Tuesday, March 31
Tanya was in two minds as the sun came up. She knew there would be a tribal dinner that night. Though she loved those dinners, it would also mean another evening having to ignore Sage Eagle.
The previous evening had been nice, but that had been the extent of it. Pronghorn wasn’t the man she wanted – as handsome as he was. She was grateful that he’d decided to find out quickly – to avoid wasted time and hurt feelings. Tanya had never experienced kisses with so many men in such a short period of time, she hadn’t known that compatibility could be discovered in the taste of the prospective partner. She wished she could have known how incompatible she’d been with Frank all those years ago. It would have saved her a lot of pain and heartache. She wouldn’t have traded her girls for anything though. She sighed, then went to shower. She looked in the mirror and saw the bit of mousy brown showing through at her roots. Little Deer was right, she needed to dye it again. Funny that her friend liked her brown hair though… she’d never seen it as anything interesting.
Once clean, she came back out to find the girls up. Quickly, she got Skye ready for school and Rose ready to go with her to the kitchen if there was anything she could do to help prepare the evening meal.
She thought about what Pronghorn had said about her getting the first earthship if she decided to stay. That was too much for her to take in! Yet he’d told her to receive graciously and pay it forward in the future. Pronghorn was a wise man, she knew. It was a pity that they weren’t compatible. Neither did he seem to think that a match with Sage Eagle was impossible.
Tanya needed to get her mind off Sage Eagle again!
“Come on, girls!” she urged them out of their room and out for breakfast. A mug of tea was already waiting for her as she prepared the table. She realized that she had gone to bed before Dancing Bear had returned the previous night.
“Did you have a good evening with Pronghorn?”
“I did,” Tanya reported. “It was nice.”
“He’s not for me and I’m not for him. That much was clear!” Tanya blurted, trying to keep the tears from forming.
“What was the matter?”
She waited for the girls to focus on their breakfast again. There was no need to upset them.
“Was Pronghorn a gentleman?”
“Yes! There is nothing wrong with him...”
“He’s not Sage Eagle! There! I’ve said it!” Tanya replied miserably.
“This is true,” Dancing Bear replied quietly.
“But he won’t talk to me! So, it’s an impossible match!”
“As long as you do not talk, then yes, it is impossible.”
“What should I do?”
“Show him that you’re Neme’o’ng and that he should want you.”
“How? Isn’t that being false?”
“Being yourself and being Neme’o’ng shouldn’t be in conflict. Especially, if you still think you wish to remain here.”
“I do! More than anywhere I’ve ever been before!”
“Then you must find the way to blend the ways of the Neme’o’ng into yourself. Make it show to Sage Eagle and maybe… maybe you can do it.”
Tanya wasn’t so sure, but she would think about it. She thought, instead, of the mousy brown that was showing at her roots. “Do you have anything to redye my hair?”
“I might do.”
“Little Deer said she’d help me with it. I figured I might as well do it before the dinner tonight.”
“Will you have time to do that and help with tonight’s meal?”
“Not sure… We did it really fast in Pendleton.”
“I would suggest waiting until you might have to be seen in public – like before pow wow. It’s not great for your scalp to dye your hair all the time.”
“Okay,” Tanya replied, wondering how she was meant to be Neme’o’ng when she couldn’t even look the part.
“Don’t forget, Phoenix, that being Neme’o’ng is far more than the color of your skin or hair. Why don’t you read our book of legends?”
Tanya curled up with a book about Coyote and all his many antics in the legendary world while the girls played outside under the watchful eyes of Dancing Bear.
Little Deer followed Dove and her brother and father into the grange. She helped set up the little altar and lit the candle they used. Her father began by lighting the bundle of white sage, getting it all smoky. Her brother followed with another bundle.
“Focus, Kwina,” her father said, making Little Deer look at Sage Eagle. His momentary lapse of attention was already gone and Little Deer had to wonder whether the lapse had anything to do with her lovely friend Phoenix. Sage Eagle would have been angry if she said anything, but she knew he struggled.
Her father began the blessing, cleansing song that he always used when smudging a building. Her brother joined in. Their voices blended so nicely as they began circling the interior of the building, Dove staying right with them as they walked and used their eagle feather fans to waft the smoke into every nook and cranny of the building.
Maybe one day, Little Deer could be matched to a man who sang so beautifully. His voice would weave a spell through her heart and she would be his forever. She wondered if Phoenix had heard Sage Eagle sing before. Maybe when she’d had her blessing. Little Deer would love to have Phoenix for a sister, but although she knew the feelings were mutual, it remained to be seen whether her stubborn brother would admit them to himself.
She heard a small “mew” as if someone else were agreeing with her thoughts. She saw the small calico kitty that she had named when she was younger. “Hello, Spot,” she greeted as the animal wound around her legs, caressing her with its tail. Then, the cat walked a short distance away and mewed again. “What do you want?” Little Deer asked, following Spot towards the back of the building.
Back to the prologue
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Previous Swan Valley Stories:
- Native Concession either in ebook form or [print]( . (June 2014, approximately 9 months before Phoenix.)
Swan Valley is a fictitious American Indian reservation located in the Great Divide Basin of Wyoming, USA. The Neme'o'ng (Swan People) are based on the idea of blending the Shoshoni and Arapaho peoples - as might have happened if they were stranded in a desolate area as a small band of misfits. I have developed their language from the same ideas.
Please read my note on romance, teenage intimate relationships and underage sex. I apologize if my understanding conflicts with your sense of morality, but I'm only looking at things realistically, not ideologically. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing!
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