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 I will not whittle hall passes out of soap, Clare, Del
Matthew Crake
 Posted: Nov 6 2015, 02:05 AM
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"It is in Scotland," Matthew confirmed. He was, likewise, pulling weeds. The garden had gone long untended and it would take some doing to get the place usable again. "I was twelve when we moved to the States, so I remember it as a child does. I remember being very happy there, but, looking back, there was quite a lot of poverty also." That just wasn't something a twelve-year-old understood.

"Did you get to see much of the world, before?" he wondered. That was a truly sad thing, the awareness that travel was over, that culture would rebuild into who could say what but cultural exchange would likely diminish. "If your father was stationed elsewhere, or traveling?" She had mentioned her dad being a soldier; he knew not all soldiers traveled, but some certainly did.
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Nov 6 2015, 10:29 PM
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So he was poor but happy in Scotland. Well, Clare firmly believed you didn't need a lot of money to be happy. Not that her father was impoverished, he was a military veteran so while he served at least the paychecks were steady. But most of what had made him and her content with their lives had almost nothing to do with money. She imagined he had come from a decent family.

He now had a question for her, fair enough as she had been asking him enough past few minutes.

"Not a lot, some. When I was a baby and youngster, we moved twice to different bases. So I've seen Texas and Georgia but as a kid, a little kid. Don't remember a lot though. My Daddy was deployed overseas a lot. He saw a whole bunch of combat. I think I was like nine...maybe ten when we moved to the place we kept...in Montana. It was a really tiny little village, not even...only 106 people or so the last survey had said. I loved it though, I'm very much an outdoors sort of girl. Never got into fashion or media stuff, I preferred hunting, hiking...you know," she tailed off then realizing she was probably going on a bit too much.

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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Nov 7 2015, 03:00 AM
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Matthew would have been sorry to realize he had given the impression that he came from a poor family--not because he saw any shame in that, but because it was untrue. Then again, he also did not know that Clare thought he was a janitor.

"And Canada," he added. "Let's not forget you've seen Canada!"
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Nov 11 2015, 05:36 PM
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The man reminded Clare about Canada. She'd forgotten that.

"Oh yeah, geez. How could I forget. God knows I've spent enough hours hiking thru it. Don't get me wrong though, it's got a lot of natural beauty to it. But there were times I was hoping for a lot smaller place so I could get to where I was going faster," she smiled.

"On the bright side I met Justus here in Canada and wouldn't you know it, he was born and raised in Montana himself," she added.
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Nov 13 2015, 01:37 AM
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"Justus. Your housemate?" Matthew asked. He was certain Clare had said the name before, but not so certain of the context. "That must be nice. Similar parts of the state?" He had never been to Montana, but he had seen it on a map. It was a rather expansive place.
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Nov 18 2015, 07:26 PM
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"Oh yeah, we have an apartment together. We ran into each other on the way here to Crow Station. I found him wandering in the woods and while I wouldn't say we hit it off right away....he was kind of a doofuss ....we realized we had some things in common. So anyhow, after awhile we pretty much got used to each other and yeah, he's a nice guy," Clare gave her take on the situation.

"I can't remember where in Montana he said he was from so not sure how far apart we were but we certainly didn't know each other before," she also wanted to answer his second question.
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Nov 25 2015, 11:47 PM
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"It must be nice to have someone from home," Matthew commented. Although they were not from the same part of the state, it was still quite something. Matthew would have been surprised to find someone from Scotland, let alone another Glaswegian.
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Nov 30 2015, 11:06 AM
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"One thing about him is he's funny though not always intentionally," Clare smiled, "He's always bragging about what a ladies man he is and acting like God's gift to women. But it's mostly an act....I think."

She paused as if pondering to say something....then pulled at another weed and tossed it to the side pile. Again she glanced his way, hesitant, before finally coming out with it.

"You being a clergyman, maybe you could give me your opinion on something? If you think it's an inappropriate question, then say so and I won't bring it up again. It's just that I don't have a whole lot of people to talk to about this kind of stuff..."

"Am I ..ummm, out of bounds...or just plain wrong...to be falling in love with a man several years older than me? I know what people thought about that sort of thing before the world collapsed but given now....with how few folks are even left...I think you know what I mean?"
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Nov 30 2015, 06:09 PM
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Matthew thought about that one before giving an answer. He appreciated that it was a rather serious question and that Clare had asked him, and he owed her the right response. At the same time, it wasn't by any means a simple situation.

