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Adventures in Akadia

Chapter 13

Everything They Had


     While the waterfall and the cliffs were beautiful, it did mean there was no easy way down. Wink led the children down a long and winding path that eventually reached the base of the waterfall. By this time, the sun was beginning to retreat behind the tall mountain ranges above. Stopping for just a moment to admire the waterfall one last time, the group then followed a dirt trail along the river until they found themselves approaching the cottages they had seen from the top of the waterfall. The cottages were small and cozy, the perfect size for a Quotidian family. As daylight was fading, the candlelights from the windows were becoming visible.

     Outside the cottages, a group of young Quotidians was playing games and enjoying what was left of daylight. A particularly young Quotidian caught sight of the group approaching. Their face instantly beamed with excitement as they shouted, “Winky!” This caught the attention of the rest of the Quotidians that had been playing. They each began shouting Wink’s name and ran joyfully toward the group.

     The first Quotidian to reach Wink leapt into his arms, causing him to stagger a bit. Before Wink could regain his balance, the second Quotidian followed suit, leaping up and knocking him completely over. The remaining Quotidians joined in, jumping on top of the others, creating a happy pile of giggling Quotidians.

     As one of the cottage doors opened, a gentle light spilled from the home, revealing an older Quotidian stepping out. Her eyes sparkled in the fading evening light, and a warm smile graced her face at the sight of Wink and the children. Once Wink finally emerged from the pile, he dusted himself off and waddled over to the Quotidian, exclaiming, “Hiya sissy!”

     The Quotidian held open her arms for an embrace and, in a voice that reminded each of the kids of their grandmother, exclaimed, “Hiya Winky!” 

     The two hugged each other tightly and rocked back and forth. Wink then grabbed his sister by the hand and guided her to where the kids were standing, “Kiddos, this my sissy. Her name Rosy.”

     Rosy waved and said, “Hiya kiddos!”

     Wink pointed to each of the kids as he introduced them, “Sissy, these are da’ kiddos. This is Jammy, Gabby, Lizzy, and Lukey.”

     The kids smiled as they were introduced. They loved watching how Wink interacted with his sister.

     Rosy had been smiling during Winks introductions, but then a concerned look came over her face and she asked, “Where your packs?”

     The expressions on the kids' faces went from happy to what they had been when their packs were first thrown in the river: a mix of disbelief and frustration. 

     Jamari spoke up, “Some Quotidian’s came out of nowhere and threw all our stuff in the river!”

     Rosy shook her head and, rolling her eyes, said, “Silly Quotidis.” She then looked down and around her, noticing the young quotidians that had surrounded them.

     Smiling, she continued, “Well kiddos, meet my gran-quotidis.” Pointing to each as she introduced them, she said, “This Dazy, Rooby, Lulu, Penpen, Zookers, Sunny, Magoo, and Olly.”

     The rest of the evening was filled with laughter and whimsical games as the young Quotidians welcomed the kids into their activities. They played a fun blend of tag, wonky-wonky-zonky (the Quotidian version of duck duck goose), and bubblyball. Wink and Rosy watched on from two rocking chairs near the front door of her home.

     Observing the kids immersed in play with the Quotidians, Rosy asked Wink, "How the kiddos doin’?" 

     Continuing to rock back and forth, Wink responded, "They workin’ hard, and they be learnin’." 

     Focusing intently on Wink, she asked, "They be ready?" 

     Wink shook his head slightly, his gaze still on the kids, "Almost. There still be a few things to learn." 

     Rosy looked forward once more as a smile spread across her face, "We be helpin’ with that."

     The kids continued to play with their new young friends until daylight had completely run out. At that point, Rosy called for the young Quotidians to gather as she informed them, “Time to be done playin’ today.”

     The young Quotidians protested, not wanting the evening to end. A few of them eagerly seized the hands of the kids, signaling their desire to continue.

     "Don' worry. You be seein’ the kiddos tomorrow," Rosy reassured. She then moved her hands in a shooing motion, “Off you go. Go get good sleep.”

