by Bernard DeLeo
“Quit daydreamin’ Jack. Pull the fencing tight!”
Jack shifted leather gloves up on his hands before working the chain grab wire tensioner. Looking at the barren tree on his left, Jack shivered as the branches fluttered softly in the icy March wind. Had it been only last September when he stood beneath rainbow colored leaves near the same tree, holding Kathy’s hand while she dumped him like a used Kleenex, Jack wondered. Visions of fixing fence the spring before, when tree, hillside, and his attitude were all green and fresh, flashed unbidden through Jack’s mind. A blonde haired woman, riding along the skyline on a roan horse, had paused to watch Jack work.
Instant attraction, Jack grinned ruefully down at his hands where he held the tensioner. He remembered Kathy riding down the hillside to introduce herself, turning his eighteen year old world upside down. They had shared a meal and small talk under the splendidly emerald tree, an early spring having dressed it in scent and majesty. Jack shook his head, trying to shake free the blazing summer memory: clutching Kathy’s trembling body under the shade tree with such intensity, they had lost all sense of time and surroundings. Jack turned away, recalling how he had huddled under the tree’s naked branches in two feet of snow, trying to ease his shattered soul.
“Hey, Jack, we got company.”
Jack looked up where his partner pointed. Beyond the tree, a blonde woman rode toward them on a roan horse.