Friday, January 6

Falling in Love

Image result for tainos

She was the daughter of a caquique. Her hair, dark and flowing against her smooth bronze skin, smelled of honey and cassava. He had no hope of catching her eye as a naboria, a member of the working class, and yet, as sure as the ocean beat the sandy shores of their island, his heart beat for Ayita alone.


He had first seen her in the light of the morning sun. He was bent down, retrieving a smooth stone he had dropped, when she appeared, illuminated by a ray of light cutting through the thick canopy of branches. Her body was stark, yet she stood confidently, inhaling deep the scent of the woods. She was to him the first woman created and his heart whispered a pledge to her. From today until the end of time, I will be yours.


Kaiman picked up a gourd and brought it to his mouth. What could he do to improve his lot? He felt shame for his desires. God would punish him for his greed. Everyone was at peace except him. He could have any woman for a wife, but he wanted what he could not have.

**********


Ayita rose from her hammock. It was early enough that most of her family still slept silently in the comfort of their large caneye. Her father had 30 wives. He was a great caquiqui, wise and handsome. No one suffered lack in their village and his astuteness had protected them from raids from the neighboring Caribs on more than one occasion. She raised her arms up in a gentle stretch before making her way through the maze of sleeping bodies and woven mats laid out on the earthen floor.


On stepping outside of the caneye, she heard her mother call to her, "Ayita, come help me make this bread." Her smile was wide and her eyes shone with joy as she regarded her only daughter. Ayita knelt beside her mother and embraced her warmly. "Good morning, Bibi."


"What plans do you have for today?"


"I wanted to play batey with my brothers. Naniki said she wanted to play too,” she added, mentioning her younger half-sister.


"But won't you get in the way, my butterfly?"


Ayita hugged her mother once more, laughing as she nodded her head. "Of course we'll be in the way!"


"Ah! You mischievous child! Here, you better take some of this cassava  bread with you then," she said, wrapping the bread in a bundle.

"Thank you, Bibi." Ayita smiled, taking the bread.