About a native american individual who travels to Australia
A day at school
The tension was mounting. The silence was strained. Each muscle in Wambli’s body strained against the impact that was sure to come, or that he could evade by letting the momentum get the better over his opponent. That’s all he could think of him as, an opponent, anything more would be too equal, and then he could not fight him. The colours of the different shirts worn by the crowd formed a multicoloured ring around the two students, and the sweat that fell, dotting the dry earth in a pattern around their feet.
If he slowed his breathing building he could consciously feel his muscles through his skin, each one tensing and relaxing. He could judge bye the opponent’s eyes that he was swift on his feet and he also guessed that he wasn’t a big fan for face to face confrontation. It was something that his peers drove him to, oh well, he thought innocence can’t last forever.
He let his opponent have the first punch, and he felt the burn, it felt good, he missed it, the roaring that swept his thoughts around in a torrent of sound was the jeering crowd, they sounded so like animals that he smiled. This was nothing more than the animal kingdom, and he knew it, he was just sorry that they tried to hide it, as if it was somehow shameful.
His opponent shifted from foot to foot and it annoyed him, his stature annoyed him, and the colour of his skin especially annoyed him.
A fist flew fast towards his face, but too much weight was behind it. He grabbed it, brought it past his left shoulder and threw his elbow into his opponents face, helping him fall to the ground. Wambli turned around and motioned to his friend, as he walked away a path widened in front of him. The same stunned silence, the same looks, that familiar depression clouding over him and chaining him, but never the less how he liked the feel of the chains against his skin, without it, who could tell what he might become, maybe he was afraid of his other side, the good in him that he could not deny was there.
His friends’ whoops and hollers, followed him down the street, and he tried to shake him off by walking faster, but it was no use, he was too fit.
“That. Was. Amazing! Amazing I tell you! You should have seen their faces. Ha-ha but what were they thinking, that this one would be different! Ha! You showed them Wambli, although you already know it don’t you!” Azul went on like this for quite some time until Wambli told him to shut it, and he immediately went into a sulky silence, casting a furtive glance at Wambli every once and awhile.
They walked. Azul following slightly behind Wambli, they walked past homes where gardens were overtaking houses with vines, strangling the walls and gutters. They walked past porches with mother s sitting and rocking back and forth nursing and crooning to their children.
They walked past families that thought they were alone in their struggles, but failed to see that right next to them their neighbours were having the exact same problem.
They walked past aboriginal elders that sang songs so quietly it was like the whispering sigh of the wind. The willows in the front yard reaching with their lanky limbs towards the two boys that walked past all of this, but as they walked they took none of this in.
Wambli branched to the left, and left Azul shaking his head, staring in puzzlement after his friend.
That was school for the day, they would face the consequences tomorrow, but for today, they would go to their homes, where the walls were a thin layer to the poverty that surrounded them, that was always yearning to seep in and trap them in its quicksand.
Wambli let his feet carry him the rest of the way, and let his mind wander.
He walked past the dog that’s throat had grown hoarse from the barking it had done its whole life. Wambli in response to the fresh bout of barking kicked some stones at it, this making it bark even harder.
The front door was held open by a milk crate, and incense flowed from the house, Wambli was not in the mood to enter a spiritual den, so he cast about for something to do, although sleep soon crowded his eyes and he spotted the couch at the top of the hill behind his house.
He climbed up, sprang onto the couch, careful to miss the lethal springs and was sleeping before his dad could catch sight of him.
The setting is a dimly lit attic, a small rectangular window that looks out over the neighbours roof onto a, choppy, stormy sea.
The beach is littered with seaweed and strangely shaped rocks and driftwood.
Inside the room it smells faintly of must and mothballs, with a thin breeze smelling strongly of seaweed emanating from the window. A rusty electric heater one of the heating globes blown out is pointing directly at the boy’s feet aged 13 named Wambli, who is lying on a single mattress, with covers strangling his legs and entangling his arms, his eyes are open and they gleam with a feverish brilliance, that are barely seen under, long black hair.
His face is rounded with youthfulness, and his, nostrils flare with agony.
Kneeling beside him with a rag is an aged man, but is still the picture of youth in his straight and proud bearing. He leans over the boy gently but firmly wipes his face, whilst humming a soft tuneless melody. He too has dark hair, though it is shorter and thinner, and has white hairs a number of silver strands. His clothes mark his lack of money, but they are worn with dignity and are clean. A simple white long sleeve shirt, and dark pants, his feet are bare, and they work silently, his toes wriggling together, when his hand moves away from the boys face, his body is still, his gaze fixed and, he stops humming to mutter some words.
