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A löngu síðan á Íslandi ..... [2]

Silja Henningsdottir's picture
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          Silja heard Momma sigh. It was along sad sigh. Silja knew Momma was watching her.

          Silja was sitting in the little red painted rocking chair Poppa made for her fifth birthday. It was her favourite, Silja’s own. Too small for adult bums, perfect for Silja. And it had been her personal perch, in front of the fire, only for for Silja and Teddy, no-one else.

          But for the last six weeks the chair had not faced the fire. Instead it was turned to face the door through which Poppa had left , that scary night when Momma and he fought and Poppa had stormed out into the night.

         Each night as snow accumulated outside and grew deeper and deeper, despite Momma’s efforts to clear the path to the barn. Silja had sat in her long cotton nightie and dressing gown. Knees tucked under her chin, Teddy cradled under her arm, and her two fluffy blue rabbit eared slippers keeping her toes warm. Silja had kept the vigil like this each evening, after all, Momma did promise Poppa would come home.

                “Komdu elskan, er það of seint fyrir litlar stelpur að vera vakandi.”  Momma took Silja’s reluctant hand gently and lead her of to her bedroom. Momma looked exhausted. Her eyes had lost the shine and tiny crow’s feet had appeared.

          As Silja’s large round blue eyes looked back at her, Momma swallowed down her worries and smiled, placing a loving kiss on Silja’s brow.

                    “Sætur drauma.”  She smiled, and Silja smiled bravely back. 

           Momma put out the light and closed the bedroom door, and leaned back on it, as she did so her head sagged in sadness. It was all becoming too much.

           She looked at her hands, Once soft, but now blistered from her daily wielding of the axe, cutting firewood to keep the savage winter cold at bay.  

           And so it went on. Christmas passed with the aching void of no husband and father in the house. New year came and went and the following weeks dragged by in the almost perpetual darkness and biting cold of the upland Icelandic winter. Silja tried her hardest to help her Momma. They survived, but only just.

            Late march. Momma and Silja peered into the low southern midday sun from on top of the high pile of snow that’s the wind and their digging had built up. They could hear the truck before they could see it. Finally the white and grey military looking 6x4 growled into the yard. The engine ran on for a while. The three snow-camo uniformed men in the front seats talked while pointing at a clipboard, then to Silja and her Momma, then back at the clipboard.

            Finally the three men jumped down. By this time some others had tumbled out of the rear of the truck and now were scuffing around, hands in pockets, lighting cigarettes.

            Silja looked over the huge truck and its black tyres. Its white/grey markings and the oblong sign on the driver door. She liked its horizontal red and white stripes and the blue panel in one corner full of stars. She strained against her mother’s grip on her hand, wanting to see this huge machine closer. But her Momma held her firm.


            Silja knew no English. But  Momma spoke to the man with the steel hat.. Silja began to wonder  why Momma’s grip on her hand was tightening and starting to hurt.


Canni Belle's picture

((Engrossing, well done

One minute your calm, the next your shooting someone in the face, then your doing your chickendance. If that is not chaos I dont know what is - Aiid

Joe Spivey's picture

(( Cool the way you tease the story along in exquisite segments. Henning is a cruel, heartless swine.

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

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