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E-Books (english-e-reader), Remember Atita (2)

Remember Atita (2)

Another evening on the veranda. Okema asks about Laker. 'She's fine,' I say without looking at him. 'Nearly fine.'

'You should leave Gulu,' Okema says, 'and go back to your comfortable life, where you lived before. It's crazy looking for friends who won't remember you.'

I spend the nights on the veranda because my friends lived like this while I slept safe and warm. I am ashamed that I was not with them. The rain washes away the pain in my heart. I tell Okema he cannot understand why I visit Laker every day.

A cameraman walks past, and takes pictures of us. Okema spits at him.

'Why did you spit at him?' I ask.

'He's making money out of our misery.'

'Perhaps he's from the newspapers.'

'You're new to this business of homelessness.'

Okema is right. I know nothing about this nightlife. Tonight we hear heavy gunshots. The voices of the other children stop, and the radio is turned off. Okema recognizes the kind of gun. He knows all the different guns and the sounds they make.

Laker manages a smile today. She's a little friendlier. Again her fingers feel my face and the scar under my chin. She touches it with one finger... Perhaps the scar is saying something to her. She smiles.

'Atita?' she whispers.

'Yes, Atita, Won Okech's Atita.' I take her hand.

'Otoo. Won Okech otoo.'

'I'm here,' I whisper.

Laker pulls away her hand and starts rocking on the bed. I look in her eyes and find myself travelling down a dirt road. Now I'm behind Won Okech's house. The five of us are standing under a mango tree, laughing. We have just made a seesaw. I sit on one end, then Laker jumps on the other. As the seesaw goes up, I fall off and my chin hits the ground. I scream in pain.

Laker stops rocking. Her eyes are empty again. My heart is beating fast, as I remember what happened that day.

Okema sits on the veranda, studying. His examination is soon. I don't talk to him this evening. I let him read. He has to work on his dream of becoming President. Who knows? He may bring us the peace that he promises.

When I visit Laker next morning, it's like the first day. There is no expression on her face. And I have so many questions to ask her! I help her to sit up and drink some black tea. I pull out the torn photo and point to the other girls.

'Laker, tell me about Oyella?'

She looks at me. Her eyes tell me she recognizes the name.

'What happened to Oyella?' I ask.

She suddenly seems to be in pain. She starts rocking. I try to calm her, but she only rocks faster. Her eyes take on a dreamy look, and her words are hurried and strange.

The men came to the village and took them away. They tied them with ropes and made them walk a long way. Some of the men hit the girls with sticks or with their guns, to make them go faster. Someone fell, and stayed on the ground. She turned her face. OYELLA. Our Oyella. One of the gunmen shouted to her to get up. On her face was fear, and then, nothing. She was ready to die.

-Do you want to rest? the man asked.

-Yes, she said in a weak voice.

-You can have your wish, he laughed as he shot her between the eyes.

She made no sound. Later, the other girl ran away and came to Gulu Hospital.'

Laker stops rocking. She's breathing fast. She starts laughing wildly, crazily. I leave her bedside and run outside. I cry. In the photo Oyella's smile has gone and so has her face. Instead, there's a patch of grey. I stare at the sky. It's still blue, and the hospital still stands there.

'Oyella is dead,' I tell Okema that evening.

'I'm sorry,' he says and holds my hand. We sit close together on the veranda. It's another cold, starry night. I look up at the sky and see a full moon. Perhaps the gods up there are looking down at us and laughing at our misery.

'One day this will end,' Okema says.

'Yes,' I say hopelessly.

Today Laker smiles brightly when she sees me. She looks different now, with her hair cut and clean. The wild look has gone. As I sit beside her, she touches the scar under my chin.

I help her off the bed. We walk slowly to the door and go outside, where we sit under the large mango tree. She likes it here, and lies on her back with her head on my knees. I don't know how long we sit there under the mango tree. We watch the sun disappear and see the shadows get longer as they fall on the hospital windows. Laker lifts her head and looks at me.

