Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Worlds within Worlds #8.4
Why do you show me this memory?
The great gull perches on a knob of rock a dozen strides upwind from where I sit on the lip of the cliff.
You were once like the nestling you hid in the tree. You remember this.
As astonishing as this conversation is, I struggle to make sense of the guardian's responses to the questions my Inner Voice has asked.
You mean the man?
There is no echo of an answer in my skull. I assume that the silence means "yes".
The turtles have been busy in the pool by the beach – they have given me three handfuls-worth of their fruits. I reach into my net and pluck one out, then nip at the leathery end to make a hole for the sucking.
Luntas. I haven't thought of that man in a good while. My memories of him are not clear: snatches of speech; an occasional image of him knotting nets or spearing fish. He would help to shape a vessel, but I don't remember him ever competing for a place in the team. His favourite places were in the hills, away from his gang mates.
He had a better understanding than I of women.
The nestling names himself 'Maak em ay are see'. I have never met a man with such a long name.
I take a moment to chew on a small morsel of yolked, shelled meat.
He is new to Fol Huun. All I hear in my skull is the gentle shush of waves over pebbles.
His brother threw me out of the long house. He had a short name, like mine: Sam. He talked of 'day' and 'night'. My name is Kal, but you gave me a longer name when I was in the healing pool.
'Ak! Ak! Ak-ak!'
Another guardian is approaching us, its wings arch and taut as it glides across the bay. Only at the last moment do they break their shape, as it pushes its legs forward to step onto the rock. The first steps aside to give the newcomer room on its perch.
I forget my trail of thoughts as I watch the two batter their beaks together. Their dance is a mixture of foot stamp and hiss, one bobbing its head at the other in a regular rhythm while the other copies the movements a half-breath later. I do not realise that I've taken another turtle fruit in my hand until it touches my lip.
Luntas taught me how to find turtle fruits, and the importance of leaving half of the globes in each scrape. He had told me that the turtle fruits were the same as our healing pools: to eat them all would deprive the creatures of their resurrection.
It was Luntas who told me about gang tattoos ...
Did he teach me everything?
Both gulls are staring at me: Your nestling is hungry.
I take the hint and leave them to their dance.