Posted by: jolantru | August 7, 2009

Wave Nine: Scars

As a child and now a woman, I am always unusually affected by environmental changes. The earthquake is no exception and I end up weakened and in bed.

When the rescuers were done with their work and everyone started to bring their lives back to a semblance of normalcy after a solemn memorial, I went back to my home which was not severely damaged, only broken shelves and shells. I spent a day or two cleaning the space up with Josh’s help and when I completed the task, promptly fell into bed and slept a deep uninterrupted sleep.

I roused myself enough to pay Benyi a visit and he could only smile at me bravely from his hospital bed, his arms wrapped up in swathes of bandages, his face pinched in pain and pallid by medication. After which, I helped Auri to clear fallen rubble and debris in the School. After the hours of backbreaking labor, I slumbered once more like water-soaked driftwood. The exhaustion combined unfavorably with the intense bouts of homesickness and I soon became out-of-sorts, physically and emotionally fragile.

Auri later paid me a visit and told me things that truly shook me to the core.

~*~

I was in bed, drained of my energy. I did not have the strength to get up. Auri arrived with a pot of freshly made stew and a flask of tea. She watched me eat, seated by my side. I remember how she had nursed me back to health after the tsunami.

“Do you know why I am called the sea-witch, by the men folk in your village?” She asked me, her voice gentle. I looked at her curiously. Second Father seemed to hate her. The other men in the village echoed his sentiments, always murmuring darkly under their breath.

“I am called the sea-witch because I killed a man when he tried to assault me.”

My cup of tea was left untouched. I sat up slowly. Auri’s face was calm, her eyes – distant, sad.

“In my village, I was able to curl light without being censured. But the men folk were unhappy. One man strove to show his power by trying to dominate me through assault. He found me alone one day.”

She paused and closed her eyes. Opened them again and this time, tears glistened unshed like pearls locked within. “He thought by forcing me and assaulting me, he could take away my light magic, my joy. He was a strong man and he pushed me down, onto the sea rocks. I was picking limpets then and I swung my basket at him, in his face. The pain seemed to make him more furious and he tore my clothes off.”

“I thought there and then that I did not want to die. No, I wanted to live and I wanted to protect myself. So I killed him. Curled a light circle around his neck to strangle him. I choked the air out of him. He fell onto me, his face blue, his body lifeless. It was then people found me and they accused me of killing him. Called me names. Sea-witch is the mildest of them.”

“Word spread quickly,” her tears gleamed, trickling down her cheeks like silver rivulets. “I left my village and lived as a recluse for a while, before leaving for the City.”

“Auri…” I whispered and leaned forward, reaching out a hand to touch her face. Felt the wetness on her cheek, dampening the velvety smoothness.

“I proved to him and other people that I am no abomination. That I survive is a proof of my strength, my will.”

“Auri…”

“Do you think I am a murderer? A horrible person?”

“No!”

We both ached together, two kindred souls joined by pain and empathy. I did something else then. I got up, gingerly, carefully, and cupped her face with my hands. Kissed her gently on her lips. They felt like flower petals. Soft and firm at the same time. Hint of salt. Like the sea. I tasted her tears on them and kissed her once more. I wanted to tell her so much that I understood her. I wanted to tell her so much that I loved her for her strength, her will. For herself.

She was the first to pull back and gaze at me, her eyes sparkling. With a rustle of her blue skirt, she leaned forward and returned the kiss. I could smell her light sweetness.

We later spent the night curled around each other, holding hands and savoring the touch of skin on skin.

We both have scars. We know them, see them and touch them. We acknowledge them.

“I think Josh has to know,” Auri chuckled and nuzzled the back of my neck.

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Responses

  1. Wow! Not at all what I was anticipating. This is beautiful.

    May I say that you are surprising me in a delightful and wonderful way?


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