Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Chapter 8 - Games


From that day, Gil and Eli where Kima's regular companions. They would join her sometimes early in the morning, and in those cases Gil always helped with her work. Sometimes, she asked Eli to help too. Sometimes they would arrive later, in the afternoon, an ask Kima if she was almost finished so they could play. She learned to play queimada, hide and seek, and also cards and checkers. Initially, she played only because it was better than working, but she soon took a liking to it. She started to smile more often, and she felt very good when she could spend time with them. She also grew used to taking care of Eli when Gil wanted to run off to do something else. He would always bring her something back.

‘Here,’ he said one afternoon, handing her a dark red drink with ice cubes. ‘It's hibiscus flower, you'll like it’.

Kima was sitting crossed legged on the floor on the sitting room which was their regular spot for playing indoor games while the grown ups where not in the house. Eli was sitting on her legs. She took the glass and tasted the drink, which had an overwhelming sweet and sour taste, crisp and honeyed and refreshing. She hadn't noticed how thirsty she was.

‘It looks like I'll have to bring more,’ said Gil, laughing, and disappeared again. Eli reached for the glass and pulled at it until Kima helped her bring it to her lips and drink from it.

‘Right,’ said Gil, back from the kitchen, with a jug of iced hibiscus tea and two more glasses. ‘What shall we play today?’

He had dark, intelligent eyes like his mother, and he spoke in the same articulate and confident way. He was always nice to Kima, and she liked spending time with both of them, sometimes she almost felt used to it and she could stop thinking of her brother and mother. But sometimes, she would imagine them, in the deep green, under the same sun, but a world away. Her mother would be wearing a red and brown hand-woven dress, maybe with flowers, with a wrap-around and her head tie, or maybe beads weaved into her hair, and a shell necklace, and bead bracelets. Or maybe she would be dressed in her makishi dress, yes, Kima liked picturing her in her dress made of woven beaten bark.

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