A steel-string acoustic trickles down from the speakers in high corners of the cafe-restaurant, sultry hushed vocals whispering notes of longing and wonder. Chatter across the seated tables ignore the minute contemplations spent on remembering love.
Amy busies herself with the chicken burger dripping soft avocado, cranberry and Camembert across the plate, a knife and fork is employed to quarter and then dissect until bite-sized pieces will fit in her mouth.
Clouds have greyed out the often blue sky requiring a two bar heater to help keep the customers warm inside, puffy jackets and wool scarves not enough to ward off the striking cold whistling down from the Kahurangi hills. Escape swirls the cranberry sauce up with avocado, holds on with some freshly cooked soft bun, and launches the sweetness at her tongue. Escape remembers that love is broken sometimes, and musicians are there to remind; songs will invade the quiet and calm in sultry whispers, breaths that fade into chattering voices.
A bus load of school children stop at the intersection outside, last day of term, homeward bound they run. A blonde girl looks in at the customers, raises a hand and waves. Amy is not sure if it's her the girl is waving at - child eyes are peering through a layer of glass doors, see-through canvas that squares off the café’s sun area, and the bus's own dirty and unwashed window. And Amy knows there are customers behind her.
But she smiles, raises her own hand, twinkles some fingers and returns to her burger, sopping up more spilled cranberry and Camembert hoping to avoid any embarrassment if the girl on the bus had in fact been waving to someone else. But Amy is sure she caught a smile out of the corner of her eye as the girl returned to looking forward and the bus moved out of sight.
The smile imbued the cranberry and Camembert with satisfactory sweetness.
Dimlight bathed the clouds in a bright silver glow that reflected rays on everything below, intensifying and radiating the silver blue of ordinary dim days into every crevice and knoll.
“We are children of the mist, our ancestors used to say. But I think they were wrong. We are of the earth, like the animals; for us to return we must end up burnt; so we commit ourselves, to this death inherent in life, to let our bodies die when our children have only just reached maturity ready to take our place and repeat the cycle.” Meridule paused, looking forlornly into the fire that burned and cremated the house that had been destroyed as the sinkhole beneath it had given way. "But we come here this evening to remember the lives of Sauel, J'nifer and their newborn lost far too early to this tragic event. Their hard work lost to the community, but the memories we have of them live on and set the example of what we ourselves must live up to - working for the community, helping raise children when called on, and friendships that never faulted. They go with the winds to settle in the lands somewhere else and be a part of the world again from where we all once came."
Jansuell glanced upwards as fire rose and shone orange against everything. This Dim Day made light again. But upwards with the flames would go the bodies that lay in the pit below, the wood floors, walls, beams and window frames, charring up and rising too with each spark that flung out, each wraith of smoke that billowed; all of it rising and dissipating outwards eventually to be a part of the clouds above and then depart outwards, away from land.
...away from the land. Like clouds drifting across the skies to coalesce into the mist.
Maybe the ancestors were right. We are of the mist. And my parents just wanted to know where we came from, or at least, just what was beyond. The same worlds as ours? The same neighbours growing the same fruit, farming the same crops? Why is everyone else so happy to just shrug their shoulders and say “It’s just mist. There’s nothing in it, there’s nothing beyond it.”? There are other people beyond the hills in the opposite direction, there must be other people beyond the mist. Surely. Why can’t we get to them?
Why can't we be like my parents and just try?
Some updates to keep me updated.