A Novel: Ostatini Las Part 2
“Why not?” she asked, her bright eyes wide and innocent. The man, no, boy, for he, too, was lost without the father of their camp, had to swallow several times before answering,
“He – he had to leave.”
“But I want to see him!” she demanded, tears welling in her eyes as she scanned the crowds around her for him. “Where is he?” The man struggled to answer, but the girl’s mother took her out of his arms and into her own.
“Oh, my daughter, do you not see? He is in the air, in the trees. You can still hear him. Listen!”
“But Mamma!” the girl protested. “I hear only the rain!”
“Daddy is the rain, young one. Do you not hear his voice singing from within it, every drop ringing with his voice? He is still here, my daughter; he still calls, and he still protects.” The little girl listened hard, her ears straining as she tried to hear her beloved daddy’s voice. The others did not have the heart to tell her she listened in vain, for surely, her daddy’s voice would not be heard.
She listened for many years, each raindrop making its own melody off of the padded floor. She never heard him. No matter how hard she strained; how hard she tried, his voice evaded her. Even when she truly understood what had happened, still she listened, any day the forest ran with rain, she would sit outside and listen, awaiting the day when she would finally hear. Perhaps one day she would.
For now, however, she could only hear the echoes. Echoes of his voice, his smell, even the feeling of his arms around her. Over the years, she forgot the sensations but never his voice nor his final goodbye. Without a body, without a grave, yet with all of the customs used on any worthy being. He had been sung, into eternal sleep, forever. He deserved it. No one had fought as hard as him or laughed as loudly. He had been the rebel movement, and though at times they prospered, they never forgot, and they never grew.