Sharing Our Stories

by Christopher Lovejoy on December 25, 2011

I dropped the life jacket to the sand and gestured, first to the bed of leaves and then to the hammock. Glancing at one and then the other, she gingerly caressed her sunburned neck and shoulders.

She approached the bed of leaves tentatively, as if to assess its desirability, and lifted a flexible weave of fronds that covered a makeshift pillow. She lowered the weave, turned to face me, and holding her hands like she was holding a ball, motioned slowly outward with a look of inquiry.

I thought for a moment and then nodded. More stuffing for the pillow.

While I gathered some more from inside the husks of mature coconuts that I had lying around for use as tinder, she took the liberty of arranging the leaves into a tighter, more compact weave, retrieving and incorporating a few stray fronds that a strong breeze had blown off since morning.

When she held out her hands, I squeezed one of them as a token of my appreciation. She smiled and blushed, received the fibrous material gratefully, and tucked it deftly and gracefully into the cloth.

I marvelled at her handiwork, testing its integrity and lying on it to get a feel for its pliability. After standing and smiling, and nodding my approval, we spread the towel evenly over the leaves.

After we gathered some deadwood nearby, I showed her what I did to start a quick fire in the fading twilight – not for the physical warmth, but for the psychological warmth that it provided.

As the wood for fuel crackled and popped, we sat next to each other by the fire, and I told my story about how I came to be here and did so with little more than my hands, a stick, and the sand.

With the stick, I drew a rough outline of my erstwhile yacht in the sand next to the fire.

She followed the line of my outstretched finger as I pointed to the sea, in the direction from whence I had come, and nodded understanding.

Next, I drew a series of parallel lines above the yacht to signify a torrential downpour and I rocked my cupped hands from side to side under the yacht to indicate one of the effects.

Again, she nodded understanding.

I sketched a stick figure in the sand, and with a smile, pointed to yours truly.

She smiled in turn.

I drew a wavy line under the yacht in the sand and drew an arrow from the stick figure to the side of the yacht, and with my index finger, indicated my descent into the sea.

She nodded soberly.

I erased the wavy line and indicated a possible sinking of the yacht by drawing a wavy line above it and by inscribing a question mark above the wavy line.

She nodded her understanding.

I lay supine and moved my hand in a slight wavy motion.

She laughed.

I sat up and sketched a sunrise, swam a mock crawl through the air, and pointed to a place just off shore and then to the place where I landed not far from where we were.

She nodded, smiling with understanding, and reached for the stick in my hand.

I gave it to her and she quickly drew three stick figures in the sand, representing two woman, one with a baby and one without. She pointed to the one without and then to herself.

I nodded my understanding, remembering the baby doll and bottle I found recently.

She then sketched a boat with three men on it, looking at me to see if I understood.

I did. “Yes,” I said, nodding again.

She pointed to one man on the boat and then to the woman with the baby.

She then turned her hands into fists and moved them in a way that represented a conflict of sorts, referring to the sketches in the sand to act out beatings of the woman by the man.

She saw my eyes grow moist and continued her story.

She pointed to herself, and then gestured in a way that indicated she had made numerous attempts to protect the woman with the baby from the man. She pointed to the life jacket, circled the other two men on the boat, pointed to herself in the sand, and then showed herself getting tossed overboard. “Yes?”

I gazed intently into her eyes and watched more than a few tears leave her eyes and stream down her cheeks. I reached my arm around her and gently caressed her sunburned shoulder.

Her body heaved and she started sobbing.

At first I was compelled to place my hands over her upper arms to ease her distress, but a small voice within told me to leave her be and let her have some space to release her grief.

With her grief spent, I helped her up and we walked to the bed. I gestured quickly to myself and then the hammock. She nodded imperceptibly, and with only a hint of hesitation, stretched out on the bed, lying on her back, and observed me more with calm curiosity than anything else.

I raised my hands slowly in a gesture of trust, showing her my palms, and walked to her feet where I placed my palms flush with the soles of her feet for a time. I closed my eyes and found my peace.

By way of response, she cooed approval and posed a rhetorical question in her own language.

I turned my hands into conduits of healing energy, scanning her body’s energy field for pockets of resistance as I restored her composure and brought her into a state of relaxation.

I’d like to say that I conducted this healing with complete equanimity, but such was not the case.

In truth, I was distracted by the good fortune of having been blessed with the presence of a heavenly woman. I knew that such women were rare and I vowed to be a sacred match for her divinity.

As I played smooth with her auric field, it wasn’t long before she slipped into a deep sleep.


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