13th Aran, 5068
The flowers in Auntie's garden were starting to wilt, so V and I were tasked with visiting the water-pump in the village. It was Meriday today, and there she was expecting visitors in the evening. She would not slave away at the thick layers of dust in the corners of our house, nor would she entertain the thought of making our beds, but every year, she would be sure that her Celandine's shone like beacons amongst the tide of weed. Auntie loved her flowers.
The heat was viscous in the morning, and the heavy metal pale burdened the journey. V had offered to help several times before we reached the old pump, but I knew she wouldn't be able to. She could never do such things by herself – though her spirit were strong, her body was not. Besides the point, if anybody were to see her carrying the heavy load with me trailing behind, they would start to ask questions, and I didn't like answering questions.
I never understood why Meriday was so important to the people of the North Sector. Ma and Pa never celebrated it, and neither did I. I had only really learned about it's existence in school – the time when the Great Disturbance ended, and the sectioning of the different precincts of Æris, a plan to end conflict between the sectors. I suppose that plan worked, as it has done for the last 150 years or so. I guess this is an important anniversary of peace for these people. I always wanted to learn more, but Auntie didn't like to discuss it, and I don't go to school any more.
I always tried not to touch the rusted scale of the pump's handle when I pushed it. As months went by, this challenge got increasingly harder, but remained manageable – at least for the time being. The bucket could hold about 5 litres of water to the brim, and had more than doubled in weight by the time it was full. This would do for cooking water too, no point in making two trips. At least, that's what I thought as we left the pump, but I didn't anticipate that most of the water would end up on the cobbled pavement, or splashed against my shorts. V wanted to hold my hand on the trek back – her blue cotton mittens felt warm against my palm., against my now cold thigh. I was both warm and cold.
The house seemed empty when we finally returned, and after calling out to Auntie and my cousins, I decided that it would be better to just leave the pale in the kitchen. Someone would find it eventually, and that someone would probably tend to the garden before the evening drew close. It was the light tap on the shoulder from V that made me realise that we weren't here alone. Cousin Juno stood in the doorway, her lanky body seemed more awkward, more contorted than usual. Her brittle nature made me uncomfortable, almost annoyed. “What?” Was all I could say, it's not like she would answer in any case. As I thought, she simply looked at the darkened patch on my shorts and turned into the garden, probably to find the watering can.
Cousin Juno didn't like me. Nobody here really liked me here except Auntie, and V of course. She tried to make me feel comfortable here, but even she knows how useless her efforts are. Juno will never accept my presence, and nor would anybody else in Victory Square. I would spend the evening as I did every Aran the 13th ; in the bedroom with V. Hearing her stories was far more rewarding than futile conversation with the local merchants or commoners. I would make sure I didn't have to hear the name “Far-Away Boy” for as long as it could last. V would never call me that, she never had.