Myristica (Formerly White Ravyn)
may be addressed to:
not the way they see me.
Not who they think I am.
I'm just a man.
I have need of you, Sweet Woman.
Not for the velvet of your touch,
But for the
weaponry of your mind.
a hole that needs mendin'.
My own Achilles Heel.
So, I offer up my need.
Teach me, Noble Lady.
Teach me to write and to read.
- "Achilles" )
was going there again.
Larabee watched from the jailhouse as his best friend, Vin Tanner, headed toward the Clarion Newspaper office. He had
been going there every day that week at the same hour. Chris started taking notice when his other friend, Buck, had
mentioned the fact to him. "Hey, Chris, looks like Vin is moving in on your territory," Buck had said, a hint of teasing
behind his eyes.
had watched Vin enter the Clarion office and not leave for an entire hour. He shrugged to Buck as the two sat on the
porch of the jailhouse. "Mary is free to see anyone she wants," he had replied, though there was no conviction in his
had chuckled. "Right and if pigs had wings they could fly."
Vin was heading toward the office again. This was the sixth day in a row. What Vin was doing there was unknown
to Chris, but it had caused a tension he didn't understand. Maybe it was because of his desiring to allow Mary into
his life. The loss of Chris' wife and son still seared his soul with pain and it was still too soon to allow thoughts
of another woman to enter his life...but seeing Vin spending an hour every day with Mary caused pangs of jealousy to fill
Vin could enter the Clarion again, Chris walked up to him his stance deliberate. "Vin?"
turned and saw his best friend come near. "Chris, somethin' up?"
guess this ain't my place, but I've seen you for the last few days going into the Clarion. Was just wondering if there's
something I should know about."
understood instantly what Chris was intimating. He didn't want to tell Chris that he had been going to see Mary every
day for reading and writing lessons. He was ashamed enough as it was to have the prominent newspaper woman know that
he could not do either skill. To have the members of the Seven know, especially Chris, would be a shame not even he
could bear, but he also knew that Chris was holding feelings for Mary. He didn't want there to be any reason for Chris
to think that he was seeing Mary in that manner.
stood, feeling awkward with the confrontation. "I'm sorry, Chris. I know ya' have a fondness fer Mary. I
would never come between you two. It's not what ya' think."
Chris wasn't sure what to think. "Cause if you want to set your hat in her direction, I'll step
gazed at Chris long and hard. "I can't tell ya', Chris. Just know why I go there ain't fer what ya' think.
I'm not seekin' to court her."
stared at him. "Then why can't you tell me why you see her every day?"
looked down. He couldn't tell Chris. He was too ashamed. "I...I just can't say. It's personal."
said nothing more and turned, walking off with anger in his steps.
the first time since the two men met, Vin misread Chris' actions. He thought the gunslinger was walking off angry because
he didn't believe Vin. What Chris was angry about, though, was that Vin could not trust him enough to tell him what
was really going on. All men had their secrets and Chris understood that as well as any man living, but to have Vin
ashamed in front of him was something that did not settle well.
secret Vin was keeping he would let it lay for now, but it bothered him just the same that there had to be a secret.
watched Chris walk off and it felt like a blow to his gut. If Chris thought there was something going on between him
and Mary, then Vin decided the lessons weren't worth losing a friendship over. He turned and walked into the Clarion.
looked up from where she was pulling out the lesson books. "Afternoon, Vin. Are you ready to start?"
removed his hat and looked down as he fought to speak. "I...uh...I been thinkin'. I appreciate all you've done
fer me. I know my letters now, and...and everythin', but...um...I think it best I don't continue on with the lessons."
felt her heart fall to her stomach. She gazed at Vin in shock. "Vin, is something wrong? Did the others
find out? Are they teasing you about this?"
no, none of the others know about ya' teaching me. I...uh..." he looked over his shoulder out the window and Mary followed
his gaze. She saw what, or rather, who Vin was looking at. "Vin?" she prompted.
sighed and turned his attention back to her. "I just think it best if'n we stop. I appreciate ya' wanting to teach
me and all. I guess I'm just not into book learnin'." He put his hat on and opened the door. "Thank ya'
fer everythin', Mary," he said as he walked out into the street closing the door behind him.
went to the window and saw Vin walk over to the jailhouse. She watched as Vin stepped up to Chris. Chris had lowered
his head to hear what Vin was saying to him, then Mary saw Vin mount his horse and ride out of town. Something was the
cause of Vin stopping any further lessons and she had a feeling it was because of Chris.
she would get her answer soon, for the gunslinger was making his way toward her office. She went to her desk and opened
a drawer, pulling out two sheets of paper. Each one containing a poem that Vin Tanner had written...inside his mind.
