" As a writer
you try to listen
to what others
aren't saying...
and write about
the silence "
- N.R. Heart

Story Teller with 9 Fingers

June 27, 2020

PROMPT: Ancestors Speak

My Great Grandmother had her finger bit off by a crocodile. 

(The first time I heard this little tidbit, I hardly believed my mum. They told me she came from the amazon rainforest, and despite my Peruvian background - my westernized brain could hardly believe even this.)

When I imagined her,  I saw tall silhouettes and untamed hair - bronzed skin not afraid to shine and bright, large eyes. My mum would rave about her accent, its strange yet intriguing intonations - how the jungle shaped her tongue and her the words wrapped around it like vines, twisted yet inviting, the voice of a storyteller.  She told me of her secret smiles and whispers, and swore that she held secrets in those long, enticing eyelashes

My Great Grandfather saved her (Or at least that was what I was told). He saved her from family and friends, and, without a look back, brought her into a world of apartments and locked car parks. 'So romantic' my Aunt would sigh, her foundation lighter than her skin tone, covering up the jungle steeped brown of her own. I was told he was a burly man. A loud one, whos words took up the space of the room, hands reaching out the the corners of our thoughts. He pushed too far, too loudly, and her words drowned in the ocean of scrutiny. She walked two steps behind him, a modest pale dress reaching her ankles as she walked past the town. She barley spoke, though many insisted it was due to her lack of Spanish.

'She was a doll', my uncle would drawl out between puffs of smoke and disinterest, 'always sitting politely and never sayin' a peep'. She was so near perfect, an almost white canvas - and not at all what I had thought she was. Her hair was tamed to a neat bun at the base of her neck, and her skin seemed flat underneath that makeup. Her finger, or the lack thereof, however, had always been a point of interest - her face lighting up whenever someone asked. Her accent would flourish, unknown words slipping into her sentences ('like unwanted visitors', my Great Grandfather would have grouched) and the story spilt like wine on cloth. On most days, she wore gloves - at her husbands insistence. 

'She was always loosin' them - that girl. Only jungle-people could be so stupid to loose a pair the eighth time!' my Aunt would respond, clucking her tongue and reapplying her blood red lipstick. Great Grandfather would buy a new pair each week, and she would loose them a day later. I suspect it had more to do than her simply being forgetful, but I kept my silence close too my chest.

She, however, never did loose her secret smile and story-telling accent (she had, on the other hand, lost a finger)


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