Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nauru Seventies Days


Republic of Nauru – Location Compound
September 1979

Dusk; the girl with her two friends rolled out their mat on the ground at the side perimeter of the open air cinema. On cue as darkness proper covered the place, chattering stopped and the movie began: yet another Chinese action film with English subtitles which most of the audience would not be unable to understand fully!

The girl sneaked a look around at the 100 or so people all seated on mats with their faces intently raised to the large screen.  It had taken her 3 years to become fluent in their language but worth the effort as she was now an accepted part of this mixed community of migrant workers from Kiribati and Tuvalu.

Indeed she was crazy in love with a boy, one of their own but he didn't come to see her anymore since she refused to run away with him to his Uncle in Majuro.  She couldn't understand how he could stay away and there were no explanations forthcoming, just the hurt inside.  His cousin brother and her two friends of the evening (who were also close relatives of her Love) understood   this pain and urged her constantly to go to him if she wanted him back. 

Too proud to chase him, the girl just accepted the boy's decision to sever the relationship whatever his reasons.  He had avoided her for three months now and she wondered why she even stayed here in this place rather than return to NZ and move on with her life.

The girl really was not concentrating on the movie and constantly scanned people's comings and goings to the venue in case she could catch a glimpse of his face at least.  Not that he ever turned up here these days but you never knew and anyway she searched out his face and form where ever she moved around on the Island. It had become habit.
Satisfied that the boy was not around, the girl settled down to concentrate on the film finally.

The purr of a motorbike engine interrupted her concentration and the girl glanced at the dark road where it had stopped fairly close to where they sat on their mat.  It was the boy standing astride the machine and scanning his gaze across the audience obviously looking for someone.

Heart bumping, feeling a confused mixture of euphoria and apprehension she froze instinctively wanting to hide herself in the middle of her two friends but they spotted their brother and signalled him over. 

The boy parked the motorbike properly, approached where the three were sitting. He did not acknowledge his sisters, gave the girl a long, searching look and without a word pulled her to her feet, and away to the motorbike. Still without speaking he climbed on the machine and started it. The girl climbed onto the pillion.

Sitting close in behind him in that familiar place with her arms right around him to hold on she snuggled her face into his back and wished the ride could never end. 

The air was less humid on the other side of the Island as the boy cruised into Anebare Bay.  The beach was deserted; the night sky was clear; full up with stars. 

The boy had still not spoken a word since this encounter and the girl wanted answers so she asked him why he had sought her out like this after all these months.  The boy only pulled her close and covered her mouth with a deep kiss.  He led her silently by the hand along the beach to a patch of white sand under the Pandanus trees. This was their spot; they had been here many times before.

She tried to ask more questions but was once again silenced and gave up to the moment. They made love tenderly right there in the sand…….

 Sometime later with words still unspoken between them, the boy pulled her to her feet and started the motorbike again. They climbed on and rode slowly around the coast back to the Cinema.

The movie was just about coming to a close when the girl climbed off the pillion. She asked him again for explanations but he just gave her one last long lingering look before speeding off into the darkness….

This was the last time these two saw or spoke to each other ever again…  Heartbroken, the girl finally returned to NZ in mid-1980

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