Kopavi stood in the breeze, cooling from her labor of hanging raw buffalo meat to dry. She stared at Tuwa, their leader, and had mixed feelings about him. He was the most decisive of any of the Pochtecan men, and he was quiet in ways that made him seem both supremely confident and troubled. But he didn’t show the slightest bit of interest in her except as an arrow-maker.
“His heart’s somewhere else,” Yoowi said as she joined Kopavi in the cooling breeze. “He left a sweatheart behind somewhere.” Yoowi was older and said she’d given up on ever finding the affection of a man, and she had become like Kopavi’s aunt.
“Nothing I do gets his attention,” Kopavi said.
“And nothing you do will. He’s lost in his thinking and his grief. He is consumed by anger and revenge. He may never see another woman.”
But Kopavi was intent on making Tuwa see her. She knew he liked cornmeal dumplings he called Sweet Ladies, so she collected her saliva all day, mixed it with cornmeal and made him a half-dozen sweet dumplings.
He groaned in pleasure as he ate the first one and she stood close to him until he looked into her eyes. But she could not think of anything to say, and she watched him eat, the details of his delicate face as he chewed, his eyelashes in the sun as he smacked.
Tuwa thanked her and walked away and Kopavi stamped her foot at herself in frustration. When she turned to go she saw Yoowi shake her head.
“I’ll show you,” Kopavi muttered. “I’ll show both ofyou.”