There is a small bookshelf in one corner, beside hangs a photograph of a Native American boy holding his hunted prize, a smile that radiates from the painting; there is a blurred background, of mountains.
The man stands up and walks to the window a thought straining his features
He looks over at the painting and picks it up. Again he sits down beside the bed this time cross legged.
“When I knew that there was a baby growing inside of her, I was overjoyed, but a great sadness wrapped around me, an oppressing straight jacket that stifled my breath. I had few dollars back then… this didn’t bother me. But a family was way different...
I told her… I tried to tell her that I had to search for better work, I had to provide for the family, she wouldn’t listen, and told me if I left, then I had better not come back, she said that I could hunt, but she didn’t realize that one couldn’t hunt anymore, the white man wouldn’t have any of it… She tried to do terrible things to get money and at one point tried to take you away, it was then that I realised that she was mad, shortly after she died. I really wanted to tell you is about your past, because you know so little of it, and this is just the beginning’
With the first words the boy’s eyes shut and his breathing returned to a somewhat normal rhythm.
Although occasionally he gasped and spluttered, In his mind most of what his father was saying he understood, for the grasp of the fever was slipping away but still present, and each shudder of his body was tired as if an old man’s body had replaced his.
The story gave the boy something to concentrate on, before he drifted off into sleep.
His father checked his pulse and the steady breathing told him he was asleep, the old man put down the picture, and lay down next to his sick son, his story still quivering on his lips waiting to be told…
The fever was a part of him, and the darkness settled over him once more, like an impenetrable night, without the slightest light to guide him. He was in a land of obscure thoughts and dreams, and he felt liked the only thing from staying here forever was his father’s voice somewhere far away, Like the whispers of a distant ocean’s waves crashing against the shore.
He was alone, on a vast prairie, where the rising sun turned the lands a soft golden colour, he walked or rather drifted across the vast lands and felt dwarfed by its enormity of this land and the sky above, he lost track of time and eventually came to a lake, slightly covered in mist and there he stood, seeing ghostly shapes shrouded by the mist, hundreds of them seeming to drink from the lake, they were large and looked similar to horses. He heard drumming in the distance, pounding against his head, a headache shooting blinding pain that he was barely able to stand. The headache reached a climax and he was suddenly perched in a tree in the midst of a village. He looked down on himself and saw that he was an eagle, natives were going about their business, children were laughing and horses were braying. He noticed a child playing in the dirt, and the child noticed him and exclaimed shrilly ‘Haho! Haho!’ Suddenly an arrow came wising towards him. He tried to fly but it followed him, piercing him in the back, when he fell spiralling to the earth he heard wailing, and thought it was his own voice but knew that that kind of suffering could never come from just one heart.
He was in his human shape again and he got back onto his knees and looked up; there he saw a terrible sight. There were thousands of ghostly shapes plodding along a deep red road. Wambli felt the sun beat upon his shoulders, as he looked at these pitiful people, every twenty or so metres there was a white guard holding a gun. He wanted to tear those guards to pieces with his bare hands, he had never felt this hatred before. But alas he could not move, and so he lay there staring helplessly as hundreds of pairs of bloodied feet passed him. There, to the corner of his eye some figures fell, and as the people tried to help them get back on their feet the guards would shove them back with a gun. There was no sound at all, anywhere. Wambli thought that this must be hell, he began to cry, and one of the walkers looked to him and said the following.
“Do not cry young child, for then the white people will see your soul. Don’t you see this is all we have left that is ours?”
The Indian looked away and kept on walking, Wambli stared in shock.
Beside the train of people there bumped along some number of poorly made wagons that were completely empty. Wambli thought this odd, there were so many tired people walking somewhere, but there was no one riding in the wagons.
He turned away and saw that some way down the line there was white villagers lined along the sad pilgrimage, they were laughing, and clasping there sides, bending over double, tears of laughter falling from their faces. But soon the laughter died away and a few of the people’s tears kept on falling, when they saw the state of the natives that were passing.
As Wambli’s confusion grew, he was suddenly on top of a Sacred Indian Tree? He was looking over a mountain range, a lake to his left, and on top of the next mountain he saw a pole, carved with many faces, and he felt a burning desire to go to this pole, and as the desire mounted everything started to blur. He started drifting up towards the sky to where the clouds parted and rays of sunshine streamed down, he was warmed by the sun and despite everything that had passed he smiled.
