I had met a man. Was I still a nun? A recluse? I didn't think so. And you know what? I wanted a good pot of strong beef soup.
I put on a good dress, braided my hair and put on a hat and a cape. I took my basket, hid a purse in my boot and started on the hike down the mountain.
On the way I saw nobody. I realized I was hoping, somewhere deep inside, to meet Gwydion. But I needed beef, not Gwydion. So I continued on my way down.
At the market people stared at me. They were clearly wondering why I was down here. The truth is, we could get along, as long as I was up in the mountains. Whenever I came to the city the people became hostile. Men would stare and women would whisper. But I couldn't care less. I spotted a good butcher's store and entered it.
The butcher, a big, strong man, was chopping up a cow.
'Good day, sir,' I greeted him.
He looked up and smiled gently. He was one of the few shopkeepers that felt some sympathy for me.
'Good morning, milady,' he said.
'How may I help you?'
I inspected the cow he was just dividing.
'I'd like that leg,' I said.
After he'd given me the leg I decided I could just as well get a new dress. I bought some blue material and ribbons of every colour. The tailor offered to make the dress himself, but I declined his offer. I could do it myself.
When I exited the store I found somebody waiting for me outside.
'Good morning, Inessa!' Gwydion said with a smile.
'Good morning, Gwydion,' I answered.
I allowed him to accompany me to my home. We had conversations as interesting as ever before. I was able to converse with him on everything. He'd been to many places, and I'd read about them. He'd seen many things, I'd read about them.
'So have you been doing the task I assigned you?' he asked when we got home.
'Yes, I have,' I answered.
I had indeed placed the bread crumbs and the apple under the fruitless tree, but the next day, it was gone. Probably eaten by birds.
'Very good. Thank you,' he said.
Gwydion, Gwydion, couldn't you see? I wanted him to try again. I wanted him to come that close, to shut his eyes, I wanted to be able to count his freckles, and then lose that ability as he came closer. Yesterday I was weak, I was scared. But there is nothing wrong in relationships between man and woman.
As I started to make the soup Gwydion came up to me and said:
'Listen, about yesterday, I'm sorry, it was rude of me...'
'It's alright. I... I was... I don't know. I was scared, but... but I think I feel the same way...' I started to say, but he wasn't listening.
'It's just, you're so goddamned beautiful, and I'm such a horrible person, your eyes, they seemed to lure me and...'
Then he stopped. He'd heard something of what I'd said.
'You do?' he asked.
I tried not to look at him as I answered:
'Yes, I think.'
I finished stirring the soup, closed the cauldron to let it cook, and looked at him. He was standing there with a very surprised face. Then, without my expecting it, he pulled me to him and kissed me on the lips.
I felt like my head would explode of all the surprisingly new sensations. I did what I felt was right: I embraced him and kissed him right back.