Por Tatiana Becco.

The sun was scorching. The creatures around her were of a swallowing darkness, still they glistened. The black of their slippery skin made an almost esthetic contrast with the pieces of violent red flesh surrounded by the emerging dry scabs. Surely, a painter would have made a real feast of that scene. But for Wambui, it was blood curdling.

She was a refugee. These people travel from one place to another, hunting hopes… They leave their homes because these are neither theirs nor homes any longer. As Wambui, they sail searching for better fortune.

But Wambui began to understand these odysseys art thou doom.

About to faint, even though she was on the deck, she was locked up, unable to move, or even breathe. The sigh was static: no rough, pitted sea; no restless waves; or glitterish water. The crowd of people was so dense; Wambui wondered how the ship was strong enough to move. Because the ship was moving, she knew it. Wambui was feeling sick. Not only because of the odors of sweat, pee, unwashed hair and vomit combined with sea salt, but because of the movement itself. That damn shell of nut seemed to enjoy itself going up and down every single wave. The girl could even imagine the insensitive laughter of the captain, having so much fun with his toy.

“Oh, please, let me find the strength to bear this…!”

She closed her eyes tightly, and bit her lower lip with anger. May be she did not want to see anymore. Literate people might claim she would want to do as Edipo, and tear off her eyes forever. But for Wambui, Edipo was just an unpronounceable strange combination of sounds.

Sleeping was no good. If you could manage to do so, it lasted only a few minutes or seconds, and, once you woke up, you felt even more tired, and your body was aching even worse than before.

Oh! How she longed to feel her blood running again, to feel it flow… And to stop hearing the cries of that woman, heartrendingly calling her child, as a cow would call her lost calf. Oh! How much did she wish to stand on firm land, land’s dirt would always be healthier than those beastly sanitary conditions in which she struggled to breathe… embrace her mother and brother… escape from that constant moaning…

Why had they all got into that ship? Why…? The answers that once seem so obvious and clear now made her loose her head.

The bodies surrounding her moved abruptly, squeezing Wambui. Several splinters were removed from the wooden floor and got into her small foot.


It wasn’t that painful, anyway…

But tears came rolling down her dirty round cheeks. And the smell, the taste of their salt was even stronger than that of the sea.

Tatiana Becco

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