'What's that song we used to sing?' she asks.

I smile. 'Min latin do, tedo i dye wor... My mother is cooking at night,' I sing quietly.

She closes her eyes and listens to me. Then she opens her eyes. I feel her looking fixedly at my scar, then at my neck. She laughs lightly.

'Atita, bangle-necked Atita,' she whispers.

A smile comes to her lips, very slowly, it lights up, and burns brightly like a flame. She remembered!

- THE END -


Remember Atita (2)

Another evening on the veranda. Okema asks about Laker. 'She's fine,' I say without looking at him. 'Nearly fine.'

'You should leave Gulu,' Okema says, 'and go back to your comfortable life, where you lived before. It's crazy looking for friends who won't remember you.'

I spend the nights on the veranda because my friends lived like this while I slept safe and warm. 安全で暖かく眠っている間、友達がこのように暮らしていたので、ベランダで夜を過ごします。 I am ashamed that I was not with them. 私は彼らと一緒にいなかったことを恥じています。 The rain washes away the pain in my heart. 雨は私の心の痛みを洗い流します。 I tell Okema he cannot understand why I visit Laker every day.

A cameraman walks past, and takes pictures of us. Okema spits at him.

'Why did you spit at him?' I ask.

'He's making money out of our misery.' 「彼は私たちの惨めさからお金を稼いでいます。」

'Perhaps he's from the newspapers.'

'You're new to this business of homelessness.' 「あなたはこのホームレスのビジネスに不慣れです。」

Okema is right. I know nothing about this nightlife. 私はこのナイトライフについて何も知りません。 Tonight we hear heavy gunshots. The voices of the other children stop, and the radio is turned off. Okema recognizes the kind of gun. Okemaは銃の種類を認識します。 He knows all the different guns and the sounds they make. 彼はすべての異なる銃とそれらが作る音を知っています。

Laker manages a smile today. レイカーズは今日笑顔を管理します。 She's a little friendlier. 彼女は少し友好的です。 Again her fingers feel my face and the scar under my chin. She touches it with one finger... Perhaps the scar is saying something to her. 彼女は1本の指でそれに触れます...おそらく傷跡は彼女に何かを言っています。 She smiles.

'Atita?' she whispers.

'Yes, Atita, Won Okech's Atita.' I take her hand.

'Otoo. Won Okech otoo.'

'I'm here,' I whisper.

Laker pulls away her hand and starts rocking on the bed. レイカーは手を引き離し、ベッドの上で揺れ始めます。 I look in her eyes and find myself travelling down a dirt road. 彼女の目を見ると、未舗装の道路を旅していることに気づきます。 Now I'm behind Won Okech's house. 今、私はウォン・オケッチの家の後ろにいます。 The five of us are standing under a mango tree, laughing. 私たち5人はマンゴーの木の下に立って笑っています。 We have just made a seesaw. シーソーを作ったところです。 I sit on one end, then Laker jumps on the other. As the seesaw goes up, I fall off and my chin hits the ground. I scream in pain.

Laker stops rocking. Her eyes are empty again. My heart is beating fast, as I remember what happened that day.

Okema sits on the veranda, studying. His examination is soon. I don't talk to him this evening. I let him read. 私は彼に読ませた。 He has to work on his dream of becoming President. Who knows? He may bring us the peace that he promises.

When I visit Laker next morning, it's like the first day. 翌朝レイカーズに行くと、まるで初日のようです。 There is no expression on her face. And I have so many questions to ask her! そして、私は彼女に尋ねる質問がたくさんあります! I help her to sit up and drink some black tea. 私は彼女が座って紅茶を飲むのを手伝います。 I pull out the torn photo and point to the other girls. 破れた写真を抜いて他の女の子を指さします。

'Laker, tell me about Oyella?' 「レイカーズ、オイエラについて教えて?」

She looks at me. Her eyes tell me she recognizes the name.

