Storytime with Stidmama

Chapter 117

written October 2008 and February 2009
Sebastian looked out the window into the village square. There was Pancho, near the fountain, with a crowd of young children waiting eagerly to see what he would make with the brightly colored bits of caning and yarn he held. Some days, Pancho made little dolls, with ornate headdresses, some days they were animals or buildings or ships with rigging. The children adored him, and he enjoyed them. Sebastian knew Pancho would be a wonderful father some day.

But what about himself? Sebastian sighed. He didn't belong to this comfortable village, though the people had welcomed him warmly and treated him with great respect. But Sebastian, for all he knew he had grown and changed, felt uneasy, as if he were not fully honest with the good people in the village. He was feeling the urge to move on. But, move on where?

He knew that running further and further from his past would not solve anything. He touched the scrolls on the desk gently, but didn't open them. He knew the one of his grandfather had gone blank, and the one of his grandmother was fading. Nan's was cold to the touch, most days, though the image always showed her sweet face smiling at him. He wasn't sure why she would smile at him... And everyone seemed older gray hairs in his mother's once dark coiffure; wrinkles by his father's eyes.

He turned to the Watcher, who was sitting in a dim corner of the room, reading an old book one of the villagers had lent him. Strange, Sebastian thought, that this Watcher had stayed for so long, had taught so much, and yet seemed as mysterious as ever. What was his role, and what did he expect from Sebastian and Pancho?

Reading the young man's thoughts, the Watcher looked up and smiled wryly, "You aren't ready for all the answers yet, my friend, but you may ask any questions you wish."

"I am worried," replied the young man. "It seems we have been gone longer than a year -- some months passed when we were in the cave, though it seemed only a couple days. But there are other things. Things that seem out of place somehow, that I can't place my finger on."

The Watcher listened patiently, his long thin fingers absentmindedly lacing and unlacing like spiders legs building a web.

"But the strangest thing is that Pancho was left the house, everyone knew the deed had been changed to his name, but his mother had left no note. And that his family waited so little time before leaving, I would have thought they would wait at least a couple years, but the house had been empty at least two years before we got here from the looks of things. He seems happy enough, but some days when he goes to trade inland he comes home changed -- disillusioned somehow. As if he were also looking for answers and finding only more questions."

Sebastian glanced up at the watcher, and noticed that Pancho and the children had moved toward the road out of the village. Pancho was off on another of the trading missions today...

"And I wonder about my family. I know my grandfather has died, but I don't know how to interpret the other pictures. Things are changing, but I know so little.

"It is," he sighed,"difficult to put these feelings into words."

The Watcher nodded. Once. And turned back to his book while Sebastian picked up a small shuttle and a hand net that was torn. Questions there may be, but there was always work as well.

The answers would arrive in their own time.
note: this chapter and chapter 118 were finished and uploaded on the same day.