A chanting was getting louder and louder in his mind and as it grew, the last of the fever faded away. As the last of mist cleared from his mind, his eyes slit open, and he saw his Dad’s head bowed chanting a prayer in another language, he felt the sunshine from the window warm his face, and he smiled, just as in his dream, but he knew than that this was more than just a dream, he knew that he had had a vision, a vision of truth.
Throughout this whole time wether in his vision or in his waking moments he had heard a soft song in the background, sometimes he could not distinguish it between the whispering winds, or the wailing from the sad pilgrimage, he felt warmed by this song and could tell it was sung by a woman that had lost much.
Breakfast the next morning began in the usual way, Wambli woke up a little tired from his fever, and made his way down towards where his dad slept, being extra careful on those stairs where he had almost fallen and broken his neck so many times. He passed the kitchen on the way to the lounge room, and opened the fridge to see what there was for breakfast. The stark walls answered him, with nothing but a half container of margarine, and two mouldy pita breads. He sighed and continued on his way to the lounge to wake his father up, because he had eaten nothing but thin watery soup for a week.
His dad laid sprawled on his fold down mattress in the lounge, the electric heater beside him. His foot twitched every now and then, and Wambli laughed at this.
“Wake up Dad”
Wambli shook his shoulder, but it was no use, he would have to find his own breakfast, money or no money, an idea was forming in his mind as he went to get his bike from the backyard. He could almost smell his idea come to life and his stomach grumbled with a ferocity, that set his legs going faster to get some food.
He cycled to a taco bell and ordered a taco full of everything that the vendor could cram into its shell saying he would pay him well. The vendor looked with suspicion at Wambli but since business was slow he did as he was told and forced the lot in. He placed it down and said it would be three dollars. Wambli shouted watch out, whilst pointing horrified beyond the unsuspecting man shoulder. As the man turned around Wambli grabbed the Taco and made like hell while the fat Vendor screeched abuse and tried to run after him.
When Wambli got back home he was halfway through his Taco. Trying to smile victoriously and eat at the same time was a hard thing to do he thought, when he saw his Dad in the kitchen watching him and rocking in his rocking chair. This meant that he would have to share and he kicked himself for not being smarter.
He walked inside, got a plate and put the half Taco on it handing it to his father.
Silence ensued while his father ate nodding in appreciation.
“You bounce back quickly.”
“Yeah, I guess I'm young.”
Wambli's mind was stuck to his vision, weather it really was a vision or a dream he was not sure, he decided to ask his father's opinion, seeing it was Saturday and he had the whole day to wonder about such things.
“What’s a vision?”
“A vision? It's a little like a dream I guess, although it means a whole lot more, and sometimes if you play close attention to the signs it can show you the future or show you something of the past. Often a vision means you have started the journey to become a man”
Now it was Wambli's turn to reply simply.
“I remember clearly my first vision, it was so clear, almost as if I was there, a bystander that watched the things happen and it meant a lot to me then and still does, I'm always finding new things that relate to my vision.”
“How is it different than a dream?”
“I guess it's one in the same although visions are a little more important and usually always relate to the future, and sometimes have people that are related from the past that... Why are you suddenly interested?”
“I may have had one in my fever.” Wambli spoke quietly.
“Do you remember anything from your fever?” He spoke somewhat anxiously.
“Yeah I remember your voice and a story that you told, and then I think I heard some chanting and then I had the vision, something fused together inside me and I was somewhere else... It's hard to explain.”
“Do you remember anything from the story that I told you? Because I knew I eventually had to tell you the truth, about your past I mean. That chanting was an old verse I learnt from the elders of my tribe, that was more to myself then to you but I’m glad you heard it.”
“I'm Glad as well, but there was a lot in that dream that I couldn't understand and still can't. At one point I was standing watching a lake which was surrounded by mist...
The two's lively conversation drifted out of the window joining the sound's of the birds singing in the middle of a bright Saturday.
It was the middle of an English test. Wambli stared down at his sheet of paper, a mess of scribbles and drawings that he did to pass the time, time seemed to him like there was five minutes in between each tick of the second hand on the clock.
He wondered whether the teachers made it this way and he cursed them under his breath. While searching through his pencil case to find a pen that worked, he found a rubber band near the bottom.
