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