WeWriWa—The morning after


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

I’m now sharing from a brand-new project, an alternative history with the working title A Dream of Peacocks. It starts on May Day 1274, when Dante met his great love and muse Beatrice Portinari at a party held by her parents.

I’m skipping ahead a bit to near the start of Chapter II, “Answered Prayers.” In true Medieval style, I decided to use Roman numerals for the chapters and sections of chapters.

In case I saw her again today, I dressed in a dusky red tunic and light blue hose, which I proceeded to rub with a powder made of crushed rose petals, lavender, orris root, and cloves. I also hung a little bag of crushed sage and violets around my neck, tucked inside the tunic. Since I was only permitted a bath on Saturdays, I needed to be as sweet-smelling as possible in the interim days.

In the kitchen downstairs, I washed my hands and ate a few fennel seeds for an apéritif, followed by chunk of bread, a piece of sausage, and some almonds, washed down with plum juice. For a dragée, I had a piece of aged cheese. Then I washed my hands again and went back upstairs to clean my teeth.

Babbo was in his office when I left for morning Mass. Since his moneylending business was so important, he rarely accompanied me to church in the morning, and instead attended a later Mass. We usually only went together on Sundays and feast days. At home, we didn’t often pray together either, though Babbo expected me to pray and read the Psalms for Vespers and Compline in the evening.

The ten lines end here. A few more follow to complete the scene.

He was too busy and distant to care if I regularly prayed the other canonical hours.

While walking to San Martino, I heard my name being called. Upon turning to my left, I saw Beatrice clothed in an evergreen robe with a pure white sash. The violet crown I set on her head yesterday was still there. Only as an afterthought did I notice her mother and siblings were there too, minus baby Gherardo.

“I’m happy to see you again so soon,” she said as she came closer. “Are you on your way to church too?”

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