He ripped a piece out of the bottom of his test, screwed it up, put it into his mouth and chewed on it for a while, while he was chewing he looked around for a target but couldn't find one, so instead took the paper out soggy and strung it up on his rubber band, pulled it back and flung it high into the air straight towards the front of the class. It hit the teacher right in the middle of his freshly shined bald head and stuck there like an eye surveying the class.
The Teacher stood stock still while a couple people held in barely suppressed laughter. He then turned slowly around wiping the paper off the back of his head. He shook his hand to get rid of it though the paper did not come off until he had shaken his hand three times, flicking the paper right back at him into his eye.
The teacher howled with fury, and searched for someone to blame pointed a quivering finger at Wambli and bellowed, “Headmasters office.”
Wambli knew not to argue, when the teacher was in this state and so packed up his things with casual ease, and loped out of the classroom trying to hide a smile.
The Hallways of the high school were strange and barren in the middle of lesson time as Wambli whistled his way to the headmaster’s office. Although he wasn't completely at ease, he knew he was on a behaviour contract already, and he knew he couldn't afford this visit. Although he was beginning to see that he couldn't last too much longer in school anyway, he had been keeping one eye out for a job.
The Headmasters office was structured to look intimidating, the desk was on a raised platform, and the chairs where students sat were low to the ground, so all they could see was the Headmasters massive head, on broad set shoulders, staring at them over a great mahogany desk.
It was similar to a laboratory, stark and clean, with artificially coloured fluorescent lights, not a very welcoming environment.
When Wambli entered he cleared his thought three times before the headmaster would bother glancing up.
“Ahh Wambli, dear Wambli, back again, and so soon, I was beginning to miss you, to what can I owe the pleasure-please please sit down” The Headmaster chuckled to himself rubbing his hands.
“I'd rather stand thanks. I have been-”
“Save yourself dear boy, I already know the procedure, although you might find that this time it plays out a little differently”
“At a loss for words? I'll save you the embarrassment. Go sidle in next door to Mr. Teily's office, and wait for him there.”
Wambli continued frowning and wondered what use there was for Mr. Teily the school counsellor. As he shuffled next door, to a completely different set up as to the previous room, he began to be a little apprehensive, normally the school master enjoyed such an experience, dealing with troublemakers and would be reluctant to hand him over to the counsellor.
Wambli was looking through some important looking papers when Mr. Teily burst in, finishing off a sandwich.
“Wambli, what have I told you about snooping through my papers.” Mr. Teily spoke with a full mouth and shook his head.
“No matter, take a seat, I don't have very much time and we have a lot to get through.”
Wambli's confusion grew, and the cheerful counsellor took no notice.
“Okay, we have had a hell of a fun time with you and I think you could say the same about this school but things can't stay the same forever, and when opportunities rise you need to grab them, grab them in a vice like grip and DO NOT LET GO, remember that Wambli, DO NOT LET GO of an opportunity that comes your way.” He paused for a breath, “I'm glad I got that off my chest, now I can see your confusion, no matter how much you try and hide it, and if I was in your place I would be confused too, as to why the Headmaster didn't deal with you this time you will find out shortly but in the mean time is there anything you want to say before we get started.
“What the shit is this all about?” Wambli’s jaw had dropped in Awe.
Teily roared with laughter, “Classic, Classic, I love my job! I Do, But watch your language son, we are right next to the Headmaster's office who may even be listening in,” his voice trailed off in a whisper as he looked warily around him.
“Now let us get down to business. Every year we get a grant from the government that lets us help underprivileged kids such as yourself, go on an exchange program. In simpler terms you Wambli Mitchell Rowan Reed, get's to travel to any destination, within a certain limit, most expenses paid, apart from accommodation etcetera etcetera, instead of spending your time here in year 10. Although you don't get to go for the whole year, we have to be realistic; if you’re lucky you may be able to go for half.”
“Ha-ha your kidding, you have to be, that’s a good one Teily, but let’s say you were serious, why the hell would you pick me, out of all of the high achieving underprivileged people in this school, why someone who get's in fights, and get's sent to the headmasters office daily.
“Because, I get to pick who it is, and this year I pick you. But you may think it is like a holiday, but it is far from it, community service is involved in the deal, so is diary writing, so is an end of year presentation, presented by... wait for it... YOU!”
