THE COWBOY’S BABY continued.
The rose growers and gardeners she kept in business for several seasons blessed her sweet hide.
Red roses, white roses, peach and yellow roses, antique roses, miniature roses, rose trees, roses running up the original fence in trellises, roses from catalogs, roses from neighbors wishing to honor Joseph’s memory, all became a thorn obstruction keeping Lennon property separated from Creighton.
Visits to the lawyer dwindled away to none as the resort property developed on schedule. Tidy roads were laid into the black dirt. Two small lakes were dug out of the former plantation fields and forests, pine trees drowned under a deluge of piped-in water and man-stocked fish, and a nine-hole golf course was planted over the native grasses, though many of the trees were retained.
Through all of this activity, Cassie thought only of the missing Joseph, but she spent most of her physical time on reinforcing the rose bush hedges around her fenced land and building herself a fantasy life that made her happy. She ate, she slept, and she worked on the fence. The roses were for Joseph. Everything she did was for when Joseph came home. One day she thought of getting him a pet.
When David died she was caught off guard.
The police came to tell her, quiet and polite. A traffic accident in Dallas, Texas, had killed her husband a day previously. He had stayed her husband because of Joseph; she had felt no divorce possible as long as her son was in his father’s power. But although David had been tracked, there had never been any sign of Joseph. The police mistook her tears for grief.
Photos by Roxanne Rix