Susan was Carli's mentor. They'd lived in the hills of Colorado, just outside of Denver. Susan's home was a ten minute walk from Carli's cabin. Carli had only been eight when she stumbled across Susan's cabin the first time. Carli smiled as she remembered it.
Susan had been hanging her sheets on a clothesline, humming to herself, lost in the music of the forest, when Carli had spied her while walking through the trees. She had looked at this lady with alabaster skin, red hair and green eyes, and thought she was the most beautiful lady she'd ever seen. The sun was behind her, so she glowed like an angel. The lady was about her momma's age, but much prettier. She didn't have the mad look in her eyes like Momma always did, and her eyes smiled at the same time her lips did.
“My momma has a clothes dryer,” were the first words out of the ten-year-old's mouth as she walked directly up to her.
Laughing gently, with a lilt in her voice, Susan had replied, “So do I, my dear. But the day is beautiful, is it not? When the sun shines down and the breeze is gentle, sure an' I'd rather hang my clothes out on a day like this.”
Carli had considered her words, and nodded. She'd always rather play outside than inside, so she could understand that. She blurted out, “You sound funny when you talk.”
With a laugh, Susan had replied, “My parents are from Ireland, and I was raised there. It's the sound of my country that you hear.”
“I think it's pretty. I think you're pretty, too.”
“Well, and I'll be thanking you for that. What's your name, then?”
“Carli. What's yours?”
“Carli, I'm Susan Scott, and pleased to make your acquaintance, I am.”
Carli had been very serious when she stepped forward and shook hands with Miss Susan, just like her Momma taught her. From that moment, Susan's house became a second home to Carli. Susan never shooed her away like Momma did, and she was never too busy for her. In the beginning, Carli didn't care what Susan talked about, as long as she could listen to her voice.
As time went on, she realized that Susan had taught her more than she'd learned from her Momma or from school. Susan taught her to garden both flowers and food, to cook, how to use herbs purposefully, in both food and in life. She'd taught Carli how to swim, asked about her first date, and consoled her when her heart was broken. She'd taught her about the world around her, and her responsibilities in it and to it.
Shaking her head, Carli brought herself out of the past. She'd call Susan as soon as she got back home, tell her about her latest debacle. And the man she'd met. Definitely about the man she'd met.