It was just a little bit of color, red, then blue, and green, dancing all of them around in my head. My sister, Lyra, had been the first to follow the colors into the world of dreams, then Sadea after her. The two of them were children at the time, and my birth wasn’t even a theory yet. My mother, Kadja, had been raising the two girls on her own for eleven years when she learned of my conception.
The result of a short lived romance with someone my grandmother described as a passing stranger. The meeting between him and me wouldn’t come about until my fifteenth birthday, upon which time he’d whisked me away to unknown land. Meraket is the name he chose for me before disappearing back to his own country.
Lyra and Sadea eleven years my seniors didn’t coddle me in the manner I’d observed other older siblings doing in our village. My arrival was the end of their schooling days as the rearing of another offspring drained what little money my mother could acquire laboring in the fields, and sisters were forced to join her.
Most days my grandmother kept watch over me, advising that I stay clear of “the strangers”. It wasn’t until I turned nine years old that it possible to find out exactly who these outsiders were. I’d seen their red and white trucks before at the village entrance. Neighbors and friends would line up beside them and return to their homes with food and medical supplies. Never had I’d seen my mother or sisters do this.
“That’s because the last time she stood in that line she came back with you.”Lyra said, gripping my arm to keep me from moving any closer to the trucks.
“With me, how?” I questioned.
“She brought that man back,” Sadea interrupted. “And he left you.”
Exasperated with my futile attempts to escape her grip, Lyra abruptly let go of my arm. Sending me jettisoning forward which caused me to trip and skin my knee, blood oozed to the surface.
“Don’t cry!” Sadea blared. The two of them start to walk away.
“Go ask them to help you,” She yelled from behind me.
At the entrance of the village there were massive tents set up each one with a different line in front of it. There was no way to know where to stand; I couldn’t make out the markings on the signs. Upon reaching the front of my line a woman unlike any I’d ever seen before took my hand and bend down to my level.
“What’s the matter dear, are you hungry?” She accent is stranger and her words are difficult for me to understand. Rather than try to respond, I point to my knee, where the blood has now already dried. She takes me inside the tent. There she seats me and returns with a red and white box. She dabs at my knee with wet white cotton, sending a stinging sensation through my leg.
“Hold still now,” she says.
The pain is upsetting, but an odd object beside us holds my attention. The pale woman is in the object and right next to me at the same time.
“You like the mirror huh,” she says. “Want to see it?”
She places it in my hands.
“That’s you!” she exclaims.
My face, it was the first time I’d ever seen it.