Wambli found out long ago that hope is what makes people are unhappy, if you hope for something to happen then you will end up unhappy, because nine out of ten it doesn't end up happening. HE had learnt this long ago but as he walked home he felt a fire in his belly, I fire that scared him more than the toughest opponent that he had to fight, and he thought that it faintly reminded him of hope, he tried to douse the fire with the water of his logic, but it would not quell the hungry flames, and this fire bubbled up, until he was whooping down the street running as fast as he could and faster until, he felt each happy bone and muscle in his body working in unison, not working to beat an opponent, but to benefit himself in his happiness....
He finally reached his house and ran inside, blood pounding in his ears, and his breath in rasping gasps.
“I'm going back.”
Wambli knew that he would always go there if he had the chance, but until now it seemed as if it was nothing but a dream.
His dad looked up, the same tired dad that he had always known, but HE Wambli had changed, and he was going away.
“Yes you really need to go back, it's in the middle of the day” His Dad replied somewhat confused.
“What? No no, not to school, I’m going back, to where I was born.” Wambli paused for effect.
“I got offered an exchange program, where I get to go anywhere I want to with most expenses paid, and I choose America, don't you see? I'm out of this dump; I get to go to America.”
His Dad blinked and sighed.
Wambli looked to the side and studied the flies on the window sill waiting for his Dad’s reply. They lined the dirty ledge their broken bodies so pitiful, Wambli's happiness began to ebb away, he began to hate their broken bodies, so weak in the midday light, he hated them, almost as much as he hated his father's next word's.
“You can't go back now, this is our home.”
“But you don't get-”
“THIS IS OUR HOME.” His Dad shouted, his voice broke, and he looked ugly staring down at Wambli whose mouth hung open.
“This is our home, we have started a new life here, and we will NEVER go back to where we were, don't mention another word.” His Dad's breaths were shudders that passed through his body, he stressed each syllable of each word. His galled eyed began to tear up, and he collapsed into the rocking chair that was luckily underneath him, although he still stared at Wambli.
Wambli had never seen his Dad cry and took it for granted that grown men do not cry the truth of what he had believed for so long began to crumble away before him.
Wambli stared down at his Dad, but he could no longer hold his eyes, as if it was a staring contest. His feet swam in and out of focus as tears came forth, and he tried, he tried so bitterly to hold them off, but they sprang forth, and he fled away from his father, who looked almost as broken as the flies on the window sill.
That Night as the moon light transformed the scene into one of a silver city, Wambli drank, alone on the side of the road, under an aura of yellow light from the street lights
Talks forges permission letter to go to America with his dads signature and gives it to Mr. Teily.
‘Boarding flight 377 last and final call, boarding flight 377 final call, all ticket holders please make your way towards gate 3.’
“But I need everything, how many times do I have to tell you, I don’t have any extra money, and I need all of what’s in my suitcase!”
“I’m very sorry mister... Reed, but I cannot break the rules on your behalf; you are going to have to leave some of your luggage behind.”
“You can’t do anything?”
“What about if I take this one on the plane?”
Wambli ripped open the suitcase and dumped a small mound of clothes on the shiny airport floor, zipped it back close , nearly breaking the zip, and dumped it on the conveyer belt.
“Now was that so difficult?” questioned the nasal like voice.
As Wambli walked away clutching his ticket, and dragging his baggage, he heard the same voice shrill, “Well it is a little bit over the limit, but we might just let this one slip, how does that sound Mr. Mint”
Wambli was about to spin around and go tell her what he thought, when he heard the boarding call for his flight, he decided to let it go, and instead concentrated on getting to the gate on time, which was not an easy thing because his baggage still weighed a lot. AS he made his way to the ramp that led to the plane, a woman in a blazer of deep red, with international airlines across it started to close the gates across the path way that led to the plane.
“Wait! Wait! Hang on, that’s my plane. Stop!” Heads were starting to turn, taking a good look at the scene that was unfolding.
The women closing the gates looked Wambli up and down, noting the state of his clothes.
“I’m very sorry, but that was our last boarding call, you need-“
“No, no no, wait, hang on. I have just been held up by the ticket operator. Please it wasn’t my fault”
“Well, as I was saying, you need to have been here earlier, about…” the women looked down at her watch, “one hour and 15 minutes earlier, to be precise.” She started speaking in an unnecessarily loud voice.
“But listen can’t you just tell the pilot just one more person needs to board, and if you could just open the gates I could-“
“NO, now it’s your turn to listen, it is custom that we wait 5 minutes after the boarding call and then we shut the gates, after the gates are shut, they do not open again.”
