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Silja Henningsdottir's picture
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“I likes our speshkul talk.” Anneka gave her most inquisitive stare at Silja across the table. “Why dun’t Momma and Poppa know the speshkul talk?


Slija smiled back. “That’s because they have not learned to speak Icelandic.”




“I suppose because they don’t need to, Nobody else I know can speak it either, that’s why it’s special.”


Anneka considered this for a moment, a puzzled look crossed her face. Silja knew more questions were coming, ever since their visit to the orphanage, Anneka had been asking many many questions. It seemed her horizons had been expanded so much and her three year old mind needed to join all the dots and then colour in the spaces.


“So… who teached you to speak ‘Slandic. Did your nanny teached you?”


Silja laughed “No, nobody taught me. I come from Iceland, everybody spoke it there.”


Anneka’s brow furrowed more “ What is an ice land?”


Silja laughed again. “Its not a thing, it is a place, far far away. Iceland.”


“Oh… it sounds cold if it is made of ice.” In Anneka’s mind she imagined Silja bobbing around on something akin to an iceberg. Silja read the thoughts and explained a little more.


“It was not cold all the time, in summer there was lots of grass and the animals went out and played in the field. I lived on a farm with my Momma and Poppa and we had sheep, and cows, and a pony.”


“Oh.. “


Silja could see the cogs turning inside Anneka’s mind. She felt a little apprehensive as to where the conversation was going. She could see that Anneka’s curiosity was piling up questions behind her wide dark brown eyes.




“A pony.. woww.” Anneka drew breath for the next question “Do you think Poppa will let….. ?”


Silja stopped the idea in it’s tracks, “Nei.. Ponies don’t like cities, they like fields and grass and stuff. If a pony came to the city it would be very very unhappy. That would not be nice, right?”


Anneka nodded and Silja smiled, imagining Joe’s face if asked to buy a pony.


“So do your Momma and Poppa look after the pony now?” Anneka’s imagination trotted off down another avenue.


Silja winced. She saw that question coming a while ago but it had seemed to have passed but it’s sudden reappearance caught Silja off guard. She blinked and drew a long careful breath.


“My Momma and Poppa died when I was about Finny’s age.” Well that was a half truth. Silja’s Momma was indeed dead but Silja deemed it better not to mention her father was actually living a hundred kilometres away, which in Silja’s reckoning was not far enough. Worse, that her sister was living in Flagstaff. That was a part of her lifestory that Silja wished to keep buried and away from her life here in the Kjaer-Spivey household. Surprisingly, Anneka’s big brown eyes filled with something akin to sympathy for a few moments but was quickly replaced soon by enthusiasm.


“So you was a orphing, like Finny! Did you live in a orphindidge like Finny?” Anneka knew a lot about orphanages now and her new friends were all orphans. She was excited to find out that her nanny was also an orphan.


“Ermm.. sort of.. well,, not exactly, but… “ Silja felt the usual hollowness in the pit of her stomach followed by queasiness. Her mouth dried like it did every time she was confronted with memories of ‘the camp’. Silja felt ill, her mind spun. She tried her hardest to concentrate on Anneka and keep how she was feeling away from Anneka’s perceptive gaze.


Anneka actually responded surprisingly. She jumped down from her chair and then jumped up onto Silja and gave her a tight tight hug. Silja smiled through a tightening throat.


Silja stood, taking the still hugging Anneka with her “Come on, let’s find Momma hmm?” Sadly all Silja wanted to do was deposit Anneka with her mother, then feigning some sickness, run away to her room.



Joe Spivey's picture

((Powerful. It's true, kids can cut straight through all our defences with their simple and direct questions. Great picture too, a very real moment being caught.

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

Veronica Volt's picture

((Beautiful post. The words paint the picture and the picture speaks the words.

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