Haja’s grandfather Hamish POV:
<<You have truly been blessed by the dessert, Razeff>>, I say to my son in law.
<<Not only have you gotten my daughter as your wife out of all the people but you even got a child as upright as little Haja>>, I bloatingly exclaim.
Currently me, my daughter Hemilia and my son in law Razeff are sitting around a small wooden table in my house. My son is holding Hemilia in his arms. Both of them are looking down on a small boy who had fallen asleep in Hemilia’s lap a short while ago, happily smiling while slowly swaying him from side to side.
<<You definitely are correct about that, father. This last years has been the happiest days in my life ever since the day I got married to your beautiful daughter.>> he answers, gently cuddling his wife making her chuckle a little.
<<Careful, honey. You don’t want to wake up our little prince, do you?>>, she says in an admonishing tone while caressing the baby’s face. The little guy lets out a small grumbling noise before grabbing her pinky finger and then goes back to sleep.
Hemilia stands up, Haja in her arms, and carries the baby into the wooden cradle in the back of the room.
Warmly smiling, I direct my gaze back to Razeff:
<<You know, we’ve had this discussion before but what are you planning this boy to grow up into?
I know you want him to decide that by himself, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to learn about wood-crafting from me, would it?
If he learns the craft of cutting wood from me, he will have no problems getting food on the table when he eventually has to act as a family head, right?>>
Razeff just smiles with a slight sigh and repeats the words he always directs at me when I bring up this topic:
<<We have had this discussion before, father. I know that you are from Sharia, a big city but here in the outskirts you can sustain a family with any profession. You just need to accept, respect and most importantly get along with the other villagers. You yourself could take an ounce of friendliness or two when talking to them, you know?>> he explains in a scolding tone, still with a smile on his face.
I just grunt at his words:
<<I, too accept and respect them. It is just a second nature of mine to set a clear line before others.>>
<<Then what about me?>> he asks with a curious face.
I pause for a second to take a sip of the drink that I prepared beforehand before making a proud smile and answering:
<<If there is one thing I trust, it must be my family. I am proud of and love every single one of them from my brother down to my grandson. If my daughter decides that you too shall be a part of my family, then who would I be to be distant to you after that?>>, I say while proudly straightening my back. Ironically, Immediately afterwards I get a coughing fit.
The drink I drank contains quite the high amount of bitterness
My son in law pours a cup of water into his cup and hands it to me. While waiting for my cough to go down, he laments:
<<If there is one thing you shouldn’t trust, it is that addiction to alcohol of yours. Father, you are already 70 years old. Drinking at this age is irresponsible to say the least. Furthermore this strong of a-->>
<<Oh, relax>>, I interrupt, slightly red from the embarrassment and the coughing.
<<If I had to choose between dying from excessive alcohol consume and dying from crippling old age, I would always choose the letter>>
He looked a little taken aback by my honest words.
<<You are still young and might be confused at my words, but at my age, I can feel the film is peeling off>>, I explain
<<In my age I have already seen everything I wanted to see. I have learned and advanced in craftsmanship to the point I have today; I have met a lot of people and made a lot of friends in my youth.>> I pause for a moment before looking behind my son onto a poster of my late wife.
<<I have fallen in love.>> I say with a sad smile.
Next I gaze at my daughter, who has silently joined back with us, after putting her son into bed.
<<I have had two wonderful children>>
While saying that, I also look at Razeff with a proud expression.
<<And I even got to see my own grandchild>> Lastly I looked at the cradle in the back.
<<This life has given me so much. I couldn’t possibly ask any more than that. At this point, my only wish is… for things to continue like this until I draw my last breath.>>
<I just want to see my wife again as soon as possible> I barely stopped myself from saying that because I did not want to cry in front of my children today.
With that an awkward silence began.
I decide to break the silence
<<Cough, Well if there is one other thing I always wanted to see>>, I say
<<When I was but a wee little child, I had a friend called Mey. She was a very smart girl. We would always sneak into places we weren’t allowed into and every time we were found by the adults, she was always the one to bail us out of trouble >>
I let out a small chuckle.
<<When we were coming of age, she made me this very enticing proposal:
“Hey Hamish”, she said. “My uncle is a reputable merchant and he has made me a proposal for an apprenticeship. I already decided that I am going to accept it. Are you interested in joining me on the ride?”>>
While looking up I see Hemilia and Razeff listening to my story. I seem to have peaked their curiosity.
<<Looking back, I think she had a crush on me>>, I say while smiling a little.
<<Did you agree to her proposal?>>, Razeff asks.
<<No. I already had my eyes on a person from my generation and I would not have had the heart to leave her, even if it was for good ol’ Mey >>, I retort.
<<There is however one thing, I am sure of. Had I at that day said yes to her proposal, my life would have been very different from what it is today>>
<<What happened of her?>>, Hemilia asks
<<Let’s just say, that she became quite the famous person>>
Hemilia noticed something and became shocked:
<<Say, Father. Was this Mey-person maybe Mey__>
<<Anyways>>, I interrupt her with a smile
<<Even though I do not regret my decision of staying, I wish that someone other than me could live through an adventure like that.>>
<<On a completely unrelated note,>> I say with a smile on my face.
<<If by chance our little Hamish were to get an opportunity like that. Would you let him?>>
I state the last part while looking straight into the eyes of Razeff and Hemilia.
<<Father you can’t be serious right. You are talking about-→> My daughter starts before being interrupted by her husband:
<<If Haja truly chooses to, I would support him from the bottom of my heart.>>, he says
Hemilia still looks uneasy before finally conceding:
<<I don’t like it but if he decided to, then I would support him as well>>
<<Is that so?>>, I ask with a mischievous smile.
<<I will keep that in mind.>>
<If only they knew what I am about to be up to.>, I think to myself.
<A grandfather can exert more influence than you think, my dear children.>
I look over to the cradle in the back. While we were having a long discussion, the child in question was in his own world. A world of dreams and wonders.
<<Haja, the biggest merchant of them all. It has a nice ring to it>>, I whispered without anyone hearing