Wallowing songs of the crickets filled my head. The moon stood low over the desert valley, sobbing quietly in her loneliness. There were no stars in the sky that night.
The dusk-drunk heavens sagged with their own bitter memory of yesterday, yearning of the blue promise of a painfully hot day in hours to come. I missed winters on the mountain, where the sky knew nothing of color for weeks, except for a burst of it at dawn each morning. For hours until that dawn, the sky was riddled with white clouds and one would never imagine that it once was blue.
To my neighbors living in the village compounds back home, I was often deemed queer for my early-rising tendencies. I had enjoyed the blunt cold and the quiet that came with the special hour, and no amount of teasing could convince me otherwise. An old man who used to live across the road from us would tell me every morning, “Enjoy the cold do you? Cherish it now; we’ll forget the feeling when we’re sweating off the glow of hell’s fiercest fires.” He was a small minded man.
Now that I was away from my home, the only things that entered my mind were the old memories of my unforgettable childhood.
A frighteningly large beetle scuttled across the dirt floors of the tent. My heartbeat quickened and I scampered away from it, trying not to be loud enough to wake the others. I didn’t want to bother them this late in the night. My mother had always said that a sleeping problem should only concern the bearer and no one else. But I think that it was just her way of teaching me not to bother her with such issues.
I miss home, my heart sighed wistfully, gazing at the shadows playfully swaying across Eve’s face as she slept. I know, I answered lightly, patting my chest to comfort it. I was grateful for the meal and the shelter the nomad people had so graciously given to me, but I knew I couldn’t stay for long. I was needed back at home—I had been convinced that my sisters were not coming back. My heart still believed they were alive, but no part of me believed they would return back to the shabby adobe hut amongst the worker’s compounds.
Bitter winds of ice struck my nose as I slipped quietly out of the tent. The entire village was very still—so still in fact, one would believe that there wasn’t a soul among the pitched tents that was breathing. My older sister Venus once told me that if a house of people all slept in complete silence through the night, it was an omen of death. I wondered how that would apply to a whole village.