Kokkinolaimis - Robin
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Kokkinolaimis - Robin
Sunday, 25 December 2011
It had been a good season for all at Black Sands. All the fish drying racks were full and the vegetable storage bins were stacked. Everyone had a pleased look on there faces as they contemplated a few easy weeks to follow.
The village headman decided that a hangi was appropriate with dancing and singing and much food to be eaten at this hakari for this festive season. And so the preparations began. Everyone was involved preparing the pits for roasting the fish and the birds and any small animals they could catch for the earth ovens.
Ahu was also involved but she did so a slower pace than that of all the other women, she was pregnant again. Luckily both Tangaroa and Hekehoru could look after themselves and they too raced about the village to see what was happening leaving Ahu far behind.
The great round stones for the cooking pits were placed in the fires and heated up then carefully placed in the holes. Branches with their leaves still on were placed on top and the meat and the vegetables placed on these and covered with more leaves and herbs which in was covered with earth. As the heat seeped through wisps of steam and delicious odours filled the area as the village gathered and the speeches and dancing began.
As a member of the village council Ahuahu sat with the chief and the other village elders, with his family close by. The children’s eyes sparkled with the reflection of the flames from the central fire and Hekehoru clapped with excitement at the dancers and the show of strength from the warriors chanting and threatening then finally showing respect for the people gathered there.
The food was eaten noisily and with much talking and laughter. Then it was time for the young unmarried girls and youths to dance. Tangaroa got up and tried to mimic their actions but by this time Hekehoru was getting tired and had curled up with Ahu with her eyes trying not to close should she miss something.
Ahu indicated to Ahuahu that she was taking Hekehoru home and to watch Tangaroa as more dancing continued and kava was drunk. Just as the feast was winding to a close a young man ran into the village, it was a boy from the Hot Springs settlement. He ran up to Kamaka, whispered to him. Kamaka turned and indicated to Ahuahu that they should speak.
There had been an accident at the hot pools, Kaihutu had been badly scolded by an extra large eruption from one of the hotter pools and was in much pain and Hatiti was frightened for him. Kamaka looked to Ahuahu for help.
“I will go to Ahu and see if she had anything to help his pain. But should they not put him a cold pool to help?”
“The skin is badly blistered, it does not look good.”
Kamaka nodded. “You go there now but I will follow in a little while.”
Although Kamaka agreed he also said, “They do not think he will survive.”
With that Ahuahu rushed back to his house, Ahu was sitting on the porch and was surprised to see Ahuahu back so soon.
“I didn’t think I would see you till morning.”
“Kaihutu is badly hurt have you anything to help the pain from scalding?”
Ahu’s face fell and she burst into tears, “Why do the gods play with us so, husband?”
Ahuahu helped her to get up as they went inside the hut to find her remedies.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
I made a big mistake having a stopover in Athens on the way back to Australia after a holiday in the UK. Trouble was I had read the ads, saw the photos and marvelled at Greece’s ancient history. So I too wanted touch the past. Did I make a mistake! Perhaps I should have done that first at the start of the vacation. But I didn’t and with the wind rumpling my hair in the cold Attic wind staring at crumbling temples, listening to the prattling of the guides about the beliefs of the past as well as the boring tourists who I regretfully formed a part, just about drove me out of my mind. I was glad to board the plane home for the festive season with my family. Once in a while you have to splash out and I had invested in a business class round trip and that has spoilt me for any future travel abroad.
There was an empty seat by my side so I was pleased that I would not have the flicker of their screen all night as they watched some dumb movie while I was trying to sleep. Just as we were in the middle of the safety instructions a late passenger was escorted down the aisle. It was a rather disorganized young girl who tripped and stumbled her way along and then was directed to the window seat alongside me. She had virtually no hand luggage, just a large red leather handbag which presumably contained all she needed.
I nodded a hello, and settled back down again. She in her turn looked all around her, checked her seat controls and was about to recline her seat so I tried to dissuade her until after take off. She complied but grinned at me cheekily and said “So you are a Taurus too.” I nodded an agreement in puzzlement as the plane taxied out from the terminal.
“We’ve met before.” She said.
“We have?” I queried.
“You were looking at the temples weren’t you? I saw you at the Acropolis as well as Olympia.”
“Sorry, I never noticed you. Don’t you think the temple of Hera at Olympia was a little sad though, being so ruined, but at least it is there that they light the Olympic flame isn’t it? It is like a link with the past.”
“That bitch! They should have pulled the whole lot down.”
