Dyna banged the bag hard against the wooden door, making her entrance known. She had done it. She had made the trip alone, and now she was fully confident she’d go again.
Until this day, Dyna was relegated to playing alone in the yard or helping her mother, Elea, prepare meals and perform various household chores. None of which she enjoyed. She was an outdoorsman stuck in a female form; accustomed to tussling with her big brothers. Nevertheless, her parents had other hopes.
Elea opened the bag and saw the fruit bruised, its juices wetting the vegetables soft leaves. Without a word, she directed Dyna to rinse them thoroughly so she could finish preparing the soup. Then Dyna chopped the fruits in bite-sized pieces, passing the mushier ones to her brothers who sat telling stories at the dining table. Waiting.
“I started to come looking for you,” said Isaak, her father.
“I’ll get faster,” Dyna said. “Please let me go again tomorrow.”
“Never,” her brother, Simon spoke up. “We’ll starve.” And her brothers laughed and teased her.
“Maybe she’s too young, too frail?” her Isaak inquired of Elea. “My girl can stay here and help me.” He was long past his youthful days of hunting and tending to livestock. Most days he spent huddled over his desk, writing, studying and reviewing community complaints. Dyna wanted no parts of his quiet, devout life.
“No, Isaak, she wants independence,” said Elea. “She’ll be a woman and a wife soon. Girls have to learn how to run a household.”
In the meantime, back in Kanza, the young prince ran to his father, the King, to ask about the mysterious girl he had seen from his balcony.
His father offered little. “She must be Isaak Isaacson’s daughter. His people keep to themselves and their religious ways. I’ve allowed them to settle beyond the boundary lines of Kanza to hunt and care for their herds.”
The prince knew he would not be allowed to enter Isaak’s territory without cause, so each day since first he noticed Dyna, he watched from the balcony longing to see her again. A couple of times he meandered to Stan’s market, in hopes of casually bumping into her.
But it would be seven long days before Dyna returned to town.
“Your hands need time to heal,” Elea had told her.
Therefore on her second trip, Dyna pushed a small wooden cart to the farmer’s market. The blisters will not delay me again, she thought.
Short shorts by L.A. Taylor