Mary Peace Finley
Award-winning author of books for young people
© Mary Peace Finley 2012
Papá stopped his frantic packing and stared at them as if they were strangers.
Gabriela Ultima, who had been peeking from the doorway, ran into the house, wailing.
"I'm sorry," Teresita whispered, touching Julio's face with the tips of her fingers. "But you
don't understand. With Papá gone. Mamá is lonely. And it's just—just—Julio, not all women
are like Mamá. I won't be!"
Papá snatched a tin cup from the dirt and flung it into a canvas pouch. "It's a long way
to come to be thrown out of my own home. I thought your mamá would be glad to see
me, even for two days."
"Two days!" Julio jerked as if his face had been slapped a second time. He ran his
fingers through the straw-colored strands of hair over his forehead and looked from
Papá to Teresita. "Where are you going?"
Sighing, Papá knelt and reached out, snapping his fingers. Chivita sprang up, her feet on Papá's
knee, tail wagging. "El Señor William Bent needed someone to carry a message to his brother
Charles here in Taos. I volunteered to come so I could see you and your mamá," he added bitterly.
"Now I have Señor Charles's letter to return to Bent's Fort." He stood and touched his chest.
Beneath the sheepskin and white cotton shirt, Teresita heard the muffled crunch of paper. "It's
A sudden shiver brushed Teresita's shoulders. Mr. Blackbird! Is this it? Is this what that feeling
meant? Is this my chance to go, too? With Papá?