“Well that is what the gods were like, always fighting each other, luckily they doesn’t influence us anymore or at least I hope not.” I responded jokingly.
“That is what you think. Why do you think I am on this plane?”
At this point I thought I had better introduce myself. “I’m Robin, just going back home to Australia.” I held out my hand to shake hers. She looked a little doubtful but placed her hand in mine. I was electrified. What a fantastically beautiful hand it was. It fitted right into mine soft, warm and ridiculously sexy. I had never thought of hands as that sexy before. Pretty yes, but sexy?
I looked up into her eyes, they were smiling seductively. She clearly was thinking hard before she said anything else but then blurted out “Io” with a tiny shrug of her shoulders.
“From Iolanthe? Were your parents fond of Gilbert and Sullivan?”
“No, just Io.”
“Oh it’s a Greek name isn’t it? I am sorry I never though that you were Greek.”
“I am not, I am a Naiad.”
At this point, the stewardess came round with an offer of drinks. So while we were choosing our tipple, it suddenly dawned on me she was pulling my leg. I grinned back at her, quickly trying to remember my Greek mythology.
“Oh yes your Dad’s name was Inachus wasn’t it, can’t remember your mum’s name though.”
“Was it? Well you’re Greek you should know.”
“I am not Greek!’ She was getting a bit worked up again. “I am Arcadian.”
“Yes, right. So, you’re going to Australia?”
“Is that where we are going?”
“How did you get on this plane without knowing where you are going?”
“I followed you. It is all finished back there.” She gestured behind us and I naturally assumed she meant Greece, the Euro and the financial crisis.
“I had to choose someone that could help me. So you’re it. You will help me won’t you?”
Her smile was so seductive, and at that point she placed a hand on my thigh and looked at me with pleading eyes. I was electrified. I can’t mention what else was happening to me.
With my last fragment of sanity I said “You probably don’t need me at all.”
“You’re right,” she said removing her hand, “But I thought it might be fun with a younger man.”
“Io,” I stuttered, “I am over seventy. I am not a younger man.”
“How old do you think I am then?’” She replied flicking her ten fingers up at me what appeared to be hundreds of times, finishing with just four on the right hand. “It will work out.”
I don’t know why, but I had an uneasy feeling about this, she must be about 3500 years old. No, I forgot those last four fingers, make it 3504.
Sunday, 18 December 2011
When Ahu returned home from her day in the forest she tried to act normally even though the weight of her knowledge of Hinewai’s unfaithfulness to her husband Torangi tore at her heart. She was hurt by having to witness such a betrayal in the forest; which was one of her favourite places where she felt she could pray to her favourite gods, to talk to her long dead parents and to be filled with the joy of experiencing nature at work creating, blooming and fruiting and withering in life’s perpetual cycle. That had been ruined by an unbearable ugliness. She continued weeping as she prepared the roots and leaves that she had collected to make her remedies for everyday ills that she and her family and friends were subjected to. She wanted to curl up on her mat on the floor and sleep. She knew she couldn’t as Ahuahu and the children would be back soon looking for a meal so she took one or two deep breaths and went to look at the fish on the drying frame.
Ahuahu returned a short time later with the children both worn out after the day with their father. She knelt down before them and hugged them both and at the same time running her hands over their faces and smiling into their eyes. Tangaroa soon broke free and started chatting about their day while Hekehoru continued to relish the fondling she was receiving from her mother. Hekehoru in her turn touched her mother’s face and hugged her. She then turned to her father and said “Mama’s been crying.”
That night after the children were asleep and Ahuahu held Ahu in his arm he murmured words of aroha to her. As he stroked her he told her of his concern for her, how he wanted to share her hurt and to take way her pain. She snuggled into the safety of his arms but still had a sleepless night.
The next day she went to see Hatiti to take the leaves of the Hopopo plant to her. She took Hekehoru with her so that she could play with Hatiti’s baby. Ahu and Hatiti were like loving sisters now and they greeted each other warmly. So while Hekehoru played with Hatiti’s baby who was trying to crawl round the floor the two women talked of many things.
“You look tired Ahu, are you not well?”
“I cannot sleep I have a memory that troubles me.”
“You are normally so strong,” said Hatiti stroking Ahu’s arm. “Can you tell me?”
“We are sisters now, Hatiti, I must talk to someone. I cannot tell Ahuahu as men think differently to us.”
Hatiti held Ahu’s hand and said “Talk to me.”
