The stars in her eyes

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“Come out now before the sun peeps over the hills” whispered Aluje

She was knocking on the wooden window of Kule’s thatched hut. There was nothing special about his hut.  It was brown and cracked – the unrelenting sun being to blame. Inside he turned on his bed – if you can call it that,rousing from a deep sleep. It was four short wooden posts with woven fabric that smelled of dry grass. Rubbing his eyes he looked around for his old red t-shirt with a picture of a smiling cat. One of his uncles in the big city had gifted it to him. He treasured it as his only prized possession, that and the bull his father bestowed upon him: nothing else.

“I’m coming!” He hissed
“You love sleep too much.” Whispered an impatient Aluja.

Emerging from the hut he hugged Aluja naughtily pinching her buttocks.

“No, I love you too much.” He whispered into her ear.

Aluja was by all standards the definition of beauty. Her brown skin akin to the soil at the bottom of the hill was smooth like milk. He eyes were hazel and danced when her long lashes flattered as she blinked. She had strong legs, tender at the heels and stout at the calves. Her steps were light and she would swing her massive hips with each one. Her hair was short save for the front with three semi-long strands braided and beaded with white cowries. Her bosom was full and heaved  whenever she was excited. Often her mother had warned her echoing the words

“Boys play, they will play with your mind, your heart and your body.”

Aluja would reply and say “But mama he loves me.”

“Only because the tummy is flat” the mother would reply.

“You will see mother, you will see.”

***
Often Aluja and Kule would go out to the plains when the sun was still shy. They’d run after each other as the blades of grass caressed their feet with the morning dew. They’d head to the foot of the big hill and collapse panting and out of breath as they marveled at the rising sun. They would be silent as the sky turned scarlet red – the golden hour they heard it was called. Only their hearts beating and the sound of morning birds breaking the dawn could be heard.

“I want to go.” Said Kule

Aluja sat up her eyes wide the hazelness accentuated by the red scarlet sky.

“Where?” She asked with apprehension

Stretching his hand out Kule pointed into the horizon where they usually saw the metal birds fly past.

“There.” He said

There was a silence. Today he didn’t play with her body. Today they didn’t roll around the grass. They didn’t lose their clothes. He didn’t make her close her eyes and see the stars in the middle of sunrise. Instead he made her eyes wet with tears. They fell, torrential drops of a heavy heart.

“I’ll be back. I love you.” He said

Today he played with her mind. She smiled but didn’t wipe the tears away. She wanted to tell him something. Her tummy was not normal – she didn’t like food anymore and she craved for the wet soil after a rain. She thought she would say it some other time. She played with his beard for sometime and his hands traced the outlines of her body. The sun kissed their skin evaporating away the somber mood and they rolled in the grass until she saw stars.

***
Kule left as he had said he would. He went into the city where his uncle – the one that sent the red t shirt  – lived. He had nothing on him the day  he left other than a dream of one day returning. The day he left he met Aluja and told her he’d be back for her – just her. They would go back into the city and live together. She believed every sweet word he said as he coated them with honey kisses. She didn’t want to tell him that she no longer got her visitor every month. She thought it could wait.

Each day Aluja was hopeful Kule would be back.  But days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Her belly grew she didn’t have a flat tummy anymore. Her mother sick with worry decided to join her ancestors. On her death bed she whispered:

“See now Aluja, see.”

Over the months Aluja rubbed the growing belly and reminisced of moments rolling in the grass until her groin itched. She waited for Kule  hoping to see him before her tummy burst. She wanted to write him a letter but she didn’t know where to send it, all she had was hope. The rain came and went and her tummy gave way to a beautiful baby girl. It was painful but beautiful like her womanhood. She celebrated her and named her Chule. She looked like her father a father she hadn’t seen in an year.

In the city Kule was not the same. He wore white shirts and a tie around his neck. He worked in an office with a  big desk and he had a name. Two rainy seasons passed and news of Aluja drifted to him as if brought by the dry wind.  He was elated he made arrangements to travel back. On the day he arrived the place was quiet save for the roar of his engine. He went straight to his home and took his prized bull, threw on his Red t-shirt and went straight to Aluja’s. There the place was quiet save for a few hen pecking on chaff left behind after winnowing. They clucked oblivious to his presence. He went over to her window and made a rapt knock. Aluja emerged, words could not express her joy. Tears flew down as she threw her arms around Kule’s neck.

“You came back!” She exclaimed going ahead to bury her face in his chest.

“I said I would.” He replied

“Where is she? My angel?” He asked

“How did you know?” There was a hint of surprise in her voice.

“The wind, it carried her cries to me” Kule joked.

That night he gave her father the bull and claimed Aluja. They went into the night after Chule was sound asleep and they rolled in the grass until she saw stars. They lay there breathless until Kule whispered, I love you. Aluja looked at the stars and whispered: see mother, see; as a tear rolled down her eye.

***

[This was article was a challenge by Andanje, (check her out btw) my blog buddy. She wanted me to do creative folklore. I am not really sure how I did on this so please leave a comment with any improvements I can make on the story. ]

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