- Vol. 09
- Chapter 06
Dad stepped away from the edge of the water. The relief of finding water cut away by its putrid colour. I lingered with my hope. I stared into the murky red of it hoping to see life stirring below. But all I saw was the metastasis of pink foam at the edges. A signal to move on and look for relief elsewhere.
Dad still believed. He believed there was something more. He always left behind a trace. A token. Something to tell the earth that we are willing to make sacrifices for its saviour. We were ready to redeem the sins of the generations before us. We were different. We were on its side.
Only once have we ever come across another survivor. It was after the rains had dried up, and there was a massive pool of water that had formed. Attracted by the possibility of fresh water we trekked towards it. But then we were stopped in our tracks. There stood blistering red before the sun, like an ornament offering itself up to some gods, another survivor. They stood perfectly still arching upwards with something gleaming in their hands. It seemed as though they were willing the sky to lift them away from here. We stayed hidden. It was best to keep moving and acknowledge there were others, he warned. I was scared, having never seen another survivor before.
Later Dad told me there were believers everywhere. Those who believed in the ablutionary possibilities of tragedy. He made sure to say that the tragedy of our times was not one any prayer or offering could secure relief from. He made me repeat it aloud to him. There is no cure for this tragedy. Repeat it. There is no cure for this tragedy.
The earth is revolting against us. Repeat. The earth is revolting against us. We needed to help it not be its victim. We need to help it not be its victim. We muttered these words in repetition one after another as we dug for the bugs that would be our next meal. I often revisit that day.
I have never forgotten that person at the edge of the water. Every time we approach water I wonder if we will see another one. Another offering with their head held so high. Their image often erupts in my mind as I wonder whose side I am on. I wonder if there is something else to be done? If it will ever be enough.