Adelita washed the herbs in the river then spread them on a clean cloth to dry. She stirred the olla of beans that had been cooking since early morning and put oil in a pan for the garlic and quelites. The morning’s tortillas were still fresh, stored in a clay pot for later warming. It would be a fine dinner. All that was needed was a soothing tea to wash it down.
When the water was boiling Adelita removed the pot from the hearth and added a generous piece of osha root, then left it to seep. After his fall and the bump on his head, the tea would be welcomed by the young herder. Adelita felt a tremor as she thought about the man. She wondered how it would feel to trail her fingers over that bare chest, and even more, to feel the man’s hands exploring the secret places of her own body. Smiling now, she prepared a fresh pot of water and added a handful of sacred datura. After it had boiled down Adelita added more water and allowed it to simmer again. When it had the correct consistency, she strained the concentrated liquid and poured it into a bottle. Satisfied with her results, she went to the river to bathe.
She had no fear that anyone would be watching as she undressed and stepped into the eddy where the river formed a rock-lined pond. She ducked her untamed hair into the cool water and worked up a frothy lather with the yucca soap, rubbing it in and down her body, lingering over her soft, round breasts. The bath enlivened her and filled her with a curious yearning.
Dressed once more, Adelita tamed her tangled hair with an antelope horn comb and fastened it in a careless twist atop her head. She put tortillas, goat cheese, and a jug of osho tea, to which she had added a few drops of datura tincture, into a basket, then walked back to the ridge to find the shepherd. Soon, she spotted him further down the valley near the river’s edge. While the sheep rested under a grove of cottonwoods, the shepherd splashed his face with the cooling water of the Gallinas.
“Buenos días,” Adelita said as she approached.
The shepherd jumped up, startled to find her standing behind him. “Buenos días, señorita. But, where did you come from? You are truly a vision for these tired eyes.”
“I was rude to laugh at you,” Adelita said. “I have come to apologize. Ah, I see you received a nasty cut when you fell.”
“It’s nothing, really,” said the man, reaching involuntarily for his head.”
“Don’t worry. By chance, I happen to have a bit of osho tea. Just the thing for whatever ails a person.”
“But, please, tell me. What is your name?”
“You may call me Lita. And you?” she asked, handing him a cup.
“Muchas gracias, Lita. I am called Solomon, after my father, Solomon Baramundo.”
He took a sip of tea and Adelita smiled. “You must be hungry. I have a little cheese and tortilla left from my lunch.”
Accepting her offer, the herder devoured the food and washed it down with the remainder of the tea. Adelita watched as his eyes took on a dreamy look. “I think you must be an angel,” he said, in a thickened voice, “or you have bewitched me.” Solomon covered his eyes with both hands and staggered.
“Are you feeling ill? Perhaps the blow to your head was more serious than you realized.” She reached out her hand. “Come with me and I will take care of you. There is a soft bed where you can rest.”