I was born in the middle of tomorrow, yesterday’s child.
My parents were Tuesday and waiting for the water to boil. The people of the village are finding me in the hay of the inn’s second stall, the one that the old gray mule calls his own. Or did they already find me?
At some point, there was I in the hay. A child in the hay, pointy ears and bric-a-brac, like Mama Troth says sometimes, or is saying right now as I fold the clothes on the square table in the kitchen, but is also still a stump oozing sap as it’s cut down in the Riddlewood.
I know I’m confusing. People think are thinking that I do it a-purpose, or as some lark. It was hard, sometimes. Wanting to carry on a palaver with all the right tenses, the words that say time like Mama Troth will teach me.
If I’m careful I can tell the pig story right. The straw, the sticks, the bricks — but sometimes I tell the wolf at the beginning,
or leave the wolf out all together. Or put in some extra wolves that people never hear of, but that’s mainly a lark.
I used to be funny. Laughing and dancing down the streets of the Kingdom, with my friends and comrades. Before the war? After? I can’t be sure. Enough to say, there was an I and he was funny.
It’s hard to become this, stranger to remember. All at once and never gone. We’re going to a wedding, or have we already been?
Mama Troth told me to go to the baker and pick up some bread, but I could never figure when the place was open. I always came too late or too early, or I saw when the baker was a boy and didn’t have any bread. Or I saw him choking on that apple seed and he didn’t have any bread then either. I tried just keeping my hand on his doorknob until the time was right, but the rain was over and the rain was coming and the rain was always.
I got wet. I’m pretty sure that one already happened.
It’s going to be hard. People move so slow, but I turn and they’re gone. I send my words to where I see them, but they’re already gone, or they aren’t there yet.
Nora Hill held my hand once, but she ran off when her dad yelled. That one is the only one I know for sure is behind me, even though I want it to always be ahead. Nora is dying right now in the war, when the teeth and claws came over the wall. I don’t tell her and squeeze her hand. I should kiss her but I don’t. I see her dying right now, right before they found baby me in the hay, right after we went to the wedding, before the rain, but during the towels I fold all square and neat.
It’s hard to see. I want to shut my eyes sometimes, but Mama Troth is telling me I have to go buy some bread.