Ahu was silent for a little while and then slowly began to tell her of what she had witnessed in the forest. All the while Hatiti stroked Ahu’s arm.
When she had finished, Ahu then added. “It is good to have let it all out.”
“Ahu, nothing has changed. Hoata and I knew that Hinewai was being unfaithful to her husband Torangi. We cannot live others lives for them. You are hurt because the forest was such a precious place for you. That has not changed either.”
At this Ahu shook her head.
Hatiti continued. “You yourself told me how special the forest was. How it was there before us and will be there after we have gone. It grows, brings forth life, and it dies just like us. But to us it lives on as if unchanging.”
Hatiti’s looked up into Ahu’s face, the tears were still there but there was a little smile on her face.
“Everything that happens in to forest is eventually hidden and covered up with leaves and fallen branches. The rain will wash all that hurt of yours away.”
“It is so good to talk to you, Hatiti.”
"Mama" called out Hekehoru, "Baby is all wet."
"We should never have called her Horowai," exclaimed Hatiti.
With that everyone laughed. Ahu was no longer sick at heart.
Aroha - to love, feel pity, feel concern for, feel compassion, empathise
Horowai - Girl's name meaning Waterfall
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Now you would think that all the effort that Rastus and I had put in winning Penny over would have done us some good. For a few weeks everything was fine. Whenever she had a day or two off we would visit her or she would come down to us.
We were a happy band of three tied together with a curious love. Penny loved Rastus. Rastus loved Penny and me. I loved both Penny and Rastus. But the relationship between Penny and me was a little odd. She was funny, warm, pliant, and so lovable…but I could sense she was holding something back. She had already guessed that I was recovering from a break-up in a previous entanglement from which I had emerged with a few thorns for my troubles. But that is the problem with men we don’t have a mind like a dentist’s drill searching out all the cavities and pain of someone else’s life. We just take things at face value.
Last week she had come down to my place for a sleepover. Well that is what we called it but I hoped I would be suffering from lack of sleep the next day. What bliss there is to wake up next to the person you love in the morning. To reach out and touch and kiss them as they too stir and to breathe in that exquisite musky scent of her body that you couldn’t get enough of the previous night. As I was gently kissing her tummy I felt her fingers run through my hair and then she wrapped both arms around me and hugged me tight. For all the closeness we never discussed future plans. You know the sort of thing moving in together, establishing whose toothbrush went where and just who was boss in the kitchen. Each deferring to the other that would establish us as Kurt Vonnegut had described it as a “karass” of two or more. Two people so bonded together in love that they were like Siamese twins that were an entity to themselves. Us against the world. Sadly we were not like that and I began to suspect that I was the one at fault. In fact I was coming to believe I was a “stuppa” or fog bound child.
The penny finally dropped (and no that is not a joke) when we got up very early in the morning to go for a walk on the beach. It was deserted and Penny had slipped her sandals off and paddled at the edge of the water while we strolled along together but not close each doing their own thing. Rastus checking out the scuttling crabs and stinky dead fish with a satisfied grin on his face; Penny walked along at the waters edge and looking at her I could see she was singing some happy song but I couldn’t make out the words. I on the other hand was searching for the rare finds on the beach; the perfect shell, the smooth pebble with a fascinating colour in it and the worn pieces of broken glass from so many years ago that finally the sea decided did not have a place in its bosom and tossed it back at man for his impudence.
So as we walked our separate ways we drifted apart and looking back Rastus was equidistant between us so I called him. He cocked his ears searched around saw me then bounded up to tell me what he had been up to. Penny saw this and called him in turn. Immediately he raced back to her in excitement and we kept this up until he could see through our little game and sat back down on the sand immobile except for his tongue lolling out looking quite pleased with the game as when he had got his breathe back he barked a joyful bark. He had however settled in close proximity to Penny. She then came toward him and they sat on the sand together.
It was at that moment I had a sudden revelation. I had missed out. I had missed the message. I was going to lose Penny unless I gave her something. It wasn’t the plastic bag of beach finds; it wasn’t the superficial love and affection that was our lovemaking; or the snuggling up together on the settee watching old movies, it was something far more valuable. She knew I had been let down in a previous relationship by reading the signs. She gave herself utterly to me and I had merely taken what she offered. I had however not given the most important thing back to her. It was an all encompassing trust and understanding that she had given me. Even Rastus had understood that at their very first meeting when he sat with her on that park bench and placed his head on her knees. He had somehow said to her “I understand your pain.”