“But you have to understand, I need to…”
The woman suddenly looked over Wambli’s shoulder as he tried to find the right words.
“Mr Mint, what an unexpected surprise, hold on one moment and I will open these gates. Won't take long.” It was the business man that was next in line after Wambli, and who was treated so generously by the ticket operator.
The Women glanced back at Wambli, saying quietly, “I guess you have to go on now…”
Wambli was ready to hurl abuse at the operator, but held his breath instead giving her a savage look and dragging his suitcase down the ramp towards the waiting 377, following on the heels of the important businessman.
The plane journey.
Wambli could hear the roaring of the crowd screaming in his ears amidst the engine, he remembered when he threw those precise punches, and felt that satisfying contact between his fist and the soft flesh of his opponents’ face. He heard his Father's voice lecturing him on his school grades, screaming at him to clean his room, and nagging at him to take the dirty couch at the top of the hill behind the house and go and take it to the dump.
He laughed when her remembered that he would be in a lot of trouble when he returned as he forged the permission letter saying that he could go to America, and he had also used some of his Dad’s store of money. His dad would find out very soon, but there would be nothing that they could do about it now.
He heard all of this thoughts combining into a crescendo as the plane took off from his country. It was interesting to think of this as his country when he hadn't been born there. But practically his whole life had been spent there so far, he kissed his first girl when he was fourteen in the grandstands, he remembered it well. They were alone in the enormity of a structure of steel and plastic, two peoples creating warmth where there was none before, and feeling an intimacy that the steel surrounding them could not understand. HE smiled at this thought, and thought over the other things which he had spent his time. A green frog jumped into his head, he was nine, innocence still defending him against the evils of the world. On his way home from school, something in the gutter caught his eye by its bright colour. A green tree frog, what it was doing in the gutter he did not know, but as he looked closer he saw one of its legs had been run over by a bicycle. Wherever this creature came from, he picked it up and nursed it back to health, or a somewhat healthy condition for it could no longer walk, he whispered his secret thoughts to it, and told it stories of fantasies that crowded his mind and needed to be let out.
And then one day most unexpectedly it died, he felt little emotion, only a strange detachment, and tipped it out over the fence for the neighbour’s dog to play with.
It was weird he thought, if it had been a common toad, he would have ended its life right there in the street, and walked on continuing to rap along to the song in his earphones. But this frog wasn't common so therefore he saw it as somewhat special.
His first fight he also remembered well, then weeks of fighting that turned into months that eventually said Farwell to the thing called innocence that had once protected him.
His first fight was so easy to remember, and so hard to forget for the simple reason that he got beaten to within an inch of his life, he remembered it as if it happened to him only the other day, the pain he felt burned itself into his memory, not only the physical pain, in fact not that at all, but the pain of embarrassment, of losing, of having someone take from him which should not be taken, someone controlling him. He vowed that that would not happen easily again, but he also vowed he would never beat someone that much, so they could never feel what he did that day.
Everything that happened on this country of his, which looked so barren and bleak outside of the window, was what made him him, however much he may have hated who he was, he did not regret living here, so In fact this was more his homeland than where he was born, and would always be.
He cast his eye outside once more and saw beneath the silver rimmed clouds parts of the ocean, so mysterious in its vastness, but a mystery that made one smile and wonder.
Wambli felt himself at ease for once in a long while, he had no need to look over his shoulder, he had no need to glaze his eyes over when his maths teacher started to talk, for once he wasn’t afraid to let some feeling of belonging in this world enter his heart. Although he felt immediately guilty, and afraid, for perhaps realizing what the world contained for him and what he could become was more frightening than thinking that his life was already set in stone.
For once, he had opened his eyes and was looking around him.’
He tore his eyes and especially his mind from the scene bellow, when his name was repeated to his left...
“Mr Reed, Mr. Reed, would you like a complementary tea or coffee, with a cookie? Mr Reed...
Wambli looked at who was addressing him and saw the flight attendants? Were there with a trolley of kettles and cups.
“Yeah alright, when's lunch?”
“Not for another two hours”
“Alright, I'll take two cups of coffee, and a couple of cookies.”
“At your service, sir.”
Wambli smiled, he liked this one.
“Make that three cookie’s”
“Three cookies.” She repeated.
“And can you put milk and sugar in one coffee and leave the other one black with no sugar?”
“Thanks a lot.”
