38th Thread: When I lost the knife, she died.
We were searching for berries, when I stumbled on a stump. Behind it was a nest, imagine, a woodcock with chicks! They tried to flee, but we had not eaten meat for so long we were not going to let them escape. We walked back, proud, the girl carrying two chicks, the boy two others and I had the hen and one more chick. You did not walk yet, you had stayed with Mother. When we arrived, I had lost the knife I carried around. Its blade had chopped our reeds, had sliced the skin of our goats, peeled our roots, cut our umbilical cord, and everything else. My mother, who liked to rest her hand on my shoulder because I was her best helper, who had never slipped the knife in anyone’s belt but mine, beat me. I was the cause of our ruin.Barbarians returned, they took the goats. No more goats. No more knife. We were hungry. One morning, the man was gone. Do not leave, I beg you. The children the man had brought died of disease and hunger. When the bandits arrived on horses, they would drag our mother to the clearing. She said, do not look, but I had already seen so much. They also took me sometimes. Afterwards, at least, they gave us something, a piece of cheese, apples, a little grain. You did not understand anything, but I shared the gain with you. When her belly swelled, I was scared. I knew what was coming. Her cries woke me. I would open my eyes. It was always at night. I could not see. I heard her move, cawing like a crow. We must not imitate a bird, she should have known. When the day came, I would see her wild eyes in her face, her chest, her swollen belly. Her arms flailed, as if she wanted to fly. The curse of women does not worry you. I was scared, I was scared, but she did not see me anymore. Her body opened up, the blood flowed, I thought she was going to empty out, and the baby slipped out, like a turd.I would have preferred for it to be abandoned, thrown on the heap of waste outside the cave. She took the newborn on her belly, she rubbed it. A baby to feed, worry about, carry, why did she keep them? Her skinny limbs barely carried the weight of her big belly. Her bones pierced the skin, her teeth came loose, her eyes turned yellow. What would I do without her? When she died, the baby was still moving under her skin. I dragged the body out, the baby still inside, as far as I could, but I was too small to bury it. You were waiting for me, my darling brother. I covered her with branches and leaves, I did my best, but what could I do about the wolves, foxes, dogs, ravens? Nothing. I went back for you. You were the only one left. We could not stay alone in the cave. Do not leave. I carried you in my arms. I could have left you, I could have put you under the branches and leaves, with Mother and the baby kicking inside her. Everything would have been easier. I did not know where we were going. We ate roots, berries. You do not remember! We found an empty hut in the forest with a bloodstained blanket. I already knew to pick chestnuts and acorns. Later, I went to work in the fields of a fortified farm, to feed you better, until you were old enough to work. Do not go away, stay with me. We’ll find you a wife, I promise you, you will have children, beautiful, strong, nimble like us. I will help you. I will eat little, I will work hard, your children will be my children. Do not leave.