Saturday, September 6, 2014

Chapter 32


I found Gid taking his turn chopping wood.  He looked at me and said, “When we start having our own jackthumpers I hope the first few are boys.  We’ll put ‘em to bed in fertilizer every night so they’ll grow up fast enough to help chop wood.” 

He was so serious I had to hide a smile.  He looked at me and said, “That’s better.  You came out here looking spooked.  The kids getting too much for you?” 

I sighed and started separating the wood by size and type.  “No.  Ned has them building something in the Great Room.  It is keeping them so interested I’m almost afraid to find out what it is.” 

“Can’t be any worse than the cannon they built last week.  When they set the thing off I thought there was going to be an avalanche on the high road … a snowslide at the very least.” 

I shuddered and shook my head because I had worried about much the same thing. 

“Then what is it?  You’ve come out here for some comfort for some reason.” 

“I … I didn’t mean to Gid but … but I overheard you and Ern talking.”  He looked confused so I added.  “You were below stairs sharpening knives.” 

“Oh.  Welllll … that was all before I met you Yulee.  You don’t think I’d go looking for the kind of fun that Ern is wanting do you?” 

I took a pinch of snow and tossed it at him.  “Of course not … not that part.  The part about Vaniece.” 

He sighed with some resignation.  “I already told Ern and now I’ll tell you … let it alone.  Time will either fix it or it won’t and getting in the middle of it won’t make it fix any faster.” 

I shook my head.  “I’m not looking to get in the middle; I’m looking to stay out of it.  But Vaniece seems to think she can …”  I winced.  “She counts on me to listen Gid.  Listen to her talk about things no one else even knows she thinks about.” 

“Such as?  Or is it woman speak?” 

I shrugged.  “She’s not nearly as unknowing in the head as she used to be, certainly a great deal less than what most of you credit her to be.  I imagine it is about like for her like it was for me when everyone thought I was dim.  It got … tiring … after a while.  Frustrating.” 

Gid stopped chopping and leaned on the axe and said, “Well if she isn’t brain scrambled that’s a good thing.” 

“If everyone will just see it.” 

Gid gave me a sharp look and said, “By everyone you mean Jace.” 

“Mostly Jace but the others as well.  She’s up there with him now.” 

“Who?  Vaniece and Jace?”  I just looked at him and the light dawned.  “Oh ho … you mean Vaniece is wanting some attention from Jace.” 

I nodded.  “More than that.  She finally said out loud what I sensed has been bothering her.  She is frustrated at her progress and that Jace … well she said Jace deserves better … a better wife to be exact.  I have a feeling that … that if they can’t come to some kind of understanding …” 

“Hold on … you’re straying into that area that isn’t any of our business again.”  He came over and sat us down on a stump of wood.  “Now look Yulee, it doesn’t sound like you had a big family, and of what you did have you lost.  It also sounds like your village … well maybe they weren’t prudes but you certainly had a different upbringing than what I did.  So let me give you some advice if you’ll take it.  Sometimes the only way to survive a big family, especially one that is living on top of one another, is to make sure everyone has their space whether they want it or not.  It may not be a big space … it might not even be a real space like a room or whatever … but it is something that is all their own and everyone is supposed to respect it.” 

“OK,” I said though his words only confused me. 

Seeing I didn’t see it he said, “Boundaries.  It’s why the jackthumpers get to me some times.  They don’t respect boundaries.  I need my privacy when I want it … but I swear …” 

I had to hide my face because I knew it had to be as red as Jace’s forge can get.  Gid and I had been … cuddling … when we spotted some eyes at the edge of the bed.  Gid nearly broke the downstairs windows out yelling about that and then got even more outraged when the ones that did it had the nerve to ask how they were supposed to learn how if no one let them watch.  I tell you I nearly let him put them in the soup pot that time. 

Gid seeing my face nodded.  “Exactly.  Well I won’t watch Jace and Vaniece have them some cuddles and no more should we be watching them try and figure this out that’s between them.  It’s a private thing.  It’s just as … as …” 

“Voyeur.” 

“Huh?” 

“One of my grandmother’s Frenchy words.  It means … watching what you shouldn’t be watching.” 

“Yeah.  Voyeur huh?  I’ll have to remember that one.”  He stood up and went back to the stack of wood he had to cut.  “So the answer, assuming you were asking a question, is the way to stay out of trouble is to stay out of their business … even if one or the other of them try to drag you into it.  I know you women need to talk about such and so to one another but just remember, there’s no yarb that is going to fix this.  Jace and Vaniece are going to have to do it … and for themselves.  ‘Cause if they don’t likely it won’t stay fixed.  Now you think you could get me a mug of that spiced brew you make?  My hands are gonna be frozen before I can get this all chopped and it feels like we’ve got another big of cold coming our way.”

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