'What happened to Oyella?' I ask.

She suddenly seems to be in pain. She starts rocking. I try to calm her, but she only rocks faster. Her eyes take on a dreamy look, and her words are hurried and strange. 彼女の目は夢のような表情をしており、彼女の言葉は急いで奇妙です。

The men came to the village and took them away. 男たちは村にやって来て彼らを連れ去った。 They tied them with ropes and made them walk a long way. Some of the men hit the girls with sticks or with their guns, to make them go faster. Someone fell, and stayed on the ground. 誰かが倒れ、地面にとどまりました。 She turned her face. 彼女は顔を向けた。 OYELLA. Our Oyella. One of the gunmen shouted to her to get up. On her face was fear, and then, nothing. 彼女の顔には恐怖があり、それから何もありませんでした。 She was ready to die.

-Do you want to rest? -休憩しますか? the man asked.

-Yes, she said in a weak voice. -はい、彼女は弱い声で言いました。

-You can have your wish, he laughed as he shot her between the eyes. -あなたはあなたの願いを叶えることができます、彼は目の間に彼女を撃ったので彼は笑いました。

She made no sound. 彼女は音を立てなかった。 Later, the other girl ran away and came to Gulu Hospital.' その後、もう一人の少女は逃げ出し、グル病院に来ました。

Laker stops rocking. レイカーズは揺れを止めます。 She's breathing fast. She starts laughing wildly, crazily. 彼女は狂ったように激しく笑い始めます。 I leave her bedside and run outside. 私は彼女のベッドサイドを離れて外に走ります。 I cry. In the photo Oyella's smile has gone and so has her face. 写真では、オイエラの笑顔が消え、顔も消えました。 Instead, there's a patch of grey. 代わりに、灰色のパッチがあります。 I stare at the sky. It's still blue, and the hospital still stands there.

'Oyella is dead,' I tell Okema that evening.

'I'm sorry,' he says and holds my hand. We sit close together on the veranda. It's another cold, starry night. もう一つの寒い星空の夜です。 I look up at the sky and see a full moon. Perhaps the gods up there are looking down at us and laughing at our misery. おそらく、そこにいる神々は私たちを見下ろし、私たちの惨めさを笑っています。

'One day this will end,' Okema says. 「いつかこれは終わります」とOkemaは言います。

'Yes,' I say hopelessly. 「はい」私は絶望的に言います。

Today Laker smiles brightly when she sees me. She looks different now, with her hair cut and clean. 彼女は今では違って見え、髪はカットされてきれいになっています。 The wild look has gone. ワイルドな表情は消えました。 As I sit beside her, she touches the scar under my chin.

I help her off the bed. We walk slowly to the door and go outside, where we sit under the large mango tree. She likes it here, and lies on her back with her head on my knees. 彼女はここが好きで、私の膝に頭を抱えて仰向けになっています。 I don't know how long we sit there under the mango tree. We watch the sun disappear and see the shadows get longer as they fall on the hospital windows. 太陽が消えるのを見て、病院の窓に影が落ちるにつれて影が長くなるのを見る。 Laker lifts her head and looks at me. レイカーは頭を上げて私を見ます。

'What's that song we used to sing?' 「私たちが歌っていたあの歌は何ですか?」 she asks.

I smile. 'Min latin do, tedo i dye wor... My mother is cooking at night,' I sing quietly.

She closes her eyes and listens to me. 彼女は目を閉じて私に耳を傾けます。 Then she opens her eyes. それから彼女は目を開けます。 I feel her looking fixedly at my scar, then at my neck. She laughs lightly.

'Atita, bangle-necked Atita,' she whispers.

A smile comes to her lips, very slowly, it lights up, and burns brightly like a flame. 彼女の唇に微笑みがゆっくりとやって来て、それは明るくなり、炎のように明るく燃えます。 She remembered!

- THE END -