By Aine Susan
PS; Enyawawa-Green Ibis, an all-dark wading bird with a curved bill and short legs, that give it a rather dumpy look.
Grandfather would never understand – the pain couldn’t just go away or be overshadowed by laughter or stories; not even by anger. Maybe if one of the brothers in his story died… maybe then he would understand.
There it was again – a growing sense of hopelessness; not even the caress of the lakeside breeze could keep it at bay. He hurled an oddly shaped rock at the hideous enyawawa that stared curiously at him from the river bank, sending it into a frenzy of agitation.
A sudden sharp crack at the back of his head mudded his senses. “Ai!” he yelled, rubbing the back of his head. A stone splattered by his side from an unknown source. He squinted his eyes and turned his head from side to side, trying to seek it out.
“You feel so tough and mighty throwing stones at harmless birds, huh? See how it feels when the tables are turned?” a shrill voice followed from behind.
“Are you stupid? You could have killed me… over a bird!” he screeched.
“Wait, you’re the crazy boy from the raid, aren’t you?” the oddly slim and tall girl before him mocked.
“Great!”he thought to himself with an exasperated sigh. “That is my new reputation it seems.”
“Odd; no resemblance at all,” she chuckled,turning back to whatever nonsense had held her attention before she decided to play spokesperson for wild birds.
“What was that?” he demanded, immediately regretting why he had let that question slip out.
“Nessi – she was beautiful; you, you’re more like a sorry excuse for a sack of bones – emphasis on the word sack by the way. If you at least had a shred of inner beauty,kindness and respect for nature however small they are, maybe then, I’d have believed you two were related.” she shrugged.
Among the many disturbing things about her, the most overwhelming was the way she said all that without so much as a flinch. His thoughts were drawn back to reality by the sight of his new adversary rushing off with a loaded sack on her shoulder.
“Where are you going? I can help you with that,” he blurted, against his better judgment, hoping to discover as much as possible about this stranger.
“Ha! You? Help me?” she gasped out between breaths, and turned to face him, dropping her load at her feet.
“There’s about as much chance of a pregnant pig falling on my head now than that ever happening.” She scoffed.
“What did I ever do to you?”
“It’s more what you didn’t do.”
Sighing heavily, she continued, “however much your grandfather tries, you can’t transform into anything other than an old, sad, lonesome drinker, like the rest of them. All you’ll ever have to compensate for the emptiness in your heart is thousands of wives and children you can’t even remember having. It’s an endless cycle,” she said, bending to pick up the load she had dropped to make a point.
“What do you know about my family?, Katabani growled, as he stood up to his full height. Still the girl towered over him forcing him to look up at her.
” You’re just some stupid girl!”
“What do I know?, I know that your sister was twice the man you’ll ever be! Who do you think herded the cows to the kraal every sunset you simply didn’t care to, or did your share of the garden work when you vanished mysteriously, or showered your mother with excuses to keep you out of trouble. Did you think it was the mighty Gulu or the spirit of Kintu from your stories?” she laughed, “Go on, boy; go listen to your stories.”
Watching her shuffle away, his heart pounded against his chest. He tried to find his voice. Instead, his mind spiralled; “What if she was right?”
All he felt escape was a silent pain-filled tear as he fell to his knees – perhaps a final gasp for the ache in his heart. Nobody understood… nobody could
To be continued ?