Margot MacFadden had hair the color of polished copper and eyes that shown like brilliantly-cut emeralds. There was a light play of freckles across her face that resembled the mask of a badger. Even as she grew into adulthood there was something child-like and carefree in her manner. An ex of hers once postulated she belonged to one of the races whom dwelt beneath Fey Hill; some manner of pixie or sprite. Something she took as a compliment.
She was very proud of her Celtic ancestry. There were tales she could recite from memory, as if she had been there. Stories of battle against tyranny for the good Earth of her kin and adventures to brave new lands. Some of them may have been true, and, to her mind; all of them were.
Years later, her copper-colored locks teased her jawline and were striped with cords of pure silver. Sometimes she considered a dye-job to conceal the suggestion she might be aging. Her eyes still twinkled with youthful exuberance and the freckles still danced playfully across her older face.
She had been called a sexy grandma, which she took as a pleasing, albeit backhanded, compliment, having been born without a uterus. Never having the maternal pull, she did not regret not having children, and, there were plenty of the adopteds-never, ever, fosters-coming in and out, which she felt more like the occasional guide to than a parent. When asked, she could say with all honesty that satisfied her.
Counting almost to the day, it was thirty years since she first met Solomon Chance. That night, her world changed. It had been at a gallery opening and her lead-singer boyfriend was doing a set. Solomon had just come from living three years in Spain for no other reason than to live in Spain. In his wool jacket pocket was a book of Rumi’s poems-“I read it once a year, whether I need to or not,” he told her-he was drinking something dark and esoteric and was smoking a fat cigar, which smelled of hundred-dollar bills and a thousand places that didn’t exist. Margo would never admit it, but it was love at first sight. Doubly so after he shook her hand.
“You realize I’m going to marry you someday,” he said.
“My boyfriend’s with the band,” she shot back, trying not to let her electric arousal seep into her words.
“An obstacle,” Solomon said with a shrug. “Obstacles can be overcome.”
In their first encounters, Margot felt shame in her ancestral pride. She could speak of glory and battle, but those were tales of those who had come before. Solomon spoke of places he had been; the three years in Spain. Before that, travels through the Mediterranean, Middle East, and all through Africa. Those ten years backpacking all through south and east Asia, Australia, and South America because he did.
She remembered asking him why…
“Because I wanted to,” he said without the slightest blush of arrogance. “Maybe I was looking for something, but I didn’t know what it was.”
He was fascinated by her ancestral tales. Having grown up on a Wyoming ranch, he didn’t know much of his family’s history beyond his great-grandparents. The fact Margot had family whom she could trace back centuries was of savage interest to him.
“You’re already established,” he said. “Me? I’ve got to make a name for myself.”
“With your last name? You won’t have to try too hard,” Margot teased with a wink of emerald.
A year and a half after they met, the lead-singer was gone. Five years later, they were a couple. Fabulous, some would say. Five years after that, as Solomon warned, they were married. It was on the Patagonian coast against the long-beached skeleton of a minke whale. Both agreed it was tragic in its romance. A wedding and funeral all in one.
She had been away on personal business. When she walked into the salon there was the usual mournful wailing of Hank Williams and the faces of people she knew. With a slight pixie-ish smile, she singled out a patron sitting at the bar.
These days, his hair was that of brushed steel, but his eyes were that of ball lightning. Those were the eyes that got her in the end. A gaze that could tell you a thousand secrets or slice you apart. Sometimes, he spoke more with a glance than with words. She found that fascinating to this day, some thirty years from that night in the gallery.
He was at the bar, hunched over a snifter of brandy and his book of Rumi’s poems-“I read it once a year, whether I need to or not”. She sat down next to him, her nails working their way into his hair. He seemed to scarcely notice, but she knew better.
“Hello, handsome,” she cooed. “What’re you reading?”
“It’s called a book,” he replied without a sidelong glance. “In some places in the world, these are the work of the Devil.”
“Devilish man,” she teased. “Can I get you another drink?”
“I didn’t miss you,” he said.
“I’d question you if you did,” she shot back.
His eyes shifted over her. She felt the electric current of his gaze. It told her everything. She smiled as the bartender walked up to them.
“Doing okay, Sol?”
“Another brandy, please,” he replied, and then motioned to Margot. “And something special for my date here. She says she’ll pay.”
“Martini?” The bartender inquired with a knowing wink.
“Oh, of course,” she replied, placing a kiss on Solomon’s cheek like it was their first date.