So I’m going through my old Ghana journal entries to import them into a new journaling program that I got recently. Most are whiney–“It’s so hot”, “I don’t feel well”, “People annoy me.” (Basic lack of introverted time, I think) but every so often there’s some writing. I came across this totally weird nugget sitting under a March headline.
I really want to revisit this and then actually write this novel. But I have no idea where it was going.
Dustin Bowen was a thoughtful boy. He liked to give gifts and presents, but he always made them himself, and although he was very proud of his artistry, the grown ups to whom he gave his little pinecone creations were not impressed. One day, Dustin had made his mother and father a special present, because it was nearing their anniversary, and that was when they celebrated being married and went on a special date.
But when Dustin came to present his parents with his hard work, they had something else in mind, and it started with his father saying: “Now Dustin, I want you to know that we still love you.”
Very shortly, his parents explained to him that they did not want to be married anymore. To make it easier on him while they made important decisions, they told Dustin that he would live with his Aunt Lydia on the lake.
“Only for the summer, Dustin. It will be very much fun, like camp—and we will come and visit you.”
So they packed his things and drove him through the woods—all so full of pinecones—and they didn’t talk much. Dustin decided not to give them his special anniversary present. Aunt Lydia’s house was in a small town, but it was down a road in the woods. When they arrived, Dustin crawled out of the car and gawked—for before him was a little house, and water that never ended.
Aunt Lydia greeted them, and Dustin said goodbye to his parents. She was very kind, but it made Dustin shy. They waved together as his parents drove away.
“I think you should like it very much here, Dustin,” Aunt Lydia said. “There are a lot of places to play, ad the town children are very friendly.”
But they weren’t, really. Dustin explored the town, and found a lot of children, but they were not friendly at all. They were noesey, and they were coarse, and some of hem even stole cigarettes from their older siblings. Dustin was only eight years old, and they made fun of him because he was pudgy. His mother always said that his father took him to McDonalds too much, and that cheeseburgers would make him fat, but Dustin really liked his McDonalds because of a sculpture that reminded him of a robot in his favorite TV show.
So very quickly, Dustin became lonely.
He thought a lot about what his parents were doing, but Aunt Lydia would hear nothing of it. It made her very nervous to talk about his parents, and she always made hima peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead.
But what Dustin enjoyed about Aunt Lydia’s house was the lake. He explored the rocks that the waves crashed on, where trees grew in cracks that reminded him of cast caverns.
One day, when Dustin was exploring, he sat in a little crack in the rock, imagining that he was a great explorer. He was barefoot, having lost his shoes in the treacherous quicksand—but he had really taken them off and hid them from his Aunt Lydia, who would be very cross if she discovered that he was climbing without shoes.
All of a sudden, while Dustin was thinking about how he was going to discover a mountain, a girl marched into view. She wore a strange outfit, with silly looking boots, and a coat that came to her knees that looked fancy, but rather battered. She had skin like dark chocolate and little braids in her hair with beads. She looked like a formidable explorer, like himself.
She stared at him for a moment, and he stared back.
“Hello,” he said.
“Hello,” she said. She spoke strangely, not like other girls he knew.
“What is your name?”
“Rebekkah,” she replied.
“My name is Dustin.”
“When does the sea go?”
“This is the Drinking Sea. When does it go?”
“It doesn’t go; it’s a lake—where would it go?”
The girl stared at him for a long time, puzzled, and then sat down beside his rock.
Dustin was surprised to see the strange girl, surprised even more by her friendliness. She had spectacular eyes, like his Siamese cat at home. Of course, thinking of home made him terribly lonely again, and he sighed.
“Do you just sit here, Dustin?”
“No. I’m not from here.”
“Neither am I.”
“Where are you from?”
She pointed across the lake. Dustin nodded. “My parents sent me here because they don’t want to be married anymore.”
She listened but her face displayed little.
“I don’t think they will live together anymore.”
“My parents don’t live together.”
“Are they married?”
“No. My mother is dead.”
“Oh. I’m sorry,” Dustin flinched, for she had said it so easily.
“Why are you sorry?”
“Well—because I suppose you can’t see her if she’s dead.”
“Oh, no. I see her when she wants to be seen.”
Dustin thought this to be very strange, but he liked ghost stories, so he didn’t question the girl. “So do you live with your father?”
“Sometimes. He is always sailing. He has many tasks. Sometimes I remain on land while he does something important.
Dustin liked this girl—if her father was a real sailor, well, then she was certainly adventurous.
“I have a very important task,” the girl continued. “But I do not yet know what it is.” She spoke like an adult, or maybe a queen. “My mother tells me that there is something I must find, but I went to find my dream, and I saw it.”
“You found a dream?”
“Yes. You were in my dream.”
“But I don’t know you!” He exclaimed.
“That doesn’t matter,” she replied. “Of course we don’t know each other.”
He stared at her.
“We are twins.
“You,” he frowned. “You’re black—your skin is, I mean—“ Dustin knew that it was not kind to draw attention to other children’s skin. “And I’m white—we could not be twins!”
She laughed. “For every child born as I was, there is a child born in the natural way—only this child is special, because this child is the living connection to the half-child’s soul—we are of the same soul, not body.”
That satisfied Dustin a little, but he was still not entirely pleased.