She had been hurt just like me but I had failed to recognise that. If this relationship with her was to survive. I had to do something…now. I called out “Penny, Penny.” Then started running over to where they were. They both looked up in curiosity.
When I reached them I fell on the sand by their sides. Rastus got up, gave me a lick then sat down again.
“I have been a fool. I love you completely, utterly, without reservation. I have been blind to your pain. You saw that I had been devastated by a previous relationship but didn’t even recognise that you too had been through the same trauma. Isn’t that so?”
Penny reached forward and touched my face; gently tracing her fingers round my chin and over my nose then fingered my ears and came to rest holding the back of my neck. She spoke not a word.
I went on “I was so near to losing you wasn’t I? That would have been some retribution for my thoughtlessness.”
She shook her head sadly. “I hadn’t given up on you yet. But my, you came close. If it wasn’t for Rastus saying to stick with you for a little longer, who knows?”
Rastus had recovered from his exertions, came over and sat down by our sides trying to touch both of us with his body at the same time.
“So what treasures did you find?” she said pointing to the results of my fossicking.
“What are the treasures of the world if you are not part of me?” I reached over to hold on to her ankle hoping we could fuse together in one being.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
I lied of course when I said we had slept well that night we stayed at Penny’s for the first time. That probably gave you the impression that with the walks and the food and the wine we soon zonked out and woke up refreshed in the morning. In Rastus’s case that was true. I think he had a few doggy dreams as his feet twitched away in his sleep chasings cats or rats and occasionally he would utter a stifled woof as he guarded us from danger in his imaginings. For us though there was that beautiful discovery period as we nervously shared Penny’s bed for the first time. I was not confidant as I was unprepared for her offer to stay overnight despite her instruction to share whatever I needed to make myself comfortable. We joked about which of her nighties I might wear and whether I needed rollers for my hair. I grabbed a quick shower and returned to the bedroom draped in towel. She had chosen the side closest to the window with the clock radio on her side so I assumed that was where she always slept. She had placed a chocolate Caramello Frog on my pillow just as though I was a welcome guest in a hotel. I put that aside and pulled back the covers and slipped into the bed. She had been looking at me all the time and but then turned over and put the light out on her side of the bed. I reached over and found her hand to hold. She in her turn reached out with her other hand and touched my face and in doing so the scent of her body wafted over me. I let go of her hand and lightly touched her naked body with my fingers as I traced my way up to take my first steps like an early explorer setting foot in finding a exotic tropical island.
“You are so beautiful, Penny.” My fingers continued to explore her and she uttered little murmurs of satisfaction as my lips now sealed my approval on every treasure I found. She was not passive though for with each new territory I charted she in her turn checked out and savoured the intruder in her domain. She traced her fingers over my nose and ears then ran them through my hair and leaned over and placed her head on my chest to listen to my heart beat.
“Penny, we can’t make love, I am not prepared.”
“I didn’t expect you to be. I may have been little peeved if you had, assuming I was a push over. The more I know you the more I find to like about you.”
So we continued our exploration of each other and to relieve the frustration every new found delight I found from her knees to her navel I scored with points out of ten. Most were nine or ten but Penny moderated the score down a little in self criticism. At some stage as I lay between her breasts I fell asleep with her arms wrapped around me.
Strangely soon after dawn she was up before me. She was standing by the window without a stitch on.
“Come back to bed”
“I daren’t, I want you so much” she stated simply. “I’ll get a cup of tea.”
We were up and taking Rastus for his walk through the park quite early and after breakfast went into Stirling township where there was a Sunday market with flags and bunting waving, the call of the vendors selling their wares and of course the inevitable smell of a barbecued meat and onions filling the air. Rastus behaved himself quite well in the crowd probably more concerned that the barbecued sausages would be on the menu. We needed nothing but to be with one another but I dallied at a bookstall and I found a couple of Leigh Child novels for Penny.
I asked her how she came to read him. Her response was unusual.
“My days are spent in a rigid environment of hospital discipline and with sick and frightened people. I find that I can enter an escapist world in his books that others might with fantasy novels or even gaming.”
I nodded an agreement; holding on to her hand which I felt was now mine. “I can remember a bookshop owner in the city telling me a similar story where a lawyer dealing with the court system, crime and criminals all day long would escape with “Mills and Boon” light romance to get it out of her system.”
We finally found a seat, a few yards from the busy market and I said simply “I am so glad I found you” and leaned over and kissed her tenderly as the world passed us by while Rastus tried to decide whose knees he should put his head on.