Sometime Last Week: Chapter 6

I’ve Made up my Mind. Let’s Go.


We left on Tuesday.

When I took my mother her coffee and granola bar, she wasn’t in the chair by the window. Nor was she in bed. I found her in the shed. How did I miss her going out? She was digging through the suitcases we store with the gardening tools. When she noticed me she grabbed the granola bar and opened it right up. She hasn’t left her room since Christmas, when I practically drug her downstairs to eat the cheesecake I had made. She didn’t actually eat it. But in the shed, she’d eaten half the bar before she even spoke to me.

“Thanks, honey. This is perfect, I’m starving. Do you know what happened to the green plaid suitcase? I found my old brown one but I think the green would be perfect for you.”


“Yeah, it’s under the stairs. I put it there after the conference. Why do I need it? Wait, it’s great that you’re hungry. Do you want something else to eat?”


“Ehh, I’ll get something in a bit. We’re going to Wales, honey. I’ve already called the travel agent. They’re sending a car at 8. Oh, I should take my fuzzy sweater. I hear it’s always colder there. Don’t forget to tell those birds of yours. They’ll want to come too, though I’m sure they’ll have to fly themselves.”


I was so shocked at the time, I just went and found my suitcase. The Mohawk had apparently finished exploding at Henwyn and the kitchen was empty when I went through. What is Wales like? Images of sheep among rocks, and that weather reporter not stumbling over the longest town name ever. That’s all I knew about Wales.  I decided to pack sturdy shoes and a rain coat.  But first, I went up to tell the birds. The Mohawk wasn’t in the attic, but the other… what did Henwyn call them… magistrates were. Sybil was the most vocal, but all three of them were upset. I thought they might yell about how crazy it would be to go so far away. I thought they might stay behind or even go back to their own world. I think I hoped that they would leave, but they were more frustrated by the short notice than the plan itself. In the end, Sybil outdid Henwyn, and got the entire flock moving in what I assume was their version of packing. Fireflight still stared, as expected, but he did flick his tail once, and I’m almost certain the wing fluffing that happened when Henwyn thanked me was practically benign.


That night we had tomato soup and grilled cheese. Both of us. Together. My mother hasn’t been up like this in years. When I asked her what happened, she said she saw a bird in the clouds and that the bird had said Wales. My mother was never good at explaining. She used to be good at organizing people, but that was before. Perhaps she’s returned to her old self and decided not to join the smoke. Perhaps the smoke decided to let her go. Either way, she’s been a whirlwind of organization since Monday. I didn’t know travel agents still existed, but the one she hired is amazing. Now, we’re in this adorable little house with an attic for the birds, and, there are sheep just down the road. I glance out the window to check the weather. I’ve learned one thing about Wales. Here, there are always clouds. At least so far, there has always been a cloud somewhere in the sky. Most days start with a whole sky full of clouds. Not smoky clouds from the fires either, but real water clouds. This place is so green.


It’s been 3 days since we arrived. The birds were here when the taxi dropped us off, but we haven’t done much since then. Mother never stops moving but she’s not actually doing much. Yesterday, she washed every single curtain in this cottage and hung them all outside in the yard to dry. They’re still out there. The sheep are very nice. I’ve been to see them a few times now and the man watching them seems nice too. He always nods at me, but I’ve never gone close enough to speak to him. I’ve seen him sitting on this one rock or walking along the fence down at the end of the field. I think I’ll head over there now. There are a lot of lambs out there and sometimes they come right up to the fence along the road.


The weather really is fine today. We’ll have to find a store to restock the food. I wonder if I should just go find one after I see the lambs, or ask if Mother wants to go tomorrow. The birds seem to be waiting for me to direct them, though I’m sure I don’t have a clue what we’re supposed to be doing. The box does nothing. This cottage is not like my house. I’m not sure I trust my mother’s sudden change, but, I guess, I also kind of expected something to happen when we got here. I don’t know what.


“So how are you an’ the lady settling in then?” The shepherd is suddenly there, leaning on the other side of the fence. I’m sure I jumped, but his face doesn’t change. He’s facing back toward the field, and watching me from the corner of his eye. I don’t answer, but he continues. “We were surprised when you first arrived, but we may be ready for a proper meeting as soon as tomorrow. The town is very pleased to host you all. Tha’ cottage has been quiet for far too long.”


Do all Welshmen speak this oddly, or just this one? I will take his words as an unofficial welcome to the neighborhood. Maybe it’s the official welcome. For all I know, this shepherd is the uncontested king of all this land. I’ve seen a few people at a distance over the fields, and cars go by often enough, but this place is definitely a SMALL town. Google told me that there is exactly one grocer, two gas stations, a bakery, and a single diner in the whole place. Still, I introduce myself to the man and ask where the closest place to buy food is. He tells me his name is Dylan, and points me down the road saying the grocer was just a kilometer or so away. After I thank him and start on my way he calls out once more.


“The Margravine would be proud of you.”



Louise Warren


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