I look back at my childhood and understand why and what my parents had to do to survive. Every time a new wave of immigrants enters the western world people start to talk:
“the immigrants…taking our jobs”
“coming here living on benefits”
“What are they doing”
I remind these people that there are always two sides to every story.I often resort to my story…
The Lioness and her cubs.
On the coast of Africa, in a place where the grass hits your feet like emeralds waiting to be touched and the sun blinds you with its light, hypnotising you into a deep sleep, suffocating you with its heat. There in the depths of the tropics laid a Lioness and her one cub. This Lioness was the most beautiful creature in all the jungle. Her mane, smooth, golden glistening with the sun’s kiss. This Lioness, was the heart of the sun, reflecting light beams of hope, dreams, love and desire. Although a predator by nature, the Lioness was gentle and kind, even to the point that the birds, the deer’s, the snakes, all the other animals from the various tribes loved and adored her. No one could understand how such a graceful enticing creature could be left by the King, all alone with her cub. The “King” of the jungle as some may call him, was a nomadic cat. It is believed he was actually part panther, part lion. He didn’t like being in packs, an elusive character, there one minute gone the next. He was always looking for the next prey, the next cat to evolve with, always looking for the next cat to lay down next to.
The Lioness by herself tried so hard to hunt and protect her cub, but at times this was troublesome as there was no king to protect her baby. Although she was a fierce creature and could out run and out hunt any other cat, she knew the reality of having a cub and hyenas constantly around, all it takes is for your back to be turned and then….snap. Cub. Gone.
For days and months, the Lioness prowled the jungle with her cub beside her. Trying so hard to hunt for deer. But the green emerald grass was changing…. the grass was becoming thick, dark, lifeless. With no grass there is no deer. No food. The Lioness looked at her cub, the baby was so playful so curious, so bold. She looked at her cub and wept. Wept and hoped that there could be something…. someone who could take her to pastures new.
Another sunset, another day gone by, another moment of despair. The Lioness and her cub, lighter in fat, forlorn with no food in sight. Their eyes slowly, slowly closing. Living on the cusp of death. As their heads become limp, dropping into the burnt dry land. Suddenly a shadow comes across their faces. Standing tall and strong was a lion, with a dark charcoal mane, hair as black as the night sky. The Lioness unable to lift her head , she was startled by what she saw. Was this the devil himself, or an angel? The Lion, the “King of The Night” licked her face, and placed her cub beside her. The King of The Night disappeared for a moment and as if by magic appeared with a leg of deer. The Lioness and her cub overwhelmed with hunger ate every last bit of meat, bone, fat…everything. The King of The Night, whispered in the Lioness’ ear, she paused,then nodded and looked at her cub with sorrow.
Another moon, another night gone by, another moment of despair. The Lioness and her cub, eyes heavy with tears, she leaves her cub with a neighbouring pack of lions, as she ventures to new lands with the King of The Night with a promise of more food, more stability. The cub, sick with sadness not knowing if she will see the warm eyes and the honey glow of her mother again.
For many many days, the King of The Night and the Lioness walked side by side, until they arrived in a strange foreign land where the grass is short and sharp and a sky with clouds that disfigure the sun, making it look distant, grey and bleak. It was a wonder how in such a land, where the sun does not shine so bright, there were plenty of deer and prey for the Lioness and the King of The Night to feast on.
With glee, the Lioness and the King of The Night started to hunt but they were greeted with the cruelty of tigers and leopards. Who having grown accustomed to the cooler weather were more agile and sly with their hunting style. At every chance the Lioness and the King of The Night could get to catch some food, stripes and spots would obstruct their way. The only food they could get were scraps of meat to which the Lioness and the King of the Night, would divide, eat a little and save a lot for a rainy day.
Another sunset, another day gone by, another moment of despair. The Lioness and the King of The Night hopes, dreams and desires slowly dwindled, day in day out they are reminded that they have no patterns on their hide. They’re neither a leopard or tiger just two lions with pride.
Many many moons go by, many many moments of despair. The Lioness and the King of The Night, jaded by the land they live in, they have no spots no stripes just heartache and hunger. The Lioness eager to go back home to the cub she left, hunts tirelessly, saving scraps and putting them in ice to send back home. The King of the Night with disheveled dreams has a disheveled heart, roams around this new land looking for a place, that makes him feel like a king again. The Lioness and the King of The Night still holding on to their dream of going back home providing for their family and ruling the jungle.
With each two seasons come another cub:
2 season go by……4 seasons go by 6 seasons go by.
Three new cubs in total, and one cub in the land where the grass hits your feet like emeralds waiting to be touched and the sun blinds you with its light. With every hunt the Lioness and the King of The Night, feed their three cubs, save some scraps and send it back to their native land, helping other cats in the family eat. Day in day out, they are reminded that they do not have spots or stripes, that they do not walk the right way. Every single day, there is a slight dent to their pride.
The years go by, and their 3 cubs grow to become 2 Kings and a beautiful Lioness. The other cub in the distant land, now grown and is the resemblance of her mother, a gorgeous Lioness. She is now present, in this, a strange foreign land where the grass is short and sharp and a sky with clouds that disfigure the sun, making it look distant, grey and bleak.
The four cubs; the two kings and the two lionesses with the physicality and mindset of Lions but an insight of Tigers and Leopards manage to navigate in this desolate land in a way that their parent’s never could. Having been raised on hardly anything and accepting their parent’s plight of being providers for their motherland. The four cats, with nothing to their name no foundation, no inheritance, no lion lair passed down by generations have to go out in the world and start another legacy.
A legacy where the Lions are the main hunters in this strange foreign land.
A legacy where the Lions have a place to rest, a patch of land which is theirs.
A legacy where the Lions actually get the Lion share.
But with so little to start with, they know that their journey will be much like their parents however this time they won’t let the stripes of the tigers or the spots of the leopards sabotage their hunt.
It takes a lot for a person to sacrifice everything they once had to start again. If my six-year old self could know what my adult self knows now, I would not have been a child full of sorrow embarrassed by my lack of wealth but a child full of pride knowing that there is a lioness deep inside me, who knows how to hunt, knows how to navigate in a world that is mainly kind to tigers and leopards.
@AnniwaaBuachie: I am not a writer, just a blabber, a lady that asks many questions but never knows how to collate the answers. Just a normal lady with nothing more to say, than words that mean nothing but say something.