LittleLace Chapter 4
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Momma LittleLace was confused. While tending the counter in the giftshop, she had seen Magda walk through the hotel lobby. Then, a few minutes later, Magda had run back outside; Momma had seen her go out and sit down on the porch. Momma wanted to go out and ask her if she were done working for the day, but then some customers came in wanting to see Indian jewelry, and she had not been able to leave. Now, as the shop closed for the night, the hotel manager strode angrily in. He wanted to know if Momma knew where Magda had gone. She had disappeared a couple hours ago. Did Momma know what had happened to her?
Momma didn't answer. She ran out to the porch, now deserted. Where could Magda have gone? To Poppa's store? To the cabin? She heard her name being called. The young man who had been working at the front desk had followed her out on the porch. Now he held out to her a folded bit of paper. She took it and quickly opened it. Three lines were scrawled on it.
"I'm okay. Don't try to find me. I'm not coming home."
Max had become a regular sight at the canyon. He still followed Moira wherever she went, doing her errands or just sitting out with Megan at the rim. Often, when she was busy in the cabin, he would wander off on his own, climbing on the rocks and exploring under the rim. Max made many friends at the canyon, most of them the four-legged kind. But he always came home to help Moira.
Lately, however, Max couldn't figure out what was bothering Moira. It had all started when Magda had stopped coming home; Max hadn't seen her for quite a while now. Since then, Moira seemed listless and quiet, and Max couldn't seem to cheer her up. They still took Megan out to get some sun on the rim, but now Moira did not seem interested any more in Max's friends. Max didn't understand what was going on, but he continued to stick close to Moira. Perhaps one day things would change and Moira would start to smile again.
Poppa felt sometimes as if he were lost in the canyon and couldn't find the way out. All because of Magda's disappearance. He had tried to find out what had happened to her, only to be told that someone looking like her had gotten on board the westbound train along with a mysterious stranger. And he could not find out anything about the stranger except that he was rumored to be a gambler, frequenting the saloons of New Orleans, San Francisco, and many more places in between. Poppa would have set out long ago to try and find Magda, but he could not see how he could go and leave Momma behind.
Momma had not recovered from Magda's disappearance. Oh, both Momma and Poppa had always realized that Magda hated the desert life, and had long ago accepted the possibility that she would one day marry and move to the big city. But to leave like this! Running away, and with a disreputable stranger that she wasn't even married to! Not knowing where she was, or if she was alright...
Momma hadn't gone back to work since that day. She said she couldn't bear to enter the hotel. She spent her days sitting in the cabin, letting Moira do more and more of the work. For a while Momma had kept working on her embroidery. She had always enjoyed sewing up things to put in the girls' hope chests. Lately Baby Lace, who was now starting to grow and become stronger, wanted to help Momma with her stitching. It was almost as if Baby Lace could sense that something was troubling Momma, and wanted to cheer her. But Momma would sit with the embroidery, unworked, in her lap, staring off into the distance, for hours at a time. Poppa would come home from long hours at the store to find her still sitting in her chair, and Bably Lace making a tangled mess of her threads.
No, Poppa didn't know what to do, until one day several weeks after Magda's disappearance, a letter came from his brother Jake, back east. Poppa had written to Jake of the family's sorrows; now, Jake was inviting Poppa, Momma, and the girls to come east. One of Jake's neighbors had a farm to lease. Why not come? The change might be good.
Poppa walked aways down the canyon that evening. He could still remember the green trees and fertile fields of New England, where he had grown up. He had come west to find his fortune, and had fallen in love with the desert and the canyon. But he had not found his fortune, and now with Momma and Moira both so silent and unsmiling, a change was imperative. He would send a letter to Jake tomorrow. He would miss the canyon, as he would miss Magda, but it was time to let Magda go; it was time to move on.