“Ebony! Get the bread out the oven please!” My grandfather’s voice came from the back of the house. The delicious smell of cinnamon spice and apple wafted in the air of my father’s bakery. I dusted my hands and sent a poof of flour into the air. I pulled out a tray of coconut muffins and the morning’s fresh baked bread and laid it gently on the bench. I could hear the distant bell ringing and children dancing around in the early morning sunlight. The sun was rising and I had not baked all the bread. I shoved the oatmeal cookies under the oven and pushed the bread on top.
GREAT I thought as I saw a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I could be mistaken for a ghost! My face was pale, dusted with flour. My brown hair was carelessly tied low behind me, trailing down my spine. I wore a white dress with brown flowers on the rim. It was crimpled and covered in stains of colour, flour, sugar and caramel. I looked like a mess.
My grandfather owned the only bakery in our village, which provided all the bread for our fellow locals. I washed the bowl of berry cake mixture and wiped down the benches. As soon as the bread was baked I took it and placed it on the bench below the window. I sighed. I had finally shoved all the cakes into the oven and now all I had to do was clean up. My grandfather bustled inside, carrying a sack of wheat on his back. I helped him place it in a corner as he sat back on the wooden chair, tired. “I knew you could do it, Ebony darling. I'm proud of you for baking without me.” He drifted off to sleep while I swept the floor.
I had lived with my grandfather since I was three years old. My parents had died from a terrible accident including an ancient building and the greatest fire that had burnt it down, while my parents were inside. I did not understand then, but now I was just so used to my ordinary life; baking with my grandfather, laughing with my friend flute friend Jonathan and being a girl with… non- girl talents. I was known in the town as the ‘unusual one’. All other girls would wear long expensive dresses with combed silk hair and ribbons and fancy shoes. They all were very graceful and poise. I was not very graceful, in fact I normally ran as a boy would and climbed trees as a man would do. I was considered ill-mannered.
“Three loaves, fresh baked please” Lady Ruth, a local said from the window. I waved into reality and packed three loaves and handed it to her. She snickered when she saw how dirty I looked, handed me five coins and left. I took the last tray of muffins and tipped water onto the oven to cool. I needed a rest, I thought as I took out a basket. “Papa, I am going to the garden for berries for the berry pie, I will be back soon.” I skipped out to the garden, a wide smile on my face.
The garden was wide and full of fruit. My dress was partly clean now, my hair was finally combed and my bare feet were clean and delicate on the grass. Flowers flourished and the breeze seemed to carry the irresistible scent of ripe fresh fruit. I saw the peach tree and spotted the most ripe, perfect looking branch of fruit. Only problem was, it was so high I would have to climb up to get it, and if some local saw, they would spread the rumour in disgust: ‘young girl climbs tree’. I didn’t understand why girls had to be so perfect. I liked climbing trees; it was so close to flying, my true dream.
I had the basket in one hand and fixed my foot onto a low branch and swung high into the middle branch. Then, with talent of profession, I easily flipped on to the high branch, grabbed the branch of fruit and leapt down. I heard someone clap behind me. Oh great, someone had spotted me being an un-graceful mess. I turned, my face flushing red with embarrassment. It was Jonathan, my best friend. He was very kind and he was a talented flute player. His father, a strict, rude man, was an author. Jonathan chuckled lightly at the look on my face and I sighed with relief. “Who did you think I was?” He asked lightly, his eyes flecked amazingly with every shade of cocoa and chocolate. His wispy bronze hair blew gently in the breeze. “Gosh! I thought I was going to get killed for climbing a tree!” I swung my basket and plucked grapes from a vine.
Jonathan put his flute to his mouth and blew a beautiful tune. It always enchanted me, every note was treasured and it was almost mesmerizing. “Don’t I get my daily muffin?” He asked as another morning breeze blew past us. I took out a cinnamon muffin and threw it to him. He caught it singe handily and bit into it, his face twisted into a large smile that made me burst out laughing. “I'm serious! It’s divine!” He complimented as he nibbled it.