“What’s this?” he asked around the mouthful he’d just shoved in. “Don’t recognize the flavor.”
I blinked at him worried. “It is not to your liking? I’ll fetch you some …”
He reached across the table and stopped me from doing more than rising with the intent to figure out something else for his meal. “Didn’t say that. Just wanted to know what it is.”
"It’s … it’s just roseroot salad.” He looked over in the direction of the dog roses I had transplanted that are now showing signs of taking hold but I shook my head and explained, “Not that type of rose … the plant is just called roseroot. Perhaps because of the flower and its color, and that the root has a sweet, pleasing odor similar to a rose.”
He turned back around and lifted his eyebrows in a signal that he understood and then went back to shoveling his food in. “It’s good,” he said after the next bite. “Like the onions in it too.”
I relaxed. I had surprised, and been surprised by, a prong early in the morning and before I stopped to consider I was further away from the cabin than normal I’d brought it down with an arrow. Between field dressing the animal and packing it back home across my shoulders – and yes I’ve become able to call the cabin home – there wasn’t time to cook it properly for the mid-day meal. I scrambled madly trying to put some munch on the table so that Gid would have sufficient to eat. Preparing the roseroot and a few other greens was all I had time for. I planned to make it up to Gid at the evening meal with a black currant pudding to go with the prong roast that was cooking.
August has been a busy month for both of us and we were tired even before the end of day. For some reason I feel rushed, like my time is being stolen from me and that I’ll fail and disappoint Gid and make him sorry it was me he took from the cage. On the other hand Gid has also complained of there not being enough hours in the day to get done all that he wishes to. The Brothers always said that God will lead us if we let Him. I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps He isn’t telling us to make the most of our time because we will have less of it than we’d like to prepare for the winter.
“Gid?” I asked hesitantly.
“Know that look and don’t like it. What’s got you cringing? Told you I wasn’t mad about the prong or the meal being a little short.”
Carefully I tried to explain how I was feeling. Gid eyed me as he chewed the last of his munch slowly. “My father always said when your woman gets a certain feeling on something it doesn’t hurt to listen. And from where I am looking it seems you’ve been thinking.”
I bit my lip and then said, “Yes. I’m trying to be helpful Gid. You said you want me to think so .. uh …”
“So I don’t have to do it all myself. I don’t want to have to repeat myself about it either.”
I could tell he was tired and his temper was short. He’d been clearing the last of the irrigation ditches when he’d disturbed a hornets’ nest. I felt blessed they weren’t corrupted hornets or bees whose venom could kill a man in only a few stings but still he was pained enough and I felt badly for adding to his burden.
“Let me change the mallow poultice on your hand Gid.”
“In a bit, just finish what you were saying,” he snapped. “I don’t have all day. Wasted enough of it as it is.”
I tried not to let his tone affect me. I reasoned with myself that if I could live with Aunt for as long as I did, surely I shouldn’t be upset by a few words.
“I wish to go hunting beyond the boundary you set for me to see if there are any other resources that we can use.”
I opened my mouth and then closed it. Though I was disappointed I quietly I told him, “It will be as you say.”
Instead of making him happy my words only seemed to make him more discontent with the day. He slammed his hand down on the table, having forgotten the stings and then yelled a curse as he jumped up. He kicked the chair over and I heard it crack which only made him curse again. He clutched his hand to him and I rushed over to see if he’d split the stings open. He saw me coming and angrily pushed me with the flat of his hand back only I hadn’t expected it and tripped and fell over the broken chair further damaging it.
“Now see what you …!”
The look on his face was more than I could bear to see. I dropped my eyes only that seem to enflame him even more.
He uttered an awful curse and bellowed, “What have I told you about that cringing?!”
I ran. I should have stayed and taken my punishment. I know it will only be worse the longer I put it off. It just hurts so. The look in his eyes was the same as the false Sisters that have taken up residence in my dreams. I shouldn’t be such a coward. Perhaps I can make it up to him. I saw some slippery elm trees when I was bringing the prong back. I will take the inner bark from a strip and cut it into what the barkeep’s wife called noodles. I’ll put some slices of prong on top and make a thick sauce of the pan drippings and flour to moisten the whole. Perhaps that and currant pudding will be enough to let him know I’m sorry.