I had a conversation with the baker today. Turns out his name is Atreus. I had come around to collect my loaves, and he had not finished letting them cool. I sat at his stool, fanning myself, as he shuffled, looking for excuses to putter about. He was clearly uncomfortable. I suspect the islanders all expect me to corner then and start ranting or chanting spells or some such thing. I’m sure some of them have heard how animated I must get with my visitors, urgently railing down the street with them. But it’s all because I’m an old man — I am, by definition, un-becoming. And that is why I would just as well sit in a shady stoop and watch children sneak off with fruit from the bazaar, unable to hide their secret smiles.
Atreus is a good man. I might be cynical about how he sets aside my three loaves, anticipating my weekly visit, but I can taste that he uses the good honey in them. He is a shy man, like I am. A man who keeps his questions like a gathering of black oil in an urn.