Divided

Love. Struggle. Discovery.

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1. The People - Preface

It was a beautiful sight, unusual, but simplistic. It was a landscape in which highly dedicated artists, the ones who are immersed with every shape, detail and natural point of the world, yearn to create a masterpiece out of. The small village of Cato was a place of spiritual refuge tucked away for safe keeping; unknown to the rest of the world but taken with gratitude and affection from the inhabitants who lived in small dwellings among the village.

Daylight would see the small clay houses bush the village with colour. Red, blue, yellow, orange and brown houses sat side by side. Small bare footed children would run, scream, play and bellow with laughter amongst the large rounded stone ground. The game popular to the children was hot potato as they tested with careless calculation to which stone scorched the dry soles of their feet from which they would cry with mercy,’ hot potato!’ The mothers and aunt’s sat frequently on kitchen stools under shaded trees chatting endlessly about daily life – which mostly involved their husbands. Beside stood a collection of items: a water bottle, a biscuit tin filled with odd bits of food and flip-flops. Cold water would pour over irritant, blistering feet. The days were long and drawn and so food was eaten by the women in intervals throughout the day and was given to the animated children, who played from morning until sunset.  

A few kilometres south west across the river the smell of toil burned fiercely in the air as men and women ploughed the hardened soil to allow the seed sowing in the following weeks. The anticipation for the burst of green to appear and for food to be ripe and ready for the following seasons to be sold in the local markets, was the simple joy for many. Market stalls of colour and vibrancy selling: potatoes, chicken, tomatoes, grapes, freshly made bread, handmade toys and ice cream, would appear as a seasonal pleasure to the inhabitants of the small village.

By night, red smeared the sky like a watercolour painting; gradually fading out into the mountains. Unlike the daytime, the night air was filled with a cold wistful breeze as people slept in their houses, unaware but cautious.

 Despite the happiness which seemed all and well, Cato was a victim of its past. Four words say it all: The Castro Civil War. The effort of false pretence was beginning to ware among the citizens. The denial of their history, which was only fresh in the minds of many, hung heavily within the air. Forever lingering; never disappearing or wanting to go away. Maybe it was the constant thoughts of those subsisting in their daily lives in which brought about the next pitiful affair? As they say, ‘be careful of what you wish for.’ Or maybe the time was long overdue? Maybe Casto had been blissfully living in defiance of reality and the time had come? Or maybe it was meant to be?  But, whatever it was, the lives of the Catoion people would never be the same again… 

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