THE GREEN EYED DIAMOND
The red earth desert was like a dry ocean. It engulfed me. I looked around. I was surrounded by half starved cows, dying around me. The bodies of my parents lay still. The air was heavy with the smell of death. I let out a long wailing scream.
Me and my twin brother Able lined up with all the other children. Today a young couple had arrived to look for children to adopt. It had been 2 months since our parents had brought us here. Unable to feed us, they had no other choice but to give us up. I will never forget my mother’s tears pouring onto my face. My worst fear now is to be separated from Able. Being deaf he has been my ears, my friend – my voice.
The couple walked slowly up and down the line. They were strangely familiar. Instead of checking us from top to bottom, they seemed focussed on the orphan’s eyes. When they got to us, the woman hugged us both enthusiastically and looked at the man, giving him a knowing look. Whilst every other African child in the room had brown eyes, ours were green.On the 16th April, we were adopted by Mr and Mrs Busang.
Mr and Mrs Busang took us home to a lovely two storey house.The house was full of glass display cabinets full of rocks and fossils and gems. Our new parents were geologists. They spent hours pouring over papers and maps.
It was very different from our old home, our old home had herbs drying around the windows, in this house the windows were painted white and wiped clean twice a week by the maid.
In our old home the walls were red brick, the floor was earth, we didn’t wear shoes.
In the Busang house we had clean feet and black shiny, uncomfortable shoes.
This house had an upstairs and many rooms filled with collections of rocks and fossils, many rooms had nothing in them.
Our old house was a simple two room hut; we all slept together on the floor. The other room was smaller, it had been our kitchen.
In this new house I was alone most of the time, I am lonelier than I have ever been before.
Our old house was full of laughter, smiles, love. My mother would call my brother and father in, boasting about the great feast I had prepared for them, when I had only cut up the pumpkin.
In our old house I was happy.
Every breakfast Mrs. Busang handed us our vitamin tablets “To keep you good and strong.” She said. I took the small tablets. They always unsettled my stomach, so I ate slower than Able, my brother. When Able finished, he left the room. Mr and Mrs. Busang began talking. “They don’t seem to know about the diamond mine.” Mrs Busang told her husband. He made a quick glance in my direction, willing his wife silent. “She cannot hear me!”The woman laughed at him. It amazed me they did not realise I could lip-read. “I don’t think we have anything to worry about, we will have the land in no time.” she continued. She gestured upstairs and I deduced that she was talking about us. I stared carefully down at my breakfast. What diamond mine? I thought. And why should it matter whether we knew or not? Heart pounding, I left the table.
I found Capable outside, drawing with a stick. I caught sight of my reflection in the window. I had some dust on my face. I examined myself, brushing the dust off. I stared in to my own green eyes, green lights in my dark face. I flinched and looked away. As if I needed any reminder of how different I was. I clapped and Abe turned round. Another set of green lights stared at me “Come with me. I need to tell you something.” He nodded and we set off. I told Able all about what had been said at breakfast. He nodded, his face passive.
We sat on a bench enjoying the morning sun. I cast my eyes around the shoppers. A group of boys in the shadows were looking around nervously; “have you got them?” one said. “The Lithium?” The other said, and watched as he handed him a bottle of pills. The bottle slipped and a multitude of pills spilled onto the pavement at my feet. They were exactly the same as our ‘vitamin’ pills. I tugged at Able. He turned, his face contorted with horror. He asked the boy, “What do these do to you?” the boy, nervous at first, stared into my brothers bright eyes. He seemed to realise who we were then, in this town everybody knew everybody else’s business. He would know us as the boy who was an idiot and his deaf sister. What danger were we?
“Oh, they just chill you out so you don’t think about anything” the boy said stuffing the pills back into the bottle.
Everything began to fall into place. My mind was in a million places. Able and I raced home. Thankfully Mr and Mrs Busang were out. We had to find the proof of what we dreaded and feared, yet hoped for at the same time. We rifled desperately through the paperwork on the desk. Maps, bank accounts, legal documents. An address on one piece of paper caught my eye. We stared at each other in disbelief. Stapled together was the notice of our parent’s death and the legal search for their heirs, a map of our land and geologists report on the same address.“Soil tests indicate that this site is littered with diamonds”.
Able began signing madly to me. He remembered Mr and Mrs Busang! They had visited the land, he had seen them picking up the dirt and putting it into small plastic bags. Our Father had found them and had become angry, shouting at them to leave his property. It fell into place. Mr and Mrs Busang had seen our Father’s eyes. They were green......
We knew what we had to do, an eye for and eye.
Everyone said it was such a tragedy that we had been orphaned twice. It was such a shame they said, at least Mr and Mrs Busang died doing what they loved. How unfortunate that they had lost their footing. They must have died instantly, falling from such a great height.
It was just a gentle shove. A gentle push that set me free. I closed my eyes, then opened them.
I opened my eyes not to the red dusty cliff.
But to freedom.
Able and I sat on the comforting red dirt of our father’s land, we were now liberated. An eye for an eye. Jealousy had taken control of our eyes for a while; it had contorted our perfect life to one of sadness and despair. Envy is a terrible thing. Green eyes.... however, are entirely different.
I dedicate this piece to Megan, may she live forever through her works and in the hearts of those who loved her.