‘Keep it covered, Jinj, we’re almost there – ‘
Because it was the sort of stuff in the air that would have joggled her insides, and then Maiden Deidre would have to ‘reorganize her insides’ like she had done to Kayla that time. Kayla was bigger than her and hadn’t done it – hadn’t covered her mouth.
‘Stop dreaming, child, keep your hand over your mouth. And hold on, the road is going to get rough!’
And this ride on Nerna’s mare was bumpy the whole time, wasn’t it, so why does Nerna only say it is rough now? Nerna is very silly like that, like a momoo.
Kayla was not like a momoo. Kayla was pretty like Momoo, though. Kayla was wearing a beautiful dress the day she got sick – a dress that Jinj had wanted so badly, but Momoo didn’t let her have it. It was a garon green, and the ribbons were soft but dusty, but Jinj liked the dust because it meant that Kayla had been playing with her in the sparks out back.
No one, not Nerna or Momoo had ever really explained to her about the air that burned and mussed up insides like it had done to Kayla.
The doorway is open!
And with that thought, Jinj passed through to see if the answers were lingering in the air, somewhere over the balcony or maybe in the corner of the adjacent room, where the dust shyly gathered.
Jinj flowed through like only she could with her long cape and skirt tripping her heels but it made sense to her, she thought, even if Momoo and Nerna used to yell at me all the time for it.
She walked straight to where she thought the dust would be, in the far left corner, and saw that there was quite a bit and she gathered it up in her hands and matted it through her skirt ribbons. Kayla never liked to wear ribbons; she complained that they got in the way of her work. Sometimes her work was to play with Jinj and sometimes her work was to plan meetings for the Community. Kayla was so busy especially with the meetings, which Jinj could never attend even if she baked cookies for them with Momoo. Then Kayla and Fra would leave in a hurry and Momoo would call, wait wait the cookies! And she’d push Jinj off towards the two in the doorway, and Fra would pat her, take the cookies, and give one back to Jinj.
Then there was that one time that Fra and Kayla never came back.
Momoo’s chair has got a velvety feel and I think it’s from along time ago because it’s worn. Maybe Fra made it – yes, I think he did – because, you see, he is ‘good with his hands’ as the burly men with the mustaches say. He made her the chair because he loves her. I know that I don’t need to make a chair for Momoo to show her that because I pick her flowers from the yard and paint them bright enough for her to know, jinj dear, jinj loves you…
But, yes, the chair has a lot of love inside it which maybe that is why it is worn because in love there is energy and in energy there is motion and so the chair becomes worn out from motion of energy, all the all the time.
‘na na. na na. na naaaa…’
Jinj took the long way to get to her meeting with Kayla even though Nerna had packed her off in a hurry. Jinj knew it would be a painful meeting, dull and dusty like wooden legs of the desk where Kayla put her papers. If she took the long way, there would be a chance to breathe in the sun and take in the air and make something useful, like prettiness, happen.
The office – that place that Kayla called an office – it was still as dusty and with papers and feathers and stains scraps of colored poster and needles and threads and sometimes a bushel of apples, as it had been when Fra had started there and Kayla was ten and Jinj was two.
Like honey! Jinj smiled warmly to her sister.
What? What is honey, Jinj, my chicky?
Jinj whispered. Your voice, Kayla.
Kayla picked up the sewing needle and continued the stitches to the large cloth sign she had started last night, before they had fallen asleep with their limbs wrapped up together.
‘R – ro- ro – we – wen. Kayla? Rowen?’
Kayla didn’t answer with pins in her mouth and only continued to stitch straight through Jinj’s question.
Rowen. Rowen. Jinj crawled back behind Kayla and started putting her hair into sections. Occasionally, she glanced over her sister’s shoulder and found that Kayla was sewing a purple border around each of the black letters. R. O. W. E. N.
Purple, like the color of the sky when it wakes up each morning, Kayla had told her once. That is what Rowen is. It is that purple, the freedom of purple, that color of something fresh and new.
Since then, Jinj heard purple flutter around her ears at springtime, like the butterflies in her hair. She heard rowen whispered in the street corners, by the pear sellers and button makers. She heard Rowen in her sleep, from Kayla’s violet lips, a soft whisper that fell to her ear and trickled down her cheek.