Well Norny was quit a celebrity to the people of Wyola. At the moment she was their favorite person and admired by all. Of course Norny was a real mystery to these people. There were many more questions about her then there were answers. Like why Norny wouldnít except a room with a bed at the inn. She insisted on sleeping in the stable were Poco was. Norny had learned from her tribe and from Daniel not to freely give information about herself away to just anyone. She wondered how the people of this town would feel about her had they known she was Indian.
To the children of the town she was a hero. The children followed Norny everywhere. They all wanted to sit on Poco or take a short rides on him, and Norny obliged. They would gather around Norny in a group and ask her the same kind of questions the adults did and some other ones as well. Questions like "where are you from?", "do you have a family?", "where are you going?". Then they would ask " Can Poco do tricks".
Norny would say "Well lets see..." she then said " Poco aucoota" and Poco would stand up on his hind legs for all the kids.
"Wow!" They would say.
"Not too bad for an old horse like my Poco;" she would tell them. Then she said "Poco whoís pretty boy are you?" Then Poco would put his nose against Nornyís chest and give her a little shove.
One of the kids said "I bet Poco can run fast?"
"He used to, but Poco is getting old now."
Then she told them, "When we were younger Poco and I used to race after the charging buffalo herd. Poco was so fast that he would get way out in front of the herd, then he would turn at an angle and jump over the leader. Nothing could catch him."
"Wow!" They would say. "Where did you get Poco?"
"Poco was a gift from my family when I was a young girl."
"I hope someday I can own a horse like Poco," one child said.
"You can choose a horse that you want, but to be one with an animal like Poco, the horse must choose you," Norny told him. "Poco is my horse now and forever. And I am Pocoís best and only friend for as long as he chooses me. Although Poco is a horse, and I am a woman, we are different creatures, but our spirits are the same. The burning fire in our hearts comes from the same place. Like a tiny star from the night sky. One star that burns in two separate hearts to beat the same. That is Poco and I, she told them. I could never feel greater love then my love for Poco."
And those words she didnít have to think about, they came straight from her heart to their little ears. "Someday you will understand, for an animal to except you as their friend is a special gift. A privilege. When they give you their friendship, it is with complete trust and without condition. You must never betray their trust in you. Do you understand what I mean?"
They did, and Norny had made a profound difference by shedding a special light on the importance of respect that they would forever have for other living things. Years later they would remember her words to them on that day, and they in turn would pass that same message on to their children.
While Norny spoke with the kids in the street, Mr. Simons from the general store came out and said. " Norny, how about a piece of candy for you and the kids?"
The kids all said " Yaah! " So excepting his offer they all went into his store.
The children all wanted the same kind of candy. Something that would last a long time. One at a time they reached into the jar and took a piece. When it was Nornyís turn she didnít know one kind of candy from another, so she took what the kids took and put it into her mouth. It was large and it was hard but Norny bit down on it. Pthoooooh , coothack ! is the sound that it made as she spit it from her mouth and it hit the hardwood floor. Norny felt as though she had racked her jaw out of alignment. "Donít bite it Norny," one kid said, "its a jaw breaker you suck on it."
Jaw breaker, thatís a good name for it, she thought. She
wasnít sure if her mouth would ever work right again. Norny is moving
her jaw from side to side making sure it still works.
"Are you OK?" Mr. Simons asked.
" Iíll be all right, but no more candy for me thank you."
"Here these are for your horse," handing her a bunch of carrots.
"Thank you." she said, and she took them and walked out into the street to feed Poco.
While she feed Poco Norny thought to herself, this is a nice little town. The people are friendly and Iíve learned that not all white men are arrogant and self absorbed.
Well Norny was going to be leaving in the morning, so she had to take care of some necessities before she turned in for the night. She wanted to say her good byeís and thank some of the people who treated her as a friend while she stayed here. Mr. Simons gave her some provisions for the trail, along with an extra blanket and some goodies for Poco.
"Will we ever see you again Norny?" Mr. Simons asked.
"Probably not "she replied.
"Well it has been a pleasure to know you Norny" he said.
"For me as well. " she said.
Norny had to say good bye to Joe the sign painter, so she walked on down to his little shop. "HI Norny!" Joe said in an enthusiastic way as she walked in.
"I just wanted to say good bye to you Joe before I leave."
"Are you leaving now?" he asked.
"Iíll be leaving at sun up."
"You will be missed by this little town, and by me."
"You're a good man Joe, and very talented one." and paused "I think you will do well in life." She told him.
