Lost and Found- Part 1 (short story)

Hello, bloggers!

As you might know, I consider myself more of a poet than a short story writer. However, I’ve decided to try something new and actually write a short story, having been recently inspired by a dream. I’ll be breaking it into several parts, so hope you enjoy!

Lost and Found (part 1)

“Twenty kilos.”

The lady with the floral dress and a Sunday hat as slack as her jawline, frowned at her as she took her order. Such demands weren’t uncommon, but she couldn’t help but groan inwardly, then forcing a smile and giving a “yes, Ma’am, of course” before heading to the sacks already stuffed with dozens of potatoes. She had gathered them the night before, so that they were ready to be hauled into the cart to be taken the morning of to the market situated several miles away. It was no easy task, but after working for her aunt and cousin (whose side of the family had been potato gleaners for generations) for years, she had grown accustomed to the often-strenuous work of digging, gleaning, and selling those bulbous plants.

She grabbed a sack and hoisted it on her shoulder: it weighed as much as a small child, but she had learned from her aunt early on to distribute the weight between the shoulders: this was to avoid straining the back when lifted from the front. Despite her tall, lanky frame, she possessed a wiry strength and endurance which have helped her aunt’s business moderately successful.

It was a bustling Sunday morning. People from the community and its surroundings gathered for their weeks’ worth of shopping: often it’s the mothers and the elderly who come into town, along with chefs and servant girls for the aristocratic families north of town. A chill hung in the air, with overcast skies looming in the horizon—surely, autumn was arriving soon.

A group of horse-drawn carts carrying wheat passed in front; she stepped back to let them pass. Of the three carts, the last one came too close and rolled over her right foot. She cried out in pain and the sack slipped off her shoulders as she doubled over. The sack caught on the wheel, causing it to rip and send potatoes tumbling out onto the ground, still muddy from last night’s rain.  Swearing under her breath, she stooped down to gather the potatoes into the sack. Her foot throbbed painfully, but thankfully no bones were broken: she would need to ice it once the market finished at midday, so it wouldn’t swell.

She tried hard not to let the stares and whispering get to her as she gathered the potatoes: eventually, things returned to normal and people went on with their market affairs. With the last potato in the sack, she did her best to tie up the half-torn burlap to keep it in place. As she stood up to carry it over, she noticed someone at the corner of her eye.

Probably no older than she was (on the brink of seventeen), there was something about her which caught her attention. Her jet-black hair fell softly in waves halfway down her back, her waist smartly tucked with a highly-pleated dress often reserved for servant girls. She probably was a servant girl: most were usually hires from poor families who had no money to support their child, and they usually start when they deem old enough for taking care of the household through chores such as cooking, cleaning, and tending to the needs of the family whom they serve.

She knew most, if not all, of them in the community (it was such a small town, anyway), as they often bought from her aunt’s potato stand. But she hadn’t seen her around before, knowing that she must be new, whoever the aristocratic family she is working for (the Christiansens’? The Singhs’?). Her large, curious eyes, in contrast with her cocoa complexion, were scanning the tomatoes just a few stands away. Silently, she hoped that she would come over.

“Lydia!” Her aunt’s voice snapped her back to attention; she remembered that she had to bring the now-torn sack of potatoes to Mrs. Hatfield. Carefully, she kept one of her hands tightly around the torn area as she walked gingerly back to the stand. Her foot still throbbed, but not as bad as before.

Mrs. Hatfield wrinkled her nose, characterized by a large wart, at the sad state of the potato sack.

“Now listen here…” she started. “I didn’t ask for a sack of mud; what have you brought me here? Look at this—filthy! Absolutely filthy. I can’t serve these to my husband: he’s eighty-two and needs potatoes which haven’t been rolling in dirt like pigs…”

She was about to point out that dirt was actually clean and that pigs rolled in mud, not dirt, but she held her tongue as her aunt apologized on her behalf and made her return to get a new sack for Mrs. Hatfield. Her cousin, Hannah, was sent too, to get a second bag as apologies for the accident.

“Don’t be messing around again!” her aunt called out threateningly to her retreating figure.

“What was all that about?” Hannah asked as the two gathered the sacks. She shook her head, trying not to let her eye wander back to the servant girl, who was now looking at the cucumbers.

However, Hannah was quick to pick up her gaze and followed it to the source.

“Thinking about serving her?” she smirked.

She thumped her hard against the shoulder.

“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” she mumbled.

“Then why did you thump me?”

She didn’t respond. She just hoped that she would keep calm when (and if) she did come over to the stand. That, or let Hannah or her aunt serve her.

Mrs. Hatfield looked less cantankerous once they presented her the two potato sacks for the price of one. Soon enough, business started picking up speed, as it was nearing close to midday and people were flooding in to do their last-minute shopping before the market closed. She and Hannah tended to the customers, most of them charmed by the latter’s full, rosy cheeks and smile: despite the notable gap between her front teeth, Hannah wasn’t afraid to show it off. They were of the same age, but personality-wise, they couldn’t have been so different from each other. Hannah always loved entertaining guests at home when they were little, while she preferred to keep herself company in the kitchen cooking, only to come out to serve food before retreating into the kitchen once more.

“Two kilos, please.”

It was the servant girl.

…to be continued…


— The Finicky Cynic

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7 thoughts on “Lost and Found- Part 1 (short story)

  1. Pingback: MY FAVOURITE BLOGS THIS MONTH – Fred Ostrovskis-Wilkes

  2. Pingback: Lost and Found- Part 2 (short story) – The Finicky Cynic

  3. Pingback: Lost and Found– Part 3 (short story) – The Finicky Cynic

  4. Pingback: Lost and Found– Part 4 (short story) – The Finicky Cynic

  5. Pingback: Lost and Found– Part 5 (short story) – The Finicky Cynic

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