     The shoulders of the young Quotidians slumped and they each let out a disappointed whine. They quickly relented and a few waddled into the cottage directly behind Rosy while others dispersed to the other homes. You could see them breaking off into groups of their immediate families, their tiny figures silhouetted in front of the porch lanterns.

     With the young Quotidians now safe and sound in their cottages, the meadow took on a quiet stillness. Rosy turned to the kids, and with a mixture of warmth and curiosity asked, “You hungry kiddos?” 

     “Starved.” Jamari replied while the others nodded enthusiastically. 

     Rosy extended a warm welcome to the group as they entered her home. The kids, needing to duck down to fit through the doorway, soon discovered that standing up was impossible once inside. Opting to sit down, they found the cottage to be simple yet cozy. Even without the children, the cottage would have felt snug, but with them inside, it became particularly crowded. Any movement risked bumping into someone. Despite the close quarters, the cottage had a feeling of home that embraced everyone gathered inside.

     Rosy, with a wooden ladle in hand, began to serve a mysterious dish that seemed unlike any the children had encountered before, either at home or in Akadia. As Rosy filled each bowl, there was a shared moment of surprise and mild disappointment among the kids. The servings seemed rather small, especially when compared to what they had become accustomed to in Akadia.

     Once they each had their bowls, they tried to eat slowly, savoring each bite to make the food last. Even with these efforts, the food in their bowls seemed to vanish after what seemed like just a couple of bites. 

     Jamari couldn't help himself and asked, "Is there anything else?" 

     Rosy, wearing a puzzled expression, responded, "Whatchu mean?" 

     An awkward moment of silence sat in the air until Jamari clarified, "Is there any more food?" 

     While they hadn’t said it out loud, the same question had been echoing in the minds of the other kids as well. 

     To their disappointment, Rosy replied, "Sorry, no seconds today." 

     The kids couldn't contain their disappointment and began to moan and whine at the prospect of not having anything else to eat that evening. A hint of disappointment clouded Wink's usually cheerful face and he gestured for the kids to join him outside. 

     The small cottage door creaked open as they stepped into the crisp Akadian night, the kids hopeful that Wink was leading them to more food. Outside the cottage, under a night sky filled with brilliant stars, Wink motioned toward the window and said, “What cha’ see?”

     Confusion painted the kid’s faces as they peered into the window. All they could see was the same scene they had just left. Perplexed, they each looked back to Wink.

     Wink asked again, “What cha’ see?”

     Elizabeth, seeming somewhat impatient, asked, “What do you mean? What are we supposed to be seeing?”

     Wink let out a sigh and asked quietly, “What did they have for munchy?”

     The children looked back through the window and saw the family of Quotidians playing together, reading together, and preparing themselves for bed. The realization dawned on the kids that the Quotidians hadn’t eaten anything and instead had shared their prepared meal with them.

     Compassionately, Wink said, “Tha’ everything they had.”

The kids realized that however small the portions might have been, the Quotidians had sacrificed to make sure they had enough. A sense of guilt and embarrassment came over them as they now realized how ungrateful they had been.

     “I’m sorry, Wink.” Elizabeth said.

     “Me too,” Gabriel added.

     Lukas and Jamari nodded in agreement.

     Wink softly smiled and said, “We best be sayin’ sorry to Rosy.”

     Wink and the kids reentered the cottage, eager to make things right and express their gratitude to Rosy and her family.  

     Gabriela spoke for the group, “We’re sorry, Rosy. We should have been more grateful for the food.”

     Rosy grinned and replied, “Thank you, kiddos. I know it be hard to see sometimes. If you want to be helpin’, I bet we could make somethin’ more.”

     Happy to have the opportunity to correct their mistake, the kids happily joined Rosy in the kitchen. Together, they worked on creating a simple dinner that everyone could enjoy. As they worked together, the guilt in their hearts turned into appreciation for what Rosy and the Quotidians had taught them.

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