Our Mother’s Journal
Excerpt from Akrad’s Children (Ista’s Point of View)
Ista pulled out a bundle from her robe. She placed it in the space between them and opened up the soft leather to reveal a shimmering red cloth bag, a leather-bound notebook and a small vial.
“He gave me this. He said it was our mother’s,” she said.
Dinnis leant forward, his face suddenly intense. He picked up the bag and emptied out the contents: a gorgeous jade and gold necklace with six pointed stars, double circles and, at the nadir, a beautifully carved translucent bird with a crest, long wings and tail. Matching earrings and bracelets slide out after it. His eyes gleamed like reflected water.
“I remember this. I remember her wearing it.”
He handed the jewellery to Ista and picked up the stone vial, carved with the bird on both sides and took out the stopper. A subtle scent of summer flowers wafted on the breeze.
“That’s her perfume.”
He swallowed and looked down at the book. He opened it. They both bent over it so that their heads were almost touching and pored over the pages. It was full of drawings – many of their father with his horse or dogs and often with a young boy – a swirling handwriting scrawling labels underneath such as “My love” and “Dinnu with Tracer.” Interleaved where unattached pages with short messages and embarrassing romantic poems in their father’s precise writing. On the last page was a hasty sketch of a woman’s face by a different artist and the same precise writing, wilder and untidy, with the words in Nolmec “My evening star, my phoenix, my life … today the world died. How can I go on?”
Dinnis choked back a sob as he pulled a notebook from his tunic. Opening it up, he smoothed the page where another, more practiced sketch of a woman’s face stared at them. It was the same – the dark, oblique eyes, high cheekbones, small straight nose, smoky blue skin and a curtain of black hair, lines of carefree laughter.
“So I did remember her face,” he said.
Her brother’s own face, usually so impassive, was made strange by emotion – grief, regret and tenderness. He seized the precious things, wrapped them in the leather cloth and thrust them into her hands. Leaning back against the tree trunk, he closed his eyes.
“And now you are going away too.”
Chapter 52, p 235
© Jeanette O’Hagan 2013
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