“That was a peculiar relationship you had with your neighbor,” Miak commented thoughtfully when I finished telling him my story.
“I never thought much of it.”
Miak nodded. “I thought so. Maybe it was like…a love-hate relationship.”
“Was it?” When I was young, I never analyzed relationships, the meaning behind people’s actions, or even consequences, unless it was too obvious not to notice. I lived a simple life.
“I didn’t experience what you did, but from what you told me, it seems that you and him had feelings for each other.” The man rolled up his sleeves. “Complicated feelings. It’s about time to milk the cows, care to accompany me?”
“Sure.” I stood up along with him, not commenting on his view. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk about it. Rather, thinking about it was too sophisticated and troublesome a process for me.
As we walked towards the barn, Miak continued speaking, as if knowing that I didn’t mind his opinion. “It was fear and selfishness that made him beg you to take the blame, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t like you.” He shook his head then. “Not a good guy though. That’s for sure. You haven’t met since then?”
“No, and I don’t want to.”
“I can see why.” He sat on a stool and began milking the cow. “If he’d told you to go home with him, in an authoritarian tone, you would have done so.”
“It was easier to oblige rather than fight back.” I had to agree.
“Giving in is always the easier path,” Miak said. “And you didn’t have much motivation.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“So, Sigrun,” he asked, “You came from the land of King Midas?”
“I did. Do you know what happened to him after the earthquake?”
“I was going to ask you.” There Miak chuckled. “You are the wandering traveler. I’m in this little house every day, the only rumors I hear are the ones the merchant brings with him, and he only travels around in a few places.”
“I did hear some remarkable stories here and there.”
The king’s story was the most interesting of all that I had heard, in all my years of traveling.