Katy at Geisha School Part III
Katy absentmindedly feeds Prancer a crab apple as she walks the empty mule cart up the road back to the castle. Prancer snorted appreciatively as he ate. What a grand name for a mule, Katy thought, smiling. The Rose has a truck for making bakery deliveries but honestly, driving that loud smelly frightful thing scared her, and what with the fuel rationing and shortages, Katy was happy to use the wagon instead. Plus Prancer was a good listener for Katy’s idle prattlings and ruminations.
Katy glanced inside the cart at the presents she had picked up in the village. Katy didn’t have any money, but she picked bunches of wild primroses on the way–Katy liked the modest yellow flowers, resilient pretty things, blooming uncowed by the cold of winter. The shopkeepers in town were happy to take the flowers in trade at least when accompanied by Katy’s coy smile, and so Katy was able to pick up a pretty red ribbon for Ally’s hair–remembering how exhausted her sister looked passed out in the kitchen. She also got a little mirror with a picture of a cherry blossom on the back for Meadow and sugar candies for all the girls of the Rose.
Knowing she may not be back in town for a while, Katy had used this opportunity to say good bye. Good bye to the wife of the dry goods keeper who always slipped her a sweet. Good bye to the rough dock workers who used to make her recoil, but now she manages to offer them polite smiles. Good bye to the children squabbling outside the village school during recess, that reminded her of her sisters at the Rose. Good bye to the cute boys who liked to hang out by the bakery who helped her unload.
Katy casually kicked a stone, watching it skitter up the windy path, taking her time on the walk home. Her gaze roamed from the lush rolling hills to the crashing waves of the sea far below. The castle had been quiet recently–absent the usual bustle of visitors and house guests–but the quiet has been good for Katy’s reflections. So much had changed so quickly. Her upside down life had just started to right itself, and for the first time Katy felt warm, embraced, safe. The thought of leaving it all behind for America scared her, and her bundled up body shivers as a cold wind sudddenly blows up through the dale. Katy pauses..ponders for a long second as the wind whips around her frail shivvery body, before finally, she begins to walk again, this time a bit faster and with more resolve. If Madame and Okasan think it is the right thing, Katy decided, she should trust to their guidance and to their care. Still, Katy is most comforted by the knowledge that Ally will be by her side.
What do you think Prancer? asks Katy as she looks into the mule’s eyes inquisitively, scratching behind his ears. Prancer simply whinnies and snorts and goes back to chewing the rest of his apple. The pair continue to plod their way home, back to the radiant warmth of the castle. Katy begins singing a little song “sur le pont d’avignon on y danse on y danse…” as she starts to skip.