She knew that Vin didn't want anyone of the Seven knowing he couldn't read or write, but if she worked it right Chris would
find out on his own.
put the lesson books on her desk to where they could be easily seen. Then she started to casually dust off the small
chalkboard she had written that day's lesson plan on.
walked in and saw what she was doing and he saw the books on her desk. He was not a stupid man and he realized with
all these things what Vin had been keeping secret. He realized because he had known all along that Vin couldn't read
or write. How he had known didn't matter...what mattered was that everything was coming together now.
Larabee? Is there something I can do for you?" Mary asked without turning to look at him.
walked in and closed the door behind him. "I'd like to talk to you, Mary, about Vin."
turned to him, then...and smiled.
walked up to where Vin stood. A silhouetted figure clad in the light of the bonfires that lit the street. His
friend's back was to Chris and Vin never turned to acknowledge his presence. Chris stopped and gently rested a hand
on the younger man's shoulder. "I knew that you couldn't read, Vin. I've known for a long time. I never
said anything to you before because I felt if you wanted me to know you would have told me. I've always said that your
life is your life and what happens with you is none of my business. I still hold true to that, but this is one time
I have to say something to you." Chris stopped. Words came so easy to him on paper, but when faced with actually
speaking them, they were more difficult. Which is why he never spoke much, except for what he had to say. This
time, though, he knew he had a lot to say and putting words down on paper would not do, at least not for this first part of
took in a deep breath and lowered his voice. "I read the poems you wrote. I went to talk to Mary after you rode
out earlier today. She showed them to me." He fought to control the emotion that threatened to choke his voice.
After a moment of silence he continued. "They moved me. I love words, Vin. Never did before I met my wife.
Never saw how they can move a man's spirit. Sarah taught me to love words. I've read many things in my life, poetry,
plays, novels, and it means something when a man can paint pictures with words. You have that talent. I would
never desire to stifle that talent within you. To do that would be to cause a great tragedy. Learn to read, Vin.
Learn to write, because I would love to hear more from you."
knew he was going to tread on painful ground with these next words, but he had to be sure Vin understood. He had to
know that Vin would not throw his gift away. Chris cleared his throat. He hated it when emotion choked off the
ability to speak. It always gave you away. "Your Ma would be proud of you, Vin." He felt the shoulder tense
under his grip. He squeezed the shoulder harder. "I know that because...I'm proud of you."
stood there and Chris felt the trembling going through the younger man. The gunslinger took in a breath and began to
man does not know he walks in darkness
Until a light reveals his path.
There is a hollow void he does not know needs to be filled
Until his soul is graced with what has been kept from him.
that moment he turns and claims his pain.
He can see, he is made whole.
not dim that light so true.
Do not starve my soul.
when my wounds no longer bleed
And my pain is just a memory,
I will look to
the one who healed
And proudly say, 'He is my friend.'
heard the sound of paper being folded and he turned to Chris, his face streaked with silent tears. "Did..." he choked
and lowered his gaze. "Did you write that?"
nodded. "For you."
turned and started walking away when Vin grabbed his arm. Chris looked at him as Vin slowly took the paper from his
hand. In a moment that Chris knew would never be repeated, Vin put the folded paper to his chest over his heart and
held it there.
to speak because of the emotion, Vin continued to hold the paper to his chest as if it were able to burn through his skin
and take residence inside him. The look the two men shared could not be fathomed, not even with words, but Chris knew
that Vin understood.
younger man nodded once to Chris and walked on down the road, his head held high.
stood there and watched his best friend as he headed toward the Clarion. When Vin disappeared into Mary's office, he
could see by the light within that Vin was sitting down, removing his hat. He watched through the window as Mary pulled
out the lesson books and opened them.
smile touched Chris' lips and he stood on the other side of the street, unseen by the student and teacher.
would guard over them this night, like a sentinel guarding a precious treasure.