In the Morning

            Nalai was awake long before Kiuktuk came banging on her door. The meagre amount of food she’d eaten the night before wasn’t enough to let her sleep deeply or for very long. She had been lying in bed for several hours, willing herself to fall back to sleep. She sighed at the noise, knowing that if Kiuktuk was banging on the door she would get no more sleep until night time.

            “I’m awake,” she said groggily.

            “Good. Get out here and have something to eat before you get going.” Kiuktuk’s voice was muffled somewhat by the door but she heard him clearly enough.

            “I’ll be out soon,” she called back and then tried to sit up. Iquiuk was lying with her head on her chest. Nalai nudged the dog into wakefulness. “Come on girl; let’s go get some food.”

            At the word food, Iquiuk’s ears perked up, her head lifting. Her tail began thumping hopefully on the bed.

            “Get down,” Nalai told her.

            Reluctantly, the dog stood up and crawled down off the bed, stretching lazily once she got there. Nalai threw off her blankets once Iquiuk was down and got up; she shivered as she changed from her night clothes to ones more suitable to wearing outside. She left her parka on its hook and went out into the common room to see what Geioq had cooked up.

 

            To Nalai’s relief, breakfast proved to be the same thing she had eaten the day before. She preferred eating food that she didn’t have to think about too much.

            Sit.

            Eat.

            Express gratitude for the meal.

            Such was the way things were done in Kiuktuk’s household. She helped herself to as much as she could get away with and ate it down quickly. She tossed a few things to Iquiuk, who knew better than to let things sit uneaten.

            Geioq barely acknowledged her thankfulness as she was busy tending to the things she was getting ready for supper. Nalai stacked her dishes as she had been taught and went back to her room to quickly grab the rest of her outside clothing, her boots, and her herb satchel. She signalled for Iquiuk to follow her as she snuck downstairs to the shop. She said a quick farewell to Kiuktuk, who only grunted in response as he was dealing with a customer.

            Everyone is busy today, Nalai thought gratefully. If luck is with me, I won’t have to speak to many people today.