I look over and see some bushes with berries on them. They’re small and red, and I can’t help but pick one. I roll it between my fingers, feeling its firmness. I’ve already touched it, so I might as well eat it, right? Throwing it in my mouth, I go to grab another one. This taste is something that makes this long, boring trip worth it.
Sweet. Fragrant. Familiar.
I stop mid-chew. I know this taste, and I remember this smell. But from when? And where? I look down and then around at the trees. Now my head really hurts. Where have I seen this place been before? I step away from the bush and keep on the path. I don’t even think I’m looking where I’m going because I’m too busy remembering.
Think. Think. Where?
I feel something dripping, and I look down at my hands. I forgot I had some berries in my hands, and now I’ve squeezed them. Looking down at the mess, it hits me—my hands. The dream I had. That’s where I saw this place, and that’s where I must have seen those berries. I was so busy getting ready and trying not to die of nerves that I almost forgot about the weird dream I had.
I was some type of animal, and I saw this place even though I’ve never been here before. And I could have sworn I saw the women from the village. They were so beautiful, especially one of them. I remember now, the look in her eyes and the touch of her skin. Rubbing my face, I can feel the warmth on my cheek. I can also now feel the stickiness from the berries. I haven’t made it there yet, and I’m already getting distracted by them. Is this what Mother meant? She knows me too well.
I use my shirt to wipe off my face. So much for looking my best to meet these people. Making sure I get all of it off my face and hands, I don’t realize it when I run into something broad and hard.
“You should watch where you’re going,” I hear a familiar voice say. I take a step back, dropping my shirt.
And just like that, my good thoughts are interrupted. I look up and into those brown eyes staring straight into me. Do I really have to pretend to be nice to him the whole day? I’ll give him the bare minimum only for today because I really want to meet these people and learn more about them.
I probably took a little too long, and he came to get me. I move to step around him to continue, but he won’t move. I turn back to look, and he’s still staring at me. He doesn’t look angry or intimidating, but something about the way he’s looking at me makes me feel a little…awkward. Is there something on my face? I’m sure I got all the berries off.
“Um, why are you staring at me?”
He looks caught off guard, wide-eyed in attention. He turns his head a little to the side, the light catching his eyes, making them brighter. His hair also falls in his face a little, just past his neck. Was it this wavy yesterday? What am I saying? Now I’m the one staring at him. There must be something wrong with me.
“Nothing, you just…look different from yesterday,” he mumbles, still not looking at me.
“Your eyes,” he says. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Well, if everyone in the village looks similar to you, then that’s not saying much,” I chuckle, trying to lighten the mood. He’s scrunching up his face, and it's starting to turn slightly red. Is he complimenting me or insulting me?
“Are you always this sarcastic?” he asks, sounding annoyed.
“Only half of the time.”
He turns back to look at me with the same scowl from yesterday. His face is still red, but I think now it’s for a different reason. Now that that’s over with, I turn to walk in the direction he came from.
“Are you sure you don’t know where you’re from? That’s hard to believe.” He hasn’t moved yet and won’t stop looking at me.
“If I knew, then I wouldn’t be here trying to figure it out, would I? If you’d be so kind as to lead the way, I’d hate to keep more people from admiring my eyes and other good looks,” I confidently respond. He’s not amused.
“I doubt anyone will think you’re good looking. And if they do, they’ll regret it immediately after talking to you.”
Ah, he’s back to his usual self, and here I was flattered for a moment. Well, I don’t accept his compliment anymore.
“Let’s just go.”
He walks past me, and he leads the rest of the way in silence. Trailing a little behind, I’m tempted to throw a rock at the back of his head. Maybe if I throw it hard enough, I can leave him here and make it to the village. If they ask about him, I can just say I never saw him, and I made it here on my own. That way, he’ll look bad in front of everyone, especially his father.
The perfect plan.
Until he stops walking, and I almost run into him again. I catch myself this time and stand beside him. We’re at the edge of the forest, and there’s a small stretch of grass before us. Looking around, I see an area that’s filled with what looks like plants. Beyond that, there are rows of small houses that go across as far as I can see. They’re nowhere as big as Mother’s, though. Between so many homes are huge mounds with a longhouse on each of them. These make Mother’s house look miniature. A soft breeze blows across my face, and I can smell the water. The shore must be behind the houses.
“We made it?” I’m surprised I could get anything out since my mouth’s been open since we stepped onto the grass.
“What does it look like?”
“It looks like I should have gone through with my plan,” I say under my breath. I really can’t stand him.
“What plan?” He asks, raising an eyebrow at me.
“Nothing. So, where do we go first?”
“I’m supposed to show you around, then we’re to meet Denchi, Tetyh, and my father. And after that, I’m hoping to be free of you.”
“…let’s get this over with.” He ventures on, and I immediately follow.
Comments (0)See all