Historical Fiction, 1906 Interlake Region, Manitoba
Excerpt - When Asta meets Bjorn:
As you become an old woman, many memories begin to fade like the colours on a well-washed shirt. But the day I first met Bjorn Magnusson is one that is crisp as a bolt of new gingham, refreshing as a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.
He came mushing the sled dogs in from Ghost Island as I finished stacking the crullers on a large plate. I turned, holding it, freezing in place when the door opened. I expected to see Magnus, but in came his firstborn son who looked nothing at all like him.
He was carrying the dinner box, still wearing his coat but his boots were off. He stood as I imagined Tyr—the God of law and heroic glory, son of Odin—might stand. His hair was the colour of a brown hen’s egg and he had the unusual habit of wearing it down to his shoulders, tucked behind his ears. His shoulders were square and when his hands stretched out, were as large as a dinner plate. I easily imagined what his mother must have looked like, beautiful and engaging with the same square jaw and smiling blue eyes.
I was too young then to fully appreciate the physicalness of him, to know the sort of pleasure a man like that could deliver, but deep inside me there was an instinctive stirring. My heart raced as I inhaled, flushing pink with anticipation.
“Kleinur,” he smiled as he came straight toward me, took one from the plate and popped it in his mouth. He chewed as he spoke, directly at me, something no other young man ever did. Always before it was Signy or Freyja who received the attention. Bjorn’s eyes danced with praise as he looked me over without a hint of shyness. It was as if my soul recognized his instantly. I stood there mesmerized, turning to watch wherever he was, holding out the plate. It was impossible to stop looking at him.
“This is Asta,” Bergthora said.
I smiled and he did the same. Then he circled around me reaching for another kleinur. I would have given them all to him but Bergthora interrupted by slapping his hand.
“You will spoil your appetite,” she said.
“Never,” he laughed, managing to still grab another, dodging around her, dangling it out of reach. Bergthora feigned disgust, shaking her head with hands planted firmly on her hips. There was a brightness in her eyes as she fought a smile and it became obvious in an instant that I wasn’t the only one susceptible to Bjorn’s charms.