When she woke up, four pairs of human eyes stared at her. Her eyes tried to focus but the pain in her head won’t let her. Her eyes must be hurting so bad as the man and the wife kept their curiosity away. She brushed her temple with her left index finger. She was exhausted but felt something was missing and where she was she couldn’t make out.
“I have to give her the herbs now,” the woman whispered to her husband, “she’ll feel better when she wakes up.” The man nodded while the woman walked into a hut made with tropical foods and hard clays, they lived on the forbidden island.
When she woke up, four pairs of human eyes stared at her. Her eyes tried to focus but the pain in her head won’t let her. They must be hurting so bad as the man and the wife kept their curiosity away. She brushed her temple with her left index finger, exhausted but felt something was missing and where she was she couldn’t make out.
“I have to give her the herbs now,” the woman whispered to her husband, “she’ll feel better when she wakes up.” The man nodded while the woman walked into a hut made with tropical palmfonds and hard clay, they lived on the forbidden island.
When she returned, she was carrying a brown calash filled with green mixtures of tropical herbs. The woman held Nimisola ‘s head while her husband forced the liquid into her mouth. She struggled but her frail body could do so little against the man’s expert hands. In a twinkle, the mixture was traveling down her throat, she passed out again; this time she was snoring deep.
“I better start with dinner before Nori returns.” The woman said rising up from the rafia mat where Nimi was laid to rest. The man nodded and sat on a tree truck. He was thinking as he stared into the blue ocean, the lazy sun casting gold rays on the waters. It had rained like war still the sun made it to the late afternoon. He wondered how nature does these things; like sun after the rain. He wished life was like that, and when his eyes wandered to the strange girl lying on the map, he felt his knees quake.
Where was her child, the one she had born before they met her lying in that puddle? It was a messy sight, her blood mixed with sand. He couldn’t believe that he was still living until his wife had pushed him off to meet the girl in her slum. His wife had covered her body with her extra wrapper and then screamed him out of his dizziness. They had brought her home and cleaned her up. He sighed and walked towards the sea.
“Where is her child?” he kept asking, the response he got was the rise and fall of the water bed. Did the sea mock me? Just then someone called behind him.
“Father.” He turned to see the young man full of bright smiles, hanging over his shoulder was a sack of wild fruits and herbs. He reached out to welcome him. The young man put down his load for a father-and-son shakeup. When they were done with the ritual, his eyes trailed the mat and his son followed his lead.
He shivered when he saw that a stranger was in their midst. His father pulled him away towards the coconut grove North of the island.
“How did you find her.” His eyeballs widened. His father shook his head, “she lost her child. Someone took the child.”
He looked back at the stranger in the dusk, the sun was gone. He couldn’t make out her face but he couldn’t understand what she would be doing in the island with a child.
“Took her child, how did you know she had a child?” his look was laced with doubt, his father understood. “She had a child, then someone came and took the Child away from her. She must have struggled because we saw marks on her body and she was unclean when we met her.”
The woman came out of the hut, her eyes fell on the little girl; if her motherly instincts should count, the girl should be eighteen at most. She was a beautiful one too but that beauty was swallowed in suffering and something else she couldn’t catch. She went to where she laid and touched her head, there was no sign of fever. She prayed that the night be short, hopefully a new dawn would cast lights on the situation.
When she stood up, she saw her husband and son walking towards her, and though their faces were hidden, she knew the meal that night would taste like gravel and she was right. Nori refused to taste anything till he had heard from the girl her story. Not his father could make him change his mind, he was their son and they knew him.
That night he slept in the open air with the moon casting shadows on the trees and sea.
When morning woke, Nori slumbered out from the sand, he had fallen asleep with the tags of thoughts carousing his mind that he didn’t realize the day was up. He staggered to his feet, stretching and shaking off the bits of soft sands off his body. This was the best vacation he had ever taken since joining the military in a foreign land. He thought his parents were the luckiest people on earth; having a whole island to themselves. When he thought about luck, his mind suddenly woke up and he wasted no time hurrying into the hut.
He went in and came out seconds later, there was no one there. He remembered they never sleep in the hut, he made for the bungalow behind the tall avocado trees. When he thought of how his parents had decided to mask the mansion with the hut, a dry smile escaped his lips.
He made his way through the trees which were beginning to bud flowers. In few months time they should be ready meals, suddenly he lost his taste for anything.
“Mother,” he called from afar. His mother with streaks of Grey hair and few wrinkles on her temples emerged from the front door. The brilliant morning sun made the golden streaks glitter and her face shimmery. She yawned walking down the steps.
“Morning son.” He met her halfway the stairs.
“Good morning mother,” he regarded her leaning on the rails of the stairs, “where is the strange girl?” His face was formless. She pointed to the house, “still sleeping.” He batted his eyes impatiently, his mother couldn’t hide her concerns, “Is anything the matter?” she had her gaze on him. He shook his head and walked up the stairs.
“You should clean up before meeting her, you look like a creature from the wilds.” She motioned at his bushy hair and sand crested body. He didn’t bulge and rather sat on the crane chair. Just then someone made a sound and Nimisola appeared at the door post, behind her was his father. He regarded him standing to his feet and taking a brisk bow.
“Come sit her my dear.” His mother walked up to Nimi and helped her to another crane chair, he made way for his father to sit while his mother sat on a wooden seat beside Nimisola.
Nimisola’s eyes went from one to the other, she was neither sure nor surprised at any of them. When the silence became deaf, the man spoke.
“My child you’re welcome back to our world. We had hoped that you would be better by morning and very glad you are.” Nimi shifted on the chair, she felt pain in her bumper but didn’t know why, she only knew she couldn’t sit well with the pain.
“What is your name?” Nori asked. Nimisola’s eyes caught on his deep voice, she had never heard such voice and thought she was dreaming. These voices were not hard, they had emotions in them. She was jolted out of her daydream when the man repeated the question.
“My, my, my…” She scrambled for words, “I don’t know.” The man and his wife exchanged knowing glances but Nori was shocked. He didn’t think before he blurted, “Did you know you had a child yesterday?” His parents eyes fell on him and he wished that never came out.
“No, I’ve never been pregnant.” She replied.
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