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Guitar Gifts, part XIX

A short story in small installments.

Gifflet occupied himself with Arrietty. He thought that keeping things as normal as possible was probably best. So—though it was very difficult for him—he moved into Brasilia’s rooms so Arrietty could have her own bed back. This meant that he could sell or trade the things in his own room. Everything he had was built from salvaged scraps, but he was able to trade most of it for food, and he even got a little coin for his storage cabinet. He added this to the stack of bills from the guitar. He kept up his and Arrietty’s routine of wandering the market in the morning and then brought her home in the afternoons, and he kept going with her reading lessons. But the future gnawed at him. What could he do to make money? And if he figured that out, how would he do it?—for he now had full-time responsibility for a child.

But Arrietty seemed to be doing well. She was learning so fast that he had to scour the market to trade for new books; and he took Doctor Dolci’s advice to take her swimming more often, so that she fell asleep at night from honest physical exhaustion, with the scent of sun and sand on her skin. She drew childish pictures of Brasilia, and Gifflet tacked them on the walls. Together they remembered all the things Brasilia had done. Pages and pages were filled with drawings of jasmine and frangipani. “For mama to see,” said Arrietty.

“Yes, they’re her favourites. She’ll love seeing them from heaven.” But Gifflet wasn’t sure that was what Arrietty meant, and it worried him.

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