"Norny donít you think you could find a home here with us."
"Easily Joe. But settling is not in my immediate future. I have some distance to travel and my future is uncertain. Besides the places I go and the people I meet are a learning experience for me. There is much for me to learn, and I have only begun."
"Norny, I donít know anything about you. Canít you tell me where your from or who you are?"
"Some things are best that they remain a mystery." She told him. "The fact that we crossed paths in our lives, and that we recognized each other as friends is enough."
"I suppose your right," he said. "come here Norny. I need to put my arms around you and give you a hug."
So Norny stepped forward and Joe put his arms around her and squeezed her tight. "Iíll miss you Norny."
With that Norny turned to the door and said " Good bye Joe."
Norny was almost asleep in the barn when she heard someone come
in. "Who is it?" she said.
"Its me Joe. I need to talk to you." The moon light was coming through the door, so they could just make out each others highlighted silhouette. Joe walked over to her and sat down in front of her in the straw bed she had made for herself. "I know your leaving in the morning."
"Yes" she said.
"Well I canít let you go without speaking with you."
"What are you thinking Joe?" She asked.
Joe could see her dimly lit. face, but the moonlight glistened in her eyes making them appear almost liquid. Joe was finding it hard to speak now that he had her attention. "I know nothing about you, but I can see your not like anyone Iíve ever known or ever will know. I have to know who you are. Iím sorry Norny, I canít help it. My heart is drawn to you like nothing Iíve ever felt before. Can you understand that Norny?"
"Yes, Joe, indeed I can. Its a haunting feeling and it canít be controlled," she said.
"Then you do understand Norny."
"Yes, I donít quit know what it is, but it is a stronger feeling than most and it is a bitter sweet experience. Its wonderful but it hurts at the same time."
"Yes it does" he said. "Look, Norny, I donít care where your going, I want to go with you. I want to be with you where ever your headed for."
"You canít come with me Joe. It is my destiny to travel alone. I donít know where Iíll be tomorrow, or what will become of me. It is my fate that I must seek. You, Joe, have your own journey to the future. And I hope it will be a pleasant one. But only you can travel that road."
"But you are alone Norny and I am alone. This way we will have each other."
"We are all alone Joe. We can provide each other with a momentary distraction of that fact, but in the end we are still alone. It is the understanding of who we are and where we come from that allows us comfort with ourselves in spite of it. I feel I can trust you Joe, so Iíll tell you about myself." And Norny began to tell Joe the whole story about herself. How they found her, how she was raised, and why she must journey alone.
"Well that explains a few things about you," he said, "but when
I look at you I see this gentle and beautiful woman. Its hard to
believe that you could be a skilled warrior or that you where raised
by savages, oh Iím sorry Norny, I didnít mean that."
"Its OK Joe, I know you didnít mean anything by it. We all come from humble beginnings Joe. The white man has the wrong idea about the Indian. The Indian is the very beginning of civilization. The starting point of humanity. He is where all culture and man evolves from. That is before man layered on his social and civilized masks he uses to hide his origin. The white man tryís so hard to cover up his humble beginnings, that he looses site of who he really is. The truth is that he fears the recognition of it, but he knows it is the truth, so he hates the red man but actually its himself that he hates."
My God he thought, this woman is wise beyond her
time. She sees and knows so much. Joe suddenly realized that
Norny was way over his head. He is just an average man, but she
possessed wisdom and answers beyond the normal woman.
Joe leaned forward and put his hands on either side of her head and pulled her face into his. He pressed his mouth into hers for a moment to give her a solid kiss, then backed off. "Thatís because weíll never see each other again, and I just had to kiss you at least once before you go," he said.
Then Joe got up and said " good night Norny"
"Joe," she said.
"I wonít forget you."
He just looked at her for a moment then turned and walked out.
When morning came, just before sunup, all was quite on the street in town. The only sound was the slight clip clop sound of Pocoís hooves as they slowly rode through town. The sun had just broke over the mountains in the distance.
As Norny approached the edge of town, there was Joe standing
there. He looked at her and said "Good luck Norny."
"And you Joe," she said.
While Joe watched her ride past him he thought to himself, I think I love you Norny.
Just as Joe thought that, it was as if Norny heard his thoughts. She spun around in the saddle and looked straight at Joe. Her face broke into a smile from ear to ear. Her smiling eyes glistened in the morning sun.
