Before he could begin getting undressed, a knock came at the door. It was Molly, carrying folded clothes. “I think these will fit you, if you don’t mind wearing my dad’s old clothes. Leave you’re old duds on the porch and I’ll wash them.”
“No. Please don’t bother. Jus’ toss’em in the burn barrel. I’ll gladly take those clean ones. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Sleep well. Good night.”
Gil couldn’t help think how different Molly was from her old man, Frank Smith. It was like day-and-night in his mind.
After a lengthy shower and lots of soap, Gil felt clean enough to climb between the clean sheets of the bed. While he was looking forward to sleeping on a real mattress, it was uncomfortable at first – but sleep did finally overtake him and he went down like he’d be hit on the chin by a prize-fighter.
At first Gil didn’t know where he was and it left him somewhat confused. He quickly shook it off and got out of bed, heading to shower once again.
He was fairly certain he had gotten most of the dirt and sand and sweat off his body, but still he felt unclean and thus the desire to shower once more. “Besides,” Gil told himself, “I feels so good.”
Once toweled off and dressed, he stepped out side and spotted Molly in the kitchen window. She quickly waved him into the house, where she had coffee, eggs, bacon, ham and fried potatoes with biscuits and butter waiting for him.
Gil realized that it had been well over a year since he’d had a meal, both prepared and served by a woman. He ate like he couldn’t get his fill, and it was obvious that his appetite pleased Molly.
Once finished, Gil helped clear the table and began washing the dishes. “You don’t have to do that, you’re a guest in this house.”
Gil simply smiled and continued washing the dishes, drying once finished with the soap suds. “And here I thought my hand’s were never gonna get clean.”
He held them up and they both laughed. It was nice to hear another voice aside from his one and Blue Stone, whom he figured he’d never see again.
“So, have you any idea how much we owe you?” Molly asked.
“Not yet, but if you have a pencil and some paper I can get a number for you.”
He sat at the dining table and quickly calculated the hours he worked each day, times the days of the week. He tallied those up into the four months he’d been at the mine and handed her the paper.
“Agreed,” Molly said, “But you need to add in the days you weren’t picked up on time.”
Soon the pair were in her car and headed to the bank. Molly withdrew the agreed upon figure and gave it to Gil.
“Can I drop you somewhere?” she asked.
“No, thank you,” Gil answered. “You’ve been more than generous with everything.”
“What’ll you do now?” she asked.
“Well, I heard that there’s a possibility of a job north of Reno. Some cow outfit,” he stated.
“Good, I’m glad to hear that. Take care of yourself, Gil – and again I’m sorry that no one knew your were out there.”
Gil smiled, “All’s well, that end’s well.”
She stuck her hand out and Gil gripped it. “Take care, yourself and I very sorry about your dad.”
He watched as she pull from the bank’s parking lot onto the main street through town. Walking up the sidewalk towards the intersection where U.S. 50 emptied into the city, Gil couldn’t help but think of Nancy. “I can walk ten-miles for a chance at love.”