Market days were always fun but they weren’t all that common. Market days happened out of necessity; when they needed something they couldn’t grow, kill, raise or make themselves. Or, on days like today, when her father had business.
Sometimes on market days she had to stay behind to help with things at home. Other times it was just her and Nan getting what they needed. But sometimes … sometimes she had a whole day to spend with her father while Nan had a good, quiet rest at home.
Those market days were the best days; trailing along after her father with a caramel apple in one hand. And whenever he would notice that she was lagging behind he would take her free hand and twirl her beneath his arm as if he were dancing with some fine lady. He would spin her again until she was giggling and then sweep her up off of the ground and right onto his shoulder even when she was getting too big to do so.
She remembered the very last time she ever found herself on his shoulder with such clarity. He’d left her to pick out a present for her Nana and when he came to take her back to the wagon he spun her out through the crowd and the worry that she’d been seeing written in his features for so long (she didn’t know what it was from) melted away. Halfway there he’d swung her up and made quite a show of grunting and groaning under the weight of her. And giggling she wriggled around until he put her down.
They were only a few steps from the wagon when she heard a sharp yap and went to investigate. Curled up in the front of the wagon was a puppy with lopsided ears and a little cream colored kitten; the puppy was yapping and twitching in it’s sleep while the kitten took a whack at the ear that was sticking up. Aislynne was so excited she could hardly contain it.
Their last market day was perfect in almost every way. But years later and long after her father’s death it would be the smile on his face that she remembered, the way he looked when he watched her that made her know she was loved and how she rode all the way back home curled into his side.
✿ for a happy memory.
Nothing can compare to books and writing while it’s raining.