The cloak reminded him of of his childhood. He remembered the day she had given it to him. She made him promise to get off the streets.
Wolf shook his head to clear out to memories. The boys would be down soon to start their day. It wouldn’t do to have him lost in thoughts of the past.
He placed the cloak back onto Mouse’s hook. Besides, the cloak only looked like the one he had, it was not the same cloak.
The pounding of feet on the stairs pulled Wolf out of his thoughts. He had to get the boys their breakfast. They had a long day on the streets ahead of them and he didn’t want them to be hungry.
He placed fresh bread on the table and filled the empty jugs with milk. It wasn’t much but it would get the boys through until they came home.
Some of the older boys left for their apprenticeships without eating; preferring to leave the food for the younger ones. The other boys made sure the younger ones ate.
It warmed Wolf’s heart to be able to provide food and shelter for the little ones of the city. Not only was he giving them what he didn’t have but he was keeping the promise he made years ago.
“Wolf?” Mouse tugged at the bottom of Wolf’s shirt. “Can you help me find a lady?”
The older boys left in the kitchen laughed. “Looking for a date Mousey?” They asked him in jest.
Mouse frowned and shook his head. “No, I wants to give back the cloak. She said it was a gift but I don’t wants no charity.”
“Did she tell you her name?” Wolf asked, leaning down to look Mouse in the eyes.
“Nuh uh. She ain’t never said her name.”
“Do you remember what she looked like little one?”
Mouse scrunched up his face. “She was pretty. Made me think about your baker girl. But she was old like you.” Mouse thought for a moment. “And she said it was a return. Said the cloak was lost and coming home.”
“I’m not certain I can help you find her. But I will try.” Wolf stood up and walked over to the cloak. Picking it up, he looked over the fabric.
He stopped when he saw a small patch of fabric stitched with the name Michael. He hadn’t used that name in years. She was the only one who called him that and the only one who ever would.
“You need not worry about finding her, Mouse,” Wolf eventually said. “She was just returning the cloak I lost years ago.”
Wolf fitted the cloak around Mouse’s shoulders.
“It seems to fit you well, little one.” Wolf blinked back the tears threatening to form in his eyes. “It should keep you nice and warm in the winter weather.”
Standing up, Wolf looked around at the boys still in the kitchen. Some were giving him quizzical looks but he ignored them as he cleared the table.