My life will begin soon.
The cold water rushed against my bare legs as I sat alone on the beach. The sky was turning a dark blue and the clouds were starting to make way for the moon. By this time, everyone was starting to pack up their things and head back towards their hut. When it was time for us to leave, I had told my Mother that I wanted to stay for a couple more minutes. A couple more minutes turned into hours and now, here I was: planning my escape from the island I once called home.
I began to think about leaving the island when I was younger. There had been a sudden drought on the island and there was no way we could grow any food. The next couple of days, a big white ship had arrived on the island, and docked there. I could see everyone rushing onto the boat, many coming off with their hands full of treats. My Mother told me and my sister, Akali to go get some things off of the ship and come right back.
“What if when we get on the boat, they take us and leave?” Akali had said, her feet digging through the sand as we walked towards the boat.
“That’s nonsense. Why would you think such a thing?” I muttered, fiddling with the bracelet on my arms. I had made it from seashells and fish bones. I could feel Akali’s disapproving stare at me, burning a hole into my skin. Akali always felt she was right since she was 4 and no one could make her change her mind.
“Mother was talking to her friends earlier this morning. She said something about how these people are always taking advantage of people from islands like ours”.
“Well, if that’s the case then why would Mother send us to get the food and not go herself?” I said, as we came closer to the ship. The ship was gigantic, compared to our island. People were stacked upon each other while heading onto the ship.
“I’m just saying, we should be careful up here”, Her words were crisp like the flowing wind and her black hair was moving lightly.
I nodded my head silently as we arrived at where the ship was docked. All of our people were out here, hoping to score some food. We got into line and waited for a couple of minutes, playing hand games to pass the time by.
The people passing out the food had pale skin, and their hair was held up out of their face. We were so close to front of line, I could see the beads of sweat dripping down this particular person’s face. Akali shrunk in closer to me, even though she was taller than me by a couple of inches.
They directed us onto the ship, following the trails of mud prints. The floorboard was dark and wooden, and it creaked under us as we walked deeper into the ship. People had stands set up around the ship, some holding clothes and others holding fruits and vegetables.
“Stay close to me while I get some of these tomatoes”, Akali whispered into my ear, holding my hand. She walked towards the stand while I trudged behind her, dragging my feet slowly. One of the girls was leaning over the ships edge, staring out onto the ocean curiously.
“How are you all doing?” One of the men said, his tone was assertive but behind the voice his eyes were soft.
“We’re.. holding up”, She said quietly. The man started to bag up the tomatoes while talking to his partner.
I turned back and saw the girl still standing there, over the edge of the ship. Her red hair was shining in sun, like a strawberry on a hot day. She had on a white dress with a rope tied around it and blue flip flops. Before I knew it, my feet were dragging me towards her.
“Zachary! Zachary, get back over here!”, I could hear Akali snapping at me behind her but I didn’t turn around. I kept towards the girl until I was standing right behind her.
She didn’t turn around to face me. Instead, her small hand motioned to me. I slowly walked towards the edge she was standing behind until I was beside her. My breathing started to go awry before I pressed my hands onto my heart.
“Do you ever wish you could leave your island?”Her voice was sweet like honey, drawing me into it like a bee. “I mean, like just go somewhere else for a change? To get away from your regular life?”.
Her question stunned me. No one had ever asked me this before nonetheless I had never thought about it. Leaving the island? But I’ve lived here my entire life. What was even out there beyond the ocean? How would I survive even? All these questions ran through my head as I looked out at the ocean as well. The girl stared quietly at the ocean, her face still turned away from me.
“My parents are making me leave for college this year. Even after I told them I didn’t want to go”, She finally faced me. She had light green eyes and freckles that dotted her face all over. She smiled a little before looking back at that ocean.
“What’s “college?””, I said pulling my hand up to lean my head on.
“It’s a place where people go to further their education. I want to stay in my rock band that I came up with my friends back home. My parents won’t let me though and are sending me away to New York next month”, Her tone was getting more dark as she spoke.
I never thought about “college”. Here we just learn from our parents and surrounding huts. I always wanted to know more but they told me not to question what the earth has already done.Mother had always dismissed me like this, not listening to a thing I said. Maybe I did need to get away. So, I could find myself and be able to ask questions without anyone telling me not to do so.
Now, as I sit here on the sand close to the ocean I think heavily about leaving the island. The ship would come to bring us food tomorrow morning and I would be going myself since Akali had to help prepare supper with Mother. This is when I would leave.
The next morning, I began to pack my things while everyone was sleep. I threw some bamboo, my tarp, and a couple of shirts into a bucket that I would disguise as what I was putting the food into. Mother and Akali were still snoring lightly as I tiptoed into their room they shared. I planted a kiss onto Akali’s forehead before looking at my Mother. Should I? After judging me all these years, should I give her a proper farewell? I placed my hand on her shoulder slightly before taking it off and heading out the door.
As I speed walked towards the ship, my doubts started to fill my head. What about Akali and Mother? They’ll be devastated if I leave them and worried about where I am. If I go back though Mother will continue to keep me in the dark about the island. I have to leave this island and know more about the outside world. People crowded around the entrance of the ship while I slipped through the openings between them. I jumped up onto the ship, grunting as I landed just barely onto my hands.
Everyone was so busy with getting items from the foreign people, no one had noticed me. I looked around for a empty place on the ship. The only place I could spot was a barrel. I lifted the lid off and looked around before emptying the contents of the bucket inside. As I was doing so, I spotted the girl with the red hair staring at me. My heart froze solid. Was she going to rat me out? But she just nodded towards me and turned back around towards the ocean. The ships horn blew and I could see my people heading back towards their huts, arms stuffed with food. The trees swayed slower today and the earth blew out a hefty gust of cold wind.
I looked out onto the island, taking in it’s essence one more time. Goodbye, home.
My life will begin soon.