My wife comes from a tiny island lost in the immensity of the Pacific Ocean.
From her I learned the Myths and Legends of her people and their simplistic life.
From those memories, this story was created.
It has been a long time since I wrote about life and love. The few times I tried to move my fingers on the keyboard; I couldn’t create any sensible words, only notes without meaning.
After I separated from Annabelle, my life was shattered. It was too much for me to discover the terrible truth. My son is not really mine, even though he had my name.
Annabelle had lied. My love had died and I became crushed in the ocean of doubt and disillusion.
I couldn’t find any solutions and I asked her, to return with her son, where she belonged, to her country and with her family. Although I had no obligation to the baby I settled a generous endowment on her to stay out of my life.
It took a long time to return to normal and to rise above the depression and apathy. A few months after the separation, disillusioned, I moved as far away as possible.
I sold my possessions, and packed a few indispensable things in cartons, which I fitted in my Kombi-van. I drove north without a proper destination in mind, mainly I drove at nights, in the fresh air, and rested during the heat of the day. Where was I really going? I never asked this question of myself, and I really didn’t care. I was sure that when the time came, my mind would finally find the place to start a new life.
It was a late afternoon in springtime, and a fresh wind blew from the ocean. The long stretch of beach was nearly deserted. Only two fishermen were on the shore arching their arms, throwing their lines away into the foaming ocean, where some breams were biting at their hooks.
One of the fishermen was a tall, slim young woman. She had an olive complexion and dark hazel eyes. Seagulls circled close to her, attracted by the scraps that she discarded. The woman was in her late twenties and was a newcomer to this part of Queensland. She came from a remote island in the Pacific, hoping to mend her life, after a painful separation from a long time lover.
Mata found this coast of Queensland had so many similarities with her beloved island, with the same blue sky, and the sea mostly calm, protected by the coral barrier. At the shoreline was also the identical broken line of coconut trees, bent by the wind. Large patches of shade were created by the big green umbrellas of the palm and welcomed by the people who sought relief from the heat.
Mata liked this stretch of Queensland, but on the same time, she missed the tradition and legend of her people.
Not much had been written in the past about them, but all the same, those archaic inheritances were well preserved. She remembered the local story-tellers, who narrated the legends to the locals, in the long warm nights on her island.
On those occasions the villagers used to congregate outside the hall. Families arrived at dusk bringing with them baskets of food. Someone of the group prepared the kava in a large shallow wooden dish. This traditional beverage, symbol of friendship between the islanders, was drunk from a half coconut shell, passed around, and became polished over time.
Finally, under the stars, the storyteller would revive the life of their legendary ghosts who initiated life in that tropical paradise.
Mata missed her father. When she and the other children were young, he taught them the secrets of the island, practical survival things. Father shoved them where to find ripe and perfumed tropical fruits, and how to cultivate cassavas and dalos in the rich volcanic soil. Her father also taught her to love the sea and respect the strength of the ocean. She learned where to find the rich seafood, in the lagoon on the island, and she learned the way to sail the canoe fitted with one outrigger and the coconut canvas, and how to fish with the quadrangular net and the way to throw it properly. Her father also showed her the best spots to sink the baited baskets to catch lobsters and crabs.
I reached Bowen one evening. The sunset was glorious, sparkling in reds and gold, creating luminescent contrast over the far west of the sky, where the sun descended rapidly at the horizon. Sunset was the time chosen by the fishermen to leave the calm moorings and move to sea, hoping for a good catch overnight.
I liked the remoteness, and the calm of the site surrounding me. More, I enjoyed the warmer sub-tropical climate. I set camp for my overnight stay. On the portable barbecue, I cooked a T-bone steak with fried tomatoes and pineapple rings for my dinner. My constant companion, a blue heeler, lay lazily near the camper-van, waiting for his share of the evening meal.
At night, the entire tropical constellation appeared more brilliant then a usual, and the Southern Cross seemed closer to earth, pointing the north-south direction in the sky.