It was several hours later that the visitors from the Inn came for him. By that time Verone had prepared himself, and his house, to meet them. He had taken a full bath in the yard, behind the matt screen. His hair was washed, his teeth brushed, and he had shaved what few hairs ventured to straggle over his chin. He had mended his best pants, and put on the beige shirt that he had cleaned yesterday. He had brushed his boots until they were all one color.
Inside his one-room house he sat and idled in an uncustomary fashion in one of the three chairs. He looked around the space. He had swept, washed the four dishes in his sink, spread up the skimpy bed in the corner. The two doors were open to let the breeze dominate the little house, it’s wind tickling the edges of papers and ruffling the cloth bits. This was his mother’s home still, even though she had left him. She was the artist, the one that had made the walls live with pictures. The plain had been beautified, the little square paned windows lighting up the pale blue walls. An old vase sat in a dusty windowsill, dried flowers reminding the sunshine of their past glory. His mother’s delicate touch could be seen in the homemade books on the top shelf of the one crowded bookshelf. She had taught him insights with her books, and had drawn the illustrations to accompany the adventures that originated in her head. Simple stories they were, but the characters in them were so clear, that at times he still referred to them in his head.
There was the great Martinet, traveling snake catcher and lion hunter. This man had many misadventures, and only cleared towns of the threatening lion and snake by his smooth tongue. Then there was the mute girl, Fawnie, who had found the world of faeries under her floorboard, but was unable to tell anyone about their escapades. And last there was the stranger, the mysterious man that came one year, married the last village maiden, and left again. This story sat by his elbow right now. His mother had embellished it, and changed the look of the town and the names of the main characters. But he had always known that this was the story of her life.
Excerpt from SUNRISE MEETS THE STAR by Victoria Bastedo Published with Permission
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