Posted by: jolantru | August 26, 2009

Wave Eleven: Daughter of Divers

The silver fishes arrive promptly every morning to deposit the baskets of oysters at the Eateries. They arrive, glinting silver in the sun. They are magic-powered blimps, shaped like the aerodynamic forms of fish. I would watch them fly overhead as they make their stately way to the Eateries. They are mostly piloted by men. Like Second Father.

Sometimes, gossip from the pilots makes its way into the conversations of the City folk. There has been some form of viral infection running through the coastal villages, striking men and women in their prime. The healers and doctors are baffled. I worry about my family, especially Grandmother who is no doubt by now very old and vulnerable to the ravages of diseases and viruses.

~*~

The first person I saw when the silver fishes alighted on the landing spot designated by the City Council was Second Father.

He had aged incredibly. His formerly dark hair was now snow-white, sparse on his scalp. His face, once handsome and arrogant, was care-worn, lined as if by tiny fissures. He walked with a slight hunch and a discernible limp; I realized his left leg had shrunk alarmingly. It was just bone wrapped in skin.

I should feel some sympathy and even horror. All I knew was my heart contracting and hardening with bitterness and sudden hostility.

He could not recognize me at first, I having left the village soon after the tsunami and I have grown up since then. His dark eyes concentrated on me and widened in recognition.

“Mirra,” he greeted me and his voice was a pale ghost, almost fading away in the morning air. I had to listen very closely – it was that soft. A whisper.

“Second Father,” I responded. Automatic. Rote. I had neither emotional investment nor attachment in this man.

He shook his head. “I am no longer your Second Father. Your mother threw me out a couple of years ago. I have been living alone by myself.” Did I hear a plea in his voice?

“What happened to your leg?” I found myself asking, out of curiosity, not concern. The man whom I knew as Second Father and was no longer shook his head again, heaving a sigh that seemed to come from the center of his being.

“Stroke.”

I could see that the left side of his face was sagging and he seemed unable to move his facial muscles.

“Are you still curling light?” The next question from him startled me. I steeled myself for his response when I replied with a cool “Yes”.

“I see,” he nodded. No hostility, no anger, no bluster coming from him. “Keep doing that.” And with those words, he hobbled away and that was the last time I saw him.

When I next heard from the rest of the pilots on their weekly supply run, I was informed that Second Father had died. In his sleep. Alone.

That night, in the company of Auri and Josh, I lit a remembrance candle and left it in the dark so that it could continue to shine until the coming of dawn.

I am a daughter of oyster divers and even I have some decency when it comes to remembering the dead, especially those who have hurt me deeply.

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Responses

  1. Powerful.

    Watching her progress from a frightened young girl into a self-assured woman is a wonderfil journey.

  2. Thanks. 🙂

    It was a pleasure watching her grow up.

  3. I seemed to have wandered in somewhere in the middle. I will have to check out the other waves.

    The last sentence is awesome, and very telling of what I have probably missed. I will still go back through and see for myself.
    ~2

    • Thank you. 🙂

      I checked out your website too. Cool! A lot of great stories too – looks like I have to start from the beginning as well. 😉


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