Erin prepared herself for the inevitable laughing she expected once she told Cindy of her plans. “I want to buy it,” she said.
Cindy didn’t laugh and didn’t look all that surprised either. “I sort of expected you were going to ask about that cabin again. I could see the look in your eye out on the prairie. You remind me of myself at your age.” Cindy removed the saddle from her house and motioned for Erin to do the same. “Just realize how much work it’s going to take to keep that cabin up and running. There’s no TV, no Internet and no plumbers to call in an emergency. It will just be you out there, all alone.”
Hearing all the associated risks dampened Erin’s raw enthusiasm, but she still wasn’t deterred. Hard work was easy, if you cared enough about the job you were undertaking. She removed the saddle from Charlie and watched the steam rise off his sweaty body. She grabbed a hose from the ground and began rinsing off the majestic animal. “I know it will be tough Cindy, but it just feels…right. Does that make any sense to you?”
“Of course it does. I can’t even begin to imagine a life in the big city anymore. I need the clean air and the spaciousness provided in this area of the country. In my opinion, it’s pretty hard to live a relaxed life when you’re crammed into buildings with other people, most of them who you don’t even like. So yeah, it makes perfect sense to me.” Erin watched as Cindy ran her hands through her horse’s sweaty hair and did the same. Charlie cooed and showed his appreciation.
Cindy turned to her and asked, “So do you want to leave us your contact information? I can talk to Christine and we can get back in touch with you when you get back home?”
“I don’t plan on leaving,” Erin said. “As a matter of fact, I may stay and find a menial job even if you and Christine decide to not sell me the place.”
Cindy stopped washing her horse and looked at Erin with a look of astonishment on her face. “I didn’t realize you meant to stay. That’s a pretty bold move, no?”
Erin nodded. “Yes, I understand how crazy it sounds, but it just feels right. All my life, for as long as I can remember anyway, I’ve felt out of place. I grew up in a well adjusted home and have always been blessed with great friends, but I never felt like I was living the life I should be living. I know that sounds whacky, but it’s the honest truth. I have always felt like an alien visiting a foreign planet. There’s only been two times in my life when I’ve felt inner peace. The first time was when I was seven and my Daddy took me out the country to visit his dying aunt. When it was time to leave I cried my eyes out and begged to stay. Of course Daddy wouldn’t let me, but I always remembered the feeling of peace I had out in the country. Of course life gets in the way and between all the hustle and bustle I forgot about that feeling of absolute serenity. Until I stepped off the plane here, that is.”
Cindy’s face softened and she smiled. “Erin, I know exactly how you feel. It’s almost as if I’m looking at a carbon copy of myself at your age. Well, not quite as pretty as you though."
Erin laughed and walked over to give the woman a hug. “It just feels so right, Cindy. I hope Christine is on board with the whole idea.”
Cindy made a sour-looking face. “She’s going to take more convincing them me I’m afraid. She loves that cabin and despite needing the money desperately has refused to sell it on at least two occasions already. Of course, the people trying to buy it were businessmen looking to turn a profit down the line. Not exactly Christine’s, nor my, sort of people.” Cindy patted her horse's muzzle and looked at Erin. “Do you mind if I ask what your intentions are with the cabin?”
Erin blushed. “I plan on turning it into a bed and breakfast.” She eyed Cindy out of the corner of her eye and hoped the woman wasn’t bothered by Erin’s hijacking of their idea.
Cindy grinned. “Great idea, I wish I’d thought of that myself.”
“Yeah, sorry about that. I just think it’s a great idea, with the oil boom and all. I can see this ranch being successful in the future and people are going to want an authentic place to stay while they are down here. Don’t you think?”
“Like I said girl, I think it’s a great idea. And you know what? I think you can make it work.”
Erin smiled and ran an old towel across Charlie’s back to dry him off. The horse looked back at her and Erin felt the warmth in his eyes. “I might be seeing more of you in the future Charlie, what do you think about that?”
Charlie whinnied and Erin burst into laughter. “He’s so adorable! If Christine agrees to sell me the place, would it be ok to come and give Charlie baths?”