The Biscuit

The little boy lies on a rattan mat next to his mother as his brother walks around and around them in continuous circles. His eyes follow his brother’s circuit. He doesn’t focus on the other people surrounding them. He’s still in his Ben 10 swimmers with bare feet. He is covered in dirt but he has managed to get dry.

He knows they have walked along way to get to this shelter. He had been running along the beach with his sister and brother when his father screamed at him to run. He wasn’t sure why he had to run but he knew he had to run. He had been holding his mother’s hand; his sister was on the other side of his mother. He isn’t sure where his brother was. Then he was engulfed in a wave of water. He had to fight to stay above the water but the wave kept pushing him and pushing him up the hill. He found bits of wood to cling to and hung on until he was washed into the jungle of the hill. There he sat calling for his mother and waited until she found him.

She did find him, and his brother and his father but not his sister. He and his brother sat next to some people while his parents looked for his sister. He couldn’t see anyone in the mess of water.

She is gone, his father eventually told them, and you will not see your sister again. His father told them that they had to leave the beach and follow the other people moving up the hill. He scrambled up the steep escarpment alongside his father; his brother raced ahead followed by his mother. Near the top, he heard his brother scream and he watched as his mother ripped her sarong and wrapped her feet so that she could carry his brother through the banana plantation. His father carried him, without shoes, he was beyond any feeling.

They walked to a hospital, a very small hospital, with lots of people; some lying on the ground. Someone gave them a lift up another hill to the shelter and this is where he lay now.

His father has gone back to the beach to look for his sister. He has been outside with his mother and brother to peer over the edge of the cliff at the beach which has been swallowed by water. Papa is down there looking for your sister; she is somewhere down there, his mother tells him.

Someone gives him and his brother biscuits. He takes two and looks at his mother. I’ll keep one for my sister, he says, she will be hungry.

About huntersoledad

Mother of three. Bereaved mother of one. Survivor and victim of 2009 Samoan tsunami. Could be if would be writer.
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2 Responses to The Biscuit

  1. Matt Anderson says:

    Thanks Trudie,

    You paint the picture of that tragedy and the aftermath on the hill behind Lalomanu so terribly vividly it hurts (which,of course, it did – and still does). Of the many survivors I spoke with, it was Jorge and his desperate search for Clea that they remember most.

    In our thoughts and prayers, as ever, but especially as we approach 29 September.

    Matt and Lou

  2. SadMama says:

    Powerful images, but so very sad.

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