First post in a while…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…
It was a long time before the twins left their Uncle’s side. Their instinct was to just stay there. More silence. Small sobs and reassuring pats were all that could be exchanged in that time after their initial stunned conversation.
Death stunned. It shuddered beyond the person who was taken and overtook those in the vicinity. None of it mattered to the person who passed. Those left behind carried the burden. Noemi and Jose knew that this burden eased somewhat with time, only permeating your subconscious and occasionally conscious mind. It never left though. It stuck to you like a foul stench and for now that stench was debilitating.
Night fall approached and they were beginning to lose their consciousness. Noemi, having remained more resolute and collected, decided that they could not stay in this room any longer. “Brother, we must go to bed. We can’t stay here.”
“Are we just going to leave him here like this?” He asked, not even knowing what he would suggest they do if Noemi said that they wouldn’t just leave him.
“Yes, brother, we leave him here and then we handle this in the morning.”
The short exchange pushed them both to move. After saying something, it didn’t feel as hard as it did some moments ago. They both stood up now and looked down at their Uncle. He looked peaceful in a manner, though the smell had begun given the hot climate. It wasn’t overpowering, but a stench was there.
Moving out into the living room they considered what was next.
“We should sleep,” commanded Noemi, though she made it sound like a suggestion.
Jose shrugged it off and got to his primary concern after his Uncle’s death, “What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know, I guess we’ll have to find someone to bury him. Though I don’t know how much that costs.”
“Me neither,” he responded quickly, trying to shrug off that he was being much more selfish with the initial query.
That was not to be with Noemi though as she gave him her best stare and said, “that’s not what you were asking about. You want to know if we go or not.”
“We have the deeds and look here, Uncle Tito even secured us passage on The Ocean. This is what he wants us to do.”
“I know, I know. I just want to make sure he gets safely in the ground. If we leave him, he’ll probably end up in some unmarked grave like our parents.”
“Noemi, he will end up in an unmarked grave. We don’t have any money for a gravestone.”
“Nothing? How will we get to London then brother!?”
“Sister. Uncle Tito bought that passage with his life. We have only the scraps in our pockets for actual cash. The rest is theoretical until we reach London.”
The anger and rage swelled inside her. She hated the rationality of her brother. She hated the truth. It stung like an open wound covered in rum. Seething. Her brother was the truth and so she decided for a time not to look at him. In a storm she stood up and stomped to her room.
It was an apt time for some solitary thought. They both took to their time in much the same way, flitting between sobs, rage and conflicted feelings. The difference was that Jose had muddled through these feelings to a decision on his future quickly, while Noemi still fought through the conflicts within her and couldn’t make a decision.
She sat in her room contemplating her Uncle’s actions and whether it was Jose who had set him on that path. On the one hand it was clear in her mind that Uncle Tito would not have done this at this moment without the push of this potential new life in London that Daniel Perez had presented at Jose’s urging. However, she wondered how Uncle Tito got the poison. He must have had it in the house or someone must have brought it to him. It could have been Daniel Perez, but her gut thought that wasn’t the answer. This suicide must have been something lingering in his mind, waiting for the right set of circumstances to take hold. So was it really Jose’s fault?
Jose, meanwhile, consoles himself by sitting at the table where his Uncle Tito so often sat, staring into space looking for some absolution. He knew that he was perhaps being too blunt with his rationality on leaving. There would always be the lingering pain caused by the fact that he may not have pushed his Uncle to death, but he certainly provided the right motivation for him to decide life was no longer the best option for him. Sitting there, staring into space, Jose instead turned to the papers. The reason his Uncle made his great sacrifice.
So the twins sat, each in their own type of pain, grieving collectively over the same tragedy, unwilling to grieve together for the time. Life had thrust them into the greatest of decisions. There was no clear way to decide, though it was compelling that Uncle Tito had so stubbornly wanted them to go to London that he killed him self. If they stayed, they would have no home. Nothing tying them down. Not even the shred of hope that they could find their parents’ graves or understand what had happened to them. So why stay?
Noemi refused the rationale that there was nothing for them in Belize Town now. It was there home. She raged at the thought that somehow Uncle Tito’s suicide actually made the option of London more compelling. It was his fault, so why should he get what he wanted all along?