Storytime with Stidmama

Chapter Twenty Six

August 23, 2006

When we last saw Paul and Gilly, they were off to sleep, after spending several hours watching over their daughter, Doris.

Paul was about to tell Gilly something he thought the children shouldn't be told.

As Paul pulled back the covers, Gilly shook out her robe and set it across the end of the bed.

She stretched her neck tiredly, and started to re-braid her hair.

Paul watched her appreciatively.

"You know, Gilly, you have changed, but only a little."

She blushed and climbed into bed, pulling the blanket up over her shoulders.

"What do you mean, Paul?"

Gilly considered the gray hairs, the wrinkles, the freckles on her arms from being in the sun. She thought of the change in her figure as her body rearranged itself.

Paul turned out the light and snuggled, "I mean, you still smile like you did when we were younger, but your eyes now tell me that you appreciate the reasons to smile."

"Your hands are scarred a bit from doing more work than you should, but they remain gentle and capable."

"And where you used to be have angles and edges -- "

Gilly hit him with a pillow. "Stop right there, Mister!"

Paul laughed, "See what I mean? Still can't compliment you on your looks!"

Gilly put her pillow back and snuggled, enjoying just being still and quiet.

"Paul," she whispered after a few minutes, "what was it that you wanted to tell me when the boys came in?"

Paul pulled back and turned out the lamp.

He grew distant and his voice quivered a bit.

"She knew, Gilly -- she knew everything, it seemed."

**into Paul mode without quotes on everything...**

She knew where I had been, and that I had traveled several years to get there. She knew that I was married, and had many children. She knew that I was a farmer...

I tried to ask her how she knew these things, but she always answered, "Some things are not for you to know yet."

She did tell me that the men had been wearing chains to pull the trunk -- they didn't use leather straps or ropes for pulling the heaviest loads.

She didn't tell me what was in the trunk, but she hinted that it was probably best that I not ask about it when other people were around.

It was all very mysterious.

But most of the ride that day was pleasant enough. She would point things out and tell me the names in three languages: ours, hers and the local tongue which was not familiar to me.

The oak tree she called "house wood" and the eagle was "carrion thief" -- the pretty flower you make calming tea from was "sleep herb" and the spring bitter leaf was "iron heart."

I can't remember most of the lessons, but it all made sense when she spoke.

I thought often of Ava, and the long walks I would take with her and Cathy, gathering berries and roots from the edges of the fields and woods.

About lunch time, we stopped at a small village that had an inn at the far side of town.

I helped her out of the cart. She seemed a bit taller to me, but I thought little of it.

We walked in, and the innkeeper's daughter brought good wine immediately. The woman thanked her graciously in their language and we were soon served a simple but wonderfully cooked meal of grain and meat.

As we left, the woman left a beautiful ring on the table.

I was astonished, for I had not noticed any jewelry on her.

We continued on, and as we moved through the valley, and the pass through the mountains came into view, I began to wonder how I came there and what would happen next.

**I will be back tomorrow folks, good night.**