26 Miles, 26 Buttons


“Cool, are you ready to go?”

“Not yet. I need to change.”

“Why change? We’re only thirty minutes away from Gallup.”

“It’s twenty-six miles to Gallup from Window Rock.”

“Whatever, Katie. Can’t you wait another half hour?”

“No.”

“Oh, why not?”

“Because I’m a woman, and I don’t feel like driving to Gallup in all this grunge,” Katie said this matter-of-factly, as she toted her pack into the hogan.

Rory understood he no longer had any say in this discussion. He also knew he was not allowed in the hogan. He walked to the car, unlocked it, and turned the key to make sure there would be no more delays in their trip.

About fifteen minutes later, the door to the hogan opened. “Rory?”

“Yes?”“My razor is dull. Can I borrow yours?”

Waiting was the hardest task for Rory to do. He unzipped the outer pocket of his pack, pulled out the plastic bag containing his toiletries, and rummaged through it. He found his razor and walked across the dusty yard to the hogan. Rory placed the blade in her hand.

“Thank you, dear.”

“How much longer?”

“Just a few minutes.”

Rory looked for something to do, but there was nothing, so he waited.

Finally, the door opened. Is it time? Is it time to start the engine and drive down the road? Oh, I hope so.

The door opened wider, Katie stepped through and closed the door behind her.

“Okay, now…” Rory began, and then his jaw dropped. “Yes! Oh wow!” The picture before him was worth a thousand waiting minutes.

Katie wore a light brown full-length skirt with buttons all the way down the front of it, held up by a beautiful dark brown leather belt with a silver and turquoise buckle. On top of the skirt, she wore a long-sleeved billowy blouse with almost as many buttons as the skirt. A turquoise and silver necklace rested on the collar of the shirt. Her long black hair dropped down to her breasts, accentuating the necklace.

“So how long were you waiting for me, Rory?”

“It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“Are you ready to go? I am.”

He nodded yes, turned around to open the car door for her, took her hand, and helped her into her seat. He got in and shifted into drive. “I think we’re going to Gallup, but I don’t want to assume anything. What are you thinking?”

“That’s just what I planned all along, Rory.”

“All right, then. We’re off!” He let out a sigh of relief.

So, why did she get all dressed up? Should I be wearing something fancy too? Rory thought.

“One, two, three, four.” Katie counted out loud as the car came to Rt 12. Rory turned left and headed for Window Rock.

“Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve.” She was doing something to her blouse, adjusting it perhaps? She lifted her belt buckle up an inch or so and continued the count, as she worked her way down. “Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty.”

“What are you doing, Katie?”