Linea and Eli were not allowed to speak to each other. Minutes ago, the two eleven-year-olds had been at each other’s throats, screaming at each other with a ferocity too strong for children of their age. Now Sallie, the young woman who had been hired to watch them while they were out and about, had each of her hands around the wrist of one of the children and was blatantly refusing to let them say anything else until they were back with their mother’s. They made quite the angry little procession down the main street, and people were quick to get out of the way of the determined woman and the sulky children.
All except one woman. She was the oldest woman either Linea or Eli could ever remember seeing, with a bend in her back, covered in a dark purple shawl. She stepped out right in front of the three of them, forcing them all to stop in the tracks to avoid bumping into her or knocking her down. “Excuse us, Ma’am…” Sallie started to try to get around her, but the woman stepped into the path again.
“They are going to fight until the day they die, those two. It’s in their nature.” The old woman smiled, pointing between Linea and Eli.
“Oh, no, they aren’t siblings,” Sallie tried to correct her, “Their families are just friends.”
“Oh, I know sweetheart,” The woman crowed, “They are in love. That’s why they fight like that. They are too young to understand it any other way.”
Linea and Eli looked at each other with looks of disgust. Sallie raised an eyebrow. “Ma’am, they are seven. They won’t even be thinking about love until they are twice their age again. They fight because they are children.”
“Mark my words,” The woman waggled a finger in Sallie’s face, “They are soul mates and will spend the rest of their lives picking fights and making up. Nothing you do is going to be able to stop that, Missy. If you are going to have to care for them in the future—Then prepare yourself for that.” With a final point of the finger at Sallie and a smile to each Eli and Linea, the woman shuffled back to the chair at the side of the road she’d been sitting in before.
“She was weird,” Eli offered.
“You can’t say that! She’s your elder, and you have to respect her!” Linea cried out.
That seemed to shake Sallie out of the stunned silence the woman had left her in. “Oh, be quiet, the both of you,” and with a gentle tug on each of their arms, they were off down the road again.