Vidvan’s master had a fondness for a particular fruit named gingaopu. It came up from the way south, from an archipelago where it was only known to grow. Because of that, it was very expensive all the way up here. His Master did not get it often.
It was one of the things everyone knew about. Vidvan knew he wasn’t the only curious one. But no one else touched that fruit. It arrived one day and would be consumed the next. There was no time to savor it. It could go bad and that would be his Master’s personal expense gone to nothing.
“You have never had gingaopu before, have you Vidvan?”
His Master’s voice was warm, but it wasn’t really a question. He would know that Vidvan had never even touched it before. If he had, that was stealing it from his Master’s own mouth. He would never do that.
“No, master. Though I have read about how it is gathered. Fascinating.”
“Well worth the trouble. At least, my coin says as much.” His Master laughed. He reached to his plate, where there was a single slice of it left. He held it out to Vidvan. “Here, try it.”
“Are you… well, it is an honor. My most gracious thanks.”
“Why don’t you talk?” Summer asked, blunt as ever. Winter scowled, swatting after her. But Summer had already run off to look at Dahlia.
Dahlia stared back blankly. “I talk.”
Summer gasped, like it was some big shock. Maybe it was to her, Winter barely understood it. She was certain Dahlia was closer in age to Summer than to her, but Dahlia didn’t act like Summer at all.
“Summer, stop bothering her.” Winter got to her feet, slowly walking over to Summer to be able to grab her hand. If she ran, then Summer would run. Chasing her wasn’t where she wanted to spend her energy today. She looked over at Dahlia. “The Baroness says there are apple trees behind the castle. They pick them occasionally. She wants to know if we want to try to get some before other people do. Apparently they’re ripe now.”
Dahlia shuffled in place, then looked up at her. “Apples?”
Winter held out her hand. “Apples. They’ll taste really good, I think. First ones of the season. What do you say?”
Dahlia didn’t take her hand, but when Winter took Summer to go, she noted that Dahlia followed after.
The movie continued to play on the street screen. Zamir didn’t know why he continued to stand there, but in truth he had no other place he had to be waiting. It was noise in the background. Noise other than the crowd who watched and the crowd who continue to use the roads for their intended purpose (walk from point a to point b, who would play a movie in public like this?).
Urit watched with big eyes. She had lived here her entire life, so she said, but big displays always seemed to impress her. Then she had to speak. “I haven’t seen your brother around recently. How is he?”
“Fine.” The lie came out before he could stop himself. Zamir tried not to shift uncomfortably. “He has gone abroad for a little bit.”
“Oh, how exciting! Where to?”
“Well, he has always wanted to go to-” Zamir’s mind stopped there, though his mouth filled in the rest of his sentence for him, “-a few places. I’m not sure of his itinerary.”
Shachaf had wanted to go to a few places, certainly. What if that was where he had gone? One of the places Zamir knew he had wanted to visit, see, something.
“That’s nice. I say people should always take a little time to travel.”
Zamir really couldn’t go running off willy nilly. He really couldn’t.
That was to say, he really shouldn’t.
“You are so lucky to have the window seat in your classroom.”
He was talking to his friends, but the girl answered instead of the person he was talking to. “So what? You could pay even less attention in class?”
He scowled. “All I’m sayin’ is that it’s a crime to be inside on a day like today.”
She should have agreed with that, because he knew she liked days like this, but she rolled her eyes instead. “Says the guy who spends half his time playing video games.”
“Not on days like this!” he protested.
Their friend laughed. She sighed. He groaned.
“Look. All I’m saying is that chalkboards are so old fashioned. Can’t stand looking at them.”
The three finished lunch before the bell rang.
“What are you doing?”
“Shhh.” He didn’t know who the child was. People here really did let their children just run all over the store. It used to bother him, but he had long since stopped caring much about it.
Except for right now, as he was trying to focus.
“You’ve been standing there forever,” the little girl said. “What are you doing?”
He didn’t look down at her. He didn’t tear his eyes away. “Deciding.”
“Between sea salt and sour cream and onion. This is very important.”
She stared between him and his two chip choices. “You’re weird,” she proclaimed, then ran away.
I wanted to tell her that I didn’t have a cure for this particular disease, but there was no way I could say that. Even if I cared less about the pain it caused her, I knew more the pain hearing such things would cause her husband.
I suppose I had some heart left. Enough to decide that our longstanding friendship meant I shouldn’t break his wife’s heart.
It was time to get to work.
Target which falls within my sights,
allow me to show you my fallowed hand.
The ability to strive for my desire’s demand
and obtain the end of ambition’s design.
I swear to you my substantiated heart
to endeavour within the essence of truth
and prevail in bestowing you with the youth
you require to become yourself, genuine.
Gifting my soul to the occasional asinine,
Difficult, and arduous demands you proffer,
even when reaching the bottoms of my coffer,
I present you more and watch you outshine
the world around and the plans I’ve made.
Oh, my sweet dreams, be never afraid!