Wambli watched the attendant pour the coffer slowly, making sure not to let the turbulence disturb her hand.
“Travelling alone, are we?”
“Yep. Apart from all the others on the plane”
“Are you going to visit relatives?”
“Yea. Yea I guess I am. Some of them any way... I'm going back to my homeland to uncover the truth about my past.”
“Well then, you'd better have four cookies then haven’t you?”
“If you need anything else, press the service button, located above your head.”
But the teen in the seat didn't hear the rest for his eyes were glued back to the window, his one hand absentmindedly tapping the chair.
After awhile sleep dulled his thoughts, and soothed his muscles, leaving him to sink further into the reaches of his mind then waking thought could allow.
He was standing in an alleyway with absolutely no idea how he came to be there or why, on the fringes of his vision there was a bustle of noise and light. He shook his head to try and clear the noise but it would not clear, he tried to block his ears but the noise resided from within and from without. He started jumping up and down trying to escape the noise, and stopped when he heard a voice.
“Got sss-ssome sort of of of a problem k-k-kid?”
Wambli looked down, there was a bum sitting in a cardboard box smoking a Cuban cigar, the smoke drifting up in streams of translucent silver, and baffling his sense of smell, this added to the noise, made Wambli crazy, he ran a few steps away, while the Bum started to laugh, and this made Wambli angry, he ran back and picked the bum up by his shirt and brought him to the wall.
The bum continued to laugh, and Wambli looked down and his body, it was skinny, malformed and knobbly, Wambli was horrified, and this made the Bum's laughter grow.
“Life is quite unexpec-ected init” The homeless man with a malformed body roared with laughter as Wambli held him, not daring to let go.
And through his laughter, the noise of the car's, and the smoke still drifting into his nostrils, Wambli heard the sound of a flute, it's notes drifting, lilting and happy. This made Wambli start to laugh and he found that at the end of the alley way that was littered with wasting bodies there was standing a figure in a cloak playing a silver flute, a strange melody that made him indescribably happy.
The flute was radiating light so he couldn't see the figure, but he didn't care, he started giggling with delight, and as he did the man that he was holding, stood up tall and proud and began to do an irish jig, humming to the notes of the flute all the while.
He woke up to the sound of his name being repeated again.
“Mr. Reed- Mr, Reed”
Wambli's eyes cracked open, and he looked up at the same flight attendant, holding a book out towards him.
“What's that for?” Wambli questioned.
“You pressed the service button, and kept muttering that you wanted a book to write in.”
“Are you sure? I have just been sleeping”
Wambli frowned and looked around him, pinched himself and looked up at the attendant.
“Is this a dream?”
“Not that I know of Mr. Reed, are you sure your quite well”
“I-I-I don't, I didn't, oh well... Thanks for the book.”
“At your service Mr. Reed”
Wambli stared at the book dumbly.
Questions were surging through his brain, he was quite sure he hadn't asked for a book, even in his dream. His dream had nothing to do with a book.
Nevertheless he opened the book apprehensively, and stared as he did the front cover at the first blank page. He remembered the school's conditions about going to a country and writing a diary.
He took a pen from his fanny pack and wrote at the top of the page Wambli Reed. He looked around, and then back at the book, a second later he repeated this process and then began to re-write the dream he had just had.
… And then the bum started dancing happily right there in front of me, when moments before he had been a cripple that stood upright only because I was pinning him against the wall. Wambli looked up and then back down at the page frowning and his eyes looking past the pages before him into a memory that was not so far away.
This dream reminds me of a dream.. or a vision I had when I was In a high fever, not by it's content but by its clearness, and it's vividness, almost like it was the real thing, apart from a few odd details, it was like I was living a separate life in a dream.
He looked over his words, and laughed out loud, if only his class mates saw him, writing in a purple diary and thinking about his feelings, he would have a lot more people to fight than just one. He closed the book and tilted his head back, and to all observers his stillness would have been seen as sleep, but his mind was whirring with thoughts and questions, and somewhere in the midst he saw his father, sitting alone in his chair by the kitchen smoking his cigar, his worried brow marking his impeding age.
Wambli’s trepidation grew not as he remembered his old life and what he once knew, but as his cast his mind to the uncertain future like a fisherman uncertain about what his thin fishing line would reel in to him.
Landing In America.
Landing in an unknown country by oneself creates a feeling most like alienation than one has ever felt before, and for Wambli it was no different.