That was it. Joe was hit square in the heart. But it was overkill. Joeís fragile heart was already burdened with feelings for Norny and was no match for one of Nornyís smiles. It was the equivalent of shooting a humming bird with a buffalo rifle. It wasnít Nornyís fault either. She had no idea what the effect of her smiles would have on most men.
Norny didnít know her smile was loaded. She was so good with that smile and so deadly accurate, she was like a fancy gun slinger who was quick on the draw and a deadeye shot. She should have worn hearts on her shorts like notches on a gun handle.
Sheís been traveling all morning across the valley and up the side of the mountain. Stopping above the timberline, Norny makes some necessary repairs to the seat of her pants.
As her pale legs emerge to greet the warming sun, there is suddenly a new facet to this denim drifter. Her looks appear to be somewhere between rough-n-ready and soft and sensual, a look that would take an artist to interpret. The contrasting two textures of womanhood seem to compliment each other in a strange but beautiful way. She is clearly a special woman, and the prize to all that is fortunate enough to share this moment in time with her.
While she works away, she is unaware that just inches from her foot lay the source of her sorrow, that will plague her for the next few days of her journey.
As she was completing work on her pants, she is noticing how beautiful the view is from where she sits. Sheís thinking how nice it would be to share this place and this moment with someone special. She wondered would she ever have someone in her life that would make her feel special and treat her like she was a beautiful woman? The way Daniel did.
Well what Norny doesnít know about herself is that happiness would always be a fleeting feeling. It would come and go and emptiness would always find its way back into her heart. There is no explanation as to why, it may of had much to do with her up bringing, but there wasnít anything she could do about it. At least not at the moment. There was someone out there who had the solution to the problem, but would Norny recognize it when she saw it? Many men would want to try, but it would take more than the average man to hold Nornyís heart.
Daniel had captured Nornyís heart, and Norny had powerful feelings for Daniel that she didnít really understand. However had Norny stayed with Daniel would she have been happy or would it have gone away and she would become restless again? There was no way she would ever know the answer to that now. Norny had left Daniel behind.
Norny deserved to be happy just like anyone else, and maybe more than most. But her life was thousands of miles of trial and tribulations. She had questions to be answered before she could totally understand who she was and where her place in life would be. For now she could hold on to the memory of Daniel and think about what might have been. And hope that someday something might be again, somewhere, sometime.
Norny had saddled Poco, and they were off to who knows where. While she travels along memories of Daniel become stronger and stronger. To feel something of Daniel Norny reaches up to touch her earrings. OH NO!!!! One of the earrings was gone. What happened? Where could I have lost it. This canít be happening. Should I double back and look? No that would be futile. The earring was so small and the grass was so tall. This is terrible, she felt she had lost part of Daniel.
She remembered him saying to her "I have one hand on your shoulder, and one hand on your heart." Now she felt as if one hand were gone. She was feeling the loss for something material, one of her precious earrings. In her heart she knew that it was just an earring and not Danielís spirit deserting her, but she couldnít help but feel a great loss. Her blue sky day had suddenly turned gray. The miles and the day now started to get longer, and she was feeling depressed.
No matter how she might try and talk herself out of it. She couldnít. She couldnít afford to lose the last earring, so she removed it and put it into her pocket. The first town she comes to she is going to put it on a chain and wear it around her neck so she knows where it is at all times. How could I have been so careless with something Daniel had entrusted me with. I didnít deserve the earrings, she thought. But what she needed to remember was that the earrings were a way of Daniel telling her that she is very special to him, not the earrings. They were his way of saying you are beautiful and he will be thinking of you always. The earrings were just a material reminder and that is all. But it didnít matter, nothing helped.
As the day drug along, Norny hardly noticed any of the beauty around her. Her mind was numb. After she camped and got a nights sleep she thought she would perhaps feel better tomorrow, but she didnít. They rode along and finally noticed a sign that read "Plumpbucket 22 miles" with an arrow pointing straight ahead.
So Norny kept Poco going in that direction. She needed some way of adjusting her thinking so that she could feel special again even though Daniel wasnít there to tell her. Self doubt is something that can happen to anyone including Norny, but this to was a new experience for her. She had always been confident about herself. But then she didnít know that men would compare her to flowers and call her beautiful. This was something recently introduced to her. It confused her thinking about herself.
She wasnít special because Daniel said she was, he just pointed it out to her that he recognized she was special. And it was obvious to everyone who ever met her that she was. Norny liked the idea that men might think of her as beautiful, and she didnít want it to suddenly go away.