The heat of the day was dissipating as the sun began to make its decent. August was the hottest month of the year in Arizona, temperatures have been known peak as high at 121 degrees at 4:00 in the afternoon.
The house was old and the siding fading, but the porch would catch your eye. The home, built in the late 1800's, sat on more than 10,000 acres of fields, and hills. The original owners traveled across the country in search of a better place. A location that allowed people to be who they wanted to be without the intervention of others. Now the highway passed just 50 yards from the front door.
As they drove up, Grissom first noticed the aged, broken down automobile in the yard. It was the car he had come to know extremely well more than 7 years ago. "Brass, what's going on?" he said. Brass didn't acknowledge his comment, he simply pulled the car up to the porch, parked, and got out.
Grissom opened the door slowly, got out and stood. He gazed upon the house and the grounds around it. He was barely able to control the thoughts rushing through his head.
" Is this..." he spoke, and before he could finish, Brass replied, "it is."
Grissom spoke in a trembling voice, " but why are we here"?
" Because she asked me to bring you".
Brass walked toward the split rail fence dividing the back field from the homestead grounds. Grissom approached the porch with hesitation in each step.
" Is she here?", Grissom yelled.
" I don't know, knock on the door". Brass replied.
Gaining the nerve, Grissom stepped onto the first step of the porch, noticing everything around him. The smell of horses, the sound of the boards creaking under his feet, all added to his anxiety. He peered into the house through the front door screen.
Inside, he noticed a wide stairway that ascended to the second floor. Just to the left was what seemed to be a dining room, and to the right was a living room with a large stone hearth fireplace. A large Indian rug lay immediately in front of the door, and boots were neatly lined up next to the wall.
Grissom tapped lightly on the door. No one seemed to stir inside. " Over here". Brass called out.
Brass had propped himself against one of the split-rail fence posts. He was pointing out into the horizon, just behind the house. Trying to focus on what Brass was pointing to, Grissom approached the fence holding one hand over his forehead to block out the sun.
" Where ", Grissom said.
" Just beyond that tree line, there's something kicking up dust ". Brass said.
In the distance was an object heading in the direction of the house. Behind it was a cloud of dust newly formed by some kind of motion. Grissom squinted to try to see more clearly. He discovered that the object that was approaching was a wagon being pulled by horses. It was moving at a relatively rapid pace.
" It's her..", Brass said.
Grissom froze. Everything in his body froze. He felt as if all 10,000 acres of land had shrunk up to greet him. The anxiety and fear he felt had combined in his mind, and seemed to set him in a waking coma, he couldn't move.
As the wagon grew nearer, they both worked their way through the maze of fencing that kept the horses in. The two men reached the open field just as the wagon came closer into the field of detailed vision.
Sitting high atop wooden wagon was a figure wearing a wide brimmed hat. A white sleeveless shirt covered the upper half of the figure, while a pair of cutoff shorts was used in the place of pants. Two horses were easily pulling the wagon at a trotting pace. A dog roamed the perimeter of the wagon as it moved closer to it destination. When the wagon grew even closer, Grissom saw...rather his minds eye knew, it was her.
As the horses cut their gate and slowed, the dog noticed the intruders. Charging towards the men barking, she called out " NO!" The dog obeyed and veered off to the barn.
Looking directly at Brass she said, " Thanks for bringing him. "
Brass nodded his head in acknowledgment as he gazed towards Grissom.
" Hi Sara ", Grissom said. He could barely speak, and the sound that his voice made was rough and almost inaudible.
" Hi ", she said.
Motioning towards the rear of the house, " The back door is open, put your bags upstairs and help yourself to something cool to drink while I unhitch the horses". As she turned the wagon she called out, " Brass, your room is the last on the right, Grissom, yours, last on the left".
Before either could reply, the wagon was off towards the barn.
The men moved towards the car not speaking a word to each other. Brass was worried that Grissom would bolt, that he would want to get as far away as he could. Grissom was feeling both excited and scared. Millions of thoughts from the past were invading his mind and trying to ease his terror.
Grissom clutched his bag tightly not knowing what was about to happen in his life. The men walked silently towards the back of the house and into the back door. The kitchen was the first room off of the screened in back porch. A wooden oval table sat in the middle of the large room, and the aroma of flowers filled the air.
Brass passed Grissom in the kitchen and made his way towards the stairs. As they both reached the top of the stairs they noticed the first door on the left was open, it was the bath. The first door on the right was closed and directly across the hall was another bedroom. Brass walked down the short hallway to the last door on the right and entered the room. Grissom paused momentarily to look into the first bedroom.
The bed was made neatly with what seemed to be an old Indian blanket on top as a spread. A woven tapestry hung directly over the headboard of the bed and a nightstand just to the left held a lamp and some pictures. An old dresser with a mirror attached fit snugly between two closets on the opposite wall of the bed.
Grissom set his bag down at the entrance of the room. This is her room, he thought, this is where she sleeps. He entered cautiously and looked around. Walking towards the dresser he noticed some picture frames with her picture. He picked one up and looked closer. It was of them both, he remembered when that was taken, they were working together in Las Vegas. "That's when we..." he spoke out loud.
He set the picture down and looked around some more. He began to remember, he noticed the small things that filled the room. All around were memories, one of which was the card he sent with the plant he bought for her 10 years ago. In the room there were things associated with him. There hanging on the side of the mirror was the straw hat he liked to wear.
" Do you remember?" she said. The voice startled him and he backed up almost dropping the hat to the floor. " Do you know why Brass brought you here?".