The wind carried on as it continued to grow violent. Ila strode toward the window. The whistling wind pushed her white nightgown in contorting directions. Only through the window could Ila see the star scattered upon the silhouette of the moon. She pushed the casement of the window down, leaving the room in a deafening silence. For seven years, Ila had been a slave to the very home she slept soundly in. She was to prepare food, clean every crevice of her small cottage, and get water from the well six hours away. Her mother lived like royalty while Ila, her faithful and loyal servant, obeying every command. Ila remained grateful to her mother. She grew hearing stories about how courageous she was after all. Her favorite being how her mother climbed the highest mountain in the world and gave birth to her. Most would agree that these stories were simple fables. Nonetheless, Ila believed all of it, only hoping she may one day obtain a modicum of her glory.
Gazing out the window this very night, Ila felt something she’d never felt before. She yearned to go outside. Every morning when she finished breakfast, she would sneak off but for only a second. She went to watch kids her age bathing in the heat and chatting the day away. She often wondered why she was stuck in her home, however, those thoughts were destroyed immediately and replaced with insatiable guilt. Yet tonight as she reached for the window, she wanted to be like those children. Ila shook her head aggressively as if to physically shake the thought away. Abruptly the sound of drumming caught her attention. There a boy stood wide-eyed at the girl he’d never seen before. She stood ,hands clasped around her hip, almost in disgust. The boy tapped the window, gesturing for her to open it.
Ila shook her head. She shooed at him unsure of his intentions. The boy remained curious and too stubborn to leave. He tried again gesturing for her to open her window. Again, Ila shook her head not wanting to listen to the stranger. It was safe to tell her mother in case he was a thief. She began to rush in a hurry and too quick to save herself, fell onto the floor with a loud thump. Ila winced in pain but when she listened close enough she could hear the chuckles of the boy outside the window. Now embarrassed, Ila stood up, advanced toward the window, and yanked it open. She thoughtlessly shoved the boy in an attempt to redeem her pride. The boy plunged slowly. He quietly dropped onto the grass. Startled, he gasps. Ila’s snorting erupted causing her stomach to ache in an unfamiliar way.
“Why haven’t I seen you before?” Ila got quiet once hearing the boy’s voice. “ I live here,” Ila replied. She swayed from feet to feet refusing to make eye contact.
“No duh!” The boy interjected, “ your mam doesn’t let you out or something?”. The boy’s eyebrows raised as Ila nodded her head yes. She noticed how the boy was the same shade as her, his darker complexion glistened in the moonlight.
“How old are you girl?” The boy questioned. He plummets onto the grass as if ready to hear a story. “ twelv-“
“Me too! So cool, we have to be friends. Do you want to hang out now?” The boy asked, disregarding the part where she wasn’t allowed. A tense feeling overcame Ila only seconds after only considering the thought. She could feel her mother’s cold hands grasping her. Ila knew she was not to leave. She curled her lips in a frown dismissing the idea, yet as she turned her head back to the boy, his hands were reached out. She hastily grabs his hands. It was dry and nubby compared to hers. With his strength, the boy pulled the girl out the window catching her before falling onto the grass. Ila was in shock as she stared at the same moon from outside the window. She laid on the floor, her head tilted towards the moon. The sharp, fresh aroma of the wind flooding her senses. The boy sat up looking at Ila in excitement. “ Have you ever played tag?” The boy smiled, touching Ila’s shoulder before running. Ila, confused, stands waiting for an explanation. The boy now a meter away shouted, “ YOU HAVE TO CATCH ME!”. Ila began running.
The adrenaline Ila felt while running made her grin. She had caught up to the boy and is now the one being chased. Could she be able to play like the children she watched every single day? The boy caught up to her, tackling her down to the ground. They laughed as the game’s final round comes to an end.
“What’s your name?” The boy said after he caught his breath. He raised his hand to play with the strands of his coils.
“Ila, what about you?” she answers quickly. It was dark, however, the moon illuminated light for the children. The prickly grass jabbing her naked feet.
“I don’t have one, but I heard my name was supposed to be Samuel.” His eyes were glued to the sky but Ila couldn’t help but notice how distant they looked. Samuel turned to look at Ila, almost worried for her, “ Why does your mother jail you?”. Ila didn’t know herself nor did she want to consume herself with such negative thoughts. She got up ready to play another round of tag.
Ila did not sleep as she intended to. Samuel dropped Ila home hours ago yet his influence still plagued her mind. She pondered on why she would want to grow up to be like the woman who enslaved her daughter. Without realizing it a deep hatred began to dwell in the pit of her mind. The morning birds chirped, a signal for Ila to begin her day. Ila remains in her bed concave by a mountain of thoughts.
“ILA! ILA! Where is the food!” Her mother boomed. The door is kicked open. Ila’s confidence slightly fades as the deep ruse in her mother’s eyes threatened her.
“Get up now, Why are you in bed” Her mother continued. Ila stayed on her bed too petrified to lift her head. Her mother’s anger jabbing her in the gut. Mindlessly she rose. Ila, the faithful and loyal servant, didn’t have the grit to disobey. She cowered away from her mother’s stares only wanting to please her. On the spur of the moment, Ila faced her mother opening her mouth before her brain could stop. “ No” Her voice cracking at the rapid change in her mother’s face.
Too angry to restrain herself, Ila’s mother instantly slaps her across her face. The force sending Ila back into the corner of her room wall. She recoiled from the wall onto the floor, her back aching from the sudden force. Ila frantically clutched onto her stinging cheek. She shamefully looks downward as the heat from her face flusters her. As snot began to ooze out of her nose, Ila attempted to hold back the tears trying to spill from her eyelids. She glanced at her mother once more.
“Samuel doesn’t want me to be your slave” Ila blustered.
“Samuel?” croaked her mother, “ How do you know-”. She stumbles back feeling her body tense up. Her mother couldn’t fathom how Ila knew who Samuel was. Her mother began to talk however as the tears streamed, her words were nothing but a whine.
“Samuel” Her fingers quivering as she hugged herself tightly. Ila has never seen her mother look so feeble. She watched as her strong and willful mother collapse at only a simple name. As Ila was soon to find out, Samuel was the first child her mother bore. Ila was the second twin who came out in perfect health. The pain has made Ila’s mother a spiteful person loathing Ila for surviving. Ila was a living reminder of Samuel for her mother. Ila closed in on her mother wanting to comfort her as she weeps. She held her mother reminding her that everything would be okay.
Ila is now 13, she sits by the same window she always has. She can see the same moon brightly shining through her window. She is free to run until she reaches that moon. Ila’s mother didn’t ask her how she knew Samuel. She’s changed, trying to accept the past. Ila wonders if Samuel was a ghost trying to help free her from her chains. Or maybe coincidently Samuel was a real boy who simply disappeared never to be seen again. Nonetheless, Samuel showed Ila the world waiting outside her window.
Like Ila, I wait…looking for someone
show me the world right outside the window