Morgan stood in the garden path where the orchards began, slightly leaning forward and seeming to examine something intently in the trees. She took another step forward, hair flowing over her shoulders as she raised her arm as if about to execute a ballet move. Then she stepped from view into the foliage. Nadjinia watched from her vantage point in the second story study, pulling the curtains aside slightly yet remaining out of direct view. Curiosity piqued, she moved to another window in an attempt to gain a better look at what the woman was doing.


Suddenly she heard a raucous commotion and saw a great raven fly from the point where Morgan had disappeared. It circled once, then returned to the path and perched on a branch hung with moss. Ruffling its feathers, it gave another huge cry. "Surely she cannot transform herself" Nadjinia thought, smiling a little to herself at her own flight of fancy, and as if in response, Morgan once again stepped into view. She approached the big bird carefully and paused when she was nearly underneath the branch. The bird began to bob its dark head up and down in excitement, and opened its wings slightly,  almost begging. Morgan once again reached toward it.


Astonishingly, it hopped from the branch down onto the back of Morgan's uplifted hand, then sidled down her arm until it reached her shoulder. Morgan tilted her head away, apparently in deference to its long beak in such close approximation to her eyes. The bird continued to creep along until it was very close to her head. Morgan waited. The bird stopped, then tipped its head forward until it seemed to be whispering something in Morgan's ear. Nadjinia abruptly realized that this was no chance meeting. Either the woman had charmed the corvine into tameness, or else she knew this ebony friend quite well.


Morgan appeared to be listening intently, and nodded her head once, then again. Suddenly the bird opened its massive wings, screamed once into the sky, and leapt from the woman, wings beating down so hard that Morgan's hair moved from the downdraft. The creature spiraled up and then away. The gypsy watched the flight until the bird could no longer be seen, and Nadjinia watched along with her.


She looked back to Morgan and started. In her interest at the scene, she realized that she had stepped away from her hiding place behind the curtain and was now standing in full view. Morgan was looking up at her with an inscrutable expression on her face, then she flashed a decidedly satisfied half smile. Slightly uncomfortable at being found out, Nadjinia nodded, and then moved away from the window to her settee, where she sat and began brushing her hair. The look that had been on Morgan's face unsettled her in an oddly provocative way, and she found herself once again inwardly remarking on the texture of the gypsy's soft looking skin, and the shape and color of her eyes. Truly a wonderful subject to sketch endlessly, she assured herself. This thought was quickly followed by another: "Or for as long as she stays."


A knock came at her door. When Nadjinia opened it, Morgan was standing there, the only evidence of her rapid exit from the gardens and then up the flights of stairs betrayed by a slight increase in the rate of her breathing. She looked quietly at Nadjinia for a moment, and then said: "Why do you watch me?"


Why did she watch her? Nadjinia thought to herself. She realized that she was fascinated with this woman, and suddenly felt a yearning for a companion, a female ally. Although she loved her quiet life of solitude with her brilliant husband, she felt a longing for the friendship of someone of her own sex. But would this woman accept that response? Still guarded, but with a shade of a small smile, she replied "I want to know who you are."




Go Back