AWAKENING – about one man’s earliest recollection of his life.
How far back do you remember? It might be prudent to jot that down before age clouds and pushes back our story into the mists of time.
A bee and a flower, promises of new lives.
The half-naked boy did not understand the commotion. Usually, no one visited them for weeks on end.
Men stood outside their house, an old wooden hulk with an attap roof. The women huddled in the kitchen. He thought he heard sniffles and sobs.
He moved from one adult to another, one hand pulling up the oversized shorts that threatened to slip to his knees, the other hand stretched out to receive the sweets. The men looked at him in a strange way. It was years before he realised why they looked at him so.
His mother had forgotten to serve him lunch, or so it seemed. He did not mind, as his belly bloated with sticky sweets and sugar coated biscuits.
Then, all the men left abruptly. Where did the men go…and where is my Papa?
He woke with a start! He had dozed off from the afternoon heat and humidity, a half-eaten biscuit still clasped in his wet clammy hand.
A lorry had pulled up and was reversing with squeaking axle and grunting exhaust. The tailboard clattered open and men jumped out the back.
The boy stood still, watching. He expected to see his father, in his usual pristine white dhoti.
As the last of the men hopped awkwardly off, the boy felt an unexplainable pang of pain, a sorrow that his three-year old heart did not comprehend.
He watched silently as the wooden bed lorry trundled down the narrow path, bounced onto the dirt road and roared away with relief.
The men and women quickly emptied their house, which fell silent and dark. The boy stood alone under the tree. No one came to get him.
Many years later, he realised that it was the earliest he recalled of his life…and that was all he remembered of his father’s funeral.
****** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2011 ******