Squatting and blowing onto the coconut husks
Willing for the fire to reignite,
Sweat dripping off his wide forehead,
His arms blackened by charcoal,
His lavalava was lifted to expose muscly thighs.
I scolded myself mentally for staring so longingly.
I'm here for an errand, not to gawk at strange beautiful men, I remind myself unconvincingly.
"What do you want?" Muscly thighs called out,
"My mother sent me to get a tauaga" I answered nervously.
He dropped the husks, walked across the earth kitchen and reached for the tauaga.
"Give it back, its our only one"
I knew nothing of him, he was a stranger in our village.
One day he was there, the next, he had disappeared, exiting only in my thoughts and dreams.
The following month, I boarded the Salafai ferry with my heavy umu basket
I did not notice the man following me up the stairs
Until I was in the dark corner of the car port, when he touched my shoulder lightly and said "O oe lea ga avea le makou kauaga a?"
I pretended I didn't know him, although my dreams revolved around his muscly thighs.
I tried to remain unimpressed but his smile was kind and warm.
From that time on, we met in secret, wrote love letters to each other and talked endlessly on the ferry to and from Mulifanua.
My heart has eloped, Aue, ua avaga lo'u loto
I wanted him to take me to his village, but he refused saying his family are busy with a faalavelave.
I wanted him to come to my house but he refused because my father might dismember him.
And so we continued to meet in secret, in beach fales, in park reserves, on queen poto buses, under tamaligi trees, under fu'afu'a trees, beyond sea walls, and wherever a taxi was willing to take us.
That was 6 months ago.
I lie here now, watching the ants crawling on the ceiling, hearing the pilis croaking now and then, counting the nails from one corner to the next, memorising the number of louvres on the shabby window frame. Ten cars have passed in the last 3 minutes, one of those is a bus playing Vaniah, "Liliu le taimi"
I've lost count of weeks, days, hours.
I want to scratch my chin, but,
My arm is rendered useless for now, my leg suspended on wires,
At least I can see through my right eye.
I can't feel my neck but the brace is biting into my shoulders.
They said my left ear cannot be reattached.
Oh, but the venom of an angry Samoan woman.
My lover forgot to mention