As he stood on the outskirts of the airport wondering what to do next, he heaved in great lungfuls of foreign air, that seemed to him both bitter, because it was unlike the air of his land back home, and sweet because it was unlike any air he had ever tasted, it was the freshness of a mountain stream, and the pungent sweetness of cedars, it was mountain air, and he breathed it in as if he had thirsted it since a child.
Although he could not appreciate it fully because it was tainted with engine fuel, and he could not concentrate with the great noise of the planes taking off and arriving. He gripped the cold metal of a fence and even his legs knew that it was different ground to that of his home, he could somehow feel it through his legs. He shrugged it off. He was obviously just tired and jet lagged from the long journey.
He searched for a car that looked like a good one to flag down, but he second guessed and figured he had better get a taxi, because although you could hitchhike in Australia, without having to worry too much, he did not want to board a car that was driven by a sexually depraved phsycopath, that was on his way to a cult.
He looked back at the airport; he had walked quite a way just to realize this, with bags that were tearing his muscles. He sighed picked them up and began trudging back to the airport when two bikes and two riders came speeding around the corner, the saw him and skidded to a stop either side of him and his luggage.
“What 'ave we got 'ere then Skinny?”
Skinny, the other bikie shrugged and replied that they had a foreigner.
“Damn right it a foreigner Skinny, 'n you know what we do wiv foreigners.”
The two went on like this, while Wambli stood still holding a pen tightly in hand.
“IT's a bloody Injun, ‘t Boot, Skinny.” By this time they were spitting with excitement.
“Don't that mean it ain't a foreigner Red?
“It...” Red stopped taken aback, “It, It doesn't matter what it is Skinny, he's by himself, you half wit, you’re always talkin' back and I’m sick of...
A black back hit Skinny squarely in the face knocking him backwards, in a moment Wambli was on top of him with the tip of his pen digging into his neck. Wambli turned to the injured ones friend.
“Leave, if you want your friend to keep breathing, cycle to that pole over there.”
Red without questioning got on his bike and cycled away, looking back every couple of seconds with a terrified expression on his face.
Wambli looked down at the one whose name was Skinny and he lessened the pressure of the pen against his neck.
“You’re lucky I'm using this pen and not the kitchen knife in my backpack. Now if you want to keep walking, then do so, and walk ten metres that way towards your friend. Do, you, understand, what, I, am, saying” The last words Wambli articulated slowly because the look on the face that was beneath him was of pure idiocy.
Skinny nodded and started to grovel backwards; he got up and started running in the opposite direction from where his friend had gone, but looking back every few seconds.
Wambli picked up his bags, hung them on the handlebars of the bike that his attacker had left and rode, towards the buildings that rose in the distance, he was tired and a little shaken but he was happy he didn't have to pay for a taxi, for he had little money to spend.
He shook his head at the stupidity of the two people which had tried to mug him; of course he couldn't have a kitchen knife in his baggage as he had just been on a plane. Any half wit could have figured that out, even a quarter wit.
Wambli put it out of his mind for now and concentrated on riding, for the imbalance cause by his luggage was extremely hard to ride with, as well as the occasional loud honk from passing cars.
A throbbing of a headache was coming into focus, and it was harder and harder to ignore as he rode on. But as there was no paracetamol plant growing on the sides of the road, he would have to wait until a service station.
Cars honked loudly as they passed Wambli and he kept raising the finger and swearing angrily.
But eventually he got tired of it and just kept of the steady pumping of his legs.
It was late at night when he arrived at a youth hostel, the host noted his state and said that his dorm would be third door on the the left, and that it would be 10 dollars per night. Wambli was too tired to haggle the price lower somehow, so he paid, took the key and asked where he could put his bike? The host said that he could put it out the back but he couldn't guarantee it's safety, Wambli nodded in consent, did so and by the time he got to his dorm he could barely keep his eyes open to slot the key in the key hole. When inside he dropped his bags heavily on the floor, and fell, equally heavily onto his bed to fall into a deep state of sleep that he had rarely been in.
The morning brought a sense of anxiety and overwhelming responsibility that nearly made him gasp, he had entered into a new environment by himself, and he needed to learn how to become a man. Although this overwhelmed him his desire to pee did so more, and so he decided to face the world, even if it was just long enough to visit the toilets.
HE was walking back to his dorm, in a sureal world. He could not believe that he was now in America, and the days that stretched before him seem to present mysterious possibilities but also seeming insurmountable problems.