While Jeremy was reliving a part of history at Makhadzi, Danny on the other hand was busy coping with an entirely different issue which was leaving him stupefied during most of the discourse he became entangled in. At the end of this matter he decided that he could only but agree with the age-old cliché: A man would never fully understand the mind of a woman!
Kathleen had turned up at his house after she had left the Kruger Park, having fled to the northernmost part of the reserve to get away from Danny’s presence and to sort out her own incoherent contemplations. But she was no coward and she mustered all her courage to go speak with him and sort out the unresolved emotions (according to her) they had been having between them.
Danny was over the moon when she had called him from the cell phone to find out where his house was located, so he waited for her at the remote controlled gate and by the time she turned up, calmly opened it for her.
Calmly? His heart was nearly jumping out of his chest!
She pulled into the driveway and climbed out of her car, a new, different and bigger model, and he rushed to her side.
“Kathleen!” That was the only word, the only sentence, the only of anything that came to his mind. Her name, Kathleen. And he noticed how tall and strong and beautiful she was. Oh, man, the boys, the sons they would have and one little girl – gad! Idiot! Fool!
“Hi, Danny!” she greeted, quite friendly. “It’s good to see you, you know! It’s been ages since we last met…”
“I know! I know!” he interjected. “Come inside, will you? I have the percolator on for coffee if you’d like some.”
“I would love some!”
He then could not resist to gather her into his arms and hug her fiercely.
“Let go of me, Monkey! What’s going on with you?” She was suddenly a bit angry as she pulled free. “I’ve come all this way to sort this…this THING out! You gave me the fright of my life when Old Lucy told me you had turned up at my apartment and that you were going to ask me to marry you, and I thought that I’ve been running away for too long from this problem and it was time that we should talk about it and get it done with!” The words were streaming uncontrolled from her lips.
“And and and!” he laughed. “Sweet Kathleen! I have nothing to talk about and less to sort out. No wait! There is one thing: Will you marry me?”
“Danny!” Her mouth fell open and she pushed some loose strands of hair from her face. “Didn’t you listen to what I was saying?”
“You love me Kath, otherwise you wouldn’t have bothered to come here in the first place! And I love you, Honeygirl! I have loved you from the first time we met and this love has been increasing ever since. So, will you marry me?” His voice was softening and he gazed deep into her eyes, blue pools of sheer shock and bewilderment fast filling up with tears. “Come on, let’s go inside and talk about it then, okay?”
Once inside she sniffed lightly and made herself comfortable on one of the couches in the lounge. Danny went to pour the coffee, brought it in from the kitchen and set it down on the little table. He then sat down beside her, leaning backwards to study her face.
“Tell me what’s wrong,” he asked gently.
“It is true what you said, Danny. I do love you. But I will not marry you. You are too much the free man, far too adventurous to be tied down to a mundane situation like marriage…”
He interrupted her firmly. “Stop it right there, Girl! Says who? Where do you get these crazy ideas from to plaster onto me, which you are tagging me with?”
“I simply know the way you are, simple as that,” she replied, slightly confused by his reaction.
“Oh no, you don’t!” he denied. “Rather say you know yourself, so tell it like it is!”
“Meaning?” She was getting uptight.
“You are the one who doesn’t want to be tied down, not me! And even if I were that hermit-like figure you so insist on, any person in this world in their right mind needs a mate, you know. A soulmate, a friend, a lover, a spouse. Now, are you going to tell me why YOU run away from that concept?”
“It’s not me!” she whispered. “It’s not me! It is you I am thinking of, your personality, your love for the great outdoors, the inspiration you derive from wildlife and the way you give it to your readers! Oh, Danny! You also have to stay single to remain my hero!”
“What?! Are you out of your mind? Or do you mean the inspiration YOU get from all those marvelous outdoor things and turn it into the life you give to people in the course of your career?”
“Either way means I cannot marry you!” she fought back, busy feeling the effects of losing a battle which she hadn’t realized was such unfamiliar ground to her.
“For heaven’s sake, Kathleen! Stop all this absurd talk and try giving me some sense!” He clasped his hands over her shoulders and again stared intensely into her eyes, his face furrowed while shaking his head nonplussed.
If anything Kathleen was more bewildered than he was.
“I don’t know what I’m talking about!” she cried out. “I don’t know what I’m saying! I want to be free, I don’t want to marry you – or anybody else! And it has nothing to do with love! What is wrong with me then? Could it be a psychological, irrational phobia or what?!”
Danny slowly pulled her closer and cuddled her head against his chest.
“No, Baby,” he comforted, smiling tenderly. “You are simply one of the super romantic ‘wild and free’ ones you always talk about. And I promise you, if you will marry me I would not want to change that, not ever. That is what makes you so exceptional, unique. You recognized that same kind of soul in me, which I appreciate, but my so-called love for freedom was learned and earned through having had love affairs which didn’t work out and hurt like crazy. You are so special in simply having been born that way. There is nothing wrong with you, believe me!”
She nodded and pulled back, her eyes glittering with tears.
“Will you give me a bit more time then? If I can work my way through this abstract manner of thinking I am sure I could eventually come up with the answer you want from me. I think I will marry you, Danny. Just give me a month or two…”
“Two months tops?”
“That should be enough, shouldn’t it?” She gave him a watery smile upon which he pulled her back into his arms and started kissing her thoroughly.
Kathleen reacted with surprising compliance.
To be continued.