Another Day, Another Blog

April 4, 2007

Breaking Bread

Filed under: ficlet — iamza @ 8:11 am

Every Thursday and Sunday, I broke bread with my father. It was a tradition that my father had shared with his father, who’d shared it with his before him, and so on, back through the years.

This Thursday’s eve was no different. I walked alone to my father’s house on the edge of the village, shrouded in mist and darkness and the scent of damp wool. The soles of my boots slapped softly against the rounded cobbles of the narrow street, and I cursed again the thinness of the leather, and the cobbler who’d shut up shop earlier in the year. The market would not come again until the springtime, when the snow in Rook’s Pass melted again. Until then, my feet would remain sore and cold.

The door to my father’s house was made of a single piece of wood, salvaged from the trunk of an enormous oak that had died after being struck by lightning in the light-storms some fifty years before. My father had told me how he’d followed his father to the meadow, and watched as his father had chopped for near three days to hew the trunk of the giant oak into manageable pieces. These he sold in the village for a silver apiece. It had been a good winter, my father said. There’d been wood enough to burn, and most of the villagers had built themselves new furniture and doors as well.

The base of the giant oak still stood, out in the old meadow, hidden in the long grass. As a child, in the summers, I’d perched atop the low wooden base, and pretended I was stranded in a golden sea aboard an enormous raft — like the one that belonged to Joseph Brown, but twenty times the size. As an adult, it made for a good place to get lost, where none in the village would think to look — not even my father, for all that he had showed it to me first.

My father’s door was painted blue. “Blue as a summer’s sky after the rain,” my mother had said, when the paint had dried and she saw it for the first time. “Blue as the ocean in your eyes,” my father had replied, and smiled. After my mother’s death, my father had allowed the paint to crack and fade, and it now more resembled the washed-out pale sky of a winter’s morn. I’d offered to paint the door afresh, but my father had refused. “It’s all I have left now,” he said, “my memories.”

I knocked, and the door swung open. My father nodded, once, and stepped back. I ducked my head forward and entered. The smell of freshly baked bread filled the air, and I breathed deeply. The kitchen was bathed in shadows that danced to the rhythm of the flames in the fireplace.

I took off my cloak, and, still wordless, hung it by the front door. My father gestured to a seat, and I sank down. He sat at the other end of the table. Between us, in the middle of the table, was the bread and the salt.

We were ready.


Am I ever going to be able to finish one of these stupid ficlets?!


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