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December 21, 2010 / Bika

[RP] Little Boy Blue

When I dreamed about Thiyenn meeting a gregarious turnip farmer I knew I had to write it into her story. The narrative is written from her baby’s perspective. Sometimes I wonder how my brain comes up with this shit, then I remember that it’s better not to question these things. I am delighted and running with it, folks.

You can find this cross-posted at Seven Deadly Divas.

Yes, she named the baby Blue.

___________________________________________________

Little Boy Blue was named for his eyes. They were not the deep blue eyes of his mother, a young woman who never smiled, but a pale arctic blue that sparkled prettily in his good-humored face. He was determined to make her smile one day. It wasn’t a fully formed idea in his little head–he was far too young for such things as plotting, or even thinking with words–but he knew what it was to smile. Even he could do it. He saw the smiling faces of happy people every day and thought it unfair she should be so sad.

Every time she looked at her baby boy, she saw his father in him and mourned anew.

Mama walked with him in the evenings, balancing him on her hip as they made their way around the canals into the park. In a tiny bakery that was hardly more than a room full of brick ovens they watched a floury man knead and roll their daily bread into pretty braided loaves. There were never many people in the shop. His couriers took the day’s fare out to the streets in baskets and bags as quickly as he could bake it, selling to passers-by and shopkeepers alike on their well-worn routes. But if she came before the last of the day’s light was out of the sky, he would weave for her a pair of miniature loaves and slide them onto the hot stones.

It was especially warm in the baker’s tiny shop and smelled so, so good. The little boy loved to watch the man pull handfuls of dough and roll them into long strips. He wanted to play with the dough too, but Mama never went close enough for him to reach the great polished slab where it lay in soft heaps like pale, yeasty pillows. Once the man offered her a bit of the dough for the baby, but she shook her head and lowered her great blue eyes as she was wont to do.

He could have cried, but tears upset his mother most of all. Crying would never make her smile, so he did not. Instead he gave her the most reproachful look that could be mustered on his baby face. This made the baker laugh so loudly it frightened her, and she left as quickly as she could once the bread was wrapped and her coins paid.

There were many days without the baker’s bread after that. The boy, from his seat on her ample hip, tried guiding her toward the shop in the park on those long evening walks by pressing his chubby little feet into her belly or her backside. It seemed to work more often than not. She would turn to the left or right as he dictated, but always turned away just before they reached the fragrant shop and took them home again.

One evening, guided by the curious child’s left foot against her spine, Mama turned down a path he had never seen before. There were curious smells and sounds in the air. Shops were lit even though it was evening. Colored fabrics lined the windows of one storefront and as soon as he saw them he knew she coveted them the way he coveted the baker’s dough.

It never occurred to him that infants were not supposed to know when their mothers wished to burrow into piles of colored silks and velvets, to bury their faces in them, to feel their textures and smell their smells. He simply clung more tightly to her and thought similar thoughts of how nice the dough would feel squeezed between his wee fingers, how it might taste in his mouth.

Round the corner they encountered a lovely smell, a fine and hearty hungry smell, and under his feet the baby could feel his mother’s belly rumble. It was a smell of roasting pork and deep trays of apple pie, of thick gravy and taters and carrots and bread just like the baker’s.

He made her stop just outside the doorway, which stood wide open to let some of the baking heat of the hearth out into the night. He made her stop, and look inside.

Rough wooden tables and benches filled the homely pub. An enormous fireplace that burned furiously with hot popping timbers and glowing embers spanned almost an entire wall. Opposite the hearth was a wide bar with stools propped under the britches of working men, who hunched over pints and plates piled high with peasant food.

Little Boy Blue wanted to stay a while and see what there was to see in the warm, bread- and beer-smelling place. Gently he pushed with his wee dimpled heel. Go in, go in, it said, and Mama obeyed. She chose a place near the door, but not too near, and sat on the wide plank bench. There weren’t many people at the tables. Only the bar was crowded, and a lady with wild orange hair soon appeared from behind it to fuss at the baby until he chortled with infectious baby laughter.

Mama only stared.

“What’ll ye have?” said the bar wench.

The boy clutched a bit of mama’s black hair in his fist and tugged ever so gently. Mama still didn’t speak, though she was quite hungry. The rich smelling thing and the meat with bread, the sweet baked apples, a potato. He knew the things she liked to eat but could not tell the orange-haired lady for her. “MA!” came the impatient voice from his wee mouth, demanding with a single syllable she just say what she liked already, and be done with it.

The lady smiled with all of her teeth at this, his first utterance, but Mama did not. Instead she stared down at her boy, shocked wonderment on her face. How could such a small thing speak without any fear where she could not? Surely she was shamed to let her own bairn have all the manners in the family. She opened her mouth, cheeks ruddy with embarrassment, and was saved.

“We’ve got Supper, Supper, or Supper. Take it or leave it!” said the lady with the orange hair.

When she nodded, the orange lady disappeared into the kitchen. Mama set the boy up on the table so he could see better–and to shield her from curious eyes. One such pair darted to them again and again. The boy turned his head to get a better look. What sort of man or beast was this, with his great half-moon smile and monstrous impossible wideness, his shiny head with hair only on the sides, his great furry whiskers? As though summoned by the baby’s thoughts, the house-sized man thundered down from his seat at the bar, planting his dirty brown boots on the wooden floor.

“Fine lad ye’ve got there!” he boomed across the open dining room. Mama looked as though she might die from sheer terror as the tower of man bore down upon their table and joined them, swinging his enormous booted feet over the bench. The boy, excited to see the farmer up close, greeted him with outstretched arms and a loud baby’s squall. He was delighted to find the man smelled strongly of earth and mud. Dirt was his favorite food. It was, in fact, the only food besides baker’s bread he had ever tasted, and he could eat as much as he wanted as long as Mama wasn’t looking.

“Ma,” he said conversationally, and the big man laughed.

They were going to get along just fine.


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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Mom / Dec 21 2010 12:21 pm

    WOW. Need more…that was amazing, and what an awesome perspective!!

    • Bika / Dec 28 2010 1:42 am

      I won’t lie, “MA” comes from me harassing you. Heee. I’m glad you like it!

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