October 2008
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This entry is a chapter from the Alyce in Waffleland Diary ~ Learn about it here.

When I left the Sundae Inn, Waffle Town’s jolly and pudgy little mayor was waiting for me outside. His name is Hamilton and what’s left of his grey hair is twisted in a funky little hairdo! Hamilton encouraged me to take a look at the shops around this area of Waffle Town and introduce myself.

What a beautiful place this island is! This area seems to be the central hub of commerce, since all of the shops are located here and there are only a couple of residential homes (the main residential area of the island is north of here, surrounding Maple Lake).

Simon and his wife Barbara are the proprietors of the General Store. Everything on display in their shop is so cute!! There are dozens of different household items, like telephones and calendars and blenders, in several different colors and styles! I feel myself longing for my own house, so I can fill it with all of these cute things!

Even though everything looks perfect and peaceful to me, the shop owners say that they don’t have as much in stock as they usually do. What’s more, villagers have been moving away from the island to find success in other parts of the world. Simon and Barbara have a daughter that has moved away for a time. In the back of their shop is a room with its walls lines with strange and complex-looking machinery. Does this all belong to the daughter that they mentioned?

Next-door to the General Store is a pristine white building with pale green trim. This is the island’s hospital, the Meringue Clinic. At the counter is a severe-looking elderly woman named Irene, who sells medicines. She has a no-nonsense personality, but she is still friendly and welcoming.

As I stepped out of the clinic, I almost walked right into someone standing outside! “I’m sorry!” I said, then looked up.

“It’s you,” he said, simply.

“Me?” I asked, still surprised by his presence and at a loss for words.

“You’re the one brought in on the boat. I’m Jin, the doctor on this island. I’m the one who treated you while you were at the Inn.”

“Oh…” was all I said for a moment, then realized that he was looking at me expectantly. “Oh! Sorry. I’m Alyce! Thank you so much for treating me! I woke up feeling great!” I flashed him a big smile, which I now realize was probably a goofy thing to do…

He didn’t answer immediately, but finally said “I’m glad to see you feeling better,” and then stepped around me and into the clinic. Before closing the door, he looked back, offering me the tiniest smile and saying “I hope you settle into island life well. Don’t overwork yourself.”

I smiled back and waved good-bye, but the door closed and he was gone.

There was another building next door to the clinic, but it was empty and unused. Further down the same path was a lighthouse, overlooking the blue water of the ocean. The waves still looked choppy, even though the sky was blue and the storm was ended.

Heading back the way I came, I found Waffle Town Square just beyond the Sundae Inn. It’s a beautiful place, with a clock tower and rows of planted tulips! While I was sniffing the flowers, I was surprised to find that I wasn’t alone in the Square! 

A boy with platinum blond hair introduced himself to me as Gill, the mayor’s son. At first I thought he was cute, but as we spoke I found that his attitude was less than amiable (at the same time, I was also slightly relieved to find that not everyone on this island was freakishly friendly and welcoming).

Gill was indifferent to me until I told him about the brochure that led me here, the one apparently written by his father.

“Nothing in that brochure is true. Waffle Island isn’t a paradise. Everyone’s businesses are failing and the younger villagers move out as soon as they get the chance.”

I was miffed hearing that, and I told him so! “It doesn’t look bad to me at all. With everyone so friendly and the island so peaceful, it’s easy for me to believe I’ve found a paradise…”

He shrugged. “That’s only because you don’t know any better.” I was about to say something in reply, but he suddenly looked at me very seriously and said “It takes more than that to make a paradise. It takes hard work. I’m going to do everything I can to make the words in that brochure the truth.”

Stunned, I didn’t have anything to say in response, and Gill began to walk away, saying over his shoulder “Just visit the Town Hall if you ever need help.”

He was out of ear shot by now, but I said “I want to work hard for this island, too,” anyway.

Town Hall was the lavish building at the end of the Square, and my obvious next destination. Inside was a refreshing smiling face, belonging to a girl my age named Elli. Elli offered me lots of advice for living on the island, and said to come straight to her if I ever needed help! She’s very cute and funny, and I can see us becoming fast friends.

While laughing and sharing stories with Elli, another villager came by. Her name is Kathy, a girl with a spunky personality and long pretty hair!

Kathy had stopped by to post a notice about the bar where she worked… She didn’t expect to see a newcomer, but was happy to see me and welcomed me to the island! I’ll have to drop by that bar to hang out with her sometime!

