Weeks went by. Days started to blur as Kepa made meals every day, packing a lunch for Santi to take as he followed the sheep. Every few days, Kepa would have to move the sheep wagon as Santi took the flock further away.
About once a week, Dominique came to deliver supplies, arriving on horseback with the second horse laden with supplies. Kepa was always grateful to see Dominique, as it meant a break in the mundane routine that defined his life in the mountains. And, in contrast to Santi, who even after their seeming breakthrough barely spoke a few words, Dominique was a literal chatterbox, telling Kepa about everything that was going on with the other herders and back in town.
Dominique sat across the fire as Kepa dished him some stew that had been simmering since the night before.
“You’ve gotten to be a really good cook,” Dominique said between bites. He then took a swig of wine from his bota bag before tossing it to Kepa, who took his own squirt, the tangy liquid flowing down his throat.
“Eskerrik asko,” replied Kepa. “To be honest, there isn’t much more to do up here than practice my cooking. And taking care of the horses.”
“Well, that young girl back at the hotel will appreciate your cooking, I’m sure!” chuckled Dominique.
“Bai, Maite. She asks about you every time I make it to town.”
“How’s she doing?”
“Fine, I guess.” Dominique shrugged. “I don’t talk to her much, but she always makes a point to find me and ask about you. I guess you made an impression.”
“I guess I did,” replied Kepa with a smile.
Dominique finished his stew. Taking the bota bag back from Kepa, he stood up.
“Well, I got to get to the next camp before dark. I’ll see you in a week.”
Kepa nodded. But then, he suddenly jumped up. “Itxaron! Wait a moment!”
He rushed into the wagon. A moment later, he returned with a folded piece of paper that he handed to Dominique.
“When you see her, can you give this to Maite?”
Dominique nodded as he tucked the paper into his shirt pocket. Soon, he and his horses were disappearing over the crest of the hills.
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