I knew it would happen. It always did. I just had to be patient, passing the time in an informal game of bridge until she came. As soon as my bridge partner glanced above and behind my head, I knew she had come into the room. The other bridge players knew the game was over.
As she crept in from behind, I could smell Yvonne's jet-black Lakota hair, sweet and fresh from showering. As she leaned over the back of my chair, it cascaded in cool, wet strands over my shoulders. Her strong, broad shoulders encircled - I leaned back into a warm, reassuring wall of flesh. The silhouette of her face appeared from the side, toothbrush in mouth. Yvonne spent about half her time dry-brushing her teeth. The other half of her time was shared equally between touting the evils of 'the white man', or being passionate. I was the one she preferred, since love of any sort is preferable to thoughtless passion.
"But I am a white man, Yvonne," I would reply. After a pause, she would counter with some illogical denial of my whiteness, or some general deflection of rage towards some recent or historical injustice. Yvonne had one of the sharpest minds I had ever encountered. Talking with her, a safe distance from her points of rage, was nothing less than inspiring. It was obvious that her brilliant mind had pondered long and hard the logic of most subjects, dismissing the obvious and simple. At night, after her shower, we would sit in the silent flickering light of the dark TV room, floating lightly the surface of wave after wave of topics.
However brilliant Yvonne's words, I was often distracted by the harsh features of her face as they moved in the dancing light of late-night television. Yvonne had a face that was at once, both beautiful and ugly. Looking into her face, it was: as weathered and ancient as the rocky land that bore it; as angry and threadbare as the reservation that housed it; as young, fertile and spirited as a blossom opening to the sun for the very first time. It is one of the few things of long ago - a time when my spirit had been removed - that I will never forget. She was a sweet, dark oasis in a small, caged world - Yvonne's mandatory entrance into this mutual cage was sponsored by a deceased relative disturbing an otherwise normal night in a reservation drunk-tank.
This evening, like many others before, we headed for the abandoned TV room, already fused into a sweet-smelling, old-as-nature oneness. Yvonne deftly placed her toothbrush into it's well-worn slot in her jeans back pocket.