"It's a complicated one," he said, "and there's no single answer." He didn't actually know Justus, which was another factor. "The most important thing in any relationship is mutual respect and caring. You're young but you know who you are. That's important to most of life.

"The short answer is that you're not wrong to be falling in love with anyone. The long answer, there's more to any relationship, romantic or otherwise. Are we still talking about Justus?" he wondered. He had assumed, but perhaps this was about somebody else entirely.
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Dec 2 2015, 11:14 PM
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Clare actually valued the man's opinion on things so she practically hung on his every word. He couldn't actually give her the sort of answer she desired but she got it. And he was right. It really was a difficult question that depended on so many variables. Matthew certainly hadn't simply dismissed it as being the silliness of a teenage girl. But then she knew he wouldn't do that.

"Yes, it is Justus who I'm talking about. To be honest, I don't even know if I am really in love or not? I think I am but I've never even had a boyfriend before. I only went out on one date back in high school...before my Daddy pulled me out of school for home schooling. So I don't really have anything I can compare this to....but I can't ever stop thinking about Justus and how I want him to be happy and to make him happy," it came out in a bit of a torrent before she realized it then stopped abruptly.
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Dec 3 2015, 12:53 AM
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Matthew considered all of this. There were times he wondered if Clare realized she was at a social disadvantage, having been so sheltered before--but either she did or did not, but she seemed not to care, which was delightful. And yet, he heard in her comments something that had always struck him as somewhat wrong.

For a moment, he just thought about it. Then he asked, "What do you want for yourself?" She said she thought about Justus and wanting to make him happy. While Matthew knew that Clare had interests outside of Justus, he wanted to redirect her thinking, remind her that it was her life. A boy shouldn't be the most important thing in it.
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Dec 9 2015, 05:22 PM
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Matthew listened to her answer but then had another...different question for her. Clare pondered on that one.

"For myself...nothing I guess...I mean what I really want I can't have - I want it to be like it was before all this happened, I want it to be like when my Daddy and I were together. We were happy...really happy," she smiled ruefully.

"So...well, I want the world to be a better place for people I know and I like - for people like Justus and Nellie and some others. For you too. You're a good man and I hope all this church stuff turns out well for you..." she paused.

"For myself, I don't care that much...oh hell, that sounds like I'm whining and I don't wanna be a whiner. I'm fine. I just say stupid things sometime."
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Dec 20 2015, 12:24 PM
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“Maybe that’s something you ought to think about,” Matthew suggested. He found Clare’s fixation on her father downright unhealthy, but he wasn’t going to outright say that. She wasn’t ready to hear it. But the fact was, everyone wanted to go back to how things were. It had been the case before the fall and ever would be.

It wasn’t about that. Her heart was in the right place, but Clare was at that age when one usually encountered the real world. And, in a way, she was doing the same. She might know a lot about survival, but it sounded like she would be learning to navigate adult relationships the same as everyone else.

“It’s good to care about other people. Other people are important, we’re social creatures by nature, but you are important, too. Spend some time thinking about how you want your life to be, eh?” Sometimes the best thing a person could do was envision the future. Matthew wanted to steer Clare in that direction before she got too wrapped up with a boy.
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Dec 24 2015, 10:37 AM
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Matthew was a good listener, Clare felt she could say pretty much anything to the man and he calmly took it all in. He didn't just listen though but he usually had something to say in return. He never lectured though, everything about him was...what was the word? Ahh, tactful.

"I wouldn't say I never thought about what I want for my future now...I mean besides the dreams we can never have come true anymore. But that's just it, I have no idea what I want for myself long term."

"I mean when I set out for Crow Station that time I thought - OK, it's me against the world, I can take care of myself, my Daddy taught me well. And I don't want this to sound like bragging but I think I did a pretty good job of it. Now I'm here and I'm glad to find a place like this. Gotta wonder how many places like this are even in the world anymore or if we're it?" she shrugged.

No, she had to believe civilization wasn't down to one dinky little town in Canada, other refuges had to exist, they just had to.

"So anyhow, I'm here and I've met Justus and I really like him..." she paused.

"So, if I really have any dream for the future, I guess it would include him in it. But, obviously, I haven't got all the details worked out yet, even in my own head, let alone whether he sees me in the same way."
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