move at all for fear that if he did he would lose the wonderful sensation which he was enjoying so much.
"Arty," Andorra exclaimed. She reveled in the feelings gathering within her spirit as she became suddenly aware that Arty was feeling the same. After a few moments Arty broke the silence.
"Andy," he began. He hadn't called her that since their death. "Andy, do you remember the time we checked into the room above that bar?"
"Arty, we checked into a thousand rooms above bars. Which one are you thinking about?" she asked. Even as she asked she became aware of the answer, but listened as he went on.
"The one that had the picture of George Washington above the bed." Arty proclaimed. Their thoughts were simultaneous as they remembered various parts of their past. Now with them occupying the same space they could remember the times they made love with
more sensation than they had ever felt before.
It was also at this point that Andorra was able to learn things about Arty's youth. Things that had turned him into the person he had become before that ride over the cliff.
She could see the young Arty, hard at work on his fatherís farm at the age of eleven years. The sun was bright on that summer day when a burley only man with a gray beard came around the corner from the house. Arty was busy feeding the horses.
"Whatís takin you so long?" the old man tormented. "You could have fed General Custer's Army by now."
"I'm sorry, Pa," Arty began but before he could say more the old man struck him with the back of his hand. Arty went reeling backward and would have fallen if he had not been stopped by the gate of the stall.
Arty rubbed his face where he had been hit. He picked up the pitch fork he had been working with and was suddenly overcome with anger.
The old man hated Arty. Arty never knew why. He had worked him like one of the farm animals ever since the boy was old enough to work. Arty had never received a "thank-you from the old Fart. He would only get hit upside the head every time he didn't do
things fast enough or good enough. That unfortunately was almost all the time. Arty's mother would insist that the old man loved his son but she would stand quietly when her husband abused his only child.
"You'll never amount to anything more than a ratís ass," he would chastise. The hurt he caused the child was more than Arty could take and on this day as he stood there he finally exploded with rage.
Raising the pitchfork he lunged at his old man, who was not moving to swiftly, since he had already been drinking. The pitchfork went through his middle. Arty's father fell backward. He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out and he dropped to the ground.
Arty stood in complete horror. In the background he heard his mother's footsteps. As she came into the corral she saw her husband lying there and the pitchfork, covered with blood which Arty still held.
"Dear Lord," she gasped. "What have you done, Arty? She dropped to her knees to check the old man out.
"He's dead! Arty, what did you do?"
Arty dropped the pitchfork to the ground. He backed up against the door as his hands came up to the place on his face where his father had hit him.
"It was an accident," he lied. This was the beginning of a life he would live from that point on. A life built upon anything but the ugly truth.
"Arty's mother noticed the bruise on Arty's face."
She knew the old man had finally pushed him over the edge. She decided to live with the lye Arty told. It was easier to believe it was an accident. She didn't truly acknowledge its confirmation in her own mind but that's the story she told everyone who asked what had happened.
Word gets around quick and when it got out that there was a widow with an eleven-year old boy living there some sidewinder decided to take advantage.
One day Arty was doing his chores when this fella who was about thirty or so came up to the farmhouse and without knocking opened the door and walked in.
"Hi Baby," he snickered as he grabbed Arty's mother in his arms. He picked her up and carried her into the bedroom where he literally threw her on the bed. He grabbed her dress by the neckline and ripped it from her body. The woman was fighting, scratching and screaming the whole time.
"Ouch," the man yelled as she scratched at his eyes. There was so much noise that neither the sidewinder nor Arty's mother heard him come in.
There was a sudden sound of a rifle going off and the man fell forward on Arty's mother.
Arty threw down the gun and came running across the room, pulling the man off his mothersí motionless body. It was then that he realized that he had not only shot the man but his mother, too.
"Oh God!" he exclaimed. What have I done?"
Arty took the sidewinders body out and buried it quickly and then with much more care and devotion he buried his mother. He conducted his own private ceremony as he laid her to rest.
The next morning Arty saddled up the black horse and left home. He didn't know where he was going but he knew he could never see this farm again.
Andorra had never asked much about Arty's past. Now she wished she had been more in tune with his pain while they were yet alive.
"That must have been painful for you," she stated. Arty didn't answer. He had never wanted to think about that day again. In fact this may have been the reason why he never wanted to buy that farm and settle down with his love.
"I wonder if my mom is a ghost, somewhere?" he asked. Now it was Andorra who didn't answer. They slowly and reluctantly stepped apart.
Afterward Arty again asked that question which Andorra would not answer before.
"Why do you care for these two so much?"