“What do you mean, what makes me tick?” Mary stirred the coals in the campfire.
“I don’t know. I just have a hard time reading you. I mean, one minute you are telling me you are happy living alone, free to go and come as you please. Then the next minute you are saying how lonely you are. I don’t know what you want? Where do you want us to go? What do you expect out of me?”
“Expect? Nothing. What do you want me to expect? Here we are, on a mountaintop, cooking our supper on an open fire with a sky full of stars. What more can I say? I love being here with you. I love making love with you. But, I’m not expecting anything anymore. Been there, done that.
“Besides, isn’t that what men want? Benefits without commitment? Tell me, what makes you tick? Is it the idea of not getting to make the choice whether to love me or leave me?” Mary looked at Kevin, tried to see his eyes, but he was looking off in the distance, avoiding her scrutiny. So, there they were, both trying to read the other without being read. They were at a Mexican stand-off. She arranged the cast iron pot over the coals, added the freeze-dried meat, an envelope of onion soup and fresh new potatoes and young carrots from her own garden. The one she tilled, planted, weeded, and nurtured alone.
“I can’t believe you think that after all this time,” Kevin finally said. He was looking into her eyes this time, and she let him try and find what was hiding there deep behind the wall she had so carefully build. A brick wall she would never let another tear down. No matter how tempting it was, nor how sincere the man sounded. No, she’d trusted her life to the love of her life, and look where it had gotten her. She could play the game as good as anyone. “Warm arms tonight, cold heart tomorrow.” What made her tick? Experience, that’s what.
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