The sun streamed through the rafters and cast a broken lattice on Djyn’s sleeping figure. A spider was making its way across the roof of the hut. enjoying the warmth of the just born sun. A mosquito ventured slowly towards the little boy clinging to his mother, in quiet repose. His little chest rose slowly up and down beneath the felt razai.
He was dreaming.
He was sitting in his little treehouse. playing with the new baby (the one who was going to come in a few months). She had blue unflinching, curious eyes that peeped out through a round freckle face. Her hair was dark and curly. It bounced up and down as she laughed excitedly. He was explaining to her the law of the jungle. Just as Baba Qi had explained it to him so many times. It was a happy dream. Baby was smiling.
The morning had woken.
Djyn opened his eyes and let the world in. He looked around him. the ashes from last night’s cooking fire lay on one one side. his mother was sleeping next to him. Outside Baba Qi was boiling his daily concotion of herbs and leaves. Qi-tea the children liked to call it. Nobody knew what he put into it. but it was beautiful. not too sweet, or sour. It was just right, a symphony of flavours married in an earthen pot. The pot itself was ancient. It had funny symbols carved into the black neck. When little Djyn asked Baba about the symbols, every time, he would give him a different answer. The story of us, he said once. or alphabets from a foreign language. He didn’t reveal much, and he would smile that simple smile that Djyn loved. That was Baba.
Every action, every movement, every joint in his body, where skin stretched over bone, every little twitch, was infused with the breath of peace. If silence was a person it would have been Baba. It was as if the patience of the ages, the watchful calm of the forest rested in his fragile frame; as if an ocean slumbered behind his radiant eyes. When he spoke, it was brief, only what the moment demanded.
not one word less,
not one more.
Seeing him stirring the cauldron, Djyn went out and jumped onto his father’s back and tried to tickle him behind his ears. Baba laughed.
“Are you ready?”
“I am”, he chirped back.
It was the big day. they were going to put the last slab on the tree house that he had built by himself. Well, almost. Baba had showed him how to let the wood find its own way, how to never go against the grain – and allow it to become the structure, rather than beating it into shape. It was quite beautiful really. There was only one , to complete his little haven.
“What are we waiting for then?”, he whispered in that husky voice, slinging Djyn properly on to his shoulders, with the axe in his other hand. They trotted to the grove, and Baba started to climb to the top with Djyn on his back, swinging effortlessly from one branch to the next, before jumping on to the wooden floor of the tree-house.
Djyn saw it first.
His eyes widened.