Leaving the Waffle Town Square, I again ran into Mayor Hamilton in front of the inn. I hadn’t been keeping track of the time, and by now the sun was setting! I asked Hamilton what my living arrangements were for the moment, since the brochure had advertised that the island’s new farmer (that’s me!) would be granted with a house and plot of land.

Hamilton explained that the house was still being built, and I had to spend this next night at the Sundae Inn again. That didn’t bother me at all, since Yolanda’s cooking was incredible!!

The next morning after leaving the inn, Hamilton led me on a path leading north away from Waffle Town. This way, explained, led to the Souffle Farm, which I was surprised to hear because I hadn’t expected my future business to have competition… But Hamilton assured me that they were very friendly, and I was to stay with them until my house was built.

Upon entering, however, the Souffle Farm owners put me to work right away! I thought I was supposed to be their guest! But, I welcomed the opportunity to learn about life on a farm before actually starting my own…

Ruth, the more benign half of the couple, gave me a short tour of the shop before telling me to go out to the field where her husband was waiting. This cozy store will be my source for purchasing seeds and other farming supplies I’ll need once I’m on my own, so I’ll probably be seeing it a lot! I like all the pretty flowers that Ruth has on display, although she didn’t seem the “flowery” type to me.

Craig was impatiently waiting for me outside near their field. Right away, he tossed a hoe into my hands and directed me to the till the field, which I did well even though he wasn’t nice about it. He even called me “scrawny!” Hey, I’m doing your work for you, can’t I get some appreciation here?

After tilling came the seeds, which I tucked into the dirt in nice little rows. I was happy with finally being able to work with the soil, but Craig scolded me for taking too long! Gosh, can’t a gal enjoy her work? I came to look forward to having a field of my own to work with, where I could happily work at my own pace.

“Hey, Alyce, I got a gift for you,” I was surprised to hear from Craig.

“Really? A gift? For me?”

“Yeah, hold out your hands.”

I did so.

He placed a watering can into them. “This is for you. Now water those seeds. You can keep the can once you get your own place.”

“…Thank you.”

As you can imagine, my day spent with Craig took a very long time. I was relieved when the sky took on a rosy hue and the two of us headed back inside. Ruth was there, along with a younger and very pretty girl. This was Anissa, the daughter of the two farmers. She is kind enough to make up for all of her father’s rudeness, and has a fondness for nature and flowers. Ah, so she is the one responsible for the flowers on display!

Craig headed deeper into the house, while Ruth informed me that I still had one more job to do. She also apologized on behalf of Craig, saying that he acts tougher than he really is, and only made me work so hard because he wants to see me do well. That’s sweet, but did he really have to call me scrawny??

The last assignment of the day was to familiarize myself with the island’s residential area, Maple Lake (this is just south of the Souffle Farm), and deliver strawberries to the neighbors who live there. I took one basket of strawberries in hand and Anissa took the other, and we headed down the path together.

Anissa is a very quiet and polite girl, and we talked about farming life. She seemed impressed that I intended to run a farm by myself, while her family needed three members to keep up with everything. Maybe I’m not brave at all, I suggested to her, maybe I’m just very silly. She laughed at that, but I don’t know if I had really intended for it to be a joke…

Reaching Maple Lake, a scattering of neighbors were outdoors enjoying what remained of the sunlight, and gladly accepted the strawberries that we offered. Yolanda was especially pleased, because no dish tasted better than one made with the very freshest ingredients!

Just before heading back, Anissa took hold of my arm and pointed further down the path. There, apparently having just reached his home after work, was the doctor I’d met yesterday. Anissa wasn’t looking at me at the time, but I saw the smile on her face…

Well, we certainly couldn’t leave without delivering strawberries to him!

Jin accepted the gift, asking me I was working for the Souffle Farm now. I told him it wasn’t permanent, but I couldn’t place his reaction. He seems so… neutral. Not cold, but not friendly like the other villagers. Thanking us for the visit, he retired into his home.

Walking back to the farm, I wondered if I should ask Anissa about Jin, but the opportunity didn’t come up while we talked about other subjects, such as how planting seeds in the soil can be relaxing and shouldn’t have to feel rushed.

That night, sleeping in the guest bedroom at the Souffle Farm, I dreamed once again about the faded blue-green figure… She was silent in my previous dream, but this time I heard fragments of words.

I only wish that I could make out what she was saying, because she seems so helpless.

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