“I can do almost anything I want if I want to do it badly enough.”

“Such confidence!”

“I’m not trying to brag — the same thing’s true of most people. They just don’t want to put forth the effort, that’s all. When I was young, I lived for a while with a tribe of the Sioux — ”

His mouth dropped open. “With Indians?”


“You continually astonish me, Amanda. Do go on.”

“”I was the property of one of the dog soldiers — the warriors who police the buffalo hunts. To satisfy the man I lived with — and keep him from hurting me — I had to learn how to make love like a grown woman — when I wasn’t much more than twelve years old. I had to learn to broil the meat of a buffalo hump the way he liked it. I’d never cooked anything in my life — but I learned because it was necessary. And because I didn’t want to seem weaker than the Sioux women, I learned every game they played — and practiced until I was better than they were. The man I stayed with was so proud of me, he ordered his first wife out of his tepee forever. And whenever white traders came to the village, he put guards over me and kept me hidden. He was afraid I might be stolen away –”

“I trust you were appropriately flattered.”

“Yes — but maybe not for the reason you think. Not because of vanity. His attitude showed me I’d done what I set out to do. Survive. Even thrive. The man I was living with was killed, and I left the Sioux. But before I went, the old chief — the father of my man — told me he’d never seen a Sioux girl who could play the double-ball game — handle the rawhide and the sticks — as well as I did. He couldn’t give a higher compliment to any woman. The point is, I don’t think learning the game took special talent. Just the will to do it.”

“I think you underestimate your abilities.”

“Will counts for a lot in this world, Luis. I’ll trade money or education for will anytime.”



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