Now, years forward, our little town is drawing near. The buildings are marked with date by their materials. The first year, we did not know how to build, and the oldest are packed of pitiful earth. The newer buildings show improvement, made of bricks. The closer to shore you go, the more beautiful the buildings become.
It takes a while to walk from home to the edge of the sea, through town with its sparse bustle. A proud building stands with its toes in the sea, a beacon to outsiders. A well-chiseled sign next to the door reads, “Port House.”
Inside, I find Koso, at work with pen to paper. His face and body still ripple with youth, but his eyes, hair, and heart have lost their newness. He glances up as I walk in.
“Morning, Tomas,” he says, eyes back to his work. I glance at the document, upside-down from me. It’s filled with numbers, a tally of our progress. There is a pause, then, “You won’t be happy.”
“Why?” Koso is one to get bad news over with as soon as possible, but this early in the day it must be significant.
“I saw a ship this morning. It’s not far now, just around the outer rim of shore. It’s good sized, too. We have to move quickly.”
I sigh. The porthouse boys are delivery boys. We hold all incoming goods in storage, and periodically transport them across town, a day of hard labor to break up the days of counting and monotony. Of course, we also retrieve goods from incoming ships and place them in our storehouse. These jobs occasionally fall on the same day, meaning twice as much labor for all involved.
“Benson has already gone with the deliveries, so you and I will oversee the unloading of the ship. Actually, while I’m finishing up, why don’t you go down and see how close they are.”
This is not really a suggestion. I go, cinching my pants up to the ankle and letting down my pushed up sleeves. I am almost a ship myself, adjusting my sails.